2015 is now officially in the books and we are really excited to look back at everything that took place this year as well as look forward to what God has in store for 2016! I don’t think there could possibly be another year with as much going on as was this past year. Typically we enjoy having a lot of irons in the fire, but this past year may have had just a few too many things happening all at once.
We started the year developing full bore at the Giant Goose Ranch. That included building a few miles of roads, planning for and installing a lot of water lines, electric lines, septic lines, septic fields, well houses with storm shelters, mucking lakes, planting grasses, creating campsites, cabin lots, and building cabins! We have now built over 40 cabins for clients at the goose ranch in just the past 18 months! You really do need to come out and see this amazing property and what it is becoming!
Once the summer hit we not only were working at Goose Ranch full time, but we worked full time filming 13 more episodes of Lake Life. Each episode in reality is every bit of 4-6 week projects that needed completed on average in 2 weeks. The chaos and long hours and tight deadlines really do make things challenging, but the challenge is part of the fun. Season two will come out in April/May 2016 and hopefully people enjoy it! We built some incredible stuff with some very creative and incredible clients! Some of the highlights are a 180’ waterslide, mega treehouses, private cable wakeboarding course, paintball battlefield, rock climbing dock, zip lines, rustic cabins in the woods and a whole bunch more fun stuff!
Here is a cool link to an interview with MLB Network about our episode with Sean Casey and the St. Louis Cardinals: http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/7417714/v445901183
Also another fun link is the Lake Life w/ Hermans page. This page is full of biographies, profiles, stories, and fun Lake Life information and updates.
Then that brings me to Herman Brothers Lake and Land Management. We had a great year of fisheries management all across the Midwest! This year was a little different than most where we focused more on speaking and teaching than the hands on working. We spoke at several national and local conventions, workshops, and trade shows; along with consulting, electrofishing, and creating marketing plans for sportsmans clubs, campgrounds, lake associations, and private landowners.
Some more exciting HB news was we finally hired a new fisheries biologist, Tad Locher. Tad graduated from Western Illinois University in spring 2015 and is currently finishing up his Masters Degree in fisheries. He spent this whole past year working directly with Nate, learning the ins and outs and art of private fisheries management.
With the addition of Tad, we are super excited about being able to get back to our roots of working hands on locally! We would love nothing more than the private waters of Central Illinois to be the finest fishing in the entire country! There is no better time to get your pond shocked than this spring, don’t miss this opportunity! We are currently booking 50% off local electrofishing surveys for this spring until Tad is booked up solid. Typically we are booked solid for the entire season by about March so don’t wait and miss this deal.
If you have or know anyone with a lake or pond of any size, now really is the absolute best opportunity to get in touch with us for some pond and lake advice for going into spring. This free fish and pond analysis form is an easy first step: http://www.hbpondmanagement.com/fishandpond_contact.html
For hands on fisheries experience in 2015, we focused on creating the beginning stages of what will be perhaps the most intensively managed and diverse fishery in the United States. The 52 lakes and ponds of the Giant Goose Ranch are coming along actually ahead of schedule! Lots of Tiger Muskie, Northern Pike, Walleye, Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Crappie, Jumbo Perch, Smallmouth Bass, Bluegill, Catfish, Bullhead, Largemouth, and Hybrid Striped Bass all being stocked and getting bigger by the day!
Still we are only seeing just a glimpse of the future, but the backbone of the fisheries are being developed and the stage is being firmly set. Those lakes are already starting to make young, old, novice, and professional fisherman’s dreams come true right here in Illinois!
Here is a link to more of our favorite GGR fishing pics from 2015: http://giantgooseranch.com/fishing_pics.html
Some exciting new developments at the Goose Ranch for 2016 is that we have three cabins and even several camping lots available to rent by the night! Jackie is already taking reservations for this upcoming season! Here is some more information http://giantgooseranch.com/rates.html
We also still have opportunities in 2016 to own your own lakefront cabin inside the goose ranch! At the rate we have been selling and building the cabins though, this may be the last year these cabin lots are available.
We would love for you to bring your family out for a local mini vacation getaway! We have lots of family events throughout the summer so make sure to load up the kids and come on out! We also post a lot of event updates on the GGR facebook page. You don’t even need to have a facebook account to check it out: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Giant-Goose-Ranch/1442589849289140
So now the work recaps are done and we can get into some of the fun stuff of 2015… All work and no play is not a good thing so we made sure to have fun with family any chance possible. It never seemed like a convenient time to get away with all the pressing deadlines, but spending time with our families was a main priority. In July we headed up to family camp for the week at Maranatha Bible and Missionary Conference up on Lake Michigan. It was an awesome week of family fun!
One good aspect to the busyness of 2015 was that for the most part it was with our families. The kids spent a lot of time this summer actually working right with us out on the jobs, coordinating events at the Goose Ranch, and even on the Lake Life projects. That was a huge highlight and something we are all excited about is having fun working and playing together. The kids really are learning a lot and wont be long before they take over for their dads…
Another highlight of the year was a guys getaway trip to Ontario at the end of August. I spent a few years dreaming about and researching the ultimate Canadian adventure and came across the ultimate spot for our family! We are more hands on do it yourself kinda guys and Pasha Lake Cabins was the perfect fit! We loaded up all our stuff and drove the 17 hours north for an amazing week of bear hunting and world class fishing!
We actually spent more time bear hunting than fishing, but when we did fish, it didn’t take long to find huge schools of walleye and all the weedbeds were loaded with pike. I’ll definitely have more information about this trip to post at another time. I literally took a few hundred pics and wrote a diary/documentary about 20 pages long about this trip already! Some day I will post it! If your looking for a do it yourself trip to Canada, I would be glad to help you with all kinds of information we learned from our adventure!
Chad Thompson is the ambitious owner of Pasha Lake Cabins and he offered us the perfect scenario for our dream trip. Comfortable cabins to stay in, access to amazing fishing lakes, unsurpassed knowledge of the local bear hunting and fishing! He provided just enough guidance and background prepwork for our hunting and fishing excursions to be perfectly successful, but yet still out there on our own. We brought our own food, atv’s, stands, fishing equipment, etc.. Words cant describe the natural beauty of the Lake Nipigon area of Ontario and now we actually have real experiences to guide our Canada daydreams until we return. When we return to Canada, it will definitely be to Pasha Lakes.
Early November brought about some awesome archery whitetail hunting. More like observing the herd rather than shooting deer, but we are really encouraged about the amazing bounce back for our local deer herds! The last 2 seasons we haven’t had much to get excited about with the devastation EHD had on our mature bucks and does, but this season offered us some really exciting glimpses of the future. Doe populations have rebounded nicely and 2-4 yr old bucks are all over our farms again! We are actually excited once again going into next season!
Tyler shot his first ever deer this year, a nice mature buck! Not bad for a first kill:
I was able to get out shot gun hunting on the Sunday afternoon of the first gun season. The boys and I headed out after church and harvested a nice doe. They had a blast tracking her with the fresh snow! They led the way and followed the blood trail all the way to her!! These boys love every aspect of HUNTING! We passed on several small bucks and talked deer management the whole time we were out in the field!
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas we filmed our last episode of Lake Life season 2 down in Gulf Shores, Alabama and that was an awesome time to spend with the family on a combo vacation/work trip! We had the perfect mix of sun, swimming, fishing, and working… The ocean was calm a couple days and we were able to take our Carolina skiff out 25 miles to some wrecks and reefs and catch some awesome fish on relatively light tackle!
Now that we are back home and the holiday celebrations are behind us, we were hoping to be ice fishing right now! We will just keep on waiting for some colder weather and if it never comes I guess I wont be too disappointed at this stage. We had several ice fishing events we would love to have, but we will just wait and see what happens over the next 6 weeks. This is what I am looking forward to again once we can get back out on the ice!
Looking back on 2015 we have a lot to be thankful for! However, the blog post naturally highlights the highlights. The journey God has us on is indeed exciting but definitely not easy. Thru all the good times and the hard times, He is shaping and molding all of us. This past year was a great year for not only learning the power of prayer, but learning how to pray as well. This Christmas really was a great time to reflect on the historical significance of Jesus’ birth 2015 years ago; to re-evaluate goals and plans for 2016; and to truly live our lives for God’s plan and glory.
Stay tuned cause we hope to be back on the blogging scene with more event updates and tips from the field (and the water)....