Join Waukesha resident Brien Lee and his blog, Sir Fido, as they explore the city and report on the interesting things they find.
Email Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Couple weeks ago my kids told me about some large fish they'd seen in a small pool of water on their way home from school. The fish were supposedly living in a little puddle at the outlet of a culvert. A million questions ran through my head. What kind were they? How did they get there? Where were they through winter? What did they live on? How long were they there? Are they anywhere as large as I was told?
But when I went to see for myself the water was too cloudy, though my son saw one. I imagined there was an undercut to the bank and the fish had a secret spot that didn't freeze over in winter.
In the days that followed I'd get updates from my son. "Saw the fish today Dad," or "saw another dead fish today." I went for another look and saw nothing but muddy water.
Sir Fido and I took another look at the puddle today and the water was clear. The last fish had died. But so many unanswered questions. I didn't see any undercut to the bank. The fish couldn't have survived winter in a foot or two of water fozen solid. I found a dead one that must have swam down the ditch a ways with the last bit of rain. It was about two feet long - I'm not kidding - and I have the pictures to prove it.
Tracing the ditch upstream I noticed a steady trickle of water. The source of the water just seemed to be runoff from a wooded hill. Further investigation found what could be a spring nearby that with spring flooding could have connected with the ditch. I'm starting to get a picture of fish that lived in a small, above-freezing spring, feeding off worms and such until they got too big for the spring.
The species of fish is not one I recognize so I looked it up. They were bowfins. Bowfins? How? Who knows?
So where's the ditch? In the area of Summit View Elementary.
Am adding another picture because Scorpgirl didn't believe me when I said it was about two feet long. I didn't want to add it cause it's kind of gross... my shoe, not the fish.