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Fall offers the best fishing of the year By Larry Myhre

If you are thinking about winterizing your boat and putting away your fishing tackle for the season, don’t do it.

From now to ice-up is the finest time of the year to catch fish, particularly big fish.

As waters begin to cool, fish instinctively know to feed up big, storing fat and energy to take them through the lean days of winter and, for the females, maintain the developing eggs within them.

To be successful, however, you need to change tactics. What worked in the summertime will not work very well in mid to late fall. Take weedlines, for instance. In the summer that was the place to be. In the fall weeds begin dying and fish leave the area. There are exceptions, however. If you can find green weeds, fish them. Green, healthy weeds in the fall are a magnet for all game fish.

A couple of general rules must be considered.

First, fish tend to move into deeper water in the fall months. Deep rock piles and deep, fast-dropping points are two good areas, particularly for walleyes and bass. Also when you look at a depth map of the lake, seek out areas where those contour lines come close together. These are fast-dropping areas where fish are likely to be.

Second, you must slow down your presentations. The later it gets and the colder the water gets, the more this holds true. Fish are cold blooded creatures and their activity level will slow with colder temperatures.

What about presentations? Well, bigger is better in the fall. All of the forage fish have grown in size. Young-of-the-year perch could now be 4 or 5 inches long. Baits such as very large minnows or chubs will be preferred.

This is also the time to haul out those hair jigs. There’s just something about hair jigs in cold water. Walleye and bass like them. Tip with a large minnow and vertical jig them in fish holding spots and you will catch fish.

Spinners and minnows may be the best way to go if you can’t get your hands on some good chubs. I make a copy of Cap Kennedy’s old Killer rig which is dynamite in cold water. It is a spinner on a wire with a long shanked hook covered in deer tail hair. Tip it with a minnow and troll it along a sharp drop off. The photo with this column shows a walleye taken on a Killer Rig. [Read more…]

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Late Season Walleye

It may not seem like it right now, but its fall and soon the fall colors will appear with cold weather is right around the corner.
When the weather is like this, it makes late season fishing a joy, when you do not have to hit the water with three layers of heavy clothing.
Of course, if you fish in the early morning or late afternoon, it would be smart move to bring along an extra sweatshirt or jacket.

It is this time of the year when many anglers will have put their fishing gear away, pulled out their shotgun or bow and is pursuing waterfowl, grouse, archery deer and antelope.
If you are one of those, you may have made a big mistake, as this is the time of the year when you find the larger concentrations of walleye and sauger feeding heavily on the remaining baitfish and prey fish.

Generally, these larger concentrations move into the deeper water where the baitfish have stacked up to spend the winter.
It is during this time of the year when game fish want larger baits and when larger live baits really produce.
Finding the schools of walleye and sauger really is not very difficult this time of the year! You will need to look for them in some of the deepest water located on the lake or river.
Once you have located them, you should be able to come back year after year and find them in about these same areas. As long as the baitfish are in the general area and the structure does not change, the predator fish like the walleye and sauger won’t be far behind. [Read more…]

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Fall, the time of the year When you Better be Ready!

Fall; when things get hectic, there is so much going on and so little time.
Some of our Team Outdoorsmen Adventures Members are still fishing, but all, are starting to think hunting.
Our Waterfowl Pit & Blinds are ready with our Decoys ready to go on the water and in the field, Calls have been tested and adjusted, the Shotguns cleaned and our Ammo purchased.
Food Plots are in, the Game Cameras in place, our Deer Stands set up, our Rifles zeroed, and Bows sighted in

Our Hunting Dogs has been out and are ready to go, the time of the year when Outdoorsmen and Women like our crew have their pickups and 4-wheelers loaded for all seasons. [Read more…]

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In the Heart of the Sandhills, Valentine, NE. By Gary Howey

Our destination, Valentine, Nebraska, located in north central Nebraska in the part of the state known as the Sandhills, a picturesque part of the state where seven different ecosystems come together.

When most folks think of Valentine, they think about the excellent canoeing and tubing down the Niobrara River. Among the other attractions and outdoor opportunities found in the Valentine area, include several waterfalls, including; Nebraska’s tallest waterfall, Smith falls and the Snake River falls. Other attractions all located within a short, drive from Valentine, include the McKelvie National Forest, the Valentine National Migratory Bird Refuge, Fort Niobrara National Wildlife and Valentine State Fish Hatchery.

On this trip, we visit another of the excellent vacation and fishing destinations in the area,  as we will be fishing and filming on Merritt Reservoir with Team Outdoorsmen Adventures member Steve Isom of Valentine.

Merritt Reservoir, a three thousand acre reservoir is located twenty-six miles southwest of Valentine; the reservoir holds excellent populations of walleye, smallmouth bass, crappies, and channel catfish and is one of the few lakes in Nebraska with Muskie.

Several Nebraska State record fish have come from these waters including the state record Channel Catfish. I n 1985 a thirty-nine inch fish tipping the scales at 41 lbs. 8 ounces came from these waters, the following year the record was tied when another big catfish, also weighing 41 lbs. 8 ounce fish was taken from the reservoir.

Merritt is also the home of the Nebraska record Muskellunge (Muskie), the state record fish came from the reservoir in 1992, the a fifty-two inch fish weighed in at 41 pounds 8 ounces. [Read more…]

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Lake Oahe Mid-Summer Walleyes By Eric Brandreit

Without a doubt May and June might produce some of the best walleye fishing that South Dakota has to offer.   The saying “fish are jumping in the boat” can be as close to reality as it comes with almost every type of bait and lure being productive. As the summer grows, the water warms and the baitfish hatch, naturally slowing fishing success.

Hearing that half the summer is over once the 4th of July passes on the calendar, many turn to camps and family vacations. With the weather turning hot to say the least, many try to take advantage of the weather knowing what is coming in the upcoming months.   Surprisingly, many boats get parked for a siesta convinced that the fish just aren’t hungry. Do you think that walleyes just take the months of July and August off from eating? Not a chance!

Having not quite the 10,000 lakes like our neighbor, it still can easily be said that South Dakota is rich in lakes teaming with fish of all species.   What is very different from neighboring states lakes is often water depth. In marginal depth lakes, mid-summer walleyes scatter and migrate to weedy areas seeking food and shade decreasing angling success. [Read more…]

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We find walleyes cooperative at Carroll Lake By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

CARROLL LAKE, Ont. | The tannin-stained water spilled over huge precambrian boulders and settled into the pool below.

Steve Brinkman, general manager of The Lodge at Carroll Lake, held our 16-foot boat at the edge of the eddy, and we cast jigs into the deeper water. This was classic Canadian fishing. This small river, one of several feeding the lake, drew walleyes like a magnet. It made the journey in, fraught by shallow boulders with an appetite for props, well-worth the risk.

Gary Howey set the hook into yet another 18-inch walleye. Our companion boat, with Randy Smith, Yankton, S.D., a veteran of other Carroll Lake trips, and Chad Tramp, Ankeny, Iowa, on board were also fighting fish.

Yes, this was Shangri-La, an earthly paradise where old walleye anglers must go when they die and find themselves in heaven. Jackpine and spruce, birch and aspen grow right to the water’s edge. Their roots gripping the thin soil veiling the oldest rock in the world. Indeed, the Shield is a magical place. [Read more…]

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Cranking Near Webster By Gary Howey

No doubt, most of you have heard about the Waubay-Webster areas great fishing, the many lakes and sloughs holding numerous species of fish.

This would be our teams destination as we traveled back home after filming in Minnesota, Ontario and North Dakota.

It was after noon when Larry Myhre, Sioux City, IA. and I arrived in Webster, where we grabbed a quick lunch at Perebooms and met with Team Outdoorsmen Adventures member Cory Ewing.

On this trip, we would be on one of the small lakes, one that was 200 acres and like many of the sloughs and smaller lakes had no boat launch, which meant, we would be fishing out of Cory’s smaller sixteen-foot boat.  As Cory launched the boat, Larry and I looked over the lake, the wind was blowing hard into the west shoreline. That area looked as if it would be a good place to start fishing as there are numerous things happening in the waters beating into the shoreline. [Read more…]

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Weather puts damper on Merritt walleyes By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal.
VALENTINE, Neb. | Heavy clouds wrapped themselves around the Sandhills landscape as Steve Isom guided his boat along the face of Merritt Reservoir dam.

It was 5:30 a.m. and Gary Howey, Hartington, Neb., and I stood in the back of the boat hurling shallow diving crankbaits hoping that one of the fat walleyes for which Merritt is known would latch on.

Alewives, the primary forage base for the walleyes, were there in high numbers. We could see them on the depth finder and occasionally one of us would snag one of them. They were running five to seven inches long, and were so thick all a walleye would have to do is open his mouth and one would swim in.

But the walleyes were not interested in opening their mouths. A week earlier, Steve, who lives in Valentine, a mere 35 miles to the north, had taken some people out and they limited here with the biggest fish hitting 9-and-a-half pounds. [Read more…]