The Sportsman’s World: Things Don’t Change Much

By Leon Archer

 Even though I got back home on the 10th, the conditions seem like it should be a couple weeks earlier. 

It looks like the lilacs are going to be in perfect bloom for Memorial Day. Most of them are usually past their peak by then in a normal year. 

The bullheads are actually biting pretty well. I suspect the water temperatures have been the cause of their still being in shallow water feeding. 

While a few geese have little ones in tow, most of the females are still tending their precious eggs. The leaves are developing, but even they are behind schedule. 

One thing I noted this week was that the black flies didn’t seem to have been adversely affected by the long cold winter. I was in Redfield on Tuesday, and not only were the black flies very much in evidence, but they seemed to be larger than normal this spring. Maybe they got in a few extra days of growth before they hatched out to pester us poor fishermen.

The fishing was pretty poor, and I didn’t have any bug dope with me, so I didn’t hesitate to abandon the stream to the blackflies and shut down their cafeteria. I have never understood how anything so small could bite like they do and cause so much misery. 

They are bad here, but in Canada they are even worse. I have hunted spring bear in Ontario, and the black flies would just cover me. Of course, I had clothing that kept them off my body, gloves and an insect proof netting around my head, but it was still a weird feeling. 

My mask at times would be so covered that it was almost impossible to see out through it. That had to be one very frustrated flock of black flies.

As of Wednesday, I hadn’t gotten out to see if I could call up a turkey, because getting unpacked and settled back in is a hassle, and if I didn’t help Sweet Thing with it, the black flies wouldn’t be the only thing making my life miserable. 

It pays good dividends to keep momma happy. I learned that a long time ago. I wouldn’t even have been in Redfield if Sweet Thing hadn’t wanted to visit her sister in the north end. 

I was hoping for a bit of rain so I could start building my supply of night crawlers. Hopefully we will get enough between when I write this and when you read it, that I’ll be stocked up for several trips. 

My grandson has a few and Jack Kulle told me he had some, so I may go fishing tonight using their worms. That means I’ll, have some company. I prefer to fish bullheads with someone rather than by myself. 

I heard from a couple of readers that the turkey hunting had been a little slow, but I suspect there are plenty of hunters who have found a bird or two already. 

Getting back home this late is a bit of a handicap, but it doesn’t mean I’m out of luck. I’ve shot birds almost up to the end of the season. Being in the right place at the right time is all it takes. 

If I don’t have my birds before the last weekend, I’m going to get in a day or two down near Johnstown around Peck’s Lake. The outdoor writers’ spring safari will be in session there. It will be lots of fun even if I don’t get a bird.

I hope to get together with a number of readers who have kept in touch with me during my long sojourn in Washington. I have to look at some decoys and talk with some folks about trapping. My schedule is already starting to fill up. Hope to see you out there.

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