Welcome summer, let’s go fishing

KIDS FISHING IS FUN, especially when guaranteed catching is the name of the game. Excitement filled the air as parents and grandparents watched and assisted kids with reeling in big bullhead after big bullhead. By noontime, the end time for the event, several hundred bullheads had been removed from Riverside’s Cemetery pond. Thank you to all the kids who helped clear out some of the fish from this pond.

What made the day was the great cooperation from hungry fish, a big welcome mat from the Cemetery Association for area kids, and excellent organizational efforts from the Izaak Walton League and members of the local bass club who assisted kids with baiting and fish hook removal. Mother Nature also provided great weather and an airshow of geese taking off and landing on the water.

When young kids go fishing it is sometimes hard to keep their concentration on the task at hand, particularly if the fish are not biting. In that case boredom quickly turns to “let’s go home daddy” or some other statement that emphasizes that the fun, which was anticipated, just evaporated. What is a parent to do? The adult knows that patience is a virtue, but for kids patience is not yet on their agenda.

The smallest fish was so small it barely registered on the scale as set up by the bass club members. And it bit on a piece of popcorn as bait. Popcorn was provided for treats by the Evening Lions Club. The biggest fish was a 14.4-ounce bullhead. One funny fish, a koi, alias carp, was caught and released. No turtles were caught this year. Records for the boys are as follows: The smallest fish was taken by Owen Eaton, the largest fish by Luke Smith. There was a tie for second place between Brendan and Jaden. On the girls’ side of the ledger, Alivia Eaton pulled in the smallest fish. Ellie Nicole reeled in the biggest. And a girl named McKaylee took second place for biggest fish.

Additional thanks are due to Kenny Selvog, Randy Abernathy and, son, Scott from Marshalltown Bait and Tackle, 405 S. Second Ave, Marshalltown for help weighing the fish. A big thank you is in order to Theisen Supply Store for donating prizes and everybody else who helped make this year’s Kids Fishing Derby a big success.

SPORTING CLAYS shoot at the Izaak Walton League grounds is tomorrow, June 23. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m. Shooters, young and old, novice or experienced, are welcome to try their hand at shooting clay birds out of the air. In sporting clay setups, the position of the shooter and the direction the clay birds come from is very realistic for field conditions on quail, pheasant, grouse, partridge or rabbit. Lunch will be provided at the Ikes Clubhouse.

Another summertime treat is coming soon to the Conservation Center. At 7 p.m. June 26, Wednesday, a live BALD EAGLE will be on display by its handler, Kay Neumann. This eagle was previously injured and nourished back to health even though it can never free fly again. So this eagle is in an educational role to teach people about our nation’s symbol of freedom. The program about the eagle will be held outside if the weather permits. People coming to see the eagle are asked to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets to sit on, as well as a camera to photograph this eagle at close range. It will not be often that a person can get so close to a living bald eagle. So this is your opportunity to participate.

BOATERS have a new law to attend to starting July 1. It will be an easy law to comply with, makes sense and will help curb the spread of unwanted and undesired plant and animal life from one body of water to another. Beginning July 1, it will be illegal to transport any aquatic plants on water-related equipment. Here is how to remember the law….”Clean, Drain and Dry” boats, trailers and any equipment associated with water sports. Boaters will be required to remove drain plugs from boats and leave the drain plug out during transport. The second part of the new law makes it illegal to introduce any live fish, except hooked bait, into public waters.

Overland transportation of boats is the most common way aquatic invasive species are spread to new waters. Once established in a body of water, removal is difficult if not impossible. And the management aspects of the fishery in those bodies of water becomes an expensive task. By taking simple precautions to clean, drain and dry boats, live wells and trailers, fishermen will be doing themselves and others a big favor. And never releasing plants, fish or animals that do not belong there is the other easy thing to do.

SUMMER is the season for lots of outdoor activities. This season we enjoy is an end product of celestial happenings of enormous proportions. Consider these facts for a moment.

Yesterday, the SUMMER SOLSTICE, was the first day of summer for the northern hemisphere. It has to do with the most direct rays of light from our sun shining intently on the northern hemisphere. This is due to the tilt of the axis of the earth with regard to its present position of its orbit around the sun. In fact right now the earth is farther from the sun now, 94,555,000 million miles, than it is on the first day of winter when we are closer to the sun at a mere 91, 445,000 million miles. Since a million of anything is a huge number, it is amazing that light from the sun and its interaction with the atmosphere can have such an effect on us just due to the angle of incidence of incoming light rays. Summer officially began yesterday at four minutes after midnight central time.

Here is another fact to absorb: The earth’s orbital path is not a circle around the sun, but a slightly elliptical path. And this path fluctuates over a period of about 100,000 years from an almost circular path to the slightly more elliptical route. The point of the earth farthest away from the sun is called aphelion which happens on July 4. The closest point is named perihelion and its date is January 2. The earth takes 365 days, 48 minutes and 46 seconds (365.242199 days) to make a full revolution around the sun.

Day length is longest now. How long is the longest day for us in Marshall County? Right now, the day length is 15 hours and 15 minutes. In fact, our longest days have been June 18-24 at 15 hours and 15 minutes. On June 25, the day length will be one minute less at 15 hours 14 minutes. Most of us will not even notice.

Our sunrises are the earliest between June 9 and June 21 at 5:34 CDT in the morning. Sunsets will top out at 8:50 p.m. CDT from today, the 22, through July 3. If one combines the early sunrises and latest sunsets you come up with the longest overall day length of 15 hours 15 minutes between June 18 and June 24. The change in day length later this summer will be very slow at first, just a minute of so every several days. But then the rate of change picks up speed until September and early October when those changes will be several minutes every day. The first day of winter is only six months away. I’m sure all the readers of this column are pleased to hear that. It is just a fact of life on earth for us mortals living at 42.0676 minutes north latitude.

It is the summer season. Enjoy life outdoors. Go hiking, camping or picnicking. Try bicycling, mountain climbing or deep sea diving. Have fun with family and friends. And remember to go fishing, as often as you can. Just ask the kids who attended last week’s Kids Fishing Derby. They will tell you summer is fun. And even more fun if adults take them fishing.

The only thing better than fishing with new friends is fishing with old ones.

Garry Brandenburg is a graduate of Iowa State University with BS degree in Fish & Wildlife Biology. He is the retired director of the Marshall County Conservation Board. Contact him at PO Box 96, Albion, IA 50005.