EARLY SPRING 2014
RIVER MONSTERS: THE ALLIGATOR GAR
BEAR Hunting History and Uses
Midwest HuntingMidwestHuntFish.com & FisHing ishing - MarcH arch-a -April 2014 • p Page 1
Page 2 â€˘ Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
PHONE ORDERS M-F 10AM- 4PM EST
ACUFLEX X2 CASTING RODS STANDARD GUIDES Code
ACX2ACX2-66MF CX2-66MF 66 ACX2ACX2-70MF CX2-70MF 0 ACX2-70MHF 0 ACX2-70MHM 0 ACX2-70HF ACX2CX2-70HF 0 ACX2-76HMF 6 ACX2-79HF ACX2CX2-79HF 9
Length L ength P Power owe wer
6’ 6” 6’6” 7’ 7’ 7’ 7’ 7’6” 7 ’ 6” 7’9” 7 ’ 9”
M M MH M H MH M H H H H
Line e Wt Wt.
Lure ure Wt. Wt
Fast Fast Fast F a st Fast F a st Mod M od Fast F a st
8-14 8 -14
1/4-5/8 1/45/8 5/8 5 /8 -1 -1
3/8-1 /8 -1 1/2 / 14 25 3 14
Mod/Fast M od/Fas Fast 1212-30 30
Fast F a st
14-30 1 4- 30
3/8-1 3 /8 -1 1/4 /
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1 1 1 1 1 1 1
2 2 3 2 3 4 5
Reg Price Reg Pi
$179.99 $89.99 $199.99 $99.99 $199.99 $99.99
ACUFLEX X2 CASTING RODS MICRO GUIDES Code ACX2MG-66MF C G 66 ACX2MG-70MF C G 0 ACX2MG-70MHF C G 0 ACX2MG-70MHM G 0 ACX2MG-70HF G 0 ACX2MG-76HMF C G 6 ACX2MG-79HF G 9
Lengt Length ngth P Power owe wer
6 ’ 6” 6’6” 7’ 7’ 7’ 7’ 7’6” 7 ’ 6” 7’9” 7 ’ 9”
M M MH M H MH M H H H H
Length L ength P Power owe wer
ACX2-69SMLXF 69 S
ACX2-70SMF ACX2CX2-70SMF 0S ACX2ACX2-70SMHF CX2-70SMHF 0S
6’ 9” 6’9” 7’ 7’
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Fast Fast Fast F a st Fast F a st Mod M od Fast F a st
8 -14 8-14 10-17 1 0 -17
1/4- 5/8 1/4-5/8 1/4-5/8 1/45/8 -1 -1 1/2 / 1/4 /
Mod/Fas Mod/Fast Fast
14- 30 14-30
Lure ure Wt. Wt
X-Fast X-Fast as Fast F ast Fast F ast
1/8-1/2 8 / 3/16-5/8 3 /166 5/8 3/8-3/4 3 /8-3/4 8 3/
Pcs. H Pcs. Hdl. dl.
1 1 1 1 1 1 1
2 2 3 2 3 4 5
Reg g Price
$169.99 $84.99 $179.99 $89.99
$199.99 $99.99 $199.99 $99.99
Pcs. cs Hdl. d
1 1 1
1 1 1
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 • Page 3
So You Want to Hunt River Monsters? 8 Sport Fishing the Alligator Gar
Early Spring Catfishing Water temperature makes all the difference
Can You Be Water Safe When you are drunk or stoned?
How to Release a Fish Catch & Release does work
Spring Bass Fishing Pre-Spawn tips
Crappie Fishing in Spring Tips for locating and catching Crappie
Take Your Kid Fishing Get them Hooked!
Water Temperature & Fishing
Success can be won or lost because of 3 or 4o
Soft as a Baby Insect’s Bottom
Prepare for spring fishing NOW!
Plastics in modern ice fishing, Part 1
Yellowstone National Park
Exciting, fun...and misunderstood
Choosing the right crossbow
Common, & not so common, fishes of the Midwest
Fishing Lake Oahe Even the most jaded angler will be amazed
Page 4 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
Caring for Your Hunting Dog’s Teeth & Ears
From The Loading Bench 60 Looking Back to Today
Gun Dog Episode 2
Training a Gundog Isn’t Hard Lesson 0: Before you begin
Bear Hunting History and uses
Bear Hunting Over Baits Helpful Tips
Black Bear Hunting with Hounds
Young Guns The Future of our sport Look for Kara Wattunen in our May issue
SlatGrate Makes Your Camp Stove a Versatile Cooking Platform
DEPARTMENTS Editorial 6 Marketplace 66
The Hoseman - Flickr.com
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 • Page 5
What is the motivation behind it? What do you get from it? These are just some of the questions that we probably never ask ourselves but yet the answers are a part of who we are. Psychologists could have a heyday analyzing why we are willing to subject ourselves to early mornings and late nights, adverse weather and conditions, soggy sandwiches and warm sodas, etc. all for a chance to sit in a boat or on a muddy riverbank and MAYBE get a look at a fish or two. I personally have some motivations that get me out fishing. They may be the same things that move you. Personally, I enjoy the chance to do something different, a chance to get away from the everyday routine. Change is good and a day out fishing can change my perspective on work and other responsibilities, sometimes for days before and after the trip. I enjoy immensely the opportunity to take my kids with me. I recently went on an afternoon trip with some of my younger kids and all I did was bait hooks and net fish while they did all of the catching. It was intensely enjoyable to see their joy and delight with each nibble on their lines. I have had many excellent conversations with my kids in between catches, conversations about life and love and goals and futures. Many of them were conversations that otherwise might not have happened. This is a big motivator for me to get out and go fishing. Another reason that I enjoy fishing is for the challenge of it. Fishing really is about knowledge and experience and instinct more than about luck. I am sure that you have seen one guy catch all of the fish when all of the people around him catch nothing. What does he know or do that the others around him don’t know and do? Answer that question and you might find more fish in your own cooler. Luck does play a small part but success comes when preparedness meets opportunity. I enjoy going with other experienced fishermen and learning from their tactics and styles. Everyone has their own way of doing things but yet there is no one “right” way. My fishing knowledge is a combination of things that I have learned from many other people over the years. I enjoy trying new things and mirroring tactics that seem to work for other people. I hope that there are some BIG motivators in your life that get you out often to your favorite fishing hole. I hope that you find as much enjoyment in the pursuit as I do. ~ Jim Rogers
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Monday March 17, 2014 Western South Dakota Working Ranch & Hunting Adventure Prime Farmland ~ Scenic Ranch Land ~ Hunting Lodge 12,000 acre “Seven Blackfoot” Ranch
ABSOLUTE ~ NO RESERVE ~ REAL ESTATE AUCTION The Grand Cedar Home/Lodge with a stone fireplace makes hunters and ranchers feel right at home. The porch wraps around the lodge on all sides, showcasing some of the most beautiful views in western South Dakota! The Ranch lies along both sides of Bear Council Draw, Indian Springs Creek, and the East and West Forks of Spotted Bear Creek. Call auctioneers for private tour, or visit with Auctioneers & view the Property on Sundays February 23, March 2 and March 9 from 12:30pm to 3:00pm
✔ Outstanding Farmland! Highly Productive w/Soil Ratings as high as 80 ~ 100 bu. Corn & 70 bu.
Wheat FSA Wheat base is 3,417 acres. Crop insurance in place and will transfer. ✔ Outstanding Cattle Ranch! This property would be a great fit for many cattle operations. This grass will put pounds on cattle and showcase the production of cow/calves, or yearlings. Your horses will also love this land. NAP Insurance in place and will transfer. ✔ Outstanding Hunting Lodge! Fantastic Mule Deer, Whitetails, Pheasants, Grouse, Merriam Turkeys and other Game are all over the property.
This Property absolutely sells to highest bidder on auction day without minimum or reserve bid! Offered in 9 Tracts, & as an Entire Unit. ~ Manager Available (3) Headquarters, each w/ good Homes ~ Barn set up to work cattle inside, AI Set-up, Calving Sheds ~ Trees, Springs, Draws and Coulees ~ ~ 3417 acre FSA Wheat Base ~ Growing Winter Wheat ~ New Fence ~ Low Taxes ~ Watered by Dams, some spring fed, & Rural Water ~ 6 Water Taps w/ 7 mi. of pipelines & 18 tanks ~ Good access, along Hwy 34, & also off gravel roads. Legals: Parts of 30 Sections in T5 NR19E, T6N R19E, T5N R20E, T6N R20E, all in Haakon County. Call for lucrative Broker Participation Fee.
ARNESON / PIROUTEK AUCTION SERVICES • RE Auctioneers 605-798-2525 or 605-544-3316 • www.ArnesonAuction.com or www.PiroutekAuction.com
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 • Page 7
Page 8 â€˘ Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
he Alligator Gar is one serious fish.
If you’re interested in testing your mettle against a 200 pound, prehistoriclooking creature, and have access to the turbid slow moving waters of the lower Mississippi River drainage area, the Alligator Gar may be just the fish for you. Here are some tips for trying this toothy giant on for size. The Alligator Gar and many other freshwater predators are increasingly endangered. The best preservation policy with these fish is catch and release, so at least be aware of the difficulties of doing so if you want to hunt this monster Gar responsibly. By Jim Rogers Sources: www.wikihow.com www.thejump.net www.garfishing.com MidwestHuntFish.com
Midwest HPhoto unting by & Fa-perfectcircle ishing - March-April 2014 • Page 9 • Flickr.com
gatorgar - Fernando de faria
Alligator Gar are found in the lower Mississippi River Valley and Gulf Coast states of the Southern United States and Mexico as far south as Veracruz, encompassing the following US states: Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Florida, and Georgia.
They have also been known historically to come as far north as central Kansas, Nebraska, Ohio, Iowa, and westcentral Illinois, where the most northerly verified catch was at Meredosia, Illinois, in 1922 and an 8.5 foot specimen, now preserved, was caught at nearby Beardstown. Specimens at locations further south in Illinois have been verified as recently as 1976, with the Illinois Academy of Sciences verifying a total of 122 captures to that date. They inhabit sluggish pools and backwaters or large rivers, bayous, and lakes. They are found in fresh, brackish and saltwater, and are more adaptable to the latter than other gar. In Louisiana it is common to see these large gar striking the surface in brackish marshes. Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana allow regulated sport fishing of the alligator gar. The fish is popular for bow-fishing because of its size and tendency to fight. An interesting anatomical feature of this fish is its buoyancy bladder is directly connected to its throat, giving it the ability to draw in air from above the water. For this reason, alligator gar are often found near the surface of a body of water. The gar thrives in the Mississippi river basin, from Southern Ohio and Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico. Mostly found in the freshwater bodies of Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Arkansas, the alligator gar is a distinctively Southern fish. As with many things, the biggest are generally found in Texas. The Henderson Swamp west of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Lake Ponchartrain, north of New Orleans, are populated with alligator gar. So are the Pearl and Pascagoula River in Mississippi, the Mobile, Tensaw, Tennessee, and Tombigbee Rivers in Alabama, and the Escambia, Choctawhatchee, and Appalachicola Rivers in the Florida panhandle. Texas rivers such as the Colorado, Trinity, Guadalupe, Sabine, and other main channels are most frequented and have the largest record gar to date, as well as the largest known populations of alligator gar.
Now on to the Hunt….
Knowing when and where to look is half the battle. The gar spawns in brackish waters in spring, around April, but the best time for hunting them is in late summer, when it is hot and dry. In July and August, alligator gar can be found in deep river bends adjacent to relatively shallow pools. The deep water is where the alligator gar congregate, and the shallow water will allow you to spot them more easily when they come up to feed. Page 10 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
Make sure your rig is up to the task. If you’re going to try and hook a fish that weighs up to 250+ pounds and has dozens of sharp, needle-like teeth, you’re going to want more than a branch and bobber. Bring a stiff composite rod with strong test line. This is the kind of fish you’ll want to bring up to the surface, so using a bobber for your bait is appropriate. It’s best to have a large open-faced or spinning reel capable of holding 150-200 yards of 30-100 pound test mono-filament line. A stiff-action graphite or composite rod, six or eight feet long is appropriate for this size of fish. For line, you’ll want two-three feet of steel leader, and 40-80 pound test line. Hook bait onto a 6/0 treble hook and use a 1/4 oz. slip sinker, with split shot sinker to keep it above the hook. Plastic or cork bobber, capable of keeping your bait and rig suspended near the water’s surface is recommended. Bring good-sized live bait. Some people in the lower delta waters near the Gulf Coast prefer 10-12 inch mullet, and often suggest removing the scales before using them, but any legal baitfish, such as shiners, shad, or suckers are on the gar’s menu. Carp, buffalo, and large perch are also commonly used. Watch for schooling baitfish, like shad, shiners, or freshwater mullet. When you spot a school of fish breaking the water as if they are being herded by a hungry carnivore, you are probably in gar country. Rig your bait, and cast. Cast into the deep part of the channel. Leave the spool open to allow the gar to take the bait and run with it for a few clicks. Keep your eye on the float. When it begins to torpedo across the top of the water, or when it dives towards the depths, you know you’ve got a gar on the line. Lower your rod toward it, and wait at least seven seconds after the line pulls tight. The gar swims with its food before attempting to eat it. If you try and set the hook too early, you’ll risk jostling it loose or hooking the gar in a less-than-optimum spot. Now set the hook. The alligator gar has a hard, bony plate in its mouth, which is the reason fishermen prefer treble hooks, and considerable force is needed to penetrate it. To ensure that you set the hook in the soft, secure part of the gar’s mouth, you may have to set it a few times. Since you’ve let as much as a few hundred yards of line spool out, this may take considerable strength and a few pulls. When you’ve got your hook set, it’s time to settle in for a big wrestling match. Assess the fish when you feel the tension on your line. Very large fish will require a substantial fight to land, and you may find it necessary to adjust your drag to wear it down. MidwestHuntFish.com
ever stick a hand, even with leather gloves, into its mouth.
Photo by markspitzer • Flickr.com
Try to keep the fish steered away from logs, brush, or other snags to keep him from becoming tangled, where you will almost certainly lose him. Fight your fish until it is exhausted. Bring it in a bit at a time, letting the gar wear itself out. Don’t expend more energy than necessary bringing it in quickly. Never try to force even a smaller gar into the boat while it still has fight left in it. The alligator gar has been known to bite aggressively in self-defense. When bringing the gar into a boat or on land, do not grab the gar by his snout because his teeth stick out the side of his mouth, so that if he thrashes he can easily cut your hand.
Respect the teeth of this fish, never stick a hand, even with leather gloves, into its mouth. For very large gar, it may be best to gill gaff or lasso them, so that the head (and teeth) can be steered away from occupants of the boat before bringing it aboard. A gill gaff is basically a pole with a sharp hook on the end, for snaring large fish beside the boat. Generally, a partner will hook the fish through the gills and under the backbone, probably wounding the fish mortally. If you want to hook a gar and release it, don’t do this. Be extremely careful if you choose to release your catch. Generally, fishermen don’t recommend fishing for gar unless you intend to kill them. Bringing a live gar into the boat, or onto the shore, is extremely dangerous. Removing a treble hook from a mouth full of needle like teeth requires a very long-nosed pair of pliers. Make sure the fish is beyond exhausted and that you’re wearing protective arm and hand gear if you attempt this. Cutting the line will leave the treble hook embedded in the fish’s mouth, leaving it little chance of survival. Consider creative alternatives. Many southerners will tell you the preferred method of fishing for alligator gar is bow-fishing, using a compound hunting bow or crossbow and fishing arrows. Bow-fishing is much more exciting to many, as it combines fishing and hunting. Some fishermen will likewise bring along a .22 to finish off the gar when it gets close to the boat. Be extremely careful and make sure that you’re licensed if you’re going to fish with hunting gear. MidwestHuntFish.com
Consider taking your gar home for dinner. Generally, the gar is a trophy fish, given its size and fierce look. It is an edible (some say tasty) fish, but quite difficult to clean. The scales are armor-like and all come off together, though, so it comes off with the right technique. Nail the gar’s head to a plank and work a knife from the tail up the backbone, loosening the scales. Cut the head and tail off, and then work your knife down the sides of the fish. The scales should come up like a crust around the flesh underneath. Gut the fish as you would any other. Give serious consideration to hiring a guide for your first trip fishing for these amazing monster fish. The time a guide will save, as well as the safety considerations should make your trip much more enjoyable.
extremely careful if you choose to release your catch. Generally, fishermen don’t recommend fishing for gar unless you intend to kill them. Bringing a live gar into the boat, or onto the shore, is extremely dangerous. Removing a treble hook from a mouth full of needle like teeth requires a very long-nosed pair of pliers. Make sure the fish is beyond exhausted and that you’re wearing protective arm and hand gear if you attempt this. Cutting the line will leave the treble hook embedded in the fish’s mouth, leaving it little chance of survival. Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 • Page 11
By Ken Mcbroom
pril is a month of activities. The robins begin to show and the songbirds begin to sing signaling the coming of spring and the end of winter. For the hunter it means strutting gobblers. For the angler it means warming waters and the beginning of a great season of great fun and fresh fillets.
Page 12 â€˘ Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
Most anglers I know begin to prepare their crappie poles and sharpen their jig heads for some deep brush jigging or spider rigging some tuffies along some creek channels leading to known spawning grounds or sunken stake beds. This is a great time for some cruising crappies but it can be just as good for channel cats as old man winter loses ground. This time of year can be deceiving as the air temperature rises the catfish angler canâ€™t wait to get on the water. The problem is that the water takes a while to warm even with bright sunny days and warmer weather. The important thing with early spring cat fishing is water temp. Finding the warmer water on any lake will be the focus and just a few degrees can make all the difference. Look for temp changes in shallow coves. The larger the area of shallow water the quicker it will warm providing great catfish action. Water 1 to 4 feet is a great place to look as the springtime sun is drawn to the dark bottom of the lake causing MidwestHuntFish.com
the water to warm quicker in these areas. I know it is tempting to fish deep when the water temps are so low but catfish do feed in these shallow areas as the water begins to warm. The warmer water definitely stimulates the cold blooded cats causing them to prowl but an even stronger motivator is the food found in these shallow coves in the spring. In the winter there is a natural die off of fish that occurs and if your lake has shad, which most successful catfish lakes do, then the amount of food floating below the surface of the lake can be extraordinary. This die off provides catfish with a much needed food source to begin the spawn that is nearing with the warming of water. Instinct will prevail and the catfish know that these wind swept coves have trapped lots of dead fish from the winterkill and they do take advantage of the natural occurrence. Wind to an angler can be a nuisance or a great ally. In the case of early spring catfishing, wind is your ally. Not only does wind help mix the water and help to warm these shallow coves but it also tends to push these dead fish into the coves. The important thing is to find the combination of a large shallow cove and a wind that blows directly into this cove. If the wind is not blowing directly into the cove then try to at least locate a side wind and fish the bank being lapped with the wind blown water. The choice of bait seems obvious. Cut shad is the way to go for this time of year and does work but I tend to mix it up a little. Most of the fish will focus on dead shad so you definitely want a rig with cut shad but I usually rig a pole or two with something different just in case it stimulates a fish that might be attracted to something a little different. I have to say that sometimes the different bait far outperforms the shad but always have cut shad in the boat, as it will work best most of the time. Some other bait I use is fresh chicken livers and, where legal, fresh bluegill fillets work great. Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 â€˘ Page 13
By Christopher P. Bassler Like many of you, I enjoy a cold beer while fishing in my boat, especially on a beautiful hot day. During the summer is normally when we hit the beaches, lakes and rivers to cool off and play. A nice cold drink seems like a must. The truth is, a very high percentage of boating and fishing accidents are due to mistakes made while drunk or under the influence. Though we feel great, our judgement is impaired, we are not thinking clearly. Water safety is important and needs our clear attention. Even with a clear mind mistakes happen and people drown. Drinking or doing drugs only adds to the possibilities. When it comes to our children or friends do we really want to take a larger risk than what already exists? According to the USCG, a third of all recreational boating fatalities involved the use of alcohol. It is illegal to be drinking while operating a boat. It’s called BUI, boating under the influence. This law includes all boats from canoes and rowboats to the largest ships. The penalties range from large fines, loss of boat operator privileges or even jail time. You don’t have to be in a boat to make a mistake with water safety. Beach parties and picnics along the shore still offer an element of danger. Of course I have no right to tell people not to drink alcohol while partying at the beach or where ever. I can only remind us all that if we are drinking around the ocean, lake, river or even our backyard pool the risk for accidents go way up. We all have to choose our priorities in these situations. How do we balance our fun with safety? The easiest way is simply not to drink or do drugs at all. We might feel it’s not safe to drink when we are in a position of protector of our kids. This would include home swimming pools. the oceans and lakes. We might try what the drunk drivers suggest and have a designated observer who takes the lead on maintaining safety while playing around water. We might think these things but the reality is we are still partying around the waters and creating a large percentage of water related accidents. I consider this a problem not easily solved. Only when we the people decide that water safety for ourselves and our children is more important than getting a buzz will the numbers decline. Trust me, I’m not holding my breath waiting for this to happen.
About Christopher Bassler: He spent 40 years living on Guam. Guam is a part of the Marianas Islands. He am a Dive Master and had his 100 ton captain’s license for 20 years. He was the Chairman of the Dive Safety Control Board at the University of Guam for several years. His field is water safety. Please visit his website www.AdventureOcean.com and help him spread the word and save lives through education. 2014 Page 14 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
First scale the bluegill then fillet. The scales, I feel, trap the smell of the meat and need to be removed. Some will argue that the smellier the bait the better for channel cats. I can only say that fresh bait has always worked well for me and seems to attract the larger fish as well. I may be wrong but I keep the stinky stuff out of my boat and stick to fresh or fresh frozen. I have caught fish on the rotten stuff but I seemed to waste a lot of time with fishless strikes and smaller fish. Since going strictly fresh the bite action has slowed but the hook-up action on bigger fish has increased as I waste little time worrying with fishless bites and more time fighting nice size channels to the boat. Usually thirty minutes in one spot is all I will wait before searching another cove. Keep moving but do not forget that first cove later in the day as the fish may move up while you search other parts of the lake. Tackle for Channel Cats is simple but a couple of tricks can really help your success. You want to start with at least a medium or heavy rod. I use a heavy rod and the reason is since targeting these larger channel cats I have landed several over ten pounds. These big channels can put up a great fight and are many times in the middle of some snarled brush not to mention the twirling these fish do as they near the boat which can put plenty of strain on your gear. If you are like me you will start with your regular gear that you have used for years for those one to three pound fish but after hooking into and losing some of those giant channels that prowl the shallows early in the season you might decide, just as I did, that quality and sturdy gear is important to catching big channels. Also there are giant flathead monsters that tend to reside in the same type areas as big channels and the last thing you want is to tangle with a forty-pound flatty in a brushpile with wimpy gear. Another well-known trick is the slip sinker. These fish are very sensitive to pressure and if they feel any at all they will drop the bait. I have yet decided whether a free spool is better than tight lining. All my rigs free spool just in case I miss a bite, so he can keep running until I can get to the rod. If I see the bite I set the hook immediately. I tend not to tight line because I have seen too many dropped bites when they feel the rod, without a hook set the hook, I believe, will slip right out when the fish spits the bait covered hook out of its mouth. So experiment and draw your own conclusion. Another lesson I have learned is the bait covered hook. I used to cover the hook with bait for fear the fish might feel the hook and spook. I now leave the hook point uncovered as best I can so that when the fish inhales the bait the point is exposed and even if the fish decides to spit it out there is a better chance the point will find its mouth on the way out. Terminal tackle should consist of a solid hook and a heavy monofilament leader with swivel at the top. Above the leader should be a single bead and then a slider for your weight. These sliders are inexpensive and are slicker than just a slip sinker on your main line which tends to MidwestHuntFish.com
abrade your line causing premature breaks. You main line should be heavy mono or braided line. I choose mono for my leader to give some stretch at the hook and it also withstands the abrasion effects of heavy brush a little better than braided line. This is another trick learned the hard way. Braided line is strong for its diameter and allows me to get much more on my reels while still using thirty to fifty pound test line. The braided lines will not hold their strength however with the slightest abrasion, so check it often. I use an octopus style hook in the 7/0 size range. I prefer to set the hook hard on these big cats so I choose the octopus over the circle as my choice in hooks. There are several hook makers out there that offer the octopus style hook. Mustad, Owner and Gamakatsu are my favorite and provide excellent made hooks. Early spring cat fishing may not be as popular as some of the other fish out there but with a little patience and trial and error lessons learned you might find a new and exciting early spring activity for yourself and family. You might even find yourself alone in your new endeavor and have all those shallow coves to yourself and enjoy some great fishing fun as well as some great fillets for the table. Good Luck! Check out my website www.RamblingAngler.com for more down home fishing information. About Ken Mcbroom Ken McBroom is an accomplished outdoor writer and photographer. Growing up in Lynchburg, Tennessee allowed him many opportunities afield as a boy and young man. Later in life his wanderlust took him all over our great country to include the oceans, rivers and mountains of Alaska. Married now with two beautiful children Ken calls Indiana home and finds himself learning yet another region and enjoying every minute. Ken is an avid hunter and angler and hopes, as an outdoor communicator, he can share his adventures and help others pursue their outdoor dreams. Ken’s adventures, writings and photos can be seen at his website Rambling Angler Outdoors.
By Dale Mazurek If you want to know how to fish then it is a must that you also know how to release fish. Bottom line is learning at this point is where you need to put your focus. The focus needs to be so that you know every single step of catch and release. If you take the time to understand everything about catch and release you are ensuring that future fisher people will be able to enjoy the sport as much as you. I fish a lot and unfortunately I run into a lot of people who don’t know how to release a fish without hurting it most of the time. The thing is with the rules always changing, it seems more and more people are asking to learn how to release a fish. Keep reading and you should find all the tips you will need to make this process easier and painless. Time is the most important thing you will ever need to deal with; you need to take it very seriously. If you will be practicing catch and release I can’t stress enough how much time is of vital importance. The chance of a fish making a recovery if it’s been out of water too long is slim. It may seem to have recovered, but before you know it you will be trying to pull a dead fish out of the lake. You do have to get it back in the water but you also need to be gentle about it. The best case scenario is keeping the fish in the water as much as possible while releasing it. Be sure to avoid hurting the fish but at the same time you need to get the hook out as fast as you can. Single barbless hooks are what you should be using if you want catch and release to work to its best capability. By using the barbless hooks you will need almost no effort to get the fish off and swimming away. When it comes to learning how to release fish this is something that is high on the importance list. You have to always remember that you need to be gentle with your catch. The best thing you can do for the fish is hold it around the belly and never, ever get rough with it. I know sometimes we see some things on television but it really is important that you keep your fingers out of the eye sockets and gills when holding the fish. Be sure that you never squeeze the fish; you will certainly end up killing it. Sometimes after a long battle the fish you catch may go unconscious. Panic shouldn’t set in because if treated right you can and will bring the fish back. The first thing you want to do is hold the fish in the water. Make sure you are holding it upwards. Then you can move the fish very slowly back and forth letting the water flow slowly through the gills. You want to take as much time that is needed and keep the fish moving back and forth. It may seem like it is taking a long time, but eventually the fish will start to struggle, at this point you need to let the fish go. The fish will make things quite clear and let you know exactly when to let go. I know you may also want to snap off some pictures, it really is important that you do this as quickly as possible. Keep the fish held horizontal. Do everything in your power to not squeeze the fish. Stay away from holding the fish in an up or down position and be sure it is returned to the water as quickly as possible. No matter what you do the one thing you need to remember is keep the fishing fun. Fishing is fun and should be for everyone who lifts a rod. All you need to do is follow a few steps and you will be well on your way. As long as we all do our share we will be able to continue enjoying our love of fishing for many years to come. Take a few minutes to make sure you understand how to release a fish. Fishing is one true passion of Dale’s, it really is great to help people and lead them in the right direction for something as great as fishing. While fishing is the single most greatest sport and hobby in the world there is a lot to know that no matter how much you studied you would never learn it all. Dale wants to write, write and write some more to make sure people keep having fun in the greatest sport in the world. Don’t hesitate and head on over to his brand blog right now at www.fishingfuntimes.blogspot.com. Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 • Page 15
The Pre Spawn is defined as the period in early spring beginning when bass leave their winter locations and ending when they begin to nest and lay eggs. This is going to be a transitional phase where the bass are moving from their deep winter haunts to their spawning grounds. The first question that should pop into your head is, “Where are the deep winter haunts?” and “Where do they spawn?” Great questions! A winter haunt is a place on the main lake that has quick access to deep water, shad present, and structure. The geographical names for these places are going to be main lake points, ledges, humps, and steep main lake banks. I want to add a keyword in here for you as well, “vertical structure.” All these places usually have great vertical structure. Vertical structure is anything that makes a sharp drastic drop. The most common type of vertical structure that people see every day is bridges. Bridge pilings are great vertical structure for the bass to hang out at. It is perpendicular to the bottom and fish can suspend around it waiting to ambush shad. Bass will usually spawn on a hard bottom “flat” usually near structure. A flat is a span of shallow water that is generally the same depth. It can be anywhere from 10 feet wide to two football fields wide. These are the areas bass are going to spawn. Basically the fish will be moving from deep to shallow. Where you want to look for fish during this time of year is going to be anywhere between the deep haunts and the shallow flats. These are going to be places like: main lake points, secondary points, ditches leading back to creeks, and spawning flats. Fish places that are rocky or have lay downs near deep water. Page 16 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
By Ryan M. Salzman
o you know the three phases of spring? Bass fishing during the spring can be some of the most fun and exciting times to fish during the year. The fish are really aggressive this time of year feeding up to get ready for the spawn. We call this phase pre-spawn. Once the fish are ready, they will move to the shallows and begin “spawning.” This is an especially fun time to catch bass because they are really shallow and you can “sight fish” to catch them. After the fish are done spawning, they will move into the post spawn phase. This is a time of recovery for the fish. The fish will be lethargic, but they will also feed like crazy! I am going to explain to you these three phases in detail, how to capitalize on each phase, and how to know when the phases are transitioning.
M Midwest idwest H Hunting unting & & FFishing ishing -- M March arch-A -April pril 2014 2014 •• PPage age 17 17
This paragraph will give you a quick guide on when the pre spawn begins. When the water temperature hits about 48 degrees the fish will start what I call staging on points getting ready to move back. Great lures to use when the fish are located here are jerkbaits, football head jigs, shaky heads, drop shots, and spinnerbaits. You are going to work these lures extremely slow because the bass are still lethargic. Once the water hits between 50-55 degrees the fishing will really pick up. There will be more and more fish heading towards the shallow flats. The nice part about this time of year is that there are fish everywhere throughout the lake. All bass do not spawn at the same time so there will be “waves” of fish that move back. When the water temperature hits 50 and there is a full moon. I will begin to look shallow. Another
unique indicator is when the first buds show up on trees. That usually means there is a bass on bed somewhere. Mother nature lets them know when its time: the increasing water temperature, longer daylight hours, and moon phases. Even if the water is not at the perfect temperature it doesn’t mean the fish won’t be moving shallow. The north part of the lake, on the west banks will heat up first. These banks are getting the most sunlight and are generally protected from wind. These will be good starting places when trying to find and catch bass on your body of water. My favorite pattern to run when fishing Wheeler Lake this time of year is to slow roll a spinnerbait on rocky banks. I have had some really amazing days doing this. I usually use a 3/8 or 1/2 ounce big double willow leaf combination, or a tandem blade combo. War Eagle spinnerbaits are some of the best I have come across. Rarely do you need a trailer because of the perfect skirts. I will add a plastic trailer if I want a bigger profile, or if the water is really stained. Next time I will be discussing how to catch spawning bass, and how you can catch more fish by narrowing down your search time. Thank you for reading and good luck on your next fishing trip! For fishing trip information please book a guide trip with me. I am the Alabama Bass Guide. I hope you like the article! For more awesome bass information please check out our website at smart bass pro! We have all your insider information that the pros have leaked. Tight Lines, Ryan Salzman Smart Bass Pro www.SmartBassPro.com
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Here at Browns Hunting Ranch, we hunt the Merriam turkey. The Moreau River is home to large flocks of turkey, where we hunt both river bottoms and field edges. It’s not uncommon to see flocks of dozens of birds. We offer fully-guided or semi-guided hunts. “Prairie” Season Dates are April 12 – May 18, 2014 Archery: – April 5 – May 18, 2014. Call for details or check out our website.
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 • Page 19
By Gregory Jackson
e all know that crappie fishing in the spring can be fantastic with non-stop action. We have all heard the stories of guys filling their buckets, stringers, or livewells with crappie in early spring.
Is it really that easy? Page 20 â€˘ Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 â€˘ Page 21
...Not necessarily Spring Crappie are always in transition. A warm weather pattern in early spring will raise the water temperature and the crappie will gradually move from deep structure to the shallows to look for spawning areas. Crappie will stay in the shallows as long as the weather conditions remain stable. However, a passing cold front or an unstable weather pattern can send the crappie seeking refuge and they will head for the winter holding areas again. There one day, gone the next is, often times, what happens during this time of the year as the fish can be as unpredictable as the weather. The key to catching early spring crappie consistently is being able to analyze the conditions and match your fishing techniques to where the crappie should be. If the weather has remained stable and the sun has been shining for a few
days the crappie should be in the shallows close to spawning areas, and they should be actively feeding. If this is the case, then focus your efforts around shallow cover close to these spawning areas. If the weather has been unstable for a day or two then you might need to search elsewhere. This is the time to work the ledges or drop-offs vertically with jigs or minnows. Fish holding in deep water after moving shallow for a while can be slow to bite so make sure you slow down your presentations. As mentioned above, crappie fishing in spring can be fantastic if you time it right, analyze the weather conditions, and learn how the fish react to the conditions. Do these things on your next spring crappie fishing adventure and you will, haul in those slabs!
Page 22 â€˘ Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
n the spring, the secret to finding crappie is to locate their spawning areas. These areas are in rooty or weedy shallows, usually near shore, in water 1 - 10 feet deep. The best shallows are near drop offs providing escape to deeper water, where the fish go after spawning. MidwestHuntFish.com
he key to catching early spring crappie consistently is being able to analyze the conditions and match your fishing techniques to where the crappie should be.
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In the spring, the secret to finding crappie is to locate their spawning areas. These areas are in rooty or weedy shallows, usually near shore, in water 1 to 10 feet deep. The best shallows are near drop offs providing escape to deeper water, where the fish go after spawning. Before spawning, crappies will school in the drop offs near the shallows and will remain nearby for a week or two after spawning. Fishing the shallows and along the drop offs can be good for a month or two in spring with the best fishing being in the shallows on the windward shore where the winds have driven the food sources. After spawning, schools of crappie will move to deeper water where there is protective cover such as brush piles, stumps, trees, and deep channels. They might also seek shade near rocks, bridge pilings, and docks. Focus your efforts in these areas during this time of the year. As spring progresses and summer arrives, crappie will seek deeper water during the day and come into the shallows to feed during the low light periods of dawn and dusk. Unlike bass, crappie do not prefer weed beds but prefer other types of cover which have been mentioned above if it is available. The traditional way to catch crappie is by using live minnows suspended under a bobber at the desired depth. Artificial lures like small jigs or flies can be equally as effective if fished properly. Live bait and jigs should be cast into the shallow spawning areas in spring, or trolled along the drop offs close to the spawning areas. Keep moving, casting, or trolling at different depths until you find the strike zone. Once you find the strike zone continue fishing in the same area. If the bite slows or stops, repeat the pattern in another area with similar features and water depth. Gregory Jackson is a husband, father, and avid multispecies angler. Look for some of his upcoming articles on Spring Bass fishing next issue! For more spring time crappie fishing tips be sure to go to www.squidoo. com/crappiefishingtips or www.howtocatchcrappie.info MidwestHuntFish.com
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Taking your children fishing is all worth it when your kid looks at you says “Dad, remember when you took me fishing and.....” Page 24 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
USFWS-Midwest Region • Flickr.com
Sam Beebe, Ecotrust • Flickr.com
ad get the net, I got a big one!” Those words will stick in a father and son/daughter’s mind for a lifetime. They certainly have helped shape the person who I am today. I began fishing when I was a very young child with my dad and it has become a passion and a way of life for me. It has taught me to be patient, hardworking, crafty, environmentally conscience, and respectful. Fishing has filled my mind with memories that I will cherish my whole life. I was recently fishing with my 71-year-old father and I got to admire him reeling in a 10-pound plus steelhead. Even at 71 and after a lifetime of catching fish the excitement of reeling in a large fish can turn a man into a child again. The power of fishing is captivating and the knowledge one can gain from fishing is endless.
By David Alan MidwestHuntFish.com
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 • Page 25
“Taking a child fishing can change a kid’s life and change a father’s life in the process. The smile I get from my son when he is reeling in a fish is awesome...”
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www.haybaleheights.com 4355 87th Ave NE | Devils Lake, ND 58301 701.351.3130 Page 26 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
Taking a child fishing can change a kid’s life and change a father’s life in the process. The smile I get from my son when he is reeling in a fish is awesome to say the least, but there are several ways to make sure that those fishing days are filled with fun and not frustration and boredom. Fishing can be a tough sport, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t need to go after the biggest fish in the sea when taking a kid fishing. Kids are just as happy reeling in a ton of bluegills as they are reeling in a monster fish. There are several ways you can make your father-son/daughter outing a successful fishing trip. First, plan your trip then re-plan your trip. Make sure you have everything you need to go fishing with a kid. Remember your taking a kid fishing not you and a couple of buddy’s going for the day. You will need lunches, drinks, fishing gear, bait, and a plan B. A plan B can be as simple as an empty mason jar with a lid, fishing isn’t always fast and furious and an empty jar makes a great bug collector and will allow you to explore the outdoors with your child. Also take the opportunity when catching fish to release a fish. A fish released is a fish to be caught another day. However kids love to keep fish and eat their catch. Don’t feel you have to release every fish, there are several fish that are great in the frying pan such as crappie, bluegill, trout, and walleye and your child will be full of excitement when he or she gets to show off their catch. Second, you will need to know where and what to fish for. Bluegills are an excellent choice and can be found anywhere. Bluegills always relate to some sort of structure in the water whether it is weeds, wood, stumps, or docks. If you don’t have a boat, a boat dock is your choice to catch bluegill, but don’t be in a hurry to jump on the dock and go fishing. Fish from the shore and cast beside the dock with a bobber/worm and put the hook down only a couple of feet. This will keep your bait in front of the fish that are directly below the dock. If you have a boat you can find panfish around weed lines, downed trees, and stump fields. The easiest spots to find are downed trees on the shoreline, but these often get fished the most. Weed beds are great attractors to panfish and also will attract larger fish in the meantime. What I have found is a great method of fishing with my child and gets a lot of smiles is having him fish for panfish around the weed line casting a bobber/ worm combo and also dragging two bobbers from the back of the boat with shiners. This will allow the child non-stop action with his rod and maybe allow him to catch a much bigger fish with the shiners that are dragging behind. Also on a second note if your child is a youngster leave your fishing rod in the box. You won’t have time to fish you will be putting on bait, fixing tangles, taking fish off the hook, and laughing. In conclusion, taking a kid fishing will definitely be a winner of an idea. You may not always catch fish, but you will have the opportunity to spend time with your child outside. And maybe will become a sport in which you and your family can spend quality time together and build a catalog of memories. MidwestHuntFish.com
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By Dale Mazurek So you have put everything together and you are ready to catch that big fish but I bet you never took into consideration how the temperature of the water would affect the journey you are about to embark on. When it comes to fishing in the spring time, water temperature becomes very important. The success of a spring fishing trip can be won or lost because of even as little as 3 or 4 degrees rise in water temperature. As the water rises the fish start to move and they become more aggressive. Once this happens they start to move closer to shore to feed. At this point the fish should be easier to catch. When it comes to water temperature and fishing there are a couple of factors that need to be looked at. Of course when we think of temperature we think of heat and outside we all know that our heat comes from the sun that shines above us. The second factor we need to think of whether you believe it or not, is rain. So the two factors that we need to consider the most when it comes to fishing is sunshine and rain and then we will be dealing with what most affects fishing. Since the water that falls from the skies is much warmer than the water sitting in lakes you will want to focus your fishing in places where the rain runs off. Places like ditches, small rivers and creeks will be great starting points. It won’t take fish very long to find these warmer run off areas. Within a couple of hours you will have fish chasing food in areas that will work great for you when it comes to fishing. It is now up to you to take advantage of the water temperatures and use the right lures. Learn what lures are the best for the fish you are trying to catch and get them on your line. Once you learn how the temperature affects the fish you are trying to catch you will stand a better chance of catching greater numbers. It can take several days of sunshine to change the temperature in the water which would in turn change the activity of the water. It will be worth your time to pay attention and play the waiting game because when they start biting you will be very happy. The day will come when you find yourself doing all the right things but unfortunately you will not catch a fish until everything is just the way it is supposed to be when it comes to water temperature and fishing. Dale is all about fishing. It’s time to take a look and see how you can up the ante and start catching more fish. Feel free to take your time and spend some time at my website at www.catchingafish.com. Also take a look at my blog at www.fishingfuntimes.blogspot.com
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M Midwest idwest H Hunting unting & & FFishing ishing -- M March arch-A -April pril 2014 2014 •• PPage age 27 27
Good Time for
Photo: Ted Takasaki
Proper Preparation By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson With cold weather locked in and spring seemingly far away, now is the best time to heed the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared.” Try to avoid last-minute trouble with a little advanced planning. Take the time to check out your boat and your tackle. In addition, try spending a few hours reviewing maps and notes for places you plan on fishing this coming season. Schedule a few weekends for sport shows where you’ll talk to resort owners and game/fish officers on the status of pending lakes you plan to head to next summer.
Da Boat There’s nothing more frustrating or embarrassing than getting stranded at the ramp on opening day. First, check your batteries. Electrical problems are the number one cause behind an outboard that won’t start. Put a battery tester on them and make sure they are fully charged. Check battery terminal connections to make sure they’re tight and corrosion free. If you didn’t do it during winterizing, check your gear oil. Debris or metal grindings from the gear case can cause serious lower-unit damage if you don’t. Check the propeller. Remove the prop to see if there’s fishing line wrapped on the inside that can break seals Page 28 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
and allow water in the lower unit. Tighten prop nuts with a torque wrench. The right torque for your motor is listed in your operator’s manual. Apply lube to the prop shaft at regular intervals to protect the propeller hub from corrosion. A corroded shaft may seize up. Use quality gasoline and check the levels on your motor oil if you’re running a 2-stroke engine. Always carry extra oil onboard to get you back to the dock if your reserve runs dry. If you are running a 4-stroke, change your oil during the winter months if you hadn’t already done so recently. Make sure you have an emergency repair kit onboard. Have a set of jumper cables to connect your trolling battery to the starting battery. Carry your motor manual in a zip lock bag to refer to. In addition to a good selection of tools, your tool box should have a spark plug wrench and spare plugs, fuses, tie wraps, and electrical tape. Keep spare props for your trolling motor and your big motor (with a wrench that will fit the propeller nut). Also carry pliers and a spare nut. You may want to keep a spare power MidwestHuntFish.com
Prepare your boat well, do off-the-water research on places you want to fish, ready your tackle, then hit the water with confidence this year. Time well spent! trim relay, which is a small module that costs about $150 and plugs into the rear of the powerhead. It’s good insurance; if yours goes out with the motor in the up position, you’ll be glad you can make the repair fast. Make sure that all mandatory safety gear and life jackets are onboard.
Tackle Check Now’s the time to check on your tackle if you haven’t opened the tackle boxes since you put them away last fall. Take inventory of what you have and make a list of what you need. Make sure you have a variety of jigheads in various colors/sizes and a few sinkers/bottom bouncers in different weights to cover the depths you are likely to fish. Do you have plenty of livebait hooks, snells, floaters, beads and swivels? Replace rusted treble hooks hooks on crankbaits and sharpen the rest. Check for nicks on rod guides with cotton swabs. Replace any that are showing wear, because they could cut your line – and if it’s going to happen, it’ll happen while you’re fighting a big fish. Change your line and oil reels. Save time on the water. Rig up a few rods with presentations you’re likely to use to begin. Check your fishing licenses to be sure they’re current.
Take a look Scouting begins before you reach the water. Get maps of the lake or river you plan to fish and apply what you know about early-season walleye movements and your own experience to locate spots you think might hold fish on opening day. Take into consideration that this spring’s high water may dirty rivers and spots near where they empty into lakes. Make a game plan, but stay open-minded. Be willing to fine-tune the strategy when given new input. Share ideas with friends. Try taking a boat ride as soon as the ice goes out. There’s a lot of water to cover on your own, so divide spots with your buddies. Run from location to location. Watch for baitfish or hooks on your sonar that may signal walleye. Make S-turns over points and bars to check a variety of depths. Once fish are spotted, lower an underwater camera to identify the species. Record the waypoints of walleye schools on your GPS. Meet your friends at a restaurant or bait shop to compare notes. In just one afternoon, you’ve eliminated lots of unproductive water and saved precious time for fishing when opener comes. Lastly, pick up a current copy of the state’s fishing regulations published by the Department of Natural Resources to update yourself on any rule changes on the body of water you plan to fish. For example, some slot limits may have changed. Be prepared to have a great opening day by being prepared! MidwestHuntFish.com
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By Dave Genz Some of what you’re about to hear, if you have followed Dave Genz and his ice fishing beliefs, might not sound like the father of modern ice fishing. He’s finding a soft spot in his heart for soft plastics. This from a guy who has come right out and said, “I’m a live bait fisherman.” Genz’s belief system comes from what he sees and catches while out there on the ice – almost every day, all winter long, on an annual tour that stretches east and west, from the southern fringes of the Ice Belt to the True North. You can’t blame somebody for developing confidence in fresh maggots barely pierced through the fat end so clear juices stream from them and they wiggle on the hook. Fish readily eat such things, and they haven’t stopped eating them just because Genz believes more strongly in soft plastics. No, the evolution of Dave’s take on plastics says more about his open mind, inquisitive nature, and the development of materials and processes being used to make the latest, more realistic fakes. Here’s the story of how all this came about. Actually, it was the combination of Genz’s wide travels and time spent observing good anglers using the latest plastics that popped his eyes open to the possibilities. In addition to his own fishing, Dave attends a lot of top-shelf ice fishing competitions, often as the weigh-in emcee. Rather than sit in the trailer all day, he tools around on his snowmobile and studies the anglers. He knows them and they know him, and there is a continuous conversation going on. Page 30 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
“Spending the last 20 years around these tournament fishermen,” says Genz, “is what made me realize that during these tournaments, you usually don’t have the luxury of moving 10 feet away and drilling a new hole to look for biters. It gets crowded out there on the good spots. “When these guys are restricted to staying in one place and trying to get those fish to bite, a lot of them put down a piece of plastic. These are the same fish that didn’t bite the lure they had down there, that was baited with live bait. “Color becomes much more important (when using plastics and trying to tempt the same fish), along with the speed of your movements, and the shape of the plastic. You might drop something down and bang, you catch one. Then it slows back down and you have to continue to go through your arsenal.” All the old rules still apply, such as hoping you can get over a good hole, the edges of the best cover, the place fish most want to be at the moment. And waiting for the magic hour when light levels drop and the sun hits the tops of the trees. But, it’s hard to ignore when good fishermen pluck reluctant fish using this plastics approach, right in the middle of the day. They try things and find what works, because they don’t have the luxury of waiting for the sunset. Weigh-in is completed long before sunset. While it’s true that the modern ice fishing revolution began and was driven from the center of the country, the East Coast, in many respects, has been the incubator for much recent soft plastic innovation. One guy Genz regularly comes across on his trips to the eastern states (and at other tourney venues) is Scott Brauer, an industrial arts teacher from New York with a passion for ice fishing. Brauer fishes in competitions, and his Maki soft plastic baits are used by a large percentage of tournament anglers. “Talking to Scott is what clued me in to how far the materials had come,” said Genz. “I spent time learning from him, and saw how they were able to take the latest materials and infuse colors, even glow colors, and turn them into shapes that behave more like real things in the water.” Indeed, the movement of today’s plastics is a big part of their appeal. Seeming to react to essentially no movement on your part, they undulate in the water almost like marabou. They can be shifted around by subtle underwater currents. As long as the jig they’re connected to is lightweight and well balanced, the plastics can react and flow even when fish softly blow on them or half-heartedly suck at them. This is a big deal, something we’ll talk more about next time. The performance characteristics of modern soft plastics are made possible by how soft and supple the materials are and the sophisticated processes used to create intricate shapes. And that same factor, softness, accounts for fish holding onto them after giving them the initial sampling test. A fish’s life is a continuous cycle of choosing what to eat and what to reject, from among all the stuff that’s crawling and swimming around down there. The latest plastics are impressive when it comes to representing what fish are currently feeding on, then passing that crucial touch test. Which brings us to another East Coast angler, Jamie Vladyka. Genz credits Vladyka for helping him view the use of plastics for ice fishing as a different matter than using those same baits in open water. MidwestHuntFish.com
After years of observing top tournament competitors and some serious time sharing the ice with Jamie Vladyka, Dave Genz has given soft plastics an increasing role in his own fishing. When dandy crappies like this readily take the bait, it’s easy to gain confidence. (Image: davegenz.com) “The light bulb (about how and when to use plastics) went on with me last year,” remembers Genz, talking winter 2012-13, “when I was out there with Jamie. I had always worked hard to thread plastics on perfectly straight, so they hung outward, horizontally (parallel to the hook shank). But we learned that from fishing them in the summer, when we cast it out and wind it back in. That’s how plastics look best when you’re fishing that way. “In the winter, you drop it straight down the hole, so the movement is more up and down than across. The only ‘across’ we get is by the size of the hole. Jamie got me hooking the plastics so they’re tails up or tails down, so when you work it, it looks more like it’s swimming or kicking up or down. It’s more realistic than having it swim around in circles down there. It was Jamie who put that thought in my head.” Really interesting stuff, and enough to get your head swimming around in circles. Next time, we’ll bring Jamie into the conversation and get his detailed take on how he presents plastics. Dave Genz, known as Mr. Ice Fishing, was the primary driver of the modern ice fishing revolution. He has been enshrined in the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame for his contributions to the sport. For more fishing tips and to order his new infopacked book, Ice Revolution, go to www.davegenz.com. Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 • Page 31
By Jay Bryce
Flickr.com - Robinsegg
he fishing season in the park does not ordinarily begin before July, by which time, according to one of the angling writers “the plethora of water has disappeared and the streams flow swift, clear, and cold. At this season of the year trout fishing is at its best.” Flickr.com - Upstate Dave
Page 32 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
team rises from The Fishing Cone, a thermal feature of Yellowstone Lake as the sun rises over the Absaroka Mountains.
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 â€˘ Page 33
Yellowstone Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. It and some its tributary creeks abound with the native or redthroat trout. There appear to be no other game species in the lake. Landlocked salmon planted in 1908 and 1909 have not been seen since. The rainbow trout, planted at the same time in some of the affluents, have shown no evidence of establishment, excepting on the statement of Mr. Croley, a hotel fisherman for 12 years, to the effect that he had seen only one fish other than the blackspotted trout. This fish “looked different and had a broad side band” and was thought to be a rainbow. In 1919 the senior author found the Water of Flat Mountain Arm, though shallow, distinctly colder than in the lake, evidently owing to the inflow of springs and the creek at its head. Near the head of this arm he found the largest redthroat trout met with in the park, fine, clean, trim, vigorous fellows, not like those observed elsewhere. All suitable tributary creeks contain redthroat trout. The most notable creeks on the east side of the lake, from north to south, are: Pelican, Cub, Clear, Columbine, and Beaverdam Creeks. All contain native trout. Sylvan Lake, which discharges through Clear Creek in times of high water, contains a few trout. It is a beautiful mountain lake, clear and moderately cold. Ralph E. Clark said of Pelican Creek: “One mile east of Yellowstone River outlet is Pelican stream, which rises in the cold snows of the mountains and empties its waters into the lake. Here you catch quantities of uncontaminated trout, large, beautiful, fat, and gamy, as free from Worms as the fresh cold waters they swim in are free from pollution”. On the west side of the lake, named in the same order, are Bridge Creek, entering Bridge Bay; Arnica Creek, an affluent of the northwest side of the Thumb; Solution Creek, a small, narrow stream, with lava bottom and grassy banks bordered with willows, the outlet of Riddle Lake, sometimes going dry. Riddle Lake, so called because of the former mystery of its outlet, is a clear pond of roundish outline, about 1-1/2 miles in diameter, about whose outlet are numerous lily pads and other plants. Its shores are shallow, and its bottom is chiefly of lava gravel. The temperature is about 50° F. Trout are numerous. Near West Thumb is another small, deep-set lake, named Duck Lake, which has no outlet. It formerly contained no trout, but redthroat trout and landlocked salmon were planted in it. Redthroat trout now appear to be abundant, but landlocked salmon have never been observed. However, the senior author found good-sized Loch Leven trout common in 1919. Grouse and Chipmunk Creeks enter opposite sides of the southern end of the South Arm. One unnamed creek, flowing into Flat Mountain Arm, was found by the senior author on July 17, 1919, to contain more water than many of the other creeks around the lake, probably never going dry. A creek that will flow as did this one during a period of drought, with the lake level one-third lower than ever before known, must be permanent. The creek, unnamed on the available maps, clear and cold, with beautiful green, grassy banks with trees here and there, meanders to an extraordinary degree through a broad, open valley, flowing over a gravelly bed, now with riffles, now with deep holes, making a charming trout brook. At its mouth is a flat much frequented by elk. This creek was found to contain numerous trout of the season’s hatch; some 3 to 5 inches long of the previous season; and older fish up to 12 inches in length.
YELLOWSTONE RIVER ABOVE THE LAKE
Above the lake the Yellowstone River winds through marshy meadows, between wooded hills, behind which are the rugged peaks of high volcanic mountains. The current is sluggish, and, according to Mr. Dinsmore, the fall is so slight that it would be a comparatively easy matter in times of ordinary flow to travel by canoe the entire distance from the lake to the southern boundary of the park. The principal tributaries of this portion of the river from the lake southward on the left are Cabin, Trappers, Mountain, Cliff, Escarpment, and Thoroughfare Creeks. On the other side in the same direction are Badger, Phlox, and Lynx Creeks. Good fishing is found in the river and in the creeks high up where they meander from the mountains.
YELLOWSTONE RIVER BELOW THE LAKE
Below the lake to the upper falls there is no great descent, and the river flows for about 15 miles with a quiet current. Here its banks are bordered with low hills, some of them wooded, others forming open pastures. On the right side going northward the principal creeks are Cotton Grass and Sour Creeks, which unite to discharge their waters into the Yellowstone not far from Alum Creek on the opposite side of the river. On the west side of the river is Trout Creek, which is a clear stream, with grassy banks and gravelly bottom. It has a summer temperature of about 58° F. and is a good trout stream. Alum Creek is a clear stream about 8 feet wide and 1 or 2 feet deep, rising in the Continental Divide opposite the head of Nez Perce Creek and flowing eastward through the grassy fields of Hayden Valley. Its bed contains much white alkali from the hot springs above, and there is a perceptible alkaline taste to the water, which has a temperature of about 60° F. in summer. In its upper course it has some hot tributaries. One of these is Violet Creek, with a number of hot springs and mudholes. Still another fork is charged with alum, but a third branch is said to be one of the best redthroat trout streams in the park.
YELLOWSTONE RIVER & BRANCHES BELOW FALLS
About 15 miles below the lake the river plunges into a deep canyon over two vertical falls 109 feet and 308 feet in height. This remarkable canyon is more than 20 miles long, with nearly perpendicular walls 800 to 1,100 feet in height. The current below the falls is swift until the river leaves the park. The most important eastern tributary of the Yellowstone River is Lamar River. It is a large stream, sometimes referred to as the East Fork of the Yellowstone. It joins the Yellowstone not far below Butte Junction. There are many tributary creeks of various sizes, particularly on the north and northeast side. The principal of these are: Miller, Calfee, Cache, Soda Butte, joined by Amphitheater and Pebble Creeks; Slough Creek, the largest branch of which is Buffalo Creek. On the west side the creeks are smaller than most of those of the other side, the principal ones being Cold, Willow, and Timothy, near the upper course. Chalcedony Creek is farther down, and all but Cold Creek are in rather deep ravines near the river. Cascade Creek is a clear brook a few feet wide which enters the Yellowstone between the falls. The high, nearly vertical “Crystal Falls” (129 feet) is near the mouth of the stream and, of course, prevents the ascent of fishes. Redthroat trout were once planted above the falls.
ere, you catch quantities of uncontaminated trout, beautiful, large and fat, as free from worms as the fresh cold waters they swim in are free from pollution.
Page 34 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
Lamar River and most of its tributaries are inhabited by native trout. The junction of Yellowstone and Lamar Rivers is noted for fine fishing. Soda Butte is well stocked up to near its head, where a waterfall keeps the fish back. According to Mr. Dinsmore, Fish Lake, where the Bureau of Fisheries has for a number of years collected native trout eggs and where in 1921 a small hatchery was established, is a very remarkable water, with an area of only 75 acres. It contains a dense growth of vegetation, which in the late summer blossoms near the surface. After sundown the fish, averaging 2 pounds each, will come up out of the weeds and take gray-hackle flies as fast as they are placed on the water. Slough Creek is said to be well stocked with trout up to the lakes at its head, only one of which, Lake Abundance, Montana, contains trout. Hellroaring Creek, joining the Yellowstone from the north below the mouth of Lamar River, has abundant native trout in its lower part. The tributaries of the west side of the Yellowstone worthy of mention enter the river below the Grand Canyon. The uppermost is Antelope Creek, which joins the river near the mouth of Tower Creek. It contains native trout. Tower Creek is hidden in dense forests. Its current is swift, and it is perhaps the coldest stream in the park, the summer temperature being about 45° F. Carnelian Creek is one of its upper branches. About one-fourth mile from its mouth the creek forms a singularly picturesque, quite vertical fall of 132 feet, which is surrounded by lofty towers of volcanic conglomerate. Below the falls is a deep canyon, where the stream is about 10 feet wide and shallow. The waters above the falls were barren previous to the introduction of eastern brook, rainbow, and redthroat trouts. The lower tributaries of the Yellowstone in the park are Geode Creek, Blacktail Deer Creek, and Gardiner River. Geode Creek is small. Rainbow trout planted in it in 1909 have not since been observed. Blacktail Deer Creek is a clear, rather cold (55° F.) stream running largely through open pastures, with willows along its course. It has no canyons or falls. Its bottom is of laval gravel and rocks, with some water weeds. In summer it is usually 5 or 6 feet wide by 1 or 2 feet deep and is well stocked with native redthroat trout and rainbow trout. Eastern brook trout were planted in 1912, 1913, and 1914.
GARDINER RIVER AND ITS BRANCHES
In the park Gardiner River may be said to be formed by two branches, designated on the maps as Lava Creek and Gardiner River, but the latter is sometimes referred to as the “Middle Fork.” Lava Creek is a clear, mountain stream in its upper course, flowing through evergreen forests on the north side of the mountain range. The stream is normally about 10 feet wide and 1 or 2 feet deep. Toward its mouth it cuts its way into a broad, flat shelf of lava, forming two falls about one-tenth of a mile apart. The upper falls, called Undine Falls, are vertical for about 30 feet, with two additional leaps of about 20 and 10 feet. The lower falls are vertical and about 50 feet high. Below these falls the stream flows through a highly picturesque canyon, joining Gardiner River above Mammoth Hot Springs. Lupine Creek is a small tributary of Lava Creek, entering it above the falls. Near its junction with Lava Creek this creek has a cascade about 100 feet high called Wraith Falls. Notwithstanding the barrier offered by the falls, Dr. Jordan said that it was reported on good authority that small trout had been taken in Lava Creek above the falls. His attention was called to a possible means of access from Blacktail Deer Creek to Lava Creek in times of high water. In Lava and Lupine Creeks the only trout is the native redthroat. Below the falls native redthroat and Loch Leven trout occur in Lava Creek. Gardiner River, or Middle Fork, rises on the east slope of the Gallatin Mountains in the northwestern part of the park. It flows eastward, southward, then abruptly northward, bending around Bunsen Peak and forming a deep canyon, toward the head of which are Osprey Falls. Gardiner Canyon is some 800 to 1,000 feet deep, with vertical walls of lava, basalt, etc., and in grandeur is surpassed only by the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Osprey FaIls is about 150 feet high and nearly vertical. The principal headwaters of the Gardiner are Fawn, Panther, and Indian Creeks, which, with their branches, unite near Seven-mile Bridge. Winter and Straight Creeks unite into one stream and join Obsidian Creek to form Willow Park Creek, which also joins the Middle Fork near Seven-mile Bridge. Obsidian Creek originates in or near Twin Lakes, according to Jordan, and some of its branches in other small lakes, notably Lake of the Woods, which flows into Beaver Lake. At first the creek is very small, and its course for 2 or 3 miles is full of hot springs, solfataras, boiling mudholes, and various similar heated areas. Lower down cold springs enter the stream, and at Beaver Lake the water is clear and cold. Beaver Lake is a shallow, grassy pond, about a mile long, formed in the stream by the beavers. Eastern MidwestHuntFish.com
Flickr.com - Valerie Farley
brook trout are reported as plentiful, but the rainbow trout, also planted there, have never been heard of. Below this lake the creek receives the clear, cold waters of Winter Creek and Straight Creek. Winter Creek is a large stream which heads in Christmas Tree Park at the foot of Mount Holmes. Straight Creek flows through dense woods, open grass-grown meadows and narrow canyons. It is a very pretty stream, with many riffles and deep holes behind prostrate logs, and wide, shallow, gravelly reaches. In the course of Straight Creek is Grizzly Lake. It is a gem, with steep, wooded banks, clear, cold water, with shelving bottom and quite deep center. After their junction the waters of these creeks, under the name of Willow Park Creek, flow through Willow Park, a large mountain meadow, at the foot of which it meets the waters of Indian Creek and the others which have been mentioned, forming the Middle Fork of Gardiner River. Indian Creek is a clear, cold stream similar to the Gardiner. All of the aforementioned creeks, previously barren, now teem with eastern brook trout, the only trout occurring in them. Jordan reported that Obsidian Creek with Winter Creek was one of the best eastern brook trout streams in the park. Its summer temperature is about 50° F. Its bottom is composed of laval gravel, lined with grass, algae, and other water plants in which small crustaceans abound. The senior author observed that Straight Creek teemed with brook trout of all sizes up to 12 inches long. Hundreds, mostly about 6 or 7 inches long, were observed. The fish were the most beautifully colored seen in the park. Males only 3 or 4 inches long showed the brilliant coloration of the fully developed fish in breeding season. Females 6 inches in length and upward had well-developed eggs. Grizzly Lake contains very large brook trout. Above Osprey Falls the Gardiner is a clear, cold stream, having a temperature of about 50° F. The bottom is composed of numerous stones and boulders, and there are many deep holes. This previously barren stretch of water now contains the introduced eastern brook, Loch Leven, brown, and rainbow trout. About halfway down from the falls to the junction with the East Fork Glen Creek the river on the left side. Glen Creek has been called the West Fork of the Gardiner. It rises in the Sepulcher Mountain region and flows southeast to Swan Lake outlet, thence northeast, joining the Gardiner at the foot of the canyon. It is a small stream, only 5 or 6 feet wide and 1 or 2 deep, which runs mostly through open meadows, with gravelly and grassy bottom. Its waters are very cold, about 48° F. in summer. Glen Creek has a waterfall some 70 feet high, knownMas Rustic Falls, at the Golden Gate near the idwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 • Page 35
base of Bunsen Peak. A small lake in the vicinity of Sepulcher Mountain was stocked with eastern brook trout in 1912, but the results are as yet uncertain. Below the falls the deep canyon is so choked with bowlders and talus that fish can not ascend it. Swan Lake is a small, roundish pond about a half mile long, with a bottom of crumbled lava. While the water near shore is very shallow, the depth at the center seems considerable. The water is clear and cold and abounds with insects and crustaceans. Eastern brook trout abound in the creek above the falls, but those planted in Swan Lake, it is said, seem to have left the lake for the small streams, as they have not been found in the lake. Near the junction of the Gardiner with the East Branch the stream is rough and bowlder strewn, but of a good volume, much like the Gibbon in character. The lower course of the Gardiner below the falls is well stocked with native redthroat trout and introduced eastern, rainbow, and Loch Leven trouts. Indigenous whitefish, suckers, and minnows also occur. Below Mammoth Hot Springs the scalding waters of those springs discharge through “Hot River” into the Gardiner. It is said that in winter native trout are especially abundant at the mouth of the stream. Firehole River
Flickr.com - John Juracek
GIBBON RIVER, GREBE & RAINBOW LAKES
Gibbon River issues from Grebe Lake, which is located in a marshy area in the highlands. Grebe Lake is about a mile long and is one of the most attractive small lakes in the park. It was stocked with redthroat trout in 1912, but the results are not definitely known. Approximately a mile or a mile and a half below Grebe Lake is another small lake visited by the senior author and Mr. Dinsmore in 1919. They proposed to name it Rainbow Lake. The lake drains a very extensive marshy area whose arms extend far into the hills, with greatly meandering, clear, cold streams. The lake has a gravelly bottom, gently sloping shores, and a deep center. At several points are extensive beds of yellow water lilies, and the mouth of the large main affluent is covered by the same plants. Large rainbows frequent the lake and the affluent, and smaller fish abound in all the minor streams. Gibbon River emerges from the southeast corner of Rainbow Lake. About a mile below the lake are hot mineral springs which discharge into the river, and for a mile or more the water is warm, distinctly saturated, and fishless. Then cold springs entering the river from the hillsides render the stream again inhabitable by trout, which occur all the way to the Upper Falls of the Gibbon. These falls are too high to permit of the passage of fish upward. From Virginia Cascade to Norris Station the river, with Solfatara Creek, affords fine fishing for eastern brook trout. Mr. Dinsmore reports that on July 26, 1919, he had wonderful fishing for this species and no other species was observed in this section, although rainbows occur above Virginia Cascade and in the Gibbon below Norris Station. Below the falls Canyon Creek, entering the river from the eastward, contains redthroat trout. From the falls to the junction of the Gibbon with the Madison the fish are the same as those occuring in the Madison and below the cascades of the Firehole.
MADISON RIVER, ITS BRANCHES, FIREHOLE RIVER, NEZ PERCE CREEK, LITTLE FIREHOLE RIVER, ETC.
Native redthroat trout, whitefish, and grayling are abundant, as are the introduced Loch Leven and brown trout in the upper Madison. The Firehole River, about twice the size of the Gibbon River, joins it from the south. This stream heads just west of Shoshone Lake, separated from it and from the head of Bechler River by a relatively low divide, according to Gannett. It flows through Madison Lake, which is nearly dry in summer, but below it is reinforced by the fine, clear Spring Creek from the east. In its upper course the Firehole, like Spring Creek, is a clear and very cold stream, flowing through dense woods, with narrow marshy valleys alternating with small canyons. Keppler’s Cascades, above the Upper Geyser Basin, is a series of very picturesque falls probably impassable to trout. Along the Firehole are the most noteworthy of the geyser basins, and a great volume of hot water is poured into it without, however, rendering its waters at any point warm or &unfit for- Mtrout. The2014 principal tributaries are Iron P age 36really • Midwest Hunting Fishing arch-April
Creek and Little Firehole River, in the Upper Geyser Basin. At the lower basin the Firehole receives the waters of Sentinel Creek, Fairy Creek, and the larger and more important Nez Perce Creek. Nez Perce Creek comes in from the east, is nearly half as large as the Firehole, and is similar in character and temperature of the water. It is fed by numerous short streams, none of them hot and most of them confined to a narrow canyon. The name Madison (River) is used only for the river below the junction of its chief tributaries, the Firehole and Gibbon Rivers. The principal tributaries of the Madison as thus defined join the river beyond the park boundary. Named in order from the south to north they are Cougar, Gneiss, and Grayling Creeks. Within the park Cougar Creek receives the waters of Maple Creek, the principal tributary of which is Duck Creek. These upper waters are inhabited by native redthroat trout. Campanula Creek joins Gneiss Creek beyond the park boundary. It also contains redthroat trout, as do the upper waters of all three of the main creeks mentioned, and in their lower courses they have whitefish and grayling besides native trout. The main Madison appears to contain a mixture of all the trout that occur in the park, as well as whitefish and grayling.
SNAKE RIVER DRAINAGE
Above its junction with Heart River the Snake pursues a northwest course, receiving numerous small tributaries, the most important a branch which heads in Mariposa Lake. Two relatively large tributaries come in from the northeastward—Crooked and Sickle Creeks. Mariposa Lake is a small body of water in the southeast corner of the park about a mile north of the park boundary. It is said to be alive with native redthroat trout and affords wonderful fishing for large trout. Heart Lake, about 3-1/2 miles long and not quite 2 miles in width, lies in a deep depression at the eastern foot of Mount Sheridan. Near the head of the lake and in the lake are numerous geysers and hot springs. Its bottom is of laval gravel, shallow near the shore but deep in the middle. It receives some small tributaries, principal of which are Witch and Beaver Creeks. Heart River, its outlet, just below the lake receives a comparatively large tributary known as Surprise Creek. Witch Creek has its rise 2 or 3 miles above the lake, in the singular collection of geysers, hot springs, and steam holes known as Factory Hill. Its water is at first scalding hot, but it gradually cools, receiving the waters of one cold tributary as large as itself. The lower course of Witch Creek winds through grassy meadows, with a bottom of fine laval gravel and sand. The creek at its mouth has a temperature of about 75° F. Native redthroat trout are numerous, occurring most commonly about the mouth of the creek. There is plenty of fish food in the lake. The temperature varies according to the nearness to hot springs and geysers. Trout are said not to ascend Witch Creek, although the other species do, the chubs ascending until the water is fairly to be called hot. MidwestHuntFish.com
eyond the mouth of Heart River the Snake bends to the southward, thence later to the westward, receiving a number of tributaries, the largest being Basin Creek, Red Creek, and Forest Creek from the north. All the tributaries flowing directly into the Snake contain native redthroat trout.
SHOSHONE LAKE AND TRIBUTARIES
This lake has a length of about 6-1/2 miles and a width of onehalf to 4-1/2 miles, being dumb-bell shaped or constricted in the middle. Its area is about 12 square miles. Its shores are mostly bold, rocky, and densely wooded, the eastern shore being especially abrupt, and the bottom is there made by large lava boulders. On the other side, somewhat different conditions exist, there being a considerable growth of aquatic vegetation. The lake is clearer and colder than either Yellowstone Lake or Heart Lake. The principal tributaries are Shoshone Creek at the northwest corner and De Lacy Creek at the northeast corner. Moose Creek from the southward enters the southern side of the eastern expansion of the lake. Shoshone Lake is connected with Lewis Lake at the southward by a stream of still water known as the “Canal,” about 3 miles long. Lewis Lake occupies a rounded basin with rather low banks. It is pear-shaped, about 3 miles long by 2 miles broad, very clear and cold, and apparently in every way suited for trout. Its bold shores are heavily wooded and without any large tributary streams. A few hot springs enter it on the western side. Below Lewis Lake Lewis River enters a deep and narrow canyon. At the head of this canyon is a cascade of about 80 feet, of which 20 feet at the top is perpendicular. Toward the end of the canyon and not far above the junction with the Snake is another cascade some 50 feet in height. Owing to the falls in Lewis River no fish were able to ascend to Lewis and Shoshone Lakes, which were therefore uninhabited by any trout until they were introduced. Loch Leven and lake trout are numerous, and eastern brook trout abound in Shoshone Creek. Mr. Clark wrote that the Shoshone and Lewis Lake region was probably the best fishing in the park:
These two lakes and their outlet, Lewis River, are full of native trout and have been stocked with Mackinaw and Loch Leven trout, which are increasing in number and size most successfully. These fish will not rise to the surface and take the fly as do the regular native trout, and it is necessary to go down into the water for them. In the lakes you can catch them by trolling if you can find the particular cove where they happen to be running. However, in spite of the uncertainty of the lake trolling, there is one place where you can troll with assurance of success, and that is the canal between Shoshone and Lewis Lakes. This is a natural body of water with little or no current and not very wide. In Lewis River just below Lewis Falls, in the deep pools where the eddies are covered with foam, you are sure to find good fishing.
In order to prevent undue destruction of fish and depletion of the park waters, certain restrictions have become necessary, and it is believed that anglers generally will be in full sympathy with the protective measures that the park authorities find it desirable to a opt from time to time. The general policy is to curtail fishing as little as may be compatible with the maintenance of the supply and to depend largely on increased fish-cultural operations to prevent the depletion of park waters.
Jay Bryce is a community manager at iFished.com (www.ifished. com/). iFished.com has fishing and local information for over 40,000 lakes and fishing areas in the United States. Information includes current weather and forecasts, best times fishing charts, maps, local businesses and more. iFished.com also has a large library of fishing videos.
Welcome to some of the finest private water fly-fishing you will ever have the chance to experience. Savery Creek Fishing allows you to enjoy exclusive access to over nine miles of prime trout habitat on both Savery Creek and the Little Snake River. Large portions of these waters have undergone extensive river restoration resulting in superior habit for trout.
PACKAGES 7 NIGHT/6 DAY: $3,600 6 NIGHT/5 DAY: $3,125 5 NIGHT/ 4DAY: $2,600 4 NIGHT/ 3 DAY: $2,025 3 NIGHT/ 2 DAY: $1,400 • Our lodge is within walking distance of Savery Creek. • Wireless internet, satellite TV, and cell service (for AT&T). • Packages include 2x1 guided fly fishing, lodging, meals, and transportation from Yampa Valley Airport (Hayden, CO) or Dixon, WY airport to the lodge.
• Rainbow trout • Colorado River Cutthroat trout • Brook trout • Tiger trout • Brown trout
We’re going to make your fly fishing trip a memorable one !
PO Box 220 | Savery, WY 82332 | 307-383-6118 | 307-380-7278 | firstname.lastname@example.org MidwestHuntFish.com
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 • Page 37
Page 38 â€˘ Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
By Robert Joe Wallace
ow fishing is a sport that is fun for the beginner or will enhance your already honed archery skills. While it is called bow fishing, it in reality is bow hunting. It is called fishing because, in most cases, a reeling device is used and a line is tied to the arrow to retrieve the fish. Some bow fishers actually attach a reel to their bow and then reel in the catch they just shot. Photo credit: Jack Ridings Night Ventures Bowfishing Charters â€˘ Flickr.com
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 â€˘ Page 39
No Catch & Release for Bow Hunting As I said above, it is called fishing, but it’s really hunting. I say this because the target is shot and leaving it seriously wounded or killed. Unlike fishing, catch and release is generally futile. If a bow hunter goes hunting for game, he would not consider pulling the arrow out and let the game go free just to suffer and die. When an archer goes hunting for fish, he should keep this in mind. There is no sportsmanship in killing for the sake of target practice.
By Dale A. Stafford I know by talking with fellow hunters there is very seldom a hunter with the same taste or hunting style. Just show up at your local coffee shop during hunting season. You’d swear the manufacturers were paying them for their marketing skills. Prime example of this is: I have a very good friend that produced two of the top-selling compound bows. One made Outdoor Life for top rated seller of the year. With that being said, he prefers to shoot a longbow. He preached in his seminars the differences between a pass through and minimal penetration of an arrow. He prefers minimal so the arrow can dig into the vitals every time the animal takes a step. The difference between us is I prefer my arrow with a large entrance and exit hole, with the arrow buried 10” into the ground on the other side. So, here being great friends we have two completely different opinions. What I can do is give you logical advice to help you choose the right crossbow. That is to get out to your nearest dealer and sling a few bolts down the range. Try all the brands and models he has to offer. Believe me; you will fall in love with them all. The dealer will point out some of the positive things that some crossbows have that will fit your needs. They will inform you on necessities you may find that will work well for you when you’re hunting. They will point out ones that seem good, but may be more of a hindrance to you. You have to ask yourself, what are you willing to spend? Some of the crossbows are very expensive while the others less expensive. Whatever you choose, I don’t think there is a bad crossbow on the market today. After you purchase the crossbow of your choice, another frequent question is asked, “What type of arrow should I use?” Crossbow arrows are normally called bolts. The bolt used for the crossbow usually depends on the model and manufacture of the crossbow. Another thing you should consider is the knock. Usually there are two styles; a flat knock which should be used with the Horton & Barnett Crossbows, while the other is a half-moon knock used with the Excalibur & Ten Point Crossbows. One other thing you should consider is the length of the bolt. They range from 16” to 22.” The bolts should be matched for the crossbow you purchase. Do not take this lightly or you could get seriously injured. With that being said, most crossbows are very smooth with fast shooting with extreme accuracy. With a little practice, you will be filling your freezer & stuffing sausages. Be sure to check your rule books as most states don’t allow hunting with crossbows unless you have some type of disability permit or are a senior over 65 years of age. For Wisconsin residents cross your fingers, crossbow hunting may be just around the corner. Happy Hunting and good luck this hunting season!
2014 Page 40 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
Consider the Purpose of Hunting A good sportsman would consider the game targeted, and what they intend to do with the killed animal. In most cases, hunting is for meat. So should be bow hunting for fish. When an archer targets a fish, the archer should consider what is planned for the targeted fish. If an archer would go online prior to going hunting for fish, the archer would find many recipes for all the fish being targeted. The most prevalent fish that bow fishers target are generally called rough fish. Rough fish are fish that most anglers don’t fish. In several states, rough fish are generally not regulated, so shooting them isn’t illegal.
Laws Regarding the Use of a Bow If you decide to go bow fishing, you should first contact your fish and game representatives. It is regulated in most states and violating sporting laws are expensive. So check out the rules first. If you plan to bow fish public waterways and public parks, carrying a bow might be illegal. While a bow is not considered a firearm, it is considered a lethal weapon and thus you must comply with local, state and federal laws. The old saying of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, really fits when caring a bow. Fines and possibly jail time will ruin your trip. So make sure you understand the regulations. As a note, you will find that rough fish are excellent to eat, when properly prepared. Enjoy your bow hunting for fish trip and try some new recipes for the fish you shoot. Enjoying your fish will be just as enjoyable as any other game you shoot. Larysa Switlyk • Flickr.com
Challenge Your Archery Skills If you’re already into archery, you need to try bow fishing. The challenge of bow fishing will make you think before you shoot or you will hit the water and let the fish laugh at you as it swims away. Who needs that? When you go bow fishing you will have to take into consideration: how fast the target is moving, the direction of the sun, the distance to the target, water refraction, size of the target, and the wind. Additionally, you must identify the exact species for which you are fishing. Shooting a fish that is not legal will result in a fine. If you think you can handle the challenge, these tips will get you started. • As with any hunting or fishing trip, you will have to check with the local fish and game authorities so you can legally fish. Fines for bow fishing are expensive so check on the rules first. • If you have an expensive target rig, I would suggest getting a less expensive bow, treading through river bottoms, bushes, or simply dropping the bow in the water is not desirable for fine-tuned target rigs. • Once you have chosen the bow to fit the occasion, you will need fishing arrows. There are many different kinds, weights and lengths, so check out the web, your local sporting goods store, or archery shop to fit your needs. • Now is the time to pick a reel. There are two basic types: loop reels and fishing reels. I prefer loop reels myself but fishing reels designed for archery work well and don’t give you as much of a challenge starting out. There are several other types but these two are the basics. • Now that you have the equipment, know where to go, what to fish for, you should familiarize yourself with water refractions and light. This can be done by going to a pond or lake and placing a straight stick in the water. Like your shadow, the length and angle will change with light direction. You know where the stick actually is so you can judge the refraction. It will take a little practice but you will get the hang of it. • Lastly, the problem of depth is the same problem you have scuba diving, objects in the water appear to be 25% closer than they are, and that includes depth if the sun is overhead. Depth will remain the same 25% deeper than it looks so take this into consideration when shooting. Now that you have the basics, go out and have fun. Missing sometimes will be as much fun as hitting if you keep the correct frame of mind and a positive attitude. As a parting thought, make sure you know the rules, where exactly you are, and what is legal to shoot. One time I traveled downstream too far and changed counties without realizing, fortunately, I didn’t break any laws, but it might have been disastrous if I ended up poaching. Good luck and happy Bowfishing!
peace1374 • Flickr.com MidwestHuntFish.com
Robert Joe Wallace is a business man, manager, supervisor, and entrepreneur. He is an avid outdoors man with over 40 years of fishing, hunting and camping experience. Additionally, he holds a rescue diver certification and loves the outdoors and nature.
Savant Lake, Northwestern Ontario, Canada
VISTA LAKE Outfitters
(807) 584-2253 • 800-665-LAKE (5253) • email@example.com www.vistalake.com
Fabulous Canadian Walleye and Northern Fishing • Trophy Moose and Black Bear Hunting • Modern Outpost Cabins • 8 Different Portage Lakes • Boat and Motor Rentals Available • Only Outfitter on a fantastic 12 mile long body of water known as Vista Lake
Your Hosts: Dennis, Evelyn & Ryan Mousseau Savant Lake, ON POV 2S0
Dakota Waters Resort
“We make it our priority to give you a great camping and fishing experience.“
Park/Campground resort on Lake Sakakawea • Water and electricity • Off-sale, kayak rentals and tackle shop • Fishing Licenses • Boat rental • Fish Cleaning Station • Slip rental • Playground • Convenience store • Live bait and gasoline sales • Restaurant with Full Bar • Full-service
5803 Beulah Bay Road, Beulah, ND. (701) 873-5800 www.facebook.com/DakotaWatersResort Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 • Page 41
Other Sunfish: • Green Sunfish • Orangespotted
Largemouth Bass • Jaw extends past eye • Dark horizontal stripe • Separated dorsal fins • Humped dorsal profile
White Crappie • Shorter dorsal fin with 6 or fewer spines • Dark vertical bars on sides
Smallmouth Bass • Jaw extends to middle of red eye • Connected dorsal fins
• 9 to 16 vertical bars • Sleek dorsal profile
Black Crappie • Longer dorsal fin with 7 or more spines • Mottled pattern of dark blotches on sides
Catfish: Rock Bass • Red Eye • 5 or more anal fin spines • bronze & dusky calico coloration
Bluegill • Small mouth • Very flexible, black “ear” • Long, pointed pectoral fins • Black spot near base of second rear dorsal fin • Vertical bars on body
Pumpkinseed • Small mouth • Very flexible “ear” with red tip • Long, pointed pectoral fins • Spotted second rear dorsal fin Page 42 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
Flathead Catfish • Rounded tail fin • Short anal fin • Light-colored patch on the upper caudal fin • Dorsal & pectoral fin spines 2/3 of fin height • Protruding lower jaw • Dark mottling on sides • Flattened “shovel-like” head
Channel Catfish • Deeply forked tail fin • Rounded anal fin • Dark spots and a black caudal fin margin • Serrations on back edge of pectoral fin spines
Black Bullhead • Rounded tail fin • Dark-colored chin barbels • Pectoral fin spines, smooth on front edge, weakly serrated on back edge • Short anal fin, black membranes between rays MidwestHuntFish.com
Northern Pike • Light markings on dark background • Rounded tail fins
Paddlefish • Long, overhanging “paddle” or “spoon” shaped snout.
Muskellunge • Dark markings on light background • Pointed tail fins
Tiger Muskellunge • Dark markings on light background • Rounded tail fins • Northern crossed with Muskellunge
Other Pike: • Grass Pickerel
Temperate Bass: White Bass • 2 separated and elongated dorsal fins, one with sharp spines instead of rays. • Pointed snout • Body is taller than wide
Other Temperate Bass: • Yellow Bass • Striped Bass • Wiper
Sturgeon: Pallid Sturgeon • Belly mostly Naked
Freshwater Drum • 2 unseparated, but distinct, elongated dorsal fins • Blunt, over-hanging snout • Back is highly arched between head & front fin
Codfish: Shovelnose Sturgeon • Belly covered by bony scale-like plates
Other Sturgeon: • Lake Sturgeon MidwestHuntFish.com
Burbot • 2 soft dorsal fins - 1 short, 1 elongated • Pelvic fins have an elongated second ray • Body shape is elongated and tubular • Appears scaleless Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 • Page 43
Rainbow Trout • White mouth • Light body with dark spots • Pink or red “Rainbow” lateral stripe
Walleye • White eye • No spots on dorsal fin • White tip on bottom of tail fin
Brown Trout • Large dark spots and red dots, with light color halos on brown body • Square tail
Brook Trout • Dark, greenish body with red spots with blue halos • Light, wormlike marks on dark upper body • White leading edge on lower fins
Lake Trout • Dark gray-green body with pale spots • Long, pointed tail • Red or orange lower fins with white edges • Large jaw teeth
Salmon: Chinook Salmon • Dark mouth • Light body with dark spots on back and top of head • Black gums Page 44 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
The walleye is native to northeastern North America from near the Arctic Circle to the Gulf of Mexico. There is some debate as to whether the walleye is native throughout South Dakota, but it is believed to be. However, the species is widely stocked to enhance sport fisheries.
Sauger • Spots on dorsal fin • Saddle like markings on body • 2 dark bands on second dorsal fin
Saugeye • Hybrid between walleye and sauger
Yellow Perch • 2 separate, enlongated dorsal fins, one with sharp spines instead of rays • Pelvic fins may be orange or red
Other Perch: • Johnny Darter • Logperch • Trout Perch
• Iowa Darter • Blackside Darter MidwestHuntFish.com
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 • Page 45
Longnose Gar • Long cylindrical body, covered with hard, bony scales • Longer, slender snout, twice as long as its head • Sharp, needle-like teeth • Dorsal fin far back • Rounded tail, no fork
• Longnose Gar can reach lengths of 4 feet or more • They are carnivorous, feeding on smaller fish—both dead and alive
Alligator Gar • Prehistoric appearance—existence dates back 150 million years • Two rows of razor-sharp teeth • Hard, thick scales as big as a 50¢ piece • Lungs & gills capable of breathing out of the water for up to two hours.
• Found as far north as Illinois • Alligator Gar can reach lengths of 8 feet or more, and weigh up to 300 lb. • They are carnivorous, feeding on prized game fish—like largemouth bass While bowfishing on April 5, 2013 Chris Kimble harvested a 35 lb., 9 oz. longnose gar at Bull Shoals. Kimble’s fish set the state record for longnose gar taken by alternative methods. The large longnose measured 65 1/2” in length with a girth of 20 3/4”. Photo: Courtesy of Missouri Department of Conservation Page 46 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
Channel Catfish • Slender, elongated body • Deeply forked tail fin • Protruding upper jaw • Light yellow with small, scattered dark spots • Rounded anal fin Blue Catfish • Deeply forked tail fin • White chin barbels • Light blue with straight anal fin
Flathead Catfish • Flattened “shovel-like” head
• A Flathead was caught in Illinois in 1995 weighing 78 lb. • The world record Channel Cat weighed 58 lb., caught in South Carolina in 1964. • The largest freshwater fish ever recorded was a Mekong Giant “Grizzly Bear” Catfish Thailand, at 9‘ & 646 lb. • A 99 lb., 4 oz. Blue Catfish was caught in the Big Sioux River, South Dakota on July 21, 2012. Blue Catfish records include: • Nebraska - 100 lb., 8 oz. • Iowa - 101 lb. • Kansas - 94 lb. Blue Catfish caught by Steve Lemmon from Elk Point, SD, July 21, 2012 at 99 lb., 4 oz.
Considered the world record, this Alligator Gar was killed by bow & arrow. Shot in Texas by John Paul Morris (R), son of Bass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris. The gar measured 8’3” & weighed 230 lbs! Sources: www.totalprosports.com, online.wsj.com MidwestHuntFish.com
Mekong giant catfish caught in northern Thailand on May 1, 2005 at 9‘ and 646 lb. Source: www.totalprosports.com Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 • Page 47
The fishing on Lake Oahe is, simply put, out of this world! The Walleye, Northern Pike, Crappie, Channel Catfish, and Smallmouth Bass fishing will amaze even the most jaded angler.
Fishing Lake Oahe By Jim Rogers Lake Oahe (oh-WAH’-hee), named for the 1874 Oahe Indian Mission, is behind Oahe Dam on the Missouri River beginning in central South Dakota and continuing north into North Dakota. The lake is huge covering over area 600 square miles and reaches a maximum depth of 205 ft. By volume alone, it is the fourth-largest reservoir in America. Lake Oahe has a length of approximately 231 mi. and has a shoreline of 2,250 mi. There are over 50 recreation areas along the 2,250 miles of the lakes shoreline. The lake enjoys over 1.5 million visitors every year. Lake Oahe begins just north of Pierre, South Dakota and extends nearly as far north as Bismarck, North Dakota. Mobridge, South Dakota is located on the eastern shore of the central portion of the lake. A map centered around Mobridge probably gives the best view of the extent of the lake. Bridges over Lake Oahe include US Route 212 west of Gettysburg, South Dakota and US Route 12 at Mobridge. The former town of Forest City is now beneath Lake Oahe, about 9 miles west of Gettysburg. Both the Cheyenne River Indian
Sam Stukel • Flickr.com
Reservation and the Standing Rock Indian Reservation cover much of the western shoreline of Lake Oahe. Two possible burial sites of Sitting Bull, a Sioux leader, are located along Lake Oahe. One is near Fort Yates, North Dakota, while the other is near Mobridge. The fishing on Lake Oahe is, simply put, out of this world! The Walleye, Northern Pike, Crappie, Channel Catfish, and Smallmouth Bass fishing will amaze even the most jaded angler. Walleye seems to be the most popular and the main target of most anglers. The new limit of 8 walleye per day along with an increase to a 3 day possession will allow you to pack your freezer with fillets! But wait! There’s more! Chinook Salmon! Native to the Pacific Northwest, are artificially maintained in the lake and are becoming very popular catch. Chinook salmon are becoming very popular on the lake
The lake also supports populations of the endangered pallid sturgeon
Page 48 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
The most anglers target walleye on the lake
The All Inclusive Fishing g Resort LAKE OAHE • GLENHAM, SD No camper or RV? No Problem there’s a 12 unit motel and a rental cabin!
New Evarts Resort Your All-Inclusive Fishing Destination on Lake Oahe If you’re planning to take a trip to Lake Oahe we recommend staying at New Evarts Resort. They know how to experience the beauty of Lake Oahe, a reservoir of magnificent proportions, at its best. New Evarts Resort’s location on Lake Oahe offers exceptional fishing for walleye, northern pike, catfish, smallmouth bass, crappie, and many other species. They have everything you need right here on their property including a bait shop with tackle, boat supplies, snacks, off sale beer, and other needs and wants. They also have a newly remodeled 12 unit motel and even a rental cabin. They also just remodeled their steakhouse and lounge as well. It features some delicious signature steaks along with a full bar and extensive wine list. Feel like fish for Dinner? Bring in your catch of the day and their chef will prepare it for you any way you want it! Located 13 miles southeast of Mobridge, SD, along State Hwy 1804, the Resort is easy to find. It’s also just two miles from the Walth bay boat ramp and new GFP cleaning station. Are you ready for a world class fishing experience? Well, look no further! Not only do they have stellar fishing. They have some of top fishing guides in the business, including world famous walleye tournament fishing pro Dan Stier!! We found that their guides have unmatched knowledge of the Lake Oahe fishery in the area and will provide you with the trip of a lifetime! Many of their guides have residences at New Evarts and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why. When some of the top walleye pros in the industry are calling New Evarts home, it’s not because they are looking for the challenge of slow fishing, it’s because they have some of the best walleye fishing on the planet!! Their guides fish from top of the line fishing boats with all of the latest electronics and equipment to help ensure a safe and productive experience. What we liked most is that safety and fun were the two main focuses of all their guided trips. A livewell packed with meat is just an added bonus!!! New Evarts Resort, Contact: Gabe Outrim, 13467 Hwy 1804, Glenham, SD 57361, 605-762-3256
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Guided fishing packages available Come visit our new w website: eb bsit ite: www www.newevartsresort.com newevartsresort t t co Phone: 605-762-3256 | 13467 Hwy 1804 • Glenham, SD 57361
Fishermen! Enjoy super ice fishing on Lake Oahe, one of America,s greatest fishing destinations! For lodging, hunting and fishing information:
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New Evarts has everything you need with 61 camping lots with full hookups, a 78 lot Mobile Home Community with annual lot rent of only $800/year. 100 storage units and a full service bait shop!
(605) 845-2387 • (888) 614-3474 (FISH) www.MOBRIDGE.ORG MidwestHuntFish.com
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 • Page 49
By Tim Forge
statemaryland • Flickr.com
og training isn’t for everyone. It requires mounds of patience and consistency, kind of like child raising but better because they aren’t asking you for money all of the time, and you can always chuck them out into the back yard when they get too annoying or are roughhousing beyond control.
It was early in the morning, still dark, my four dogs were lying about in various places in the room, I was already used to the random sounds they make during the night, Dually, the Catahoula, whining slightly in her sleep, Dakota, the Golden Retriever, having his loud dreaming which often sounded like hyenas on a dead carcass, and Whalen, one of the puppies, hiccupping like a drunken sailor somewhere out there. Occasionally, during the night, he would decide he wanted to climb up on the bed. His tub of lard body would get halfway on the bed and then he would just stop like he was stuck or maybe contemplating something deep, deciding what he was going to do next. Grisly, the other pup, was usually quiet on the end of the bed. At six months old, the puppies had finally become trustworthy enough to get through the night without incident. Only now, Grisly would start licking my face to let me know she needed to go out, which was OK if I was not sleeping soundly because I wake right up, but if I was in a deep sleep... Oh my god, dog lips. I would get up, crack the door to the side room and let her slip out through the doggy door I had installed a month before. Dog training isn’t for everyone. It requires mounds of patience and consistency, kind of like child raising but better because they aren’t asking you for money all of the time, and you can always chuck them out into the back yard Page 50 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
when they get too annoying or are roughhousing beyond control. They’re more like alien kids who don’t speak your language, and pee a lot more. But the universal translator is anything edible. It’s like magic. “Load up into the boat if you want a bone.” I would say to Whalen and Grisly, the two puppies, when they were twelve weeks old. They could stay in my room as long as they remained in the small swamp raft moored at the side of my bed. I use the raft for hauling duck decoys out into the marsh. It was the perfect size to keep the two where I could watch them for any signs of going to the bathroom. A couple of old pillows and some chew bones and they would be content, for awhile, and then Grisly would start trying to sneak out. Training time had already begun a few weeks earlier for a couple minutes a day, mostly throwing the training dummies around, walking them on their leashes and basic obedience commands. “Sit, stay, come, sit, stay, come, sit, stay, come, sit, stay, come, sit, stay, come. No, I mean it, damn it. Come here right now! Come here! God damn it! COME HERE RIGHT NOW!! Oh my god… There’s nothing more infuriating and humiliating than a dog that will not come back when you call it, especially when you’re out in the field. MidwestHuntFish.com
it, stay, come, sit, stay, come, sit, stay, come, sit, stay, come, sit, stay, come...
NOW BOOKING SPRING SNOW GOOSE! MARCH 1st - APRIL 15th
There’s nothing more infuriating and humiliating than a dog that will not come back when you call it, especially when you’re out in the field. I had started out in the house, well before any public appearances, making them sit at one end and calling them from the other, giving three quick blasts on my ACME Double Dog Whistle when they were already running over towards the bag of crackers I had in my hand. Out in the field I usually carry a zip lock half full of ham pieces, potato chips, bread, whatever scraps I come across in my kitchen, just for the occasion and reward them often. However, you do have to teach them to sit first. No, I mean “Sit” and not move without having to add the word “Stay”. Why waste your breath on two commands when one will do nicely. Grisly was quick to pick this up and she will sit quickly when I tell her. Whalen, on the other hand is rather slow on the sit, too much contemplation on his part and not enough action. But I only tell him once before I push his butt down. On an impulse, I took them over to the buffer preserve where there was a large mowed field next to a horse corral for visitors, and made the mistake of letting them all loose at once. First of all, driving around town with four dogs in the cab of a pickup truck is not indicative in anyway that I’m any kind of a dog whisperer, if I was I would have Dakota or Dually do the driving. Not the pups, they are way too young. And come to think of it not Dually either, she barks at every dog she sees and that would be distracted driving. Dakota, Dually and the two pups dashed crazily through the shallow water of the partially flooded field. I should have instituted some control and not let them all barrel out of the truck at once. Its ok when I’m alone but if there were other people or a street nearby it could be alarming and dangerous to have four spastic canines fly out of an open truck door. Dually had begun to go into heat just before I had her spayed and she apparently was still giving off the scent because Dakota was still acting bonkers. Want to understand the male of the human species? Watch a male dog around a female dog in heat. That’s all that needs to be said about that. I regret not being more diligent in my training of Dakota. We acquired him during my lazy dog training years and there are obvious gaps in his knowledge. He waited until I threw the dummy far out into the water before he decided to wander off to look for Dually. And of course the pups didn’t see where it landed. They were too busy fighting each other over the raggedy duck dummy. ”I should have forced trained that dog to fetch”, I muttered to myself, feeling the water soak through my old boots as I sloshed out to get it. MidwestHuntFish.com
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By Ken Devonald We are beginning this series with a list of do’s and don’ts, with explanations for the reasons. Although some may seem common sense, you will not believe the number of people who make these mistakes and who end up with a dog that is confused.
1. Get a Working Dog: Do buy a dog from working stock. Breeding is important. It controls not just the looks of the animal, but also the capabilities - the sense of smell, the intelligence and disposition. Although we can mold behavior in the animal, you will find it much easier to direct something that comes naturally, rather than instill into them from scratch. It used to be the practice, when dogs were seen more as livestock than pets or companions. A good practice used to save yourself from a dog with vices.
2. Dress Appropriately: Dress for dog training. By this I don’t mean that you should always train in your shooting gear, but remember if you spend eighteen months training your dog to respond to hand-signals in casual clothes in a bare field, he will probably wonder where the hell you are when you are dressed in your real-tree head to toe against a matching background. If you find yourself in a bright place, think before you wear sunglasses. My wife, Terry, was working our English Springer in an obedience competition attended by the local press. The bitch (by which you all know I mean Bonnie) would not approach her on the recall. When the line-up photo appeared in the local paper, the thing that jumped out of the page at you was Terry’s sunglasses! Bonnie was obviously stressed by being asked to come to her wearing these, so if your animal starts circling you rather than her usual straight in approach, do whip your glasses off. 3. You’re Not the Dog: Don’t think that your dog thinks in the same way as yourself because they don’t! They see the world in muted colors - to a dog’s eyes the orange retrieving dummies actually end up a very similar color to grass, which is why they sometimes make a hash of finding them. They are also much more aware of scent and sound, and when you think how we think in pictures and words, our main senses for the world being vision and sound, I wonder if dogs think in scent and sounds?
4. Say it Once: The aim is to teach a dog to respond to a single command, not the second, third or fourth. For this reason, always teach a dog new a command in a way that you can control the situation and ensure that he obeys. As an example, when you are teaching the dog to present a retrieve in a classic manner, that is, sat square in front of you with head lifted, use a corridor joining onto the dog’s sleeping quarters (in our case, the kitchen). With my back to the kitchen and the dog sat at my side, I will throw a short retrieve. Once the dog fetches the dummy, his first instinct is not to run over and give it to me, but to run back to the bed and chew it. By setting myself in a narrow corridor I am in a good position to intercept him, encourage him to sit in front of me. Getting him to present nicely? A previous lesson involves getting him to come to you in the same corridor, and using a small treat to raise his head... Page age 52 • Midwest idwest Hunting unting & Fishing ishing - March arch-April pril 2014
I finally called Dually and she came running over, along with Dakota and Whalen. Grizzly was busy munching on a horse turd. I had to walk over and grab her leash. I tied all of their leashes to a rope lashed to the bumper of the truck, and took them off one by one to give them their lesson. Teaching them to retrieve on a straight line was first on the agenda, voila the natural approach. They went after the dummy for the most part, Whalen would lose his concentration after a few tosses, change direction and get distracted by a butterfly on a nearby wild flower. Grisly, on the other hand, was a lot more enthusiastic. She would sprint out for the retrieve but of course run off with it without bringing it back. I eventually tied a long piece of thin line on to her collar and pulled her back after she grabbed the dummy. This was getting nowhere. I would have to go back to the basics with one on one training and teach the force fetch. Force fetch. It conjures up images of sad dogs being taught something they don’t want to learn, It’s more like reluctant dogs that would really rather be doing something more constructive like begging for food or sniffing butts instead of holding a stupid stick. But once they learn to like it they are much more enthusiastic.
halen would lose his concentration after a few tosses, change direction and get distracted by a butterfly. Grisly would sprint out for the retrieve, but run off with it without bringing it back. I started off with a one inch piece of wooden dowel I cut about a foot long. You simply press the outside of their lips towards their teeth and they’ll open their mouth enough to pop the stick in and then you say “hold” and gently keep it there for a few seconds before saying “drop it, or give it up or give me the god damn stick” or whatever you want to use as your command. Nothing to it. Now do that about a thousand times getting them to hold the stick without spitting it out. That was only dog 1. Dog 2 decided she didn’t want the stick no matter how many times I tried it, yet when I threw the training dummy she would go get it, usually. And there’s the rub. Ideally, I’d like my dogs to make the retrieve when I say so, not when they feel like it. “You know, I think I’m going to pass on that dead duck floating out there, today. Go get it yourself, the water’s cold. Oh, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, you didn’t bring the boat?” Getting my dogs to hold the stick without spitting it out took about two weeks of almost daily training for five minutes at a time. Then I would break out the raggedy duck dummy which I knew they loved and throw it out there, making them stay until I sent them for it. I started this habit as soon as I could. Right before the throw, I would say “mark” which means, “Look, fatty, something is about to happen.” And then toss it out. Once they had become proficient at holding the stick they were ready for the next step; to open their mouth to accept the stick. Place your right earlobe in between your thumbnail and forefinger and gently squeeze until you feel some discomfort, not pain. This is basically what you are going to be doing to your dog’s ear as you press the stick up to your dog’s mouth. As soon as he opens, release the pressure and tell him what a good dog he is. I don’t like to do this for more than a few minutes at a time, and then I finish up with throwing the raggedy duck which they always like. MidwestHuntFish.com
Grisly was the most reluctant at first then after couple of weeks it seemed to click and she begin to open her mouth when I said fetch and even go after the stick when I held it up. Whalen was slowly beginning to get it but I would still have to make a slight pinch for him to open his mouth, and he wasn’t about to start reaching out for it yet. Early Teal season produced a few ducks. I didn’t take any of the dogs because I think the gators are still too active in Florida in September and I’m paranoid enough as it is. I proudly came home to show the two pups the ducks I shot. Grisly seemed intrigued at first. Whalen took a sniff and backed away. “That’s a turd right?” he seemed to query with a dead pan look, followed by a hiccup. “No, it’s a wonderful duck. See? Wouldn’t you just like to go fetch it?” “It’s a feathery turd don’t try and trick me, I wasn’t born yesterday. Give me some of that ham instead. Yeah, ham, we want ham! We want ham!” I wasn’t ready to press the issue so I backed off and saved the wings in the freezer for another time. Instead, I brought out some chicken leftovers and gave out samples as I squeezed off rounds on my 38 special cap gun. This time Grisly backed away until I coaxed her back with another piece of chicken. She wasn’t exactly crazy about this new sound. Whalen wasn’t fazed in the least, he had chicken on his mind and he was even willing to sit to get a piece of it. © 2012 forge For more hunting stories checkout http:// www.duckquester.com
5. Punishment: Always assume that if a dog does not obey, he is not being contrary, he just isn’t aware of what is wanted. Only when a dog has been obeying a command for several weeks, and suddenly decides not to, are you right to even consider punishment. This should be used as a last resort, with both yours and the dog’s personalities taken into account. Remember this is a relationship you are working on, and the best relationship involves trust and commitment on both sides. Never punish a dog when he returns to you, especially if you call him. Suppose you let him out in your garden, when next door’s pet rabbit has just pulled itself through the hedge. Your dog decides to play foxes and rabbits, and accidentally kills the bunny. You scream at him, he starts to run in fear, then you call him and he comes. If you punish him now, he will forever think he is in trouble when you recall him or when he smells a rabbit. Look at it from his point of view.
6. Temptation: When you start training, make sure that temptation never abounds in the area. If you are doing retrieving outside for the first time, don’t go where the dog is likely to fall over a rabbit and set off in hot pursuit. If game is around, walk the ground first to chase it off, then the dog can enjoy hunting the ground with a lower risk of giving you a coronary. That is not to say a little temptation is a bad thing but build up to it. You should eventually be able to stop your dog in full flow with a peep on your whistle. 7. Say it Quietly: Before my dog lost his hearing (and he is deaf; he doesn’t hear the rattle of a crisp packet now) I had a party trick. German Short-haired Pointers don’t really like sitting in a field. At four hundred yards, I would give a little peep and he would stop and look at me. If it had been thirty yards he would have sat, (he knew the range at which I considered a sit compulsory and worth the walk to enforce it!). Since he was nearly a quarter of a mile away, and knowing I would only walk it occasionally to discuss his manners with him, at that range he would stop, but just look at me. Without any visual signals, I would hiss ‘sssttt!’ very quietly, and he would instantly sit, to non-doggy people’s amazement. The point of what I am trying to get across here, is that a dog doesn’t need to be shouted at, blasted with a whistle, unless it is a dire emergency, so don’t do it - you will see much more game. Look for Lesson 1: The Sit Command in the next issue of Midwest Hunting & Fishing Guide Magazine! Happy Hunting! Ken is a computer consultant with a keen interest in dogtraining, especially training gundogs. He is also a keen (but lapsed) shooter and fisherman. Since he has recently taken employment after being a freelance for eighteen years, he finds he has some time on his hands, and has decided to create a website about his favorite subject, gundog training. Despite being told time after time that computer people make the worst possible trainers, he doesn’t really agree, believing anyone who likes spending time with a doting dog can train to any level they like. He intends this site to become a valuable resource for all gundog trainers whatever their history and standard, from brand new novice to the know-it, done-it expert from a professional background. You can visit his gundog training site at www.gundog-training.com.
Midwest idwest Hunting unting & Fishing ishing - March arch-April pril 2014 • Page age 53
By Paul N. Jensen Teeth: Many owners do not understand the value of caring for their dog’s teeth. As a dog gets older the propensity for dental problems increase. The best way to ensure proper dental condition for your dog is to start while he is a pup. Most dogs do not like their mouths touched. It is important for you, as an owner, to get the pup used to being handled at a very young age. At most veterinarian visits the mouth needs to be inspected. You want to make it easy for the vet to perform their examination. The best way for you to get your dog used to having his mouth touched is to begin touching it when you first get your pup. Make sure to handle the jaws, open the mouth, and touch the teeth in a relaxing way for a few minutes every so often until your pup is used to being handled in this way. Also, at the conformation evaluation at NAVHDA tests, the judges will need to see the teeth of your dog and their job will be much easier if you have conditioned your pup to have its mouth examined. Most vets recommend brushing a dog’s teeth weekly. Special toothpaste and brushes for your dog can be purchased at pet stores. Toothpaste for dogs is most often quite tasty to them, so they shouldn’t mind the brushing. You can then try a finger brush, accessible at your vet’s office or pet supply store. Regular brushing will help prevent the buildup of calculus and debris on your dog’s teeth. Giving your dog marrowbones or rawhides to chew on will assist in preventing buildup on your dog’s teeth. Even with proper preventive care, most dogs will eventually need a dental cleanse from your vet. Some owners use a dental tool and scrape the scale off the dog’s teeth. Don’t let your dog’s teeth get so covered that he will need a dental cleaning because your dog will need to be sedated. It is a light anesthesia and using the latest technology it is extremely safe.
this outdoors because after you release the dog he will shake his head violently and the oil will spread all over. For more serious conditions, you should see your veterinarian who may prescribe Panalog or a Panalog Hexamite combination. Panalog has oil that breaks up the hard earwax, an antibiotic to combat bacteria, a fungicide to stop yeast growth and a steroid to decrease the itch and inflammation. Hexamite kills ear mites. To prevent recurrence, a treatment should always be carried out over several consecutive days even after it looks like the ears have been cleaned up. Most treatments are prescribed for about 10 days. Neglecting an ear infection will result in a chronic scarring and narrowing of the ear canal which will result in decreased ventilation, increased wax, moisture, yeast, etc. - a vicious cycle. Paul Jensen has been involved in raising, training, showing, judging, and breeding bird dogs for more than 30 years. He hunts both birds as well as white tail deer in New England. Mr. Jensen’s passion for cooking has resulted in him writing a Kindle book titled “Got Game? Cook It!” It’s a fantastic illustrated wild game cookbook that is available on Amazon.
Get Your Do og In Top Huntin ng Shape
Ears: A dog’s ears require regular care. If Buster is scratching his ears against the carpet it is time to take a good look at what is going on. All dogs have bacteria and yeast growing naturally in their ears. The irritation starts when there is an abnormal build-up of earwax or yeast because of an increase in humidity or a lack of ventilation. As with most things, prevention is always the better solution than cure. Inspect your dog’s ears regularly. Look at the ears and smell them. If there are brown deposits (earwax) or the ears smell bad, it’s time to get the ears cleaned. There are several home remedies that you can use for minor irritations. Try pouring vinegar into the ear canal and then rub or massage the ear. Vinegar lowers the PH of the ear, breaks up the wax and kills the yeast. A yeast infection is usually the most serious of the conditions found in dogs. Some owners use hydrogen peroxide that will also break up the wax and allow for the removal of the wax using cotton swaps. We have also tried light mineral oil. It seems to have a soothing effect especially when you massage the ear after you have filled the ear canal. It is best that you do Page 54 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 • Page 55
By Harold Sterling
Page 56 â€˘ Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
lack bear hunting has been in practice since Norse tribes killed them with nothing more than a knife as a rite of passage for a young man. Bears were hunted for a variety of reasons, but most pertain to clothing and food. Pelts were much sought after items from bears. A bearâ€™s fur consists of two different layers, the under fur and the outer guard hairs. The under fur is soft and is primarily used for insulation needs. The outer guard hairs are just as they sound. They are long, thick, and coarse hairs that mainly serve to protect the body from insects and dirt as well as repel water.
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 â€˘ Page 57
By Dale A Stafford First time bear hunters usually make it baiting only one or two times a week. From my experience that is a huge mistake. Most first time bear hunters fill their bait station with bait and come back the following weekend to see that its been hit, which is good although if it has, you do not know exactly when. Maybe that’s the only time you have, but it’s not highly recommended unless you want to go home without your tag filled. Good active stations need to be baited four to five times a week. Yes, that seems like a lot. With 30 plus years of baiting and hunting bears, I found this is the way to kill a big one. A lot of work I know. Those of you who can’t find the time to do this, I recommend finding a good guide or hunt the cornfields. Bear bait that worked very well for me in the past included; cereal, pastries, taco shells, bread and grease, sugar cones, gummy bears, dates, popcorn - anything sweet will work. Bears have a sweet tooth, so mix it up at the stations and it will help them stay interested. Sometimes bear bait is hard to find if you don’t have a supplier near you. Contact your local bakery and maybe they can help you out. Be sure to check with your DNR for baiting regulations. The first time you put your bait station out it might take a few days for the bears to find it, although it shouldn’t take more than 2-3 days. Any more than that, move it. Keep the bait stations portable; small hollow log with a lid. It’s ideal to set out 3-4 baits to see which one will be the best. For best results, use an attractant when bait station is new. Liquid smoke is an excellent attractant along with anise oil. Once these baits start getting hit on a regular basis, it’s time to dig your hollow log into the ground. Place sand around the area of the log to check for tracks. Set out trail cameras to see what time they’re actually coming in and of course how big the bruin is. Remember - set some type of height marker so that you can judge the size of the bear more accurately. Be careful not to get any of the bait smell on the camera or the bears will destroy your camera. Stand placement should be at a distance where you feel comfortable to shoot. Whether you use a bow, rifle or muzzle loader, I found 15-35 yards to be acceptable distances. You can choose any type of stand; ladder, ground blind or climber - whatever your preference is. I recommend the most comfortable stand you have as you might be there awhile. Remember, the majority of bear season gets rather warm so dress accordingly. For all that fancy camouflage, it doesn’t matter because bears can’t see very well. They rely more on their sense of smell. Be respectful, hunt safe & enjoy the great outdoors! About Dale A Stafford - I live in Northern Wisconsin. I grew up hunting. Every bit of my free time is spent hunting or fishing. I bow hunt, gun hunt, duck hunt, coon hunt, coyote hunt, bobcat hunt. I also, have bear dogs and I enjoy each and every one of them. They have taken me on journeys that will never be forgotten. If I’ve left anything out forgive me. I probably hunt that too. I basically have a simple life I hunt, I fish, I go to work. 2014 Page 58 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
Most hunters today don’t care much for wearing bear pelts, but they certainly like the meat. During the Middle Ages, eating bear meat was more of a symbolic ritual than a culinary delight. The paws and thighs were considered to be the best parts. The Inuit tribe’s primary food source is still polar bear meat. Contrary to what movies may show, polar bear meat is always boiled or baked, never eaten raw. All bear meats have a mixed review, as would be expected. The meat is greasy, has a coarse texture and has a sweetness to it that requires a certain palate to appreciate. Always remember, if you plan on eating any kind of bear meat, be sure to thoroughly cook it as it can contain parasites known as trichinella which can be dangerous to humans. The fat of bears has a long history of uses. The Native Americans and early American settlers both used it as cooking oil. The fat can also be used as lamp oil as it only takes about 40-50 grams of it to last about an hour. Some Native American tribes used bear fat as a source of medicine. Covering oneself in the substance is a means of preventing colds. Another component of bears that has been highly sought after, especially in recent times is the bear’s gall bladder. According to traditional Chinese medicine, Urso-deoxycholic acid [UDCA] taken from bear gall bladder, fresh bile liquid, or in dried crystal form, may work for rheumatism, poor eyesight and gall stones. They also claim this effective bile is produced by all bear species except that of the Great Panda. Bear hunting of all types is rich in history and lore. Perhaps that is why so many are compelled to go on a bear hunt - it is a way of connecting with past hunters, probably even your ancestors. Harold Sterling is a hunting enthusiast with many years of experience. He enjoys hunting in Canada primarily because of the beautiful scenery and the abundance of wild game. Though he loves to hunt, he has a lazy personality and also gets fairly upset when things don’t go his way. To ensure he gets his trophy each and every time he heads out on a hunt, he looks to professional outfitters to provide him with the best experience possible.
Bear Hunting WIth Dogs (vintage) - Boston Public Library (Flickr) MidwestHuntFish.com
By Dale A Stafford Your typical bear hunting day starts between 3:00 and 4:00 am, maybe a little earlier depending on how gung-ho you are. Too tired, your first move is to a coffee pot. Soon after aroma of coffee fills the room you soon forget how early it is. As you get your first cup of coffee poured, your best hunting buddy comes pulling down drive way and your yard literally explodes with barking hounds anticipating hunting. Hounds are barking so loud it’s almost unbearable so much that you almost start to panic. You have to shut them up before they wake neighborhood. Scrambling to put your remaining clothes on, grabbing tracking collars and leashes outside you go. You usually end up making a couple more trips back into house to grab your handheld, leashes or whatever else you forgot. Now that you’re fully awake, you load you’re gear in truck, you look over at your partner who’s standing on other side of truck staring at you with a confused look on his face, with both doors wide open. You’re thinking to yourself, let’s go! I have to get these dogs loaded before neighborhood is waken. Now you have to make a quick decision to either wait for your buddy who’s dragging his feet or grab a leash and head to the loudest dog. Usually you go for the dog, as you leash the dog stumbling back to the truck you have to figure out if you’re leading the dog or if the dog is leading you. Finally, when you’ve loaded the last dog in dog box there’s silence. After all that, it’s time to head to your favorite dirt road or bait to check for bear tracks. Turn the key and bam one dog decides he’s going to get on your last nerve and bark on the way there. Head hanging out the window with a small
t’s time to head to your favorite dirt road or bait to check for bear tracks. Turn the key—and BAM one dog decides he’s going bark on the way there. Head hanging out the window with a small headlamp shining on the side of the road, dogs barking in your ear and there it is—the biggest track you have ever seen! This is why you hunt. The feeling that runs through your body is unexplainable. Trying to calm down is almost impossible.
headlamp shining on the side of the road, dogs barking in your ear and there it is the biggest track you have ever seen! This is why you hunt. The feeling that runs through your body is unexplainable. It’s a lot like when you arrive at your stand after a week of nothing and there is a rub on a tree the size of your leg. Trying to calm down is almost impossible. You reach for the radio to relay the message to the rest of the hunters almost yelling, having to repeat yourself at least three times before anybody understands what you’re trying to say. If you’re new at this riding with the hound man you might not understand a word of it but, don’t worry you’ll catch on eventually. Then the waiting game starts, seems like an eternity after the first call before anyone arrives. Eventually one by one they begin to arrive to evaluate the monster track. The hunters get out of their vehicles all calm and collective and walk up to the track to evaluate making sure for themselves that it’s as big as they heard. It’s kind of funny to watch as they walk up to the track kneel down, stand up, circle it a couple times nod their head. However, that’s not enough they have to walk to other side of road trying to find remnants of the track that everyone had driven over or stomped out. I never did understand this, like the track was going to get smaller on the other side. Then finally you get the approval from one of the hunters in a soft but serious voice they say, “That’s a dandy, we should get after it before it gets too late.” You’re thinking to yourself, yeah I’ve been sitting here for an hour. Then there’s always that one guy, you can’t start without. So, you radio to him asking where he’s at. Not in those exact words though, knowing very well he heard the conversation on the radio an hour or so ago. He replies back, “I have one more bait to check, go ahead and start without me.” A hound hunter’s favorite line I might add. Now it’s time to get the best cold trailing hounds of the group out of the dog box. You’ll have to stay tuned for the rest of the article to see what happens next. Did I hear someone say Hound Hunting is easy? Remember be respectful, hunt safe & enjoy the great outdoors! About Dale A Stafford - I live in Northern Wisconsin. I grew up hunting. Every bit of my free time is spent hunting or fishing. I bow hunt, gun hunt, duck hunt, coon hunt, coyote hunt, bobcat hunt. I also, have bear dogs and I enjoy each and every one of them. They have taken me on journeys that will never be forgotten. If I’ve left anything out forgive me. I probably hunt that too. I basically have a simple life I hunt, I fish, I go to work To see our top brand Crossbows and Crossbow Packages we have to offer visit our website at http://www. buycrossbowsonline.com/home.html. Watch for the next part of Black Bear Hunting with Hounds. I hope this information was helpful to you and watch for other upcoming articles that may help your success at our website. www.buycrossbowsonline. com. Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 • Page 59
Looking Back to Today....
By Ed Hammond
unting with my Grandfather almost 60 years ago still brings fond memories to me when I reflect back into those simpler times.
Hunting with my Grandfather almost 60 years ago still brings fond memories to me when I reflect back into those simpler times. My Grand Parents lived in Riverside New Jersey in a time far removed from today. Those days are gone forever but they live in my mind so clear as if it was yesterday. We would start the Hunt from the back door of their home. Walking out to the kennels with all the Beagles yelping and getting ready for the upcoming day as if nothing in the world mattered except that moment in time and what we would be doing in seconds. Once the kennels where open all hell would break loose. ”Who let the dogs out who who”. And away they went like they were on fire. For the next few hours a 5 year old child and his Grand Pop would chase Beagles through the Blackberry fields of New Jersey. Every time I went hunting with my Pop I came home bleeding from the blackberries. I don’t ever remember it bothering me at all. The Hunt with family was everything to me even at a young age. I will forever miss those times spent with George Kaluhiokalani, My Grand Father. The first time I handled a gun, I was 12 years old and the gun was a Double barrel 16 Ga. J.C. Higgins for a boy of my age to Hunt with such a wonderful shotgun words can’t describe the feelings of joy. From that day on I was hooked on Hunting and Guns. I started reading everything I could get my hands on, my go to book was the Shooter’s Bible. I always had to cruise the bullet section to find out what was the latest new and super hot round. The one round that always impressed me the most was the mighty .375 Holland & Holland the perfect all around cartridge for Africa and many parts of the world. How many boys had to have that book on their shelf next to a copy of the Boy Scout manual? As I grew into a young man the Authors I read were Jack O’Connor and Elmer Keith. The difference between the two men was like night and day. I learned so much from both men from heavy calibers to high velocity. The one thing both agreed on was shot placement and that is the absolute bottom line in all shooting. Almost 60 years later I find myself thinking about my Grand Father more and more often. As we get older I guess we all look back to remember how we got where we are. I can’t attribute my love for Shooting Sports or Reloading to one person or event. I do remember the people, like my Grand Father who took the time to pass on his love for the wilderness, shooting, and taught me what being a hunter meant to him. I still remember reading all those books and magazines, trying to absorb all the knowledge I could, like a sponge. And those key events in my life like getting my first shotgun, the excitement of going on my first hunt or my first kill. What I remember most though is standing there, oh so many times, in utter awe of nature. Over the years I found myself in love with the technical side of shooting. Control, Knowledge, Experience, Precision, And PRACTICE have become a huge part of what I do. If asked what is the most important part of shooting well. I always say practice, practice, PRACTICE. Whether shooting or reloading these factors come into play. Page 60 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
Today I find myself in our laundry room, again. I’m not washing clothes. No, I’m practicing with my rifles and pistols dry firing them at a target I have set up 42 yards from the house. It’s a routine I try to do every day if I’m able. Any day is a great day for practice inside with an unloaded Firearm. (Be safe, use your head here, ‘nuff said) The object is technique, breath control and timing. The more you handle and work with a gun the secrets of that particular weapon will become known to you. Each gun has a very unique feel, the way it mounts, the way it holds and how the trigger breaks. If you shoot more than one gun each gun has its own feel. If you’re going to hunt, I feel you owe your target at least the honor to do it properly. In the off season practicing becomes even more important. Keeping your skills sharp takes time and repetition. I belong to local Hunt club called Klondike Sportsmen Club Inc. That is where I go to practice my shooting. Every May and September we have informal Matches that require rim fire pistols and rifles and center fire pistols for 50 ft targets and center fire rifles iron sights and scoped for 100 yard 8 in black bulls. At this time I’m using a Ruger single six SS a Ruger 10/22 with globe front sight and Williams peep rear. Also a Winchester Model 69—this one holds a special place in my heart I have no idea why, maybe because it was made in 1935 or maybe the sound of the firing pin falling brings back an early time I don’t know? For the center fire pistol I have a SS S&W 4 inch 686 Plus or a SS S&W 4 inch 629. My center Rifles for these matches comprise of a M48 action and a 7MM barrel made in 1922 Obendorf Germany with a Simmons 6.5X20X50 MM. This rifle combo would make an outstanding Long range midsize game rifle besides a great target outfit. My second rifle with open sights is a Carbine FN 98 action with a Timney Trigger the same style as with the Obendorf, it has an old type Redfield rear peep. This rifle was intended to become a scout rifle it had a long relief scope mounted with an A-square base. The perfect Jeff Cooper rig. Well that’s enough about me today. In future publications of the Midwest Hunting & Fishing magazine I will talk about great cartridges and how and why they are so great and who made them great like the 7MM Mauser and the 50 BMG and how to load these Rounds from low recoil low Velocity to Heavy Recoil high Velocity. Till then there is no such thing as it’s not loaded. Prove it to yourself every time you pick up a firearm. From the Loading Bench Ed Hammond www.nyatiinc.com
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 • Page 61
Take your own children hunting There is nothing more rewarding than taking your children with you on their first hunting experience. For me and my oldest son, it was a mule deer hunt in Eastern Oregon. Thirty minutes in to the hunt, a bull elk with a small harem burst in to the meadow we were set up in. Although my son didn’t harvest a deer, the thrill of seeing that bull, breath steaming in the cool of the morning air, is a memory we both cherish.
Take a child not related to you My kids are now 22, 20 and 17 and well on their way to becoming proficient deer and elk hunters in their own right. It is now time to look for other kids to introduce to the great outdoors and hunting. This can be more difficult than with your own children, but we all know kids in our community who could benefit from our experience and knowledge of hunting. There are many life lessons to be learned during a week in the company of the “elders”.
Mentor a child Most states have a minimum hunting age of 12 years old. However, many states have implemented a mentor program, whereby an experienced hunter can take a younger child on a hunt prior to legal shooting age. The mentor acts as a 1x1 hunting guide, teaching the youth the ways of the woods. The mentor does not hunt, but rather ensures the young hunter is both safe and successful.
or many of us, our annual deer hunting trip or elk camp is a time for us to get away with the guys and share stories of hunting glories, both past and present. We selfishly guard admittance to our camp, and reluctantly grant membership to anyone new. But then things change. Those toddlers we used to leave behind with the “womenfolk” have gotten bigger and asked to join the group. It is at times like these that we realize it is up to each of us to pass on the heritage of this great sport of hunting. Here are some ideas how!
Introduce a young adult to hunting Many times our focus is on our youth, which is appropriate. But we also need to recognize those young adults who never had the opportunity to hunt while growing up. I am a prime example, as my first hunting experience came when I was 32 years old. I plan on passing this gift along, when I take my youngest son’s college roommates on their first hunt later this year. Remember, without a new crop of hunters, this sport that we cherish is destined to become a thing of the past. Attacks from anti-hunting groups, environmental groups, and anti-fur groups continue to increase. Without a new generation of dedicated outdoorsmen and women, hunting will eventually go the way of the dodo. Next time you are planning a hunting trip, take a kid. Pass on the heritage. Remember, time in the field is a gift, savor it. Until next time, Happy Hunting. Bob Russell - Bob came to hunting late in life, but has become an avid outdoorsman. Father to two sons, Bob is passing on the traditions of hunting to the next generation. Find out how he can help you find your next great hunting adventure at http://www.thehuntingbroker.com
Page 62 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
By Bob D. Russell
Family Hunt • MyFWCmedia • flickr.com
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 • Page 63
SLATGRATE MAKES YOUR CAMP STOVE A VERSATILE COOKING PLATFORM Lightweight modular systems assemble in seconds to provide reliable cooking surfaces for compact camping stoves or cook fires. Camping gear for hikers, hunters, anglers, bikers, paddlers, and touring motorcyclists includes some amazingly light stoves and cookware. What’s been missing is a safe, reliable way to position those pots and pans over that compact stove or a wood fire. The answer is SlatGrate, a family of lightweight cookware support systems that fit in a backpack pocket and can be assembled in seconds to securely support cookware over a stove or cook-fire. Whether it’s out in the woods or in the backyard, nothing brings family and friends together like a campfire. And while hot dogs on a stick are the traditional campfire meal, cooking anything more complicated has always been risky. That is until now! Easy-to-use SlatGrate turns a backyard campfire into a cook-fire and is ideal for anything from steaks and burgers to a full-size griddle or your biggest cast iron cook-pot. SlatGrate disassembles into a compact bundle for storage or to pack for a picnic, and cleanup is as simple as a quick rinse or a swipe with a cloth. “I’ve got nothing against gas grills,” says SlatGrate inventor and company president Chris Weyandt. “I’ve got one myself, but I’ve never seen a family sitting around the grill telling stories.” The easy-to-assemble SlatGrate design uses just three different parts—six-inch legs, 12-inch slats, and 18-inch rails—along with lightweight chains for handling over a campfire. The parts are notched for easy assembly, and their modular design allows each to be assembled in multiple configurations. Components are made of the same 304 stainless steel used in industrial ovens, can support a heavy cast-iron stewpot as easily as a featherweight titanium pan, and clean up as easily as a butter knife. Each of the three models is tall enough to accommodate most single-burner butane, propane, alcohol, or white gas stoves.
“The whole system is designed for maximum flexibility,” says inventor and SlatWorx President Chris Weyandt. “The Deluxe model, for example, can be configured as a mini or griddle model if that’s all you need,” Weyandt, an avid outdoorsman, designed the SlatGrate system to build on the success of the company’s SlatGrill series (available in titanium or stainless steel). “In years of leading groups into the remote Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota I learned that there are certain comforts you don’t want to leave at home, and a good meal after a hard day is one of them,” he says. “The new SlatGrate model series is designed to balance light weight, easy setup, effortless cleanup, and flexibility and to provide a rock-solid cooking surface at an affordable price.” For Weyandt, who designed and prototyped the SlatGrill and SlatGrate systems at the MIT Fab Lab at Century College where he teaches, the challenge of designing the two systems was just the start. He had to identify efficient, costeffective manufacturing methods. Parts for the earlier SlatGrill models are precision-cut using a high-pressure water jet or fiber-optic laser. The new SlatGrate series is specifically designed for progressive stamping, which reduces cost and minimizes waste of material. “Everything we sell is made in the U.S.A.” says Weyandt. “In fact, all my manufacturing and assembly partners are located within biking distance of my home, so I can watch the products being made. That’s part of the reason we can offer a lifetime 100% satisfaction guarantee.” SlatGrate kits are available on the web at www.slatworx.com. The site also offers accessories.
Choosing a camping stove for hunting, fishing, camping, backpacking, or even disaster preparation is a tough decision. Finding ONE that works for everything is close to impossible. The decision usually involves 4 factors: Size, Weight, Fuel it can use, and Functionality. I hunt, fish, camp, and off road. You can find me in the woods, at the lake or river, in the mountains, and the sand dunes (a lot). I’ve fumbled with everything from a campfire to a huge propane BBQ grill in the field. When I found the SlatGrill from StatWorx I was amazed how simple, well designed, light & easy to pack, easy to clean, and sturdy the set up was. I have found a use for it in whenever I cook outdoors. I’ve used it with campfires, burners, camp stoves, and even sternos. This thing works with everything. I wish I had this set up while I was in the Army. It should be standard issue! I now have three of the titanium SlatGrills. My main reason for the purchase was that the wind was pulling the heat from my old Coleman two burner propane stove, causing the cooking times to be ridiculous! Tried tin foil as a wind screen, it didn’t help. I removed the grate on the stove and placed the two linked SlatGrills over the burners, it worked awesome! The Third is now in my emergency/Bug Out pack (Currently in my Jeep) with 4 Sternos. I’m definitely packing it to Sturgis this year! I recommend this set up to anyone who cooks in the outdoors. Now StatWorx has brought out another must have, the SlateGrate. Jim Rogers, Editor SlatGrill model series, US Patent D693,621 and D693,622 • SlatGrate model series, US Patent Pending 61/889,181
Page 64 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
The SlatGrate Mini model provides a 12” by 12” cooking surface that can support a single pot or pan. The 1 ¼ lb. Mini model costs $29.95
The SlatGrate Griddle model is 12” by 18”, can be placed over two or more stoves or a larger wood fire, and can support multiple pots or a griddle. The 1 ¾ lb. Griddle model costs $39.95
The SlatGrate Deluxe model is also 12” by 18” and includes 16 slats that can be used to form a grill surface for cooking juicy steaks or burgers over direct heat. The 4 ¼ lb. Deluxe model costs $49.95
PORTABLE COOKING SYSTEMS SlatWorx creates portable grilling and cooking support systems that are easy to assemble, clean, and pack small for people who put a premium on quality products that match their adventures.
SlatWorx offers a full line of patented SlatGrills and SlatGrates, designed and manufactured in the USA and offering a lifetime 100% satisfaction guarantee.
SLATGRATE This lightweight line of cookware support systems slot together easily & can be packed in a backpack pocket, yet form a rock-solid support or a grill. •SLATGRATE MINI •SLATGRATE GRIDDLE •SLATGRATE DELUXE MINI
SLATGRILL Perfect for cooking over a camp stove, open ﬂame, or as a stable surface for pots or pans. Packs so light, you’ll barely notice it’s there. •Stainless Steel 2.8 pounds •Titanium 1.4 pounds
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014 • Page 65
Hunting • Fishing • Lodging Buy • Sell: Equipment & More NYATI AMMUNITION - The World’s Most Accurate Low Recoil Big Bore Precision & Practice Ammunition! Hand Crafted Ammunition Designed for the Discriminating Sportsman. We produce a quality range of low recoil, low chamber pressure and low velocity ammo in .375 H&H, .378 Wby Mag, .416 Rigby, .458 Win Mag, .458 Lott and .470 NE. Barnes Banded Solids are used exclusively in all these cartridges - 300 grainers for the .375’s, 400’s in the .416, 500’s in the .458’s and .470 NE. Muzzle velocities are in the 1100 to 1300 fps range. Check us out, we offer custom loading for most calibers. www.nyatiinc.com Caribou Lodge Outfitters Canada Manitoba Canada Caribou Lodge Outfitters Year Round Trophy Fishing Walleye, Northern Pike, Lake Trout, Black Bear Hunts Family Fun 1-877-472-4868 www.huntnfish.ca Marie Fritz Perry - Pastel & Oil Artist. Custom portraits last forever and portray more than a photograph. Tell me about your special dog... 507-301-8693 www.CanineCustomArt.com
Located off I-90, Exit 379, Last Call Lodge is only 20 min. from Sioux Falls airport and sits on the edge of the magic zone of thousands of acres of public and private land for hunting and fishing opportunities. Last Call is a quiet place to stay for the night and relax with friends and family. The perfect destination for groups of hunters, family reunions or business meetings. The lodge sleeps up to 12 people and has a large TV/Game Room. 605-940-0952. facebook.com/LastCallLodge
Dry Dock stocks many items to outfit almost any gun. Bipods * Shooting Sticks * Targets * Slings * Tactical Accessories * Handgun Safes * Reloading Supplies * Black Powder * Shooting Rests * Gun Cleaning Kits * Vexilars * Holsters * Body Armor * Knives * Binoculars * And Much More * Call 701-6522421 or go to www.drydocksports.com
“The Pheasant Capitol of the World” The Buffalo Butte Ranch is located in the heart of this area known as the “Golden Triangle”, a prime pheasant hunting area between Gregory, Winner and Chamberlain. Buffalo Butte Ranch is a 6,000 acre privately owned and operated pheasant farm which has been in our family for five generations. Go to www.buffalobutte.com or Call (800) 203-6678.
Browguard – Endorsed by Jim Shockey - Strap on a “Browguard” and you can forget about scope cuts and concentrate on your shot! “Browguard” is 100% American, hand-made, high tech closed-cell foam, and leather encased protection for shooters using a rifle scope. To contact us call: (509) 254-3313. www.browguard.com
Need a blade that won’t let you down? Calvin Klein Knives are custom made and diligently created with durability using ATS-34 Steel. Each Knife is hand made one by one. Custom designs are always welcome. Call Calvin at 605-336-2003.
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Walleye • Trout • Northern Pike Page 66 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014
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If You Buy Tools Anywhere Else, Midwest Hunting & FishingAway - March-April 2014 • Page 67 You're Throwing Your Money
Page 68 â€˘ Midwest Hunting & Fishing - March-April 2014