Something Fishy

Something Fishy
t Doesn't Get Much Better

Monday, July 30, 2012

Beat the heat; wade fish

Wade fishing is a good way to beat the heat. It's fun and it produces fish.

While we’ve had a bit of a respite from sizzlin’ summer heat, we still have plenty of hot weather ahead before the cooler days of autumn arrive. 
Fishing action slows during the hot days of summer, and this year we have had more than our share. Most fish don’t feed as aggressively during hot days, and anglers slow down as well. Few people want to sit in the hot sun and fish.
During these sweltering days of summer, it’s tempting to stay indoors and enjoy the air conditioning, watch the Olympics, or a baseball game. However, if you want to get off the couch, warm summer days are good times to take to a stream. By wading a smaller stream, you can counteract the heat, cool off, and with a little luck catch fish for the dinner table.
Stream wading is one of my favorite types of fishing, especially in warm, summer weather, but a bum knee has slowed my ability to enjoy this method.
The key to a fun wade is a stream with a rock or sand bottom. Trying to wade in the mud is not fun, and it usually isn’t productive as far as catching dinner.
A rocky stream usually is clear this time of year, fairly easy to wade, and the deeper holes and riffles are likely to hold smallmouth and rock bass. You may even hook into a catfish or other species. That’s one of the fun things about stream fishing, you never know what you will catch.
When the water is still too cool to be comfortable, I’ll don a pair of waders, but this time of year, I prefer a pair of shorts and my Teva rafting sandals, which also are great for canoeing and rafting. But, I also frequently just use an old pair of sneakers. However, I recently purchased a inexpensive pair of wading shoes, which keep gravel and sand out of the shoes.
I never wade into deep water or water that I can’t tell the depth. A life jacket is a good idea, and vests like Sospenders are great because they inflate only when needed. They are light weight and cool.
One of the reasons I enjoy fishing creeks is I catch fish. They may not be lunkers, but there usually is a lot of action, and that is what I enjoy. I’m not worried about size, and more often than not the fish are released back to the creek anyway.
I either use an ultralight rod and reel or a flyrod. with four-pound test line. And yes, I’ve been surprised by a catfish or jumbo carp that eventually snapped the line, but it still was. exciting even though the fish was never landed.     
When I use a flyrod, sometimes I fish traditional flies and poppers, but sometimes rig with a hook and live bait that I cast, and let drift down through the deep holes. When a fish straightens out the line, the fun is on. 
One of my favorites is a nightcrawler rig which has a spinner up front along with several red beads. A live crawler threaded on the hooks makes it mighty enticing to whatever is hiding beneath a log or behind a big rock.
Indiana has plenty of good wading streams that have good public access, but smaller streams may have private land on both sides and you’ll need landowner permission to fish. 
One of my favorites in southern Indiana is the Blue River. The upper portions of the Little Blue, west of English, also can provide good action. One of the advantages of portions of the Blue is that meanders through state forest land.
In central Indiana, Sugar Creek, Raccoon, Flat Rock and Big Walnut are fun streams.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bill Braswell and partner Dan Dannenmueler win crappie team title

Bill Braswell (left) and partner Dan Dannemueller won the Crappie Master Angler Team of the Year for the second straight year.

       They did it again. Pro angler Bill Braswell from Hazard and his partner, Dan Dannenmueller of Wetumpka, Al, won the Crappie Master “Angler Team of the Year” award. They also won the award in 2011.
Braswell is a retired Kentucky conservation officer and has become one of the country’s top crappie anglers. Besides being an excellent fisherman, he loves to pass along information and techniques related to the sport to youngsters. He also is a wonderful story teller, related to his outdoor experiences.
  Bill and Dan comprise the Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits pro staff team and concluded the 2012 Crappie Masters tournament season and secured their victory following the recent event at Truman Lake, MO.  
After a great start back in February on the Harris Chain of Lakes located at Tavares FL, the team remained in the top three places for the first five tournaments.  Following the Lake Dardanelle, AR, tournament, the team moved into first place and remained there for the rest of the season.  
Braswell says; “We competed in 10 Crappie Masters tournaments this year in nine different states”.  “We are extremely proud to be able to repeat this title with back to back wins.  
     Braswell and Dannenmueller will be crowned as the 2012 “Angler Team of the Year” national  points champions at the Crappie Masters “Classic” national championship tournament at Columbus, MS, in early October.   

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Spring duck count good news for waterfowlers

        There’s good news for duck hunters. In fact it’s some of the best news in years.
North America's total spring duck population is the highest ever recorded, according to the annual Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey. 
That doesn’t mean all of those ducks will make their way through Indiana come the fall hunting season, but it’s a reasonable assumption there will be more birds this fall.
Most of Indiana’s ducks are found around reservoirs and along streams such as the White, Wabash and Ohio Rivers. Many make their way to Hovey Lake in Posey County during the fall and early winter migration.
Conducted each May by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Canadian Wildlife Service, the annual waterfowl breeding population survey puts the duck population at 48.6 million birds. That represents a seven percent increase from 2011's record number of 45.6 million. 
"This is the highest duck count since we started the survey in 1955," says Dr. Frank Rohwer, Delta Waterfowl's scientific director. "We had excellent wetland conditions in 2011, the second-highest pond count ever. So last year, we made a pile of ducks. This year, we're counting them." 
Mallards, blue-winged teal, green-winged teal, gadwalls, canvasbacks, northern shovelers and scaup are all up significantly from last year, with both species of teal and shovelers at all-time highs. Blue-winged teal are estimated at 9.2 million, green-winged teal number more than 3.4 million and shovelers now top 5 million. 
Mallard breeding numbers sit at 10.6 million, a 15 percent increase over 2011 and 40 percent over the long-term average. 
"All in all, this is a great duck count," says Rohwer. 
While the total breeding population is strong, the news is different for breeding habitat. 
Significantly, the biggest decline in wetland conditions has occurred on the U.S. prairies. The pond estimate for the Dakotas and Montana is 1.7 million, which is 49 percent below the estimates from last year.  The overall pond count is still nine percent above average, but as the prairies dry out, you can expect a direct impact on hunting, says Joel Brice, Delta's senior director of conservation. 
"Let's not forget that we hunt the fall flight, not the spring count," says Brice. "Lots of ducks jammed into fewer wetlands negatively impacts breeding success. There's a good chance we won't see as many juveniles as last year, and those are the birds that are easiest to decoy. Still, it promises to be great year. We may just have to work a bit harder." 
# # # #
BOW HUNT WORKSHOP -- Hoosiers interested in preserving Indiana’s bowhunting heritage can attend a July 26 workshop at Atterbury Fish & Wildlife Area that will teach them how to pass along the sport to others.
According to the Department of Natural Resources, the target audience is adults who work with children, ages 11-17. This includes school teachers, after-school teachers, outdoor educators, parks and recreation program leaders, scout leaders and camp counselors.
The workshop, called Explore Bowhunting, is designed not only to help adults teach bowhunting skills but also instill a respect for and comfort with the outdoors to preteens and teenagers. It is being offered for the first time in Indiana, run by the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Hoosier Outdoor Heritage Program.
Participants do not need prior experience with bowhunting.
Explore Bowhunting is free and is funded through a partnership between the Archery Trade Association and DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife.
The program is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information and to register, contact Amanda Wuestefeld at (317) 547-2075

Monday, July 9, 2012

DNR says there is some good news in drought bad news

Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources recently issued a news release pointing out that not all of the news about our current drought is all bad. That’s good to know. However, I’ve had about as much good bad news as I need.
It is interesting that there are some positives related to the extremely hot, dry weather. The DNR says if you look hard, here is a sampling of some good things...
Anglers have reason for optimism.
          In the Wabash River, the drought is killing invasive Asian carp, which are a threat to native species. Asian carp prefer living in oxbows and backwater areas, which are drying up and leaving the fish stranded without adequate water. “At least Asian carp may not gain an additional competitive advantage over native species this year,” said Bill James, chief of fisheries for Indiana DNR. “It might be a year where things kind of hold their own. Species like smallmouth bass tend to have higher reproductive success during low flow years.”
          The drought has created favorable fishing conditions for many species. For example, low water in Indiana’s streams and rivers has concentrated fish in pockets of deeper water, making them easier to find. In Lake Michigan, summer-run steelhead are hesitant to return to warmer-than-normal streams and are concentrating in near-shore water, resulting in excellent fishing.
          The good news with a warning: As water heats, its capacity to hold oxygen diminishes, and could result in fish kills. 
  Wildlife in general:
          While wildlife will be stressed and there may be some lower survival of young and mortality of older, weaker animals, and increased predation as prey and predators congregate on limited resources, wildlife species have ways of adapting as they have in previous drought years. Wildlife will reduce their activities or change the timing of their activities, thus they may not be as visible to us. When the rains return we may be surprised by the wildlife that appear as conditions improve.
  Good news on some bugs:
          The raining of honeydew from tulip trees has stopped or slowed. Starting in May, tulip tree scale began “raining” honeydew, a sticky waste product of the scale, on people and property near such trees. That “rain” has slowed as the trees adjust to a lack of real rain. The scale epidemic was a result of mild winter weather and early spring weather. Reduced honeydew “rain” is good, clean news, short-term, for humans; however, the current reduction is also due to the scale’s maturing. 
Although the trees are still releasing some honeydew, tulip tree leaves are turning yellow, then will turn brown and fall off, a method of surviving both the scale and the drought. 
People with tulip trees should consider switching from using insecticide to battle the scale to watering their tree, if affordable.  More on scale at:
          If you like hearing the annual cicadas’ singing, you may be hearing their tune sooner this year because of the early spring. Their singing period also may be longer because of the dry soil prolonging emergence.
  From State Parks & Reservoirs:
          Nature centers, found at many state parks & reservoirs, are usually air-conditioned. The educational opportunities provided may seem even “cooler” than usual under these extreme heat conditions. Many properties offer refreshing treats like boat rentals, snack bars, lakes and swimming pools. Please note that some reservoir beaches are closed due to low water. See and for more information.
  Waterfront owners:
          Lower water allows waterfront property owners to check manmade features around streams, rivers and lakes for problems that are otherwise typically hidden underwater. Repair or maintenance projects already underway may have a longer work window.

When you park under a tree, it's not sap on the windshield, it's bug poop

When you find sticky stuff on your windshield, it's not sap, it's bug poop.

Finding sticky stuff on your car when parked under a tree, you probably either said or heard someone say, sap fell on my car. Been there, done that.
But what you actually are finding on your vehicle is, well, what’s the best way to say it -- insect or bug “poop”. Yeah, gross.
This year, it is particularly noticeable under the state tree, the poplar. I recently wrote a column about it,but now have some followup information.
According to Garden, the tulip tree scale (insect) sucks the tree's sap and is especially harmful to saplings. Even in mature trees, the scales are a nuisance. They secrete a sticky, sugary substance that attracts ants and wasps, which can exacerbate the scale damage with the harm they themselves do. Additionally, this sugary mix generally leads to mold growth that can damage the tulip tree's leaves and twigs.
Bill Galloghy, property manager of the Owen Putnam State Forest, says the problem is nothing new, it’s just worse than he and most other foresters can remember. And he adds, it also is impacting oak and some other trees, but is most noticeable on the yellow poplars.
He said the problem ranges throughout the state from north of Lafayette to the Ohio River and on down into Kentucky. It may even extended beyond those boundaries.
According to Galloghy, the problem began to worsen last summer and fall, and the mild winter added to the problem and weakened trees. In addition, during the warm weather the trees developed leaves early and then were hurt by a hard freeze.
He said the scale usually doesn’t kill the trees, but fears that several years of drought and the severity of the current scale outbreak, trees will be lost this year or next. In the forest there just are too many trees to try to save them. “You’ll probably see a lot of poplar trees harvested for lumber and firewood,,” he added.
However, Galloghy said individual home owners may help their trees by spraying the trunk of tree and the ground above the roots with a systemic insect control chemical. He said it should be a systemic for woody vegetation, and recommended people obtain product recommendations from professionals at garden centers and places such as Farm Bureau Co-ops.
He said the systemic spray needs to work into the root system, but acknowledged currently that is difficult without water. However, it is done, it is a slow process and change in the tree will not be seen quickly.
It also has been recommended people use a dormant oil spray on the base of the trees in early spring. 
People often park under a tree and comment that sap had dropped on their car and windshield. It’s not sap. In non-technical terms, it’s bug poop.
# # # #
      KING KAT ON OHIO -- The Cabela’s King Kat Tournament Trail will hit the waters of the  Ohio River at Vevay, IN with a $10,000 two-day  tourney August 10-11. 
Spokesman Larry Crecilius said the tourney is an opportunity for local catfish anglers to compete for $10,000 in cash and prizes along with a chance to advance to the Cabela’s King Kat Classic. This year's classic will be fished on the Alabama River at Selma, Alabama  September 27-29. For more info, check the group’s new website  
      The Vevay tournament weigh-in will be at the Paul Ogle Riverfront Park each day. Tournament hours on Friday and Saturday will be 6:30 a.m. until 3 p.m . All anglers must be in weigh-in line by 4 p.m. with a five fish limit per team. To help preserve the sport only live fish will be weighed in and all fish will be released after the tournament.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fourth of July -- a time to reflect on freedom past, present and future

   (I wrote this column several years ago, but thought it was worth dusting off and passing along again...phil)

        We are truly blessed in the country in which we live. And, our Fourth of July holiday is a time for reflection and appreciation for what we have.
Most of us we head out for some sort of celebration this weekend, whether a simple gathering with family and friends or a big fireworks extravaganza. We’ll do that without the worry of being attacked somewhere along the road or caught in the midst of a rebel ambush.
Yes, we still have and may always have in the future threats of terrorist attacks and other unlawfulness, but compared to most of the rest of the world, we are truly blessed and free to enjoy our lives with little or no fear. This is especially true in the part of the country where we live.
From my days as a youngster, I have always looked forward to the Fourth of July. It meant summer had really arrived. It was a time for celebration -- fireworks and good food. Whatever we did earlier in the day, at night we headed to the fairgrounds where I grew up in eastern Illinois. There the American Legion would set off a wonderful evening display of fireworks, ending with an American flag and beautiful aerial finale.
Private fireworks were illegal in Illinois, but most everyone had a few. Sometimes folks would stop and buy them in Tennessee when coming back from the south. Most kids purchased them bootleg from an older boy in the south of the town. We’d ride our bikes to his house, and he would take us inside and show us the inventory, which he kept in the inside (underneath) of a hide-a-bed. His stash was mostly firecrackers.
Money was something usually in short supply, but I saved a few bucks from my chores for my purchases. In my early fireworks years, I concentrated on purchasing Lady Fingers. They were tiny little firecrackers. Think I paid a dime for a package of about 100. The only problem with the Lady Fingers was the little crackers were packed so tightly in the packages, I pulled out about a third of the fuses from the crackers when trying to get them out of the packages.
Today, with the world situation as it is, and many of our young men and women abroad protecting our freedom, is a time to reflect on that first Fourth of July or Independence Day.
I found text from a famous letter written by John Adams on July 3, 1776, to his wife Abigail about his thoughts on celebrating the Fourth. James Heintze, librarian and faculty member at American University, says the letter often is misquoted, but claims the following paragraphs are accurate.
“The Second Day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and illuminations from one End of the Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.
“You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light of Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall night.”
Adams was truly a man of vision as were our other founding fathers. He could foresee that more than 200 years later vigilance still is need to protect our freedom, our independence.
Take time to remember those who have gone on before; those who protected us in the past, and are no longer with us. We also need to remember those who are protecting our freedom today, including those area active and Guard personnel serving in this country and abroad. 
We owe our forefathers, and our protectors today, a great debt of gratitude. Remember, give thanks, enjoy the celebration, and have a great Fourth of July.