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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…]

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Whiskered Wonders-Channel Catfish By Gary Howey

 

Anyone who has ever had the opportunity to tangle with a big catfish knows how powerful a big cat is.

  They’re not the prettiest fish in the water, but they are plentiful, fun to catch and great eating.

Cats are bottom-hugging creatures, spending most of their time either on the bottom or close to it.  Their eyesight is not very good, so they depend on their sense of smell and taste to find their food.  The barbells protruding from their upper lip are covered with taste receptors, as are their lips, helping catfish to locate a meal.

In the upper Midwest, you’ll find three species of catfish: the Channel, Blue and the Flathead.

In this column, we’re going to be talking about the Channel catfish.

Channel catfish are the most abundant fish species in our area and are found in most rivers, ponds, small lakes and reservoirs.

You’ll find them below the dam at Gavin’s Point and throughout the Missouri River system.  Look for channel catfish in deeper holes below the spillway, behind the rubble below the turbines and in snag-infested areas adjacent to deeper water.

They’re opportunists when it comes to what they eat; feeding on just about anything, they can get their mouth around.

I hold two line-class world records for Channel Catfish, which were taken on cutbait, which is no more than a piece of flesh cut from a Sucker and Goldeye. If you are going to use cutbait, be sure to leave the skin as this makes it harder for the fish to pull from the hook and with the skin attached, the bait will stay on your hook longer

 They will also take worms, Bluegills, Bullheads, Shad entrails, chicken or turkey liver, stink baits and about anything else, you throw at them. [Read more…]

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MN. Gov’s Pheasant Opener 2015 By Gary Howey

The fall colors were just beginning to pop as we made our way down into the Minnesota River Valley outside of Mankato, Minnesota. The sun was reflecting off the brightly colored leaves, with the reds of the Sumac, along with the red orange and yellows of the Maples looked like one of Terry Redlin’s paintings. The valley was lit up with the fall colors and there would be more to come as it was early October and Mother Nature had not yet finished the painting of the trees along the hillside and river valley.

It was pheasant hunting season in the upper Midwest with Team Outdoorsmen Adventures member Larry Myhre and I heading to Mankato for the Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener.

Since I had made several trips to the Mankato area in the past, filming and hunting for waterfowl and archery deer, I knew the area held good numbers of wildlife and having an opportunity to return to the area to sample their pheasant hunting was something I just could not pass up. [Read more…]

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Land conservation focus of Governor’s Hunt by Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal
MANKATO, Minn. | It was a perfect day for pheasant hunting. The bright Minnesota sun swept over the native grasses that made up this piece of CRP field. A swath of corn stood at the eastern edge of the field, its stalks dying as the corn ripened.
A cool wind made the morning chilly. Later it would freshen to a strong gale which would make the canvas tent under which we ate the noon lunch, flap wildly.
I watched the hunters advance, a thin line of fluorescent orange from this distance. I clutched my 20-gauge semi-auto and waited. This was the opening walk for our team participating in the Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener.
We had heard Gov. Mark Dayton at the banquet the night before and at the breakfast at the City Center Hotel in Mankato. He wasn’t able to hunt because of complications with his hip.
For Gary Howey, Hartington, Neb., and me, the event had started with the social hour and banquet at the Verizon Wireless Center in downtown Mankato. For those who were able to arrive early, an afternoon of activities awaited them. [Read more…]

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Pheasants Forever Pheasant Forecast

Reprinted from Pheasants Forever

PheasantsIOWA—PHEASANT NUMBERS JUMP SECOND YEAR RUNNING
Forecast: Iowa’s roadside count showed the second straight year of increasing pheasant numbers. The statewide index of 24 birds per route represented a 37 percent increase over last year and a 260 percent increase over the all-time low set in 2013. The highest concentration of birds occurred in the northwest.

“Several favorable winters have helped us recover bird numbers statewide,” says Todd Bogenschutz, upland game biologist and farmland coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “The pheasant index in the northwest, central, and southeast regions is at or above the long-term average. So where pheasant habitat is available, hunting should be pretty good in these regions. Counts improved in most other regions, and hunting should be better than last year. But the number of birds will be less than the long-term average.” [Read more…]

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Latest Outdoorsmen Adventures Shows Available On MYoutdoorTV.com

MYOUTDOORTV logoLooking for some your favorite Outdoorsmen Adventures television shows or one you might have missed, there available on the Outdoor Channels video web site.

Twenty-one of our latest Outdooorsmen Adventures shows “2012-2015” can now be seen on the Outdoor Channels www.MyOutdoorTV.com web site.