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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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Lake of the Woods Fishing: Vast, Beautiful and Productive By Gary Howey

  As we made our way out of Zippel Bay on the Resorts thirty-foot charter boat, the lighthouse marker appeared on the rock jetty with Lake of the Woods looming out before us.

  Nick Painovich captained the boat with Captain Mitch Cole who had 40-years as a charter captain on the lake.

  As the charter, one of five the resort has came out of the bay into the main lake; the vastness of the lake became obvious with the lakes stretching out before us.

  On the hour run to one area Nick had taken fish on a previous trip, we talked about the resort and all it offers. We were staying in one of the many log cabins on the resort, each with three bedrooms, two baths, television, fireplace and well-equipped kitchen. These as well as smaller cabins, their lounge, swimming pool, hot tub, shoreline equipment for the kids and rental boats makes Zippel Bay Resort the only lake on the south shoreline near Williams, MN. it’s an ideal place for a family outing, fishing trip or corporate retreat.

  Lake of the Woods is the sixth largest freshwater lake located-partially in the United States; it’s 70 miles long and wide with more than 14,552 islands and 65,000 miles of shoreline.

  Our destination would be twenty-two miles out, where, we were able to see the shoreline of Ontario, Manitoba and the Northwest Angle the only U.S. territory lying in of Canada.

  Nick and His wife Deanna have owned the Resort since the late 70’s, with major improvements coming to the resort each year, making it one of the premier resorts on the big lake.

  On our first stop we’d be drifting, using 3-hook spinners and Wingit Quick Change bottom bouncers tipped with a crawler.

  It didn’t take long to realize Nick had the right plan as we put several fish in the boat, including keeper walleyes and sauger for our supper that evening.  Team Member Larry Myhre would even add a big perch to the menu. [Read more…]

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Walleyes biting well on Lake of the Woods By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

WILLIAMS, Minn. — Nick Painovich, owner of Zippel Bay Resort, guided the big, 30-foot charter boat around the corner and through the mouth of the bay. Lake of the Woods lay before us. Nothing but water could be seen along the northern reaches. The view of the south shoreline was tree-lined until it, too, faded into the dancing heat waves and melded into the lake’s surface.

To the east you could see a couple of faraway islands, two of the over 14,000 found on this giant inland sea.

Our destination was 23 miles to the north just outside “the Northwest Angle.” The Northwest Angle is the farthest north portion of the contiguous United States. Its existence is thanks to a mapmaker’s error in the late 1700s.

It was an hour’s run to a reef where one of Nick’s charters had picked up some nice walleyes the day before.

Our plan was to troll bottom bouncers and spinners with nightcrawlers impaled on three-hook rigs. And, it was a good one.

We soon were pulling eating-size walleyes and saugers over the side of the big boat. The best ones were put in the live well for supper back at camp that night.

Gary Howey, of Hartington, Nebraska, and I had arrived at Zippel Bay the day before. Nick put us up in one of their big log homes available for guests. There are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a jacuzzi, kitchen with stainless steel appliances, fireplace, flat-screen TV and a large deck.

We met Nick for breakfast in the lodge and then boarded the charter, where we were joined by Mitch Cole, a veteran charter boat captain with 40 years of service on the water.

All walleyes between 19.5 and 28 inches must be released at Lake of the Woods. The walleye/sauger aggregate limit is six, but not more than four can be walleyes. From Dec. 1 through April 14, the limit is increased to eight, but only four can be walleyes.

We were catching a lot of fish, nice 18- to 19-inch “eaters,” but none topped the 19.5 mark. We were hoping to get a “picture” fish, which, of course, would be released. Last year I released an eight-pounder. So we made a change of location to another reef about five miles to the southwest. A charter captain there told Mitch via marine band radio that he was trolling plugs behind downriggers and was catching some nice fish.

We pulled in, put down our spinners and began boating fish. But once again the larger fish were eluding us. [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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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…]