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Into the Outdoors - A Potpourri of Topics

This week, we are going to take a look at a potpourri of topics. These are things which are not sufficient for a full column, yet are worth at least a bit of coverage. They are in no particular order.

I know I probably am obsessed with the coming of spring and summer, but I can’t help it. While the weather wasn’t really all that bad, I had a horrible fall and winter. I’m always anxious for warm weather, but I seem to want it more than ever this year.

Returning birds are always a good sign. I have seen robins in the backyard. I spotted a red-winged blackbird along the Allegheny River, although I did not get a chance to hear his song. The turkey vultures are back, too. I don’t care if they are ugly, I am glad to see them.

Speaking of the river, it behaved itself this year. There was no flooding. It’s time for both sucker fishing and magnet fishing. If you have never tried magnet fishing, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. You just never know what you will bring in. It’s really a lot of fun.

I believe that ice fishing is really over for another year. On the way to Erie to get my Covid vaccine, my son and I saw ice on Lake Wilhelm, in Goddard State Park. Even from the road, you could tell that the ice wasn’t safe. Just as an afterthought, if you can get the vaccine, do so. I know from experience that Covid is not something that you want to go through.

As far as I’m concerned, there is no more beautiful music than the frogs singing in the spring. I haven’t heard them yet. Of course, I am pretty hard of hearing. I know where they are, though, so I can get close. They say that the frogs have to sing once, then look up through the ice, and sing again. After that, the cold weather is done. That would mean that we have one more cold spell to endure.

You know, flies are almost always a nuisance. However, the other day, I saw my first one of the year, and I was delighted. I know I won’t feel that way later on, but for now, it was good.

Here’s something else. How many of you out there remember the pay to fish lakes that used to be around here? One was Lake Marie Eileen, which was, if I remember correctly, near Knox. When I was a little kid, my buddy, the late Paul, “Punka” Lucas’ dad took him and me there to fish. We caught more bluegills than you could shake a stick at. That was about sixty-five years ago, but I still remember it very well. In fact, I think it was a factor in my love of panfishing today. Another pay lake was Jones Dam, near Chicora. It was a trout lake, and it was well stocked. There was a tame deer which hung around there. It was actually a pest, as it would always try to get into your stuff.

And, now, one more great thing about warm weather. That is cooking out and smoking various foods. I got a new smoker over the winter, and can’t wait to try it out. I am, by no means, a master outdoor chef, but I am mighty good at it. Just thinking of the things I will prepare makes my mouth water.

Next week, we will look at introducing kids to the joys of fishing.

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