"Not quite yet!"
Except for God's critters, I was alone in the woods--even the wind was
quiet. But the message came through, loud and clear. It was a gorgeous
Sunday afternoon--bright sun . . . high blue sky with marshmallow clouds--the
whole ball of April wax.
As I meandered about my favored spots in my most favorite woods, it
was obvious that I (as always) was a tad early for morels.
It is important to note here that the calendar said April 14 and I was
in Boone County. If you do not read this for a few days hence, or
if your favorite patch is north or south of Boone County, you could be
up to your eyeballs in morels (what a happy thought), or in my boat.
So although the woods was telling me it was not yet time for morels,
its grassroots citizens were telling me not to go to sleep at the switch--that
it could happen any day now.
For example, the May-apples, which a few days earlier, were just corkscrewing
their way up through the forest floors, now were unfurling their umbrellas.
And the spring beauty, Indiana's most-observed, but least-respected wildflower,
was turning the woodlands into riots of white (with pinkish
But the real prognosticators of the woods on that day were the trout
lily, and the cut-leaved toothwort, the former punctuating the forest floor
like foghorns in a fogbound harbor, and the latter just starting to open
into bashful little four-petal wonders.
The rich-yellow petals of the trout lilies seemed to be 2 ½ (two
and a half) inches in diameter (as large as I had ever seen them), and
their dark brown anthers were nearly half an inch long. They said don't
be long away.
Getting there had required a long, arduous walk down a soggy lane, and
I knew the return to my car would be no less a problem. But I knew I would
heed the call of the wild in the next day or so . . . if I had to crawl.
HO-HUM, HIGH WATER
Many anglers wave the white flag on fishing rivers and streams in times
of high water.
Pete Johns, one of my old river-rat friends on the Tippecanoe River,
welcomes excess water with open arms and lots of live bait. And he always
has catfish or walleyes in the frig or freezer.
When the Tippe is above normal and muddy below Lake Freeman, Pete will
be found watching his poles on the river bank near his house His angling
expertise and efforts are rewarded with both walleye and channel cats.
Pete tight-lines (just a sinker and hook) his offerings (he likes redworms
best) in fairly close to the bank (no more than 15 feet out) because he
says that is where fish feed in times of high water.
"The river is falling now," Pete told me yesterday (by phone), but I
still have a couple of rods out on the dock."
Pete says walleyes--just above the 14-inch legal size limit--are being
taken in good numbers now, but he ads that some larger fish show up now
and then. A popular spot is the swift water below Oakdale Dam, but the
Tippe is a good walleye fishery all the way to its confluence with the
Of course, the Tippe has always been a good forktail river, not to mention
BIG CRAPPIE WINNERS
Two angling teams from Marion cashed in on last weekend's Region 3 Crappie
USA Fishing Tournament at Patoka Reservoir.
Morris and Linda Chestnut, Marion, won the semi-pro Division to pocket
$1,700, and Ron and Kegan Heagy won the Semi-Pro Adult-Youth competition
to the tune of $640.
The Hoosier team of Kevin Elliott and Gary Grey, of Union City, turned
the biggest crappie of the tournament--a 2.24-pounder (2 ¼)--into
a $640 payday.
Winners of the Adult-Youth Division in amateur competition were Bob
Southers, Indianapolis, and Bobby Southers, Greenfield, and Steve Money
and Amy Roehr, both of Fort Branch, claimed third place in the semi-pro
Jasmine Seitz, Jasper, was the top angler in the 0 - 7-year class of
the Kids' Rodeo, and Heath Hanselman, and Jerry Seitz, both of Jasper,
topped the 8 - 12-year-old class.
There were 133 teams in the tournament which paid out $11,000.