Time to prepare
It is the time of year when outdoors people meet to discuss the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Congress’s proposed rule changes. At 7 p.m. Monday, April 13, these meetings will take place in every county in Wisconsin. The meeting in Oneida County will be held at James Williams Middle School, 915 Acacia Lane in Rhinelander.
The agenda is full and it is important that we have a good turnout. Among items to be discussed is one that will permit motor trolling. This topic has been discussed and voted upon for several years. Let us get this topic voted on and implemented.
Each year when April arrives it is time to get prepared for open-water fishing. Years ago, when many of the boats and trailers were quite basic, it was a simple process to get the boats and trailers ready. Many of the boats we are using now require a bit more attention.
If you have ignored the electric wires on your tow vehicle the plug may be corroded and could benefit from being cleaned. We have used a wire brush that is designed to fit a 22-caliber plug. These brushes fit tightly and clean the corrosion out of the trailer plug. Trailer lights require routine maintenance after sitting in storage for several months. Some trailers have lights that are sealed and require a minimum amount of work. If the lights on your trailer are not sealed they will probably require attention.
This is an excellent time to put fresh line on your spinning reels. Line that has been on spinning reels for some time will come off the reels in coils. Formerly we had to replace the line on our musky reels quite frequently. Today with the new braided lines the process is not as important. These new no-stretch lines do not seem to wear out.
Even good quality rods require some attention. To check the eyes on your rods use a piece of nylon fabric. Pull the fabric through the eyes. If there is a nick in the eye it will snag on the fabric. If you do have a nick in any of the eyes they need to be replaced.
Before you put your boat in the water you are advised to check the grease level on the lower unit of the motor.
Now is an excellent time to check your life jackets. If they are torn they should be replaced. We have been using one of the automatic inflatable personal floatation devices. They are quite comfortable and are designed not to restrict movement.
For several years we have told anglers who are fishing with us during the early fishing season that some of my favorite places to be are among the coldest places. Those two places are in a boat or in a tree stand. The breezes off lakes that have not warmed up yet range from cool to cold and are particularly hard on the angler’s hands.
For years we have poured a large supply of lead jigs for walleye fishing. You may want to cut back on the amount of lead jigs you stockpile. I am convinced that we will not be able to use lead jigs in the not too distant future because of their danger to waterfowl.
Thus far the discussion has been on fishing. Spring is also the time to grab a shotgun and head out to hunt for turkeys. For our group, turkey hunting is a social activity involving grandkids as well as long-time friends. Wisconsin is becoming the place to go for turkey hunting. More than 130,000 Wisconsin residents obtain spring turkey licenses each year. When turkeys were introduced in northern Wisconsin it was believed that they could not survive in the harsh weather.
The only problem with that thinking was that the turkeys did not read the same information. Turkey season is divided into six one-week hunting seasons. Dividing the seasons up as they are spreads out the hunting pressure.
Longtime Northwoods outdoors enthusiast Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.