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You will never forget your first boat By Larry MYHRE

 As you go through life, you will experience many firsts.

Most of them you will forget as time goes on, but many of them will stay with you forever.

For instance, who can forget their first car? Who can forget your first date? Who can forget your first wife? (Well, my first wife and I

will celebrate 52 years this year.)

But there is one first which may overshadow all others. This is true especially if your passion is fishing.

That would be your first boat. Sorry, Fran.

It seems like only yesterday that I, a 15-year-old farm kid, sat at the dinner table with my mom and dad. I had given dad a brochure which explained the process of buying a class ring.

He studied it, brows furrowed. Then he looked up, leaned across the table and said, “What do you want, a class ring or a boat? You can’t have both.”

That was, as they say today, a no-brainer.

“I want the boat.”

The next day was Saturday and we headed to Sioux Falls to look for a boat.

It seemed everything we looked at was far beyond our simple budget. There was not lot of money in farming in the 1950s.

Then we found an old, 12-foot wooden boat in the back lot of one dealership. It needed painting, but it was all there, complete with oars, and sound. It was $50 and we bought it.

We later hauled it home in the back of one of our grain wagons, put it on sawhorses under a big elm shade tree where I would paint it red and white on the outside and gray on the inside. It had three bench seats and removable slats for a floor which would keep your feet out of the water because wooden boats all leak, at least for a while.

But we needed a trailer to haul the boat to area lakes. [Read more…]


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…]


Paddlefish snagging offers new opportunity By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

Iowa’s new paddlefish snagging season is opening up new opportunities for local sportsman.

Three of them, bankers all, are just having a ball hitting the Big Sioux River at dawn three or four times a week, pulling coveralls over suits and ties and getting in an hour of snagging before heading to Wells Fargo Bank.

Jason Gehling, Sergeant Bluff, Mike Rickert, Sioux City, and Todd DeMoss, Sergeant Bluff, meet at the river casting their big rods armed with 5/0 treble hooks and four-ounce sinkers.

“We catch a lot of Asian carp,” Jason says. “Last week Mike got a 35-pound flathead, which was released.”

Iowa’s snagging season opened last year. Only paddlefish measuring less than 35 inches inches from the front of the eye to the fork in the tail can be kept or those measuring over 45 inches. Licenses go on sale from Dec. 15 through Jan. 31. Only one paddlefish can be taken by each angler.

All fish of other species must be released immediately.

“It’s been pretty slow for us so far,” Jason said. “Last year we really didn’t get into the paddlefish until the last week in March and the first week in April.”

But for these avid outdoorsmen, just getting on the river bank and casting after a winter of cold and ice is a lot of fun.

“We call it guerrilla fishing,” Jason smiles. “We can usually get in 100 casts before 8 a.m.” [Read more…]


Invasive carp may ruin our fisheries By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal.
A couple of years ago things were kind of slow on the river. I guided the boat upstream and turned to slide into the mouth of the Big Sioux River.
“I want to show you something,” I told Fran. “Get ready for some action.”
We came into the quiet waters of the Sioux at about half throttle. As I motored along the rocks the water began to explode with fish leaping into the air.
I pulled Fran’s head under the windshield so she wouldn’t get hit. Fish were thumping the side of the boat, leaping eight feet into the air, falling into the boat and flopping. It was total chaos.
When we passed through the school, I said, “What did you think of that.”
“You did that on purpose,” she said.
Of course I did. Welcome to the silver carp.
This flying fish is one of three common varieties of what is known as Asian carp. They have infected virtually all of the tributaries of the Mississippi River. Their accidental release into our rivers may be the greatest ecological disaster to ever happen to our fisheries. [Read more…]