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Local Columns

Birthdays just aren’t exciting anymore

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, it was dark anyway. It was the night I was born many, MANY years ago. This is the week my personal calendar flips to new year. By the end of January I will be one year closer to my 100th birthday. I’m not planning a big celebration but I am ...

An unforgettable friend

While I think of him often, at this time of year I think even more frequently of a friend, now deceased, who is unforgettable. Duane Gibson was the longtime pastor of First Baptist Church in Des Moines. During the 1990s I read about him in Des Moines Register stories about the ...

Halfway through the ice-fishing season

Although it seems like it just started, in many areas across the ice-fishing belt, the ice fishing season is already at the midway point. In many places it’s been much warmer than usual, so travel on the ice has been limited. Despite that, there are lots of anglers on the ice, and numerous ...

If I were a carpenter

Where we live in the western suburbs of Des Moines there is building activity in all directions. The beautiful cornfield behind our house when we moved here nearly five years ago is now a new townhouse development. Some of the units show “sold” signs before they are completed. It has ...

Fine tune for more walleyes

Avid ice angler John Crane and I talked on the phone recently. He has been doing a lot of ice fishing in his home area of north central Minnesota and on this particular day he had been after walleyes. After my usual questions of “wadja’ catch” and “wadja catch’em on”, the ...

What can be said of 2020?

It’s a brand-new year and we’re all hoping that 2021 will be a better year than 2020. The past year was rough and especially cruel. Nearly all of us have lost someone dear to the coronavirus. In coming decades people will recount tales of the pandemic to grandchildren many times over. ...

Fishing just for fishing

It’s a new year and a new fishing season. Let’s think a bit about fishing and why we like to go fishing, through the ice or on open water. Let’s think just a bit. Not too much. Fishing is different things to different people. Some folks go fishing to catch a meal of fish. Others ...

What’s so special about New Year’s Eve?

For a number of years now I have not stayed up to see the New Year in. I’d rather sleep and I am led to wonder, “What’s so special about New Year’s Eve?” Oh, I didn’t start out that way. As a kid I thought it was wonderful the few times my parents let me stay up late enough to ...

Aggressive baits for aggressive fish

Whether we’re ice fishing or open water fishing, it’s important to try to match our bait presentation to the attitude of the fish. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out the attitude of the fish on a particular day on the body of water that you’re on. Open water or ice, many anglers ...

My, how things can change

Over the years I have often wondered what my grandfathers would say if they could see how the world has changed. My maternal grandfather died in 1965 and my paternal grandfather passed away in 1969. Both had seen the advent of the automobile and air travel. Both saw the beginnings of ...

Keep moving for ice-fishing success

As the ice on lakes and ponds gets thicker across the ice fishing belt, our ice-fishing tactics should change for more ice fishing success. Early in the year, when the ice was thin, a more stationary approach was usually more productive. Fish under thin ice can detect movement better, and ...

A scrub tree made beautiful by Christmas

Few things in our lives are so deeply steeped in tradition as our observance of Christmas. At a very young age we become accustomed to Christmas practices which will tug at our hearts and memories for years to come. So it was in the home in which I was raised. Though our Christmases were ...

Together, we can ensure all Iowans have food this holiday season

reside These may very well be the darkest days of my lifetime. COVID cases spiking, record unemployment and suicide, personal loss, isolation, and children not getting the full education they need to succeed. In the midst of this uncertainty, many of us are hoping the familiar comforts of ...

Ice fishing — open water similarities

There are certainly major differences between open water fishing and ice fishing, but once we get past the obvious differences, it’s important to recognize the similarities. If we keep those similarities in mind, we will be more successful anglers on the ice or on open water. Here are some ...

Lures to catch fish

It’s been said more than a lot of times that “fishing lures aren’t made to catch fish, they’re made to catch fishermen.” When I was first getting into the fishing business I thought that was a pretty accurate concept. I learned quickly that lures that didn’t catch fish didn’t ...

Hybrid learning from a teacher’s perspective

As of October 29, Webster City High School has finished their first quarter of Hybrid learning. Students took 3 or 4 blocked classes that were 90 minutes long. They met in person for 22 days and were at home with remote work for 22 days. We covered the same content and standards that we ...

Ice-fishing ideas

Two weeks ago, it appeared that ice-on-the-pond was going to happen soon. Today, it doesn’t look like that so much. Not so long ago, for many of us, it was a pretty sure deal that we would be ice-fishing on or shortly after Thanksgiving. In today’s world, that bet is off. But the bet is ...

Fishing thoughts

The Open Water Fishing Season for the year 2020 is over for this angler. I don’t get out as late in the year or as much during the year as I used to, but I still get after the fish as often as possible and certainly communicate with anglers a good amount. Following are some comments and ...

Memorable ice-fishing outings

It’s another of those “in between” seasons. Just as there’s a lull between the ice-fishing season and the open water fishing season in the spring, there’s a lull between the open water season and ice-fishing season in the fall. Today I’m looking forward to ice-fishing and also ...

It’s time to think about ice fishing

There’s still time to take advantage of open water fishing, but it’s also time to think about going ice-fishing. This year, particularly this year, if you want to go on an ice-fishing trip, you need to make plans now. People are fishing more than ever, and competition for lodging is ...