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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day 2014

I attended the first Earth Day in 1970 at the Arts Terrace at Ball State. I had already completed my degree, but still hung around campus. The times were somewhat scary. Kent state had just happened, and the penalty for possession of a joint was two years in jail. The counterculture movement was gelling and there was no violence and the message of the day was peace, love and caring for the environment. For many years, I returned to the Arts Terrace for Earth day, and it has grown into the concern that has become nearly a mainstream movement.

As my college days are over, I usually try to mark the day in a more private way and I try to make every day Earth Day, not just April twenty-second. I was going to go mushroom hunting, but it was kind of a chilly day and I do not think they are up yet. I did go fishing yesterday at my Late uncle Joe's place in Hancock county. I first stopped at the sawmill in Knightstown to pick up a load of slab wood.

I fished Sixmile creek in a small stretch of that modest stream. There are two places where I have every year caught extremely large smallmouth bass and large stringers of rock bass that I have cooked and eaten.(not the smallmouth).
No one would ever believe the fish that come out of small pools the size of a hot tub. I think I am the only person who ever fishes there, as there is no fishing trash you find in so many places. I have seen the packaging the fishing pole comes in, all the lures, sinkers, bait and drinks and food wrappers scattered in a small area around a beautiful fishing spot. It is hard to imagine a father unwrapping all this stuff for his children and then showing them a good example by leaving a horrible unsightly mess behind. Unbelievable!!! I often clean up this kind of mess because it is the right thing to do.

Anyway, I fished a little with only a small chub to show for my efforts. I was nearly ready to leave when I hooked the largest smallmouth bass I have ever caught or even seen. It was 18 inches and probably five pounds as she was very fat and full of eggs. Both my hands would only just fit around her. I am fortunate that she did not fight very hard. I had six pound test line on my five foot ultralight that would not have held her if she was not so tired from fighting her way up a half mile of small steam from the bigger Blue river. Of course I returned her to the swiftlyflowing waters of Sixmile creek, to give birth in peace. I plan to try some other small tributaries, such as Stony creek, as I believe that the smallmouth routinely swim up these small steams to protect their offspring. They remain there well into the summer until the stream nearly disappears.

Chipping sparrows are calling all over and I saw some warblers, but as I did not have my binoculars, I am not sure what kind, but they were probably yellow rumps.

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