Opinion: Outdoorsmen can also be nursesI don’t know that we appreciate the effort our Game, Fish & Parks Department has made to keep our fishing regulations consistent until we fish somewhere else. For example, Wisconsin limits and size lengths can change from lake to lake — even in lakes connected to each other.
By: Roger Wiltz, The Daily Republic
I don’t know that we appreciate the effort our Game, Fish & Parks Department has made to keep our fishing regulations consistent until we fish somewhere else. For example, Wisconsin limits and size lengths can change from lake to lake — even in lakes connected to each other.
Having said this, there are South Dakota differences we need to be aware of. While we have a five-bass daily limit in most places with no size requirements, we do have a variation in some of our local waters. Corsica Lake, Dimock Lake, Firesteel Creek, Lake Hanson, Lake Henry, Marindahl Lake, Menno Lake, Lake Mitchell and Tripp Lake all have a 15-inch minimum length on large and smallmouth bass. We are certainly blessed in our area with good bass waters.
Of all the game and fish species we South Dakotans have available to us, our smallmouth bass may be the most coveted or prized by a nationwide cross-section of sportsmen. Perhaps our whitetail deer would be a close second. It’s lilac time, and spawning bass, beginning with the largemouths, will hit with abandon in nesting areas.
Right now, my favorite fishing is at hand, and though I target smallmouth bass, walleyes form a nice supplement to the bass action. I love fishing rock piles or rip-rap. A slip-bobber rig baited with a live minnow can be found over the side of my boat while I work Gitzits along the bottom. Sometimes it’s too busy to man both. For tube color on the Gitzits, I like smoke or amber.
Smallmouth bass are tenacious fighters that rank with the best of freshwater fish. For whatever reason, some saltwater species swim circles around the strongest freshwater fish. I experienced this firsthand with yellow-fin tuna. Anyway, smallies jump with the greatest, and are excellent on the table.
Lake Francis Case, our home stretch of the Missouri River system, seems to support an annual downstream walleye migration. If you fish the lower or southern end, you really haven’t missed anything yet. The action seems to begin in the northern reaches on Crow Creek, and moves down to White River, Elk Creek, Elm Creek, Snake Creek, Platte Creek, Pease Creek and finally the North Point area. It’s a post-spawn phenomenon.
* * * * * * * * * *
Now that I’ve expounded on my favorite time of the year, I must admit that there’s a small fly in the ointment. On April 26, Betsy got a new left hip. Dr. Matt McKenzie did an outstanding job, and she’s making great progress. However, her recuperation period has required me to take over with the household chores. On top of that, I’m nurse Roger with bathing, dressing, etc. It’s a labor of love, and the bass and lilacs will have to bloom without me for awhile.
My housekeeping experience is limited. Doing laundry, cooking and running the vacuum cleaner goes all the way back to college days. However, my nursing experience may surprise you. In Brookings during the early 60s, I often did private nurse night shifts in the Brookings hospital. I suspect for families with elderly loved ones, paying me the tidy sum of $1 an hour was more economical than paying an RN.
One of the most difficult aspects of the job was keeping senior patients from straying. It often came to fast talking or physical restraint. I still remember an elderly gentleman, Mr. Bibby. He had been in the dairy business, and he would frequently sit up in the middle of the night and tell me that he had some urgent chore to do. I’d ask him what needed to be done, and then tell him that I’d take care of it.
One particular task called for a window display. When I explained how I featured the ice cream and cottage cheese, he was pleased. My brother, John, and I both did the nursing thing. We treated those patients with love and respect, and I believe we did as well as any RN would have done. I suspect with today’s security problems, big city hospitals would frown on non-licensed personnel. I’d call those the good old days.
* * * * * * * * * *
I’ve been asked about a book review I did more than a year ago on survival skills. The book, “Patriot,” was written by John Wesley Rawles. Concerning my Wagner Lake bass crisis, I’ve decided to wait until this coming summer when Game, Fish & Parks will do a creel census and set new guidelines. As the lake is within city boundaries, the city could have intervened as there is precedent.
This past week, one of the nurses on the Sioux Falls Avera orthopedic wing told me he didn’t like my recent column on booking hunts. He opposed paying to hunt. I told him that I didn’t like it, either. While I oppose fee hunting, I also see a need to bring outside money, as well as jobs, to South Dakota. If we don’t market our own product, someone on the outside will do it for us.
See you next week.