Film Review | Contracorriente (Undertow) by Javier Fuentes-Leon

film poster for undertow contracorrienteSet in a Peruvian fishing village, Contracorriente tells the story of Miguel, a beautiful man with a wife and child on the way and how he deals with the abrupt death of his secret lover Santiago. Miguel is a local with family ties who works on a fishing boat. Santiago is an artist who lives temporarily in the village and is a societal outcast because of his lifestyle. The two meet only in secret and no one knows of their relationship. After a fight, something unexpected happens, which causes Miguel to reevaluate his choices and values.

This film was the best movie I’ve seen in a very long time. I wasn’t expecting the depth and emotional waves that came. If you’re willing to relate to the characters, have a handkerchief nearby. The acting was top notch and the story was completely realistic. I didn’t want this movie to end. It’s no surprise that this film was featured at multiple film festivals and won the 2010 Sundance World Cinema Audience Award. If you loved Julian Schnabel’s film Before Night Falls based on the novel by Reinaldo Arenas, this movie is worth buying. If you want to try it out first, check a library near you. The trailer is also available on the film’s website.

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Film Review | Alamar by Pedro González-Rubio

Alamar DVD cover imageAnother interesting indie film, Alamar deals with a son from separated parents who goes to visit his father at the sea. This is not to say a seaside vacation, but a way of life that takes place in the sea itself. A fisherman living in a wooden dwelling that is accessible only by boat or swimming shares his life with his young son who has grown up with his mother in a more traditional way – an apartment with electricity, TV and school. They fish for their food, collect lobsters and other sea creatures to sell for a living, and bond through a visiting bird they name “Blanquita”. There are beautiful shots of the sea and González-Rubio’s honest and straight-forward portrayal of the relationship between son, father and grandfather gives the viewer a new perspective to consider regarding less familiar ways of life.

View the Alamar trailer on YouTube.

Invasives at Fault for Great Lakes Salmon Dearth?

Four decades ago, salmon were added to the Great Lakes by Michigan fisheries biologists. In the following years, the fishing industry flourished as did the salmon. Cars hauling boats would be lined up with anglers just waiting to get out in the lakes and catch fish. But now, things have changed.

The invasive mussels came in and altered the food web. Alewives, one of salmons’ favorite fish to feed on, have mostly disappeared from the Great Lakes. Without enough time, the salmon were unable to adapt their diet as their food supply disappeared. Walleye, a native species, have returned to the lakes and are also responsible for eating the salmon. Last fall the Lake Michigan salmon never showed up at spawning time. Things aren’t looking good for the salmon.

Listen to the NPR Story for more details.

Photo credit: Coho salmon – muskegon-mi.gov

DNR Stocks Trout in WI Waters

In preparation for May 7th, opening day of the regular inland fishing season, the DNR has been making special deliveries of trout to local waters. Catchable size trout are being placed in waters where there would normally not be. These are areas where natural reproduction is not occurring, mainly because of reduced habitat.

Since trout numbers are up in other areas, it does no damage to relocate some of the trout for the benefit of the fishing season. Other trout for these drops have been farm raised at Lakewood State Fish Hatchery, Nevin State Fish Hatchery, Osceola State Fish Hatchery and St. Croix Falls State Fish Hatchery.

Photo credit: infotrek.er.usgs.gov

Proposed: Fish Feed for Lake Wazee

On what was previously the site of the Jackson County Iron Mine, Lake Wazee formed after the quarry’s 1983 closure and is now the deepest inland lake in Wisconsin. The hole simply filled with water as time passed and the lake currently has no inlets or outlets. Lake Wazee, part of the surrounding recreation area, is fed by springs and spans approximately 154 acres with a maximum depth of about 355 feet. While the lake currently holds some trout, bass and walleye (previously stocked by the DNR), fishing has been lower than expected due to lake of food for the fish.

The DNR has proposed to stock cisco, a smaller fish that is generally eaten by the more popular game fish, in the lake to improve the fishing overall. If approved, this study would introduce the fish into the lake and then monitor their survival over a three to four year time period. The cisco are not seen as a threat to surrounding waters because they require coldwater habitats to survive. Comments are being accepted by the public on the matter.

For more information about the study, read the WDNR release. For more information about Lake Wazee, see this page. Browse our recommended reading list for book suggestions on fish and fishing in Wisconsin.

Photo credit: Cisco by Cornell University DNR

Shortage of Fish Fry Favorite: Yellow Perch

Sad news for the crew of the Barney Devine, a sea vessel being retired and replaced by a newer, more technologically advanced ship, Coregonus. The Barney Devine set out to record the number of yellow perch in Lake Michigan, but returned with a hole in her hull and a remarkably smaller number of recorded fish than previous years. Since the survey area was the same as previous years some researchers are unsure of the cause of the fishy decline. Some blame quagga, a mussel inhabiting the bottom of the lake, known to consume plankton, a valuable feeding resource for young perch. The DNR will not be changing bag limit (number of fish that can be caught) on yellow perch for the time being. For further information, see the WDNR news release.

Photo credit: WDNR website

That’s One Big Fish!

In Winnebago, February 12th will bring the first day of a new season of sturgeon spearing. Since the fish population has increased, the DNR has been able to raise the catch limit this season and it is expected to break even last year’s hearty records. One record catch last season was a 212 pound sturgeon speared by a Wisconsinite. The DNR is confident that the sturgeon management system they have in place helps to pro-actively involve the public while increasing the sturgeon population and fishing opportunities.

For further reading on fish and fishing in general, see our recommended reading list. We have also recently added to our ice fishing reading list. For fish identification, try our section of field guides on Great Lakes fish.
Photo credit: WDNR by Rachel Piacenza