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Looking Back at Another Year By Gary Howey

  It’s the time of the year, when temperatures are dropping and the northwest wind is making a visit to our part of the country.

  I’m in the office working with my computer, hating to think that I’ll have to head outside again, when I think about all the last year, 2016, which will be ending soon.

  Overall, it was a very good year, where Team members and I spent some time on the water and in the field with old friends as well as making some new ones along the way.

  We started out our year in Howard, S.D. on a late season hunt where Team member Josh Anderson and I filmed a pheasant hunt, on this trip; it was easy to see why South Dakota is the “Pheasant Capital of the World”.  This trip brought back memories, reminding me of how the pheasant hunting was when I was a boy growing up in Watertown, S.D.  

  Back then, they had a government program, the Soil Bank program with a potion of the farm left idle. This and the method they farmed back then, created thousands of acres of habitat, which help to create excellent pheasant numbers.

  Current pheasant numbers in our area are down, but I’m optimistic and looking forward to bird numbers improving. The new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) will create thousands of acres of wildlife habitat, which gives birds a place to nest, roost, raise their chicks and help to protect the birds from predators.

  Following that trip, Team member Simon Fuller and I headed to the Aberdeen-Webster area to do some ice fishing. On the trip there were some big walleyes caught and returned into the icy depths of the Glacial Lake we were fishing. On that trip, I set a record for the most fish caught; unfortunately, they were minuscule, about the length of my hand and released, allowing them to grow up. It was a great trip as it gave us the opportunity to spend time on the ice with folks cut from the same cloth we were, spending time with others who loved to spend time in the outdoors, on the ice on a cold winter day. [Read more…]

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THINGS ARE Good ON THE BIG LAKE By Gary Howey

  Lake Oahe, with its 370,000 acres is the fourth largest reservoir in the U.S., is located on the Missouri River north of Pierre, S.D.

  Oahe has long been considered a great walleye fishing lake and that’s why Team Member Larry Myhre, Sioux City, and I were headed that way.

  We’d be teamed up with a good friend, Missouri River guide and Watertown native Chuck Krause who knows these waters as he has been guiding out of the Gettysburg area since 1980.

  When we arrived, Chuck was just coming in from guiding and his boat had done well, bringing in with some nice walleyes.

  We’d stash our gear in Chuck’s modular home and then meet up with him at his South Whitlock Supper Club to make a plan for the next day’s excursion

  It was early as we worked our down the road that meandered through the Missouri River bluffs leading to the Sutton Bay boat ramp. It looked as if the word was out about that the bite was on as several boats were making their way out of the bay with several other rigs in line to launch.

  As the boat dock cleared, Chuck quickly backed his Stratos boat into the water, parked his truck and we were headed out into the main river.

  We’d be heading for the same area Chuck had fished the previous day, Willow Creek Bay. We weren’t the first to arrive there as another boat was already working the point.  It wouldn’t be long before a half dozen or more boats would be fishing the bay that day.

  It didn’t take Chuck long to locate the fish as his locator lit up with the big arches that anglers love to see, indicating  several fish up off the bottom.

  On this trip, we’d be fishing deep, twenty to thirty feet along a point heading out into the bay, the active fish were holding along the edge where the point dropped into the deeper water.

  Armed with six-foot snells, dressed with a red bead, a red hook and half a crawler tethered to two-ounce ounce bottom bouncers, we probed the point looking for active fish.

  My bait hit the bottom, I bounced it twice and feeling added weight, set the hook on the first walleye of the day, a healthy sixteen inch fish, it looked as if it was going to be a good day. [Read more…]

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Oahe, Walleye & Bass Enter Summer Pattern By Larry Myhre

GETTYSBURG, S.D. | We were early and already the Sutton Bay boat ramp was filling up with big rigs and empty trailers.

It was a beautiful morning. Sun splashed across the rugged Missouri River bluffs, throwing long shadows across the deep ravines and gullies. We had seen two deer lying in tall spring wheat on the way down from the South Whitlock Bay area, their thin necks stretching up with big ears splayed as they watched us cruise down the blacktop.

Chuck Krause fired up his big, 300-horse outboard and pointed the bow of the boat out of the bay toward the main river channel. Once there, he put the hammer down and we were flying across the calm water at 60 miles an hour.

It didn’t take long to reach the long point extending out from Willow Creek Bay. The point runs out a long ways and eventually drops into the old river channel.

“I found the walleyes here yesterday,” Chuck said. “It was fast fishing and we limited out in no time.”

But nothing brings out the fishermen like a landing net extending over the side of the boat and before Chuck left he had been joined by half a dozen boats and he learned later over a dozen were working the hotspot.

There was already one boat there when we arrived and one of the anglers had a fish on. His rod was bent nearly double and soon a big smallmouth erupted from the water in a shower of spray.

“I forgot to mention there are smallmouth here, too,” Chuck said.

Gary Howey dropped down his 2-ounce bottom bouncer pulling a 6-foot snell and a red hook sporting a piece of night crawler. It didn’t take the Hartington, Neb., angler long to connect with our first walleye.

It was a 16-incher and was promptly tossed into the live well. Fresh walleye was on our menu tonight at Chuck’s Whitlock Bay Supper Club, but we had to catch them first.

Chuck has been a full-time fishing guide in this area since the early 1980s. Both he and Gary are originally from Watertown, S.D., and knew each other as kids.

Chuck has accommodations for his fishing and hunting clients. We were staying in a recently built, 5 bedroom modular unit with an enclosed deck which overlooks the big lake and the Highway 212 bridge which crosses the reservoir at this point.

As we eased around the bar with the electric motor, we added a couple more walleyes and bass.

“I think the spot got hit pretty hard yesterday,” Chuck mused. I counted eight boats around us now on that bar. It was getting hit pretty hard today, too.

And the weather had changed.

After several days of howling wind, a light front had come through early that morning dropping some much-needed rain. The wind, although it pounded the fishermen hard, might have been the key to faster fishing. [Read more…]