×

Local Columns

Lure color counts

As the ice fishing season starts to wind down and the open water fishing season gets closer, it’s good to think about some of the things that can affect our fishing success. There are a good number of those things. We think about where we’re going fishing, when we’re going fishing, or who ...

It took a village of good uncles

One of the sadder realities of growing older is the loss of so many people who played an important role in your life. When I was a kid I had 16 uncles. Today, I’m down to just one. Uncle Ron, my father’s youngest brother, is only 11 years older than I am. He’s a fascinating guy ...

Memorable bites

For one reason or another, I’ve been unable to get on the ice for a couple of weeks. I’m guessing that warmer weather will provide the opportunity and encouragement to go ice fishing a few more times, but for now I’m doing a lot of remembering. Mostly I’m remembering past fishing ...

You cannot do an act of kindness too soon

In case you haven’t noticed, the annual National Random Acts of Kindness Day is coming up soon. The week of February 14 is National Random Acts of Kindness Week and Wednesday, February 17, is the official day. The “kindness movement” began in the mid-1990s with the release of a ...

Catch ‘em when others can’t

When you’re ice-fishing, just like when you’re open water fishing, there are days when the fish get finicky. They might be finicky due to weather conditions, or it could be fishing pressure that has them closed-mouthed. Whatever the reason, just like in open water, there are some things ...

Good character still counts

A conversation with a political candidate of my acquaintance nearly 25 years ago has rolled through my mind frequently in recent months. The candidate told me about a discussion he had with a student when speaking to a high school class a few days earlier. He said he and the class were ...

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 ...