Fishing contest returns

Oh, this is going to be a good one. You just can’t beat a good family fishing contest. Do not expect impartiality in this column this week, folks. Do not look for “fair and balanced.” It’s one of my favorite subjects.

Sunday, June 9 is the day, folks. That Sunday is the day. Mark your calendars. Circle the date. The 28th year; the 28th time; it’s the day of the 28th annual Izaak Walton Family Fishing Contest. It starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. rain or shine. It’s a public thing, open to everyone – young and old alike. It’s impossible to turn around at the annual Izaak Walton Family Fishing Contest without tripping over tradition. This contest is simply hip-deep in history, wading in milestones and awash with good things. It’s almost like a multi-family reunion. In many ways, it is one big family fishing reunion.

All of that will be evident that Sunday at Briggs Woods Lake, where it’s always been. You will be there, won’t you? Registration will be at the south boat dock at Briggs Woods Lake. For ages 16 and older, the cost is $10. For ages 15 and under, the cost is $3. How can one go wrong? Fish from a boat or stand on the shore, it’s for kids and adults alike. For the little guy and gal, whether you fish once a year or once a day; be you young or old; if you want to fish, have fun and make some fast dollars this fishing contest is your “Field of Dreams.” Fish any part of the day or all day long.

Registration forms and official rules will be available. Children must be accompanied by a parent or an adult. All state and county rules are in force. All bass and walleyes must be measured and released as soon as possible. For kids 12 years old and younger, 5 $20 prizes will be awarded for the smallest fish of any species. Door prizes will be awarded throughout the day. Prizes of $100 each will be awarded for the longest fish of the following species: bass, walleye, crappie, bluegill. You may catch more that one species and be eligible for more than one prize. You don’t need a big bass boat to fish this one a simple Zebco rod and reel are all you’ll really. All largemouth bass and walleyes have a lake-imposed 15-inch minimum length to be legal. Therefore, all bass and walleyes caught under the 15-inch mark cannot be turned in to be measured and must be returned to the lake.

Crossbows approved

Crossbows could be used for hunting deer under legislation approved by the House. This one caught me by surprise. I didn’t see it coming. Years ago – many years ago – crossbows were approved to be used by deer hunters with a medical or disability problem. It’s been in the fire along time, but few ever thought the idea would fly, so that eventually crossbows could be used by all deer hunters. But then, years ago, few of us who were shooting longbows ever thought there would be a thing called a recurve bow. And when we went to using the recurve bow, few of us ever thought there would be a thing called a compound bow either. Now, we could be in the age of crossbows during the current late muzzleloader season, which runs from mid-December to mid-January. The measure passed on a 94-0 vote. It now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

Currently, a physically disabled person incapable of shooting a bow and arrow can get a special crossbow license to hunt deer and turkey. Under the wording of the proposed new law, hunters would not be required to purchase a separate crossbow hunting license, in addition to the license they already have.

Ice-out time

Most Hamilton County ponds and lakes are now ice-free. Little Wall Lake south of Jewell was still covered with ice over in the corners, but by the time you read this, the lake will be open.

I stopped by Briggs Woods Lake the other morning and park employees were installing the boat docks. The lake water is cold, real cold just a degree or two above the freezing mark. Beware, however, of Lake Cornelia. In the channel leading to the quiet water area there is a lot of variation in the thickness of the ice, and as we go to press, there is a lot of slush on the ice.

And now have a good weekend.