"Gone Fishing'" is a sign many people love to hang on their door. It helps explain a lot of things ... such as why no one answers the phone, or why no one answers knocks at the door, or just an excuse to avoid pesky door-to-door sales people. Going fishing is a release from the race of daily life and into the realm of nature's real world. Fishing has a bit of mystery to it because one may never know what is really tugging at the end of the line. The mystery is exposed when the fish breaks the waters surface and it is brought to boat or shore.
The Japanese say "It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive." This could be written or adopted for fishermen, "It is better to fish hopefully than to catch fish." Fishing is hope experienced. Hope is deep in the human spirit according to Paul Quinnett, author of the book "Pavlov's Trout." In his observations of fish and fishing and its positive effects on people, Quinnett states "Hope is all. Without it there is no yearning, no desire for a better tomorrow, and no belief that the next cast will bring a big strike. Without hope there is no wonder, no mystery, an no reason to bother traveling at all."
Part of the joy of any fishing trip is the travel to new places, new waters, a hike over a mountain pass to a remote lake, a boat ride to the back corners of a Canadian Lake, or just a short drive in Iowa to a little pond nestled into the trees along a lazy river. Sand Lake fits the bill for the latter. Kids who arrived at San Lake last Saturday were full of excitement that they could be witness to the stocking of trout so close to home.
T-R PHOTOS BY GARRY BRANDENBURG
Trout = fishing fun for these three youngsters who were at Sand Lake last Saturday. Fishing for trout in a nearby lake in Marshall County was a real treat for the kids, their parents and/or grandparents. The fish came to the people this time instead of having to drive to the cold water streams of northeast Iowa. Many complementary “thank you” expressions were offered to the Marshall County Conservation Board members and staff for making this event happen. The weather was perfect. And the fish were active and eager to bite. Pictured today are just a few of the young people that made trout a take-home supper meal. Brady Tietje, age 4; Nicholas Tuttle, age 8, GMG school and Rebekah McCombs, age 11, Grinnell.
And some of them probably asked their parents this ages old question ... Why? For some young kids, "Why" is a natural stage in their development of their brain. They are curious. Parents need lots of patience and must take the time to answer their children's questions. "If kids do not get answers to questions, they eventually stop asking ... which leads to the death of their curiosity and hope, perhaps even condemning them to a life of boredom and watching daytime television," Quinnett said. Kids that experience good fishing excursions may become the fisheries biologist of tomorrow, an ecologist, or even someone who designs fishing lures. "Never stop asking why ... because if you do, you are likely to end up with some peculiar beliefs such as these examples ... the world is flat, or the sun moves around the earth, or trout don't bite during a full moon."
Why do we go fishing? To be outside with family and friends, to travel to new places, to feel the tug on the line of a mysterious finned critter out of sight to the angler. And we go fishing to share good food with the family. So hang a "Gone Fishing" sign on your door, and take a kid with you.
Hawk and eagle watchers at Grammer Grove are seeing peak numbers of all kinds of raptors as they use the winds over the Iowa River valley to migrate south. In just a short few hours last week, observers witnessed hundreds of hawks, falcons, eagles and turkey vultures headed south. And this happens every day even when people may not be looking up to see them. The total number of migrating birds of prey along the Iowa River is a staggering number, assuming we could accurately count them all. Well, we can't. I like the fact that Mother Nature allows us to study, enjoy and wonder about all things living in the ecosystem. And just when we get the big idea that we know it all, she smacks us in the face with new facts, new mysteries, and new pieces of data. We are humbled again. If you are going to play a game of poker with Mother Nature, remember she has a lot of Aces up her sleeve. She can time her strategy like a professional magician, playing her aces when we least expect it. She wins. We lose.
While winter is knocking at the door, Decorah eagle nest camera technicians are putting finishing touches on cameras and computers for the 2013 nesting season. During the late winter and spring of 2012, the nest camera website attracted over 56,901 followers for at least 273,484,178 web visits. Over 100 countries in the world got to know the bald eagles of Decorah, IA. What kind of a travel brochure is that for Iowa? Pretty good I'd say. All thanks to a pair of bald eagles that live on the Mississippi River.
Here are a few updates from the Iowa DNR regulations booklet concerning deer seasons for 2012-13. The long term process of reducing the overall deer population in Iowa to management levels is working. More emphasis on doe deer is just one factor in bringing trend lines to point down. For each of the last seven years, that is exactly what has happened in a majority of Iowa counties. As a result of lower deer numbers, the choice for early muzzleloader deer hunters is restricted to either the early MZ season or one of the gun seasons. In the past folks could purchase the early MZ deer tag and still acquire and antlerless-only tag for guns seasons 1 or 2. Not anymore. The rapid sell out of early MZ deer tags (it took three days in 2011) prompted the DNR to make changes to the tag combinations for 2012-13.
As the overall deer herd continues to stabilize, a decision was made to close the November antlerless season this year. It is no longer needed to reduce deer numbers. And lastly, the January antlerless season has been shortened by two weeks. The 2013 dates are Jan. 11 through Jan. 30.
Deer hunters are reminded to call or e-mail all deer harvest reports by midnight of the day after a deer is killed. It is the law. And this law has the added benefit of assisting DNR biologists with timely and accurate harvests. The future of good science based wildlife management of deer in Iowa hinges on excellent hunter partnerships with DNR for reporting deer.
Ask the game warden: How many trout can a person keep in one day? The answer is five. The regulations allow twice that, or 10 trout, in possession, in effect what one can have after a second day of trout fishing. Eat some trout with the family, and then go trout fishing again up to the 5 per day or 10 in possession rule. Never exceed the 10 possession limit rule. For details, contact John Steinbach at 751-5246.
"Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that is not fish they are after." -Henry David Thoreau.
Garry Brandenburg is a graduate of Iowa State University with BS degree in Fish & Wildlife Biology. He is the retired director of the Marshall County Conservation Board. Contact him at PO Box 96, Albion, IA 50005.