The Herald Bulletin

February 12, 2014

Rick Bramwell: Not quite ready to let go of winter


The Herald Bulletin

---- — Just about every year we have a late winter warm-up, usually between Feb. 19 and 24. I notice this because I like to ice fish. The Weather Channel's long-range forecast calls for above normal temperatures.

Most of you are ready to let go of winter, but I dislike that transition period between winter and spring. I will hold on to the ice fishing as long as I can. This is the thickest ice since the 1970s.

Last Sunday, I tried to get rid of two girls after pitching lessons with Roger Murdock, but they asked to go ice fishing. Brittany Contreraz and Madeline Paige King quickly fell in love with the sport.

I drilled holes in 10 feet of water and set the bottom hooks about seven inches off the bottom. The bites came fast, and that helps with first-timers. With giving instructions and taking fish off the hooks, I did not have time to fish.

The girls want to go again when the temperatures are a little warmer. If they do well again, a fish fry will be their reward. I bread my fish with Frying Magic.

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In my backyard, I maintain a five-gallon heated bucket for Daisy and her friends. Those include birds, a fainting goat and two English bulldog puppies. The pups like to play with the electrical cord. They don't chew it but somehow keep unplugging it.

What all drinks from my bucket at night, I don't know, but I replace about two gallons of water a day. I wonder if the water has a unique smell. The goat belongs to my neighbor but has never wondered into my yard until this winter. How did he know I had fresh water?

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There has been a shake-up at the Indianapolis Boat, Sport & Travel Show running Feb. 14-23. This year, the Deer & Turkey Expo is on the second weekend, and an extra day has been added next Thursday. Google search the Indy Show to get all the details.

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Indiana's "CookIN Gone Wild" video series now teaches viewers not only how to prepare their wild game but also how to harvest it, according to the DNR.

The video series launched last year on Indiana DNR's YouTube channel and initially focused only on cooking. Now it also includes everything viewers need to know to harvest the featured fish or game animal, a format called field-to-table.

The first episode in the new format highlights steelhead trout and coho salmon fishing on Trail Creek in Michigan City. Viewers will learn some steelhead and salmon biology, equipment requirements and fishing techniques, including some insider secrets.

Each video ends with a recipe for the harvested game. The steelhead episode offers a healthy, open-faced steelhead salad sandwich.

"CookIN Gone Wild" episodes are at youtube.com/idnrvideos. New episodes come out every other month.

A downloadable cookbook and recipes are at wildlife.IN.gov/7562.htm. A selected recipe also appears in each issue of Outdoor Indiana magazine.

Next in the series is ice fishing at Trine State Recreation Area in Angola.