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‘Conservation Mike’ Echterling earns recognition

Updated: September 17, 2013 8:27AM



Next up must be world honors for “Conservation Mike’’ Echterling. In the past year, he has stepped up from state to national honors for his contributions to the outdoors.

In July, Echterling earned the national Honor Roll Award from the Izaak Walton League of America. That follows his receiving the 2012 Hunter Education Volunteer Instructor of the Year for District 10 from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Bobby Wright, who lives a block from Echterling in Highland, was the mover behind putting the nomination together from the Griffith chapter of the IWLA. The national organization gives out up to 12 Honor Roll Awards each year to non-members. This year Echterling was the first announced of five honorees.

Wright, 78, a retired Inland Steel worker, said the nomination was primarily for the work that Echterling did for cleaning up the Little Calumet River and for the work in starting the Little Calumet River Fest.

“I call him the watchdog for the river,’’ said Wright, a national director for IWLA from Indiana.

“We have a beautiful river and a great thing going here and it is worth preserving,’’ Echterling said.

He learned about caring for animals on summers at the farm of his grandparents, according to his wife Angie.

“It is how he was raised ... it’s not just something he does, it is who he is,’’ she wrote.

“Conservation Mike’’ is how Echterling is known on “Region Bass Buzz’’ on Saturday mornings on WJOB-AM (1230). That comes from his life and from his days as conservation chair for Lake County Fish and Game.

Showtime: The Michigan City In-Water Boat Show opens Thursday and runs through Aug. 25 at the Washington Park Marina. Try joystick maneuvering at the Brunswick Experience Truck or see the Swampmaster Alligator Show. LaPorte County residents enter free on Thursday. Go to MichiganCityBoatShow.com.

Hunting: Squirrel hunting opened Thursday in Indiana, though most hunters wait until more foliage drops.

The Indiana DNR submitted dates for early migratory bird seasons: Mourning doves, Sept. 1-Oct. 13 and Nov. 8-Dec. 4; Sora rails, Sept. 1-Nov. 9; woodcock, Oct. 15-Nov. 28; common snipe, Sept. 1-Dec. 16; September teal, Sept. 7-22; and early Canada geese, Sept. 1-15.

Hunter Ed: A few spots remain for the hunter ed class tonight and Saturday at Cedar Lake Family Golf Center; as do a few for Aug. 24 at the Portage Bass Pro. All registration for hunter ed in Indiana is now at register-ed.com/programs/indiana/agency.

Ducks unlimited: The Kankakee Valley Gun & Gear Bash is Aug. 24 at the LaPorte County Fairgrounds. Contact Eric Stulc at (219) 771-6269; Jeff Dunifon, (219) 851-7964, or Jay Anglin, (574) 210-2844.

Inland fishing: Rivers remain in summer or even fall conditions. Good wading or floating time. ... Hot spot this week has been for bluegill and redear at Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area, though not many boaters were out.

Lake Michigan and Tribs: The blow on Tuesday mixed the water, making temperatures the same top to bottom on the lake, which sets up variable fishing. Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert reported boaters still taking kings, especially for those going deep out of East Chicago. There have been some brutes, including a 24-pounder out of Michigan City.

... No fresh kings came into the streams, though a few coho have. Steelhead are in the streams, but catching is tough. ... Some perch are being caught in 25-29 feet off Mount Baldy and some from Burns waterway.



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