There's a reason why half the population of Illinois and Indiana rush to Wisconsin when summertime arrives. It has something to do with our 15,000 lakes.
In my case, it wasn't to launch a boat onto a Wisconsin lake and go fishing. It was a snail-gathering venture. You see, a friend of mine and I have small garden ponds that need snails to keep the algae at bay. It works, and very nicely. They eat their little hearts out and we get clean ponds. It's a win-win.
But, first I phoned the DNR office.
'If I take a few snails out of a local lake, will I get slapped with a $500 fine?'
'I don't know. I don't know if a DNR agent is going to be in your area the day you go to the lake.'
(Personally, I was already beginning to like this lady.)
'So, it depends. If they're just regular snails, no, if they're threatened, endangered, or invasive species, they can't be taken from the lake.'
'Do you know if we can count on snails of a certain species to hang out together?' (meaning that I didn't want to have to stop and identify every single snail!)
Long, drawn-out sardonic response, 'I don't know...............I'm not a snail.'
I laughed. 'Got it. :-) Thanks very much!'
So, after collecting, reading, and printing out all the DNR regulations on snails (threatened, endangered, or invasive species), we went to the lake to find a few of the legal variety. As it happens, most of the illegals, according to the little maps that accompanied the information on each particular snail species, are along the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan coastlines.
another beautiful Wisconsin lake in the summertime
the lake reflecting the deep blue of the sky
a happy dragonfly finds a place to rest
Fortunately, most of the off-limit snails are not in our neck of the woods anyway. Unfortunately, something had killed hundreds of the snails that are the usual residents of the lake. My husband suspects the very long winter. Whatever it was, there were congregations of snail corpses littered about the floor of the lake. (I started looking for tiny packets of Kool-Aid).
Discouraging for us snail enthusiasts, but devastating to the snail population.
Off to better hunting grounds...