Whitefish, morels, Canada geese and new adventures fuel fond memories

This red-shouldered hawk came close to taking Joe Moening’s hat off during a September goose hunt. (Photo by Tom Pink)

Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, I usually look back over the past year and take stock in what my hunting and fishing partners and I did outside. This year, however, our family returned from out-of-town holiday reveling to an extended power outage at home and I didn’t sit down until recently to review the year’s outdoor excursions.

I hadn’t been feeling very good about the past year. I didn’t get outside nearly as much as I usually do, and at first it didn’t seem as if a year-in-review blog was worth writing. I didn’t get out turkey hunting in the spring, nor did I hunt deer in the fall. I missed the duck opener for the second time in two years. I didn’t get goose hunting until well into the September season, and I didn’t shoot a goose until November.

It was a pretty lean year if you look in the freezer. But then I looked through a year’s worth of photos and found a different story.

We caught some nice whitefish in January, and then we enjoyed spending February and March in a new ice shack, after spending several weeks fighting deep snow and slush to get it on the ice. More whitefish made it into the frying pan and we didn’t quit fishing until a week into April.

Our annual Mushroom Camp in May was canceled, but we still found a few morels on a couple excursions, and we made some delicious turkey and goose bratwurst using a little leftover meat from the previous season.

We caught a few walleye during the first week of June, but I didn’t do much fishing after that until the end of the month, when I came in last place during the 17th annual Angler of the Year tournament, a contest among friends in the Central U.P. I hardly wet a line after that until late August, when we fished a quiet Lake Superior hotspot that yielded some really nice smallmouth bass.

The fall hunting trips were much fewer than usual, but I always enjoy getting out with friends and family, even if we’re not seeing much in the way of feathers or fur.

In between the few hunting and fishing outings, we did  some other neat things outdoors. My son and I traveled across the United States in a U-Haul, taking in some beautiful country that I’d never seen before. I performed a wedding for some friends on a remote Lake Superior beach. My wife and I spent a lot of time swimming in the St. Mary’s River – she kept jumping in until mid-October! I grew a first-place gourd in the Great Northern Pumpkin Contest that weighed  just shy of 100 pounds.

As the ice starts to form, we’re already catching a few perch and whitefish. We caught a nice bunch of perch, walleye and pike on the second day of the new year and had a fish fry with friends soon afterward.

Things are looking up!

Happy belated new year to you.

Categories: Blog Content, Bloggers on Hunting, Michigan – Tom Pink

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