Monday, December 31, 2012

Farewell to punkass days of no trout fishing...

It's highly probable that today, 12/31/12, marks the final day of zero stream trout fishing opporunity in southeast Minnesota. 

Various levels to this:

(1) It appears that the anglers have spoken, the DNR is responding.  Now legislature should follow through; this is how process is meant to work, as far as I can tell.

(2) Iowa stands to lose a fair bit of business from we MN folks in October- December.  I suppose many will still fish Iowa; especially those who want some meat (that includes me).

(3) The most important thing though, is that it's a step in the direction of dispelling what is at current a moderately dark waiting period.  There has been no nymphing of seams around here; there has been no riffle to trod upon.  The barring of boots on riffles rusteth the chisel, it rusteth the craft and the craftsman. Underlain by the shortening of days that peaks at solstice, right along with the culmination of three months waiting; is thy bread ever more of stale rags, is thy bread dry as paper, with no mountain wheat, no strong flour (EP).

And so, and so: thank you MN DNR and all who are working to get this done.  It could and should look like this: winter trout 2013 opens tomorrow; C&R and C&keep go on as normal; fall 2013 is different: C&R stays open longer, then state parks open all year...   on and on.  So there are some streams that will open tomorrow and will not close to angling (of some sort) at any foreseeable date.

This is highly remarkable. 

So while the carp mull things over and the SMB hole up in slow stretches, one will be able to go visit the warm (relative to winter surroundings) bosom of the aquifer-fed trout streams.  The limestone and the watercress and the midges that walk on snow grains at streamside.

In the end, there will be a downtick in ephemeral depression in southeast MN.  Marriage counselors and social workers in the region, folks who would pass by this news as unrelated to their professions, ought to be amongst those who write the DNR in thanks.

Following are a few winter pics from last weekend.  Four inches of ice found via chisel on 12/22; rural Cass County lake.  Kids played boot hockey three different days.  Merry Christmas and indeed, a happy and marked new year 2013.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Deer Hunting and Fall 2012 Notes

One began at last to see that a great many impressions were needed to make a very little education, but how many could be crowded into one day without making any education at all, became the pons asinorum of tourist mathematics. How many would turn out to be wrong, or whether any would turn out right, was ultimate wisdom.  - Henry Adams, page 71

Deer Hunting 2012, might as well lay it out there.  I've had countless conversations in which I can only add...   "yeah, another year without providing a deer."

Day 1 (opening day of early season): good day.  Felt good going in.  I had secured appropriate counsel from various individuals.  The general plan was to use a less-frequented entry point to a plot of public land, waiting for the more-frequented entrance to the north to push deer down into the ravine over which I would be watching.  This was one hell of a day out there.  The ravines are immense and old.  This day was 100% dead still; don't remember many days of simply zero wind.  Staring at leaves; none moving.  So you could trust your ears to a pretty good extent.  I saw three deer right around lunch time (possibly pushed by guys getting up to go eat at the truck).  In each case the deer was heard before seen, and in each case visual tracking was heavily obscured; more followed them by sound than sight.  Little patches of deer here and there.  None ever came all the way down into the ravine.  They came maybe halfway down the slope and then skirted back up.  I believe that my error was in positioning: if I'd been further down the slope, may have had a clear view, looking across the tree trunks and up the facing slope a bit.  As it happened, the deer never left the lattitude of the crowns of the trees; thus they were obscured.  I couldn't even get good looks at heads to make sure they were legal.  But, this was still somewhat exciting.  At least seeing deer in the woods while holding a firearm.  Small step forward.

Day 2 (Sunday of second weekend): sat in pouring rain from before light to around 1 PM.  Not exaggerating: heavy rain without stop.  Good test for the gear, which held up well.  Only my feet got a little wet.  Posted at the same ravine; this time a bit to the west.  After rain got up and walked a bit, stopping for 20-40 minutes here and there.  Never saw a deer.

Days 3 and 4 (two half days in the CWD zone right by my house): sat on a beautiful public land parcel - rolling terrain with tall grass cover going to oak forest on the slopes.  Down to a creek bed.  The last effort I put in, I figured might work: I found a private alfalfa field adjacent to the public land.  I walked the fence and located the pushed out hole, and the heavy trail.  The obvious entry/exit to the food source.  I posted myself up the oak slope around 1 PM and sat watching that trail until I couldn't see the sights on the shotgun.  Never saw a deer.

It is true that dues must be paid and study must be undertaken.  I tell myself that as long as (1) I don't put any money into it, and (2) I don't drive any long distance, it can't be bad: at worst it's a day in the woods.  That's not a bad at worst scenario.  But: (1) I want some meat, (2) everybody is shooting deer, (3) it's embarrassing to come home with nothing (my wife endorses fishing for various reasons, one being that there is no greater lock in the world than coming home with trout to eat; the fish are in the pan the second I leave the house; it's only the case that motions must be executed to realize).  I suppose then one must study harder, look for good connections to property (there is a public vs private land dimension to this; not an excuse in any way, but I can say that everyone I talk to who has hunted private land spills over with statements like "I saw so many deer..."    "...I passed on a lot of deer"  and most recently, my neighbor related this on the bus: I already shot a deer and had passed on quite a few others; I wanted to take a break so I sat down on a log; up walked a big ol buck so I shot it.), and spend some real time on it.  Maybe slow to do so though, because there is only so much time.  It's a pie of time, and a piece is given to fishing.  If a piece goes to hunting, by law some other pieces shrink. 

Salute to all who found success this deer season: well done and carry on.  I can say for sure that I harbor no jealousy, only admiration that will hopefully flow into attempted emulation and study.  A person should know what he can do, and know what he has to work on. 

Following are a few images of fall in SE MN: a good season.  A special landscape.  Heck of a place to be, with or without shot deer.