Outdoors: Williams a legend in his own right
By Dale Bowman Post-Tribune correspondent September 15, 2011 11:20PM
Updated: January 23, 2012 3:49AM
Homer Williams’ prayers at the Fox Lake annual wild game feed are legendary. Besides the pre-meal invocation, the East Chicago man also contributes a mess of squirrels to the feed in northeast Indiana.
Now, he’s not the first to mix prayers and squirrel hunting. But he could be the first to do both, and reach 100 years old.
On July 25, Williams turned 100. He plans to contribute both a prayer and squirrels again on Dec. 3 to the feed. In an interview earlier this week, Williams was sharp, and noted he still can drive; though his hearing faded a bit.
“I love to hunt, fish and trap,’’ said Williams, who spends his time at his Angola home at Fox Lake, where he has a pontoon, two aluminum boats and two fiberglass boats. “That is my three main things. I love games: football, basketball and baseball. I love tennis. But my girl (Serena Williams) lost.’’
As to the annual game feed, he said, “They ask me to do it, say grace. It is just a blessing at this age to know my left hand from my right hand.’’
Oh, more is expected of him.
“My job is to get the squirrels,’’ he said. “It is too early. I know squirrel season came in at Aug. 15. I don’t keep them until the end.’’
Until then he gives the squirrels to others. And that fits with his life philosophy and reasons for a long life.
“This is my story,’’ he said. “I tell you: Know who God is. That is the first thing. Then you learn how to treat people. Because God is love. Then you won’t go around mistreating people.’’
In a family of eight, he was raised on a cotton farm about 25 miles from Tuskegee, Ala. His dad — “the workingest man’’ — came north each winter to work. In 1936, so did Williams. And he stayed. He ended up working for American Steel for 31 years. He credits the constant work of the farm with helping establish his long life.
“Work doesn’t hurt nobody,’’ he said. “It keeps you alert. When I lay down at night, I know I got something to do the next morning.’’
His advice on squirrel hunting is good, too.
“A squirrel is a smart thing,’’ he said. “He can see you, I don’t care how quiet you come in the woods. You stay still a long time, 25 or 30 minutes. He will move. That is when you learn.
“I carry my seat with me, a chair I hang on my back and I sit down. I wait 25 or 30 minutes. If I don’t see nothing, I move. You have to outsmart a squirrel. And I kill them.’’
Squirrels are not the usual way to truth, but Williams is not your usual hunter.
“I am blessed,’’ Williams said. “I am blessed.’’
Lake Michigan and Tributaries: Salmon and steelhead are on shore and up Trail, Salt and the Little Cal. ... Proprietor Doris Salada at Country Bait said, despite low water on Salt Creek, steelhead are near Valparaiso. She said spawn sacs and squid were best. ... Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert said boats are trolling the harbor areas. Shore spots included Michigan City pier and Portage lakefront park. Good lures are spoons and body baits in firetiger or green and silver, or glow spoons. He said salmon have been taken at the Indiana Harbor and ship canal near East Chicago. ... Breidert said some perch were taken inside the Michigan City harbor; harbors were dropping into the upper 60s while streams are cooling toward the low 60s.
INLAND FISHING: Cold snap should invigorate crappie. . . . Willow Slough will reopen to boat traffic on Monday and stay open through Oct. 6. Then it is closed to boats for the regular waterfowl seasons. . . . Salada said there’s some good-sized bluegill being caught around Valparaiso on crickets, bee-moths and wigglers; and good-sized crappie are starting. . . . Gracie Dickey of Gracie’s Bait said fishermen are catching “some bluegills and some crappie’’ around LaPorte. ... Rivers and streams are heading toward extremely low.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER: Steelhead collection started on the St. Joe at South Bend with 140 collected in two days earlier this week. Breidert said during the same two days 195 coho entered the trap and were passed up river. Good spots in coming days will be Zapia Public access near Capitol avenue in Mishawaka or the gravel bars near Leeper park in South Bend.