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Howey and Myhre Inducted into Hall of Fame

           Two area Outdoor communicators will be inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Sioux Falls 50th Annual Sportsmen’s Show.

          Gary Howey, Hartington, Neb., and Larry Myhre, Sioux City, Iowa, will be inducted at 3:30 p.m., March 11 on the Seminar Stage at the Sioux Falls Arena. Professional walleye angler and Fishing Hall of Famer Ted Takasaki will conduct the ceremony.

          Howey, originally from Watertown, S.D., and a Viet Nam veteran, has been an outdoor communicator since 1980 when he began production of The Northeast Nebraska Outdoorsmen newspaper. He sold the Outdoorsmen magazine in 1995 when he created the Outdoorsmen Adventures television series, which airs throughout the year in seven upper Midwestern states.

          He has written a syndicated Of the Outdoors column since 1980 for newspapers and magazines.

          In 1990, he developed Outdoorsmen Productions, an outdoor-related promotional company.      

          In 2009, he produced the first of his Outdoor Adventures radio shows which he co-hosts. The show airs six days a week in southeast South Dakota, northeast Nebraska and northwest Iowa.

          A former hunting and fishing guide, Howey has given fishing seminars in South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa.

          Over the years, Howey has won several local, states and national awards for his print, radio and television work. [Read more…]

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Studying Missouri River fisheries is his job By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

ONAWA, Iowa — Monitoring the Missouri River fishery is the job of Ryan Hupfeld, Missouri River fish management biologist.

Hupfeld was named to the position last fall after Van Sterner, fisheries biologist, retired.

While much of the work on the river addresses the endangered pallid sturgeon, other fish are also studied, and, as time goes on, Hupfeld hopes to expand those studies.

“The paddlefish season opened a couple of years ago, and we have been monitoring that by gill netting every spring and fall,” Ryan says. “They seem to be doing very well. We caught fish from 18 to 41 inches, and the average weight was between 17 and 20 pounds.

“We are also jaw tagging these fish to look at movement and also exploitation to some degree,” he continued. “We’ve had nine recaptures and eight of them were from our tagging and one was from South Dakota. We also have had multiple numbers that were called in by anglers.”

What the paddlefish snagging studies have shown is somewhat surprising. It is clear that these fish roam up and down our rivers a lot.

“We learned most of them traveled well over 500 river miles,” he said. One of the paddlefish we tagged in March right here at Decatur was caught in October. It went all the way down the Missouri, down the Mississippi and up the Big Muddy River and was caught below a dam. That’s 1000 miles.”

“We’re also trying to work with and cooperate with other states to manage these fish,” he says.

Invasive fish species are of great concern.

Over the years, grass carp, bighead carp and silver carp have exploded in numbers through the Missouri below Gavins Point Dam at Yankton, S.D. All of these carp, including another called black carp, originally came from Asia and were brought over by fish farmers in an effort to keep their growing ponds clean. Floods enabled many of them to escape into our waterways.

“Black carp haven’t made it up here that we know of,” Ryan says. “Asian carp spawn from April through October, and they are very efficient at feeding, much more so than native plankton feeders.

“There are no natural predators for them like there is in China,” he continues. “They are having a big effect on our native fish. We’re monitoring silver carp populations, looking at age and growth. They’re very good to eat. We need to start developing a market for them so we can relieve our native fish populations from the stresses of them.” [Read more…]

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Catch ‘happy hour’ farm pond crappies By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

It was well into what I call the “happy hour” of ice fishing. The sun was falling rapidly behind the hills to the west of the small farm pond upon which I had set up my Fish Trap shelter.

My depth finder suddenly lit up with the arrival of a big school of crappies. I tried to hold my jigging rod steady so the horizontal jig tipped with a minnow head would entice one of those fish that had encircled my lure.

A coyote suddenly howled on the hillside to my right, surely not more than a hundred yards away, and I flinched at the sound, jerking the rod. I felt the satisfying pressure of a good fish.

“I’d rather be lucky than good,” I mumbled to myself and soon pulled a nice pound crappie onto the ice.

I dropped him into the plastic bucket sitting alongside my small heater and sent the jig back down on a mission.

Forty-five minutes later, the sun was long gone, and nine nice crappies, all about the same size, were flopping in the bucket. I folded back the Fish Trap, put my power auger, bucket and heater into it, and began pulling it behind me on the way to the truck a couple hundred yards away.

I love catching crappies through the ice, and farm ponds are one of my favorite places to do it.

Most farm ponds do not contain crappies because the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) does not stock them. Crappies compete directly with largemouth bass, so the DNR feels it is better not to introduce them.

However, crappies have found their way into a lot of farm ponds in both Iowa and Nebraska.

Crappies tend to cycle so there is always a dominate year class in these ponds. If you keep track of them you can concentrate on the ponds with the biggest fish.

The best crappie ponds that I know of have a lot of submerged timber in them. Crappies like to school alongside something, and wood seems to be their favorite. The best fishing is usually in the upper end of these ponds where the flooded timber is. You need to be careful in these areas, however, because most ponds are littered with underwater springs, especially in the shallow end, and this can mean thin ice.

If there is snow on the ice you will not be able to see the thin spots and about all you can do is drill test holes. A few years ago I was venturing out onto a pond and my test hole drilling showed a good, solid six inches of ice. As I advanced I suddenly stopped. Something didn’t feel right. I drilled a test hole and found I was standing on about one inch of ice. One more step and I would have taken a swim.

While you can catch crappies all day long, the action really heats up during “happy hour,” that one hour of daylight just before sunset. Crappies seem to come up higher in the water column and begin feeding. [Read more…]

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Gary Howey named to Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

Gary Howey, longtime outdoors publisher and television and radio broadcaster, of Hartington, Nebraska, will be inducted into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.

He joins 11 other individuals and one organization to be inducted into the Hall of Fame’s 2017 year class. Located in Hayward, Wisconsin, the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum is the international headquarters for education, recognition and promotion of fresh water sportfishing.

Howey, an active member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW), is a former hunting and fishing guide, and award-winning writer, television and radio broadcaster, and photographer.

Howey relocated from South Dakota to Nebraska in the early ’70s after returning from serving in the Army in Vietnam.

He found it difficult to find information regarding the outdoor pursuits in his area, so he began publishing The Northeast Nebraska Outdoorsmen publication and quickly expanded it into a regional monthly tabloid. He sold that publication in 1995 and created the award-winning Outdoorsmen Adventures television series, which is now in its 22nd season. [Read more…]

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Pheasant hunters expect a good season By Larry myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

Pheasant hunting prospects look bright for the three-state area. Roadside counts are in and there have been no really significant problems for pheasant numbers.

Although South Dakota numbers show a 20 percent decline, you have to remember that this is South Dakota. It is likely hunters will experience about the same success as last year.

Iowa numbers look about the same as last year, and last year was the best in five years, so expectations look good for another successful season. As a side note, quail numbers are at a 27-year high.

Nebraska pheasant hunters are looking at another good year. Pheasant numbers match the five-year average in most parts of the state. Most areas can expect hunting much like last year’s or, perhaps, a little poorer. Two exceptions are the Sandhill and Central regions, where pheasant numbers jumped 62 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

In Iowa, population patterns tracked the weather. Parts of northwest Iowa had declines due to heavy snowfall, which likely reduced pheasant survival. Parts of southwest Iowa had declines due to heavy spring rains, likely reducing nesting success. Other regions had more favorable weather and saw similar or slightly higher numbers.

“To put it in perspective, our population is similar to 2007 when we harvested 630,000 roosters,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “Last year we harvested 270,000 roosters. The difference is, we had twice the hunters in 07. If we had 100,000 hunters last year we would have doubled the harvest. The birds are here; we need hunters to return.”

Iowa’s quail population index has been increasing recently and is now at its highest since 1989 after experiencing increases again across south central and southwest Iowa this year. [Read more…]

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Dove Hunting Pass shooting at its Finest! By Gary Howey

  Well, it’s underway as I found out this week the dove migration has begun. The other evening my lab Mo Jo and I spent a couple of hours hunting doves on a small pond.

  It started out slowly, as it often does but by 6:00 pm, the doves were plummeting into the pond in groups of four to eight from all directions.

  The humidity was high, making it quite uncomfortable, but the number of birds coming in made me forget the heat as I did my best with my 20-gauge to get a bead on these acrobatic little birds.

  This was our first shotgun-hunting season of the year, when hunters head out to their favorite pond, harvested wheat or oat fields and shelterbelts to take a shot at dove hunting. 

  When I say, “take a shot”, I should have said take numerous shots as dove hunting can be a challenge!  Doves are the aerial acrobats of the bird’s kingdom, seldom fly in a straight line, darting from side to side and changing altitude in the blink of an eye as they zig zag their way across the sky.

  As far as a load to put a dove down, as long as you can catch up with and get a bead on the little buggers, a light load is plenty. 

  You shouldn’t feel bad if you miss several birds, since studies indicate the average dove hunter will shoot as many as 10 shells for each bird they bring down.

  Ammunition manufacturers lick their chops as dove season approaches, because they know that ammunition sales are going to increase dramatically.

  Any gauge shotgun you want to use will work for dove hunting.  The hunters I hunt with use every gauge imaginable, 12, 20, 28 gauge and 410 shotguns.

  When it comes to the shells to use, we pretty much agree on Winchester AA 8 & 9 loads. [Read more…]

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Drifting for Cats on the Missouri River By Gary Howey

  The Blue catfish, one of the largest catfish in North America aren’t often caught on rod and reel, but one Midwesterner, from South Dakota has it figured out.

  Pat Carter of Elk Point, South Dakota, director of the Cat Attack tournaments has been catching these elusive Blue catfish on the Missouri River on a regular basis.

  During his Sioux City tournaments, contestants from Kansas and other states had used the drifting or slipping method to take some big Blues and he had perfected the presentation to be able to catch these big catfish on most of his trips on the river.

  Team Outdoorsmen Adventures Member Larry Myhre and I had an opportunity to spend some time on the river with him a few weeks ago and the method he uses isn’t what we would call a traditional method for catching catfish.

  Fishing in the current associated with the Missouri River is different from fishing in the smaller rivers catfish are known to haunt. Some anglers anchor above the deeper holes using sliding sinkers with hooks baited with live or cutbait, waiting for the catfish to come to them.

  Not Carter as he drifts for them, keeping his boat at the right angle, allowing his partners and him slowly drift or slip along with the current, keeping their baits running right along the bottom.

  His rigs consist of 60# braided line with a three-way swivel, a 20# dropper line with a 2 ounce sinker, a 4′ leader with an 8/O Kahle hook baited with Creek Chubs or Shad cutbait.

  As the boat drifts with the current, he slowly bounces the sinker on the dropper line on the bottom, win anticipation of the bite.

  Before meeting Larry and I at the boat dock near Sloan, Pat had gotten fresh shad and some Creek Chubs, allowing us to get our baits into the water shortly after launching the boat.

  Larry and I were both using circle hooks while Pat would use his Kahle hooks, as we they allowed us to pack a lot of cut bait and had good success hooking catfish on previous trips.

  Pat removed the bait, smelly Shad and Creek Chubs from his cooler, dicing them up into strips that we worked onto our hooks, packing the pieces on so tightly that the point of the hook verily protruded from the bait.

  The trip didn’t start out quickly as we drifted quite a ways south before Pat had his first bite, it wasn’t the bone jarring bite I’d expect from a big catfish, more like a pecking bite a smaller fish might do as it tried to pull pieces from the large hook.

  Whatever was doing it escaped without harm as when pat reared back to set the hook, the fish was gone.

  A half-hour after the first bite, Pat again had something pecking at his bait, he patiently waited for the fish to grab onto the bait and then set the hook hard.

  Immediately the fish took off, peeling his 60-pound line from the reel, charging hard towards the bottom and away from the boat.

 Pat, in no hurry, let the fish run, fighting it with his heavy rod, first on one side of the boat and then to the other. As his three way swivel came to the surface, I thought the fight was about over, the fish did not as it tore off more line, once again testing the drag on Pat’s reel. [Read more…]

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Dove hunting season opens September 1st by Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

Sept. 1, is the opening day of dove season throughout our three-state area. While there will be many hunters in the field this evening, the big push will not come until the weekend.

I’ve hunted doves for years, mostly in Nebraska and South Dakota, long before Iowa had a season. I’ve enjoyed every hunt, and doves, when prepared correctly, can be mighty good eating.

If dove hunting is a new experience for you, and for many Iowans it will be even though we have had a season for a few years now, I’ll try to get you started.

There are numerous ways to hunt doves. The way I really prefer to do it is to set up at a farm pond to await the evening flight. It is, however, important to pick the right pond. Doves like to fly in, settle on a mud bank and walk down to the water to take a drink. So it is important that you pick a pond with good mud banks at least on one side.

Doves roost in trees at night, so a pond near some timber where doves roost can make one pond fit the “super” category and another just “average.”

This is where scouting comes into play. Just like any other hunting, you want to set up where the game is. It helps to get out and drive around looking for good places to set up. Take a pair of binoculars because they can help you spot doves.

Most landowners will let you hunt doves, but explain your tactics to them so they know what to expect.

Iowa has lots of public shooting areas that have good flights of doves, especially those that have food plots planted for doves. Go to the Iowa DNR website and click on the banner dove picture to find the listings.

South Dakota has over a million acres of “Walk-In” land in addition to a great many other public lands that you can hunt. Nebraska does too. Go to their websites to get all the information. [Read more…]

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We drift for elusive blue catfish on Missouri By Larry Myhre

SLOAN, Iowa | I stood on the boat ramp just below of the mouth of Winnebago Bend and watched the Missouri quietly pulse its way along. Low, scudding clouds slipped overhead and spit out the occasional drops of rain I could feel on my bare arms.

I was waiting for Pat Carter, Elk Point, S.D., to show up with his boat. He would have collected our bait, gizzard shad, with his cast net at Browns Lake. The young-of-the-year shad would be crammed into a ziplock bag and thrown on ice in the cooler. When cut into small pieces and speared on our hooks, they would become the bait that might lure channel or blue catfish to take a bite.

When Pat arrived, we dumped his boat into the river. He fired up the 150-horse outboard and pointed the bow upstream. We ran a couple of miles, and then began drifting back.

Our goal was to catch a big blue catfish, but if a channel catfish wanted to bite, we’d not object.

It seems that blue catfish are making their way up the Missouri in greater numbers the past few years. We’re not exactly sure why but more of them are being caught than previously.

Of course, it may be that we were not fishing correctly for them in the past.

It seems, from what we have been able to gather the past few years, virtually all blue catfish have been caught by anglers drifting their baits downstream rather than anchoring. [Read more…]

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Danger lurks below the surface of most lakes by Larry Myhre

I still remember the first northern I ever caught. I was dangling a worm on a big bullhead hook off of a dock at Wall Lake, a small, 200-acre natural lake just southwest of Sioux Falls, S.D. I was all of 5 years old

The little green rocket zoomed out from under the shaded depths and nailed that worm. The speed of his ambush soon brought him up short at the end of about three feet of braided, black Dacron that hung down from my steel baitcasting rod.

His momentum carried him out of the water, and I swung him back onto the dock and made a run for shore. There I took note of the thing. The evil look in his eyes did not escape me, and neither did the vicious looking teeth clenched around my bullhead hook.

I would later rendezvous with those wicked teeth in a mind boggling number of waters throughout the upper Midwest and Canada. You see, northern pike are found just about anywhere there is water.

But for now, I wasn’t even sure what it was. It was just another cog in the mystery wheel of what lies hidden beneath the waters’ depths.

I think that was what attracted me to fishing in the first place.

There were a lot of creatures living out of sight in all kinds of waters. I was intrigued and marveled at each one. Some were immensely beautiful like the first pumpkinseed sunfish I caught out of Beaver Creek a mile from home. Some ugly like the bullheads, catfish and carp I caught below the low head dam on the Big Sioux River at Klondike, Iowa, just a few miles from our South Dakota farm.

And some, just a surprise like the northern with the evil eye.

I was a lucky kid.

My folks and my grandfather took me fishing all the time. I graduated from a cane pole to an old steel rod and Bronson casting reel before I attended the one-room country school a mile and a half from the farm. I still have the casting rod. In fact, I looked it over yesterday. For some reason I had painted the steel shaft red up to the first guide and then white up to the next guide. I have no idea why. Maybe it was because grandpa always painted everything, even his tools.

Thankfully, I got past that.

I caught northerns in the spring-swollen waters of the little creek that ran through our farm. I caught northerns at Swan Lake.

But I never had any idea of the monstrous proportions these fish can attain until we vacationed at Minnesota’s Green Lake one summer.

Dad was casting a red and white Dardevle spoon when a monster fish hit it. When the fish turned to run for deeper water, it came up short against Dad’s 20-pound test Dacron line. Before the line broke we saw this huge tail come out of a washtub-sized boil and the fish was gone.

In college, at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, I spent more time in the spring along the Missouri River than I did in class. The backwaters were filled with northerns and I caught a bunch of them both at Vermillion and at another backwater on the east edge of Yankton. Most of these fish were in the 5 to 8-pound range. Biggest I ever caught probably pushed 12 pounds.

Lure of choice? The red and white Dardevle spoon. I’d venture that more northerns have been caught on red and white spoons than any other lure. [Read more…]