Many of you know that the last month has been a difficult one for me. If you did not know, my Dad was battling cancer since last December. Although he never was in a lot of pain, he just lost all strength and vitality and passed away about sunrise on May 18. As you can imagine, his condition and trying to be there for him and Mom have occupied a lot of time in the past few weeks. But, as many of you also know, and as my Dad taught me, I and my kids slipped away when possible for some time on the water or in the field–some “mental health” time. Some of those excursions did not last long, and even when I was able to get away for a bit, thoughts of Dad continually filled my head. In the coming days I will share some of those thoughts. Right now I want to focus on what I often do–the great opportunities we have and have experienced in Nebraska’s great outdoors. Experiences that have meant so much to my family over the years, experiences and memories that mean A LOT at times like these.
I have been hunting turkeys this spring and still am hunting them. It has been one of those seasons where it seems like nothing works out the way we would like. I still have an un-punched tag in my pocket and likely will slip out at least another time or two before season closes at the end of the month. I believe that mentally I just have not hunted as well as I usually would have, and I believe that makes a big difference. My daughter and I could have shot Jakes on many occasions, but we are holding out–it will be mature Toms or un-punched tags. Stay tuned.
I did manage to slip away for a few hours one evening to check an old favorite mushroom spot. Current land management has changed the area and the picking was not as good as it used to be. But, there were still some morels there, and I am betting it will be very good again in the future.
The kids slipped away for some fishing a couple of times, and I was able to go along and do some observing/coaching on one occasion. Growing up in North Platte, Dad and I spent a lot of time fishing interstate lakes. They are still some of my favorite fishing spots. From what we saw, the “spring fishing calendar” is running a little bit behind usual. May was a relatively cold month. We saw some largemouth bass still exhibiting spawning behavior while others were done spawning. In the clear water most interstate lakes have, it is often easy to spot bass, but quite another matter to catch them. But, we have learned a few tricks over the years (HINT: Predator/prey dynamics are always key).
My Montana, rodeo-queen niece was thrilled to catch an 18-incher.
My kids caught some too.
This particular interstate lake has produced some big rock bass for us over the years. The rockies were not up on their spawn beds yet, but they were very catchable. All of the kids scored at least one Master Angler-size fish. Here are pictures of a couple, three of them.