Column: Enjoy the beauty of a natural brook, stream or creek

Published 10:14pm Sunday, June 9, 2013

The amount of moisture that we have had in the area the last few weeks has not only greened things up, it has also raised the water levels in our lakes and streams, which is good. This spring has been especially hard on the farmers who make their livelihood growing corn and soybeans.

The fishing in the area has been pretty darned good when it comes to panfish, and Fountain Lake has been giving up some dandy northern. The walleye fishing on Walnut Lake was going hot and heavy earlier this spring.

My oldest grandson, Trevor, has been hitting the lakes in our area hard with some very good results. He has been catching a lot of nice northern and some dandy bass. Trevor has a nice fishing boat, and he spends most of his spare time putting it to good use. He has probably caught and released more fish in this short fishing season than I’ve caught in the last five years. This is great to see, because I know that he is a true outdoorsman and does things the right way, which makes Grandpa proud.

It is so important that we get our youth interested in hunting and fishing to ensure that the future of our outdoors heritage will be preserved. Seeing my grandsons interested in the outdoors brings back many memories of my own youth. In the summertime, I was always doing something that involved fishing or nature. Maybe it was partly because my access to other activities was limited, because I lived in the country.

There were times when a few of us kids would walk a crick just to see where it went. Occasionally we would get in trouble if we went too far and were gone too long without notifying the wardens (moms). Walking a crick didn’t always mean fishing, it just meant we’d follow it to see what types of critters were living those waters. One hot August afternoon, my friend Jim and I followed a small creek that eventually connected to Goose Lake from the north. We found that this small crick dried up in places leaving only pools that were alive with small bluegills, bullheads, minnows, crayfish and frogs. As a kid this was exciting but yet sad at the same time, because I knew that there was nowhere for those creatures to go and what the end result would be. The exciting part was finding those bluegills in that water, because we usually never saw other “edible” fish except for bullheads. Walking that small stream was exciting, because the natural flow and route of the water was how it was always meant to be.

I spent many summers walking Lime Creek south of Emmons with my cousin Richard. That crick wound snakelike through the pasture of their farm. To me that is what a stream should be: natural with a few trees and bushes sprinkled in. There were times when we’d swim in that creek only to go around the corner and find the cows standing in the water doing what cows naturally do. I imagine that that is why Senora, Richards’s mother, always made us take a shower after swimming.

I always enjoy watching the creek that winds through Twin Lakes from Lower Twin and eventually finds its way to Grass Lake and the Shell Rock River. There is just something peaceful about seeing a creek that has not been turned into a drainage ditch but has been allowed to flow naturally as nature intended. As you travel farther north in our state, you will see many beautiful streams and rivers that have not been altered and are pretty much untouched by man. Observing nature as it was meant to be always gives me that life is good feeling.

I was curious about the difference between a brook, stream and creek and the answer that I found on the trusty internet made some sense. A brook flows on pretty-much flat land and sort of meanders along, a stream flows a little faster and the beloved creek that I always talk about flows even faster yet. If this is the case, do creeks in late summer turn into brooks as the water level goes down? Just a thought.

If you find a dry day and want a little exercise, taking a walk or a bike ride on one of our area trails can be a great way to enjoy nature, and the exercise is a bonus. I have always liked walking on the Blazing Star Trail early in the morning, because morning is my favorite part of the day and there are not as many folks out at that time. If you haven’t given it a try, now is as good a time as any.

On another note, I have been seeing a black and white cat in my yard for the last few weeks, and in that same time period I have found dead birds and a dead baby rabbit. No wonder the birds quit coming to the feeder. I did have quite a collection of critters between my yard and the neighbors that I enjoyed watching. Cats find baby birds easy pickin’ so please keep your pets at home during this time of the year. I am not a cat hater, but I feel that if I really wanted one I’d have one. Besides that, I can pretty much see more cats that I care to on Facebook.

Until next time, get outdoors and enjoy some fishing, take a walk or just take in the beauty of one of our many lakes and streams of the area.

Please remember our service men and women who serve our country so that we may enjoy the many freedoms that we have today.

Dick Herfindahl’s column appears in the Tribune each Sunday.