My 19-year-old daughter Selina Walters just finished her freshmen year at UW-Stevens Point, where she is majoring in fisheries and aquatic sciences. I am proud of this young lady, who made the dean’s list, but a part of me is kind of sad.
Three years ago Selina and I were fishing in Canada and she told me that she would not be spending many summers at home once she was in college. Selina told me that each summer she was going to take a job that would further her knowledge in her career field, and that is exactly what she is doing this summer.
Selina is living in Stevens Point and doing research out of a kayak in Portage, Taylor, Marathon, Lincoln and Wood Counties. Selina is working for Golden Sands Resource Conservation and Development Council and working with aquatic invasive species.
On Father’s Day weekend I had planned on going on a canoe expedition for salmon on Lake Michigan. When Selina called and told me she was going to come home, I delayed that trip to hang out with her in an outdoor type of setting.
Saturday, June 20
High 74, low 53
Early this morning, a good 2 inches of rain fell in northern Juneau County and that has created good growth for vegetation, and lots of water in our forests and marshes. Today, Selina and I spent some time working in our food plot, and later we ran bear baits, which would be the first time that they were checked this year.
I have created a food plot about a half mile behind my house in a dense forest that is more like a jungle, and though it is work, I love it, and so do the local deer and turkey. I am currently doubling its size by using a chainsaw, ax and rototiller, and let me tell you, I have a ton of respect for all the settlers that created fields out of forests with an ax, oxen and a backbone.
This afternoon we checked our bear baits, and the entire outing was a trip down memory lane, as I kept thinking of the hundreds of hours Selina and I spent running baits and hunting black bear. I honestly believe running bear baits is one of the reasons that she is so physically and mentally tough.
We had clear daylight pictures of a true 500-pound animal and that put a big smile on my face.
Sunday, June 21st
High 76, low 55
I live a near the Petenwell Flowage, which is Wisconsin’s second largest inland body of water. I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I rarely fish it. I generally travel in the outdoor world three days a week, and when I come home, I am only a few days away from my next trip.
Today, Selina and myself, along with our dogs Fire and Ruby, fished the Petenwell. The weather was perfect, the attitude was casual and the fish were hungry.
Every year I am in Canada for Father’s Day, and in many cases so was Selina. The border closing this year due to the pandemic has really bothered me, as I have made that trip since 1982, and when Selina asked me to take her fishing on Father’s Day, that softened the blow.
We trolled using Salmo’s, Flicker Shad, HotnTots and crawler harnesses and we did well on walleye and striped bass.
That night Selina had to head back to Stevens Point, and as I always do, I sent her home with plenty of food, and in this case, all the fillets as she was going to have a fish fry for all of her roommates.
The reality of the last kid flying out of the nest is a tough one, but as natural as the sun coming up in the morning.
If Selina’s career choice stays on track, she will be a biologist with The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service someday. She came up with this goal as a freshman in high school when she began volunteering at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge and has never budged on that decision.
I am glad she came home for Father’s Day!