Monday morning, the Daily Mining Gazette's Michael Scott, Publisher, Brandon Veale, Sports/Outdoor Editor and I met to discuss my writing a once-a-month column for their Outdoor page. Since this was something I had done previously for a couple of daily newspapers while working for the Fisheries Division DNR in the northwest portion of the Lower Peninsula, I accepted their offer. They asked me to write an introductory column designed to tell you about me, relate what my column will contain, and seek input from you readers. Growing up in the Copper Country, more specifically Painesdale, was, as Pat McManus would say, "A fine and pleasant misery!" which, I am certain, led to my career as a fisheries biologist.
As a young man, fishing, hunting and trapping, along with sports, consumed my non-sleeping hours almost exclusively! Upon graduation from Jeffers High (Go Jets!) I enrolled at Michigan Tech earning a bachelor of science in forestry.
After a two-year stint in the Army during the Vietnam conflict, I came back to Michigan Tech and earned a master's in aquatic ecology/fisheries biology. A few months later, I commenced my 36-year career with the DNR, all of which in the Lower Peninsula, mainly in Lansing and Cadillac.When giving presentations to various groups, I stated "I am a Yooper, only a missionary here below the bridge, and will go back to the Copper Country someday."
My columns for the downstate papers were entitled "Biological Bits" as will the new one and were designed to publicly answer the most frequently asked questions received via the telephone or e-mail.
The topics varied from: Biology and life history of various fish species; How and what do fish really see; What happened to our smelt populations; Why does my lake "stink" in the spring and fall. They were strictly biologically oriented and science based, with a modest amount of humor, as you will learn. I will also try to provide a personal and local fishing report, should time and space allow.
Where do you readers fit in, you ask? We hope to make this column an interactive one, with you readers submitting topics for future columns! Anything from Asian carp to Zebra mussels would be acceptable. So, when we get trolling along with this column, please submit your thoughts, ideas, burning questions, or suggestions to Brandon at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop them off at the DMG office in Houghton.
Finally, I still love to fish. As Robert Traver, also known as John Voelker, whom I had the pleasure of spending time with on Uncle Tom's Pond while a graduate student, said in his "Testament of A Fisherman," "because the environs where trout live are invariably beautiful; because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power; because someday I may catch a mermaid; because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness."
Try it some time, you will like it and take your kid with you while you are at it Go Fish!