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Why We Fish Book Reveals 'The Best Day' of Fishing

Guide Dale Stroschein with two of the 5-pound-plus smallmouth bass that we caught on "The Best Day." Photo by Robert Montgomery

Putting aside the many indirect pleasures that we derive from fishing--- relaxation, spending quality time with friends and/or family, etc.--- a good day of fishing for me is when I catch lots of fish.

A better day is when I catch lots of big fish.

And my best day?

That’s what I explain in my new book of essays, Why We Fish. That day  occurred six years ago, while fishing out of Door County with guide Dale Strochein on Lake Michigan, and I write about it in “The Best Day.”

When I told Dale that I had written about it, he said, “I still talk about that day. It was the best day.”

I’ve been trying to contact all of the great people that I mentioned in this book, so that they will know that I included them. But it’s not easy, since I wrote 40 of the 50 essays,  and I’m indebted to lots of folks for what they have shared with me over the years.

By the way, nine of those were written by some very talented folks, including Bill Dance, Dave Precht, Ken Cook, Kathy Magers, Teeg Stouffer, Steve Chaconas, Ben Leal, Chad Montgomery, and Dr. Bruce Condello.  And the 10th originated from the Mystery Tackle Box Facebook page, where Ross Gordon asked followers why they fish.

As I work to promote the book, I received word from my publisher recently that Barnes & Noble stores will carry Why We Fish. And the International Game Fish Association will include it in its library, and mention it in the organization’s publications.

Also, Don McDowell invited me to talk about the book on his Shake, Rattle and Troll radio show this morning.

I hope that you will check it out at Norlights Press or Amazon (click button on right side of page), where it has received 13 five-star reviews so far.


Still No Satisfactory Answers for Why Clermont Chain Is Drying Up

A "waterfront" property on Lake Crescent in Florida's Clermont Chain. Photo by Robert Montgomery

Back in January, I wrote an article about the mystery of why Florida’s Clermont Chain of Lakes is drying up.

Many who live in the area believe that withdrawals--- both authorized and unauthorized--- are the cause. One suspected culprit is the Niagara Bottling Co. in Groveland.

Government officials blame the weather.

The local media, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to be interested. Do a Google search for “Clermont Chain water level” and you’ll see my article at the top. Below that, you’ll see a link to a couple of articles that have been published in the Orlando Sentinel, one of them in 2008.

The second, from April 2013, says that a taxpayer-funded study confirms that yes, indeedy, it’s all about the weather.

But when you look at the shorelines of the Clermont Chain, that’s difficult to believe. The photo accompanying this post was taken in October 2012. The owner of that “lakefront” property tells me that the water level hasn’t changed much, even though rainfall is above normal.

By the way, if you have “waterfront” property on the Clermont Chain, you should know that you are paying more in property taxes than you would be if you were landlocked. I’ve seen estimates that being on the water elevates your property value by 25 percent or more. It might be more than that in Florida. Here’s a link about why waterfront property costs more.

My point is this: If you live on the Clermont Chain and your waterfront property is no longer on the water --- as with my friend’s property in the photo above--- should you be paying the higher property taxes required of a waterfront property owner?


Silver Carp Dying in Missouri River

Silver carp are dying in the Missouri River near Vermillion, S.D. And they’ve been found dead elsewhere as well.

 That’s good news, of course. We have far too many of these exotic invaders in far too many of our rivers.

But what concerns resource managers is that they don’t know the reason or reasons for these die-offs. Possibly they are related to water quality. Or maybe they are occurring because of a disease. If it’s the latter, the disease could pose a threat to other species.

Read more here.


Popular Lake Trout Threaten Native Species in Flathead Lake

Introduced lake trout post a threat to survival of native bull trout in Montana's Flathead Lake. Photo from

Could recreational fishing be prohibited in the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River?

That’s unlikely, but not outside the realm of possibility, as various factions struggle with how to protect the native population of bull trout in Montana’s Flathead Lake.

The introduced lake trout has become very popular with anglers, but it also poses a predatory threat to both the bull trout and the westslope cutthroat trout.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is the wild card in all of this,” said Tom McDonald, manager of the Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

“We need to be proactive, or do nothing at all,” he continued. “What we’ve done over the past 13 years is not enough to guarantee that (bull trout) will not decline in the future.”

FWC is the “wild card” because it administers the federal Endangered Species Act. If the feds decide to move the bull trout from threatened to endangered status, one option in a species recovery plan could be to ban recreational fishing on the lake.

Read the more here.


New Video Shows Boat Owners How to Combat Spread of Invasive Species

Zebra mussels hitchhike on outboards and boat hulls.

Zebra mussels and quagga mussels crossed the Rocky Mountains in or on boats and trailers. Eurasian watermilfoil, hydrilla, and other exotic plants move the same way.

Infestations of these invasive species degrade waterways, harm fisheries, and cost us millions of dollars annually to combat.

 The Invasive Species Action Network has produced a video to show boat owners how they can reduce the odds of spreading these troublesome species. Check it out here.