OUTDOORS: Rain could bring in big mushroom crop

Mar. 11—We finally made it to March so don't forget to move your clocks up tonight and don't forget that you will need to renew your fishing license before April first.

Around this time of the year, I get questions about mushrooms. The main question I get is "what's the mushroom season look like this year"? My answer is generally the same; "ask me about that June first"!

Just think about all the rain we had this week. If we get this much rain about the middle of April through May 1st, we could get a banner crop of mushrooms this year. But, as we have learned over the past ten years, the weather pattern can change quickly and that is what has happened far too many times recently.

It seems like the weather pattern changes more times than not from cool and wet to warm and windy. The heat and the wind can quickly change a very promising season into a dismal season!

No one can predict a mushroom season but, if conditions are right, this area is well known for its large crops of tasty morel mushrooms!

I've seen a lot of boats on the road already this season and registering your boat can sneak up on you as it has for me. This is a good time to check out your current boat registration and make sure it is up-to-date.

All of the bird species that are the predictors of spring are back and have been for some time. Robins, bluebirds, and red-winged blackbirds are all birds that signify that spring is back.

Now is the time to catch a big bass as they are coming out of their winter feeding period and are ready to feed and get ready for the spawning season which normally starts in mid to late April as water temperatures warm up.

After laying low all winter long, big bass are now on the prowl looking for food and the recent heavy rains have stirred up the water making food readily available. These heavy rains have also made some of the clearer bodies of water murky which should be beneficial to those anglers that like to fish the strip mine waters throughout the area.

Heavy rains stir up the crawfish so you might want to try these colors right now providing you have crawfish in the lake you are fishing. I've always been partial to the jig and pig or, in my case, jig and eel in stained water.

Many anglers like jerk baits and rattletraps in the early spring, others go to suspending lures.

There are a couple of other lures I've used in the early spring with some success. A slow-rolling spinner bait can entice a big spring bass.

Back in the day, I remember taking two big bass one day on a 9-inch red plastic worm called a Flip Tail; a worm popular in the 70s and early 80s. What made it memorable was the fact that I had just taken the water temperature at 39 degrees.

The bottom line on big bass is that you just never know. One thing I can guarantee you is that you won't catch a big one if you are not out there and, early spring is the prime time!

Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Saturdays. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail: pamnsam70@aol.com