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,  The correct web addresses are KMF 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.