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Capture Better Hunting Photos with Your Phone

In today’s world, most everyone has a phone that they use to take pictures. Where you may have to search for a camera, our phones are almost always with us and the cameras in many of  these phones can shoot some amazing images. We’re capturing split seconds of time we cherish later, sometimes years later, and love to relive the memories. As time passes, photos and video are all we have to look back on special times that meant something to us. Whether it is a beautiful sunrise, an antler you found glistening in the sun, or a photo to show your friends the deer you were chasing and finally caught up to this past fall, it’s always great to have a camera at your fingertips. Cell phone technology has improved so much within the past few years; it allows you to have access to an excellent camera wherever you go.

The roots of my job as a photographer began just like that, walking around with a phone looking for anything that caught my eye. Looking back at those pictures, there were several things I wish I had known then that I know now. One quick way to make your photos stand out is to try different angles of the subject. This allows the audience to see your subject in a different perspective and maybe in a way they never have before. A slightly different angle can bring in more or less light and might compose a unique and different scene.

One thing I always ask myself when I’m photographing something is “how does everyone else do it?” Usually I try to go the opposite direction of that or add some sort of a twist to make it more exciting and stand out. The next thing I wish I had learned was to use the focus for your benefit. Using the focus in creative ways can add depth of field or make your subject stand out more than the [Read more…]

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Those Dog Days Of Summer By Gary Howey

  Not long ago, late winter we wished it would warm up, well, it is happening now with those wishes coming true.

  It is the time of the year, when the temperatures rise, along with the humidity, perfect conditions for some nasty weather and tougher walleye fishing conditions.

  There are numerous adjustments fish have to relate to during the Dog Days of Summer season including: rising water temperatures, rising or falling barometric pressure, high water, low water and the bright summer sunlight all making walleye fishing during this time of the year tougher.

  This is generally when the deeper water areas with less sunlight penetration are where you will find many fish.

  Because of the heavy rain, we have had and the fluctuations in temperatures, things may be different this year, some of the walleyes and other species not in a big hurry to head for deeper water. 

  Just as it has each year, water temperatures will warm up and fish will be searching for more comfortable water temperatures, with the deeper water providing cooler water temperatures the fish need when things heat up. Not only will the cooler water temperatures attract the fish, they move because their food source, the baitfish will also move deeper, bringing the predator fish with them.

  When fish go deep, there are several things you can use to get your bait down to the depth the fish are holding.

  Try trolling using line counter reels spooled with Berkley Fireline and Off Shore snap weights or leadcore line, which allows anglers to get their crankbaits deep. 

  A fish’s movements can vary drastically; this is the time of the year, especially just prior to a severe weather change.

  Fish can detect a weather change long before it occurs using their lateral line, a series of sensitive nerve endings extending from behind the gills along their side out to their tail.  

  Because they feel the weather, changes coming and cannot be are sure how long it may last, walleyes, other species of fish will go on a feeding binge prior to the storms arrival, and then as the weather change arrives move deep, lying dormant, tight on the bottom until weather conditions stabilize.

  It is during the Dog Days that the sun is at its highest point and walleyes, who are very light sensitive, will be more active in periods when sunlight penetration is minimal. Which would be early morning and late evening, when the sun is at its lowest point and sunlight penetration is least. [Read more…]

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Fish the Weeds and Wood For Bass By Gary Howey

  Some anglers seem to develop tunnel vision this time of the year, when some anglers go after just one species of fish and head for the larger bodies of water. 

  When an angler develops tunnel vision, they are missing some of the finest early season fishing.

  Many anglers are hooking onto their boat and running great distances going by some of the best fishing available found, right in their own backyard, those smaller waters that hold big bass.

  Throughout the upper Midwest and especially and in our area there are excellent populations of bass, both small and largemouth and this is an excellent time to take good numbers of both species.

  You will find small and largemouth bass throughout the Missouri River system on upstream in Lake Francis Case, Sharpe and Lake Oahe, in ponds, farm and stock dams, lakes and reservoirs with most having  catcheable populations of largemouth bass.

  After the rigors of the spawn, bass are located in the deeper water, where they are resting up and beginning to feed and as the water temperatures begin to warm, they will become more active.

  As water temperature move into the low 70’s, bass will start to feed aggressively.

  Look for bass this time of the year spending much of the day in the deeper water, moving into the shallows early in the day and later in the afternoon looking for an easy meal.

 In the Missouri River and areas with current, bass will be hanging out throughout the day tucked in behind some sort of cover and in areas with warmer water such as backwaters and in open pockets in the rushers and in deeper bays.

  Anything that cuts or slows down the current, those slack water pockets, are good locations for bass to find shade and a place to ambush prey.

  Points, rock piles pockets in the weeds and down timber, all cut the current and make excellent locations to look for bass in the river.

  Both large and smallmouth bass take spinnerbaits, crankbaits, worm rigs and jigs, but when fishing for smallmouth, it is a good idea to downsize your baits as the larger baits used for largemouth may over power a smallmouth.

  In the lakes, ponds and stock dams look for largemouth bass in ambush areas that are shaded those areas with pockets just inside the weed line, under boat docks, next to down timber or adjacent to brush piles. [Read more…]

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GameKeeper Quick Tip: Managing Your Bass Pond

For a recreational bass fishing pond to reach its full potential and maintain that peak, it must be managed throughout the year. One major component of managing a fish pond is controlling the fish population. If a pond gets overpopulated, there becomes a lack of food and there will be a corresponding decrease in fish size and health.

Controlling the fish population in a pond requires it to be fished enough to take out the right number of fish per year as well as keeping the right size. This process also needs to be organized and kept up with, instead of just “ball-parking” how many fish are taken out of the pond. One great way GameKeepers can keep a detailed track record of their ponds is to have a mailbox by every one of the main docks. In each mailbox is a notebook that everyone fills out when they are finished fishing for the day. This keeps a record of the date, exactly how many fish were caught, the size of each fish and how many were taken out.

For fertilized ponds, try to keep about 20 to 35 pounds of bass per acre per year depending on how bad the overpopulation problem is. If the population in one of your lakes or ponds is balanced, you need to keep about 10 to 20 pounds per acre per year. The sizes of the bass that are generally kept are 14 inches and smaller.

Letting family members and close friends fish these ponds on a regular basis is a great way for all to enjoy and have a part in managing its success. It would not be possible to keep an accurate record of the amount of fish taken out of our ponds without these mailboxes that we put at every dock. Since we have started keeping up with the number and size of the fish caught as well as culling the proper size, there has been a very noticeable increase in the size of the fish in our ponds.

For more info on pond management, read “Habitat Structure for Producing and Holding More Fish”. Some fish species relate to bait more than structure. But even when that’s the case, the bait they’re after usually relates to structure of some kind. So giving your fish something to relate to in the form of structure is a huge step forward to producing and holding more fish.