This Friday, July 15 marks my last day working at WLFI, so I would like to take this time to say “Thank you,” to all who have indulged me in this outdoor blog for the past year.
I hope this blog was entertaining and informative for those of you who might have followed it. I tried my best to use my real-life experiences to show how important spending time in the outdoors is to my family and me.
After 10 years at WLFI, it is time to start another chapter in my life. That turn of the page takes me to Purdue, where I will be working for Hall of Music Productions.
Even with a new career, I hope to find time to make many more new memories in the places I love with the people I love.
Maybe I’ll see some of you out and about along the way.
West Lafayette bass fisherman Rod Yoder got hot early and cashed-in, scoring an FLW tournament victory on Saturday, June 25 at Patoka Lake in southern Indiana.
Yoder won the Co-Angler category of the event, which is the second in a series of 5 tournaments in 2011 for the FLW Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Hoosier Division.
Yoder said he did all his work quickly Saturday, catching all three of his keeper bass by 9:00 a.m. The bass weighed-in at 10 pounds, 13 ounces, more than 2 pounds heavier than the 2nd place finisher.
In case you were wondering what a co-angler is, that is a person paired with a boater at each event. Yoder has competed in more than 70 tournaments since 1995, and the Patoka win is his 4th career victory as a co-angler.
Yoder also designs and sells bass fishing lures when he is not on the lake, and you can find all his products at http://www.redshad.com/
My uncle Ken snapped a once-in-a-lifetime picture this past weekend, showing just how close the innocence of nature can sometimes get to humanity before it wises up.
This little fawn, about as tall as a beagle, came running through the corn when it thought it had lost its mother.
Turns out momma was across the road, but my uncle was amazed at how close this wild fawn let him get. This little guy or gal will probably never get that close to a human again, but seemed to be just as intrigued at the encounter as the photographer was.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources will be holding two public hearings in July for hunters and anyone else who wants to share their opinions on the proposed changes to the deer hunting seasons.
The first hearing is July 25 in Mitchell at Spring Mill State Park. It starts at 6:00 p.m.
The second, which is the closest one to the Lafayette-area, is at the Miami County Fairgrounds in Peru on Tuesday, July 26 at 6:00 p.m.
The public will have a chance to weigh-in on the Natural Resources Commission’s proposed rule changes for deer hunting.
Some changes are for safety – including a certain amount of hunter orange on ground blinds.
Others are for equipment – including crossbows being allowed to be used by any hunter with a new special crossbow license.
But the possible changes of highest interest to most hunters would be adding an antlerless-only season from December 26 through the first Sunday in January. The season would be added in certain counties with an antlerless quota of 4 or more.
There is also a proposal to add a license bundle which would include tags for multiple seasons.
If you live or drive in rural areas (and most of us in Indiana do) you have probably noticed an increase in deer-vehicle collisions or near-collisions over the past few weeks, many of which include fawns.
The unfortunate truth is that some of these babies are just now able to walk and trying to keep up with momma instead of staying put and waiting for her to get back.
This little guy was wobbling across a hay field near a road in Fountain County Sunday evening. His mother was across the road already. I stopped and rolled down the window with camera at the ready. The fawn immediately hunkered down and froze motionless as I snapped a couple pictures.
I stayed and played stare-down for a few minutes and then moved on, but hoped either he stayed for momma to come back or decided against crossing that road. It will hopefully be the first of many lessons he will learn.
Experts fear invasive Asian carp could use the heavy flooding in the southern United States to its advantage to spread out yet again.
Ironically, and unfortunately, flooding along the country’s biggest river is at the heart of the issue again.
Years ago, Asian carp first made their way into the Mississippi River system after southern catfish farms were flooded. Most everyone knows the story from there. Silver and bighead carp have leap-frogged up the Mississippi and its connecting waterways ever since.
This time, experts are worried the Mississippi floodwaters in the south will open the door for these fish to invade bayous, lakes, and streams they have never previously inhabitated. The Mississippi’s floodwaters have been backed into these areas for weeks, and the spread of Asian carp was almost inevitable.
These fish are highly adaptable, making them prime candidates to survive muddy fields into creeks and even into water that is half fresh and half salt water. It is almost like a horror movie. First the floods, now the fish nobody wants. Can they be stopped?
One thing is for sure, this horror movie will probably have more sequels than “Friday the 13th.”
Reports out of Richmond, Indiana of a gizzard shad die-off shows heat and summertime storms may have a deadly impact on a body of water’s ecosystem.
Shad are known to be vulnerable to die-offs in the winter time, but after more than 1,000 dead fish were found on the banks of Middlefork Reservoir this past Sunday, officials tested the water.
Those tests showed nothing dangerous about the water quality, leading biologists and environmentalists to think the recent heat wave and stormy weather may have done in the gizzard shad, which usually spawn this time of year.
This past weekend my boat showed the water temp at Raccoon Lake to be anywhere between 75 and 80 degrees on the surface depending on the time of day and where we were located. That is pretty warm for early June in Indiana. The warm water is not as much as a problem in large bodies of water, where fish can move from one column to another for relief, but in a small pond or lake the fish might as well be sitting in a bathtub.
Constantly fluctuating water levels can also be stressful, but a rush of fresh water (like what we’ve seen all spring) can provide much-needed oxygen for the fish.
As summer continues, oxygenated water will be at a premium in some waterways, since water levels tend to drop through July and August in rivers like the Wabash. For fishermen, it can be advantageous if you know where to look, since all the fish tend congregate in a pool of deeper water where they can find a respite of cooler, oxygen rich water.
Indiana’s annual Free Fishing Weekend is Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5.
It is the one weekend of the year people over the age of 17 do not need a fishing license to legally fish public waters.
To get more people out fishing, the state has several activities going on at various properties – including seminars, fishing derbies, and other demonstrations for kids and adults alike.
In the Lafayette area, the Tippecanoe County Parks Department is hosting a fun day at Fairfield Lakes, off County Road 750 East near Dayton on Saturday, June 4. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. and goes until 2:00 p.m. There will be fly-fishing demonstrations from the Tippecanoe Flyfishers; a few rods, reels, and bait for fishing; and presentations from a Fisheries Biologist and the Tippecanoe County Naturalist.
I’ve fished Fairfield for years, and remember the day I took my stepson Brett there for our first fishing excursion. He would cast his Spiderman pole all of 15 feet out and intently watch that bobber for the slightest twitch. As soon as one was “chewing on it” his eyes would get huge and he would swing and reel with all he had.
Those 4-inch bluegills never knew what hit ‘em.
So take a kid fishing this weekend for free, and maybe you’ll want to buy a license so you can do it again and again and again in the future, if your little one is anything like my stepson.
After what appears to be the latest bout of rain in the Indiana monsoon season over Memorial Day weekend, Monday looked to be a washout when it came to taking my stepson fishing.
We wanted to go out in the boat, but after another 3 inches of rain we figured most of our lakes within a two to three hour drive would be muddy, high, and filled with boat slamming debris.
Instead we took up an earlier offer from a friend for some pond fishing in a nearby county.
My stepson Brett and his friend Parker had a good time despite the hot day, and we had a chance to catch and release some really nice bluegills and bass.
Of course, as the above picture shows, it didn’t matter if we caught a fish or not. Just like old buddies hanging out and wetting a line, these two boys were shooting the bull like pros.
Speaking of bulls – the bluegills were impressive, as every one we caught was a hand-sized platter that put up a fight all the way to the bank. The bass we caught were very healthy and active, which is an indicator as to why this relatively small pond yielded such large bluegill.
All were released to munch a worm, jig, cricket, or beemoth and fight another day.