“Catch Fish, Release Stress”By Aaron Zinkle • April 12, 2012 • Category: Opinions
Although the dreaded finals week is a few weeks away, it will be here before we know it, and it will be time for many students to head home for the summer, begin their careers as professionals or pick up a summer job.
With finals week, we tend to get stressed out and sometimes overwhelmed. One activity that my roommate and I find very helpful in reducing test anxiety is fishing. As the weather has been uncharacteristically generous throughout the winter and spring, we decided in February that we would try what many local anglers call “Ice-out walleye and northern pike fishing.” We traveled to Yellowstone Lake State Park near Blanchardville, an hour drive, and cast our lures bellow the dam on the Pecatonica River.
We didn’t expect much, but to my amazement I landed a walleye on my first cast. It was an undersized male, which is common as the smaller males travel up rivers for spawning. We spent several hours casting throughout the morning into the afternoon. To be honest, we didn’t catch many fish, but at 11:30 a.m. I caught a fish that I had always dreamed of catching, but never thought I’d actually catch.
My medium-medium fishing rod nearly folded in half as I set the hook. I thought this has to be a big game fish, like a northern pike. My roommate and fellow angler Kyle quickly identified that I had hooked into a muskellunge. My heart raced as I brought in the fish that had been known as “the fish of 10,000 casts” when I was a kid. The muskee measured 36 inches, and is the pinnacle of my fishing career.
The fish, classified as a super-predator, didn’t stop deadlines or tests, but being out in the fresh air and enjoying a hobby that is relatively cheap was very rewarding. Sometimes it’s good to have some quiet time alone, or maybe with a friend. Kyle and I found the outing very relaxing and enjoyable. I found that I wasn’t as anxious or nervous with tests, and the assignments seemed much less intimidating in light of my accomplishment. Fishing can be a confidence booster.
For those who enjoy fishing, I strongly recommend trying out the rivers around Platteville. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, there are 160 different fish species. Some common fish that you may see are walleye, sauger, northern pike, muskellunge, crappie, perch, various catfish and bass, should you choose to fish the Pecatonica River.
Fishing licenses can be purchased online through the Wisconsin DNR, or locally in stores such as Walmart. An annual fishing license costs $20, which is good until March 31, 2013, or a one-day license can be purchased for $8. Both can provide you with fishing regulations, which are updated yearly.
If the trip to the Pecatonica River is too far for you, I would recommend the Mississippi River, or trout fishing right here in Platteville. The Little Platte River and Rountree are good places to fish and relax. Trout stamps are $10, and trout fishing regulations are available online, or where you purchase your stamp.