Mr Blue Heron decided to look for some trout on the stream while I was fishing. Not the first time Ive seen one, but the closest one has been to me while on the stream. The 'close' pic, he was about 10 feet away across the stream.
I worked one summer at the Lamar Fish Hatchery while a student at Penn State. In addition to trout, the hatchery had ponds where they raised bass for stocking. When it was time to stock, they would open the gates and draw down the pond all the small bass would end up in a low box called the kettle. Then the next morning the crew would net the fish and load them in the hatchery truck for stocking.
One time the lid on the kettle was accidentally left ajar. when they showed up the next morning and took the lid off the kettle, two Great Blue Herons came out. They were so stuffed with fingerling bass that they couldn’t fly. They staggered off like a couple of drunk college students after an all night binge. Those two birds pretty well wiped out that ponds crop of bass.
Long time ago I nymphed a short slot for awhile to no avail. A Blue Heron landed about 15' upstream of me, other side of the stream. I was amazed, and just froze to make the moment last. He looked at me, looked down at the water, caught and ate a fish, just that fast. I told him, "You seem to know what you're doing." Then I left him the crick.
In Michigan, on a guard deployment, I got a half day off to fish the stream that runs thru the base. It was high, chocolate milk water and I had little warm water experience then. I tossed some jigs and what not. Not catching and not minding: I was outside, on the water by myself. I sat against a stump to change flies and heard a bird land on the side of the stump. I heard him peck and knew it was a woodpecker. I turned eyes and neck right real slow and saw him work around behind me, heard him pecking and come around from my left 'til I could see him coming. A Pileated Woodpecker. Easily 15" tall. I got a good gander, he gave up on the stump and left me the perch.
I was fishing a spring creek in Montana when I saw a large trout swimming in circles. I couldn't figure out what was going on and I had never seen any behavior like that before. So I waded over to the trout and it was about 18 inches long and had a hole in the top of its head.
I think a heron stabbed it in the brain but the trout was too big for the heron to eat.
Good evening to all-
These great blue herons-Ardea herodius- vary so much in their reactions to people. When we lived in the Ozarks and fished the streams and rivers there, if we got within 50 yards of a great blue it was something to take note of- didn't happen much. Very wary birds.
But when we moved to the Gulf Coast, we found that great blue herons are not at all shy. In fact, I've had them get into my bait buckets when I was live-bait fishing and take my finger mullet out for a meal. They will walk right up to a beach angler and wait for a caught fish to hit the sand- it won't flop twice.
Same bird, but really different reactions to folks.