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Small & Largemouth The Bass Gary Howey

  Bass, both the smallmouth and largemouth bass are one of the top predators in any body of water as they’re some of the most aggressive fish in the body of water.

Largemouth

  The largemouth inhabits most bodies of water from small farm ponds, gravel/sand pits, to the Missouri River Reservoirs of South Dakota and Nebraska. Where’s there’s water, you’ll find the largemouth, including in the numerous lakes found throughout Minnesota and the “Glacial Lakes” of northeastern South Dakota.

  As mentioned earlier, largemouth can be very aggressive and will attack almost anything they might think they can get into their mouth. Among several of the things that bass are known to eat include snakes, frogs, lizards, salamanders, ducklings, crayfish as well as other fish.

  Bass are aggressive feeders, in the spring before the “Dog” days of summer; you’ll find them shallow in preparation for the spawn.

  The male will create a nest with their tail in one to three feet generally less than ten feet from shoreline where the fertilized eggs are deposited. The male will guard the fingerlings until they’re capable of fending for themselves.

  Because the male has been busy keeping predators away from the nest, he hasn’t had an opportunity to eat and one of the final things he’ll do before leaving the nest is chase the fingerlings from the nest by gobbling down as many of the young as possible. This not only allows the male to feed, but it may also show the young fish that they can’t trust anything, not even their father.

  After the spawn, the female moves into the deep water to rest and recuperate from the spawning ritual.  During the cool time of the day and after the sunsets, the females will move from the deeper water up shallow looking for a quick meal.

  In the summer, all largemouth will look for more comfortable water temperatures, this may be deep, adjacent or in the weeds or in the shade of a dead fall or stump lying in the water.

  As summer moves into fall, bass like all fish will start to feed heavily, as they need to bulk up before winter sets in, feeding heavily until water temperature decline when these cold blooded creatures metabolism slows and they ride out the winter.

  Some of the preferred baits for taking largemouth include; jigs and pig, spinnerbaits, buzz baits, Texas rigs with Berkley Gulp, PowerBaits and Carolina Rigs,  dropshot rigs, crankbaits like those manufactured by  Bagley and in some cases live bait rigs.

    The largemouth records for the states mentioned above vary with the South Dakota record for largemouth being 9 lbs. 3 Oz. with the Minnesota record fish coming in at 8 Lbs. 15 Oz. while the Nebraska record tipping the scales at 10 Lbs. 11 Oz

Smallmouth

The smallmouth bass can be even more aggressive than their cousin the largemouth bass are. Called the Bronze-back, a name given to smallmouth because of their aggressive nature and the way they fight once hooked, pretty much describes the fight an angler has on his hands once the fish is hooked. They run hard, test your equipment and come from deep water in a flash, dancing along the surface trying to dislodge the hook in their jaw.

  They inhabit numerous lakes throughout Nebraska, with excellent populations in the Missouri River reservoirs as well as on Merritt Reservoir and other smaller lakes.

  The South Dakota Reservoirs, Lewis & Clark, Lake Francis Case, Lake Sharpe and Lake Oahe all have huge smallmouth populations as do the “Glacial Lakes” in the northeastern portion of the state that include Horseshoe, Roy Lake, Reetz Lake and Enemy Swim.

   In Minnesota, you’ll find numerous lakes where these “Bull Dogs of the Deep” will test your equipment and your fish fighting skill. [Read more…]

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When the fish won’t bite! Do a Change-Up! By Gary Howey

   What I’m writing about happened to me numerous times over the years and I’m sure it will happen again.

   We were fishing on one of the numerous lakes in the Glacial Lakes and Prairie Region of Northeastern South Dakota, near Watertown and not having much luck. I knew there was a tremendous fisheries here as I was born and raised in this area but was beginning to think there wasn’t a walleye in the lake and as I was about to call it a day, I finally located some fish with my locator.

   My eyes were glued to my locator, as they had most of the day, hoping to find these fish.

  As I was working my way back and forth over this one particular spot, there they were fish just off the bottom in 12 foot of water, as well as several on the bottom. They were showing up as those big lazy arcs indicating the presence of fish and by the size of the marks on the locator, they appeared to be big!

  Since they were located right on or just a couple of feet or so off the bottom, I guessed they were active walleyes and immediately marked the spot.

  Grabbing a couple rods one rigged with a live bait rig while on the other I used a jig. I put the one rod with the live bait rig in a rod holder letting it drag along the edge the drop off, while I used a jig, working it up from the deeper water onto the flat where my locator indicated the fish were holding.

  Even though the fish appeared to be active as they were off the bottom, it didn’t take me long to realize that these fish were in a negative mood or weren’t interested in what I was offering.

  I started digging through my tackle bag, switching from one walleye bait to another, going with my old standards, a bottom bouncer with a spinner baited with a minnow. I tried a livebait rig with a crawler, a jig with a Gulp leech, bottom bouncer and spinner and finally going to a crawler on a plain hook with just a small split shot for weight, all to no avail.

  These fish weren’t in the mood, no matter what I was putting in front of them; they just ignored my offerings or lay tight on the bottom refusing to move.

  Once again, I started rummaging through my tackle bag, looking for something different that the walleyes may not have seen before, something to get them to bite. I needed something, that might get the fish’s attention, and to pull them out of their negative mood. [Read more…]

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Gov. Dennis Daugaard Signs Lakes Bill Into Law

Pierre, SD

Doug Haas with a nice Smallmouth bass taken in one of the many lakes that would have been closed until recently.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard has signed into law new rules governing the use of lakes on private land for recreation that lawmakers approved during a special legislative session.

The Republican governor signed the bill Monday. After some disagreement between the House and Senate, both chambers ultimately voted in favor of the bill during the special session.

Daugaard says signing the bill opens up tens of thousands of acres of waters to public recreation while also respecting the property rights of landowners.

The law restores access to nearly 30 lakes for public recreation hampered after a recent state Supreme Court decision.

The measure also says that other lakes on private property are open for recreational use unless a landowner installs signs or buoys saying an area is closed.

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Small Ponds, Lakes & Weeds By Gary Howey

  If you fish some of the clearer lakes and ponds such as the Glacial Lakes in the Watertown, SD area and others found in in Nebraska, South Dakota and Iowa or smaller lakes and ponds in late spring and on into summer you’re going to have to deal with weeds.

  As temperatures rise and the sun’s power increases, these bodies of water will weed up in the first eight to ten foot from the shoreline a weedy mess.

  This makes for some tough fishing especially for the bank angler.  Using a simple rig such as the hook, line, sinker and a bobber doesn’t work if the shoreline is weed covered.
  The moss and emergent weed growth can make it impossible to fish from shore, but it’s a blessing for the newly hatched fingerlings as it gives the small fish a place to hide from predator fish such as bass, pike and walleye. 

  It doesn’t take much shoreline cover to give fingerlings a hiding place to keep from being eaten by the many larger species looking for their next meal. 

  Because the predator fish are cruising along and in between the weed lines, why shouldn’t we be fishing in or near them, but that’s easier said than done as nothing eats tackle like heavy weeds.

    There are ways, shore or bank anglers can fish these solid beds of vegetation and take Bluegill and bass. In all weed beds, there are some open areas where the weeds haven’t grown or they don’t come to the surface.  These open pockets may have a rock or sandy bottom where weeds haven’t been able to establish themselves.  These areas form an edge or a bottom change, as all fish and wildlife, like the edge.

  This gives the fish a place to retreat out of sight, a place to hide from any predators and a place for predators to ambush any smaller fish.

  By fishing these pockets, you’re able to pull the fish out of the weedy areas.  Surface lures imitating a frog or insects work well to entice the fish in these areas as do spinners and buzz baits when run over the top of the weeds and through the openings in the weeds.

   When using spinner baits you’ll want to cast your lure into the water past the pocket, hold your rod high and crank quickly in order to keep your bait from sinking into the weeds. Once you come to an open pocket, pause, allowing your bait to helicopter into the pocket and then crank hard to bring the bait back on top and over the top of the weeds.   Your strike should come as the bait helicopters into the pocket or when you start bringing it up out of the pocket.

   The worst thing you can do when fishing weeds is to work your bait too quickly.  All species of fish use their five senses to locate their prey, sight, sound, vibration, taste and hearing. You’ll have to remember when it comes to fishing in the weeds; the fish aren’t able to use all of their senses in heavy weed growth. Its vision and sense of vibration become impaired because of the thick weeds and it will take them longer to locate your bait, so work it as slow as possible. [Read more…]

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The Redlin Art Center To Unveil the Painting, “Sunrise”, the first of three special paintings in “The Farewell Collection”

Renowned wildlife and American artist Terry Redlin left a tremendous legacy of beautiful art for generations to enjoy. On Monday, April 24, the anniversary of Terry Redlin’s passing, the Redlin Art Center will add the original oil painting, “Sunrise”, to the gallery.  It is the first of three special paintings Redlin was working on before he passed away.

This collection of paintings, now referred to as “The Farewell Collection”, gives us a rare glimpse of Terry Redlin’s work while in process. These three paintings were near completion when illness resulted in the artist’s decision to retire. Because of the desire from his collectors to see, enjoy and collect everything Terry Redlin created, we are pleased to offer this unique opportunity to experience a piece of art the artist was still working on. The Farewell Collection consists of three paintings, “Sunrise”, “Sunset”, and “After the Storm”, and will be released over the next three years. The original oil painting, “Sunrise”, will be on temporary display within the Redlin Art Center beginning April 24th as a tribute to an artist – and a man – admired and loved by so many.

In  this painting, Redlin returned to the style he referred to as “romantic realism”. His focus was the landscape as seen from “a bird’s eye view”. Although not finished with the fine brush strokes and intricate detail he was known for, this beautiful painting invites us to imagine what the artist may have added to the painting next; and to reflect upon the man who became known as the “master of memories”. When asked about his art, Terry always said,


“I’m a small town boy. Always was. Always will be. All I ever wanted to do was hunt and fish and wander the woods. Nature was my favorite teacher. The beautiful outdoors and the many memories of my childhood fascinated me. I remember the stories told around the kitchen table and the evening campfires. I dream about those long ago times and attempt to re-create them as truly as memory and imagination will allow. How fortunate I’ve been to spend my life creating memories of these distant times for others to enjoy. I only hope that my art is worthy of the subject.”


Through his art, Terry dreamt of long ago times. He re-lived experiences. He reminisced about people he knew.  Now, it is your turn. Imagine what this serene scene might include and what memories it holds for you. We invite you to lose yourself in the art of Terry Redlin and this special piece, one of Terry’s last gifts to collectors. 

Admission to the Redlin Art Center is free

https://redlinart.com/events/redlin-art-center-unveils-original-oil-painting-sunrise

 

 

 

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Warmest memories created in the cold By Larry Myhre

There’s nothing quite like that hour before dawn on the ice. Throughout my long ice fishing career, I harbor many cherished memories. It’s not the big fish or the number of fish I’ve caught on an outing that occupies the high points of my memory of many hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of hours and days on the ice.

No, it is those predawn hours spent on the ice of West Lake Okoboji through the late 1960s and early 1970s that come to mind most often. I was in my early 20s and just happy to be able to join the seasoned outdoors veterans who allowed me to fish with them virtually every weekend all winter.

They were a group of ice fishing addicts. They always ate a big breakfast at whichever lakeside cottage we were staying at. Then they were on the ice a full hour before daylight. And they stayed out there until a limit of perch was reached or dark, whichever came first. Lunch? Forget it. They might have a thermos of coffee and perhaps a snack in their bucket, but most likely not.

My idea of breakfast was a Coke and a cigarette. But I choked down the fried eggs, bacon or sausage and pancakes because I knew we wouldn’t eat again until about 7 p.m.

I was not an early riser. I would hear them banging around and yelling for me to get up. But I was often reluctant to leave the pleasant warmth of my sleeping bag. One morning, one of the group, a big, linebacker-type of man, picked up my sleeping bag with me in it and dumped me out on the cold floor. Another time he dumped me into a baby’s crib. He said that’s where I belonged. Do you know how hard it is to get out of a baby’s crib?

There we’d be. Sitting on a white, five-gallon bucket. If it were windy, a big rock would reside in the bucket so it wouldn’t blow away. Our short ice fishing rods were rigged with a Mitchell 308 spooled with four-pound-test line at the end of which danced a quarter-ounce Swedish Pimple spoon, its single hook sporting several tiny grubs.

So there I’d sit, back to the wind, wondering why in the hell did we have to start so early because perch don’t bite in the dark. Walleyes? Oh yes. They love that hour before dawn. But we were never on a walleye spot. These guys wanted perch. And they usually got them.

Those hours in the pre-dawn darkness reminded me a lot of listening to the marsh wake up when you are duck hunting. It’s eerily quiet at first and then you begin to hear sounds. It might be the wingbeats of ducks flying over, then later the quiet is shattered by the loud quacks of a hen mallard saying nothing in particular. Then the redwing blackbirds begin to sing.

On the ice it is the sounds of vehicles driving out, the snow squeaking under their tires. Loud voices. Laughter. The scream of ice augers punching through 30 inches of ice. All the while a pink tinge to the eastern sky begins to signal that there is, indeed, a sun. As that pink blush splashes into a hot red-orange glow all across the horizon you make out trees, their branches back lit by the morning light.

It’s another half hour before the sun finally crests the hills and splashes its light across the ice.

That’s about when you notice your first bite of the day. A faint pull on the rod tip and you raise it quickly, feeling the resistance of another Okoboji yellow-ringed perch at the other end. Even though the sun is now fully upon the ice, the day seems a little brighter.

And so it is with memories. Time makes them seem a little brighter. [Read more…]

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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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PDR Hunt 2016 by Gary Howey

“It’s not about the harvesting of a deer as much as telling the story each kid has of overcoming significant limitations”.

  Clark, S.D. We at Outdoorsmen Adventures television  had the privilege to send our film crew to Clark, South Dakota in September to film at the ninth annual PDR Disabled Youth Deer Hunt.

  Dean Rasmussen, Clark, S.D. developed the hunt honoring his grandson Payton Dean Rasmussen whose life was taken by spinal meningitis in 1999.

  Dean says that the hunt would not have gotten off the ground without the support from many people, including landowners, businesses and agencies.  Sponsored events includes, all arrangements, food, overnight accommodations, rifle, ammunition, deer stands, and transportation to and from the field, all of which are provided to the hunters at no cost.  

  The P.D.R. Youth Hunt allows young children with disabilities to enjoy a carefree weekend of hunting where friends and memories are made.

  The celebration begins the afternoon before when the hunters get an opportunity to meet and to have an opportunity to check out and zero their weapons at the shooting range set-up at the Day Betterment Lodge outside of Clark, S.D. followed by a barbecue dinner. 

  Rasmussen indicated, “Parents and others tell them the biggest reason kids like to come isn’t always because of the hunting experience, although that’s special to them, what they really enjoy is being accepted as they are. For this one weekend, the kids feel like any other kid. The community of Clark is a special place.”

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The youth that attended this years 2016 PDR Youth Hunt with Dean Rasmussen, (Center) Director of the hunt .

that attended this years 2016 PDR Youth Deer hunt in Clark, S.D

  There were twelve youth hunters attended this year’s event from throughout South Dakota and Minnesota hunters at this year event which included; Lane Smith from Gary,  S.D., Austin Clark,  Sioux Falls, S.D., Jorden Steltz, Ortonville MN., Logan Morey, Harrisburg, S.D.,  Marcus Van Dam, Coleman, S.D., Calvin Lozinski, Tauton, MN., Cameron Lewis, Mission Hill, S.D., Ethan Kittelson Good Thunder, MN., Logan Winkelmann Hector, MN, James Byukkonen Tripp, S.D., James Brown Centerville, S.D., and Felicia Charging Elk Gettysburg, S.D. 
 

[Read more…]

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Late fall is prime time for big smallies by Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

WEBSTER, S.D. — When those big old cottonwoods begin shedding their bright yellow leaves, there awakens in me an almost uncontrollable desire to be on the water.

            And not just any water.

            No, I begin to dream of lakes harboring strong populations of those big ole brown fish. And if you don’t do Southern speak, let me interpret for you. We are talking about smallmouth bass.

            In my book, the smallmouth bass is the fightingest freshwater fish that swims.

            And the best time to take numbers of huge smallies, sometimes in areas no bigger than your average living room, is right now till freeze up.

            That’s why I called my brother Dean, who lives on a farmstead near Worthing, S.D., and asked if he wanted to chase big smallies on a couple of northeastern South Dakota lakes. It was, of course, a question that needed no answer.

            Fast forward a few days. We had been fishing maybe five minutes when Dean’s seven foot spinning rod bent over and began to pulse with the thrust of a good fish.

            “Got one,” Dean muttered to no one in particular, and I began digging for the landing net. It’s a fold up style and takes a little bit to get unlimbered and ready for action.

            “Should have gotten this ready before we began fishing,” I said as I opened the mesh and began pushing buttons and sliding the handle back and forth.

            I got the thing together just as the three-and-a-half pound smallie surfaced alongside the boat. I dipped him up and placed the net in the boat at Dean’s feet. [Read more…]

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The Poinsett Experience, A Proud Community, excellent Fishing, honoring Veterans and making Friends By Gary Howey

  On this trip, Team Outdoorsmen Adventures member Larry Myhre and I had our sights set on Lake Poinsett, near Estelline, South Dakota.

   We had made good time, as the 80 M.P.H. speed limits on I-29 allowed us to put the miles behind us quickly. 

  Growing up in Watertown, my grandparents had helped me cut my teeth on perch fishing on the lake, but a short drive south of home.

  This was the lake where My Grandpa Menkveld taught me how to catch perch; he had given us a dozen minnows and wished us good luck.

  As we plodded along the beach five-gallon bucket in hand with a few minnows, he mumbled something under his breath about not helping clean those tiny fish unless we had a mess of them. He thought he’d figured out, thinking he’d given us so little bait we wouldn’t catch many perch.

  Grandpa was at that age where he said many things while teaching us some of the tricks of the trade, like using the eyes of the first fish we caught for bait, allowing us to fill our bucket before even getting close to using all our bait.

  It was many years ago, but that was my first Poinsett experience and I had forgotten much about the city itself and many things have change in the years since I was on Poinsett.

We were to meet Estelline’s Mayor Don Zafft around noon, and as we came into town at 11:00, we hoped that the town was ready for us.

  We met the Mayor, Don at the city offices, and it didn’t take me long to realize that we would get along just fine as the back window of his pickup thanking Viet Nam Vets.  I thanked him for his service and we discovered we knew many of the same people, those I’ve spent time in South Dakota hunting, high school classmates and a salesperson who worked with my Dad at Sharpe Chevrolet.

    We did a quick tour of the town visiting, their school, football field, their incredible Veteran’s Memorial and the beautiful landscaping, the waterfall, pond and gazebo at their nursing home.

 We finished our filming in Estelline and headed for Dakota Ringneck Lodge, www.dakringneck.com a hunting preserve with 4,000 acres of prime South Dakota hunting ground. This beautiful Lodge, where we’d be headquarters for the next two days, is situated on a hill within sight of the lake with the interior decorated the way any person who’s into the outdoors would love to have it as the interior from all over the United States and Canada.

  Just as we finished stowing our gear, our guide, Jarrod Fredricks, of South Dakota Guided Fishing, pulled into the parking lot and we quickly loaded our gear and made the short drive to the boat launch. [Read more…]