Discovering Watery Wonders

Fish aren’t the only captivating life forms to discover on a peaceful lake. We called Doug Fuller, aquatic biologist with SEE North, Petoskey, and asked him for tips on becoming a savvy lake explorer.

1. Wear polarized sunglasses. You will see far more good stuff under the water — fish, crayfish, frogs, turtles…. Know that glasses with UV protection aren’t necessarily polarized.

2. Take a mason jar and a magnifying glass. Dip the jar into shallow water and you will catch all sorts of phytoplankton and zooplankton, like copepods and cladocerans — microscopic animals with antennae and outer skeletons.

3. Pack a good pond life identification guide. Fuller likes the Golden Guide Pond Life (widely available). For the more hardcore, try Pond and Brook: Guide to Nature Study and Freshwater Environments.

4. Buy an underwater viewing scope. It’s like snorkeling without getting wet. Aqua-Scope II, $65, Ben Meadows, benmeadows.com.

5. Be quiet. “Don’t bang the oars — turtles have ears too,” Fuller says.

Jeff Smith is editor of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.smi[email protected]

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