Thursday, May 28, 2015

There, I Fixed It - In 3D

If you want an example of how tech and manufacturing are changing before our eyes, you don't have to look very far. 

Recently my daughter wanted a holder for her kayak paddle to keep it from rolling around the top. It's nice to have if you're fishing or want to take your hands off of the paddle to take a picture .
She happens to be a mechanical engineering student, so naturally she was going to make something.

When I was her age I would have probably made something out of a crushed beer can and duct tape. You can scratch the probably because I likely did that for the boat I had when I was in school. And never mind the age, that's probably the solution I'd arrive at today.

Nope. Not her, not now. They have access to 3D printers at school. 3D printing, if you're not familiar is the process that's very similar to regular ink printing on paper. Instead of ink the machine drops a plastic resin that solidifies into hard plastic. Instead of one pass over a sheet of paper, the 3D printer can make multiple passes to build up the piece into the final design. 
She designed a snap-on piece that swivels to accommodate the angle of the paddle no matter where it's placed on the cockpit of the boat. It's two pieces but made in one printing. Nice. Certainly better than a beer can. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Lighting the Way to Summer

Lightening bugs have always been fascinating. Seeing the first one is the definitive harbinger of summer. When they disappear too soon in late summer it's always a wistful feeling knowing that summer is drawing to a close, no matter how much I enjoy fall. 

I saw the first firefly of this year, 2015, on May 23, from the patio at Station One while listening to the Nate McDonough band. I'm making a more concerted effort to record data on events outdoors. It's a hard habit for me to start I'll admit. But here is another start. 

While this flashing bug was flying solo, others are capable of a rhythmic group performance, like this one from Thailand.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What's Biting Here?

There has to be a better way. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is discontinuing their weekly district fishing forecast. This will force many anglers to adopt new ways of getting information about local lakes. But frankly, I'm not sure a lot of thought or research went into some of those reports. "Channel cats are being caught off the bottom on cut-baits and chicken livers" appeared for a number of lakes from June to September. Probably accurate, but not that helpful.

With hands forced, I'm certain with smart phones and technology the outdoor community could crowdsource a better and more reliable fishing forecast machine that would benefit anglers and the ODNR.  Scan a QR code and get a map of the lake and updates from people that actually fished the lake. Over time if you could sort the results by time, date, species and lure that would provide great information for anglers arriving at the body of water and for the ODNR.

It might look something like this: Fish Fox Lake.

I recently learned that Minnesota has an app to enable anglers to participate in a creel surveys every time out. That's great and will save them money. It could also provide additional data. Or not. What's missing is an immediate benefit for the angler to know more about the body of water they are fishing right now. That would be powerful. 

Fish Fox Lake

This an example of the type of information that could be collected in a table to share with the ODNR and anglers for a win, win, win.

I'd want to collect species, size, time temperature, and approximate depth.

That wouldn't reveal too many secrets but would provide and excellent foundation to start.

Crowd-sourced Fishing Log

Type of Water: 
Fox Lake was constructed in 1968 by the Margaret’s Creek Watershed Conservancy District. Maximum depth: 21 feet.


  • Largemouth bass
  • Channel catfish (stocked in alternate years)
  • Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Gizzard shad is the main forage species.

  • Angler Reports:

  • Largemouth bass; caught a 20 in on a purple worm near stumps 5/18/89
  • Gizzard shad is the main forage species: I've never seen a shad here.
  • Ameis:

  • Channel catfish: saw a guy take 6 on 5/11/2015

  • Add a report:

    View Lake Map: Fox Lake

    Methods of Fishing & Best Fishing Sites
    • The best largemouth bass fishing can be found in the spring and fall. As springtime water temperatures warm up, bass will move into shallow water areas to feed and to prepare for spawning. Fish near shallow structure such as tree stumps, fallen trees, or weed bed edges. Spinnerbaits, rubber worms, crankbaits, and jig-n-pig combinations work well. Warm summer water temperatures will usually push fish into deeper depths. Fishing during the early morning hours or in the evening will provide better results. Cooler fall temperatures will trigger bass to move back in the shallow water areas. Fishing success may pick up as bass prepare for winter.
    • Bluegill can be caught throughout the lake from early spring until fall. Popular methods include wax worms or redworms fished below a bobber. Look for spawning beds in shallow water during the spring and throughout the summer. Many bluegill can be found concentrated in these areas.
    • Channel catfish angling picks up by mid-June. Night crawlers, chicken livers, or prepared catfish baits work well when fished on the bottom. Night fishing for catfish is a popular method for catfish anglers.

    Fish Survey Report
     Largemouth Bass GoodPoor21.1

    Visit ODNR official page for Fox Lake.

    Tuesday, May 12, 2015

    Habitat Help

    Cool season grasses suck for upland habitat. If where you live and hunt is covered in fescue and other grasses like in the picture to the left, you know what I mean. But managing food plots can get expensive in real $$, never mind the time

    But potential good news – just saw this on the OutdoorLife website. If you have land and are looking for seed for wildlife purposes, this could be the ticket, thanks to the National Wild Turkey Federation's Conservation Seed Program. According to the article, it's typically grains like corn, milo and wheat. But any hunter in the uplands know that those can be valuable to wildlife in a number of ways, from nesting cover to winter food. The best part - it's free.

    You can read the article in its entirety here: