Dick Herfindahl: Chronic wasting disease, Shell Rock River Watershed and fishing

Published 9:00 am Sunday, March 5, 2017

Woods & Water by Dick Herfindahl

From the looks of the number of fishermen using the bridge on Front Street the earlier part of this week, it didn’t take some folks long to make the transition from hard water fishing to open water. I have heard the fish have been cooperating so far, which almost makes standing out in a little cold worthwhile. With open water looming for our local lakes and streams, the bite for perch and panfish should begin to pick up.

Chronic wasting disease

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Deer are being removed from two core areas near Preston where a total of nine deer have tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

Sharpshooters from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s wildlife services are removing deer from properties where landowners have given them access. Wildlife services employees do no enter land or remove deer without express, written permission of the landowner.

CWD test results on all deer removed or discovered dead in the disease management zone are updated as they become available.

Deer removed are sampled and the carcasses stored in a refrigerated trailer. All carcasses that test negative are released for human consumption – either back to the landowner or to people who have submitted their name to a venison donation list.

Eight of the nine deer with CWD were taken in a close cluster. The other was harvested five miles north of that cluster during the 2016 firearms deer season.

I have mixed feelings about a mass kill-off of the deer population in a particular area, but if it truly helps eradicate the problem then it will hopefully do the job. If, however, only some landowners choose to participate in the mass shoot I wonder if it will be totally effective. I am glad to see the venison that has not tested positive is being used and not wasted.

Shellrock River Watershed board: Over the years, I have witnessed watershed board evolve from a group of concerned lakeshore owners who volunteered their time in an effort to clean up Albert Lea Lake to important positions not voted on by the residents of our county. Many residents of our county are curious as to how officials who are not voted on by the public can attempt to raise our taxes. I have not been able to locate any information on their website as to what, or if, these current board members are paid for their services.

When the sales tax was first brought to the public for a vote, I had written I was all for it as long as that tax money was used for projects and not administrative expenses. Immediately after the column was published, Harley Miller, who was a board member at the time, called me adamantly saying that its promotional brochure stated that it would not be used for that. After re-reading the brochure several times, I could not find any language to support what he had told me but I didn’t press it. The first year they published a financial statement it included a substantial amount for administrative fees. I have no complaints about all of the good the Watershed Board has done so far in its effort to clean up our area lakes but taxation without representation is not a part of what our country is about.

We (the taxpayers) now own a dredge that has been rumored to be inadequate to accomplish the task for which it was intended. Hopefully this is not the case and the dredge will be seen on the water in the very near future. I am not trying to simplify this because I know that there is much more to it than just buying a dredge and dropping it in the lake.

I am anxiously awaiting the day when I can relax on the shore of Fountain lake and cast to open water. The channel between the lakes is now open and if warm weather persists it shouldn’t be too long before the ice goes out. You might call this wishful thinking, but this is the scenario that I am playing over and over in my head: when I close my eyes I can imagine the feeling of a warm spring breeze on my face as my bobber bounces ever so gently on the water, making slow moving ripples on the surface while I anticipate the bite of a hungry fish.

Until next time, now is a good time to get your gear ready for open water fishing and don’t forget to buy your license.

Please take some time to honor those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy today. Also take a little extra time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who served and those troops who are serving today.