A Lifelong Love Of Fishing

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Published on: Aug. 2, 2001

Last revision: Nov. 9, 2010

"At the age of almost 97, I cannot fish anymore, but those memories are still with me." wrote Fred E. Simmons of Kansas City in a letter to the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation.

Simmons was reminiscing about his lifelong love affair with fishing. He wrote the letter after learning that his family had established an honorarium in his name with the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation. The funds, donated by family and friends, will be used for fishing instruction programs at the Department's new Discovery Center in Kansas City.

"I discovered Cole Camp Creek near Edmundson and was introduced to fly fishing by a brother-in-law." Mr. Simmons wrote. "I used a green and yellow popping bug with yellow legs, and I cannot begin to tell you how much pleasure I got from those days, wading down the middle of the creek and catching bass and big perch. I caught my biggest bass (5H pounds) near Edmundson."

His love for fishing brought Mr. Simmons a lifetime of outdoor experiences. He became a keen student of the outdoors.

"I remember the day I saw a hawk swoop down and pluck a 2-foot-long snake off a tree limb hanging over the water," Simmons wrote. "Another time, during the 13-year locust hatch, the air was filled with flying locusts, and many had fallen into the water and were buzzing around. I made a cast and saw something suck in my bug, and the battle was on. It was a 10-pound carp, and it took some time but I finally got him in."

"In my stream fishing I made a discovery." he continued. "In wading from pool to pool there is always a stretch of ripples and small pockets of still water only a foot deep with silt on the bottom.

In the silt I could see small furrows or trails. Following these furrows or trails, on one end or the other, I would find what looked like a moss-covered flat rock standing on edge. Picking it up I found it was a live mussel. So that must be the way they get around, like a snail."

Those who seek to learn about nature sometimes find themselves in an exciting classroom, and Mr. Simmons was no exception. Sometimes his lessons weren't so pleasant.

"There was the day I threw my line over a heavy stick that turned out to be a 5-foot blacksnake floating there," he recalled. "I hooked him about in the middle and

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