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Going Deep when it’s Hot By Gary Howey

Here, lately, there have been days when I wondered if the warmer weather would ever get here. Right now, it may not seem like it, but have no fear when it arrives, it will be with a vengeance. When it does arrive, it will warm up quickly. This along with the higher humidity will be the perfect combination for nasty weather and of course, tougher fishing conditions.

This is the time of the year, when fish will have to adjust with numerous conditions. These will include low water, high water, rising water temperatures, rising, falling barometric pressure and the summer’s bright sunlight all making walleye fishing during this time of the year, the Dog Days of summer tough.

Anglers are going to need to adjust, heading for areas with deeper water, those with less sunlight penetration as this is where the fish will be located when temperatures heat up.  With the rise in water temperatures, walleyes and other species of fish will head deep, searching out comfortable water temperatures.

These deep-water haunts provide the cooler water temperature the fish need to survive when things heat up.  Another reason is their food source, the baitfish has moved down, bringing the predator fish with them.

There are several methods allowing you to take these Deep-Water fish; those that have worked well for me are leadcore line, snap weights or downriggers pulling crankbaits.  During this time of the year, the movement of the fish can vary drastically, especially just prior to a sever weather change. [Read more…]

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Red River Channel cats on the bite By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. | It was the Mother of All Cold Fronts that swept through Grand Forks, N.D., and other parts north a couple of weeks ago.

“The river is up about 13 feet from where it was a week ago,” Brad Durick told me over his cell phone. He was on the Red River with noted outdoor photographer Bill Lindner and staff, doing product still and video filming.

Gary Howey and I were pounding down the interstate on our way to Grand Forks after flying out of Ontario’s Carroll Lake. We were to fish with Brad the next day.

We had battled the effects of that cold front for the past week, all the way from Lake of the Woods to the Ontario fly-in. For the next few days the sun would be shining and we hoped the catfish, for which the Red River is noted, would be in a biting mood the next day.

As it turned out, they were.

The tip of Brad’s Rippin Lips catfish rod took a heavy dive and stayed down while the Rippin Lips 8/0 circle hook did its work. I picked up the rod and began battle with the channel cat.

It was a 10-pounder and like all his brothers, he fought to the end before we finally got him in the net.

“That cold front dropped the water temperature several degrees,” Brad said, “and that slowed the fishing. It was really great before.”

But the fishing was bouncing back and the next rod dipped with the bite of a 4-pounder.

Durick is widely known throughout the cat-fishing world. He is now a full-time cat-fishing guide on the Red and also can arrange trips on North Dakota’s Devils Lake. He is also a nationally recognized fishing educator and outdoor writer. He is the author of the 2013 self-published book, “Cracking the Channel Catfish Code.”

Prior to the cold front, the Red was running very low. The area had received little snow so there was no runoff, kind of unusual for this area.

In fact, in 2011 the river was at near flood stage the entire year. Now, with the river running 13 feet higher than earlier this year, Brad says the level is just right for good cat fishing.

“We just need it to warm up a bit,” Durick, a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain, said.

We had launched Brad’s 19-foot G3 aluminum boat at the Grand Forks boat ramp and headed downstream, which is north on this side of the divide. We hadn’t run very far before Brad pulled above a river hole just off the main current and dropped his Cat River anchor (made in rural Hinton, Iowa, by the way) over the side.

With all three of us licensed to fish, we could put out two rods each. Each rod was rigged with 30-pound test mono on Abu Garcia Ambassadeur reels. A no roll, 2-ounce sinker rode above a swivel and a 2-foot leader of mono ran to the hook. The rigs were baited with cut sucker pieces. [Read more…]

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“Fan”tastic Turkey Hunting By Gary Howey

As Ben Loecker and I watched, we could see three Toms fanned out and proudly displaying for their harems. The birds were displaying about a half mile south of us in a harvested bean field, it wasn’t the half-mile walk that I was thinking about; it was how to get Ben close enough for a shot without being spotted. The terrain we had to cross included a lot of open ground, offering us, very little to hide our movement. Our only hope was that the low fence line along the east side of the field, that had a few trees and weeds along it, would give us some cover as we made the stalk.
I had met Ben, Hartington, NE. a seventh grader at Cedar Catholic when I was one of the guides on a youth turkey hunt sponsored by the Nebraska Game & Parks at Ponca State Park. On that hunt, we were unable to tag a bird, and when the 2015 season opened, it was my chance to redeem myself.
The birds we were watching began to move to the southeast, into land that was close to a rural home, so we needed to do something and do it fast before our opportunity to work these birds walked away.
In past columns, I had mentioned using tail feathers, the “fan” from a Tom turkey used to attract a bird and since I had one in the truck, I grabbed it, a hen decoy and my turkey-hunting vest as Ben fed Winchester turkey loads into his twelve gauge.
We would need to make our way through the terraces before entering the fence line leading to the field the birds were using. As we made our way towards the birds, we paused occasionally, glassing the field, allowing us to check on the birds and know which direction they were heading. [Read more…]

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A versatile angler can catch fish anywhere By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal.

Versatility is the key to successful fishing.

How many times have we heard that? Yet, do we really understand what that means.

Let’s envision a “dyed in the wool” walleye fisherman. At the end of his tunnel vision is that silvery fish with the big eyes.

He’s out on a good multi-species lake and trolling crank baits across the flats looking for his favorite fish. Problem is, crank baits aren’t producing. So, he begins drifting with jigs. Nothing there, either. It’s gotta be a live bait thing, he thinks, so out comes the bottom-bouncer rods, and he begins trolling spinners and crawlers along the weed line.

Where are those walleyes?

Bottom-bouncer rods go back in the box and out comes the slip bobber rods. He anchors on a reef, baits up with leeches and begins watching bobbers.

It’s been a long day. He has three 14-inch walleyes in the live well. He loads his boat and goes home thinking, “Boy, good thing I am a versatile fisherman.”

Problem is, he ain’t. [Read more…]

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Early Season Bass By Gary Howey

This is the time of the year when many anglers develop tunnel vision, thinking only of walleyes and fishing on the bigger water!
When you do this, it means that you are missing some of the finest early season fishing.
Many of these anglers will be running great distances when some of the best fishing available may be right in their own backyard for bass.
In the upper Midwest, there are excellent populations of both Small and Largemouth bass and right now is an excellent time to take good numbers of both species.
Both are found throughout the upper Midwest, in Missouri River in Lewis & Clark Lake up stream into Lake Oahe. In South Dakota, you will find excellent bass fishing in most lakes including on Horseshoe Lake, Reetz Lake, Roy Lake, Big Stone and Enemy Swim.
Most dams, ponds, farm & stock dams, lakes and reservoirs also contain catcheable populations of Largemouth bass.
During this time of the year, bass will have moved off into deeper water to rest up from the rigors of the spawn. As the water temperatures begin to warm, they will become more active.
As water temperature moves into the low 70’s, the bass will start to feed aggressively.
Look for bass this time of the year spending much of the day in the deeper water and then moving into the shallows early in the day and later in the afternoon looking for an easy meal.
In the river and areas with current, you will find bass throughout the day tucked in behind some sort of cover.
Anything that cuts or slows down the current, which are known as slack water pockets, is likely to be a good hiding spots for the bass.
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 species of bass can be taken on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, worm rigs and jigs. [Read more…]

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Looking back at this spring’s turkey season By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal.

It’s moments like this that make me love turkey hunting.

The response to my yelps on the diaphragm call was loud and raucous. It was the guttural cough of a wild turkey’s gobble. Then another followed immediately after.

I crouched down behind a tree, caught a little off guard.

Up to now it had simply been a walk through the woods, yelping occasionally with nothing answering other than the occasional caw of a crow.

But that’s how it is sometimes.

I had carefully been making my way between the trees across a small gully to a cleared pastureland dotted with a few trees. I had hunted through this spot many, many times in past years but never encountered a tom turkey here. I thought it odd because this looked like a perfect spot.

Then, I thought I caught a glimpse of a fan. It was just the tips of the feathers of a fanned-out tom. So I yelped and got an immediate response.

It caught me way off guard. My camo mask dangled around my neck and my fancy, folding turkey hunting chair was slung over my back. I shucked the chair, pulled up my mask and yelped again. Gobble, Gobble.

It was two toms, and they were very close now.

I saw them strut into view, their big beards dragging the grass. I couldn’t help but to yelp again, just to watch them gobble.

I was rewarded with a double gobble from each bird.

The largest was on the left, and I focused on him as I gave a loud “Putt” with the call. He raised his head in alarm, and I put the bead of the shotgun sight at the base of his neck and pulled the trigger. [Read more…]

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Wild about Wild Edibles By Gary Howey

I love springtime, weather is warming up, fish are starting to bite and it is the time of the year when thousands of folks and I head out to start looking for those wild edibles mushrooms and asparagus.

My first experience at hunting wild asparagus happened by accident, I was on the road delivering parts throughout northern Nebraska. One of my customers mentioned asparagus hunting and I was all ears as if it is a green vegetable, I like it.

After gathering all of the information I could, I kept my eyes out for the old plants as I drove along the roads and one day, near Stuart, Nebraska, I spotted a clump of them in the ditch. I decided to check it out; I pulled over and was down in the ditch walking along the fence line looking for new shoots.

About that time, a pickup came by and a gruff old rancher asked what the heck I was doing on his land, I thought I was screwed and would soon be meeting the local Sheriff.

[Read more…]

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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…]

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Nebraska Walleye Association Lewis and Clark Tournament

Scott Ulrich and Heath Walter, Hartington, NE. along with twenty-nine other teams competed in the Nebraska Walleye Associations two-day tournament on Lewis and Clark Lake April 25, & 26.

As it does often in Nebraska, the wind howled on Saturday, making the run from Weigand Marina, the launch and weigh in location to the river above the lake, a rough ride.

Ulrich and Walter fished in the river above the lake, using jigs and chubs, bringing in five fish weighing 9.42 pounds with their largest fish for Saturday a 2.69-pound walleye, garnering them seventh place.

On Sunday morning, day two of the event, the contestants were greeted by a clear sky with less wind than they had on Saturday. [Read more…]