Yes, you’re reading it right. Fishing without water! As addicted as I am to all things fishing, especially fishing from my kayak, there is a season of the year when I have to make a choice. This season only lasts three to four weeks which is either lucky or not depending on how you look at it. As hard as it is to pull myself away from the water on a beautiful weekend, sometimes you just have to make a decision. The decision to go walking headlong deep into the woods.
For those who don’t know, there’s a fish that thrives deep in the woods. It’s an illusive little thing, maybe among some of the all-time, least-often-seen species around. There are people who never see them, and there are others who see them and don’t recognize their value. But those of us who are in the know about such things, know all about Dryland Fish.
Hey, you can’t make this stuff up! Actually I guess you could, but I’m not. In the state of Kentucky they seem to go by a couple of different names. People in the central and southeastern parts of the state refer to them as “Dry land fish“, while folks in the western part of the state prefer to call them “Hickory chickens“. Confusing huh? Is it a fish, is it chicken, is it a fish that tastes like chicken? There’s even people who call them merkles, which is actually “miracle” when spoken with a deep Appalachian accent.
If you haven’t guessed by now I’m talking about the Morchella, though hardly anyone uses that name, relying on the simpler form of the word “Morel”.
Around this part of Kentucky you can generally find them from the beginning of April till the end of the month give or take a week. This year they’ve arrived a bit early because of the unseasonably warm temperatures we’ve had. Any way you slice it, there’s only a three to five-week window of time to find these beauties then they’re gone again for another year.
I included some pictures of dryland fish taken in their natural habitat, along with a song by the Kentucky Headhunters paying homage to our quarry.
With any luck I’ll be back Sunday with pictures of the mother load if we’re lucky enough to actually find it!