Thursday, May 1, 2008

Getting Back to Morel Mushroom Hunting in Indiana

After many years off following the death of my mushroom hunting partner (my father) I've begun hunting morel mushrooms again. This time, it's with my better half. She and I have both decided that as our kids are finishing high school, we're going to start living again. Just a little, even.

My wife and I went out on April 26th here in southern Madison County, Indiana but we found only one morel. I'll have you know it was a nice one and yes, it was delicious!

We also stumbled onto a nesting smallmouth bass that looked to be a couple pounds or so. We couldn't get a good photo of it, but trust me - the overhanging tree nearby is permanently burned into my memory as a landmark in case I get to wade that section of the water with my trusty Shimano ultralight spinning rod in the coming days...

We saw a few deer and a coyote, and it's always a nice outing when you can see a critter or two. Even seeing fresh deer and coon tracks reminds us of how we're just visiting in their habitat, and it's interesting to imagine how they use the area and what role it plays in their lives.

On that trip I picked a tender, nice-looking "Pheasant's back", also known as "Dryad's saddle" or polyporus squamosus. They smell like cucumbers or watermelons. Opinions vary.

I rinsed it, peeled it with a paring knife and sliced the innards into small short slices, then fried them slowly in Promise margarine with a dash of garlic salt.

Sadly, I didn't really care for it since it had a fruity flavor, but some folks really like them. I may try them again sometime with a different recipe, but I imagine I'll still prefer morels by a mile!

We went out again on April 30th for a couple hours and came up dry in the morel department, but it was still a wonderful day for us. She bought me a new digital camera for our anniversary, and we really enjoyed seeing various critters and wildflowers. She took some shots of Virginia bluebells and phlox, Canada Geese, and some mallards.

We've found what looks to me to be a much better location in the area, and we plan to hunt it Saturday or Sunday. I think it has been too cool and too dry here so far, but maybe our next trip out will be more fruitful. I'll post back after this weekend if we have any luck or come across anything remarkable.

UPDATE: May 17, 2007

Jackie got a pretty bad upper respiratory infection around the first of May, so that pretty much knocked the last part our morel season in the head.

But I did do a little enhancement of the photo we took of the smallmouth bass I mentioned earlier, and I found the fish in it. May not be too impressive, but we were tickled to find it!

June 1, 2008: Still can't find it?! Look below!

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