"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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It's Time To Think About Fishing
Copyright © 2003 by Bill Scifres

The setting sun, a blazing ball of fire on the western horizon, told me it was time to start thinking about fishing. But I would have known it on a cloud-filled day. The schedule of fishing shows gives the secret away.

Sure, the temperature hovered in single digits Sunday morning and it was not like a stroll on Biscayne Bay any time, nor any place, in Hoosierland that day.

But the flyer on my desk headed, ”Galyan’s Fishing Expo” says this three-day event for anglers will unfold January 31 and continue through February 1 and 2. It will happen at Galyan’s Store in the Castleton Mall on the northeast side of Indianapolis.

The Galyan’s annual fishing/outdoor extravaganza more or less has opened the season for such events in central Indiana for many years.

Greg Lorenz, manager of the fishing/hunting department at Galyan’s say this year’s show will bring in some of the top names in fishing personalities, not to mention great prices on brand names of gear and tackle.

Jimmy Houston, who probably has more fun than any other TV fishing show host, will head up the list of anglers to be featured on the three days, but Shaw Grigsby, one of bass tournament fishing’s most successful anglers, also will be on hand.

For Hoosiers bent in the direction of walleye fishing there will be Mike Gofron, winner of the 2001 Professional Walleye Tournament tour, and Kim “Chief” Papineau, who owns 17 top-ten finishes on the In-Fisherman Walleye Tournament Trail.

If your interest lies more in Hoosier angling, Wes Thomas and Shad Schenck, two stalwarts of the Indiana Bass Chapter Federation’s invitationals and classics, will be on hand. Jim Bagnoli, founding president of the Hoosier Muskie Hunters, will be there to talk about the whys, and wherefores of fishing for this species, which is relatively new to the state.

Actually, Indiana has offered some muskie fishing for many years, but thanks to Bagnoli’s efforts, catching a muskie as long as one’s leg now is more probable than possible.

Representatives of the Department of Natural Resources, and some of the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s fisheries biologists also will be on hand to answers questions on matters related to Indiana.

Hours for the show will be:  January 31, 6 to 8 p.m.; February 1, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and February 2, noon to 5 p.m.

Lorenz says the first 250 kids arriving on Saturday and Sunday (February 1 and 2) will receive free fishing prize packs.

DEER HARVEST REPORT-- It is going to be a week or two before biologists of the Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) will have any indicators on how the deer harvest went in seasons that ended January 5.

However, Dr. Jim Mitchell, deer biologist for the DFW, thinks the total bag for all seasons will be about the same as the 2001-02 seasons, which counted 103,163 deer, up four percent from the previous year.

Final reports from official deer-check stations were not all in as of Monday [January 13], Mitchell said, adding that he expects to have all reports in a few more days.

Although Mitchell thinks the total bag for seasons just past could be about the same, he would not be mightily surprised if the figure was slightly lower.

SUET FOR BIRDS--Beef suet (the hard fat found around the kidneys of beef cattle) can be of great value to birds in the harsh winter months, but making it available to all species of birds can be a problem.

Making suet available to birds that feed at hanging feeders is no problem. You simply hang a wire suet feeder and the birds will find and use it extensively. Many species use my suet feeder which hangs under the protection of small trees only 10 feet from my back door.

It would be difficult to count the species that use my suet feeder, but they include all of our winter woodpeckers--including beautiful pairs of pileateds and yellow-shafted flickers (yaller hammers to county boys). 

The big problem I faced was how to make suet available to birds at my ground-feeding stations. I tried putting it out in sizeable chunks and it always disappeared. But I feared my best customers were squirrels and raccoons.

Why not freeze it, I thought, to make the suet even more brittle, then shave it thinly on a cutting board to make it crumble. This could be stirred into the cans of sunflower seed and whole grain corn and spread among leaves where my bird customers dine beneath a 15 by 25-foot hedge that is hawk proof.

It works.

All columns are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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