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Iowa Great Lakes are a multi-species paradise By Larry Myhre Team Outdoorsmen Adventures

     SPIRIT LAKE,  Iowa — It was shaping up to be a picture perfect, bluebird day. The sun glinted off the calm surface of Emersons Bay on Big West Lake Okoboji as fishing guide John Grosvenor put the hammer down on his big Skeeter WX2060.

     Aboard were Clay Norris, Team Outdoorsmen Adventures member and longtime product manager for the Berkley Company, and me. Following close behind the Skeeter were Gary Howey, Hartington, Neb., who has the Outdoorsman Adventures Television show, and cameraman Garrett Heikes, Wayne, Neb., in my Alumacraft Tournament Sport which would serve as the camera boat for this trip.

     We didn’t have far to run.

     Grosvenor had caught a lot of fish on a rock bar just outside the mouth of the bay the day before. Bluegills, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and walleyes had rounded out his catch. He dropped down his Minn Kota Ulterra, bow-mounted electric motor and hit the anchor button. GPS tracking would keep us on one spot in spite of a light breeze which was beginning to kick up.

     John handed Clay a rod armed with a slip bobber and a 1/16-ounce jig head tipped with two red wiggler worms. These tiny worms max out at about 4-inches long and are great fish bait because of their wiggling action. After getting Clay rigged up, John handed me a drop shot rod with a Havoc Bottom Hopper Jr., plastic worm, on the short-shanked drop shot hook. A three-eights ounce drop shot sinker was slipped onto the line about 18-inches below the hook.

     Both rods were rigged with Berkley Crystal Fireline with Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon leaders.

     Both the slip bobber and drop shot rig are finesse techniques and work well in the clear waters of this spring-fed, 3,847 acre lake.

     It didn’t take long for Clay to hook up with a nine-inch bluegill. It was a brightly colored male as were most of the big ‘gills we caught that day. In this deeper water, the ‘gills were still on the beds. Clay took two more fish, a bluegill and a largemouth, before I hooked up with my first largemouth of the day.

     We moved a couple times on that bar, but could not find the larger bass John was looking for. Ours topped out at about 15 inches. And the walleyes, it seemed had left except for the small one that Clay brought to the boat. We had caught and released a lot of bluegills and largemouth, but the smallmouth were absent. A cold front had moved through late the day before and we figured the smallies might have gone into deeper water.

     John decided to make a move. He started the big motor and pointed the bow north. We were headed for the rock bars above Gull Point.

     John has been guiding on the Iowa Great Lakes for the past 16 years. I first met John when he was an Anchor/Reporter for KTIV-TV news and I was working at the Sioux City Journal. John spent 10 years in the news business, both in Sioux City and Des Moines.

     As we began working the rock piles on the flats above Gull, it became apparent that the largemouth and bluegills and even a few walleyes were home, but the smallies still evaded us. We also caught three small northerns along here. I caught a silver northern, my first ever. A silver northern is just a color phase and not a separate species. The silver northern has no spots or coloring along its back and sides.

     Clay remarked, “It looks like a walleye with a northern pike’s head.”

     That’s as good of a description as any.

     Another color phase found in these lakes is the striped northern. The DNR estimates only one percent of the northern population is striped, while some 20 percent are silvers. Apparently, the three color phases originated from Spirit Lake, but the DNR has stocked them in both West and East Okoboji.

     We made one more move into deeper water on a rock pile to the north. [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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That Time of the Year Being Thankful By Gary Howey

  The holiday season and especially Christmas is a time to reflect back and truly appreciate all we have, our families, friends, the many opportunities available to us because we live where we do, and for those that have given up so much for us as they serve in our military.

  We should be thankful for so many things, especially our families, our husbands and wives, children, and grandchildren and for those who have been around longer than I have your great-grand kids. Our families, who may have sometimes wondered about us, have been there and who have supported us throughout life, through thick and thin.

  We should be especially thankful for their support over the year and for me, especially the support of a wife, “who has kept the home fires burning” while I was away.

  On my journey, I’ve traveled many miles, yes I was fishing and hunting, but as my good friend Tony Dean once said, “It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it.” 

  For those friends, old, new, some we have lost and those friends we may not yet have meet, those we think of from time-to-time.

Those, whom we may have spent time with in the blinds, peering in the air for the waterfowl flights that may not appear, in the fields walking those many miles in search of pheasants, quail and prairie chicken, on the water waiting for that next bite, those who helped us to create our own outdoor adventures.

  We should be thankful for time spent with friends and family who have passed, remembering those good times we had with them.

  I’m also thankful for the wildlife we have on earth, those animals, birds and fish that have fed and clothed early Americans and for those in the wild today.  These wildlife species aren’t there just for hunters to enjoy, but also hikers, bird watchers, wildlife photographers and nature lovers. Many of these species increase in numbers because of the efforts of hunters and the dollars aid by them in excise taxes on their equipment and their permits.

  Then there’s our Team Outdoorsmen Adventures members who keep us advised on the outdoors in their areas and furnish their time and equipment to put us on the fish and game when things get hot.

  To those who have spent long hours with us, supervising our journey, helping us to get to where we are today, we all should be thankful for.  

  For me, it would be the newspaper editors who’ve had to work with me, the videographers, editors and radio co-hosts who made sense of what I did, wrote and say.

  Then there are the opportunities given in life, the direction our lives have went, where we live and the decisions we’ve made in life.

  We should be thankful for the opportunities we’ve received, in putting our lives together, our occupations, our families,  the people we’ve met and where we’ve ended up in life. [Read more…]