MARCH 2020 ESTHERVILLE NEWS
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STORIES, ADVICE, AND INFORMATION FOR OUTDOOR LOVERS
Right behind the cataraman, tail and flipper sit just above the water.
Photo by Steve Weisman
IN SEARCH OF HUMPBACK WHALES By Steve Weisman
The author and his wife, Darial with Larry Rivera, a music legend on Kaua’i.
Enjoying the beauty of the Garden Island By Steve Weisman Outdoor Editor
The rugged cliffs of the Na Pali Coast with a waterfall emanating from the face of a cliff. Photo by Steve Weisman
and eventually we headed for calmer waterers. About 11 a. m., we arrived at an extremely calm area, the perfect place for a lunch… and then about noon, IT happened. First a hammer head shark swam along the surface right in the catamaran’s wake. Then…there
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entertained us all. Soon, it was 1 p.m., and the whales still stuck around: spouting, logging (appearing on the surface like a log), breaching and tail slapping…since they were within 100 yards, the law decrees that the boat
Not long ago, my wife and I spent two weeks on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i. What a wonderful vacation, and except for one mostly rainy day, the rest of our trip was 80-degree days with plenty of sun! That made the sunrise views from our ocean view condo at Pono Kai Resort perfect. Narrowing down our itinerary took some doing. We wanted to take some tours, do some exploring on our own and just bum around the condo some, too. I had previously done a lot of background research and asked longtime friends, Bill and Mary Beardsley, who had been to Kaua’i several times, for their advice. With this information along, I turned to Valerie Owen, who has spent over 30 years working with visitors to help with the formal tours. Valerie spent a couple of hours listening to our thoughts and then went to work coming up with options for our activities and tours. We then met later that day to finalize the plans. Our itinerary included a Roberts Movie Tour (80 movies filmed on Kaua’i). Oh my gosh, to walk on the very spots that South Pacific, Blue Hawaii, Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Arc and even the very sandy beach that the S. S. Minnow Turn to GARDEN, Page 2B
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they were! Two whales appeared about 80 yards behind the boat, moving first to one side and then the other…and then 50 yards, and then 30 yards, and then 20 yards and, yes, even 5 yards behind and then off one side of the boat and then the other. For over an hour, they
washed up on the pilot for Gilligan’s Island. However, my wife and I found the tour of the Coco Palms Resort to be an emotional trip back in time. You see, Coco Palms Resort was the first and probably the most famous resort on Kaua’i. In its heyday, it was known for its luxury, the lagoons, the torch lighting ceremony, Hawaiian-themed weddings, fantastic entertainment and movies such as Blue Hawaii with Elvis Presley, Fantasy Island, Death Moon, Jungle Heat and Miss Sadie Thompson were filmed. Many famous movies stars stayed there while they filmed movies on other parts of the island. Back in 1975, my wife’s parents and her younger sister and her aunt and uncle stayed at the Coco Palms. Many times, they shared their time spent and its impressive beauty. Unfortunately, a devasting hurricane hit the island in 1992 with winds of at least 145 mph that destroyed the Coco Palms. Since that time, it has sat in ruin with only the main structure still standing and the memories for those who had played a huge part in its success. As Wendy took us through the ruins, we saw so many things destroyed yet the lagoons were still there, the place where the torches
We carry a large selection of ice fishing equipment and supplies. Rods, reels, lures and more. We’re your number one destination for ice fishing!
My wife and I spent a relaxing two-week vacation on the Hawaiian Island of Kaua’i. If you’re going to go to Kaua’i or any Hawaiian Island in the winter, a must-do excursion is whale watching. From December through April the humpback whale spend their time in the waters off the Hawaiian Islands. Since we were on Kaua’i, we used Valerie Owen, our trip/activity expert at Pono Kai Resort, to suggest what she considered the best choice. Her suggestion was Capt. Andy’s Sailing Adventures, and it was spot on. For nearly 40 years, Capt. Andy’s has been providing visitors with outstanding salt water excursions. It was a morning excursion aboard a 65’ catamaran with a great view of the Na Pali Coast, which is a 15-mile stretch of some of the most rugged island coastline I’ve ever seen. Simply put, it is 15 miles dramatically known as “the Cliffs.” In addition to the Cliff sights and narrated history, activities included snorkeling, a great grilled lunch and whale watching. The scenery was incredible with long-ago dried-up waterfalls, a still running waterfall used by early natives to get water and the most majestically rugged cliffs. Whale sightings were ok, but the whales were usually several hundred yards away, so there was little opportunity to get any good photos. Snorkelers were rewarded with sea turtle appearances and schools of fish moving around. Even though we didn’t snorkel, the water was clear enough to see the schools moving through and even the shapes of the sea turtles. After snorkeling, we followed the rugged shoreline
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MONDAY, MARCH 2, 2019
ESTHERVILLE NEWS/ESTHERVILLE, IA
Thinking of open water fishing By Bob Jensen
Fishing the Midwest Fishing Team
Although there’s still a lot of ice-fishing to do in the next several weeks, and some of the best ice-fishing action of the year will occur during those several weeks, March is when many of us start thinking about open water fishing. There are several reasons why that is. One of the reasons many of us start thinking of open water fishing is because March is when many sport shows and boat shows are happening, and March is also when many independent fishing tackle retailers hold in-store events. These activities are sure to get an angler excited about open water fishing. Following are ways that you can take advantage of these events. Most sport shows and dealer events feature seminars by fishing experts. These seminars are a great opportunity to learn about fishing techniques, fishing equipment, and fishing hotspots. They’re also a very good way to ask specific questions of the seminar presenters. Sport shows usually have lots of resorts and outfitters booths. If you’re looking for a new place to go on a fishing trip, speaking in person with the outfitter or resort owner can provide good information. Perhaps the #1 reason a lot of outdoors-people attend events of this type is to see new equipment, or to see options for equipment that you already have but need to replace or upgrade. Dealer
Mike Frisch with an open water smallmouth bass. Prepare for the open water season now. events and sport shows are probably the best place to do this. You can touch and feel and try on the products that you’re in need/want of. For example: Sunglasses. Sunglasses are one of the most important pieces of equipment that an angler owns. They prevent headaches and eye-strain, but they also provide eye protection. Sometimes when you’re fishing and you set the hook, you miss the fish and your bait goes flying. Sunglasses protect your pre-
cious eyes from that flying bait. Good sunglasses also enable an angler to see better into the water. They allow us to see a stump that might damage the boat or that might have a bass next to it. I’ve worn a lot of sunglasses in the past forty years, and in recent years, I’ve developed a need for “reader” sunglasses. Flying Fisherman makes a pair that I really like. They have magnification in the bottom of the lens, the upper lens provide good water
penetration, and their price is modest. Compare the various types of sunglasses and see which you prefer. Rain gear is another important piece of equipment. Ineffective rain clothing will ruin a day on the water faster than fish that aren’t biting. There is so much truly good rain gear available to us today that it can be convfusing trying to determine what will work best for you. What’s good for one person isn’t necessarily what’s good for the next person.
Feeling and trying on different options is a real benefit. I’ve been very happy with the Guidewear that I’ve worn for the past twenty years. It suits me perfectly, but still, the opportunity to try it on before you buy is a big deal. Last thing: Most sport shows in March will have hundreds, maybe thousands of fishing rods on display. You can read about rods on-line or in the catalog, but there’s nothing like holding and shaking a fishing rod
Photo by Bob Jensen v
before you buy it. Shake’em at a sport show or dealer Open House in March. Don’t give up on the ice-fishing yet, but if there’s a sport show or fishing tackle dealer in-store event nearby, or even kind-of-nearby, I’m guessing it will be in helpful if you attend. To see current and older episodes of Fishing the Midwest television, fishing videos and fishing articles, and to register to win a Vexilar sonar in celebration of Vexilar’s 60th birthday, go to fishingthemidwest. com.
Taking a look at Iowa’s different owl species By Kiley Roth DCCB Community Relations Coordinator
Iowa is home to nine different owl species. You might not have seen all of them before, however, as two are state endangered — the short-eared owl and the barn owl — and one is state threatened — the longeared owl. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting facts of each species Great horned owl: Great horned owls eat small items such as rodents, frogs and scorpions, but they can also take down large birds of prey such as osprey, peregrine falcons and other owls. A great horned’s talons can clench with up to 28 pounds of force, and they help sever the spine of large prey. Northern saw-whet owl: Sometimes, saw-whet owls will cache their food, and in the wintertime, it may freeze before they eat it. They will then pick up what they want to eat, take it back to the roost and lay on it to thaw it before eating. Barn owl: Barn owls are not federally endangered but their populations are low in Iowa. That could be because of habitat loss and prey loss because of agricultural and grassland changes. They were affected by DDT use in the 20th century and could also be susceptible to rodent poison, because ro-
For more information on owls or other nature-related topics, check out the Dickinson County Nature Center’s blog at HYPERLINK “http:// www.dickinsoncountynaturecenter.com” www.dickinsoncountynaturecenter.com. The nature center is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, year-round. dents make up a main portion of their diet. Barn owls are also prey of the larger great horned owl, which is a major threat to the existence of barn owls. Long-eared owl: Instead of making their own nests, long-eared owls will commandeer another bird’s nest for their own use — usually from magpies, crows, ravens and hawks. Eastern screech owl: Like other owls, screech owls are nocturnal, although they do occasionally hunt in daylight. They typically sit in trees and wait for prey to pass by, with most flights less than 75 feet. Sometimes eastern screech owls are cannibalistic, and siblings may even eat the smallest fledgling in the nest when food is scarce. Barred owl: The barred owl has one of the most
GARDEN, Continued from Page 1B were lit every night, dining room, the dance floor and on and on. Then we met Larry Rivera, who is famous across Kaua’i for his singing talents. He still comes to what is left of Coco Palms to share its story and then sing and strum on his ukulele. The magic is still there. Our tour group applauded, and his laughter echoed through the ruins. Before we left, my
wife and I went up to Larry and shared our story of my wife’s parents watching him back in the 1975. Yes, there was more than a little hint of nostalgia there for all three of us. We also toured the historic 105-acre Kilohana Plantation and went on a Kaua’i Food Tasting Tour on the east shore. In addition, we did our own exploring around the towns
instantly recognizable owl calls, after the well-known “whoo whoo” of the great horned owl. The barred owl asks “Who cooks for you?” Burrowing owl: We expect owls to be found in trees, but the burrowing owl lives in underground burrows that it digs or takes over from ground squirrels or tortoises. In Iowa, they also use badger holes. They actually survive well underground because they have a high tolerance for carbon dioxide, which they expel as they exhale and can build up in their underground burrow. Short-eared owl: Bucking the typical owl trend, short-eared owls are diurnal, which means they are active during the day. They hunt by flying over short vegetation in grasslands and open areas, looking for small prey. Before eating, they will decapitate their prey and eviscerate it before swallowing it whole. If it is a bird, they take the wings off before eating it. Snowy owl: The snowy owl is actually the largest North American owl species, weighing in up to 6.5 pounds and growing up to almost 28 inches in length. The reason that snowy owls are so heavy is their thick feathers that insulate them from the Arctic cold. They even have dense leg feathers, making them look quite squatty when sitting.
of Lihue, Kapa’a and then the south shore. We also scaled the winding road to the Waimea Canyon Lookout. Often called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, it is 14 miles long, 1 mile wide and more than 3,600 feet deep. On the way back, we stopped to see the intriguing Spouting Horn blowhole. It is here that as the waves hit the shoreline, the surf channels into a natural lava
Northern saw-whet owl
tube and when the surf is really coming in, releases a spout of water that can reach heights of 50 feet. Throughout all of our tours and travels, it was obvious why Kaua’i is called the Garden Isle. The oldest of the Hawaiian Islands with its lush growth of trees, grasses, flowering shrubs along with spectacular waterfalls emanating from steep mountain cliffs and finally the many
beaches reinforced to us its amazing beauty. The only thing I didn’t get to do was ocean fishing. The day I had it planned, the wind blew 15-30 mph, and I just didn’t see how much fun fighting big swells would be…so I passed. As we look back at our trip, my wife and I learned so much history of the island and the captivating stories of the development of Kaua’i
Photo by Kiley Rot
leading to today and the struggle of how to save the island’s beauty, its history and the stories of the people that helped settle the island, while at the same time fitting into the ever changing and demanding modern day world. My hope is that the people of Kaua’i never lose sight of their values and their heritage. After all, that is part of the beauty of the Garden Island.
MONDAY, MARCH 2, 2019
ESTHERVILLE NEWS/ESTHERVILLE, IA
In search of late ice walleyes
By Jason Mitchell
Editor’s note: Jason Mitchell hosts the popular outdoor program Jason Mitchell Outdoors which airs on Fox Sports North on Sunday mornings at 9:00 am. More information can be found online at HYPERLINK “http://www.jasonmitchelloutdoors.com” www.jasonmitchelloutdoors.com. Follow on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Some specific states and provinces have open walleye seasons during the late ice period. These fisheries offer tremendously fun ice fishing opportunities. I love catching walleye any day of the year but what I love about late ice walleyes is the level of aggressiveness. Patterns and locations can vary among fisheries but there are also some almost universal themes or tendencies that seem to pop up wherever walleye swim. I get asked a couple of times a week if I keep a fishing journal. I have never been a fan of journals because I can remember conditions and don’t believe that remembering a calendar date matters. Does the lake ever open on the exact same day? Does the first snow fall happen on the same day every year? Do the surface temps hit fifty-five degrees on the same date every spring? The answer is no. Perhaps the biggest challenge of late ice walleye fishing is the range in which patterns can unfold. The reason I bring up a journal that lines up on calendar dates is that the conditions can really range from year to year. Don’t react to the calendar; react to conditions. Each winter is different
By far the biggest challenge to late ice walleye fishing is outliers to the norm. We get some winters where the ice is gone or not safe by midMarch. We have other winters where we are ice fishing well into April. We see very different patterns on March 15, for example, when we still have three feet or more of ice and a lot of snow cover with no warmup versus a March 15 when the ice is starting to deteriorate and the shorelines are starting
to melt. A long winter that pushes back every conceivable metric can really offer a wide variety of patterns that might even seem unusual if you are locked into the calendar. No two winters are ever the same but what we often find during the late ice period where we have a prolonged or late winter are deeper patterns. To be specific, deep rock locations often load up with fish during these conditions. Examples include the reefs on Lake of the Woods and some of the hard-bottom points and sunken islands on Devils Lake. Not sure if these rock locations serve as a staging area for fish to gather as they leave the basin locations of midwinter or if something in the food chain kicks in when the days get longer. All I do know is that when walleyes aren’t on necessarily the classic late ice locations that are often near current or shallow water, look deep. This big picture patterns also seems to shine if the pattern seems like there is no pattern which sometimes happens with prolonged winters. Ultimately, some of my most memorable late ice walleye patterns happen in shallow water less than 10 feet. The classic late ice scenario where the ice is deteriorating and run off is starting to seep in along the shorelines. You know when you have really hit true late ice conditions when the shoreline ice starts to separate from the shore. Often, the water will become more stained and have more color. This thaw really drives these shallow patterns. This is when we often find aggressive fish in shallow water. The classic locations include shallow reefs or hard bottom flats that are connected to the shoreline. Large flats that have rock, gravel or sometimes sand that have access to deep water are classic spots. As the water becomes more stained, there are times when the traditional sunrise and sunset windows become less obvious. When this happens, moon rise and moon set can often become important.
Don’t live and die by the calendar at late ice. Look at conditions. Prolonged winters can often create deeper patterns over rocks if the shorelines are not thawing out. Connect the dots
On some bigger bodies of water with classic spring walleye movements into tributaries or rivers, simply connect the dots between traditional winter locations and the incoming water. Could be a point or secondary point at the mouth of a traditional spawning bay on a reservoir. Could be a sand flat out in front of the anticipated spawning location. Fish often make massive moves on big water at late ice. Really the pattern can be simply running traffic. Setting up on a prominent location or piece of structure that fish pass by as the fish move from point A to point B. When fish do start putting on a lot of miles, they will often become more washed out in color. Pale fish tell you they are on the move. This helps you figure out the strategy a little better. The fish you are catching today won’t be around tomorrow but you will keep catching fish the
next day if a new wave of fish pushes through. This is overall the best strategy or situation I have found for catching big walleye at late ice.
Rattle Baits like Ripping Raps and Live Targets can also shine. More important than the lure perhaps is the attitude. Make the fish chase the lure and pound the lure Aggressive presentations and lift the lure high when Especially when we get fish aren’t around. Pull fish towards the end of late ice, in and make the fish react or don’t be afraid to fish with chase the lure. aggressive presentations. Think safe; Be safe When fish will respond to We can’t talk about all this aggressive presentations, great walleye fishing at late you can simply move and ice without also stressing encounter more fish because safety. The classic metrics fish can find and see aggres- no longer apply. There are sive presentations from fur- many charts that highlight ther away. Big fan of hor- how you can walk on three izontal swim lures like the to four inches of good ice. classic Jigging Rap, Jigging You can drive a vehicle on Shad Rap and Salmo Chub- thirteen inches of good ice. by Darters. Have absolutely None of this applies at late fallen in love with the Salmo ice. Rail Shad. Blade baits like When the ice begins to the classic Heddon Sonar deteriorate and rot, the ice can shine if there is current. no longer has the same Spoons are always a staple. strength. When ice begins to In stained water, experiment turn black or dark green and with rattle spoons like the begins to crumble and come CPT Rattling Blade Spoon. up in chunks when your In water with good visibili- drilling holes, the ice is bad. ty, try flutter spoons like the Typically, the snow on top CPT Leech Flutter Spoon. of the ice melts and you will
see snow and water on top of the ice. That usually means the ice is still good. When all the snow melts and the water soaks into the ice, that is when your days are limited. Water soaking into the ice deteriorates the ice quickly. Be diligent on safety and simply stay off ice that is bad no matter how good the fishing is. Be prepared by having a throw rope, ice picks and floatation. Pulling yourself out of water when the ice is bad is much more difficult because you make such a smaller hole when you fall through and the ice often breaks when you try to climb out. At late ice, I fear six inches of rotten ice. Typically, you will see the ice break down in stages where there might be six inches of bad ice and then six inches of good ice below it, which you can tell when drilling a hole. Pay attention not only the ice conditions but also the wind and forecast. Always prioritize safety!
Late season ice fishing update By Steve Weisman Outdoor Editor
You know that spring is coming, when sunset is after 6 p.m., and it’s getting later by a minute each day! We’re also heading into early March, and it’s time for some excellent late season ice fishing. Right now, the accesses are holding up, and anglers are still driving their vehicles out on the ice. Watch the accesses closely, however. Most of the accesses are lower than the surrounding land, and as the snow melts, the water will run down onto the accesses. If we get several days of above freezing temperatures, the ice will weaken along shore and melt. This will end vehicle access in a hurry. Then it will be foot traffic only. This can be an awesome time to catch fish. Of course, the walleye season is closed on Big Spirit and East/West Okoboji, but all of the other lakes in northwest Iowa, it is legal to take walleyes. Perch fishing on Big Spirit has been good and then not so good! The schools are always moving, and if you get under an active school, the action is lights out. A week ago, there was a small town in 20-21’ of water on the east side in
one would bite. Of course, when you have that huge of a school and only 1 in 10 bite, there’s still quite a bit of action. The biggest issue is to keep the school engaged. They might come back through in 5 minutes, 10 minutes, a half hour later or even more…or not come back at all. On Sunday, they only caught 10, and only had a school come through twice. That’s pretty understandable with the fishing pressure over that week. When that happens, it’s time to head out and search for the perch again. Once found, the scenario will repeat itself again. This is also the time to check out Anglers Bay, the Nice perch like this can be caught if you’re willing to Grade and the Templar boat ramp. Bluegill and crappie move around until you find the active fish. Photo by Hunter Wheatley always seem to move into the shallows right before ice front of Reeds Run. For going on when a school of out. several days, anglers who perch came through. A big Chasing the yellow bass got on an active school of school would actually be The yellow bass bite has perch caught limits of 9-10” 6-8’ deep with the perch been going on East Okoperch, while others caught milling all around. For ev- boji for the past couple of only a few or none. ery 10 perch, only a couple weeks. Most of the action Two friends of mine were would stop and check out has been from Parks Marina out on Saturday and Sunday. the bait. Even then, it was to Jingles Point, mostly in On Saturday, they caught not easy to get a biter. Some the deeper water. Again, it’s over 30 nice perch. One would just sit and stare, about keeping on the move used a Vexilar underwater while others would actually to keep up with the schools camera and the other a Vex- go up to the bait and push of yellows. I know of one ilar FL 28. The camera let it with their nose and never group that caught 150 in them see exactly what was open their mouth. Finally,
less than two hours! Wow! Looking for bluegills
Both East and West Okoboji are clear enough in the bays that you can sight fish for bluegills. I think it’s the best video game ever! You can watch everything. It’s amazing to watch the bluegills as they come through. In the clear water, everything better be right, or they will not bite. It’s time to go with 1-2 pound test line, tiny jigs and a subtle jiggle, jiggle, jiggle. If a fish comes into sight, don’t change your
presentation. If you do, most likely the bluegill will move away. I go with a tiny Clam Drop Jig tipped with a couple of wigglers. I’ve also found that you can’t let the bait spin. That’ll stop an approaching gill quicker than anything. Anyway, late ice is a great time to catch fish. Just make sure to keep a watchful eye on the ice conditions. The more warm weather and sun, the more quickly the ice will become unsafe.
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MONDAY, MARCH 2, 2019
ESTHERVILLE NEWS/ESTHERVILLE, IA
After surfacing, the only thing left is its massive tail.
Photo by Steve Weisman
In 21 years, Carolina wrens have visited Mike Fredrickson’s bird feeder. 2018 was the first time with immature Carolina wrens.
Photos by Mike Fredrickson
WHALES, Continued from Page 1B stays put. For all of that time, the whales entertained a boatload of “whale groupies!” People cheered and roared their approval with the whales’ antics, and their spouting sound was so incredibly clear. Photo after photo after photo. I’m sure I took 40 photos, hoping for the perfect one. Meanwhile, my wife went toward the back of the boat and started taking videos. Soon, she was taking a video of a whale that breached about 10 yards away from the back of the boat. Suddenly, the whale gave a huge tail slap and water flew up and landed right on my wife! Yup, she was drenched, laughing but drenched. The captain was getting further behind all the time, because he had to get the catamaran back to port for the next tour set to leave about 2 p.m. The trouble is it had to be cleaned up for the next group. And we couldn’t go anywhere…He kept saying to the whales in a joking, yet serious way, “Come on! We’ve got to get going. I’m going to be in real trouble if I don’t get this catamaran back!” Of course, we passengers just laughed and kept taking photos! Then he said reassuringly, “Don’t worry, I’ll just have to go a little faster than I usually do!” Finally, the whales grew tired of us and swam off looking for better entertainment, I guess. And, yes,
the captain cranked up the music starting with “Sweet Caroline” and ending with “Sweet Home Alabama,” that got all of us singing away. Soon we were at top speed moving right into 6-10’ swells. Yup, even though we were sitting behind the cabin and the captain’s helm, salt water blew its way right over and on us! Nothing like a salt bath. Thank goodness for sunglasses to protect the eyes! What a wonderful, wonderful experience. A lot of rugged beauty + captivating history + fun snorkeling + great grilled meal + spectacular whale watching = a perfect day on Kauai’s Na Pali Coast.
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