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Even hunting dogs enjoy a day of fishing

Sunday afternoon is the best time to go fishing. If a person plans their weekend right, the annoying but necessary chores are done and one can go do what is really important; go fishing.

The plan came together last Sunday. Such things as mowing the lawn and fixing the outside faucet were done on Saturday, so my wife and I could have a leisurely late breakfast and head for the lake.

It is amazing how a dog can tell where a person is going by what they are wearing and the things they load in the truck. Dulce, the standard poodle, made sad eyes and begged long enough we decided to take her with us. Since she is first and foremost a hunting dog, it is generally easier to leave her home and take Coty the lab. Coty will swim endlessly around the boat, getting in the way while trying to fish, but will never wander far from the water.

On the other hand, if not watched closely, Dulce will take off into the timber hunting on her own. This would not be a major problem if she would just hunt and come back. Left to her own devices, she will tree a squirrel or raccoon and keep it there until someone comes to do something about it.

At this time of year, there is nothing to do about her treed prize but a person must first find her before they can make her leave the tree. This process has been known to take hours. She has also been known to catch a skunk, bringing it back for us to enjoy.

Arriving at the lake, we had Dulce jump into the boat immediately to prevent any long and distracting hunting trips.

Fishing was slow at first. Neither my wife nor I got a bite within the first half hour. Dulce lost interest in the first few minutes and stretched out to sleep on the prow of the john boat. She thought this fishing stuff was boring.

We were discussing calling it a day when the crappie started. Within minutes, we went from not getting so much as a bite to a full on feeding frenzy. We were catching nice crappie and an occasional bluegill every cast or two.

It did not take long for Dulce to decide fishing could be almost as much fun as hunting. When she saw one of us set the hook, she was on point. It was her job to try to bite the fish when it landed in the boat. I must say, a large dog trying to catch fish as they flopped around the bottom of a boat is not a lot of help while a person is attempting to get that fish in the live well. She thought she was providing a very useful service in letting us know when we had a fish on and further by cornering it in the boat after being landed.

As the shadows of the nearby timber stretched over the calm waters while the sun began to set, the fish stopped feeding as suddenly as they had started. Dulce seemed disappointed when we quit bringing in a fish with almost every cast. She walked the length of the boat from one of us to the other expecting something to happen at any second. Eventually she went back to the front of the boat, laid down, and went back to sleep, content in the fact she had done all she could to make our excursion successful. On the trip home, she was as content as were we.

Even a dog needs to take off a Sunday afternoon and go fishing.

Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.