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The weekend started off great; new reels and fishing line arrived from Cabela’s so the weekend was spent cleaning up rods and reels and putting new line on all the fishing reels. This always makes for feeling good because it means fishing season is just around the corner.

Actually some of the guys were out last week when the weather was a little warmer and had some success. Busse Lake was providing some early-season walleye activity and some small bluegills, and reports came from Skokie Lagoons of small bluegills being caught; crappies were present but not biting. The northern lakes still have ice cover, so it will be a little while before reports come in from the Fox Chain or Lake Geneva, but spring is coming.

As this season begins, it is important to remember our role as part of the whole ecological system, and to make sure we pass this on to the next generation. We need to be the caretaker of this environment we so enjoy and make sure we keep pollutants and garbage out of our waters – because that’s where the fish we love to catch and eat live. Everything allowed into the water and ground water of our area ultimately ends up in the fish, and, if we eat those fish, inside our bodies.

We also need to learn to conserve the resources that surround the water we fish so that these lakes and ponds will continue to exist for future fishermen to enjoy. And, most importantly, we need to be mindful of the fish we catch and practice C.P.R. – catch, photograph, release – and selectively harvest. It used to be believed that everything caught should be released, but we have since learned that some fish should be kept to keep the numbers in check.  Always keep only what will be eaten that day, and there will always be fish to be caught the following day.

That’s the lecture on environmental accountability. Now, get those new licenses (the old ones expire tomorrow), clean the fishing rods and put on some new line. It’s time to get ready for this year’s fishing season. Until next time … keep a tight line.

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