May 18, 2013

Nature's Formal Gown

Southern Wisconsin is ablaze with nature's finest artwork.  The blossoms are everywhere.  Who needs fancy perfume from Fifth Avenue or Paris when nature's perfume is much better.

Waiting For The Dog Days Of Summer

My deck has not seen any merriment yet this year.  The warm days of June are coming and deck will be put to use.

May 17, 2013

Pass It Forward

 I watched my dad mentor the young neighborhood kids in the backyard.  He taught them hunting and fishing skills.  He indirectly taught them how to be good citizens in his lessons.
The next generation of anglers and hunters need to be pried out from in front of the television and video games.
What have you done to make sure that OUR hunting and fishing heritage is carried on????

Have you done your part and taken a kid fishing or spoken at a school?????
Have you helped in the local coop trout stocking programs?

Have you talked a fishing tackle giant "Shakespeare" in to donating 20 FREE rod/reel combo to Trout Fest?
Have you taught kids about selective harvest and responsible harvest?
I do my part.  I have spoken to over 15,000 children in the last 3 years.

I do it for FREE.

My reward is like minded young anglers taking to the streams.

What have you done?

May 14, 2013

Chess Match With Huge Pike

Last January I was at the dam in Gays Mills throwing around some spoons trying to get a pike to come and play and I saw the most awe inspiring thing I have ever seen while pike fishing.

The carp typically school up below the first dam on the Kickapoo River every winter.  This right in my hometown of Gays Mills.  These schooling carp have an interesting secondary effect.  The smaller carp attract the big predators like pike.

Getting back to casting my little cleo for a wayward pike.  I was there about ten minutes.  The carp were schooled up in the open water just below the dam like usual.  There had to be 300-400 carp schooled there.  There was every size imaginable carp there.  I typically work the edges of the carp to get a pike to play.

Then it happened.  The water is typically really clear there and I can see down a good eight feet.  The carp all parted quickly.  It was like the Red Seas being parted in the bible.  The only difference was there was no bearded guy with a long staff parting the carp.  There was an enormous pike parting the school of carp with a smallish carp sideways in its mouth.  I swear I couple hear the jaws tune playing.  My biggest pike to date is 41 inches.  This pike had that one by about 6 inches or so.  It was so wide across the head I was left with my knees shaking.  I guess the monster at 48 inches and 30 pounds.  She did not come back that day.

May season opened on the 4th and the water was high and dirty.  Not many people went to the dam to fish because of it.

The Wednesday after the opener the water was down and a little cleaner.So I decided it was time to try the HUGE pike.  I had gone to Cabelas during the closed season and stocked up on lures I thought the monster would like.

I had new 30 pound power pro on my Shimano 4000 reel and inspected my  Falcon medium heavy spinning rod and was ready to dance with the big girl.

My second cast in to the dam area was rewarded with a follow by the resident monster.  She looked like a mini submarine turning at shore.  I threw right back in there and my lure was freight trained.  It was a relativity short battle.  I caught this 38 incher.  It still boggles my mind that I was actually disappointed in a 38 inch pike.  No more takers that day.
 How is it possible that I was disappointed in a pike of this size?

Mother's Day was last Sunday and I was in my hometown so I broke away from the family and went to the Kickapoo to try again.  I cast and cast for almost 2 hours.  I changed lures at least 20 times during those two hours.  I told myself it was my last cast and I looked in my box and put on a bass lure with a white and chartreuse skirt.  I was just to lift it out of the water and there she came.  She hammered the lure and the one hooked lure just bounced off her armor plated mouth and swam away.  No more hits after another hour of casting.

I took my daughter to school Monday morning and then drove the 32 miles to Gays Mills to try to catch the monster of the Gays Mills dam.  Ten casts in my lure was slammed by a fish.  This fish ran off lots of drag and it had me excited for a while.  Five minutes later I landed her.  It was not her.  It was another nice pike but only a lowly 34 incher.  No more hits after two more hours of casting.
Wife asked me to cut my beard off for Mother's Day. Maybe I need to grow my beard back.

I just got back from the dam. I cast from first light to about 8:45am.  There were no hits.  The weather is supposed to get really warm the next few days and cool down a little on Thursday.  I plan a return trip on Thursday.


This one is from January 2013.  Was after the monster already.
January 2013 pike from dam in Gays Mills


May 12, 2013

Bird Education

I am not a bird person.

Was at mother in law's today and took this photo.

She called it a female gross beak.

The female typically has more muted colors.

But I asked Marjie what was so gross about her beak?

She told me to remember my German and "gross" in German means big.

When I showed her this photo I exclaimed this has to be a red headed wood pecker.

I was wrong again.

It is a red breasted wood pecker.

It has no red on its breast and I questioned it and looked it up.

Oh well!!!!

I am not a bird person.

Mother's Day Present

Last night my wife asked me to shave off my beard for her Mother's Day Present.

You be the judge????

Personally I think the more of my ugly face covered the better.

Mother's Day Pike

Not a monster but the monster did swing at my lure twice.

Rematch coming again soon.

The Gift

 He went to the big trout stream in the sky November 1967. He left behind a 39 year old bride and 6 children; five daughters varying in age from 17 to 3 years old and one son 10 years old. This was not how Len Harris Sr. had pictured his life ending. He had always believed that he would live to be an old grandpa with many grandchildren. He could not even envision his bride being left alone again. Fate could not be that cruel twice in her lifetime.

My mother (Jane) was actually quite familiar with death and being left alone. At age 16 my mother was orphaned along with her 3 other siblings. My mother's parents each died of illness within a couple weeks of each other. The Chestelson children were thrown to the wind after their parents died. The youngest Kurt was sent away to northern Wisconsin to an Aunt that needed a young male to help with the farm (Wittenberg). My oldest uncle (Sig) was away in WWII. The oldest daughter (Betty Ann) went out on her own and landed in LaCrosse where she lived the majority of her life. My mother (Mary Jane) lived with the local Drug Store owners (Ackermann's) until she was 18. The Ackermann's were the family's closest friends and my mother did not have to move out of Gays Mills.

After my father died, my mother became Father & Mother to me. She stressed going to church weekly and it ended up that I went about 5 times a week from age 5 to 15. I was an altar boy. She set by example going to church at least that many times a week. Mom stressed that women should be treated differently than men and women should be cherished. Another thing she set by example was loving one person her entire life. My mother NEVER remarried or even thought about it. It would have been much easier on her with 6 children to have a one was taking my Dad's place.

My mother had her hands full with 5 daughters, toddler to High School senior. She steered the Harris ship quite well and ALL of her children turned out as successful adults. I remember her stressing the need to manage ones finances and she instilled her work ethic in me. I spent many days in the ditches near the local high school picking up pop bottles for their 2 cent redemption. The nights in the rain with the flash light in my mouth and me crawling around on my hands and knees picking up night crawlers to sell to the local Sporting Goods store (3 cents apiece).

My father had given me the gift of loving the outdoors. My mother cultivated it. She made sure I had lures and decent fishing poles. She would go without so we kids could have decent clothing and were properly raised. She would drive me out in the country and drop me off stream side and pick me up just before dark so I could explore new trout streams.

I can remember being jealous of the kids with Dad's and the toys the children got at Christmas and birthdays. My gifts were quite modest compared to the mini bikes and snowmobiles my friends received. As a child I did not understand it well. I didn't see when I was a kid that she was doing well to just put food on table and clothing on our backs.

I can remember breaking 5 pair of glasses my sophomore year due to trying to play basketball. She always seemed to find money to get me a new pair. She was on the side lines for every game from freshman through senior year watching me play football. She was always terrified that I would get hurt. I was 6'3" tall and 162 as a senior. A Bean Pole as my sisters called me. My favorite sport in High school was track. My father had wanted me to be in track so mom followed up on it and made sure i was there and she was there at every finish line cheering me on.

As an adult I have looked back many times and seen how truly good of a job my mother did raising me. She led by example when it came to work ethic. She juggled a couple jobs and was a full time mother and father to us 6 kids. I missed exactly 2 days of school from first grade through graduation. Both of those days were for funerals.

Mom gave me a ride to the airport when I left to go in the army. She told me how proud she was of me and that I really looked good in my uniform. Germany was very far away and she wanted to make sure I wrote her weekly and called ever so often. I sent home 250.00 monthly to her while I was in the army to help her make ends meet. The only two times I have ever seen my mom cry was at my dad's funeral and when she sent me off at the airport.

I am retired now and have a 18 year old daughter that worships her grandma and showers her with kisses and affection every time she is near. Anna tells grandma thanks often for being such a good mom to her dad. Mom has so many grandchildren and great grand children visiting she is never lonesome.

Just recently my mother had an 87th birthday. We were talking and I told her about my thoughts as a child. She knew I felt that way and tried her hardest to provide for us. She told me she could see the disappointment in my eyes at Christmas when I got socks and underwear. Mom told me that my father gave me the best "Gift" of all. ....The Love of the Outdoors...... I hated to disagree with her on her 87th birthday but I did.

I told her the greatest gift I had ever received was having "HER" as my mother.