Friday, July 31, 2009

A perfect day

Deon LaPointe (left), 30 and his brother, Don, 42, had a few nibbles on their lines but no fish to show for their efforts.

Story and photos by Bruce Thorson

July 30, 2009, Missouri River, Santee Sioux Reservation, Neb: I first met Don LaPointe, Jr., when I arrived at the tribe's governmental offices. I went there to get permission to take photographs about the BIA workers checking the prairie grasses on the reservation.

After talking with him for a few minutes, I discovered he is the director of the Santee Parks and Wildlife department. One of his jobs is to go out on the river and fish. Wow, great job!

The next day, out on the river we went. His brother, Deon, came along. He, too, works for the agency.

As for the economy, Don noted that income for the tribe through hunting and fishing revenues are down. He said that started less than two years ago. With last summer's high fuel prices, it kept customers away. And now with the economy where it is, "Folks are just not showing up," he said.

Back out on the lake, Don noted that he also writes a fishing report. With no fish to put on the stringer, Don thought I must pretty bored, and then when the motor wouldn't start he thought my day was ruined.

I replied that I'm in a boat, on the water, the sun is shining and I'm taking pictures. That for me is a perfect day.

Don said, "Without any fish I guess my report will be pretty short."

Thank you Don and Deon. I had a great time and met two nice guys. Hope to see you again.

After pulling up anchor, the boat's motor wouldn't start. Fortunately Don had taken the boat upstream and Deon used the oar to steer the boat while the current powered the boat. Shortly, another boat of fishermen showed and up they towed us back to the dock.

Don gets the boat loaded on the trailer and he said he was taking it straight back to the mechanic who had just looked at it the night before. Of course, it ran great while in the shop.

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