I met the nicest young man Wednesday morning.
His name is Jackson Bonsall. He's from West Salem and I might say Jackson, 13, is quite a fisherman. In fact, he caught the first "keeper" sunfish of the day off Ol' Tom's boathouse.
Jackson is a friend of "Junior," Ol's Tom's son, who owns the boathouse after his dad died five years ago.
Junior and I fish off the boathouse at least once a week, despite relatively poor success this year. However, Jackson had the magic touch on Wednesday.
While Junior and I don't actually care about how many fish we catch, it's refreshing to welcome a new face into our morning gab sessions and reminiscing. On Wednesday, Junior and I did more listening than talking. Needless to say, we learned quite a bit about our new fishing buddy.
We learned Jackson, an eight grader at West Salem this fall, is also quite an athlete, enjoying a very successful summer baseball season on the West Salem youth team. He is also well-versed in all sorts of sports from high school, college and the pro level.
We also learned Jackson enjoys fishing on Lake Neshonoc in West Salem where his grandparents have a lakeside cabin and dock. Jackson told us he often catches enough panfish and catfish right off the dock.
After visiting with Jackson for a couple of hours, I realized why some older people don't understand or appreciate our general youth population of today. They simply won't take the time to listen. Those adults can say all they want about today's youth, but Jackson definitely left me walking away with a positive feeling.
Thanks, Jackson. Hurry back. You're welcome anytime. You brighten our day.
Meanwhile, across the Mississippi River, Minnesota DNR conservation officer Tyler Ramaker, stationed in La Crescent, patrolled a very busy Mississippi River leading up to and on the Fourth of July.
Despite the cancellation of events in the area, more boats and PWCs were observed than in years past. PWC violations were encountered more frequently than all other safety violations. A PWC operator was arrested for BWI.
A disabled boat was towed back to shore after the operator hit a wing dam. DNR conservation officer Tom Hemker, in Winona, reports a busy boating week on the river. A swimmer drowned on the Mississippi River in Winona.
Hemker received many nuisance wild animal complaints including deer, rattlesnakes, milk snakes, a bobcat, coyote and eagle. A person who was wanting to return to Illinois watched a rattlesnake crawl up into her undercarriage of the car. After harassing it with water to move to a reachable location, Hemker was able to remove it from the engine compartment and relocate it.DNR conservation officer Mitch Boyum, in Rushford, worked mainly boat and water enforcement over the busy holiday weekend. Time was spent working with deputies. Several minor consumption and boat and water related issues were addressed.
Until we meet, have a great day outdoors.