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Finding Time

The yellow hills of Halsey

Man this summer has gone by quickly.  With summer camps, shooting competitions, major conferences and several odds and ends, June-July and a bit of August have just disappeared.  So, in the last few weeks I have taken on the challenge to sneak away from my responsibilities and spend some time outdoors with family as best as I can.  The first such outing included the Nebraska Bowhunters Association Jamboree.  This event allows you to wander the National Forest near Halsey to fling arrows at the foam critters that roam there each year the first weekend of August.  Not only is this great prep for September 15’s opener of archery season it’s a time to enjoy the atmosphere of where the sandhills meet the largest hand-planted forest on the planet – always impressive.  This year’s moisture, after the stress of last year’s drought, has the hills covered in color.  Most hills in the Thedford area are yellow with wild sunflower.  I heard from several sources with more sandhill experience than me that they had never seen the area covered in so many blooms.  This is a flower show you shouldn’t miss.

Best fortune - ever!

A day or two after that excursion I had a lunch-meeting that took place at a Chinese restaurant near my office.  It was a productive meeting but my favorite part came with the fortune cookie.  My little white, slip of paper read “If you go fishing, your catch will be plentiful“.  How can you argue with that cookie?  So I went fishing with my son and brother, Gabe, the next day at Wanahoo.  It was our first time on the lake and our early casting produced only a follow of my son’s spinner-bait.  We switched gears to panfish, knowing that fortune cookie wouldn’t lie – they are too sweet.  Battling the trees we scraped the boat into the trees and fought with underwater branches when Gabe finally caught the first fish.  A fat black crappie.  For the next few hours we picked up some more crappie and once in awhile tussled with a small pike – rarely landing them as they usually cut our thin line with their sharp teeth.  A few photos and all fish were tossed back.

Crappie in the Sticks
White bass action on the Calamus

A few days later I was able to get to Calamus with Gabe to test the fortune cookie again – this time on white bass and wipers.   First morning was beyond calm thanks to the eerie covering of fog.  The second morning was washed out by a couple of large storms.  Third morning a smaller thunderstorm slowed us down, but didn’t knock us out of the game completely.  When it wasn’t lightening or raining too hard we caught some fish.  The same fronts that made for cool sleeping (for August) at our camp, made the fishing a bit more challenging.  We still landed some whites, walleyes and even one dandy wiper.  A good trip that has us looking forward to more.  We even tried our luck at night fishing with the help of a submersible light – we still have much to learn with that method, but thankfully we had a back-up battery.


Now if I could arrange a fall archery trip that included some fishing, too – a zing & fling adventure…


About Aaron Hershberger

Aaron "hershy" Hershberger is an Outdoor Education Specialist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He loves being outdoors. When not outdoors he is day-dreaming about being outdoors and/or whining that he is not outdoors. Hershy has been a Hunter Education Instructor, in two states, for nearly three decades & a Bowhunter Education Instructor for over 20 years.

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