Gone fishin’


It’s always fishing season if you’re fishing for a compliment.

Last time you got yourself into a pretty kettle of fish, you probably had a whale of a time getting yourself out. Then you realized, “Holy mackerel! Now the whole world is my oyster.”

If that all smells a little fishy, you get my point. Fishing has become a common part of our language on a grand scale. We’re hooked on it. Had enough? Anthony T. Hincks, author and part-time wise man (guy), said, “A play on words never needs any actors.”

But fishing is an action. A very popular one. Yet, for some people it’s the inaction that they most love, the peace of a forest stream, the calm, restful hours on a far-away, placid lake, or the music of crashing waves on a lonely stretch of beach.

Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”

To satisfy everyone’s love of fishing, no matter in which ways they enjoy it, the State of New York, and every other state in the Union, has fishing seasons and sells fishing licenses. With more than 7,500 lakes and ponds, 70,000 miles of rivers, streams, and coastline – a grand total behind only Texas and Florida – New York is a fishing paradise.

Trout Season is about to start. Now we really do know Spring has sprung.

While local waters are well known for good trout fishing, there are a few other catches that might be worth considering, if only for their novelty. Consider these:

  • One of the most recognizable invasive species was introduced from Asia into New York waters way back in 1831 as a food fish. If the water is clean, it’s still good eating and can weigh in at 40 pounds. Unfortunately, because of pollution, DEC recommends caution.
  • At the other end of the species list are the state’s “living dinosaurs,” the longnose gar – native to Chautauqua Lake – have been around for nearly 100 million years, and the bowfin – a NY but not a Chautauqua species – for the last 65 million years.
  • Or consider the burbot, rare, but found in a few Chautauqua County streams, is odd in its mid-winter spawning habits and was once popular among local Scandinavians for their tasty livers – the fish, that is, not the Scandinavians.

This week’s cover story guest contributor, our ever-popular, Everyday Hunter, Steve Sorensen, invites us all to enjoy and celebrate this year’s trout season. In truth, it’s the whole hunting and fishing and camping season.

Stephanie McCraw rounds out our cover this week with the camping scene, specifically for the young scouts among us. Outdoor recreation of every kind makes life a little richer and a lot more memorable.

Popular columnist and editor, Doug Larson, said it like this, “If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.”

And just to put a finer point on it, it might be the best of people who do go hunting, camping, and especially fishing. He reminds us, “Look at where Jesus went to pick people. He didn’t go to the colleges; he got guys off the fishing docks.”

Enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.