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    Not Just a Drum

    Don’t tell my six year-old the fish he had just caught was “just a Drum”. It was way more than that. It was bragging rights. It was his trophy. It was….a fish.

    Listen, usually I’m the guy that has to get drug in off of the water. Generally I have to be constantly reminded that it’s time to come in. I usually could fish from sun up to sun down, but not on this outing. Last Saturday’s trip had my fun meter pegged. It was ten straight hours of fishing with very few bites. Ten straight hours fishing in the cold and windy, then the sunny and warm, then the just plain windy. It was enough to peg my fun meter. Imagine how my six year-old felt.

    He hung in there though because, after all, he was fishing. He loves to fish. At six years old Carson is already hooked (pun intended). On the 12th of March, the last day I ice fished this season, he asked me if I would sign him out of school so he could go ice fishing. While many kids his age have playhouses he has an ice shack. While most kids his age are watching cartoons on Saturday mornings, he keeps an eye on the Outdoor Channel. So, to those that know him it should have come as no surprise that he would hang in there on the longest and most frustrating of fishing trips.

    As any six year-old would do, he did find things to keep him busy. He drove the boat, learned how to run the trolling motor, and became the official watcher of the fish finder. He picked out and named his own spot and kept track of the net, just in case. He was entertained and happy to be along despite the fact that everything we tried seemed to be an exercise in futility.

    When the moment finally came nobody was more excited to see the end of that fishing rod bounce up and down than me. After about hour six the goal for all of us in the boat that day became to get just one fish for Carson. We fished with focus. We fished with purpose. We fished without any luck. When the time finally came all of us were excited. I got out my GoPro, Mike and Corey jumped up to make sure the fish made it into the boat. At first Corey thought it was a Walleye because of the gold flash he saw under the water. It wasn’t long, though, before a collective groan was heard from all but one of us.

    The folks in the boat next to us cheered. Carson was beaming. The rest of us, we were bummed. It wasn’t the end result we had hoped for. It wasn’t the intended result of a long day on the lake. The unintended result, however, was much better.

    That trip was 11 days and two snowstorms ago and Carson hasn’t stopped talking about it. He got to drive a boat, he learned how to “pray for fish” (thanks Corey), and he hasn’t let a single one of us forget that he caught more fish than us. He has asked me at least daily when we get to go again and asks the same of the other two guys each time he sees them.

    Henry David Thoreau once wrote “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” I believe it to be a true and profound statement. While our live-well may have been without fish, we didn’t come home empty. In the end, the story of a happy six year-old that drove the boat and landed the only fish of the day is a much better trophy than any fish we could have pulled out of the lake. 

    Fishing Report for 4-17-2013


    Fishing has been fairly slow locally from what I have heard, read, and observed. The weather has really kept a lot of folks at home. I spoke to David at Nature’s Nook in Spearfish. He said Orman had been all but deserted lately mostly because access has been difficult with the latest moisture. Before the big snow there were some reports of big Walleye being caught in the channel but few reports of success in the main lake.

    The Trout fishing on Rapid Creek has been decent, especially near the inlet at Canyon Lake. Anglers have had success with Glo Bugs, Zebra Midges, and San Juan Worms. Many of the fish have been averaging 12-13’ with at least one 19” being taken during the snow yesterday.

    I personally have my sights set on a run to New Wall Dam in the next week. With the prospect of warmer weather I'm hoping to go catch some nice Crappie and Perch and might even target some Northern. Hopefully I can catch one like the 17 pounder that came out of there the first week of April.

    Best of luck to all of those chasing the next big wall-hanger this week. Pass along those fishing reports when you get them and enjoy your time in our amazing Black Hills. Even if they are covered with snow. Until next time, Fish On!

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