Jay Ford Thurston


Last year my three grandchildren came up to visit with us on the Fourth of July weekend. We took them to fish for bluegills from a pier at Sidie Hollow Lake. They enjoyed catching fish until they ran out of worms...

Then on the Fourth of July we took them to a parade. Diana gave each child an empty ice cream pail. Alex, 10, asked, “What is the pail for?” Diana explained that people driving by will throw out candy and they can get the candy and put in in the bucket. Then I explained to them, “You have to wait for the candy to land before going to get it – and never go for candy that is too close to the parade vehicles.”

This year I told my son, Dan, about the Coon Creek Trout Fest, which is sponsored by Coon Valley Business Association and Trout Unlimited. I told him about the kids fishing from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. And any trout the kids catch they can keep. Then I told Dan, “The trout are planted in Coon Creek just before the fest begins. And some of them are 15 inches long. It’s a great experience for the kids to become trout anglers for a few hours.’’

There are a lot of activities for kids besides catching trout. They can search for money in a sawdust pile, and a number of children’s games from noon to 3 p.m. So I’m now handing out a schedule of the activities for children and adults at the Farmers Market in Viroqua.

I want my grandkids to enjoy the life I have had in pursuing and catching trout. However, the scientific studies today leave me wondering if the trout will be swimming in Coon Creek 40 years from now.

The fall issue of Trout magazine, published by National Trout Unlimited, is devoted to climate change and the world of trout.

In an article by Erin Block, titled “Climate Change and Trout Fishing,” she wrote, “Climate changes are not new. The Earth’s temperatures have always fluctuated: diving to ice ages and rebounding to warm periods. However, what is indeed novel is the rate at which the current change is occurring, at least 10 times more quickly when the past 65 million years. So while organisms have adapted to past changes, the current rate is making it difficult, if not impossible, for evolution to keep up.” So if we don’t change the direction we’re heading Coon Creek will not be cold enough for trout in 2057.

In his book, “Storms of My Grandchildren,” Dr. James Hansen wrote, “Just a 10 percent rise in wind speed increases the destructive potential of the wind by about one-third.”

“Because a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor and thus has greater latent heat, the strength of the strongest storms will increase as global warming increases. The greater moisture content of the air also increases the amount of rainfall and the magnitude of floods.” The magnitude of floods has already been on the increase with flash floods in August of 2007, June of 2008 and Sept. 22, 2016. Those are 100-year floods, that should take 300 years, and we have had them in nine years.

Hansen says there is no such thing as clean coal. Coal has too many impurities in it. And we can’t remove them. I have a rock on top of my table at the Farmers Market. So far only one person has been able to identify it. The rock is called, a clinker. When we were using coal to produce stream and drive the train, the fireman would shovel the leftover material out the door and when one would hit the track it would sound, “clink.” That is where the name came from. And whatever you do, burning coal produces clinkers. The leftover material.

We have to get rid of coal. Since 2007 we have been replacing coal with natural gas. Natural gas is now cheaper to burn than coal. However, natural gas also dirties up the atmosphere but not as much as coal. So it is a step in the right direction. The key is to build more wind towers, and solar energy, as they don’t discharge anything into the atmosphere.

Hansen wrote, “We must be jolted into recognizing the remarkable world we inherited from our elders, and our obligation to preserve the planet for future generations.”

When 19 of every 20 scientists in the United States believe man is basically responsible for our global warning. I wonder why we elect people to office, to speak for us, who don’t believe man is the cause of it.

Your grandchildren, and mine, deserve a better planet to live in then the one we have created with greater wind velocity, warmer weather and more rain. And if we don’t change our carbon emissions we’re putting into the atmosphere, my grandchildren when they are as old as there dad is today, may not be able to catch trout in Coon Creek.

Catching trout in Coon Creek is small potatoes compared with saving the world from the catastrophe that could be awaiting us. In conclusion, Hansen said, “Unfettered burning of all fossil fuels will cause the climate system to pass tipping points, such that we hand our children and grandchildren a dynamic situation that is out of their control.”

Jay Ford Thurston is the Broadcaster’s trout fishing columnist. He can be contacted at

Jay Ford Thurston



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