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Reetz Lake near Webster, S.D. Open to Anglers on August 1

PIERRE, S.D. – As part of a signed access agreement with the landowners, Reetz Lake will be open to licensed anglers starting Aug. 1 – Sept. 30, 2018 and from May 1 – Sept. 30, 2019.  

Although the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission adopted regulation changes for the lake, the revised regulations will not take effect until the administrative rules process is complete and the rules are approved and filed with the Secretary of State. At the earliest, the new fishing regulations would take effect on Sept. 10, 2018.

“The Department is pleased to announce that after 15 months of being closed, Reetz Lake will once again be open to the public and even though the new regulations are not in effect Aug. 1, the landowners are willing to provide additional angling opportunities,” stated Kevin Robling, GFP special projects coordinator. “As a reminder to anglers, we ask everyone to recreate with respect and be aware of the size restriction changes likely to occur in September.”

From Aug. 1 – Sept. 10, daily fish limits for Reetz Lake include:

  • 1 walleye or sauger 28 inches or greater.
  • Only those largemouth and smallmouth bass less than 14 inches can be taken and only 1 greater than 18 inches.
  • Statewide regulations for all other species.

From Sept. 10 – 30, daily fish limits for Reetz Lake will be:

  • 1 walleye or sauger, 28 inches or greater.
  • 1 yellow perch, 14 inches or greater.
  • 1 black crappie, 15 inches or greater.
  • 1 bluegill, 10 inches or greater.
  • Statewide regulations for all other fish species.
    • Includes the year-round removal of the largemouth and smallmouth bass size restrictions.

Landowner permission is required to fish Reetz Lake from Oct. 1 – April 30.

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Redlin Art Center featuring Terry’s Final Painting And his Farewell Collection By Gary Howey

  When travelers made their way north on Interstate 29 as they came into the Watertown, S.D. exit twenty-one years ago, when the Art Center first opened its doors, they could not help but notice the Redlin Art Center as it rose majestically from the South Dakota prairie landscape.

  Today, there are several buildings adjacent to the Center, but its size and beauty dwarfs them as do the grounds, concrete walking paths, ponds and gazebo.

  The Art Center, designed by Redlin’s son Charles, is the home of one of America’s greatest and most respected Wildlife-Americana artists, original paintings by Terry Redlin.

   At the Center, visitors have an opportunity to view one hundred and fifty of his original paintings as well as other of his artwork.

  The Center, opened in June 1997, is located just on a beautiful tract of land just off the Interstate on Exit 177 along U.S. Highway 212.

  This magnificent 52,000 square foot brick building, with its 38-foot white granite columns, resemble those seen on large southern mansions of the Civil War period.

  Once inside, you will find polished granite, with the main floor of the gallery covered with more than 9,000 square feet of white granite tile.

   There also, you will find over 24,900 square feet of granite from countries throughout the world including India and Africa.

  The grand entrance, welcomes you to more than 10,000 square feet of black Galaxy granite brought in from India.  The same black granite lies behind the railings in the Gallery.  The walls of the Gallery also feature another 5,900 square feet of white Impala granite from Africa.

  The Redlin Art Center an architectural marvel a fitting place to display Terry’s artwork, in Watertown, the place he called home.

  As Terry once quoted, “An American novelist once told us that you ‘can’t go home again.’ He was wrong. In my mind, I never left home, even when physically away. And when I finally returned, it was a great relief. I had a deep feeling that, finally, things were going to be okay. I was reconnected to my past, and to a childhood that was magic.”

  Redlin, a Master Artist, received numerous accolades from numerous conservation groups, such as Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever.  Redlin was designated many times in the 1990’s as “America’s Most Popular” U.S. Artist, and was inducted into the U.S. Arts Hall of Fame in 1992, the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Watertown Hall of Fame in 2014.

  The paintings displayed at the Art Center depict some of nature’s most beautiful scenes, reminding us of our childhood memories and those days gone by. 

  A huge supporter of wildlife and the organizations that work hard to preserve them, Terry’s artwork raised $40 to $ 50 million dollars for numerous wildlife conservation groups including Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and the National Wild Turkey Federation. [Read more…]

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On the Water The Firefighters/Paralyzed Veterans of America Memorial “Fishing Event” By Gary Howey

  The weather forecast for this two-day event was going to be a scorcher, but that did not seem to bother the attendees who showed up for this Memorial  event,  some were in wheel chairs, others walked with walkers, canes or assistance from family and friends, another great event allowing those with disabilities to be involved in.

  Pulling into the staging area, the sound of the lift assisting those in wheelchairs, echoed across the Arrowwood Cedar Shore boat launch parking lot.  To some, it may have sounded rather loud and rough, but to those attending the sixteenth annual Firefighters/Paralyzed Veterans of America Joel Niemeyer Memorial “Gone Fishing “event, it was music to their ears.

  With the help of the lift and assisted by several area students, the anglers  wheelchairs were tethered to by a special lift system that gently lifted them into the boats that would soon take them out onto the Missouri River, giving many of the attendees their only opportunity to get on the water and do some fishing.

  Co-host Josh Anderson and I made the trip up to Chamberlain May 23 to film this 16th annual memorial two-day fishing event.

  The event,  a memorial to Joel Niemeyer, who served as the executive director of the North Central P.V.A. for fifteen years, a strong advocate for veterans and one who truly cared about those who served and the P.V.A. members.

  According to Bill Curry, one of the many organizers and volunteers of the event, the first event had sixteen participants and this year there were fifty individuals from several states as far away as Texas invited along with fifty boat captains and their first mates.

  The boat captains, one of the numerous volunteers helping with this event furnished their boats and their time all in support of those veterans and others invited to participate in this event.

   We would be the official videographers, capturing footage of the disabled P.V.A. members: disabled anglers, firefighters’ and volunteers on the water, fishing and enjoying this wonderful event.

  Once the invitees arrived, their only cost incurred would be their South Dakota fishing license, as the P.V.A. would take care of Thursday night’s lodging at Arrowhead Cedar Shore Resort. With the volunteers and sponsors providing sack lunches, water and drinks in the boats for those on the water Thursday and Friday.  Sponsors along with local volunteers that included the North Central P.V.A., Firefighters from several states, and Veteran’s organizations would be there to provide the Thursday night group dinner held at the Oacoma’s Community Center.

  As the boats started launching, we made our way north, with some boats heading for their secret fishing spots, while others fished off the points and flats along the river near several well-known walleye fishing locations.

  Others motored to the south in the direction of the White River, with some venturing even farther south, hoping to locate that big fish hole that they had found the week before.

  The Ranger bass boat with a 200 Mercury good friend Chuck Doom had furnished us got us up north quickly and when we arrived, several boats were already working the flats, trolling or drifting one ounce bottom bouncers and spinners, or Slow Death Rigs pegged with half a  crawler and a few trying their luck with minnows.

   Others were slow trolling, 1.2 to 1.5 miles per hour pulling up to one hundred feet of line behind the boats using crankbaits, hoping to get into one of the more aggressive larger fish. [Read more…]

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South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks new geo-fensing

Earlier this week, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) launched a new geo-fencing technology feature within the outdoor mobile app to alert anglers and boaters to pull their plugs at Lewis and Clark in the southeast part of the state.

A geofence is a virtual perimeter that you can draw around any location on a map, and target customers who enter that location. This new feature allows us to reach not only anglers but recreational boaters as well.

The goal is to trigger anglers and boaters to pull boat plugs at the right time and place. This technology has been enabled at these boat ramps: Lewis and Clark Marina, East Midway, West Midway and Gavins Point. 

If a boater or angler comes within 100 feet of these four boat ramps, an automated alert will be sent to their phone reminding them of South Dakota’s aquatic invasive species regulations.

It is essential that the user have location services and notifications enabled for the outdoors mobile app on their mobile device for the new feature to function properly. 

Thank you,

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks

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For Better Fishing Fish Water Releases Gary Howey

  When I was a guide and tournament angler, I needed to use everything I could to help me catch fish when fishing was tough.

  There were numerous things affecting the bite, shutting the bite down or making it extremely hard to get a bite. 

  Some of these things were cold fronts, heavy winds, no wind, cold-water temperatures, angler pressure and bright sunny days with high daily temperatures.

  In order to allow me to be one-step ahead of the competition, I was always looking for the thing that could give me the edge over other anglers when it came to catching fish.

  Before heading for the river or lake, there was always one thing I made sure to check out and that was to look in the local newspaper to see what the water levels were and discharges coming into the the body of water I was fishing.

  When a release was scheduled, especially a major release, I wanted to be on the water.

 It sure bet when a release was scheduled or a change of water coming down the river, baring any natural disaster, the fishing would start to pick up and the next week or so could be some of the best fishing of the season.

  The heavier the release the better the fishing, but even the smallest change in the discharge could trigger the fish.

  I wish I had figured this out years before as it would have saved me a lot of time and made many of my trips much more successful.

  You do not need to be a NASA scientist to figure it out as has to do with common sense, one thing that others and I sometime did not use enough.

  Water releases can and will trigger fish, especially below a dam or spillway.

  Look at the overall picture and you will see why fishing would pick up below these areas.

  First, you have a huge volume of deep water held back behind the dam or spillway and that deep water is holding and hiding fish of all sizes and species as well as other aquatic life.

 When the gates opened up, there are thousand of gallons of water drawn forcibly through the turbines or gates, bringing with it, the fish and other aquatic life that were above the dam, flushing them downstream.

  The influx of water through the turbines and through the gates brings the gamefish, baitfish and other aquatic life from the lake into the river below, pushing heavy current downstream.

  With the water release, it is the ringing of the dinner bell to those fish living downstream and to those carried with the water from the lake, as they will quickly move up, taking advantage of the injured and wounded critters coming through the dam. [Read more…]

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Archery Honors Up for Grabs at 2018 GFP-NASP 3D Tournament

Pierre, S.D. – Young people from across South Dakota will show off their skills at the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) State 3D Tournament May 4 and 5. The 3D Tournament uses life-size game animals as targets.

The 3D Target Tournament will be held at the NFAA/Easton Archery Facility in Yankton. Shooting begins at 5 p.m. on Friday and continues at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

The tournament is sponsored by South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) and will host hundreds of young archers competing for individual and team honors in three age divisions. The top three individual and team winners in each division will receive trophies. All participants receive a free tournament t-shirt.

Students who participate in NASP within their schools or home-school programs are eligible for the competition.

“The GFP-NASP 3D Tournament is a unique event for South Dakota school age youth,” said Pat Klotzbach, NASP coordinator for GFP. “3D shooting not only provides young people with a safe shooting sports experience, it also educates archers on where to aim at game animals when they go hunting.”

There is no charge to attend the tournaments, and the public is welcome. Individuals who wish to volunteer with the tournament may contact outdoorprogramming@gmail.com or call 605.220.2130.

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Maple Syrup-Tap Sap & Boil, By Gary Howey

    Where we call home, Nebraska & South Dakota, where patriotism is important to us with agriculture leading the way, it is not uncommon to see John Deere and Case IH farming equipment working the fields and traveling down our roads.

  While the northeast, in the New England states, it is their beautiful fall foliage and of course Maple syrup.

  The main ingredient in Maple syrup is the sap of all varieties of Maple trees, trees I and other kids climbed on and made forts in, as I did in Watertown, S.D., The sugar, black, red, the silver maple and the box elder, which is a Maple tree. 

  In order to extract the sap, the trees need to be tapped and the sap needs to be boiled down, removing the water, which  can be a time consuming process, but the end-results are worth it, yielding one of Mother Nature’s sweetest gifts, Maple syrup.

  The origin of making Maple syrup goes back in history a long ways with the American Indians the first to make the syrup; they eventually passed their knowledge onto the European immigrants who sailed to America, with Maple syrup made each spring since that time.

  Several years ago, I was asked if I though filming one of our Outdoorsmen Adventures television shows on making Maple syrup might be of interest to our viewers. The individual had been making syrup for several years, is one of the few tree tappers in my area.

  Unfortunately, last year before we had an opportunity to get together, we had both gotten busy and he had finished with the process.

  Then, just last week, good friend and Team Outdoorsmen Adventures member Bill Christensen, Hartington, Nebraska  mentioned he was going out to check the Maple trees he tapped this year, as the season was coming to an end  with the sap flow decreasing.

   Earlier in February, he tapped sixteen Maples, putting out collection buckets and since then had collected a large quantity of the sap from the trees.

  They say that any Maple will work when gathering sap to make Maple Syrup, including Silver, Sugar, Red as well as the Box Elder Maple. [Read more…]

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Tips For Patterning Your Turkey Gun

Have you ever patterned your shotgun? I mean really put it through the paces with several different manufacturers’ loads and shot sizes to determine what shoots the best through your gun? I can tell you that each gun is a bit different and something is going to perform best. Don’t just shoot what your local sporting goods store has on sale. Take an hour, some butcher paper or targets, cardboard boxes, maybe a realty sign, a sharpie and go somewhere safe to shoot. 

Shooting Distance

Check out how your gun performs at 25, 35 and 45 yards. I know you’ll want to try 55 to 60 yards, but please think twice before ever shooting at a turkey at this distance. These new loads and chokes have hunters thinking they can regularly do this now, but please use caution. You don’t want to cripple an old bird. They deserve more than that.

Choke Tubes and Shells

I’ve been pleased with the Browning Full Strut Turkey choke that came with my Browning A5, but it took several different tests to decide that it liked the Winchester Extended Range #5’s the best. I have an old single shot 20 gauge that loves a “Jebs” choke. There are a number of aftermarket choke tube companies that you can experiment with to find what works for you, along with plenty of shell manufacturers and loads. Don’t leave this to chance and don’t assume your gun shoots just like your friend’s. They all are a bit different.

By knowing what your gun shoots best, you can have confidence when the moment of truth comes and you squeeze the trigger. [Read more…]

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Hourse Honks, High Pitched Quacks, the Call of the Snow Goose By Gary Howey

  It started; the other day, when the racket above was not hard to miss, as the skies filled with birds and their high-pitched quacks and the horse honks of Snow goose heading north into the Dakotas.

  Snow geese, which migrate in huge flocks are very vocal, when they are close, the racket they make can be deafening, as it seems that every goose in the flock, thousands of them are all carrying on at the same time.

  With the warmer weather, causing the snow line to reseed, the older mature birds are making their way north to get the best nesting grounds on the Canadian and Northern Alaskan tundra.

  Last week, one of our Team members traveled to Omaha as flock after flock of Snow geese migrated north, with open water along the way holding huge numbers of the geese.

  Light or Snow geese; come in two color phases, the white and blue, as the name implies the white phase are pure white with black wing tips while the blues are bluish gray with white heads.

  The Snows and Blues are the largest of the species, weighing in at around six pounds while the smaller pure white Ross goose, weighs only about three to four pounds.

  Light geese, are migratory waterfowl that spends over half of the year migrating, with some birds migrating over three thousand miles to and from their wintering grounds in the southern United States and Mexico.

  In a report released in 1997 by Ducks Unlimited, indicated because of the Snow geese over population, the tundra habitat along seven hundred miles of coastline from the southern James Bay to the west coast of Hudson Bay in Canada destroyed. More than 130,000 of the acres destroyed and similar-sized acres critically damaged that not only affects the Snows, it affects other waterfowl and species.

  The Snow goose population is skyrocketing by over five percent each year and a breeding population of the lesser snow geese exceeding over five million birds that is an increase of more than 300% since the mid-1970.

  Because of this over-population, the Light Goose Conservation Order special spring season was established to help control them.

  Because of this special season, some of the hunting laws for this season changed, those hunting still need to have a legal hunting license in the state they are hunting, with hunters in South Dakota will needing a 2018 Migratory Bird Certification while in Nebraska they will need the  State’s Waterfowl stamp.

  The laws that have changed during the spring season include allowing hunters to use electronic calls, have unplugged shotguns, with no daily or possession limit and no Federal Waterfowl Stamp is required.

  With the “No” limit, hunters need to be reminded that all game is used and not wasted. If you abandoning, dump or waste game birds you may be subject to fines and restitution.

  Because Snows are so leery, they can grow to a ripe old age with banded birds taken that were up to 20 years old. They migrate in huge flocks and are some of the toughest waterfowl in the world to decoy, and call in.

  In these flocks, numbering thousands of thousands birds they are always eyeing the ground looking for anything that does not seem right, something that is out of place.

  If alerted, older birds will come between birds that are starting to decoy, pushing them away from the hunters and their spread.

  Early migrators can be toughest of all Snows to call as their flocks are comprised of the older birds, but after a long flight will be tired and may be looking for a place to rest.

  When it comes to Light goose hunting, it is being there at the right time and of course location, location, location!

 If you are in the right place, have a decent spread and a good call going, chances are that you will have the opportunity to pull a few birds out of the flock. [Read more…]

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Shallow water Perch Bite On Big Stone By Gary Howey

  The red line below my tungsten jig on my Vexilar locator rose up from the bottom slowly indicating a fish was moving up to my bait. Peering down into the clear water, I could see the perch moving up to the same level as my jig.

  I twitched my bait ever so slightly as the perch moved in on it and inhaled my micro jig and wax worm. As I brought my rod up, I felt the added weight and set the hook bringing the first of the numerous perch we would take on this trip.

  Team Member Larry Myhre, Sioux City, Iowa and I were ice fishing on Big Stone with Tanner Arndt, a guide from Artie’s Bait & Tackle of Ortonville, Minnesota.  Tanner knew the lake as Larry and I had spent time on the water with him on a spring fishing trip, one where we caught good numbers of crappie, bluegill and bass.

   Ortonville lies along the east shore of Big Stone and is a thriving community; with excellent schools, new housing developments, a large hospital, year round recreation possibilities, an eighteen-hole golf course and an area where you will not find finer people.

  Big Stone is a large lake, part of the waters forming the border between northeastern South Dakota and Western Minnesota. It is one of the numerous glacial lakes found in South Dakota and Minnesota, a twenty-six miles long body of water averaging around one mile wide.

  On this trip, we were after perch, one of the numerous species of fish that inhabit the lake along with walleye, northern pike, bass and bluegill.

  Perch, have a tendency to cruise throughout the lake, not spending much time in one location and when our indicators showed perch under our house, we did our best to get them to hit our lures before they moved on.

  If they moved off my bait, depending on the direction they were going, we would let each other know they were on their way, giving each a little warning to be ready and to look for them to arrive.

  It was early February, when it can be a the slow time for ice anglers as the fish moved from their early ice bite where they were still feeding and it would be a good month away before  late ice when the fish began to feed again.

  This was the time of the year, when to a falling barometric pressure seemed to be a good sign, as when the pressure dropped, the fish seemed to be a little more eager to take our baits.

  We were in one of Artie’s Ice Castles, a large icehouse equipped with lights, heat, and television, fold down beds. cooking stove and a bathroom, which allowed us to fish very comfortably beings the outside temperatures, were well below zero.

  I was running the camera, so Larry and Tanner kept me busy and when, my Vexilar showed fish below me, I had an opportunity to catch a fish or two, some were keepers while others, the smaller perch we released.

  We were using small tungsten jigs, as tungsten is heavier than other metals, allowing you have smaller heavier baits that sink quickly down to where the fish are holding.

  There were times when the fish were so tight to the bottom were they moved in quickly or when they were tight to the bottom when Tanner or I became spotters for Larry, watching the fish move in on his bait and when it sucked in his bait, told him to set the hook.

  Throughout the day, schools of fish moved in under our Ice Castle, where we would pick up a fish or two and when things slowed, one of us would switch rods and put down attractor bait, a small Jiggin Rap, rattle spoon or some other larger bait to draw fish into our area.

  This was a tactic our late friend Jim McDonnell, of Royal, Iowa used quite often, taking it to an extreme, using a larger spearfishing decoy to attract the fish. [Read more…]