Okay, you can stop laughing now. I’m not an over-protective Mom. I just had a feeling that our pugs might sink like stones if they ever jumped into the lake. So I took precautions. At first I was afraid they might feel self-conscious in their life jackets, and that the other “water dogs” might make fun of them. But that was not the case at all. They held their little smushed faces high and paddled around like little labs.
After doing a little research I found that it’s a common misconception that all dogs naturally know how to swim. Some breeds love to be in the water, while others stress out just being anywhere near it. But even retrievers and labs can have trouble staying afloat if they are elderly, sick, or overweight and out of shape. Dog life jackets might seem silly at first glance, but they are smart way to keep your dog safe in the boat and on the dock. Plus, they are just plain adorable. I found these Outward Hound beauties last summer at Petsmart.
The city of Cullman was founded and established by German immigrant Colonel John Gottfried Cullmann. After losing much of his fortune in an overseas revolution, Cullmann arrived in American in 1866 with dreams of forming a colony for working immigrants from his native Germany in the unsettled lands of the South. He presented his idea to the Louisville & Nashville (L&N) Railroad. The L&N railroad had just completed a line from Decatur to Montgomery, and had millions of acres of raw lands along the line in need of settlement. Colonel Cullmann contracted with the L&N for 349,000 acres extending from Decatur to Montgomery to establish his colony.
In April of 1873, the first five families moved to the area now called Cullman and each was given a small plot of land where they built log homes and cleared land for farming. Between 1871 and 1895, John G. Cullmann’s efforts brought more than 100,000 immigrants to the South from Europe and other parts of America.
Today the people of Cullman are proud of their heritage and enjoy sharing the city’s rich history with its visitors. The Cullman County Museum, a replica of Colonel John G. Cullmann home, showcases thousands of historical items dating back to the early 1800′s. Displays include an Archaeological Room with Indian artifacts, a Primitive Room showing turn-of-the- century tools, a Clothing Store with outfits from the 1800′s, a Main Street exhibit with 19th century storefronts, and a photo gallery. Open Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information call, 256-739-1258.
In case you didn’t know, there are some big saltwater fish swimming around Smith Lake and fisherman travel from all over to try their luck at snagging one. The big ones start showing up in early spring, and Rock Creek and Crooked Creek are the places to be.
Striped Bass typically spawn in freshwater and spend their adult lives in saltwater. In 1941 Striped Bass were accidentally landlocked in the process of building the Santee Cooper reservoir in South Carolina. It was discovered then that Striped Bass could thrive in freshwater lakes and reservoirs that are cool enough in summer, have enough oxygen, and an adequate food source. The Gulf Coast Strain of Striped Bass were first stocked in Smith Lake in 1983 by The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries and are re-stocked each year. Striped Bass turned out to be an ideal fit for Smith Lake, growing as much as five pounds a year. Today they can weigh-in at a massive 50 pounds or more. According to www.stripers247.com, veteran striper guides say the best bait is gizzard shad, not the threadfin variety. If you can catch the shad out of the lake, chances are better that they will live longer and entice more strikes. If you can’t catch or buy shad, use shad-like artificial lures. Keep in mind that Stripers are not always in the same place. They follow the shad, and the shad move around. Find the shad and you’ll find the Stripers.