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Original Issue


In New York, a new Conservation Commissioner is appointed while in Iowa a golf course owner, Val Brooks (right, with caretaker Houge), builds a hazard and suffers an embarrassment of fishes

Three months ago Louis A. Wehle delivered an unseemly blast at his career personnel and subsequently resigned as New York Conservation Commissioner on the stated grounds of ill health (OUTDOOR WEEK, June 18 & 25). Many conservationists hoped the imbroglio would discourage political appointments to specialized positions. Last week Governor Averell Harriman announced his choice as the new commissioner. He is Sharon J. Mauhs (pronounced maws), 55, a farmer, attorney and prominent New York Democrat from Cobleskill in Schoharie County. Although Mr. Mauhs is not a trained wildlife biologist, he is well regarded by most New York sportsmen.


Val Brooks operates the Brooks Country Club golf course at Okoboji, a pleasant watering place in northwest Iowa. For years club members sloshing through a swamp which bisected the fourth fairway had complained to him about soggy chip shots and soles. Last spring Brooks finally drained the area and built in its place a neat lake measuring some 200 feet long, five feet deep and 35 feet wide.

After inspecting his handiwork, Brooks decided that it needed but one improvement—fish. He and his caretaker Amos Houge agreed that 100 carp, each weighing about five pounds, would keep the pond free of weeds and algae. He therefore placed an order with a local fishery and left town.

A couple of days later a truck pulled on to the course.

"Where do you want the bullheads?" the driver asked Houge.

The puzzled caretaker checked the waybill. Sure enough, it said catfish. Houge figured his boss had changed his mind without informing him and told the driver to dump the fish in the new pond. They were catfish all right—3,500 pounds worth, or 25,000 fish, and before long 25,000 more arrived.

When Brooks returned the next day he didn't know anything about catfish either, except for the multitudes which roiled before his eyes. But Brooks had patience. Every day he toted armloads of bread down the fairway to the pond. He fed the ravenous fish ground rolled oats and corn. He wearily made the rounds of nearby resort kitchens, scrounging scraps for his 50,000 hungry little mouths.

But it was just too much fish for one man. They began to die.

"I called the fishery and they came back and got some of the fish," Brooks sadly related. Then he thought of holding a fishing contest until he discovered that he would have to take out insurance to protect the contestants.

At week's end they were still packed whisker to whisker but Brooks had hit on a gimmick that was at least giving him a little rest. While searching for additional stale bread to cast upon his fairway waters he discovered that the Wonder Bread people were handing out sample packets of bread. Brooks stocked up on samples, now gives a packet to each golfer as he tees off on the first hole and asks him to toss the bread into the pond as he plays down the fourth fairway. The bullheads are growing.


SO—season opened (or opens); SC—season closed (or closes).
C—clear water; D—water dirty or roily; M—water muddy.
N—water at normal height; SH—slightly high; H—high; VH—very high; L—low; R—rising; F—falling.
WT50—water temperature 50°.
FG—fishing good; FF—fishing fair; FP—fishing poor; OVG—outlook very good; OG—outlook good; OF—outlook fair; OP—outlook poor

BONEFISH: FLORIDA: Keys guides report few customers but best fishing of summer with most anglers averaging six to seven a day on lures and shrimp as H. G. Brunkhurst of Jacksonville landed nine boners on spinning tackle in one afternoon and added a 9 pound permit to finish off. OVG if no hurricanes hit.

TROUT: MISSOURI: FG for rainbows at Montauk State Park and OG as Robert Conway of Route 5, Salem, Mo., took a five-pounder last week. Current River C but L and some rain needed.

BRITISH COLUMBIA: Interior lakes FF/G in spite of warm weather. Long Stellaco and Nithi River producing rainbows to 4 pounds on dries and OVG. Sea-run cutthroats hungry off Oyster River and FG.

PENNSYLVANIA: After lamenting poorest season in memory, anglers recently were given hope by an extended season but last week disastrous storm swept northern tier streams and estimated runoff at 10 days. Sobbing spy says FP indeed.

IDAHO: FG all over, especially lakes Moore-head and Honeymoon in primitive area. North Fork of Snake River above Coffee Pot Rapids excellent on wets and dries. The Moyie River FG with Adams, North Fork of Salmon, North Fork of Clearwater FG and OVG.

PACIFIC SALMON: WASHINGTON: Ponderous silvers and kings running from mouth of Quillayute River to whistler buoy five miles offshore with biggest fish of season a 58-pounder taken last week by John Haksberger of 12151 Aurora Avenue, Seattle; OG with most fish in the 20- to 50-pound class. Inside waters of Puget Sound showing hooknose silvers to 14 pounds and FF on southwest side of Whidbey Island with a trolled Cohoe fly the best bet. Seattle and Edmonds report FF for kings but OG as run moves farther into sound and good weather holds.

BRITISH COLUMBIA: Season peaking as Ken Hubbard of Spokane collared a 64-pounder in Campbell River. FF on bucktails in Nahmint River, Alberni Canal, Comox. Bates Beach, Qualicum and Parksville FG as far down as Cowichan Bay; OG generally.

CALIFORNIA: Chinook anglers advise FG all the way from Trinidad Head to Monterey Bay with most active spots off Trinidad Head, Klamath and Trinity rivers. Some small 10-to 15-pound fish in Sacramento River near Redding. On-the-spot soothsayer claims new rains could start chinook running at all points and OVG.

BLUE MARLIN: NORTH CAROLINA: Hatteras agent reports several big marlin raised and hooked last week but only fish boated was a 306-pounder 11 feet long by 16-year-old Sanders Midyette of Jackson, N.C, who is also star fullback at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia.

ARCTIC GRAYLING: BRITISH COLUMBIA: Many fish on Nations River beyond Fort St. James and the Parsnip beyond Fort McCloud and FG on dry flies.

ATLANTIC SALMON: NEW BRUNSWICK: FP on most pools of St. John although OG for fall run on hook bills. Nashwaak River FF and OG.

NOVA SCOTIA: Western counties SC Aug. 31 but parts of east open until Oct. 15. Over 2,500 fish taken in province so far with St. Marys high stream with 421. Thanks to recent rains FG and OVG.