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Posts Tagged ‘Fishing’

I have come across a bit of information, supplied by the latest issue of Iowa Outdoors magazine, that presents some outstanding stewardship in Countryside Round me. Several conservation groups, government agencies and landowners who care about the environment have worked together to create a turnaround that is an absolute marvel.

Notice how bad the environment had been for trout and trout fishing in northeast Iowa, compared to where it is now. From the magazine –

Bill Kalishek, a DNR fisheries biologist, explains, “Trout require clean water and by 1980 only six Iowa streams were free enough of sediment and pollutants to sustain trout. The good news is the streams today are much cleaner because of habitat improvement and, especially, landowners working with agencies on watershed projects.”

At the Decorah State Fish Hatchery, manager Brian Malaise confirms the turnaround. “Thirty-two northeast Iowa trout streams now have naturally reproducing populations,” he says, “and we stock seventeen others.”

With this in mind, I had to take to the nearest stream and get a sampling of this awesome news. And the news is reflected in these few photos with the absolutely gorgeous landscape, streams with water as clean as the water that issues forth from Brigid’s Well, and some of the most colorful freshwater fish and stream bottoms that nature has to offer.

Which brings up the thought, among the many thousands of subjects that seemed to stream through this pea-brain during my hike this morning (which isn’t good if you’re the writing type), that I wonder if the outdoor blogging community is hurting it’s own cause. How I got to this, I don’t know because I forgot to bring along my journal. But with putting all this information out there, and doing it as enthusiastically as we do, are we doing it for the right reasons? And what are those reasons? Can we bring too much attention to the parts of life that we truly love and can’t seem to live without?

I don’t want to show off the Countryside Round’s trout fishing to have some idiot come in and exploit it, or ruin it. Or introduce people to duck hunting and have them end up being poachers.

But then again, I want to show the part of the world that doesn’t understand where I’m coming from, why I feel the way I do. Because nature and the outdoor pursuits should be shared in some form or another.

I may be thinking too selfishly. Most of this thought stream probably comes from my solitary side. I don’t want to run into another person when I’m involved in something out in the “wilds.”

I just hope we as outdoor bloggers/writers are doing the right thing.

Does this tree look like it’s singing in a woodland opera? Anyway, here is a picture or two of other things I must have liked on the 3.5 miles of grassy/stony path today. Please enjoy. And if hiking is something you don’t like to do, please reconsider it. It’s damn good for you. But you writers clean a good part of your mind out beforehand. It will make the hike more enjoyable.

Until I can write again – peace and take care.

Your friend –

Casey

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Kaitlyn and I Texas-rigged some plastic worms - they were hitting them on the fall.

Just a quick note to whom it may concern –

I am a damn lucky man. Fortunate beyond belief in almost every regard, and very grateful for it. When I can sit on the grass beside a pond writing in my journal, listening to green frogs and bullfrogs, watching barn swallows skim surface of the water, and enjoy the company of a new kitten, I consider life pretty good.

Don't know it's name...we just met!

But last night I also was able to watch kids (my own) – a brother, sister, and a cousin – sit on a dock and catch bluegill after bluegill, throw them back and thread on halves of nightcrawlers, whisper, talk and laugh about whatever. Throws it from “Life is good” territory into “I must be this close heaven right now.” And to hit the pillow with a gigantic smile on my face! If only that could happen every night.

Until I can write again – Peace and take care! And enjoy a couple of more photos from last evening.

Your friend –

Casey

Mason is doing a good job of taking his own fish off the hook - he's learning how to grab the spiny buggers!

Carlye with her first bluegill of the night.

Oh yeah - Kaitlyn gets in on the bass action!

The sun sets on another evening spent fishing an Iowa farm pond. Priceless.

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Stand up pretty, Bella!

Busy, busy. That’s what having four kids will do for you. But as far as everything else goes, being so busy really is a small price to pay for what kids can mean for you. But all that needs to be left to a better writer, one who knows the right words and can articulate them poetically. For now, let’s just say that this father has been busy! I may have mentioned that already.

A skulking Bella, who should be bouncing with jubilation!

This past weekend my second daughter, the first being old enough to be out on her own and is doing pretty well I’m proud to say, showed her dog, an American cocker spaniel in the chocolate variety (we love chocolate have you noticed?) at the county fair. All those classes and no Grand or Reserve Champion ribbons were earned. But that’s fine. Bella, who is the dog, is turning into a pretty nice lap dog. Something Trapper really never could be at any stage of his warp-speed, hyperactive, marsh-muck reeking existence. And it seems he went from being a puppy to being 100 pounds in three blinks of an eye. The poor lad. And speaking of lads, my oldest boy has just finished up his detassling job and is doing a bit of summer school this week. Something called Gateway Academy that provides hands-on instruction focused on engineering technologies. I have taught him well that he should strive to be more than a “factory wrench” the same as me. Pile all this on top of mowing and gardening and work, finding a few hours to spend on a river or creek, or walking under the trees, can seem a desperate dream. How I wish a river ran through my backyard…

There is a deep, strong current here - despite how it appears.

But Sunday afternoon, I was able to eek out a couple of hours to get away, so I gave a try at meeting some smallmouth bass face-to-face. I picked a stretch of the Volga River not far from me that my family and I have caught several smallmouth out of, and many of those being between 14-16 inches long. Which is pretty good for this little river. As I didn’t have any of my kids with me, I took a more daring route upstream. I scrambled along the outside bend, against a steep hillside, trying to get at holes that couldn’t be reached otherwise because of the strong current. I first tied on a Mepps Black Fury to pull through the slack currents behind large rocks, and to no avail. So I then tied on a jig, a 2-inch Sassy Shad, in silver-grey, to probe the deeper water near mid-stream, and that is when I started to see fish. First a small rock bass followed my offering up to my feet, and a bit later I hooked into a smallmouth, about 8 inches long. I wasn’t able to get a picture of the creature as it came off the hook just as I was going to put my thumb in it’s mouth. Good for him, though.

This is a smallie I caught in this stretch of river in May. Just felt I needed to put a fish pic in here!

I got as far upstream as I was going to go and decided to take a rest. You would think after hundreds or thousands of years that the large limestone rocks that line this riverbank would have found a place to settle, but I’m here to tell you that may of them still are not lodged into a place very solidly. So to give my ankles a break and to write some notes in my journal, I perched on a huge rock right along the bank. As I was admiring the quiet strength of the river’s current in front of me, a favorite quote came to mind, which I don’t have memorized but was able to look up when I got home :

“Sometimes, if you stand on a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away…you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.” – Winnie the Pooh.

At least there was scenery.

Pooh is very right, of course, but the question I wanted answered was, “Where are all the fish?” The floods the past couple of years have probably scoured out new holes that I haven’t found yet, and it was mid-afternoon. Maybe a try should be given as the sun sets behind the hills and the skies turn darker with the evening… And the smallmouth come up from the depths to raid the rock and sand bars for minnows and crayfish…And the fisherman who doesn’t stop trying until the stars provide his light, wondering what kind of critters are swimming through the water and against his legs…This is the guy who I’ll bet gets some decent smallmouth right about now. That should be me this coming Friday night.

…Because I tied on a crawdad crankbait and only had one smack at it on the way back to the car. Yep, late in the evening needs a try.

Until I can write again! –

Your friend –

Casey

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