Mother Nature often teases and tempts us during early spring.
Sunny and warmers days often lure outdoor types to the water. Unfortunately, those taking a vessel on water sometimes forget common sense. Water temperatures at this time of year often are not much above freezing and dangerously cold.
I’ve seen boats and kayaks on cold water already this spring. Think when taking these along with canoes on to water. Dress appropriately and always wear a life jacket. Immersion in cold water quickly can lead to hypothermia and possibly death in mere minutes.
That was the case recently when a kayaker overturned in Lake Erie offshore from Sterling Park in Monroe, Michigan. The kayaker was only in the water about 20 minutes, but when he was picked up by Michigan Conservation Officer Nick Ingersoll he was, “so cold, he couldn’t move. He couldn’t step onto the ladder (of Ingersoll’s boat); he was frozen and exhausted.”
The man was fortunate since a Monroe County sheriff’s deputy witnessed the kayak overturning. Ingersoll was close to Sterling Park headquarters where he got a MDNR boat. He received the kayaker’s location based on cellphone coordinates obtained when the kayaker had called 911 for help. The deputy (Seth Evans) also had maintained sight of the kayaker and was able to direct Ingersoll through radio communication, once Ingersoll was in his patrol boat and on the water.
The kayaker was in the water, holding onto the kayak with one arm, waving his lit-up cellphone in the air with the other arm, according to an MDNR press release.
“The water was very choppy, making it difficult to clearly scan the water for the victim,” said Ingersoll. “If it weren’t for the kayaker’s lit-up cellphone, he would have easily been mistaken for a log in the water.
After throwing the kayaker a life jacket, he was able to haul him into the patrol boat. He kept talking to him to so he would stay conscious. The kayaker later was released from a local hospital and was expected to make a full recovery.
Such a situation stresses the importance of wearing a life jacket while on the water. Don’t let Mother Nature fool you. Even in calm waters, kayakers and canoes can easily overturn.
* * *
Although he faltered after a great opening day at Grand Lake, Oklahoma, Kyle Weisenburger said he had no regrets after his best touting on the FLW Tour last week,
“What a fun week. I can’t thank everyone enough for all your texts, calls, and messages. I truly appreciate them,” he said. “I wish I could have figured out the puzzle a little more on day three.”
After leading the tourney after the first day with 5 bass that weighed 24 pounds, 12 ounces, the Limaland basser could not match that effort on day two or three. He dropped to seventh after the second day, with 3 bass that weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces and a total of 32 pounds, 7 ounces. He caught only one keeper on the third day and wound up with a three-day total of 35 pounds, 9 ounces and a 20th place finish.
In his last two tourneys, he has moved from 141st place to 106th and now 71st in the points standings. The top 90 anglers on the tour automatically qualify to fish the tour the following year.
“Day one was a magical day I will never forget,” Weisenburger said. “I gained some good points and more confidence heading into the final few events.”
The next FLW Tour tourney is scheduled for Cherokee Lake in Jefferson City, Tennessee, Thursday through Sunday (April 11-14).
* * *
An open house being held Saturday (April 13) at the St. Marys Fish Hatchery is one of six that will be held this month at state fish hatcheries. The open house is from noon-3 p.m. The hatchery is located at 01735 Feeder Road.
Fish grown and featured in the hatch buildings at St. Marys include walleye and saugeye, and yellow perch at St. Marys. Pond rearing of catfish and sunfish is also underway.
A number of family-friendly activities will be held at each hatchery, including the opportunity to see fish eggs and fry in the production buildings, as well as juvenile and adult fish in the raceways and ponds.
* * *
When shooting pictures of wildlife, I’ve found taking, good, quality photos of birds is probably the most difficult of species found in these parts. You likely need special equipment, some knowledge of the species you are shooting, plenty of patience and have to be in the right place at the right time.
People interested in learning how to photograph out feathered friends have an excellent opportunity to learn at one of the best locations in the country on Saturday (April 13). The Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) is sponsoring a free informational workshop on that day at Magee Marsh Wildlife area, located near Oak Harbor. The workshop takes place from 8 a.m.-noon. Preregistration is required by Friday (April 12), as space is limited. To register, contact Meredith Gilbert at 419-429-8359.
DOW photographer Tim Daniel and professional photographer Nina Harfmann will cover topics such as camera types and settings, finding your photography target and capturing a clear and interesting photo. Participants will then have the opportunity to test out their new skills in Magee Marsh’s extensive bird habitat, which draws thousands of birders from across the United States and around the world during spring migration. This is a great spot to see bald eagles as two nests are located on the parking lot near the birding boardwalk.
Participants are encouraged to bring camera equipment including a tri or monopod, binoculars, sturdy walking shoes and insect repellent. A large portion of the workshop will be held outdoors, and participants should dress for the weather. You can have fun on a rainy day, especially water fowling.
Rainy days (not terrible downpours) can be pleasant experiences for water fowling. A week ago my wife and I spent such an afternoon.
We spotted a pair of migrating common loons, pie-billed grebes, horned grebes and possibly goldeneye ducks along with 2 blue herons on Oxbow Lake on the Oxbow Lake Wildlife Area north of Defiance. We’ve seen hooded mergansers, buffleheads and American coots on this small lake this spring. I have seen several migrating loons on this lake over the past two decades.
Along the Maumee River we saw Canada geese in in some small potholes which were formed by plenty of rain, we saw a male and two female wood ducks as well as a pair of mallards.
* * *
Youth wild turkey hunters get a week’s jump on their adult counterparts next weekend (April 13-14).
Youth hunters must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult, 18 years of age or older. Only two wild turkeys may be checked by a youth hunter during the two-day season. Additionally, if two turkeys are harvested in the youth season, no additional birds may be taken by the youth hunter for the rest of the spring turkey season.
Limaland turkey hunters are in the south zone, which opens Monday, April 22.
Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL