By Jack Spaulding
As the golf cart’s tires ground to a halt in the gravel, my daughter Kristi gleefully announced, “We’re here.”
“Here” was a small, quiet cove off of Lake Santee. The crowds were gone as it was a couple weeks past Labor Day. We virtually had the lake to ourselves.
Kristi and her husband Mike retired and had a home built on Lake Santee. They moved in early in March and Kristi was all about catching up on fishing the lake. She did well, catching multiple messes of bluegill and channel catfish. Every time I talked to her, she urged me to come down and go fishing with her. Finally I got a break and pulled into her drive on Saturday morning.
We began to off-load our fishing tackle, lawn chairs, drink holders and bait bucket, and set up on the grass bordering the lake’s stone rip rap shore protection. Sunny, bluebird sky, 69 degrees and only a trace of wind, you couldn’t ask for a better day.
Once we baited up and cast our bobbers to a hopeful hoard of hungry bluegill, we started reminiscing. The two of us had fished Lake Santee before. Doing the math… it had been 46 years ago. A lot had changed since then. Kristi was 10 years old at the time, and needless to say, I was a bunch younger. After having a great lunch with our hosts, George and Katie Hassenzahl, we went down on one of the docks, and I baited up the hook and cast Kristi’s fishing pole out.
Handing her the rod, I said, “Watch your bobber!”
Briefly turning away, I was startled by her loudly squealing, “I got a fish!”
Looking back, I saw her little fishing rod was showing a severe bend as she hoisted out a fat yellow belly catfish onto the dock.
Unhooking the fish and putting it on a stringer, I rebaited the hook and cast her bobber back off the dock.
Within minutes… it was a repeat with fat catfish number two going on the stringer. In the next hour, Kristi caught four more catfish and relegated her Dad from taking a well-deserved nap to cleaning fish. But, it was a great time!
History repeats itself, and once again it was a great time fishing with my daughter. The fish weren’t quite as cooperative as they were 46 years ago, and our total take was four keeper size bluegill.
Not many fish, but on the fun scale… at least a 9 ½ out of 10.
I’m a believer in a new motto… “Take A Parent Fishing!”
Monroe Lake to celebrate Earth Science Week
Monroe Lake will celebrate Earth Science Week, Oct. 8-14, with a variety of activities for children and adults. There will be two guided geology tours, a celebration of a partial solar eclipse, and additional activities covering a range of earth science topics. Details are at bit.ly/2023-earthscience-monroelake.
The week will kick off with a day-long geology driving tour on Oct. 9 beginning at 9 a.m. The tour is an in-depth exploration of local geological history, focusing on the region around Monroe Lake, and includes several opportunities for collecting rocks and fossils. The tour is limited to 12 people with a $30 per person fee. Registration is required by Oct. 5 at bit.ly/2023-geologytour.
On Oct. 12, there will be a 2-mile roundtrip hike to the crinoid fossil bed at Allens Creek SRA at 2 p.m. No collecting is permitted at the location. The hike is free but limited to 20 people, and registration is required by Oct. 10 at bit.ly/2023-crinoidhike.
On Oct. 14, from 9 to 11 a.m., drop by the campground playground at Paynetown State Recreation Area (SRA) to decorate and assemble your own eclipse viewer using a special solar filter paper to see the day’s partial solar eclipse during which the moon should cover about 45 percent of the sun. A donation of $1 is appreciated to cover material costs. Supplies will be limited.
Later in the day, there will be an eclipse viewing party on the swimming beach at Paynetown SRA from noon to 1:30 p.m. The eclipse peaks at 1:02 p.m. Eclipse glasses will be available ($1 donation requested), and the park will have an activity table where you can experiment with different ways of viewing it.
Additional programs at Paynetown SRA, free with park admission during the week, include:
• Oct. 8, from 10 to 11 a.m., at the campground playground, “Know Moh,” drop by to test rocks using Moh’s Hardness Scale.
• Oct. 8, from 1 to 2:30 p.m., at the activity center, “Phases of the Moon,” drop by to make a diagram model of the moon’s phases.
• Oct. 10, from 2 to 4 p.m., at the campground playground, “Rising Waters,” drop by to see a demo of how water can defy gravity.
• Oct. 12, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., at the Overflow Parking Area, “Digging for Fossils,” drop by to search for real fossils and learn about ancient ocean life.
• Oct. 12, at 3 p.m., at the activity center, “Inside the Earth,” construct a model of the Earth’s interior as you learn about the layers of our planet.
• Oct. 13, at 10:30 a.m., at the activity center, “Chocolate Rock Cycle,” demo using chocolate to show how igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks are created.
• Oct. 13, at 2 p.m., at the activity center, “Cookie Excavation,” practice basic excavation skills used in paleontology on different types of cookies.
• Oct. 13, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., at the campground playground, “DIY Weathervanes,” drop by to construct your own mini weathervane.
The daily entrance fee at Paynetown SRA is $7 per vehicle with Indiana license plate and $9 per vehicle with out-of-state plates. Indiana State Park Annual Entrance Permits are also accepted.
Questions should be directed to the Paynetown Activity Center at 812-837-9967 or email Jill Vance at jvance@dnr.IN.gov.
Juvenile dies in off-road vehicle accident
Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating an ORV accident occurring the night of Sept. 14 in Paragon. At 7 p.m., conservation officers were dispatched to a property near the 1600 block of Duckworth Road.
Upon arrival, officers discovered a 12-year-old was operating a side-by-side ORV on private property when the individual lost control on a gravel driveway causing the machine to strike a tree and flip on its side. The individual was pronounced dead on the scene.
No safety equipment or seatbelts were in use at the time of the incident, which was still under investigation.
Assisting agencies included the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department, Morgan County Emergency Medical Services, and the Morgan County Coroner.
Indiana Conservation Officers want to remind the public ORV operators and passengers should always wear a helmet, protective riding gear, and use all ORV safety restraints. For information on ORV laws and safe operating procedures, please visit offroad-ed.com/in/handbook/ and on.IN.gov/offroading.
Readers can contact the author by writing to this publication, or e-mail to email@example.com.
Spaulding’s books, “The Best of Spaulding Outdoors,” and his latest, “The Coon Hunter And The Kid,” are available from Amazon.com in paperback or as a Kindle download.