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Outdoor bounty available at last

Published: Saturday, March 29, 2014 12:09 a.m. CDT
SVM photo by Matt Jones Mushroom hunters will soon be picking out their favorite spots, with spring here at last.

Been a long long time since I got to launch a boat from good old Lawrence Park.

I still remember the junior high and high school days when me and the boys would spend our afterschools and weekends wading the swift waters below the dam. The amount of fish we caught in our teen years was just incredible, but it wasn't just the catfish.

The walleye weren't a real established species, but the white bass were here in terrific numbers. Now, it ain't like the whities have disappeared. In fact, 2013 was the best year I had seen in the last 15-plus years.

I was catching so many throwing the net for shad that I actually took time to catch some on rod and reel. What a gas, man. It really took me back to the runs at the dam these fish would make in the spring of the year.

Wading to the face of the dam with a stringer, pole and a pocket full of jig heads and white twister tails was all but a guaranteed great time. If you could cast and reel, well, you caught fish. It was as simple as that. Truly the kind of fishing everyone would enjoy.

At those times I would also catch me some mighty fine crappies – not of the number that we would catch the white's, but a pretty fair amount just the same. Nowadays the crappie fishing is much much better on the waters of the mighty Rock.

Reason I'm mentioning this you may ask? Well, with the surging crappie population and the seeming re-established white bass population, I want you to gnaw on this situation a little.

White bass and crappie are in good number and size, as are flathead catfish and a rejuvenated channel cat brood. Walleye and saugers are in very strong numbers and some terrific size. Sturgeon and bluegill are in very good numbers.

Let's see, you also got a strong smallmouth population. There's some good largemouth's mixed in here, too. Oh, and northern pike and the occasional musky.

We got an excellent group of rough fish as well, and the shiner minnows have made a terrific comeback as well. Now, if you didn't know any better, you might think I was talking about the Mississippi River, but nope. We got it, and we got it right here.

So, as we move into spring here, or at least what is starting to look springish, let's not forget that we have a world class fishery right outside our back doors. Hard to imagine, but true nonetheless. It's just up to us to keep it that way.

Now, as we move into other things here this spring, let's remember a few important things. First of all, your 2013 fishing license is only good for a couple more days, so get that taken care of.

Mushroom season is right around the corner, and right now before the leaves begin to develop is the time to be scouting new areas, looking for that potential spot to find your next mother lode. There is a lot of ground out there that most land owners will let you search on – you just have to ask.

So, until next week, may God bless you all, and Go Catfish!

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