Friends of the Fox River

Skunk Cabbage and Midges

Meteorologists say spring starts on March 1. Traditionally we celebrate March 20 as the first day of spring. I have always marked the start of spring as the day I observe the first Skunk Cabbage pushing up through the ground. It grows in colonies in marshes and seeps throughout the Fox River watershed. It has large bright green leaves with a maroon dappled, pear shaped flower in the middle. A strong odor is produced to attract carrion flies to the flower to pollinate it. There is a colony in the Fox River Shores Forest Preserve that I use as my spring indicator. By the end of February the Skunk Cabbage pops up with out fail. Finally something green and now Spring has sprung! The next harbinger of spring is far smaller but a sure sign things are coming alive in the river. It’s the tiny Midge. The slim red larvae live on the bottom of the river. As the water begins to warm they rise to the surface and molt their skin. They look very similar to black mosquitoes. Fortunately they do not bite and live only to mate. They form small swarms along the riverbank on warm days in March. They are one of the first foods for the Crappies, Bluegills and minnows that start actively feeding for the first time since the fall. This starts a chain reaction in the fish community in the Fox River. The larger game fish such as Walleyes, Northern Pike and bass start to feed on the smaller fish. I think next year I will give Tom Skilling a call and let him know I have smelled the Skunk Cabbage and Spring is now officially here according to the Fox River’s calendar. By Pat Kirmse
 

Thanks to our friends at AHMPChicago!

We're extremely grateful for the $4000 donation for our much-needed boots! www.ahmpchicago.org
   
Please update your Flash Player to view content.
 

What We Do

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
prev
next

History

News image

Working for more than 20 years! Incorporated in 1990 Incorporated in 1990, Friends of the Fox River is a non-profit organization dedicat...

Read more

Accomplishments

News image

We strive to educate a diverse audience. See what we've accomplished! Educating a Diverse Audience The Friends of the Fox River strives ...

Read more

What We Do

News image

Learn what the Friends of the Fox are up to. Incorporated in 1990 Incorporated in 1990, Friends of the Fox River is a non-profit organ...

Read more

Learn About the Fox

  • 1
  • 2
prev
next

Education

News image

We strive to educate a diverse audience Join Us In Learning More About Our Rivers! The Friends of the Fox River strives to educate a div...

Read more

Accomplishments

News image

We strive to educate a diverse audience. See what we've accomplished! Educating a Diverse Audience The Friends of the Fox River strives ...

Read more

Thanks to our friends at AHMPChicago!

We're extremely grateful for the $4000 donation for our much-needed boots! www.ahmpchicago.org

Read more

River Restoration

News image

Saturday July 20th, 8 AM Join us for a Water Willow planting project hosted by the Illinois Smallmo...

Read more

Friends of the Fox River