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How to not Launch Your Boat By Gary Howey

  Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time setting at boat ramps waiting to launch and load my boat.

  Most of these were quick and painless, but a few that really sucked!

  Most anglers or boaters know where I’m coming from, when you have a 20 to 30-minute wait while there’s someone who is trying to launch their boat.

  More than likely, there will be several other boats who are in the water waiting to get to the dock that will have to cruise around the bay, with others waiting in their vehicle as one-boat clutters up the launching area.

  I’m sure the person who is doing this wouldn’t be doing it on purpose, they just aren’t aware of proper boat ramp etiquette.

  Most of you reading this column have run into similar situations.

 Another thing that will drive a person crazy who’s trying to launch their boat is the person that pulls into the boat ramp with their tarp on the boat, backs down just short of the water and then proceeds to remove the tarp while other boaters waiting to launch.

 Or how about the person that backs down to the water only to spend the next ten-minutes unloading all the ski equipment, inner tubes and picnic supplies into the boat?

Then there’s the person who backs down, unhooks his boat and ties it to the dock, then heads off to park his vehicle.  While he’s up there, he uses the bathroom and then five-minute later makes his way down to the boat.  As he finally pulls away from the dock, he can’t understand why the people in the six or eight boats waiting to launch behind him are not very friendly.

  Then how about those who pulls up to the dock, tie up, right where the next boat needs to launch and then heads up to get his rig and trailer.  

  With low water ramps and the distance a person has to go to park their trailer, it takes quite a while for you to get to and from the ramp and to the parking area.  If a boater or angler doesn’t launch or load the boat properly, it can tie up a boat dock and really screw things up.

  How about the person who backs their boat down to the dock, hits the starter and realizes the motor is not going to start.  Instead of putting the boat back on the trailer and pulling it up into the parking area to check it out, decides to pull the cover off the motor and thinks that the boat dock is a good place to overhaul the engine. [Read more…]

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Going deep with Lead Core by Gary Howey

  The thermometer says it’s close to 100 degrees out there, and everything getting “hot.” With temperatures like those that we’re having, the summer sun warms everything up, including the water, the warmer water forces fish to go deep to find comfortable water temperatures.

  To many anglers, it’s one of the toughest times of the year to catch walleyes, as deep-water fishing is something that many anglers don’t do that often.

 Some fish a deep-water using snap weight that’s attached to the line out in front of a crankbait, while others use bottom bouncers with spinners or crankbaits, which works fine until the fish you’re after suspended in the tops of submerged trees.

 If you’ve fished over submerged trees, you know the depth the trees lie in can vary from a few inches to a few feet.  If you’re fishing these areas using

bottom bouncers/spinners or with crankbaits, you’re going to be hung up and loose tackle.

  When going deep for walleyes is when Lead Core on a line counter reel really shines, allowing you to put your crankbait to the exact depth the fish are using. When you catch a fish, it allows you to return to about the same depth.

  What exactly is Lead Core and how does it work?

  The easiest way to describe Lead Core is that it’s a line where metered colored Dacron is woven around a lead wire core. It’s available in numerous pound tests including: 12, 15, 18, 27 and 45# with the breaking strength measured using the outside Dacron’s breaking strength.

  The heavier pound Lead Core take up a lot of room on a reel as it’s larger in diameter and contains more lead in its inside the Dacron sheath.

  When fishing Lead Core, I run 27# as it works well for the lakes that I fish.

 With the line you’re able to fish deep because the line sinks, allowing you to get your baits down where the fish are located during the heat of summer. [Read more…]

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It’s Hot and They’re Deep By Gary Howey

  There have been days when I wondered if the warmer weather would ever get here. Not here right now, but have no fear when it arrives, it will be with a vengeance.

  When it does arrive, it warms up quickly. This along with the higher humidity we get in our area will be the perfect combination for nasty weather and of course, tougher fishing conditions.

  This is the time of the year, when fish need to adjust to numerous conditions, which includes low water, high water, rising water temperatures, rising or falling barometric pressure and the summer’s bright sunlight all making walleye fishing during this time of the year, tough.

  We anglers will need to adjust, heading to be fishing  deeper water and water where there’s  less sunlight penetration as this is where the fish ware going to be once temperatures start to rise.

  With these hotter temperatures, walleyes and other species of fish will go deep, searching for comfortable water temperatures.

  These deep-water haunts provide the cooler water temperature the fish need to survive when things heat up.

  Another reason is that their food source, the baitfish have moved down, bringing the predator fish with them.

  There are several methods where you can take these Deep-Water fish; those that have worked well for me in the past include leadcore line, snap weights or downriggers pulling crankbaits.

  During this time of the year, the movement of the fish can vary drastically, especially just prior to a sever weather change. [Read more…]

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When the fish won’t bite! Do a Change-Up! By Gary Howey

   What I’m writing about happened to me numerous times over the years and I’m sure it will happen again.

   We were fishing on one of the numerous lakes in the Glacial Lakes and Prairie Region of Northeastern South Dakota, near Watertown and not having much luck. I knew there was a tremendous fisheries here as I was born and raised in this area but was beginning to think there wasn’t a walleye in the lake and as I was about to call it a day, I finally located some fish with my locator.

   My eyes were glued to my locator, as they had most of the day, hoping to find these fish.

  As I was working my way back and forth over this one particular spot, there they were fish just off the bottom in 12 foot of water, as well as several on the bottom. They were showing up as those big lazy arcs indicating the presence of fish and by the size of the marks on the locator, they appeared to be big!

  Since they were located right on or just a couple of feet or so off the bottom, I guessed they were active walleyes and immediately marked the spot.

  Grabbing a couple rods one rigged with a live bait rig while on the other I used a jig. I put the one rod with the live bait rig in a rod holder letting it drag along the edge the drop off, while I used a jig, working it up from the deeper water onto the flat where my locator indicated the fish were holding.

  Even though the fish appeared to be active as they were off the bottom, it didn’t take me long to realize that these fish were in a negative mood or weren’t interested in what I was offering.

  I started digging through my tackle bag, switching from one walleye bait to another, going with my old standards, a bottom bouncer with a spinner baited with a minnow. I tried a livebait rig with a crawler, a jig with a Gulp leech, bottom bouncer and spinner and finally going to a crawler on a plain hook with just a small split shot for weight, all to no avail.

  These fish weren’t in the mood, no matter what I was putting in front of them; they just ignored my offerings or lay tight on the bottom refusing to move.

  Once again, I started rummaging through my tackle bag, looking for something different that the walleyes may not have seen before, something to get them to bite. I needed something, that might get the fish’s attention, and to pull them out of their negative mood. [Read more…]

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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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Small Ponds, Lakes & Weeds By Gary Howey

  If you fish some of the clearer lakes and ponds such as the Glacial Lakes in the Watertown, SD area and others found in in Nebraska, South Dakota and Iowa or smaller lakes and ponds in late spring and on into summer you’re going to have to deal with weeds.

  As temperatures rise and the sun’s power increases, these bodies of water will weed up in the first eight to ten foot from the shoreline a weedy mess.

  This makes for some tough fishing especially for the bank angler.  Using a simple rig such as the hook, line, sinker and a bobber doesn’t work if the shoreline is weed covered.
  The moss and emergent weed growth can make it impossible to fish from shore, but it’s a blessing for the newly hatched fingerlings as it gives the small fish a place to hide from predator fish such as bass, pike and walleye. 

  It doesn’t take much shoreline cover to give fingerlings a hiding place to keep from being eaten by the many larger species looking for their next meal. 

  Because the predator fish are cruising along and in between the weed lines, why shouldn’t we be fishing in or near them, but that’s easier said than done as nothing eats tackle like heavy weeds.

    There are ways, shore or bank anglers can fish these solid beds of vegetation and take Bluegill and bass. In all weed beds, there are some open areas where the weeds haven’t grown or they don’t come to the surface.  These open pockets may have a rock or sandy bottom where weeds haven’t been able to establish themselves.  These areas form an edge or a bottom change, as all fish and wildlife, like the edge.

  This gives the fish a place to retreat out of sight, a place to hide from any predators and a place for predators to ambush any smaller fish.

  By fishing these pockets, you’re able to pull the fish out of the weedy areas.  Surface lures imitating a frog or insects work well to entice the fish in these areas as do spinners and buzz baits when run over the top of the weeds and through the openings in the weeds.

   When using spinner baits you’ll want to cast your lure into the water past the pocket, hold your rod high and crank quickly in order to keep your bait from sinking into the weeds. Once you come to an open pocket, pause, allowing your bait to helicopter into the pocket and then crank hard to bring the bait back on top and over the top of the weeds.   Your strike should come as the bait helicopters into the pocket or when you start bringing it up out of the pocket.

   The worst thing you can do when fishing weeds is to work your bait too quickly.  All species of fish use their five senses to locate their prey, sight, sound, vibration, taste and hearing. You’ll have to remember when it comes to fishing in the weeds; the fish aren’t able to use all of their senses in heavy weed growth. Its vision and sense of vibration become impaired because of the thick weeds and it will take them longer to locate your bait, so work it as slow as possible. [Read more…]

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Bottom Bouncing Slow Death Rigs On Francis Case By Gary Howey

 As we pulled into the parking lot on Tuesday, the second day of our fishing trip on Lake Francis Case, there were sixteen rigs inline waiting to launch their boats, my first thoughts were, Wow doesn’t anyone work anymore!”

  When the bite is on, news travels fast and the bite was definitely on with boats launching out of Platte Creek in the Dock 44 area.

  As I mentioned in the beginning of this column, it was our second day on the water, where we’d be filming with professional angler and Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame inductee, Ted Takasaki, Sioux Falls, S.D.
  Larry Myhre, Sioux City, IA., camera operator Bill, Miller, Elgin, NE.  and I had driven up on Monday in heavy wind and intermittent rain showers, and it looked like the bite would surely be off because of the front coming through and we’d have to pound the water late into the first day to find some fish.

  Ted, who arrived mid afternoon had waited out the storms, which took roofs off several buildings in Armour, S.D. and dropped hail east of Sioux Falls. He’s been busy as he just returned from fishing the National Walleye Tour on Lake Sakakawea where he finished in 5th Place.

  We launched Ted’s Lund 219 Pro V mid afternoon, heading out of the bay, expecting to having to fight the wind, when it  calmed down, making for a perfect walleye chop and a nice smooth ride to where we would be fishing.

  This was the first day of our two-day trip and with all the fronts that had gone through, I didn’t know what to expect as cold fronts generally shut the fish off.

  When we arrived at the first spot we’d planned to fish, we were greeted by several boats working the point, with the majority of them pulling plugs.

  Because we were filming, which seems to attract a crowd, Ted maneuvered the boat to an area that was less crowded?

  On this trip, we’d be using bottom bouncers and spinners. Ted uses the Smile spinner blade Slow Death rigs, which proved to be deadly on walleye. The Slow Death hook is off set causing the bait to spin with a corkscrew action with the blade’s extra wiggle gives off more vibration. If you’re using the rig with crawlers, you want to insert the barb of the hook as close to the top of the crawlers head and thread it up past the hooks eye, the pinch off all bur 5 or 6″ of the worm. The vibration from the blade and the action of the hook along with the scent being dispersed from the crawler seemed to draw fish to the bait. [Read more…]

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When the fish won’t bite! Try something different! By Gary Howey

  What I’m about to write about happened to me numerous times over the years and I’m sure it will happen again.

   We were fishing on one of the numerous lakes near Watertown, South Dakota and not having much luck. I was beginning to think there wasn’t a walleye in the lake and as I was about to call it a day, I finally located some fish with my locator.

   My eyes were glued to my locator, as they had most of the day, hoping to find some active fish.

  As I was working my way back and forth over this one particular spot, there they were fish just off the bottom in 12 foot of water, as well as several on the bottom. They were showing up as those big lazy arcs indicating the presence of fish and by the size of the marks on the locator, they appeared to be big!

  Since they were located right on or just a couple of feet or so off the bottom, I guessed they were active walleyes and immediately marked the spot.

  Grabbing a couple rods one rigged with a live bait rigs while on the other I used a jig. I put the one rod with the live bait rig in a rod holder letting it drag along the edge the drop off, while I used a jig, working it up from the deeper water onto the flat where my locator indicated the fish were holding.

  Even though the fish appeared to be active as they were off the bottom, it didn’t take me long to realize that these fish were in a negative mood or weren’t interested in what I was offering.

  I started digging through my tackle bag, switching from one walleye bait to another, going with my old standards, a bottom bouncer with a spinner baited with a minnow. I tried a livebait rig with a crawler, a jig with a Gulp leech, bottom bouncer and spinner and finally going to a crawler on a plain hook with just a small split shot for weight, all to no avail.

  These fish weren’t in the mood, no matter what I was putting in front of them; they just ignored my offerings or lay tight on the bottom refusing to move.

  Once again, I started rummaging through my tackle bag, looking for something different that the walleyes may not have seen before, something to get them to bite. I needed something, that might get the fish’s attention, and to pull them out of their negative mood.

  That’s when I decided to try something different. To do the change up and try a bait I’d used on negative fish in past years. The rig had worked on previous fishing trips on the Missouri River and on lakes in Minnesota to get lethargic walleyes attention and to get them to bite.

  It’s not anything fancy; it’s just something different that most walleye may not have seen before!

When things get slow, and you’ve used every walleye bait in your tackle bag, try something different, Do The Change-Up

  I pulled a floating jig head from my tackle bag and started rigging it in a way that I hoped would work to get them to bite.

  I attached the floating jig head to about a foot of monofilament, tying it about 2′ up the line and at the end of my line, in place of the weight, I attached a ¼ ounce jig.

  Depending on the depth I’m fishing and the amount of current I’m facing, I’ll go with a ¼ oz. jig or a 3/8 oz. jig if I’m fishing in deeper water or in heavier current.

   The style of jig I like to use on this rig is a stand up jig as it “stands up” holding my bait up off the bottom, putting it right in the face of the bottom hugging fish.

  Once the rig ready to go, I baited the floating jig head with a Gulp leech, which would float about, 2′ off the bottom working its way right through the suspended walleyes with the standup jig baited with a minnow running right on the bottom.

  This rig works in several ways, as I jigged along the bottom; it created a cloud of dirt that should attract the fish to my bait.  The floating jig head located above the jig at the depth where I had seen the suspended fish on my locator enticed those fish to bite.

  On this trip, after switching rigs, I managed to take some excellent fish, several in the seventeen to nineteen inch range as well as some smaller fish.

There are days on the water when old walleye standbys may not work, you don’t want to get stuck in the routine where you use the same old traditional bates, not catch fish and go home skunked.

There are times when those baits may not catch fish and you have to come up with a new plan.

When all else fails, you may have to give the fish something different, to do the “Change Up” in order to entice them to look at your bait.

 

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Redlin Art Center To Celebrate 20th Anniversary with Arrival of Four More Originals

On Tuesday, June 6th, in celebration of its 20th anniversary, the Redlin Art Center will add four more original oil paintings to the gallery.  These original oil paintings were sold by Terry Redlin to a private collector in the early 1980’s. To Terry, selling his original art was just part of being an artist. That changed in 1985 when Terry’s son, Charles, convinced his father to stop selling original paintings. It was Charles’ dream to build the Redlin Art Center, fill it with his father’s originals and open it for all to enjoy. On June 6, 1997, Charles’ dream came true with the grand opening of the Redlin Art Center in Terry’s hometown of Watertown, South Dakota. 

The Redlin Art Center -Watertown, S.D.

Now, twenty years later, the Redlin Art Center is pleased to announce that Terry Redlin’s “Glow” series will be added to the gallery. The Redlin family has never searched for the original paintings that were sold by Terry prior to 1985. The owner of these four paintings reached out to the Redlin Art Center a few years ago. It was his desire to see the paintings return to the Redlin Art Center, but he was not in a position to make a donation; and the Center was not in a position to purchase them. Recently, the Redlin Art Center was contacted by an anonymous donor who wanted the paintings returned to the gallery. This cash gift enabled the Redlin Art Center to purchase the paintings.

Considered by some to be among the best in Terry Redlin’s collection, the “Glow” series includes “Morning Glow”, “Afternoon Glow”, “Twilight Glow” and “Evening Glow”. The paintings are exquisite examples of the “romantic realism” Terry referenced as his style. Wildlife, calm water, and glowing campfires captured at different times of day with shadows and light creating the mood. All four were painted with the intricacies and finesse art enthusiasts have admired throughout Terry Redlin’s career. 

Join the Redlin family and the Redlin Art Center staff for an open house from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 6th and celebrate the arrival of these magnificent originals. An anniversary performance by the Watertown City Band will follow at 8:15 p.m. on the art center’s grounds. Bring your lawn chair! Admission is free.

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Protect yourself from Tick Borne diseases By Gary Howey

  Most seasons, deer, turkey pheasant can be found listed on the Game, Fish and Parks calendars and web sites, one you won’t find there is the tick season, but don’t let that stop you from being prepared for this season in the same way you’d be prepared for the others.

  Ticks are small disease carrying insects found in grassy and wooded areas and if allowed to get on the skins look for a warm moist area to embed themselves. They come out in the spring, about the time outdoorsmen and women head into the woods looking for morel mushrooms, wild asparagus or hunting turkeys. Spring isn’t the only time you’ll see ticks as these pests hang around all summer on into the fall.

  There are two groups of ticks, the hard and hard or soft ticks. In our area, it’s the hard ticks found in wooded, grassy, and densely vegetated areas.

  Soft ticks tend to live in bird nests, on rodents, and on bats but either can find their way onto us, luckily, no species of ticks solely depend on us for survival. Some ticks are only found on a certain host; luckily, we aren’t one of them.

  A female tick can lay a bunch of eggs, anywhere from 3,000 to 11,000 eggs, so we need to be aware of them and prevent them from catching a ride on us.

  There’s only one way to avoid the possibility of avoiding a tick borne disease and that’s to avoid areas they inhabit, DUH, like that’s going to happen, if you’re an outdoorsmen or women who spends every spare moment out in the field or woods.

  Since we know we are going to be in the same areas that ticks inhabit, below are a few simple precautions that can reduce the chances of a tick encounter.

Tip #1: Ticks crawl upward onto a host, that’s why it’s a good idea to cut off any route they might have in an attempt to get on your skin and why it’s an excellent idea to tuck your pants legs into your boots and your shirts into your pants. For extra protection, tape them shut with duct tape, then twist the tape so the sticky side is out and make one more wrap. [Read more…]