Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Minn.

May 27, 2002

Fishing is a privilege, not a right, and it should be shared

Memorial weekend is a special time for thousands of people in our area and around the state.

The weekend marks the beginning of summer. The weather, most of the time, is finally nice, and people by the thousands flock to our lakes, rivers, and parks to enjoy the outdoors.

Of those outdoor activities, fishing leads the way.

Just about everyone who has any interest in fishing gives it a shot over the Memorial weekend.

Free time, good weather, and probably the best time of year to easily catch fish are all factors that add to the weekend's fishing popularity.

With the Memorial Day weekend now upon us, it also a time to be reminded that fishing in our great state and country is a privilege, not a right, and that the privilege to go fishing should be shared.

The privilege of fishing in our country is one of many we have that had to be fought for, sacrificed for, and earned. The flags, parades, honor guards, and marked graves that will be seen across the county on Memorial Day are a testament to that.

When we go fishing, we must understand that the way of life we have with the opportunity to fish and enjoy the outdoors, is not the same way of life that many people around the world share.

Fishing, as simple as it is, is one of the things that makes our lives better.

For those of us who have not had to sacrifice in any measurable way for the privilege to go fishing, the best thing we can do to honor and remember those who did sacrifice is to teach and share the meaning of Memorial Day and the sacrifices made with others, especially kids.

Ironically, there is no better way to teach a kid about patriotism and those who sacrificed, and how good our lives really are, than through fishing.

While fishing, there is time to reflect and time to tell them what Memorial Day is all about, time and experiences that help them understand again, that fishing in our country is a privilege that had to be fought for and earned.

With that said, the following is a list from Hooked on Fishing International that will make it easier for you to take a kid fishing. The list is titled "Top Ten Tips for Taking a Youngster Fishing."

It's a good list, and to make it better, I will add number 11.

Top 10 tips for taking a youngster fishing

The recipe for teaching a little person to fish includes one dash of angling technique, two or three tablespoons of gear, and several cups of patience.

This is the advice of the organization, Hooked on Fishing International (HOFI) that has helped introduce over six million youngsters and their family members to the sport of fishing derbies.

Here are its top 10 tips, the same recipe that HOFI shares with thousands of adult volunteers who plan and supervise the fishing derbies nationwide.

1. Tackle: Size the rod and reel to the child. Small bobbers and small hooks encourage more fish nibbles and the supreme thrill for a youngster a tug on the line.

2. Bait. Yes, for safety's sake and because of the yuck factor, the adult may have to handle the protein. Use worms or minnows. HOFI records show these two baits catch 80 percent of the fish.

3. Food. Never, ever forget the snacks and drinks. If you do, turn the car around and go back for them. Food is that important. Better bring some wet wipes to cleanse face and fingers before and after snacks.

4. Camera. Fishing is all about making and preserving memories. Bring the camera and an extra roll of film. If your camera has a built-in flash use it with every shot, even in bright sunlight. The flash will eliminate shadows on young, excited faces.

5. Life jacket. In a boat, youngsters are required to wear a life jacket. That's the law. On the bank of a pond or stream, they should wear one, too. That's common sense.

6. Sunscreen. Bring it. Use it. On the water, the sun can do double the damage because harmful rays not only come from above, they are also reflected from the water. This is underlined by the fact that young skin is prone to sunburn.

7. Insect repellent. This is almost as important as the sunscreen, and always a good thing to have on hand. Biting bugs can veto any fishing trip. Fight back.

8. Location. Fish close to home. That's the rule of thumb dictated by the generation whose favorite phrases include "Are we there yet?" and "When are we going home?"

9. Timing. As they say, timing is everything. Let the young angler decide when enough is enough. If anything, it's better to quit before alarm bells ring. That keeps desire in the bank for the next fishing trip. Time your fishing for the most comfortable time of the day, usually morning.

10. Patience. Three or more level cups of this vital ingredient are critical to a successful fishing trip and the creation of a new fishing partner.

11. Conversation. Talk about Memorial Day, talk about grandpa and grandma, talk about Sept. 11, and finally, listen more than you talk.

Sportsmen's take-a-kid-fishing event set

Winsted Sportsmen's Club will host a Take-a-Fishing event Sunday, June 9 at 1 p.m. on Lake Mary.

Registration will begin at 1 p.m., fishing from 2 to 4 p.m., and a meal will be served and prizes given from 4 to 5 p.m.

If equipment or a boat is needed, pre-register by calling Tom at (952) 955-1704

Outdoor notes

­ The bass fishing season in Minnesota opened Saturday, May 25.

­ Look for bass fishing to get off to a slow start because of cold water temps.

­ Mark Schwartz of Lester Prairie recently returned home from a fishing trip to the lakes area just north of Ely. Fish were caught in lower numbers than other year and Mark noted morning air temperatures were in the mid 30s and surface water temps were at 49 degrees. Cold, cold, cold.

­ The application deadline for the 2002 Minnesota moose hunt is Friday, June 14.

­ Look for peak morel mushroom hunting this week.

­ The apple trees in my back yard finally blossomed this week, two full weeks behind last year.

­ Get your dog checked for heartworm and on a heartworm preventative medication.

­ According to the U.S. Coast Guard, Minnesota ranks fourth in the nation in the number of registered boats. Minnesota has 812,247 registered boats. Michigan was first with 1,000,049.

­ Although Minnesota has a pile of boats, you don't need a boat for great fishing. In our area there are many excellent places to fish from shore. Right now, bridges along the Crow River are great spots. The north shore of Howard Lake is another good spot to shore fish.

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