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Best fishing of year is right now By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

We are currently on the threshold of the best fishing of the year.

I love the fall months, September, October, November. No, I could care less about the football season, even hunting plays second fiddle. Fishing is where it is at for me, and the catching just gets better right up until the lakes freeze over and the mighty Missouri begins running ice.

It never ceases to amaze me how popular fishing has become and how much money the average angler throws into his sport in the purchase of boats, electronics, tow vehicles and gear. Yet come September, only the die-hard anglers remain on the water.

That’s another reason why I like fall fishing. It can get lonely out there. And that’s just the way I like it. And so, too, do trophy walleyes and bass.

Launch off any of the most popular boat ramps on the Missouri River reservoirs in the middle of any week all summer long and you have to ask yourself, “Doesn’t anybody work any more?”

On the popular walleye spots you can count 20 to 30 boats in view at any time. And don’t even think of the weekends.

But from now until freeze up you’ll find plenty of room to park your trailer.

There are a couple of reasons fishing for any species is so much better in the fall. One is that water temperatures are cooling and approaching the fish’s comfort level. Temperatures above a fish’s preferred temperature put them under stress. Stressed fish are less active and not as aggressive. Colder temperatures than their preference does not put them under stress. Being cold-blooded creatures, their activity slows, but they are not stressed.

Females of all game species begin developing eggs in the fall. They instinctively know they must eat a lot to store fat to see them through the less active periods of cold water. So, they are willing to bite your lures. [Read more…]

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Early walleye fishing success is about timing By Larry Myhre

For those chomping at the bit to go walleye fishing, your best bet is fishing along the Missouri River.

Pre-spawn walleyes will be staging below the dams all up and down the river. And anglers will be there in big numbers to take advantage of the bite.

For natural lakes, it is still a bit early. Iowa’s best walleye lakes, West Okoboji, East Okoboji and Big Spirit, are closed to walleye fishing at this time. The season doesn’t open until May 2.

In lakes like Storm Lake anglers are working the shallow gravel and sand points and flats looking for the male walleyes that move into those areas in a pre-spawn run.

While you can be effective fishing from a boat on a lake like Storm, or many of the northeast glacial lakes of South Dakota, wading fishermen often have an edge. That’s especially true of the locals who know their lakes like the back of their hand. Generally small jigs from 1/16th to 1/8th work best at this time. Try fishing a plain leadhead tipped with a small fathead minnow. You might be surprised.

But what about opening day on the Okobojis?

Chances are the fishing will be tough. I used to open the season there every year for a number of years, fishing in the Fort Dodge Messenger’s Walleye Tournament. Headed up by my late friend Bob Brown, the Messenger’s sports editor, the tournament was more of a social gathering than anything else.

The only decent walleyes caught were taken by anglers fishing Big Spirit Lake from the midnight opener into the early morning hours. I have never cared much for night fishing, so I spent opening day on East Lake, Minnewasta and Upper Gar. [Read more…]