Fighting Dams and Fishing for Smallmouth Bass :)

I left the Klesmith family and headed straight to a village meeting in Amherst- an open forum focused on what to do about the dam. It needs to either be replaced or removed- it can’t stay put in its current state.
Of course, being someone so focused on our cold water streams, I wanted the dam removed. Above the pond, it is a class 1 trout stream, with wild, naturally reproducing brook trout. Below the dam, where the water is 8-12 degrees warmer, there are no brook trout. 😦
The people who live on the mill pond, however… they want to replace the dam. I don’t blame them for liking the look of the water or the wildlife that’s attracted by the pond. I like still water, too… where it is naturally occurring. We have over 15,000 documented lakes in Wisconsin! I grew up swimming and playing in lakes up north, but they were “supposed” to be there. The mill pond is too muddy and shallow to swim in, and there is poisonous blue-green algae.
Anyway, I went with my TU chapter representatives to the meeting to show off a plan for the space where the pond is… We hired a firm to design a public space with foot bridges, bike paths, and a park. The meeting was very civil- folks from both sides were very respectful and tolerant. I was very frustrated, though… we have a lot of brook trout here in Wisconsin, and for some reason, I think the general population doesn’t realize how special it is for them to be wild, native, and happily making fish babies in our streams. With the opportunity to reconnect this resource, I couldn’t believe that anyone would want to replace the dam. There was good turnout at the meeting…

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…and when it was over, I cried on the way home. I need to work on hardening my heart a little if I want to keep going to public meetings!
My spirit was lifted on Thursday after a productive morning of editing and lunch with my favorite photo mentor, Bill. 🙂 Emy J’s has great coffee and fabulous food.

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I rode my bike home in the rain…

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…and prepped the house for a little facelift.
I had the weekend free from weddings but Brian was working a shutdown, so I was lucky enough to spend the day up north.
I’m on a boat…

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Al invited Aaron and I up to fish the Menominee (the border between Wisconsin and the UP) in his drift boat. We caught lots of smallies!

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The sturgeon were going crazy- they’d launch themselves out of the water and do some kind of prehistoric bellyflop on top. It was a noisy situation!
Look at these beautiful flies I was using.

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The water was beautiful, and Al found a perfect place for us to stop for lunch!

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The highlight of my day came near the end, when I coaxed a walleye up to take one of those minnows on top!

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I’ve never caught a walleye before, and I was afraid to hold her for obvious reasons…

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Al was an amazing host. Not only did he show us the time of our lives up there, he cleaned my fish for me and sent me home with ready-to-cook filets. Thanks for the awesome time, Al and Aaron! I had a blast.
That was the first fish I’ve ever kept. I was nervous to do it, but Al promised she’d be delicious! He showed me where her heart and other organs were, and I learned more about fish anatomy 🙂
I cooked her up with fresh beans from the garden, and drank fine wine with good company. Brian and I ate her on our front porch.

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That’s about all the emotional growth I could muster for the week!
Be back soon, friends… with pictures of my newest niece!!

Miles this year: 364.75

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One response to “Fighting Dams and Fishing for Smallmouth Bass :)

  1. Pingback: Baby K + St. Patrick’s day in Chicago + my 16 miler + saying goodbye to Aaron | artistandathlete

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