Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Carp with a Bat

Utah Lake is an extremely prominent feature of Utah County.  When the pioneers came into this valley Utah Lake was a pretty, fresh water, clean lake that was filled with fish that were tapped into as a resource to help provide food for the new settlers.  There were thousands of pounds of fish taken out of Utah Lake in the yesteryears.

Over the years with the addition of mud, waste and pollution Utah Lake lost a good deal of its pristine beauty.  Somewhere along this process someone introduced carp into the lake.  They are not a native species but they thrived and grew into the millions.

I have many memories of going to Utah Lake during the spawning season and the carp would be all over in the rushes around the edges of the lake.  They would also be in the rivers feeding the lake and sometime so thick you could almost walk across on their backs.

Utah Lake is pretty consistent in the level that is maintained in the lake.  There has been a time or two, though, when the level dropped very low and also the opposite has happened and the level of the lake has risen sometimes to overflowing.

Such was the case in 1985, we had a very good winter with an overabundance of water came and Utah Lake expanded.  Many of the fields bordering the lake especially on the north end were under water and when the carp started to spawn that spring they were all over the pastures.  Maybe I should call them pasture ponds.

Now I have had my go at carp with a bow and arrow a time or two and it is good sport, but when my boys said let's go get some carp and then showed up with baseball bats I was not sure what to think, but I went anyway.

Out to the pastures we went, or I should say ponds.  Oops! pasture ponds.  The water was about 12-14 inches deep and wouldn't you know the bottoms of the pasture ponds were muddy. So off we went after the carp.

That has got to be one of the most ridiculous things I have ever done.  But it was an absolute hoot!  With a capital 'H'.  Between the muddy bottom and the depth of the water it was not that easy to move around but the carp go like a bat out of you know where.

And so here we are a bunch of grown men (boys) flailing around in those pasture ponds trying to smack some carp zipping by with a baseball bat.  I couldn't have gotten wetter if I had laid down and rolled in the water.

Now a number of those fields that were pasture ponds are covered in homes.  The Lake is still there and has not come up over its boundaries to any great extent in the last 25 years.  The pastures are growing and horses and cows both live in them.  I do wonder about the cycle bringing back the pasture ponds.  One of the old timers from that area remembers three times in his lifetime that the water has come up and made the pasture ponds.  

I have wondered a time or two, since, if the water came back, and the chance was there would I go again at my age, but then I remember, we took my father-in-law with us that day and he was 78 at the time and he had the time of his life.

You may get old, but you don't have to grow up, and you definitely do not want to stop having fun.  (and being a little crazy helps)!     OKAY, a whole lot crazy!

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