Emerald (Pawnee Lake)

Several changes occurred in our life in 1969. We built a new home on West Rose Street in Lincoln and Jim was born April 4. Hickman Lake was farther to travel from West Rose. Again we did some more exploring. No internet searching back then; we explored roads with a vague idea where the lake was located near Emerald. We found a picnic area with a sandy beach, a place roped off for swimming and a boat dock. In all the years we fished at Pawnee Lake, we never fished off the dam. The picnic area was just too convenient for the kids. Usually Dad and Bob took the boat out while Mom and I stayed at the picnic area. Jim was still a baby; Rob and Cindy preferred swimming. Sometimes, my brother Joe and his wife joined us.

Never to be prevented from fishing and still wanting to swim, I would walk out to the edge of the roped off swimming area and cast out my line to deeper water. I had the best of both worlds! One time, a fish took my line, I reared back and set the hook, reeled it in and just as it got up the bank it came off the hook. It was flopping around on the bank headed back for the water. Mom and I wanted that fish; Mom didn't want to grab it (fins) so she sat on it.

Why was keeping that fish so important? First to show Bob and Dad that even though they were out in the boat, Mom and I could still catch fish. We never did catch and release unless the fish was too small. A good catch represented a meal which would help set off the cost of bait, equipment, gas for the car and boat