I was just finishing an environmental book, "How To Sh...t In The Woods," by Kathleen Meyer, when I received a call from a friend who was all up in the air about a new "weed" he heard was growing in Fish Lake. He said the noxious weed reputedly, "Eats Lakes" and everything in it. You heard of such a thing? Frankly, I'm a little worried about another over reaction by everybody. The DWR's "scorched earth policy" on whirling disease scared the heck out of me.
I can see the board meeting scenario already:
Peter - "Paul, what's your idea on the "weed?"
Paul - "We've got to nip it in the bud. First, drain the lake."
Matthew - "Good, and then we should refill it with gasoline and rotenone and burn it."
Mark - "Yeah, then we should Clorox the ground, cover it with 3 inches of fertilizer, and time-share it for 4 or 5 years.
Luke - "Then we can refill it and restock it. Nobody'll ever miss it."
John - "Lets hurry up and do it, before anybody knows about it."
And I'm worried about the special interest groups too. After demanding an impact study, the UWA will want Fish Lake and 4 million acres around it designated wilderness area (of course, they'll want to keep their existing cabins on site). Their radical arm, the Earth First!ers are probably already spiking trees and disabling machinery.
The ranchers will want the area for grazing, the power companies will want to generate power from the drainage, the lumber mills want the timber, the hunters will want a special hunt to harvest the deer who will lose the water, ...and the fishermen, well, the fishermen can just go to hell, I guess.
I'm real worried about the 90's society. Can we survive stupidity? All the special interest groups (no matter their agenda, well-meaning or not) want to gain, nobody wants to give.
Where was I? Oh, yeah, the "weed" in Fish Lake. You know anything about it?
Sincerely, Johnny Appleseed (seeker of truth, knower of nothing)
P.S. I read an article in last issue about how to slay the wily whitetail. If I understood it right, you build a condo thirty feet high in the trees (did he say on National Forest land?) and chum for them with corn. I just knew the Animal Rights activists here were spoiled. Nothing to sink their teeth into, so to speak. First you break up the deers' natural feeding cycle by training him to arrive at a certain hour to feed on the scraps you provide him. Then, when he's got that down pat to your satisfaction, you shoot him. So much for wily. Tell me I'm wrong, please, but I just know if the Wisconsin guy came here to hunt, he'd ask what time and exactly where the deer were gonna show up; and when told he had to actually hunt for them, he'd think we were stupid not to have figured out how to hunt like they do. My question is, is he right? Are we stupid?
Please help me, old wise editor: show me the light and the error of my ways. I truly need help in these weighty matters.
P.P.S. The magazine is looking much better. Too bad your price structure is too low to support the white paper all the time. Personally, I think you should go to a slick format and lower the price to a quarter.
Editor's response: I'm surprised to hear from you again. I thought you would be off planting apple trees in the Great Sonoran Desert or at least in the 3,000,000 acres designated for wilderness study here in Utah.
I am impressed with your reading material. In spite of the title, that is an excellent book you have been reading. Every person that spends any time out in the woods and away from improved campgrounds should read it. I believe you can buy a copy at REI here is Salt Lake.
As far as the weed problem in Fish Lake, I have been hearing a few rumors but don't know the whole story yet.
What I have heard is that there has been an ongoing weed control program at Fish Lake for years and that the program has not worked. That it has not worked is obvious because the weed band gets bigger and thicker each year.
Apparently either the Forest Service or the DWR (I'm not sure which) recently brought in a botanist to study the problem and the botanist discovered that the weed growing in Fish Lake is exotic. In this case exotic means not native to Utah. I don't know where the weed came from or how it got into Fish Lake but apparently it is outcompeting all the native plants and taking over the lake.
To what water depth the weed can grow, how it can withstand Utah's cold winters, what impact it is having on the aquatic system in the lake and what impact it is having on the fishery, I simply don't know.
I do know that the perch population has exploded and it is possible that the small perch are using the dense weeds to escape from the big splake and lake trout. With all that cover for the small perch, it is no wonder there are so many of them.
I am curious about your choice of names for the DWR employees as you depicted them at their "board meeting."
I hope that by using the names of some of the apostles from the New Testament you are not implying sainthood for any of the DWR employees. Although at this point it may take a miracle to get the weeds out of Fish Lake and if any of them can figure out how to do it, short of the drastic methods you suggest, they may be candidates for that high honor.
Would anyone from the DWR or the forest service like to respond to the weed question? What is going on and what is being done about it?
As far as the wily whitetail deer, I guess you haven't spent much time in the eastern or midwestern US.
Tree-stands and salt licks or grain feeders are commonplace. And, you are exactly right, when I was living in Texas the most common question I was asked when it came to hunting was, "How do you get the deer to come to you ?" The whitetail is a different kind of animal and hunters in whitetail country use different techniques. Are we stupid and is it sporting? I wouldn't touch that one with a 10 foot pole.
Thank you for your compliment on the way the magazine is looking. However, I assume by your backhanded remark that you think 94 cents, is too cheap and we should raise the price. At this point, raising the price would be counter productive to what I am trying to do. You see, I have purposely kept the price down in an attempt to get as many subscribers as possible. Raising the price would limit the subscription base. Utah Fishing & Outdoors is the only voice sportsmen in Utah have and we want everyone and anyone to be able to afford a subscription.