Sunday, November 30, 2014

Richard P. Smith-book author at Bear Symposium Dec. 6 in Roscommon

Big game and bear expert/specialist Richard P. Smith will be available for to talk bear hunting along with having his bear books for sale at the first Bear symposium hosted by the DNR at the Ralph A. MacMullen Conference Center in Roscommon, December 6, from 10a.m.-2p.m. Admission is $15 for this inaugural event.
"I'll be selling my books, “Black Bear Hunting,” and “Understanding Michigan Black Bear,” along with my DVD, “Field Judging Black Bears,” Smith said from his home in Marquette.
You won't lose with Smith's books. While they are entertaining, they serve the purpose of providing valuable, well-founded information for both the hunter and the person interest in bears.
You can take Smith's information to the bank because it's that solid. I've known him for a number of years, introduced him at seminars and read just about all of his books.
One word describes his writing: Thorough. He doesn't leave a stone unturned. If he is presenting at the symposium, be sure and give him a listen.
He's speaking, writing, and filming from yeas of hunting experience. DNR officials are recommending this symposium for both new and experienced hunters as well as people that wish to understand bears and their behavior better.

 Richard P. Smith with black bear he harvested. Photo courtesy of Richard P. Smith

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Deer hunting injury update

As usual, there is some news, both good and bad. The good news is my fall opening morning, before daylight and the first shot was heard, resulted in no damage to the parts that make up my knee replacement.
The bad news is that it's going to take 2-3 months to completely heal. "You have a deep bruise, possibly a bruise to the bone that probably bled," physicians assistant Meredith Wood said.
After looking at X-rays and doing an exam to check for ligament damage, Wood, who is orthopedic surgeon Jeffrey DeClaire's right hand announced.
Walking is OK. My cross fit training at Dignified Cross fit in Waterford may continue minus squatting or lifting heavy weight.
The news is a great relief. I didn't want surgery to replace broken parts which would have required physical therapy and a tougher road toward healing.
On a different topic, on my way out to get the paper this morning, Mollie, our King Charles Cavalier Spaniel had found a new place to nap. Check the accompanying photo out!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Deer opener began on the wrong foot

Up at 4:30a.m. and in the woods, parking the truck just before 6a.m. We got our individual gear together, loaded up and headed out.
I hadn't taken ten steps from the truck when all of a sudden, my feet went out from under me and I hit the ground in a full frontal position, very hard.
As I lay there on the two-track, hunting partner Bill Semion, who was walking with me said "Roger, are you all right?" He asked the same thing two or three more times until I was able to say give me a minute.
I knew right away I had injured my right knee. I began to hurt very quickly. My shotgun had been on a sling over my shoulder. The fall forced it loose. It hit the ground three or four feet ahead of me.
I finally figured not too much got hurt, rolled over onto my side and stood up. The knee really began to hurt at this point.
Incidentally, I've had both knees completely replaced. I've fallen on them before skiing, ice fishing or like this trip, slipping on ice.
My orthopedic surgeon, Jeffrey DeClaire told me I would have to hit the knee as hard as I could with a ball peen hammer to damage it and then it would be a matter of removing some screws, taking the damaged part out and replacing it.
I stayed in my stand until 11a.m. At that time we left the woods and return to the warmth of the cabin and some soup.
I packed up to head home. The knee had swollen quite a bit by then. At home I began icing it right away which relieved the pain.
Today I went to Urgent Care. They made a movement limiting cast, instructing me to take it easy for a week or so. Moving on the leg caused more swelling.
I see the surgeon tomorrow just to double check that all the parts are in place. Hunting season could be over for me.
If you're still out in the woods, be aware of packed snow on some of the two-tracks that has become slippery.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Eve of firearms opener brings excitement

Like kids opening presents Christmas morning brings squeals of excitement, the day before the opener brings hunters together in eager anticipation of what could be.
Fellow hunter Bill Semion and I spent much of the day before the opener in the woods checking out the spots we intended to hunt and looking for back up places in case the wind was not favorable.
We both saw plenty of fresh sign in the form of hoof prints and scat, fresh enough to be nearly warm.
On our drive in to the property we saw a dandy eight-point, heavy-bodied deer bound across the road ahead of us, another good sign.
We drove over to the deer camp of Mark McKellip from Bay City. He's been hunting in and around the Mason Tract for a number of years.
"It takes a bit of time to set up camp. Once the tent is up, wood stove moved in, floor installed, cots and beds made up and personal items stowed, we are in good shape," McKellip said.
This year, he plans on staying in camp for at least a week. "I'll have my two sons here for a few days then other friends will come up to hunt."
McKellip sets up a wall tent that is 15 feet by 21 feet. An outfitters tent made for elk hunting, it's made of cotton fabric that has been treated to keep the elements out. "I've never had a leak in here," he said.
A yearly hunting camp with family and friends brings out memories of hunts passed and stories that get better year after year.

Mark McKellip sitting next to the wood burning stove in his wall tent. By Beukema



Thursday, November 6, 2014

Rut has begun in northern woods

"The rut is definitely on," reports fellow hunter Glen Shepherd. He's been checking for sign in several places around Roscommon and noticed a change this past week.
Until then there had been little or no sign that whitetail activity or their presence even existed. With the exception of an old hoof print here and there, or trails that had sunk into the leaves, there was hardly any expectation of a hunt.
Add to that no sighting of deer in areas where they normally are located, it was beginning to feel like we needed our plan "B" spot around Gladwin.
But with the recent sightings of rubs, scrapes and runs, we'll stay put. The hard part about hunting away from home is knowing what the deer are doing.
Having someone practically on the scene helps.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Deer opener packing begun

No matter how many times I pack for a trip I still manage to leave things I need at home and bring things I will never use along. And this after list making.
I carry around with me bits of scrap paper, notebooks, keep something to write on in my vehicle and wherever we go, bring a pen and something to write with just in case I remember something else.
The trouble is, with all of these notes, I wind up looking at one list and forget to pack things I really need.
The better plan is to consolidate all of those lists into one then cross off each item as it's packed. You would think I would know this by now.
Time to get back to packing. Lets see, which boots should I take? Better take them both in case of rain.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Computers-a never ending learning experience

I envy young people. That's because all of this technology is common, everyday life to them. I've been struggling the past couple of months trying to correct my current email address and get those in my address book informed of the change.
This all came about when I changed internet providers not thinking how it would affect all of my contacts.
Press releases from companies and others that keep me updated on things they may think are of interest to readers aren't coming in. Usually I get 20-30 emails daily. Now I'm down to a couple.
The ringing phone and someone on the other end who wants to know if I changed me email address alerts me to what I have been missing.
To prevent this from every happening again I now get emails through gmail; some of them. For some reason, gmail won't allow me to notify most of my address book telling me the address are no longer any good when I know they are perfectly good.
A call to gmail left me exasperated and with no solution. There's a lesson in all of this, at least for me: Never make technological changes without consulting persons with more experience.
In the case of gmail I did just that. Several friends, "in the know," were surprised I wasn't  already using such a service and all agreed that gmail would be the answer. It hasn't been.
Another area that his become cumbersome is that of passwords. I have so many I don't know what are most for even though they have been written down on a tablet I carry with me.
The Apple store at one point went through many of my passwords and attempted to consolidate several into one password.
That seemed to work for about a week then many of my services began asking for a password saying the one I provided wasn't any good. So it was back to creating several new ones.
Before any of this happened, I was permanently signed into several accounts and never gave these passwords a second thought.
Guess that what happens to us in the older generation. Oh to be younger and breeze through all of this.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

11th annual Monster Quest to benefit Neeley family

October 18 is the date for the 11th annual Monster Quest. The event will take place at Harley Ensign boat launch on Lake St. Clair. Launch is at first light with fishing going for eight hours.
Ken Neeley was the owner of KD Outdoors in Waterford. He passed away suddenly a few weeks ago.   Neeley was a familiar face at Cash for Bass tournaments and other bass fishing events. For more information on this event call (248) 240-5245.
Monies raised will be donated to the Neeley family. Prizes, drawings, food and of course the weigh-in will take place at Harley Ensign.
In the future this event will be known as the Ken Neeley Memorial fall MQ. Neeley was a source of information, help and encouragement for all sportsmen.
Even if you don't fish, get over to Harley Ensign, participate and make a donation or take a shot at a raffle item. It's for a great cause.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Michigan walleye professional selected for Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame

Mark Martin, the original champ in the walleye world has been elected to the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame located in Hayward, WI. He will go in with the 2015 class.
As a youngster growing up on the west side of the state in Twin Lakes near Muskegon, Martin seemed to begin his younger years attached to a fishing rod.
Martin was even asked to help establish a curriculum at Spring Lake High School for fishing. "It as a pretty cool school. We even had scuba diving," he said.
Located on the shores of the Grand River, kids were bringing fishing rods to school so they could fish dying school breaks. Fishing was a natural subject for school students.
I've had the pleasure of knowing Martin and his family for a number of years. I was invited to his fist ice fishing school on Little Bay de Noc. Since then, he's had many more and showed a lot of anglers how to fish hard water.
Martin is a rarity among the fishing crowd in that he's willing to share where he catches fish, where you should fish, what you should use to make you successful and how to use that equipment.
Mark Martin's selection to the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame is well deserved.
Mark Martin holding a nice walleye

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ken Neeley, friend, family man, teacher gone at 47

If the name Ken Neeley doesn't ring a bell certainly his business will.  He was the owner of KD Outdoors on M-59 in Waterford.
Last week Neeley died suddenly. He was just 47 and leaves behind his wife Rhonda, sons Jonathon and Benjamin and a host of nieces, nephews and grandchildren.
Today, Sept. 23, Neeley was eulogized at Lakecrest Baptist church in Waterford. The parking lot was full of vehicle and the church packed with those that had done business or fished with Neeley, or otherwise were the recipient of his advice and teaching.
"If you wanted to know where the fish were blighting and what the bait and color were all you had to do was stop in KD and Ken would give you the answer. He was in touch with Lake St. Clair and what was going on there anytime," Bill McElroy creator of Scales N' Tales cartoons said.
His longtime fishing companions John "Mini" Maniaci, Virginia residents Scott Hammer and Carlos Hathcock along with McElroy were in attendance at today's memorial.
Read this Sunday's Oakland Press for more on Ken Neeley.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Fall is one of my favorite seasons

The one thing bad about fall is what comes after it. That Old Man winter that likes to hang on long after it should have left.
Fall is a season that comes along with lots of activities. Snooze and you'll miss them while you stand outside with a snow shovel in your hand.
Fall signals a time to get ready for a big change ahead. Get those outside chores done before the snow flies.
Gardens need turning, weeds plucked and some pruning can take place. Unless you plan on fishing, get your boat winterized and covered.
Fishing in the fall gives you another season to figure out. And you won't be rushed because most people have put away fishing stuff for hunting gear.
Grouse, woodcock-later pheasants-now squirrels and soon rabbits will be ready to be hunted. Bow hunters are plunking arrows into back yard targets. Firearms hunters are at the range getting zeroed in.
Then there are those luscious fall colors to enjoy on the way to your favorite cider mill. Don't forget a cinnamon donut!
Get outside and enjoy the fall. Soon enough, we'll be cooped up waiting for the spring thaw.

Photo from DNR of fall colors in a state forest.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9-11, an important date to remember

It's hard to believe 13 years ago commercial airplanes carrying hundreds of passengers were intentionally flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and crashing outside of Washington, D.C.
Significant life changing events are painful to remember, but often remind us of what we were doing when we first learned of these tragedies.
Fresh out of the Navy, I was bowling with a friend in Hollywood, California. After our game we walked outside to a different world.
There were absolutely no sounds. People were walking as if they were in shock and indeed some were. Stores that sold TVs with displays in storefront windows were lined up with pedestrians watching the events unfold about President Kennedy.
Early reports indicated he had been wounded, some said he hadn't been shot, then later, the news that he had died was broadcast.
No one around us could believe such a thing had happened. After all, this is America. That doesn't happen here.
On 9-11 I was fishing for perch on a calm Lake St. Clair near the area known as the dumping grounds. The sky was sunny and blue.
All of a sudden it felt like the world stood still. There were no planes flying overhead nor were there any other boats near us. A couple of helicopters probably from Selfridge flew over then it was quiet again.
We headed into shore, tied the boat up and left for home. My car radio was tuned to WOMC. When it came on, I was already nearly out of the parking lot when I heard an unfamiliar voice say "America is under attack. Two commercial airliners have intentionally been flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
The news about the remaining two aircraft wasn't broadcast at that time. The streets were quiet during the drive home. People driving looked stunned.
Today, reading and watching the news, those events come back as if they happened yesterday. The slogan, "Never Forget" applies to all of these tragic events.
9-11 has changed life in America forever.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Summer, where have you gone?

I can't believe it's the end of August already. Seems like we just rolled up April and were getting ready for the various fishing openers.
Spring and summer both have passed right by us. We went from winter directly into a chilly summer. Hex bugs were set back knocked out of whack. Not many stories about large trout being tangled with using the hexegina limbata or better known at the hex.
My fishing began early in the year with a trip to Bergland and Lake Gogebic this past January. Since that time I haven't had  a line in the water unit this past Friday evening when I managed to get out with the long rod for a couple of hours on fly water.
I've seen more doctors and hospital emergency rooms than I have lakes or rivers.  I can almost memorize hospital menus, knowing what each institution offers better than I know what is in my fly vest.
Back in the real world for a few days now, my arms are covered with bruises the result of IV's, blown IV's and numerous blood draws.
I look like I was in a hatchet fight without the hatchet. Hopefully I'm on the mend and can eventually get into some fishing before the hard water settles in for another season.
Those of fortunate to enjoy good health should take advantage of it and enjoy every moment to the fullest.
Others, me included, should be thankful we are back and on track to enjoy the outdoor life and all that the fall seasons have to offer.

Monday, August 4, 2014

You've got the perfect excercise tools, so use them

The perfect exercise tool are you feet and legs with walking being the best all-around exercise for most of us.
This weeks column had to do with getting older, slower and perhaps taking the attitude that there wasn't anything left to do once old age has set it.
Doctors keep preaching it. Keep moving. Get off the couch, out of the Lazy Boy, leave the remote home and get outside.
You can begin your exercise as soon as you walk out the door. No special equipment is needed. An old pair of sweats, something to keep your head warm, a pair of athletic shoes and you're ready to go.
Many doctors are saying just 20 minutes of walking a day is sufficient to keep muscles loose and joints working pain-free.
Balance is another important part of our life as we age. So many people fall and break a hip which sometimes leads to pneumonia and possible death.
Actually, getting your balance back is easier than walking. Grab the back of a sturdy chair then raise one leg slightly off the floor and stand that way for a little while. Change sides and hands then do the other foot.
Try balancing on one foot while brushing your teeth. Half way through, change feet. Stand on alternate feet while waiting in the checkout lane. Hang onto the shopping cart for balance.
You don't have to give up the things you enjoy doing as you age. Just remember to keep those muscles and joints in good working order.
Begin now and you'll have the legs, energy and stamina for the upcoming hunting seasons.

Friday, August 1, 2014

A gift for Father's Day was a definite surprise for Lee Anderson




Lee Anderson from Wolverine Lake fishes that lake for bass, pike and panfish. He has never fished for musky nor has he had an interest to do so.
This year for Father's Day, instead of the usual necktie or socks, Anderson asked for a golfing rain suit.
"I got a small bag and opened it up. Inside was a certificate to fish with Captain Don Miller on Lake St. Clair for musky," said.
The trip would quickly involve Anderson's two sons, son-in-law and three grandsons making the charter a great family outing and educational for everyone as well.
"Don was great. He had the kids pick out lures, told then where to stand on the boat when we were trolling, where to move to when we got a strike and where to be when we netted a fish.
Anderson got the first strike which turned out to be a 49 1/4 incher ad good enough for the third largest caught in Michigan this year according to a letter he received from the DNR.
Grandson Connor who is eight, got the next strike, winding in a very decent 36-inch musky.
For more information on musky charters contact Miller at (734)-429-9551 email:dsmiller2@comcast.net, www.millers-sportfishing.com.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Mosquitoes and the British are a bad mix

My family all came home for our anniversary party. Son-in-law Jeff is very fair skinned. For some reason the bugs are attracted to him
He had barely been here a day and had been outdoors very little when the pesky bites began. Waking up the next day, he showed me his legs. They had huge red blotches calf-high and included his feet.
The next day most of them turned into blister-like bumps. No over-the-counter creme or anything else had any effect.
The bits were hardly bearable due to the extreme itching. H's very difficult to convince it might be a old time to go to the doctor but we finally did.
Diagnosis: Mosquito bites. Treatment: A prescribed creme that didn't have any affect. He's back home now in England and finally saw his doctor. He's under a regular course of treatment to get through this.
I know everything was put here for a purpose but what the purpose these bugs make is a mystery to me.
Remember to cover up, get that repellent on and if you can, avoid going outdoors at dusk.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Essetial kayak equipment

Besides the kayak itself and a paddle, you'll want a well-fitting pfd. If possible, find one with pockets in it to carry small items; first aid kit, a couple of tackle boxes and the various tools anglers use.
To carry tackle,  couple of Plano 3700's tackle trays should hold enough. Get a milk crate on something similar to keep the tackle in.
Bungee the crate and the trays to the boat. Because water runs in and out, figure out a way to raise your crate. There are all sorts of ideas on You Tube.
Fishing at night is going to require a white light visible for all 360-degrees mounted in the rear. During the day, a brightly colored flag will help other boats see you.
Remember, you'll be sitting very low on the water, practically on the surface. Do all you can to be visible.
Fish with a buddy or let someone know where you'll be fishing and when you'll return. Above all, wear that pfd. Good luck and happy paddling.

Friday, June 27, 2014

VanBaalen not quite at VanDam's level

Waterford resident Patrick VanBaalen won his first bass fishing tournament recently. The 16-year-old was entered in the The Bass Federation Championship on Pontiac Lake June 7.
The field was separated into two age groups; 11-14 and 15-18. Two anglers; one from each age group, were assigned to boats owned and driven by adult anglers.
Each boy had charge of the boat for three hours. This allowed them to tell the operator where they wanted to fish, and gave them the front of the boat along with running the trolling motor.
"I had fished the lake a week before in my kayak and caught a nice four-pounder," he said. VanBaalen had control of the boat first. He had the driver take the to this area.
Patrick VanBaalen with two bass he caught for the win on Pontiac Lake. Photo submitted.
"I was throwing a crank bait in the same area I caught that fish the week before. I had something big on but it got off," he said.
When the other boy got his turn he had the driver take them near the ramp, around the beach area in 10-12 feet of water, with lots of weeds.
"I started drop shooting and caught four in a couple of hours. I finally ended up with a limit of five fish and won the tournament," he said.
The win gives him a trip to Lake Murray in South Carolina, August 15 for the TBF National Championship.
"Lake Murray is huge. There is 600 miles of shoreline with 50,000 acres of water to fish," he said. He'll be fishing against 40 kids from across the country that are considered the best in their respective age groups and states.
What a great opportunity for a young man whose goal is someday to be a full time tournament angler. "I know that is a difficult goal to reach but I'm prepared to work hard to get there," he said.
Good luck Patrick. I'll check back with you after your Lake Murray trip.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Water is not always the best thing to sustain a marriage

Yesterday, June 6, 1944, known as D-Day, is an historical day not only for the significance of the bate the U.S. and other allies fought on the beaches of Normandy, France but coincidentally, it's also the 50th anniversary of my marriage to Patricia Ann Heermans.
Another interesting fact occurred about four years ago when we had a chance to visit the invasion beaches where 1000,000 solders died trying to come ashore and gain control over the Nazi regime that was in poster at the time.
Now that you have some historical perspective and understand the importance of June 6, both as anAmerican for personal reasons and as a couple for our own reasons, I'shed some light on the marriage end of things.
We, or I should say my wife Pat raised our four children. They've all turned out to be honest, productive citizens who make anyone proud.
Wherever we go we received complains about how polite, helpful, and concern for others our children has done."You two did an amazing job of raising them the right way," is the usual comment.
To set the record straight, my wife did the raising. She brought her sense of values and how people should be reared into our marriage learned at the knee of her dad who was an Episcopal priest for 50-plus years.
For an example, before we had children and early in our marriage, I was attending the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Academy. After class one day we went out. I noticed someone on the street and made a derogatory comment about them.
"Why would you say that, Roger?" You don't know that person. "Well our instructor today on patrol tactics said he always looked for the bad in people and had never been disappointed."
"Of course he hasn't been disappointed. It's harder to look for the good in people and find it," she said.
Good advice I should have listened to. As our family came along she began to be tagged with the household duties and teaching the kids right from wrong while I was working eight hour shifts as a policeman, tun drinking all the alcohol I could find during my time off.
I wasted a lot of years, working and sleeping hangovers off therefore missing some great family actives.
I'm not proud of my actions. I am proud how my wife had the internal strength to step in and do the right things while putting up with me and my behavior.
So for 35 of those 50 years she supported me in very way possible. I say 35 years because it's been that long since I've had anything to drink stronger than wine at communion.
I'm one of the lucky that lived through all of this without hurting someone or myself. Goodness knows what it did to my family.
And I am very fortunate to have a wife that was wise enough to stay in the background, go about her business and prayer very hard that some day I would come around, see what a beautiful family I have and change my life.
If someone were to ask me what is the one thing I would do different, without hesitation it would be o never take a drink.
The rest of the changes, like spending time with my family and being a real dad and husband would have naturally followed.
Happy anniversary Pat and from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all that you have done for me.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

When it's nice to fish, the mosquitoes get into the act

Good friend Bill Semion emailed from his place on the AuSable River after being chased off the river by hordes of mosquitoes.
"It's the first time I have ever had to leave the river because of mosquitoes," he wrote. Like a lot of fly fishermen, he fishes in the evening, sometimes quite late.
That is the witching hour for the large trout that like to sneak out from their cover and slurp bugs in the air, or as the float by on the waters surface.
But mosquitoes like we've been experiencing, can ruin a perfectly fun-filled experience. You can wear long sleeves, caps, slather on your favorite repellent and the things still come at you. And get some bug spray on your hands then change flies and you'll find fish won't like the flavor of Deep Woods Off.
Neighbors just home from an extended camping trip in the north complained about the bugs this year and how there seem to be so many more. Possible a result of the brutal winter?
I know everything was put on earth for a purpose but why mosquitoes and what good do they serve?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A cup of coffee isn't free, but fishing is this weekend

Free Fishing Weekend is June 7-8. There is no cost for state residents or non-residents to fish those two days. However, all fishing regulations apply.
There is a second Free Fishing Weekend in the winter for the ice fishing crowd. Either weekend is a good chance to test the water, if you will, but for people who have never fished, they can give it a go without investing a lot of money.
If you don't own a boat, no problem. Fish from one of the many piers scattered around the state, or closer to home and right here in Oakland County, try some bank angling.
A lot of the people you see in boats will target shores to make casts to with the idea fish will ambush bait from the cover of banks.
Keep costs down by borrowing equipment from a friend or relative that fishes. Or if you decide to take the plunge and invest in equipment, visit a good bait shop like KD Outdoors in Waterford.
They'll give you good advice on what you need to get started with while not breaking the bank.
Speaking of borrowing gear a neighbor, mention you're interested in seeing what fishing is all about. Fishermen are normally a gregarious bunch and usually are only too happy to take a newbie out and show them the ropes.
If shore or pier fishing is as far as you get, remember to wear a life jacket or PFD. You may be able to see bottom from either place, but it's probably deeper than you think and could drop off fast.
Be safe, have fun, and give fishing a try.

Photo courtesy of DNR

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Don't forget to fly your flag at half staff this weekene

Not only is it proper flag etiquette to fly the American flag at half staff during the Memorial Day weekend, it's a good reminder to all who pass by why we celebrate the day.
Memorial Day means just what those words imply, a memorial or memory to honor those who have died defending during times of war.
Without their individual sacrifices we may not be able to enjoy the boating pleasure, picnics, grilling outdoors, up north travel and all other activities we take for granted.
My wife and I visited the beaches where the Normandy invasion took place during WWII. I kept telling her and my son Matt that if we hadn't gotten up those hills and through the sand to the well-built German gun posts, we all could be speaking German today.
After all, they had the advantage, defending the high ground, making it relatively easy to throw our troops back into the sea by way of devastating fire.
Not until some foot soldiers were able to make higher ground to continue the fight on a somewhat even playing field, did the tide begin to turn. By that time, many Americans lie mortality wounded on the beach and in the water around Normandy.
Some of us will visit a cemetery where a loved one lies in perpetuity. Graves are usually tended and flowers or small American flags placed near headstones.
There are still a few parades left, usually in smaller towns, to celebrate or remember the occasion.  Whatever is your tradition, take a moment to remember those that have gone before, especially in defense of our country.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Complaints about the weather common this year

From golfers to boaters and everyone in between the cold weather this time of year is on everyone's mind.
My fishing pal, Glenn Uhl called last week to give me an update of blue gill fishing. Normally, this time of year, Uhl can be found wading and casting to beds for those nice, slab gills. Not this year.
"I was out earlier today and caught a few," Uhl recently said. "I think they are beginning to move in."
The news has been different for walleye and bass anglers on Lakes Erie and St. Clair. Walleye pro Mark Sak has been catching some nice fish. So have the Walleye-101 crowd with Lance Valentine fishing out of Huron, Ohio.
One of Valentine's staff, Duncan "Dunc" Wooster reports fishing has been good. Both Sak and Woostser have been catching eyes in the 8-10 pound range.
Locally, bug hatches haven't been what they normally were this time of year. Fly anglers have been finding slow action on both the Clinton River and Paint Creek.
Longtime river guide, Kip Lowrie seems to be be able to connect on either body of water regardless of the weather.
Lowrie wrote me this weekend to thank me for the story about him and these two rives which appeared in Sunday's Oakland Press.
"Thanks for the great story," his email began. "The email should be, Klowrie@woodlandrivers.com.  The correct web addresses are KMF productions.com or woodlandrivers.Com."
Sorry for any inconvenience these updates have caused anyone.
For other information contact Lowrie via his cell at (734) 276-5646.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Be doubly careful fishing rivers at this time

A few years ago there were a couple of accidents on the Clinton River involving canoer's or kayakers resulting in fatalities. It was springtime with plenty of sun along with plenty of high, fast water.
That's the conditions we face today, not only here in Oakland County, but up north on some of our favorite rivers including the Manistee, Sturgeon, and all branches of the AuSable.
Veteran guides are rescheduling float and wade trips while waiting for water levels to decrease and currents to become more manageable.
Locally, Paint Creek and the Clinton River are in the same shape. Along with high and fast water, it's also very clouded due to heavy rains causing run off.
Rather than risk an accident trying to wade or float any of these waters, put things on hold until conditions improve.
Remember, the fish don't start biting until you get there.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mothers day means something different for each of us

I was raised by my grandmother, Minne Frank. I called her Mimi. Both my mom and dad were in the house but worked.
My dad put in seven day work weeks with plenty of overtime. My mother worked a normal 40-hour week for a CPA firm.
Getting me up for school, seeing that I ate breakfast, packing me a lunch and getting out the door on time were some of the things Mimi did for me.
She also sewed my clothes, washed and ironed, and prepared meals for the family. This was just after the depression so most homes were very frugal in their consumption.
At our house, Sunday dinners leftovers would be found either re-heated on Monday or made into soup or hash on Tuesday.
Any package that came by mail was wrapped in string. The string was carefully removed and wrapped into a ball of other string from the grocery store or butchers stop.
Wrapping paper was carefully folded and put away to be re-used sometime in the future. When it came to the kitchen, nothing was tossed in the garbage.
Bones went into a pot to be cooked with sauerkraut or made into vegetable soup. Baking cookies or pies was closely monitored for left overs. Any extra dough was rolled flat, sprinkled with sugar and baked right along with everything else.
Nuts, especially walnuts, were valuable. We would drive out into the country looking for walnut trees.
Those that had fallen on the ground were gathered into bushel baskets, brought home then shucked to get the green outer cover off. When working with walnuts, your hands were always green or brown from the stain in the husks.
The walnuts were stored in the basement. My grandmother had found a rock with an indentation in it that would fit a walnut. At night, she would hit the nut with a hammer until it broke.
The broken pieces were put into containers to eventually be brought upstairs to the kitchen table where the nut meats were hand picked out of the hard shells.
This was painstaking, boring work, hard on the eyes. Hour by hour, Mimi would sit and pick walnuts.
As I get older, I realize how much she did for me and all that she tried to teach me. This mothers day, Mimi will be in my thoughts as she is more and more these days.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Get the boat ready, find those waders and lets go fishing

The time is right and the weather-at least for now-is cooperating. I'm seeing more boats on trailers, gassing up or headed down the road for a launch.
Being one that doesn't always practice what he preaches, I'm between a rock and a hard spot. This June 6 will mark our 50th wedding anniversary.
Our kids are coming home from literally all over the world. That's the good part. The snag is there is a ton of work to do both inside and outside the house before this thing can happen.
I can't even get in the garage to organize my fishing tackle and get a yak ready for the upcoming No-Mo fishing tournament in a couple of weeks.
Plans for a vegetable garden and new flowers will have to be put on hold until I can get a paint brush out of my hand.
Those of you that are hitting the water, have a good safe trip and good luck.
Nice walleye happened along to grab my hook.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Cold conditions for pre-tournament fishing on Detroit River

The last day of tournament practice for the kick off of the Cabelas walleye tournament was cold to say the least.
"Better bring your ice fishing stuff. I've got mine," longtime professional Mark Martin said. He was right about the weather. For most of Thursday morning we needed all the close we had with us.
Just before practice officially ended at noon, the sun came up and warmed things up a bit. At launch time it was 41-degrees, with water temperatures not much higher.
We fisher several spots Martin felt would be holding fish for the tournament. Some were producers while others were duds.
"Many of the big spawners have left there river," Martin commented. "There are still some smaller ones hanging around, but it might be a tough bite."
Choice of tackle was fairly easy. Whatever jigs you use seemed to work so along as they were running straight down to the bottom. "Color is the last consideration" he said.
During our time on the Detroit River we had several hard strikes and even got a couple up alongside the boat.
Hopefully they will still be around for the weekend when it all counts.
Mark Martin holding a nice walleye.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ice fishing is over Glen Uhl says

Glen Uhl, the sunshine man for the Oakland County Sportfishing Association declared that he has stored his ice fishing gear. "There is no more ice," Uhl said.
Glad he made that announcement, Spring is definitely here if he has the spud and shanty stored. But in the meantime, winter hasn't quite let go of its hold.
We get one nice day then a couple with the wind howling and the temperatures going through the basement.
With work to get done indoors, I haven't had a chance to do any yard work, not to mention that fishing organization I frequently mention.
Thursday will be a pre-fish day with my pal Mark Martin. He's been doing quite well on the Detroit River pre-fishing for the Cabelas walleye tournament this weekend.
"I can't talk long," Martin said when I reached him on the river. "I'm going to be winding another in in just a second."
So, the good news is the walleye are in the river, The bad news is it's still cold out there.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday morning blues or blah's

Blues or blahs, take your pick. Just after being tempted with nice weather over the past couple of days-despite hail and high winds-here we go with more wind, dropping temperatures and snow. And it sounds like there will be plenty of it too.
Yesterday, Sunday, there was a great turnout for the annual Kayak tune up day held at "kayak fish the great lakes" headquarters.
Not much work was done. Rather a lot of talk about getting on the water sooner rather than later, exchange of ideas on how to carry tackle, how much is too much, and what is new that anglers can't do without.
The annual No-Mo kayak fishing tounrament that benefits Make-A-Wish will be held May 18 at first light. Any lake in the state with public access is considered tournament water.
Didn't catch any fish? Not to worry says tournament director, Chris LeMessurier. "You can buy some raffle tickets and possible get drown for a new Wilderness Systems kayak," he said.
For more information or to register visits kayakfishthegreatlakes.com.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Grump may be gone but not forgotten

We weren't particularly close. Once in awhile we would talk about the neighborhood, people we both knew, our kids and his favorite topic, old cars.
He was tagged with a nickname that fit his expression, Grump. He just looked like Grump but he didn't show that side of his personality, if indeed he was a grump. Serious, yes. Grumpy, I don't think so.
Saturday was one of those days we like to think about when the snow is flying, snow blowers drown out all the sound on your street or road and you come in to warm up, grab a coffee, then head out to finish moving the snow.
This past Saturday was different. It was eerily quiet in our neighborhood. As I sat in the backyard mentally going over my chore list, I noticed how quiet it was.
The birds were the only thing making noise. Looking for mates, arguing over bird seed or nesting territory, they were busy little things.
This Saturday was different. There weren't the sounds of circular saws chomping on a board or a drill or router with their high-pitched noise biting into wood.
No hammers banging the heads of nails, or leaf blowers clearing the yard of the accumulation of last falls leaves.
It was common knowledge in the neighborhood that Grump had been diagnosed cancer and was given-at best-two years to live.
He met that challenge head on. He told me about it once but was matter of fact when he described it. I  was surprised at what seemed to me, his acceptance of his situation at this juncture in his life.
From time to time we would wave as we passed on the road. Every so often I would wander over to talk with him when he was tinkering in the garage or yard.
Asked how he was feeling, he would usually turn the question around with one of his own. "Well, how are you feeling," was his usual response.
Grump passed away this fine, sunny, unusually quiet morning. His passing reminded me once again how precious this life is.
It also reminded me of my health, dealing with cancer. My doctor at U of M now refers to me as cancer free. I'm a survivor.
But she also reminds me that I had an aggressive form of bladder cancer and that there is a good chance it will return sometime. Therein lies the reason for me to be checked four times a year.
Cancer is nasty and not something to be taken lightly. I think of mine almost daily. The group I meet with each week at Gilda's club has the same feelings.
All of us do our own personal check daily. On waking, I lie there for a minute to see if anything hurts or if there are any new pains I hadn't noticed the previous day.
Each bump, bruise, fall, or different sensation that are all quite normal to most people, are scary to cancer patients. We all think, "here I go again."
I don't know if Grump had these feelings. I'm sure it was rough sledding as he went along. His caregivers-wife Joan and all his buddies that dropped in from time to time-are all feeling a sense of loss this day.
In one way, we think it's a blessing and that he is in a better place, pain free at last. On the other hand, there is a void left in the lives of those remaining who were close or cared for Grump until the end.
It reminds me to be grateful for each day I have and to be thankful that, at least for the moment, I'm both pain free and cancer free.
As this day goes by and others follow, I'll be reminded of the guy they called Grump and remember him along with others during my nightly prayers.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Signs of spring

I always look for red wing blackbirds and listen for their songs. That is my most telling sign that spring has arrived. They have shown up in my backyard scattering bird seed hither and yon.
Going out to get the paper the one morning, I noticed night crawlers on the drive following an overnight shower.
The annual No-Mo fishing kayak tournament set for May 18 is right around the corner. In fact several of us are getting together this weekend to work on boats, add new gadgets, and exchange war stories of past tourneys.
This year will be the fifth annual to benefit Make-A-Wish foundation. So far $4,000 has been raised.
I've fished all but one of the events and haven't brought anything in to be considered as prize worthy.
There is no official weigh in at this event. Called a CPR-catch, photograph, release-tournament, the angler brings in his camera with an SD card showing the fish laying on an official ruler. So far, I've turned my ruler in each year, dry as a bone.
Any boat that is propelled by paddle is allowed in this event. To enter go to www.kayakfishthegreatlkes.com and download the entry form or send an email to Chris LeMessurier at chris@kayakfishthegreatlakes.com.
See you on the water.
Kayaker landing a salmon

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Those that knewJoe Zikewich lost a true friend, consummate fisherman, and devoted patriot

The V.F.W. hall in Oxford held an overflowing crowd showing their respects to the man nicknamed Ice Flow Joe.
Joe got the moniker from the many times he had been rescued by helicopter from ice floes on Lake St. Clair that had broken loosed and were headed downstream to Toledo.
Proud of his country and his service during WWII aboard the USS Lexington, Joe often talked about the war and the time a Japanese Kamikaze struck the ships flight deck killing 43 and injuring 237. "There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of those guys," Zikewich used to say. In their memory, he always wore a piece of shrapnel from the plane that crashed into the ship.
If you're ever in Lake Orion, take a couple of minutes and visit the memorial to service personnel on M-24. There you will find the "Peacoat Memorial," a vision Zikewich had to remember those lost not only on the Lexington but in their service to the country.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Iffy ice can bring on those spawners

I wouldn't go out on the ice the rest of the year, at least until next winters freeze  up. Some reports say there are two feet of good ice left. I don't want to be the one to test it.
Last year, at am annual fun fishing outing I went through in deep water. Fortunately for me it was a whole someone had cut. Blowing snow covered it so I didn't see it until my leg went through to my waist.
Scrambling around trying to get some purchase on the slick ice to pull myself back out, my fishing companions didn't hear me shouting for help and they weren't a great distance away. My days fishing ended back at the cabin in front of the stove trying to get dried out.
This Sunday you'll read about Paul Biedieger from Wolverine lake who gave up ice fishing, hooked his trailer to his tow vehicle and pulled his kayak to South Carolina to fish in the second Kayak Bass Fishing tournament.
Even then, in 60-plus degree weather, he managed to get wet when an unexpected visitor came aboard his Hobie Mirage kayak.
Read all about it in my column this Sunday. (photo is of Chris LeMessurier with a nice salmon in warmer times.)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Ice Flow Joe Zikewich will be missed

I can't say the news about Joe Zikewichs' death wasn't surprising. He had been in a nursing home for some time and was declining almost daily.
The strange thing was what put him in a nursing facility relegated to a bed instead of a bucket on the ice of Lake St. Clair.
Joe had been ice fishing. Sometime during what turned out to be his last outing, he slipped on the ice and fell, breaking his hip which turned into pneumonia.
A memorial will be held in his honor and memory March 29 at the Veteran's Hall on Drahner Road in Oxford beginning at 3p.m.
I'm not sure how Joe would react to all of the attention he's been receiving since his passing. He was always on the other end, the end that was doing something nice for others. Now it's his turn to have something nothing done for him in terms of remembering him.
A proud Navy veteran, Joe served as a radioman aboard the aircraft carrier USS Lexington. Coincidentally, I was a radioman on the USS Topeka, a guided missile cruiser that operated with the Lex.
Since there are so many stories about the man known as ice Flow Joe I'll get mine in. We were fishing  off a DNR ramp in Harrison Township. joe had a large ATV with all sorts of equipment on it.
"Hop on and we'll drive out," he said. "I don't have a helmet," i responded. "Ah, don't worry. No one will bother us?
So we road out, cut some holes and fished for several hours. When it came time to come in, we loaded up and made the drive.
Once on the ramp we headed for joe's trailer. About that time we ran into the biggest CO I have ever seen.
"How ya doin'," Joxesaid in his high pitc
Joe Zikewich loaded for ice fishing
hed voice. The three of us chatted for a few minutes before the CO said he had to get going. "You guys be sure and wear helmets next time you're out," he said.
"We sure will," Joe answered.
That was the Joe i knew always with a gift for gab. He go the name Ice Flow Joe for being rescued off floating ice in the middle of Lake St. Clair. Once he had such a inch catch that he stuck them inside his parka and bibs not wanting to leave them behind.
As his regular fishing pal Glenn Uhl said, "I'm going to missing. We all are going to miss a great fisherman." And a wonderful human being.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Beat the winter-Paul Biedieger did

Many northerners, Michiganders among them, choose to head someplace where it's warm over the winter months. This past year, if you were one of the "snow bird set" you would have missed the November 15 deer opener if you were Florida bound.
                                         (Paul Biedieger in action during last year's KBF tournament)

That's because snow and cold weather actually set in late in October and hasn't quite given up it's grip on us yet although warmer weather is beginning to be predicted.
Wolverine Lake resident Paul Biedieger is one of those that headed south, specifically to South Carolina. Not so much to get out of the snow and cold but to fish in the second annual Kayak Bass Fishing Tournament. You might say he wanted to open the bass season a little early.
Biedieger fished the same tournament last year but under a different format requiring him to qualify before getting into the big show or final day. He not only qualified but finished quite well considering it was his first such tournament.
His performance also got him a spot in this year's tournament on Santee Cooper Reservoir near Cross, South Carolina.
Boats and anglers from all around the country participated this year. They had great weather along with really good fishing.
"I caught at least 14 good fish each day and threw that many or more back," Biedieger wrote. Now if the ice would thaw, warm rains would move in and temperatures would move up those of us that fish or just paddle for the sake of getting out, could begin to enjoy local waters once again.
Sooner or later, it's bound to happen here. Fishing may be set back a little, but in no time we'll be wetting lines and trying out those new baits we've acquired over the winter.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Too much snow depends on whom you ask

Skiers, both downhill and cross country love it. So does the snowshoe crowd. But fishermen are beyond being anxious. They want good weather NOW.
We're talking about the recent snowfall and accumulation Oakland County is dealing with. Those in the weather game predicted a couple of inches of us. We knew better.
When it began snowing and blowing, it wasn't long before those estimates were out the window. More like eight inches here in northern Oakland County.
A neighbor just returning from Florida and the yearly motorcycle rally in that state couldn't believe what he was seeing.
He and his traveling companions had left 70-plus temperatures. When they reached Canton, OH it began to rain. Soon after, semis were off the road, numerous accidents were spotted and the road had become so slippery it was difficult to maintain 30 m.p.h.
Wolverine Lake resident Paul Biedieger solved the bass fishing part of winter. He's in South Carolina fishing the second Kayak Bass Fishing tournament and enjoying 70-plus degrees of warm weather.
Some people know how to plan.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Cold, snowy winter doesn't necessarily translate to less mosquitoes

Despite many expressing the feeling that a prolonged cold winter like the one we recently experienced, along with a lot of snow means less mosquito populations once warmer weather arrives. People have generally felt that Michigan's mild winters have made it possible for mosquito larvae to hold over during winter months, developing into those bugs we swat at once good weather arrives.
"That's very optimistic," Howard Russell, entomologist at M.S.U. said. The deterring factor is the amount of standing water that is around.
"With all of the snow we've had this past winter, much of it will melt and collect in low-lying areas making for breeding grounds and the generation of larvae and future mosquito populations," he said.
Your best defense has been and still is get rid of any standing water on your property. Look for water collecting in old tires or in eves troughs. Keep the eves clean.
Use products with DEET in them and try to stay out of areas that hold mosquitoes near dusk. Cover up with long pants and long-sleeve shirts and a hat.
Children should have products with less than 30% DEET applied to any unprotected areas.
See, there are some advantages to winter; no bugs!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Apps for mobile devices available for gaming licens

When you go to buy your 2014 fishing license you can expect a faster experience that gets you in and out quicker than what we've been used to in the past.
A new mobile app is also available for licenses that don't require tags. Along with these changes come some increases in license fees.
These are earmarked strictly for the DNR and will not go into the state's general fund. "That's key to all of this," Ken Neeley owner of K.D. Outdoors said.
"So far, I haven't heard any complaints about the new fee structure. But I'm sure there will be some."
Some licenses-fishing is one example-have been combined into one, all-species tag. There are others that have been constructed in similar fashion.
Increases in fees will go toward habitat improvement; ORV trails, better habitat for rabbits, and the beginnings of hopefully, a pheasant program.
Some money will be earmarked for fishery improvement. "Another element here is it allows the DNR to hire more conservation officers," Neeley said. "We really need more of them," he added.
For more information visit www.michigan.gov/dnr and click on the hunting and fishing structure.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Clean teeth leads to less health problems and better smelling breath

Most of us probably brush our teeth twice a day. Probably a good majority floss at least one time daily.
Dentists for some time have been sounding the alarm about how important dental hygiene is to prevent other forms of disease; gum disease, cavities, loss of bone structure in the mouth and even heart attack.
Those same warnings apply to pets such as dogs. The importance of keeping your pooches teeth clean and plaque free have been documented and are as important as annual injections.
When you take your dog into the vet, hopefully on a yearly basis to keep it's shots updated, the vet should look in your dogs mouth and observed gum and teeth condition.
A recommendation may be made to have the dogs cleaned in the office at a later date or to remove some teeth that are rotting.
At home, you can help prevent tooth, gum and bad breath problems by introducing tooth brushing gradually to your dog.
Pet stores will had toothpaste specifically for dogs. Do not use human tooth paste due to some of the ingredients in it.
You'll want to pick up a doggie tooth brush or finger brush. Begin with letting the dog smell the toothpaste for a few days before putting a little on the brush and letting them get used to that.
Once you do start to brush, only clean the outside of the teeth. Raise the lip up or down with one hand  to allow the brush to get into the dog's mouth. Keep the time for brushing brief because the dog's attention span is short.
If you can brush the dog's teeth once a week, great. If you can do it daily or a little more often, that's even better.
Another way to keep teeth clean is allowing them to play with a chew toy of some kind. Check with your vet or pet shop for recommendations.
Molly, our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Friday, February 14, 2014

Last ice fishing school of the season

In nothing else, Mark Martin's final ice fishing school participants had great weather. Not much wind for openers which meant wind chills and that bitter cold was all but a memory.
"The sun was shining. It was just about perfect except the bite was slow," Martin said. "We could see the fish lying on or near the bottom with our cameras but there weren't many takers.
And as usual, on the last day, just before packing it in, Martin gave it one last chance, but moved a little.
"Boy I got into them," he said. "You should have been there. I could have had a limit in no time."
Limit is a key word, especially on this fishery. As we were waiting for our classmates to arrive at Linwood Beach Marina, a DNR conservation officer was having a word with four anglers.
Later, he stopped to talk with me. "We are on the lookout for registrations and helmets but we also pay attention to people with too many fish.
"The limit is five in possession daily. This guy was bringing his fish in along with a buddies who was still on the ice. That's illegal and we'll write a violation for it any time."
As the CO explained, "We're here trying to protect the resource." When he finished his explanation, all those in our group thanked him for the job he was doing.
It's been said before, if you are going to do it, then do it right. Otherwise don't do it at all.