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JACK WOLLITZ Diligence keeps water flowing



Published: Fri, July 20, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



With three-quarter of the earth's surface covered by water, it's easy to take our precious liquid for granted.

Fact is, however, we need to continue to be concerned for the quality and quantity of the water we anglers so much enjoy.

This thought jelled in my head last week as I flew into Minneapolis. The Twin Cities may be home to the Cleveland Indians' divisional rivals, but they also are splashed with numerous lakes and the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River.

Wherever I glanced from my Northwest Airlines window seat, I spied water and imagined the good fishing.

How wonderful, I thought, for those who live in the sprawling metropolis that they can canoe and kayak in urban lakes and work the fantastic bass fishery in suburban Minnetonka. Just a short drive north of town is Mille Lacs, the famous walleye factory.

It would be understandable if a Minnesotan failed to give a second thought to the ubiquitous water in their land of 10,000 lakes.

On the other hand, those of us here in Ohio are all too familiar with what can happen to water that is abused.

We can glance to our north and remember that Lake Erie was a dead sea. To our south, the dirty old Ohio River was an undesirable fishing hole. And we need look no further than our backyards and the Mahoning River for evidence of what kinds of horrors result when pollution goes unchecked.

We're fortunate that Lake Erie rebounded once cleanup began. We're fortunate that the Ohio River has the remarkable ability to purge itself, thanks to the sheer volume of water that flows down the valley.

We are fortunate, but we also teeter on the brink of disaster.

Our species continues to do foolish things. We've proven experience doesn't always teach us lessons.

Yes, our water is -- for the most part -- better today than it was two decades ago. That is thanks to foresight by people who could and did do something about pollution.

But that also is not to say we won't revert to negligence. A shrug of the shoulder. An uttered, "Oh, well." A ballot cast for an environmental Neanderthal. Next thing you know the water is dirty and the fish are dead.

We can't afford to be complacent.

Walleye pro: Niles tournament angler Jim McGowan enjoyed high ranking in the standings of the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail's Mercury/Trilene Northeast Pro-Am after the second round of competition.

McGowan was as high as 15th place after the first round, but slipped to 22nd after the scales dried at the St. Mary's River tournament out of Sault Ste.

Marie, Mich. He had 14.69 pounds the first day, and, like most of the others in the field, added only a bit to his total following round two.

The pros were reporting success with bottom-bouncing spinner-nightcrawler rigs in the St. Mary's River, home to the famous Soo Locks between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. Some trolled crankbaits and others caught fish jigging.

The tournament was to conclude Friday afternoon.

Lowrance sponsor: Fishing electronics company Lowrance has signed on as a sponsor of the BASS Masters Classic and BASSMASTER Tournament Trail.

Lowrance's support begins with the Aug. 2-4 Classic in New Orleans.




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