Earlier this fall my daughter celebrated her sixteenth birthday. Yes, I realize that is a big one. No, she does not have her driver’s license yet. We are still working on that, there is no hurry. No, we did not throw some outlandish, too-expensive birthday bash.
We went fishing.
Yes, we go fishing for all kinds of reasons, do not even need a special occasion, but this trip was on purpose and there was a special reason. We went over to Platte River State Park to fish one of our favorite spots over the years–Jenny Newman Pond. If you read the 2013-2014 Fishing Guide, here is what is listed for Jenny Newman Pond,
Jenny Newman Pond (Platte River SP) (Cass) – 4 acres, 2S, 3W of Louisville. BLG, CCF, LMB. All species – catch and release. Possession of any fish species other than baitfish while fishing this lake is prohibited. Family fishing lake, open to all children less than 16 years of age and adults assisting children. No fishing from dock. No motorboats allowed.
Look at the underlined portion of that listing and you will see why we wanted to fish Jenny Newman one last time. Emily is my youngest and this would be the last chance we could fish there with at least one of our “kids”. We have spent a lot of time there over the years. Have a lot of memories.
Sure we caught fish, we almost always catch something at Jenny Newman. Have dried off a number of fish that qualified for Master Angler Awards over the years. We did not catch anything that big this fall, but we caught fish.
I believe some of the best things we have done here at the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission in recent years have been some of the opportunities provided specifically for the kids. The youth pheasant and turkey seasons have been big hits in our family, some of the best hunting each year, and an idea I wish we would have implemented a lot sooner so my kids could have taken even more advantage of that. Some of the waters specifically for kids and adults fishing with kids have been another great idea. We have spent a lot of time fishing Jenny Newman over the years because we knew we could go there and catch fish, big fish.
By the way, a huge reason there have been big fish there to catch has been the total catch & release regulation. I believe that is necessary to develop and maintain quality fishing opportunities. Some folks will tell me it is not fair to make the kids release the fish they catch, because they do not understand and they want to keep them. Baloney. All those kids know is what you teach them. My nieces, nephews, son and daughter have never had one hesitation, not one fit, over releasing the fish they have caught from Jenny Newman or anywhere else for that matter. Of course we have taken a lot of pictures, but then back in the water the fish have gone. The kids have always understood that and taken pride in releasing their fish. They know those big fish will be there for them to catch again. No, it is NOT the kids that have a problem with releasing fish, it is the dads, granddads, and uncles that have the problem.
The fishing on Jenny Newman is great, but we have discovered over the years that it can be somewhat “technical”. With the relatively clear water, even though there are lots of nice fish there to catch, sometimes you have to know a trick or three to catch them. Want some hints? I have laid it all out in this blog before, Kid’s System.
We will miss our trips to Jenny Newman. Maybe we will have to kidnap some kids younger than 16 and take them fishing there? If you hear something on the news about some bearded guy in a pickup abducting kids and taking them fishing, do not worry about it, I just want to catch some more big bluegills and channel cats.
Fishing with my daughter is not done, not by a long shot. We already fish a lot of other waters and I am sure there will be more of that in the future. Never fear, we will be fishing, or hunting, someplace–this was the big, “extravagant” gift Emily got for her 16th birthday.
The holidays are coming, think about it, Lifetime Permits.
I will not pretend that I know what I am doing as a parent. I have no idea if I am doing it right or not, just trying my best, just trying to do it the way I was brought up. I will tell you that in my opinion, this is one way to be on the right track. . . .