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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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2016 Valentine Chamber Of Commerce CorK Thornton memorial Ice Fishing Tournament

This years Valentine Chamber tournament was held on the twelve inches of ice on Alkali Lake south of Valentine, NE. with thirty teams hitting the ice during excellent weather conditions.  This was a catch and release tournament with the length being converted to pounds. A total of one hundred-twenty four fish were weighed and releases.

Coming out on top was the team of Don Cox, Mullen, NE and Dave Fehlhafer, Donopin, NE. with 17 crappies 9″ t 12″ that weighed 13.5 pounds and a 20″ catfish at 3 pounds, 25″ pike at 4.4 pounds for a total weight of 20.9 pounds. In second was the team of Jim & Chris Elliott, Valentine, NE. with the largest fish of the tournament, a 12.2 pound pike and a total weight of 18.6 pounds. In third place with 18.3 pounds,was the defending champions team  of Dan Priel, Cambridge, NE. and Kent Priel, North Platte, NE. Merritt Tourney

 

Rounding out the top ten teams were:

4th Place   Marcus Dryak & Stan Dryak, Niobrara, NE.                  16.2 pounds

5th Place  Nick Larsen, Valentine, NE. & Jay Elliot, Omaha, NE.  14.4 pounds

6th Place  Brenton lammers, Lincoln, NE. & Alex Rohde, Laurel, NE.

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In the Heart of the Sandhills, Valentine, NE. By Gary Howey

Our destination, Valentine, Nebraska, located in north central Nebraska in the part of the state known as the Sandhills, a picturesque part of the state where seven different ecosystems come together.

When most folks think of Valentine, they think about the excellent canoeing and tubing down the Niobrara River. Among the other attractions and outdoor opportunities found in the Valentine area, include several waterfalls, including; Nebraska’s tallest waterfall, Smith falls and the Snake River falls. Other attractions all located within a short, drive from Valentine, include the McKelvie National Forest, the Valentine National Migratory Bird Refuge, Fort Niobrara National Wildlife and Valentine State Fish Hatchery.

On this trip, we visit another of the excellent vacation and fishing destinations in the area,  as we will be fishing and filming on Merritt Reservoir with Team Outdoorsmen Adventures member Steve Isom of Valentine.

Merritt Reservoir, a three thousand acre reservoir is located twenty-six miles southwest of Valentine; the reservoir holds excellent populations of walleye, smallmouth bass, crappies, and channel catfish and is one of the few lakes in Nebraska with Muskie.

Several Nebraska State record fish have come from these waters including the state record Channel Catfish. I n 1985 a thirty-nine inch fish tipping the scales at 41 lbs. 8 ounces came from these waters, the following year the record was tied when another big catfish, also weighing 41 lbs. 8 ounce fish was taken from the reservoir.

Merritt is also the home of the Nebraska record Muskellunge (Muskie), the state record fish came from the reservoir in 1992, the a fifty-two inch fish weighed in at 41 pounds 8 ounces. [Read more…]

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Weather puts damper on Merritt walleyes By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal.
VALENTINE, Neb. | Heavy clouds wrapped themselves around the Sandhills landscape as Steve Isom guided his boat along the face of Merritt Reservoir dam.

It was 5:30 a.m. and Gary Howey, Hartington, Neb., and I stood in the back of the boat hurling shallow diving crankbaits hoping that one of the fat walleyes for which Merritt is known would latch on.

Alewives, the primary forage base for the walleyes, were there in high numbers. We could see them on the depth finder and occasionally one of us would snag one of them. They were running five to seven inches long, and were so thick all a walleye would have to do is open his mouth and one would swim in.

But the walleyes were not interested in opening their mouths. A week earlier, Steve, who lives in Valentine, a mere 35 miles to the north, had taken some people out and they limited here with the biggest fish hitting 9-and-a-half pounds. [Read more…]