larvalbug bytes archives / Main Index / previous / next

July, 2004


by Valerie

There are old limestone quarries near Lemont, Illinois, and, although a highway bridge runs almost directly over them, down by the water it is quiet and serene. One spring morning as I walked along the pavement-like limestone bank, the sun shone through the water as if into an aquarium. There was no wind and the surface of the lake was invisibly smooth. Beneath were the gravelly bottom fading into the depths, the bright green water plants, and numerous small fish. There suddenly appeared two monstrous three-foot long carp, gliding slowly along the shore in preparation for spawning. They made no noticeable body movements but resembled primeval submarines, magically floating through some ancient void. No ripple, no sound, nothing to indicate they had passed remained after they faded into the distance.

Leisure Lake at sunset, June, 2004

The above paragraph was written in 1986, describing an event that took place at least a decade earlier. More recently, I had another encounter with carp, this time in a small lake just outside of Joliet, Illinois. While visiting relatives last month, Larry and I stayed briefly at a trailer park called Leisure Lake and one morning my mother and I were walking near the water. We noticed a rather large disturbance in the otherwise still lake and wondered what it could be. It appeared as if a huge fish were surfacing for a moment, splashing slightly and sending large ripples out in all directions. Then we saw another. As we stood on a small pier, we watched several similar episodes and began to realize what we were witnessing. Eventually, some of the fish performed within just a few feet of us so we were able to see exactly what was going on. The carp in the lake were spawning and each female was accompanied by at least a half dozen males following closely in her wake. The fish were so close together that each group appeared to move as one and the unimpressive two-foot long fish suddenly appeared much more substantial as their combined mass disturbed the water. We watched for a short time, but when we looked for similar activity later in the day, there was no more.

larvalbug bytes archives / Main Index / previous / next