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West River stock dams yield big bluegills By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

PIERRE, S.D. | The prairie swept away to the west like an endless sea of waving grass. It was shortly after dawn and antelope and deer scampered away from our vehicles as Gary Howey and Steve Nelson guided their trucks down the gravel roadway.

We were on our way to fish one of the hundreds, if not thousands, of stock dams which dot these grasslands. The ponds are built to provide water for cattle, an industry which anchors the incomes of most who live in this region.

Steve Nelson, Pierre, S.D., has been a friend of mine since we attended the University of South Dakota a generation ago. After graduation, our paths went separate ways until we made contact about 10 years later. Pierre, Steve told me, was an outdoorsman’s paradise. I needed to come visit. Of course I knew that, but my tunnel vision was fishing. It was hard to drive farther than Lake Frances Case, a Missouri River reservoir a lot closer than Lake Oahe. Oahe had bigger fish, but Case had the numbers. Decisions, decisions.

But, I needed to see an old friend.

And ever since then, Pierre has drawn me like a moth to a flame.

No one has a better handle on stock-dam fishing than my friend, Steve. He’s guided me on many memorable trips to these dams for bass, bluegills and perch. And I’m not talking about run-of-the-mill fish. I’m talking about pound-plus ‘gills, perch and bass of nearly state record proportions.

So when Steve called and said we should come out and seek big bluegills, we went.

The pond we were intending to fish is on private land. And that’s the case of many West River stock dams. You must have permission of the landowner to fish them, but that’s not difficult to obtain.

But, there are also a lot of ponds and small reservoirs on public land. More about that later. [Read more…]

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Jigging the Big Lake, Lake of the Woods, MN. By Gary Howey

Lake of the Woods is a pristine 50,000-acre lake along the Minnesota and Canada borders. There you will find, 65,000 miles of shoreline, numerous bays and over 14,000 islands, and some of the finest fishing available in North America.
This would be our destination where we Team Outdoorsmen Adventures member Larry Myhre and I would join Nick Painovich, Zippel Bay Resort to walleye fish on the big lake.
When we arrived, shortly after noon, our plans were to spend a couple of days fishing on Lake of the Woods, but as we looked at the extended forecast, it looked like it could be a one day trip and we had better not waste any time, as a severe weather pattern was heading our way.
It didn’t take us long to stow our gear in one of Zippel Bays thirty foot charter boats and make our way out of Zippel Bay into Lake of the Woods.
Nick motored out to one of the areas where they had been picking up some nice fish during first week of the Minnesota walleye season.
Dropping anchor, we positioned ourselves along the edge of the rock pile, tied on our jigs, tipped them with salted minnows and begin jigging. We were fishing along the edge of the rocks, hopping to pick up some of the post spawn walleyes making their way out into the deeper water.
The smaller males as well as the sauger were eager biters, some of which would join us at our fish fry that evening. As Nick and I were catching our dinner fish, Larry set the hook on what appeared to be a good fish and after a short battle, a twenty-seven inch slot walleye slid into the net, had her photo taken and then was released. Larry, who claims to be a multi-species angler, also landed a smaller northern. Not to be out done, Nick hooked another good fish, another of the slot fish, twenty-five inches that had her photo taken,
As the bite slowed, Nick would bring up the anchor and move onto another rock pile where we would work our baits off the rock pile down along the edge where it dropped off into deeper water. [Read more…]

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The Artwork of Terry Redlin A Step Back in Time by Gary Howey

Terry Redlin’s artwork and the Redlin Art Center are amazing! They attract collectors and visitors from throughout the world. There has been no one with the talent to capture the outdoors on canvas as Terry Redlin has done.

I was very fortunate to have filmed two of our Outdoorsmen Adventures television shows with Redlin and spent numerous hours going through his Redlin Art Center in Watertown, S.D.

Each time I make my way through the Art Center, I am amazed at the how beautiful it is and Terry’s paintings hold me in awe.

For those of you that haven’t heard of Terry Redlin, he’s a Master Artist, one of the country’s most popular and widely collected wildlife and Americana artists. For eight years in a row 1991-1998 Redlin, voted, America’s Most Popular Artist by U.S. Art magazine and in 1992 inducted into the U.S. Arts Hall of Fame.
Terry stormed onto the wildlife artist scene with his 1977 release of “Winter Snows.” Terry Redlin enthusiasts have collected 2 million art prints and an even greater number of collectibles and home décor products were sold — all inspired by his unique artistic talent.

This beautiful structure, the Art Center, designed by Terry’s son Charles Redlin is the home of Terry Redlin’s collection of original paintings. It opened its doors in June 1997 and is located on the east side of Watertown just off I- 29 (Exit 177) on U.S. Highway 212.

The structure is a 52,000 square foot brick building with white granite columns reaching 38 feet skyward. The design was inspired by the Egyptian Revival period and its huge granite columns resemble those you would see on some of the large southern mansions. [Read more…]

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If you want to catch fish It has to be Fresh By Gary Howey

Over the years, I fished with several anglers that would use his “Not” so live bait until it would no longer stay on the hook. It wasn’t that they didn’t have the money to buy fresh bait, I think they over did the “If you don’t have your hook in the water, you aren’t going to catch fish” bit. It amazed me why they refused to understand why others caught more fish than they did.
Fresh live bait will catch fish, bait that is beat up, torn or damaged may catch a few fish, but not as many as fresh live bait will.
I know you have heard the warm weather excuse, when it is hot; bait is just hard to keep alive. I know that is true, but by spending a little time and a few bucks, you are going to save money on live bait as when you want to use it, it will be there swimming or squirming around not floating belly up or decaying before your eyes.
Where I live, there are hundreds of nightcrawlers out when it rains and we can pick our own.
To keep my crawlers fat and healthy I keep them in Frabill Fat N Sassy Worm Bedding, it’s pre-mixed so you don’t need to add water, you don’t need to worry about adding to much water to your mixture as it’s ready for your bait. Unlike some bedding that may mold or get sour, Fat N Sassy is biodegradable, it has a built in food source with a one pound box large enough to hold three dozen night crawlers or nine dozen of the smaller worms.
I empty the box into a Styrofoam or some other type of cooler, place the worms on top of the bedding, checking them the next day and any worms left on the top, I discard, as they are hurt and will kill all of the worms once they start to die. [Read more…]

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Cranking Near Webster By Gary Howey

No doubt, most of you have heard about the Waubay-Webster areas great fishing, the many lakes and sloughs holding numerous species of fish.

This would be our teams destination as we traveled back home after filming in Minnesota, Ontario and North Dakota.

It was after noon when Larry Myhre, Sioux City, IA. and I arrived in Webster, where we grabbed a quick lunch at Perebooms and met with Team Outdoorsmen Adventures member Cory Ewing.

On this trip, we would be on one of the small lakes, one that was 200 acres and like many of the sloughs and smaller lakes had no boat launch, which meant, we would be fishing out of Cory’s smaller sixteen-foot boat.  As Cory launched the boat, Larry and I looked over the lake, the wind was blowing hard into the west shoreline. That area looked as if it would be a good place to start fishing as there are numerous things happening in the waters beating into the shoreline. [Read more…]

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Weather puts damper on Merritt walleyes By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal.
VALENTINE, Neb. | Heavy clouds wrapped themselves around the Sandhills landscape as Steve Isom guided his boat along the face of Merritt Reservoir dam.

It was 5:30 a.m. and Gary Howey, Hartington, Neb., and I stood in the back of the boat hurling shallow diving crankbaits hoping that one of the fat walleyes for which Merritt is known would latch on.

Alewives, the primary forage base for the walleyes, were there in high numbers. We could see them on the depth finder and occasionally one of us would snag one of them. They were running five to seven inches long, and were so thick all a walleye would have to do is open his mouth and one would swim in.

But the walleyes were not interested in opening their mouths. A week earlier, Steve, who lives in Valentine, a mere 35 miles to the north, had taken some people out and they limited here with the biggest fish hitting 9-and-a-half pounds. [Read more…]

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Kids and Fishing By Gary Howey

When you spend as much time in the outdoors as I do, you realize there are many things that just naturally go together.For instance, spring – mushroom hunting, summer – walleyes, fall – pheasant hunting or the fall colors and winter – ice fishing and of course – kids and the outdoorsWhen I think about kids, I think fishing. Because kids and fishing just naturally go together.

Kids have a lot of energy and are always looking for their next great adventure. Of course, one thing they are short of is a whole lot of patience, but that can be something fishing can teach them.

To a kid, fishing can be an adventure into the unknown. All you’ll need to do is to make it interesting and keep the action going.

You don’t want to make it to complicated as you want them to catch a bunch of fish. [Read more…]

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Walleyes cooperate on Lake of the Woods By Larry Myhre

 

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal.

WILLIAMS, Minn. | We were no more than a half a mile out from the mouth of Zippel Bay when Nick began zig-zagging over the reef below his 30-foot charter boat.

Satisfied with what he saw on the depth finder, he hit the button that released the big anchor, and we were soon holding above what we hoped would be a whole lot of walleyes.

I tipped my jig with a shiner and dropped it over the side. We fished straight down, holding the jig just an inch or two above the bottom.

The bite was light. Just a small amount of tension I could feel on the rod tip. I swept the rod back and could feel the struggling walleye below.

We were on the right spot.

Nick and Deanna Painovich, are the owners of Zippel Bay Resort. We have fished with them several times in years past. Gary Howey and I were to spend just a couple of days here before heading farther north to a fly-in lake in Ontario.

We were staying in one of their luxury log cabins facing the bay. Featuring log furniture with fireplace and satellite TV, the cabins have three bedrooms with a loft and a large deck.

While my fish broke the ice, it was not long before Gary and Nick began making contributions to the live well. [Read more…]

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It’s High Water on the Red For Catfish By Gary Howey

Grand Forks, N.D. The water in the Red River was up, up a lot, up thirteen feet with debris, branches, logs and even entire trees, floating by as they headed north towards Canada.

The Red River begins its journey north where the Bois de Sioux and the Otter Trail rivers flow between Minnesota and North Dakota flowing northward through the Red River Valley into Manitoba Canada.

Larry Myhre, Sioux City, IA. our guide Brad Durick and I found ourselves anchored just above one of Brad’s favorite catfish holes.

Brad, a guide specializing in fishing for channel catfish on the Red of the North, he is the author of the 2013 book, “Cracking the Channel Catfish Code” and a nationally recognized educator and outdoor writer.

On this trip, we were after channel catfish, which have poor eyesight, but a tremendous sense of smell as they have receptors in, along the outside of their lips and on the barbells protruding from either side of their month. Catfish use these receptors to follow the scent coming down river, helping them to locate their meals, even in the muddiest of waters. When you are fishing for channel catfish, you had better use bait that is oily and smelly the better if you want to entice these bottom dwellers into biting. We were using chubs and goldeye for cutbait, both oily fish and when cut into inch and a half to two-inch pieces, they leave a scent trail, which is easy for the fish to follow. [Read more…]