A little common sense goes a long ways

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 23, 2006

by Dick Herfindahl, Outdoors Writer

It’s that time of year again! It’s time for pet owners (feline type) to be aware of what their pet is up to.

Keeping you cats indoors or on a leash during the time when our birds are nesting and rearing their young should be a priority.

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Putting up bird feeders and bird baths and then letting &8220;fluffy&8221; out to prowl the neighborhood is a good way to end up watching empty bird baths, but it will definitely save on the bird seed bill.

It is a proven statistic that feral cats kill many game birds when allowed to run wild. Many people over the years think that a good way to get rid of unwanted kitties is to drive out in the country and turn them loose. It really takes no time at all for cats to acclimate themselves to the wild and baby game birds such as quail; partridge and pheasant are surely prime targets of these once tame predators.

Using a little common sense is all it takes to help prevent this from happening.

As long as I am talking about the common sense thing – I drove past Fountain Lake this past Monday and after all of the rain we had on Sunday the water was over the banks on Katherine Island. I thought, for a moment, that there must no longer be a &8220;no wake&8221; rule on the lake during high water or maybe it doesn’t go into effect until summer. The reason I mention this is because there was a large ski boat pulling a water skier buzzing around the area by Katherine Island.

If there isn’t an ordinance in place we still shouldn’t have to have everything written out for us in order for a little common sense to kick in. Making large waves when we have high water erodes our shorelines and in a time when we are working toward a cleanup of our area waters it is really a step in the wrong direction.

We have voted for a tax increase to help clean up our lakes and we should all do our part to help. Whether it is common sense on the water or avoiding dumping yard or other waste down our storm sewers. If we all do the little things it will accomplish big things in the end. I did hear it announced on Wednesday that the &8220;no wake&8221; ordinance was put into effect until further notice.

This past weekend I spent some time with my grandsons fishing carp in the &8220;crick.&8221; I have to say that we all had a blast. Although the thought of carp for supper doesn’t exactly make my mouth water they are an exciting fish to catch. If you’ve never fought a carp on light tackle in a fast-moving current you are missing out. These fish are good fighters any time but throw in a strong current and it all adds up to one thing &045; &8220;great fun!&8221;

My grandson Trevor could spend the whole day fishing and probably never stop for a break. He never tires of it and is always anticipating that &8220;big one&8221; will be just around the next bend. When Trevor’s dad was scolding him for getting dirty and having fish blood and mud all over his clothes it reminded me of when I was young and of later on when my boys were young. The saying my uncle Orville used when describing them was &8220;they’re all boy and a mile wide.&8221; This saying definitely fits these guys to a tee.

Even Grant my youngest grandson was fishing a lot and when Taylor the second oldest let grandpa use his fishing pole when he decided to take a little break from it. I had to admit it was a lot of fun. Whenever the grandpa part of me thought it was time for a break the little kid part that still rules my fishing world kept saying &8220;one more time &045; one more time.&8221; I wonder if Taylor was starting to think that I thought his fishing pole was mine. It doesn’t matter what kind of fish it is; it’s still a thrill. As long as the kid in me is in charge fishing will always generate that certain excitement that’s hard to describe unless you’ve experienced it.

As far as kids and fishing goes &045; it really doesn’t make any difference to them what they are catching, it can be anything from walleyes to bullheads as long as they are catching fish they will be &8220;hooked&8221; on the sport.

Here are some reports from around our area to get your fishing season started:

FAIRMONT AREA &045; Perch Lake is providing the area’s best crappie and perch bite in shallow water. Look for Temperance Lake to start kicking out perch very soon. Across the border into Iowa, Tuttle Lake continues to give up a number of walleyes on a jig and minnow combination.

FARIBAULT AREA &045; The channel on Cannon Lake is providing steady crappie action during the afternoon and evening hours. Look to the bays on Shields Lake, and Bulrush Bay on Lake Mazaska to follow suit very soon.

MANKATO &045; Madison Lake is producing a lot of crappies along the culvert, in 4-8 feet of water with a jig and minnow. The area near Buck Masters Bridge is also producing crappies.

Try both sides of the road around 8 pm. Sunfish and Crappies are being found on the west side of Francis in 4-6 feet of water with small jigs, a crappie minnow and a slip bobber. Madison is producing crappies near the DNR access, along the shore to the narrows in 14-22 feet of water, suspended. Crappies have been a little deeper in Washington. Try fishing them here in 12-16 feet of water around Third Point and Bakers Bay.

RED WING AREA &045; The Mississippi River is producing walleyes and saugers from the High Bridge to the dam. Most saugers are in 18 to 30 feet of water, while walleyes are active close to shore near the mouths of Hay Creek and Vermilion Creek. Bright-colored hair jigs or plastics tipped with minnows have been best, but three-way rigs and crankbaits also have worked. On Lake Pepin, shallow rocks are holding smallmouth bass and crappies.

Until next time play safe, enjoy the outdoors and let’s go fishin’.

Remember to keep the troops that are serving our country in your thoughts and prayers.