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Lee Wahlgren

Oh Canada, here we come

Well, a couple more days and the long awaited trip to Canada will be a reality. After experiencing 2014’s January and February, we are more than ready. I know that PHS’ “Pike Queen” Brooke Ford is ready to try to beat her record of last year. Two years ago, she caught a 13 1/2 pound northern pike on a surface lure. Last year, she bettered that one with a 15 pound pike. Who knows what will happen this year?

Another good fishing lady has high hopes for this year also, Hailey Hilmes is also chomping at the bit. Two more ladies are going this year, Brook Stowe and Morgan Cain. I hope they are all successful.

After their last classes on Friday, they will meet the bus at Sullivan’s and we will head north at 5 p.m. All we hope for is a safe trip and some decent weather. The kids will take care of the rest. My next article will give a full report as to how well our kids did.

In my previous column, I talked about winter kill in Bureau County. I still don’t know the final count on farmers’ ponds, but I found out that some of them made it through the winter.

Yesterday, I got a chance to accompany Illinois fish biologist Ken Clodfelter as he was preparing to shock a local lake. I got to do this several years ago and jumped at a chance to do it again.

For the procedure, we take his boat which has a large generator on it and circle the lake. The boat is equipped with straps that hang down from the front. We drive around the lake close to the shore and the generator sends electricity down about 3-4 feet. We travel very close to the shore and if there are any fish close by, they are stunned by the electricity. They float to the surface where Ken will count and measure them. Depending on his facts and figures, Ken can estimate how healthy the fish population is in that body of water.

If the population is OK, the owner doesn’t need to make any adjustments. If little or no fish are found, then the owner usually is advised that restocking is needed. This is the surest way to check fish populations in a lake or pond.

Don’t forget that the first week in June will be free fishing days in Illinois. Take the kids out and have a great day together.

Lee Wahlgren is the BCR outdoor columnist. Contact him at pdub52@gmail.com.