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Multi Species, Multi Lakes & Mega Opportunities It’s Alexandria, MN. By Gary Howey

  The bobber rig on the end of my line was about to reach the boat, when a dark shadow, a huge muskie rose up from the depths, paying little attention to my 1/16 ounce jig and leech as it slid by my lure and into the cabbage weed in the deep water.

   It was a “BIG” fish one that appeared to be at least 36 inches long, not a giant on this lake, but one any angler would love to tangle with.

   Our guide Joe Scegura indicated the waters around Alexandria, MN. offer some of the best opportunities for anglers to catch a trophy muskie with one exceeding 50″ not uncommon.

  We had headed north on Tuesday, Team Outdoorsmen Adventures member Larry Myhre, Sioux City, IA, videographer Garrett Heikes, Wayne, NE. and as we worked our way up, Larry who had fished these waters before, clued us in on what we might expect. The fish found there, the lakes he’ fished and of course all the big fish he had taken there.

  Within a short drive of Alexandria you’ll find more lakes than you could count, most having excellent fish populations.

  The main structure on the lakes would be cabbage weed as well as some rocks, with good visibility down to twelve feet or more; these lakes hold walleyes, muskie, crappies, pumpkin seed panfish as well as northern pike.

  We’d be fishing with Joe Scegura, jsguideservice.com a, lunching from the east shoreline and as Joe headed up to park the truck and boat trailer, we spotted several species of fish working in and around the dock, a good indicator as to the number of fish found in the lake.

  Joe who had been on the water the previous day showed us some photos of the fish his groups had taken from this lake using slip bobber rigs.

  Slip-bobbers are unlike the standard bobbers that snap to the line as they have a hollow stem going through the bobber, with your line running through that stem, allowing the bobber to slide on your line.

  Slip bobber rigs are a simple set up, we used a small 1/16 ounce jig tipped with leeches or minnows, with the size of the jig you use can be smaller, use one you’re comfortable with, a clear leader leading to a swivel. It’s tied to the main line; Berkley Fireline, a small bead, Thill slip bobber slid up the line and a bobber stop attached to the line, which is generally, a small knot that slides through the guides on your rod.

  The weather reports weren’t very good, with thunder storms predicted that afternoon, so we were anxious to get on the water, and as we motored across the lake, Joe kept a close eye on the locators.

   As bad weather approaches, fish seem to sense them ahead of time and have a tendency to feed heavily before the storm, and because of this, we should be looking for some great fishing.

Author Gary Howey with guide Joe Scegura with one of the numerous walleyes took using slip bobber rigs while fishing the one of the many lakes in and around Alexandria. MN.

  I fired my slip bobber rig towards the outside edge of the weeds, my bobber hit the water, came to rest against the bobber stop, stood up, wiggled a bit then darted to the side before disappearing underwater as the fish attempted to dive deep into the cover of the cabbage weed bed.

Reeling up the slack, I felt the additional weight on the line; rearing back setting the hook hard, and if the way the fish was fighting, was an indicator, it appeared to be a good fish.

  As the fish came close to the boat, it let us know it wasn’t ready to give up the fight, peeling off several yards of line as it dove back under the boat.

   Gaining on the fish, I worked it towards the net, where Joe scooped up the nice 21 ½-inch walleye, one of the many fish we’d land on this trip.

 The weather we were facing, overcast skies and slight wind cutting the light penetration, allowed the fish to move shallow to feed, with the wave action allowing us to float our rigs into the wed line ,as Joe held the boat well away from the water we were fishing with his bow mount.

  Moving from one location to another, looking for the big fish, we were working the weed bed openings, when Larry’s slip bobber disappeared, he set the hook connecting with another decent walleye. While this was happening, Joe fought a fish up front, as I was fighting one at the back of the boat, our first of numerous doubles and triples we had on that day.

  A light shower moved in and didn’t last long, just long enough to force us to don our rain gear. The shower passed with the storm clouds moving away, with the sun coming out, which slowed our walleye action. In several hours, wed landed numerous walleyes with the two largest a 24 ½” and a 20″ fish. 

  As the sun moved higher in the sky we moved to different part of the lake to fish shallower water hoping to find some crappies.

  Garrett was the first to spot the huge schools of minnows using the area and then the crappies and other predator fish lying in ambush in the weeds.

  If you can spot the fish, they surely can see you, so fishing clear water required that you position the boat out and away from the fish, making long casts in front of where they’re located and let the wind drift your rig to them.  There were all kinds of fish in this part of the lake as we landed crappies, other panfish, walleyes, both large and smallmouth bass, as well as northern pike in the short period of time we fished that area.

  We called it early, as we needed to do some filming at the Arrowwood as well as some sights in Alexandria as well as to pack for the return trip the following morning.

  As we headed back, Joe had mentioned to and Garrett that there was a good smallmouth lake not far from where they were and they decided to do a late afternoon- early evening smallmouth bass excursion to another lake. Even though the wind picked up, they were able to boat several big smallmouths with the largest in the 20″ range.

  We caught all of our fish, numerous species in a short period of time with Joe putting us on the right spot, with the right rigs.

  The Alexandria, MN, area offers Multi Species, Multi Lakes & Mega Opportunities for both open and hard water fishing, visiting and vacationing and is an area all of us plan to return to in the near future.

  More information on all that the Alexandria, MN has to offer is available at explorealex.com.

You can contact Guide Joe Secgura at (320) 260-9056 or on line at jsguideservice.com.

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The 15th Annual Paralyzed Veteran’s of America &Fireman’s Fishing event By Gary Howey

  What does it take to have the ability to take dozens of paralyzed veterans and other individuals fishing on the Missouri River? It’s a monumental task, which is pulled off each year in the Missouri River waters adjacent to Chamberlain/Oacoma, S.D.

  Our destination, Arrowwood, Cedar Shore Resort, which located on the west bank of the Missouri River near Oacoma and as  we pulled into the parking lot, there were vehicles from several states including; Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Colorado, North Dakota and Texas.

   The resort was the headquarters for the 2017 Firefighters Paralyzed Veterans of America North Central Chapter Joel Niemeyer Memorial Walleye Fishing event that was held May 25 and May 26.

  This event, the 15th annual would give disabled veterans and other individuals the opportunity to get out in a boat to do some fishing, for some; this would be their only opportunity of the year.

  Sponsored by numerous Fire fighters organizations, the North Central Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, local sponsors, several veterans groups, numerous volunteers, that included up to thirty boat commanders and first mates,  who’d volunteer their time, boats and equipment to take these folks out onto the river to fish. [Read more…]

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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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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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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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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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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…]

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Whiskered Wonders-Channel Catfish By Gary Howey

 

Anyone who has ever had the opportunity to tangle with a big catfish knows how powerful a big cat is.

  They’re not the prettiest fish in the water, but they are plentiful, fun to catch and great eating.

Cats are bottom-hugging creatures, spending most of their time either on the bottom or close to it.  Their eyesight is not very good, so they depend on their sense of smell and taste to find their food.  The barbells protruding from their upper lip are covered with taste receptors, as are their lips, helping catfish to locate a meal.

In the upper Midwest, you’ll find three species of catfish: the Channel, Blue and the Flathead.

In this column, we’re going to be talking about the Channel catfish.

Channel catfish are the most abundant fish species in our area and are found in most rivers, ponds, small lakes and reservoirs.

You’ll find them below the dam at Gavin’s Point and throughout the Missouri River system.  Look for channel catfish in deeper holes below the spillway, behind the rubble below the turbines and in snag-infested areas adjacent to deeper water.

They’re opportunists when it comes to what they eat; feeding on just about anything, they can get their mouth around.

I hold two line-class world records for Channel Catfish, which were taken on cutbait, which is no more than a piece of flesh cut from a Sucker and Goldeye. If you are going to use cutbait, be sure to leave the skin as this makes it harder for the fish to pull from the hook and with the skin attached, the bait will stay on your hook longer

 They will also take worms, Bluegills, Bullheads, Shad entrails, chicken or turkey liver, stink baits and about anything else, you throw at them. [Read more…]

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MN. Gov’s Pheasant Opener 2015 By Gary Howey

The fall colors were just beginning to pop as we made our way down into the Minnesota River Valley outside of Mankato, Minnesota. The sun was reflecting off the brightly colored leaves, with the reds of the Sumac, along with the red orange and yellows of the Maples looked like one of Terry Redlin’s paintings. The valley was lit up with the fall colors and there would be more to come as it was early October and Mother Nature had not yet finished the painting of the trees along the hillside and river valley.

It was pheasant hunting season in the upper Midwest with Team Outdoorsmen Adventures member Larry Myhre and I heading to Mankato for the Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener.

Since I had made several trips to the Mankato area in the past, filming and hunting for waterfowl and archery deer, I knew the area held good numbers of wildlife and having an opportunity to return to the area to sample their pheasant hunting was something I just could not pass up. [Read more…]

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Land conservation focus of Governor’s Hunt by Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal
MANKATO, Minn. | It was a perfect day for pheasant hunting. The bright Minnesota sun swept over the native grasses that made up this piece of CRP field. A swath of corn stood at the eastern edge of the field, its stalks dying as the corn ripened.
A cool wind made the morning chilly. Later it would freshen to a strong gale which would make the canvas tent under which we ate the noon lunch, flap wildly.
I watched the hunters advance, a thin line of fluorescent orange from this distance. I clutched my 20-gauge semi-auto and waited. This was the opening walk for our team participating in the Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener.
We had heard Gov. Mark Dayton at the banquet the night before and at the breakfast at the City Center Hotel in Mankato. He wasn’t able to hunt because of complications with his hip.
For Gary Howey, Hartington, Neb., and me, the event had started with the social hour and banquet at the Verizon Wireless Center in downtown Mankato. For those who were able to arrive early, an afternoon of activities awaited them. [Read more…]