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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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Ice Fishing at 50 degrees By Gary Howey

  There’s something to be said about ice fishing when it’s fifty degrees, it’s not the type of weather you usually associate with ice fishing.  For one thing, your hands and the rest of your body isn’t as cold as those minus thirty-three wind chill days you had been on the ice. That day when we traveled five hours north with a film crew and had to film as we had been invited up by one of our sponsors and the day before wasn’t as bad with the weatherman indicating that the following day wouldn’t be all that bad!

  On fifty-degree days, you can fish without heavy gloves, making it easier to untangle your lines when a fish makes a run, wrapping up two of them and it’s much easier to tie on or bait ice fishing micro baits without wearing gloves.

  The best thing about it is you don’t have to bribe your friends to go ice fishing with you.

  When the forecast for Friday February 10 was for fifty-degree weather and little wind in the morning, it sounded like a good time to hit the ice.

  Some of my fishing partners were worried about the ice and not having enough ice but after I assured them that there was eight inches a few days before, they were all in.

  Dani Thoene and I hit the ice first, with Dani punching holes and me following up behind him to clean up the ice mound around the hole and scoop them clean.

  Larry Myhre, Sioux City, IA. pulled in shortly after we arrived and set up on one of the holes to the east of where I was fishing.

  Ten minutes later Anthony Thoene arrived and began fishing not too far from where Larry had set up, with Melvin Kruse rounding out our crew.

  We’d be fishing on a privately stocked pond in northeast Nebraska, one that I’d fished in open water and knew there were some big fish patrolling the depths as on one occasion, I was fishing with heavy line and was broken off when a big fish hit my lure and broke me off in open water.

  We all had Vexilar locators, showing letting us know when fish moving in on our baits, but as many fish do in the winter, they weren’t overly aggressive.

  I rigged up a live bait bobber rig with a minnow and jigged with another rigged tipped with a wax worm hoping to entice a crappie. Larry, Dani and I were doing a number on the smaller bluegill and bass, with two or more of us pulling fish up at the same time.

 A thick red line, indicating a fish moved up under my bait, I raised my bait just a bit, as I waited for the fish to move up to the bait, I watched the sensitive spring bobber at the end of my rod as it will indicate a bite long before you feel it.  [Read more…]

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Late winter action slows, even on farm ponds By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

I didn’t need to look at a calendar to know that it was the month of February.

My depth finder was lit up like a Christmas tree with fish signals, but nothing was happening. A tiny 1/100th-ounce jig was hanging on fresh, two-pound test line. It was tipped with a micro grub body with a long, skinny tail. A tiny piece of waxworm added some scent.

But even this finesse presentation was being ignored.

Yes, that happens a lot in February. Ice fishing success slows down. That doesn’t mean you can’t catch fish, it just means you have to pay attention to details. And, you just have to hang in there, because sometime during the day the bite will take off, and you will be hard pressed to get your bait back down to pull up another fish before it all ends.

I was fishing a farm pond northeast of Hartington, Neb. I had met Gary Howey and Dani Thoene, both of Hartington, at the pond a few minutes earlier.

Dani was running the gasoline-powered auger digging holes all over. Gary was shoveling the ice chips away from each hole. So, all the hard work was done before I even got down there. Imagine that.

I dropped the transducer down one of the holes and took a look. Ten feet deep and nothing there.

Undaunted, I dropped down my tiny jig and before long the fish showed up. Probably bluegills.

Meanwhile, Gary and Dani were reporting the same thing. Lots of fish, but no biters.

Of course, that changed.

Dani was the first to score a small bluegill. Gary added another shortly after. Another finally took my small jig a few minutes later, and the smell of “skunk” wafted away into the cool, clear air.

We were each taking fish from time to time, mostly small bluegills but occasionally we’d get a good one, seven to eight inches.

Before long we were joined by Dani’s brother Anthony and Melvin Kruse, both of Hartington.

[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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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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Going Back to Prehistoric Times, In Search of the Paddlefish By Gary Howey

  I’d been waiting for this moment for several years and it had finally arrived, after applying for and being unsuccessful in the past, this year, would be my year, as I was successful in this year’s drawing for a Nebraska paddlefish snagging tag!

  Over the years, my daughter one of our Team Outdoorsmen Adventures member Mieke Howey Slaba from Wagner, South Dakota had both drawn tags, but not this year as I had mine and Mieke didn’t.

  Our other Team members and I planned on meeting at the Nebraska boat ramp just below Gavin’s Point Dam. Once again, the weatherman had tricked us into believing we’d have a warm sunny day to do some Paddlefish snagging.

  When we arrived at Gavin’s Point Dam that morning, it was misting, wind from the northwest with no sun in sight.

  Team Outdoorsmen Adventures members Marlyn Wiebelhaus, Wiebelhaus Guide Service would run the boat, Larry Myhre on the camera with me doing the snagging.

  The Paddlefish season was in high gear as could be seen by the number of anglers on the shore and in boats who were equipped with long heavy rods, big reels capable of holding huge quantities of heavy line were chucking 4 ounce lead weights and 2/0 treble hooks.

   South Dakota state record, a 127-pound, 9-ounce fish came from Ft. Randall, In Nebraska, and the record came from the tail waters behind Gavin’s Point Dam, and it weighed 113 pounds 4 ounce fish.

  They are found in the Yangtze River and its tributaries in China and in the U.S. the Missouri River and its tributaries.

  Paddlefish, with their torpedo like shape and their powerful tail, are able to move through the water quickly.

They are a prehistoric looking fish; have no bones in their body, ONLY one long cartilage running along their back from the head to their tail.

  My first fish, a short one, came as Marlyn maneuvered the boat around the other boats in the stilling basin, as I brought the small fish to the boat, I noticed it had no bill, and said, “It must have lost it going through the turbine side of the dam.”

  As Marlyn lifted the fish in the boat, he commented, “it’s a tagged fish” and as I held the small fish up, Marlyn jotted down the tag number before I released it back into the water.

  Bringing even a small paddlefish like this one to the boat can be tough,  especially if hooked in the back or tail, as you’re not only are you fighting this powerful fish, you are also fighting their huge gills that flair out, filling with water.

   We caught several more fish in the stilling basin, but as it started to get crowded, Marlyn fired up the big motor and moved down stream, to an area where there were no boats

  It didn’t take long for me to hook into another fish, and the way it was taking line, I knew it wasn’t the size of those I’d taken earlier. The fish peeled the line off the reel as I reared back and cranked on the reel handle, trying to gain back some of the line I’d lost earlier. Slowly but surely, I was gaining on the fish and as he popped to the surface all of us in the boat knew this one would be a slot fish. A slot fish is one that measures between 35″ to 45″ between the front of the eye to the fork of the tail and is a fish, which has to be released. [Read more…]

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We pursue paddlefish below Gavins Point Dam By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

There swims in the dark, swirling currents of the Missouri River a fish whose lineage dates back to over 300 million years, nearly 50 million years before the age of the dinosaurs. It’s a fish that can grow to a length of seven feet and weigh 160 pounds, although giants of that size may not exist at all anymore.

Or, perhaps not.

The paddlefish is a fish of the largest rivers in the land. Its numbers, however, have declined dramatically over the past 50 years or so, largely due to overfishing and habitat changes. Careful fisheries management has resulted in a limited harvest of this fish along the major rivers where it is found.

Recently, I joined Gary Howey, Hartington, Neb., and Marlyn Wiebelhaus, a river guide from nearby Wynot, Neb. Gary had drawn one of the 1,520 resident snagging permits. I was there for the photography.

As Marlyn guided his boat into the tailgaters area of the Gavins Point Dam I counted 12 boats with anglers hurling big snagging rods throwing heavy lines anchored by big sinkers with a single 2/0 treble hook tied just above it into the quiet water below the gates.

We slipped in among the boats and found an open area where Marlyn could work his boat. Unlike most of the snaggers, Marlyn does not anchor and cast. Instead, he trolls with the angler trailing his line behind the boat and lunging back and forth in an effort to set the small treble hook into the flesh of one of those prehistoric swimmers.

It didn’t take long.

“Got one,” Gary grunted as his 10-foot rod bowed heavily and the tip began to throb in time with the pulling of the fish.

But our visions of a primitive monster soon evaporated as the fish rolled on the surface.

“A little one,” Gary said as Marlyn lifted it into the boat.

It might have weighed 10 pounds and would have weighed more if it had the distinctive paddle making up the snout of one of these fish. Called a rostrum, the paddle-like extension was once thought to be used to dig food from the bottom, but that is not the case. This little guy almost proved that. He was fat and in good shape.

“Must have lost that coming through the turbines,” Gary remarked as he slid the fish over the side to freedom.

Our next fish also came quickly.

[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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Hunting fall turkeys can be an experience By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

Sometimes, when you are turkey hunting, you get caught with your pants down.

Well, not really.

But when three birds burst out of cover in formation, 100 yards away, and you are standing in a harvested alfalfa field with only three-inch high vegetation to conceal you, it certainly feels that way.

 I was somewhere in southeast Nebraska. I no longer remember exactly where. Gary Howey, Hartington, Nebraska, and I were hunting the fall turkey season.

We were walking along the edge of an alfalfa field abutting a barbed wire fence along which the summer’s weed growth had grown high. Gary was close to cover, but I had wandered out into the field a ways, like a prima donna on parade.

We hiked along. Me clutching my 12 gauge and sending out plaintive yelps with my diaphragm call from time to time. Gary, carrying the camera, walking behind.

I had just finished a series, when the three birds stepped into the field. I dropped like I had been hit by a rock, and I presumed Howey had done the same.

Funny thing, though. The turkeys didn’t seem to notice us. They kept walking in, and I kept calling. Chalk it up to good camo, I guess.

At 20 yards I decided I was not going to shoot. These were young birds, not that it made any difference to me in a fall season, but I wanted to see just how close I could entice them. And, we had only been out a couple of hours. I hate to end a hunt too early, although that has come back to bite me from time to time.

They came in so close I could have almost grabbed one, although that would have been a very bad idea. They were looking me over like I was some kind of laboratory specimen, their long necks reaching forward and their black, beady eyes piercing like tiny lasers. Before long they became suspicious and began “putting” before running off.

I rolled over laughing, and Gary did the same. [Read more…]