Outdoors & More



Summer catfishing
I love fishing for channel cats in summer. The following are observations I’ve made through my many years looking for Mr. Whiskers.

When rivers are on the rise, good; mayflies hatching, not good. Calm waters with or without current, good; rough seas, not so good. Slip sinker and swivel, good; short pole (5 1/2 feet or less), not good.

Rubber lures “with” holes seem to hold stink baits better than those without. Worms, shad, livers and shrimp are best used with a circle or triple hook.

These need water, nectar plants and milkweed. Plants that attract butterflies include sunflowers, liatris, Joe-pye weed, bee balms, yarrows and butterfly bush. Nectar plants butterflies like include asters, azaleas, coneflowers, lupine, phlox and zinnias. Sadly, butterflies seem to be on the decline in North America, so planting milkweed and flowering nectar plants can be beneficial.

Mini-madtom madness
A catfish—not a very large one—lives in the southern Ozarks in the White River. Up until now, I thought all our

freshwater catfish were either flatheads, channels, blues or bullheads. This particular fish can reach a tad over 6 inches, and is both secretive and nocturnal. Its body looks like a channel cat’s, but the coloring is different with its back a yellowish color with four prominent black crossbars down the length of its body. Being only half a foot long, I suspect not many anglers spend much time fishing for the Ozark madtom.

Did you know?
Space dust tastes like raspberries and smells like rum. This makes me wonder if our astronauts have been up there a tad too long.

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Ÿ By the way, if you’re going on a trip to Mars make sure you “plan-et!”

Ÿ Lemons are fat-free, low in sodium, cholesterol-free, low in calories and an excellent source of vitamin C. Just don’t try to cross a lemon with a cat, as you will get a sour puss.

Ÿ If you are an assistant to a lemon would that make you a “lemon-aid?”

Gun business to Iowa
Over on this western side of our state known as the Quad Cities, some surrounding towns just seem to attract gun- manufacturing businesses. There’s Springfield Armory and Armalite in Geneseo and Rock River Arms in Colona. Years ago, Les Baer Custom moved their local operations across the Mississippi River to LeClaire, Iowa. Yet another Quad City-area gun company, Lewis Machine & Tool, is moving from Milan, Ill. and across the Mighty Mississippi to Eldridge, Iowa. It could be that Illinois is not that business-friendly to companies that manufacture firearms.

New Hennepin Canal superintendent
The Hennepin Canal has served as both a waterway and as a place for recreation. Its length is 75 miles with 33 locks, none of which are used anymore. Today, the canal and trails are used for fishing, kayaking, hiking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, etc. The canal is owned and maintained by the State of Illinois, so it was nice to hear that Tom Vandemore has been promoted to site superintendent. Tom has been a canal worker for over 30 years, and I know from experience that he has been very helpful to the Geneseo Izaak Walton League. The Geneseo chapter is the largest of all the chapters in Illinois. Congratulations to Tom Vandemore on his promotion.

Five-year fishing license
A few months ago, an Illinois state representative introduced an interesting bill that would make Illinois resident fishing and hunting licenses good for five years. I assume there would also be a continuation of the current one-year license. The five- year license would be $72.50, the hunting license at $60, and the combination license would be $127.50. For we seniors, age 75 and older, a five-year fishing license would cost $5—Ha! Of course, that is to assume we make it for five additional years. The bill is stuck in some committee or whatever, so it could be dead by the time you read this.

I recently applied for a part-time job, but the interviewer said I would be depriving a village somewhere of an idiot. I wondered if he was big into buying and selling stocks because at the end of the interview he said to me, “When your I.Q. reaches 50, you should sell.”