Dr. Bobby Dale, emergency room physician and medical adviser for SEOPA participated in a seminar on outdoor safety. Glenn Wheeler is an EMT with experience in Search and Rescue who also participated.
Doctor Dale finds problems with hypothermia to be a significant risk to the outdoor public. It results in over 700 deaths per year. It develops slowly in a deer stand but a fall into cold water can cause rapid hypothermia. Hypothermia can happen any time of the year when there is a sudden change in temperatures of the surroundings.
Hypothermia occurs when the core body temperature falls below 95-degrees F. The first level of hypothermia has the patient shivering or sleepy. Treatment is by adding clothing and getting them to a warm place. You can also do isometrics to generate heat.
The second level involves a slowness of reflexes and impaired judgment. It also includes shivering and sleepiness. The subject may feel warm and want to shed clothing.
Severe hypothermia results in a loss of consciousness and ridged muscles. Cardiac arrest can occur. It is important to pile blankets on the patient and immediately get help.
In all cases of hypothermia make use of blankets, sleeping bags, warm liquids, build a fire and get into shelter as fast as possible. Group hugs are helpful.
Preventative measures recommended by Dr. Dale include know your physical limits, avoid wearing cotton clothing, (cotton kills) be prepared for a night out if required, get out of the wind and off the ground, carry fire starting kit, have a bivy bag or plastic trash bag at least 3 ml thick and carry a SPOT locater.
SPOT GPS messenger provides the ability to notify Search and Rescue or your family if you are in trouble. It provides your exact location which saves time in getting help to you. They are available from outdoor stores like Bass Pro Shops.
The life you save may be your own.
Chicagoans speak of “The Hawk” with a kind of reverence and dread in the same breath. The hawk is the wind that blows off Lake Michigan during the winter months. It brings a chill to the northeastern part of Illinois. But, it also brings temperatures low enough to provide safe ice to the area Forest Preserves. It brings great ice fishing.
Most of the area preserves post signs when it is not safe to walk on the ice. They also post alerts on their websites. But, is is still a good idea to exercise great care as conditions are constantly changing.
There are a number of publications and websites available from various forest preserve districts to help you in deciding where to fish. For instance, the Cook County Forest Preserve District has one that is very good. It is the annual Fishing Guide that is available on the website (www.ccfpd.com) contains maps of the various bodies of water including topographical features. It lists site specific fishing regulations applicable to the areas. A printed version of the guide is available from the district’s office at 536 N. Harlem Ave, River Forest, IL 60305 or from any of the district’s Nature Centers.
A tip for anglers venturing forth on hard water is to record the same trips made in summer. Would you fish these same locations in winter? No? Be willing to move when conditions dictate. Fish will move around. It is a good idea to drill several holes and move around the structure.
The basic equipment for ice fishing the forest preserves is the same as most ponds and slews. What you need is a fish locator, ice auger, rods and reels, some ice fishing jigs and bait. Placed on a child’s sleigh you can tow them around with ease. Sometimes 5-gallon buckets hold tackle. They also double as seats when the action slows or to bring home the fish you catch.
Another tip is to ask those you know who do this kind of fishing for help. Even out on the ice other anglers others will help with advice. When the action slows they are only too anxious to share knowledge.
Ask other anglers about good locations on the lake you plan to fish. It helps to ask at local bait shops. They usually are in the know as to where the fish are biting this week.
Good locations often stand out because of the number of people located there. Remember your manners and do not set-up to close to someone else. Ask permission to fish close to someone or find your own place. This in public water but courtesy goes a long way toward a pleasant fishing experience.
Finally when looking for fish look where you would normally find them in summer. Structure, be it brush piles, ledges or rock piles are good prospects. Pay attention to current flow. Once on the ice, cut holes and look around. In an area with a number of holes previously drilled, it may turn out to be a popular place for fish. Being popular with ice fishermen may be because it is a good place to fish.
Cruising on Rend Lake last weekend we got into a school of Yellow Bass. Since we were running spider rigs as well as one guy single pole jigging, it was really exciting for a few minutes. There were fish on as many as three lines at a time. As quickly as it began the action was over.
This small member of the bass family is a pan fisherman’s dream. It grows to a good size for a pan fish. It is large enough to fillet, is good eating and a hard fighter. The yellow bass reproduces readily and you can catch them by the dozens with no danger to the species.
Yellow bass are members of the Percichthyidae family that includes white perch, white bass and striped bass. Other names for yellow bass are barfish, stripe, streak, streaker and brassy bass. It resembles the white bass with a forked tail and compressed body.
The longitudinal stripes (6) of which there are three above the lateral line and three below it. The lower three are not solid as with white bass. Other differences from white bass are the lack of teeth on the tongue and the lower jaw does not protrude beyond the upper jaw. Yellow bass have an olive green back, white belly and sides that are brassy to gold or silver. When sides are silver they are often mistaken for white bass.
Generally 8 to 11-inches in length, yellow bass are not big in the weight classes. The world record is probably just over 2-pounds. Anything in the 2-pound class is a giant. Most weigh less than 12-ounces. All of ours were less than a pound.
The life span of this fish is 3 to 5-years. Those that are 2.5 to 5 inches in length are yearlings. By the third year of their life they have reached a length of 9-inches and change their feeding habits.
Prior to this point they feed on insects and small crustaceans. Later they change to feeding on small fish. This accounts for their delight in taking our jig and minnow combinations. Slip bobbers, jigs, twister tails and small spinners are effective in catching yellow bass. The best live bait seems to be 2-inch minnows. Other live baits include such things as wigglers, waxworms, spikes and pieces of nightcrawlers. The jig/minnow combo is the most popular rig. Small jigs are best. The most popular are 1/32nd to 1/16th ounce jigs.
Ultralight tackle or long poles seem to be the ticket for getting in tight places popular with yellow bass. Two to 4-pound test line is best.
Yellow bass are usually rather dormant during winter months. In early spring they become more active on through until fall. As the water temperature reaches 60-degrees the bass begin to spawn and are in the shallows over gravel beds, stony structures or other structure.
They are always hungry and put up a great fight. The best time to fish for yellow bass is early morning and late afternoon. Adult fish cruise deep during the day and then head for the shallows to feed. Yellow bass are a meaty fish even if they do not have length.
Do not hesitate to keep and eat these fish. They are prolific and are better eating than white bass. In fact they taste something like a bluegill.