Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Brown Trout and Bad Leaves

If you like to catch trout, the White River below Bull Shoals Dam is a great place to fish in November because as it gets cold, the fishermen are far fewer. The winter spawning season is drawing near and both rainbow and brown trout are hungrier because of it. And there’s an abundance of rooms available if you want to fish several days.  

If you want information about trout fishing, call Gaston’s Resort, which is only a mile or so below the dam, or call the White Hole Resort, which is perhaps five miles below the dam. Either of those old-time trout fishing resorts can tell you everything you need to know and they are knowledgeable folks who don’t mind telling you all about it, even if you don’t come to their resorts.

After the spawn, in late January and February, the weather keeps down the fishing pressure and that’s when the big brown trout are caught. My biggest ever was 8 pounds but you wouldn’t believe how many brown trout are caught each winter between 10 and 15 pounds.

Fishermen don’t often keep a brown trout; the big fish are released to grow larger. Rainbows seldom exceed a couple of pounds, and they do not spawn successfully in the white as the Brown trout do. A 13- or 14-inch rainbow may not excite some people but if you use a fly rod or ultra-light spinning tackle, you aren’t going to get bored fighting a rainbow trout.

And while I have heard lots of folks say they didn’t like trout, I think they need to learn how to clean and cook them properly. Guides on the White teach people to quickly remove the entrails and leave the heads on when they freeze the fish. I do that too, but when I thaw them out I take a filet knife and before they completely thaw, I filet each side off the backbone and cut out the rib bones. If the skin is a problem for you, just filet it off. Then grill or fry the trout filets and see if you don’t decide they are excellent eating.

Well, deer season is upon us. The orange clad carnival is about to begin, a time when a man’s hunting and outdoor prowess is determined by the size of the antlers he brings home. For the first time ever, I won’t buy a deer tag… I will just hunt on my own place with those free landowner permits, and most likely I will wait until muzzle-loader season when I can hunt deer the way I like to.

I’ll help my daughter get a deer on opening day and take care of the meat properly. But I continue to stress this, because of the mad-deer disease which we now have in our wild deer in Missouri…do not shoot any deer in the spine or head, and in butchering it, don’t cut the spinal column or cut into bone marrow. The prions which make this a horrible disease which men can indeed get from eating a sick deer, don’t seem to exist in the meat, but in the brain, and spinal column and possibly in bone marrow.

I got three letters last week from readers who have lost loved ones to that disease found in deer, elk and cattle. I’ll let you read a couple….

……“My dad, Russell Tibbs, was the best man, best person, I ever knew. He was always there for everyone. He passed away last Thursday from Cruetzfeld-Jacobs disease. He no longer has to suffer. Dad was an avid hunter who hunted in several states and has eaten meat that others have given him, but he has never hunted on any type of deer farm or near one that I know of. My dad’s doctor warned me ahead of time that no one would want to embalm his body. He was right; everyone is terrified of this disease. My dad was sent to Illinois to be embalmed then his actual funeral was two weeks ago. I hope something will help in shedding some light on this horrifying disease and some day families won't have to go through this Hell he endured.” Farrah

And this one….“My mom died from Creutzfeldt-Jacobs disease. It was a confirmed case with an autopsy preformed; she too was treated horribly by the funeral home. She was raised on deer meat. I personally think the Center for Disease Control knows more than they are telling the general public. The doctors that treated my mother (they are the leading doctors in the nation) said they know it is killing more people and it is just often confirmed, but thought to be something else. Mom too was mis-diagnosed at first. It is a horrible disease and is in SW Missouri where she was born and raised and where she died. If anyone saw what my wife and I saw taking care of her in the end as this disease ravished her brain, they would indeed think twice about harvesting and eating their next deer! There is no cure or even treatment for this disease; we haven’t eaten deer since nor will we ever again.” Tony Grachelle

I talked on the phone with the son of John Zippro, the Joplin resident who killed a very large strange-acting buck and then died of the disease. I intend to do a more extensive story for our outdoor magazine, with Missourians who have seen relatives die from the disease commonly referred to as “mad-deer disease”.

Our conservation department fears that an unreasonable panic will cost them millions in the sale of deer permits. And one has to know the chances of killing an infected deer in the Ozarks and contracting the disease from a deer is very, very slim. But that doesn’t do the few who have died from it much good, and there is no telling how many have died from mishandling a deer with the disease and no one knew what they had contracted.

We have a long way to go in figuring out how those prions can be spread. But the disease will become more prominent because of about 100 deer-raising operations in Missouri which will never ever stop feeding their tame deer the food with meat and bone by-products which they believe creates bigger antlers, and a Conservation Department which never could adequately oversee those operations, or prevent them from buying diseased brood stock from other states.

Recently I saw a television newscast out of Springfield in which a young lady was repeating what she had been told…. That everyone should dispose of their fallen leaves as best as possible because if they washed into the local rivers they would pollute the rivers by allowing greater algae growth.

I had to shake my head in amazement. There are absolutely tons and tons of sewage solids dumped on our Ozark watershed, sometimes within a few hundred yards of our streams, and the majority of it comes from Springfield. We soak our gardens and lawns and pastures with every kind of chemical and fertilizer you can think of, which runs off into our streams and we set up feeder pens for great herds of cattle only yards away from creeks and rivers. We have thousands of cattle standing in our rivers year round filling eddies with manure.

All this is something they won’t talk about on television, but now finally the T.V. crews have found a pollution they want to talk about…. LEAVES! For centuries, the cleanest, prettiest rivers in the Ozarks were filled each fall with those terribly destructive leaves! They pollute nothing!

I love floating the rivers in the fall, hunting ducks and squirrels from my boat. This time of year, the rivers look less polluted, even if they aren’t, and except for a fur-trapper here and there, I am alone. When it’s about 30 degrees or so, you won’t see the chaos-and-capsize canoe crowd. But the sights on a winter river are magnificent---wondrous….spectacular. If only the doggone leaves weren’t so bad!

Write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo.65613 or email me at lightninridge@windstream. net. See some great outdoor photos on my website www.larrydablemontoutdoors. blogspot.com.

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