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UTDOOR CONNECTION STORIES, ADVICE AND INFORMATION FOR OUTDOOR LOVERS

Catching a record

Photo by Kiley Roth

MONARCHS RISING Population is largest in more than 10 years BY KILEY ROTH DICKINSON COUNTY COMMUNITY RELATIONS COORDINATOR

Monarch Watch program. The total area occupied by overwintering monarchs in the past five years has been the following: n 2014-15: 1.13 hectares n 2015-16: 4.01 hectares n 2016-17: 2.91 hectares n 2017-18: 2.48 hectares n 2018-19: 6.05 hectares This year’s count is great news for the main monarch butterfly population amidst dwindling populations in the last 25 years. A lack of host milkweed plants for monarchs to lay their eggs on and for their caterpillars to eat, pesticide use, not enough native habitat for

Each winter, pollinator enthusiasts anxiously await monarch population numbers as eastern populations overwinter in the forests outside of Mexico City. Dickinson County Conservation is excited to share that the 2018-19 overwintering monarch population is the largest it has been in more than 10 years. Monarch butterflies are covering 6.05 hectares of forested area outside of Mexico City, the largest area since the 2006-07 winter season, according to the University of Kansas Turn to MONARCH, Page 2B

Royce Krummen holds the new state record perch he caught Saturday, Feb. 16. Photo submitted

State record perch weighed at Kabeleʼs Trading Post BY STEVE WEISMAN OUTDOOR EDITOR

Spengler shares insights on the development process for Berkley hardbaits. Photo by Steve Weisman

Spengler shares the science of fishing lures BY STEVE WEISMAN OUTDOOR EDITOR

Ever wonder what the process is for manufacturers to bring a bait from the concept stage to the fishing market? I recently had the opportunity to learn more about this at a fishing seminar put on by the Iowa Great Lakes Fishing Club’s at its annual spring get together at the Hap Ketelsen Center in Everly, IA. Dan Spengler, senior bait development engineer for Pure Fishing provided insight into the development process for Berkley hardbaits and also

how-to fish the baits. A full house of over 200 fishing enthusiasts including more than a dozen youngsters sat attentively as Spengler enlightened them on the detailed development cycle that goes into bringing a new hardbait to the market. According to Terry Thomsen, president of the IGLFC, “The evening was a great success, and Dan did a tremendous job. It was a huge turnout. I think it was the best I can remember, and it was great to see all of the

Little did 43-year-old Royce Krummen of Lake Park realize when he went fishing shortly after noon on Saturday, February 16 that he would end up catching the fish of a lifetime and possibly the new Iowa state record for perch. It all happened about mid-afternoon. Fishing a northwest Iowa area pond with a friend, Krummen was jigging a small pink/yellow jig tipped with a wax worm. First came the slight dip of the rod tip. At the sight, Krummen raised the rod tip, felt the bite and set the hook. Solid! Krummen remembers, “The fish made one good run, and then I was able to bring it back toward the hole. When I got it close to the bottom of the hole, I saw the tail and thought it must be a big perch. Then I thought it was maybe a bass. Finally, when I got its head to the hole, I saw it was definitely a big perch!” It was big enough that he began checking on the Internet. The state record was a 16 inch/2.7-pound perch taken from Pool 12 on the Mississippi River. Krummen realized that his perch was definitely in the state record ballpark. “My first thoughts were to either throw it back or put it on the wall.” Either way, he wanted to get a measurement and weight on

Measuring the length-16.25 inches. Photo submitted

the trophy perch. So, off they headed to Kabele’s Trading Post to get an official measurement and weight. There was definitely excitement at Kabele’s when owners Thane and Tanya saw the big perch. They quickly called Mike Hawkins, DNR fisheries biologist, and Jeff Morrison, Dickinson County Conservation Officer, in to verify the length and weight. Length-16.25 inches. Weight 2 pounds 12.5 ounces. It all suddenly began to sink in. Krummen had

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just brought in the NEW Iowa perch state record! According to Krummen, “It’s still hard to believe. I’ve caught big perch before-up to 14 1/4 inches, but never something like this.” If you want to watch all of the excitement, go to Kabele’s Facebook page for a couple of videos. State records are hard to come by, and if you look at the record books, the bodies of water from Turn to PERCH, Page 2B

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MONDAY, MARCH 4, 2019

ESTHERVILLE NEWS/ESTHERVILLE, IA

OUTDOOR CONNECTION

Stewardship Tip

Catch and Release BY BEN LEAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RECYCLED FISH

Catch and release fishing is one of the most powerful tools for conservation. It is also used across a wide, and diverse, population of anglers. Consider: In the United Kingdom, course anglers have practiced catch and release for more than a century to prevent target species from disappearing from heavily fished waters. In the Chesapeake watershed, catch and release angling has been a critical component in restoring the American and Hickory shad runs. An Illinois angler released a 105-pound blue catfish back into the Mississippi River after catching it in a tournament in 2010. We usually associate catch and release fishing with the “glamor” fish such as salmon, trout and bass. While catch and release fishing has benefitted many populations of these highly prized fish, all species can benefit from catch and release. For example, the shad runs, famous in the Chesapeake watershed, have been in decline since the 1970s. A moratorium was placed on the possession of shad in the Chesapeake and its tributaries; this led to the growth of a catch and release fishery. In addition to the catch and release regulations, the various departments of fish and game in the Chesapeake watershed have introduced stocking programs. In Virginia, for example, tagged shad were introduced into the headwaters of the James, Rappahannock, Potomac, and Pamunkey Rivers. Studies by the Virginia Department of Fish and Game have shown that the numbers of American shad returning to the James River have increased dramatically. Catch and release is a tool that can be used for any type of fish, not just the fish that get the headlines. It is certainly a tool that you should use as a conservation measure. It is also a tool that you can use to return large fish to the population. A trophy that is returned to the water may live to fight another day. More importantly, that trophy may reproduce and pass its genes on to the next generation of fish. Here in Iowa we have a 25-fish limit for both bluegill and crappie, both very popular ice fishing species. Selective harvest is also a part of your conservation efforts. Catch and release of the big trophy sized fish will ensure that the fishery is viable for years to come. Being selective in your harvest helps as well, limiting your catch to what you can reasonably consume that day also help preserve our resources. Anglers living a lifestyle of stewardship both on and off the water; because our lifestyle runs downstream…Recycled Fish… Tight lines all!

MONARCH, Continued from Page 1B adult monarchs to feed on during their journeys north and south — so many factors come into play as to why monarch butterfly populations have dwindled almost 90 percent. Those factors have also affected monarch butterflies on the west coast, and news surrounding those monarchs is not as positive. This smaller population of monarchs migrate south to overwinter on the Baja Peninsula, and the Xerces Society has found that the west coast population has declined 99.4 percent since the 1980s. In the 1980s, western monarch populations were estimated at 4.5 million, but the 2018 monarch butterfly count only reported 28,429 butterflies. That means for every 160 monarch butterflies in the 1980s, there is only one today. Spring migration for monarch butterflies has yet to begin. For the main continental population, it will take four-six generations of monarchs to reach their northern-most territories in Iowa, Minnesota and even into Canada before the last generation heads back south to overwinter again in Mexico. We can all help those generations: 1.Plant natives! There are plenty of milkweed varieties that are beneficial and also

beautiful in landscaping. 2.Cut down on pesticide use. Neonictinoids are considered harmful to pollinators, and many other chemicals that have widespread usage are not only deadly to bugs people don’t want around but they are deadly to everything. That means chemicals that kill mosquitoes also kill pollinating bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, ants and other beneficial insects. 3.Get involved. Monarch Watch is asking for citizen scientists to keep track of monarch butterfly numbers throughout the country to help more accurately identify populations. You can sign up to count butterflies in your own community. 4.Advocate. Make sure to talk to your friends, your neighbors, your family about the importance of pollinators and taking small steps in our own yards that will help bring back our populations. The Dickinson County Nature Center is on the cutting edge of pollinator issues and is currently in the fabrication stage of creating new children’s museumquality exhibits all about pollinators inside its new Pollinator Paradise addition. You can find out more about this project as well as more information about pollinator issues at www.dickinsoncountynaturecenter.com.

2B

TIPS FOR LATE SEASON ICE FISHING BY BOB JENSEN FISHING THE MIDWEST FISHING TEAM

There are still lots of ice fishing opportunities to take advantage of, but for many of us who like to go ice fishing, the season is starting to wind down. Not winding down, just starting to wind down. There are some things that we can do to make our remaining trips on the ice more productive. Following are some of those things. First of all, remember that there are some regulations changes in some areas. The walleye season in northwest Iowa is now over: You can’t keep any walleyes in that part of the world. Make sure that you’re familiar with the rules of ice fishing for this time of year. Also understand that the fish have seen quite a bit of fishing pressure over the past couple of months, and that they react to that pressure. I saw this first-hand on a recent fishing trip. We were on a body of water that had seen a lot of angler activity and a lot of fish being caught. Some of those fish were kept; some were released. We were fishing an area that had been productive since the ice was safe to be on. And there were still fish in the area. We could see them on the sonar. And we were using baits that had been productive over the past several weeks. But the fish wanted nothing to do with those baits. Fish after fish would come in and look at the baits that they had been eating on past trips, but now they just looked. We wanted them to eat. After trying several different baits, one of the members of our group tied on a Northland Glo-Shot Jig. This is a new bait, and it looks and acts differently under the water, and the fish liked it better than they had been liking the other baits that we had been using and that they had been seeing. Fish get conditioned to baits and bait presentations, and sometimes, much of the time, it works well to give them something that they haven’t seen much of. I

Duane Peterson caught this nice walleye late in the ice-fishing season a few seasons ago. Photo by Bob Jensen

would like to say that the Glo-Shot Jig was irresistible to the fish, but it wasn’t. These were pressured fish and they were being selective. However, the Glo-Shot Jig was far more productive than anything else that we dropped down there on that recent day. Another thing that an angler can do when dealing with pressured fish this time of year is to go to areas where they aren’t as pressured. Some areas are known as “community holes”. These are popular

areas that lots of anglers know about. Community holes are popular because they attract fish, and fish attract anglers. However, these spots get beat up and the fish get really finicky later in the season. Much of the time, at this time of year, it’s more productive to find areas that aren’t so popular. There might not be as many fish, but the fish that are there are usually more willing to bite. They just haven’t seen as much fishing pressure over the past few weeks. Get

away from other anglers. This is a good idea in any fishing season. Last thing: Keep safe. Some of us like to push the season as far as we can. We like to keep fishing, but we need to remember that the ice eventually is no longer safe. Before it is no longer safe, call it a season and start thinking about the next season. To see current and past episodes of Fishing the Midwest television and fishing articles and videos, go to fishingthemidwest.com.

Create your own backyard or acreage oasis for songbirds DES MOINES — Don’t be afraid to get messy. When we’re talking about wooded areas, don’t feel like the forest floor needs to stay clean. Native shrubs and downed woody debris provides excellent forest cover for songbirds and other native wildlife. Offering coralberry, gooseberry, bottlebrush grass, silky wild rye grass or white snakeroot creates excellent conditions to see birds. In a yard, small brush piles can create excellent cover for your songbirds, especially when placed near places where they feed. This allows them a place to escape for cover and to get out of the elements.

Keep it native.

Iowa’s wildlife are suited best to native shrubs and the nutrients they provide, so choosing native plants over non-native ornamental plants can provide a boon to PERCH, Continued from Page 1B birds and wildlife in your which the state records were appreciated! neck of the woods. Look for Still, before you go on the trees, shrubs and plants taken come from across the state with some records dat- ice, check out the access just native to the region, as well in case blowing snow has ing back over 50 years. as species that will handle plugged up a trail. Once on your site and soil conditions. This just goes to show that you never know. If the bait the ice, watch the drifts. It Watch out for invasive might not look deep or long plants like honeysuckle, is right, the presentation is right and the right big fish is until you get into the drift. autumn olive, japanese barMake sure to have a shovel berry and others that prointerested, you just might have the next state record on with you! vide shelter, but not much A final thought about how food. In addition, they shade your hands! things can change…how Ice fishing accesses out more beneficial native A tip of the hat goes out to about the ice depth! Who plant species. the people who have helped would ever have thought that in early February we keep our accesses open on Mix it up. would have the ice depth we the area lakes. With the Build a bird buffet with a do right now! Some anglers snowfall and incredible variety of shrubs to keep have already put on their winds, without their dilifood available throughout auger extensions, and it gence, very few anglers the growing season and into doesn’t look like warm would have been able to fall and winter. The State weather is in the near future! access our lakes. Thanks! Forest Nursery offers many I think the ice depth is going Your efforts are greatly of these native trees and to keep increasing.

Chokecherries are one of many fruit-bearing trees that will attrack songbirds. Photo submitted

shrubs, and your DNR District Forester can recommend locally native trees and shrubs well-suited to your site.

fruit-bearing trees to keep them coming back to the resort - think hackberry, black cherry, red mulberry, elderberry, hawthorn, and chokecherry.

Give some distance. Add your plantings away from any reflective windows to help prevent birdwindow crashes. Focus instead on edge plantings with a variety of native food-bearing shrubs.

Take me to the river. If you happen to have wooded land around a river or stream - called a riparian area - congratulations on having a songbird paradise! With water available and tall trees for nesting and cover, you’ll see birds all around. Focus on native,

Live on the edge. There’s usually not a neat, tidy border between a forested area and other habitat - that shrubby, weedy edge between the woods and the prairie or a field can also be important to wildlife. This young forest area provides excellent cover, and the wide array of trees and shrubs pioneering the site offers excellent food for birds (such as smooth sumac, eastern red cedar, black cherry, wild plum, blackberry, native black raspberry, wild grape,

rough-leafed or gray dogwood). No woods at your house? No worries. You can achieve the same effect with a technique called “edge feathering.” With a forest, you’d create a ramp between the tall forest edge and the short vegetation crop field or prairie with descending heights of native trees and shrubs. Around a property perimeter, it’s much like a windbreak, except in reverse. The tallest trees are on the property boundary, with the shorter rows of trees and shrubs facing towards the center of your property. For more ideas, check out the State Forest Nursery catalog and our In Your Own Backyard board on Pinterest.


MONDAY, MARCH 4, 2019

ESTHERVILLE NEWS/ESTHERVILLE, IA

3B

OUTDOOR CONNECTION

Search strategies for jumbo perch at late ice 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. Past episodes can be found online at www.jasonmitchelloutdoors.com. Follow on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. BY JASON MITCHELL

Ice anglers have long been infatuated with big jumbo perch, and late ice is a prime window for targeting perch on a lot of different fisheries. In some states, game fish seasons close prior to the late ice period where as perch and other pan fish seasons remain open year-round. Part of the allure for ice anglers targeting perch can be the highs and lows of perch fishing in that we often need to move and drill holes to find fish. A frustrating day can change in a matter of minutes with one hole… one school of fish. You can go from a zero to a hero quickly when fishing for perch. What I find amazing about targeting perch through the ice is just how different ecosystems and forage bases can create extremely different patterns. Locations on Mille Lacs Lake will vary greatly from Lake Winnie. Saginaw Bay will be completely different from Devils Lake. Perch that are keying on shiners and crayfish act differently from fish that are using blood worms or fresh water shrimp as a primary forage. As a rule of thumb, fish that are keying on minnows or crayfish are often more aggressive than fish living off invertebrates like scuds and bug larvae. The randomness of where we find perch can be frustrating in that on so many fisheries, we are finding schools of perch wandering basins and large flats. Perch can be anywhere on these locations and are often moving. As a result, finding and catching perch is often about moving and drilling holes. You don’t catch perch until you find them. There are many nuances however that can affect that overall strategy. Breaking down basins and large flats is often about making big moves until you find some signs of life and then making small moves to catch fish. This is a mistake that many anglers make is that they get bogged down with drilling a lot of holes but drilling their holes too close together on foot. When you are on a large piece of structure, use your ATV, snowmobile or vehicle to make those big moves. Don’t plop on a location, unload all your gear and proceed to tear apart the lake within a hundred yards of you when in search mode unless you are extremely lucky. My best strategy for finding fish is mak-

Jason Mitchellʼs capitalizes on his strategies for breaking down ice to find jumbo perch. Photo submitted ing big moves, often traveling two to three hundred yards between holes and spending more time in a hole, perhaps 10-15 minutes. By spreading your holes and settling into your holes longer, you also give fish a little bit of time to wander underneath you if you are in a productive area. This style allows you to break down bigger pieces of water and allows you to cover miles of

water over the course of the day when you are starting from scratch. Once we zero in on a general area, this is the time to get more aggressive and drill a grid through an area where you can aggressively move from hole to hole and contact fish. This is where the small moves catch fish. Small moves or drilling out a small area is terrible for finding fish on a big lake

but is the very best way to produce fish once you find them. There are many factors to try and wrap your head around when dialing in patterns but perhaps the most important factor is how to drill out a location and the overall strategy of using your auger to catch fish. Perch can be in one massive school that is moving a general direction or the school can be several small pods or waves of fish that are traveling a general direction. On some fisheries, perch will school in a column where they stack up on top of each other and move very fast. These vertical schools are typically very aggressive fish, and these fish will often climb much higher in the water column. There are also times where perch will seldom stack up vertically and instead school up where the fish swim side by side and you seldom have more than three fish on the Vexilar at one time. These horizontal schooling fish are often less aggressive and sprawl out over a larger area. Generally, if you can get fish to stack up on top of each other and get multiple fish below you… these fish are much easier to catch. How the fish are schooling can really influence your overall strategy. If you are dealing with perch that are sprawled out over a general area, you can sit over one hole and just wait for these waves of fish to pass underneath. If you get a school of fish to pass by every 10-20 minutes, you can add them up to a great day. When fish are traveling fast in a column, you often need to be much more aggressive and land on them for short periods of time where your windows are going to be intense. You might only keep these fish under you for ten minutes at a time before you lose them but if you get two or three cracks at these fish in a day, you can tally several fish in a short amount of time. Understanding some of these factors can help you make much better decisions on the ice when targeting perch at late ice. Your process of looking for perch and how to target these fish once you find them in all reality trumps everything else. What you do with your auger can often be much more important than presentation details. Late ice is perhaps one of the most coveted periods of time for ice anglers targeting perch. When breaking down large basins and flats that can be somewhat intimidating… big moves find fish but the small moves catch them. Jason Mitchell Outdoors can be found on Sunday mornings at 9:00 am on Fox Sports North. Past episodes can be found online at www.jasonmitchelloutdoors.com

LURES, Continued from Page 1B youngsters there.” First, Spengler explained the philosophy. “The philosophy behind the process is that the best lures come from a blend of science, research, passion and TIME! At Berkley, we test and evaluate all lures to help anglers catch more fish,” said Spengler. “The goal is to let the fish tell us what works.” The process is actually a two to three year development cycle. It begins with the concept stage where the lure’s shape and size is discussed, followed by what the engineers want the bait to do, such as dive depth, action, sound (silent, rattle), castability and buoyancy. This is followed by the initial design and development of a prototype. Initially, many prototypes are developed, each intensively studied with revisions to achieve the target action. The bait is then put through rigorous lab tests at Berkley’s state-of-the art research facility in Spirit Lake. Tests begin in the casting lab, where a 60’ long x 13’ deep by 6’ wide pool allows the team to witness the general performance of a hard bait. Pro staffers are brought in to observe and make suggestions. The team also uses a flow tank to analyze key actions of every bait to “dial in” final action. Once the bait is perfected, field tests ensue in true open water conditions, followed by the production mold and color designs. Next comes more lab and field testing. If the bait meets all of the predetermined criteria, it is then launched for the general public. One of the hardbaits that has done extremely well is the Flicker family, of which many walleye anglers are familiar with the Flicker Shad. “The Flicker family has 40 major tournament victories, won five championships and countless top 10 finishes.”

Spenglerʼs favorite: the Berkley Shallow Cutter 90.

oungsters pose with Spengler with their Berkley products. Photo by Steve Weisman

During the seminar, Spengler noted that not all baits catch fish equally. As a matter of fact, many lures never see the sight of day. “I probably have 40 baits in my office that will never see the light of day!” The reason? Something’s not quite right. “It’s not one action or two specific actions – it’s a combination of all the ‘right’ actions that make Berkley baits catch more fish.” One of the hardbaits that Spengler discussed was the Berkley Shallow Cutter 90. This hardbait took over three seasons of field-testing with the goal of designing the “perfect” walleye jerk bait. According to Spengler, its track record has been incredible. During his personal field-testing, Spengler

had one evening where he took eight walleyes over 27” in three hours. Keys to its success, says Spengler, are the ability to fish fast or slow, it has maximum darting action with a high pitch rattle. Anglers can use four key retrieves that all catch fish: twitch/rip and pause, in windy conditions snap up and pause, twitch and a slow drag and a straight retrieve. Following the seminar, all of those in attendance received a Berkley Shallow Cutter 90 and the new Berkley top water Highjacker 100, along with a package of Berkley Powerbaits. After everyone went through the line and picked up their Berkley product, there was still some product left. So, Spengler

had all of the youngsters come up and choose what they wanted to take. For Spengler, youngsters are always special. “One of my life-long goals is to get as many kids interested in the sport of fishing as possible.” When asked his thoughts after the seminar about its success, Spengler noted, “Overall, I thought the seminar went very well. There was a lot of positive feedback, and I think most were surprised by the amount of research we do. For me, building fishing lures is a lot more than a job. It’s a passion and a life style. I was also happy to see all the kids in attendance. I feel like we recruited a lot of young anglers to the Berkley family tonight!”

Photo by Steve Weisman

When it comes to your to-do list, put your future first. To find out how to get your financial goals on track, contact your Edward Jones financial advisor today.

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MONDAY, MARCH 4, 2019

ESTHERVILLE NEWS/ESTHERVILLE, IA

4B

OUTDOOR CONNECTION Iowa DNR

2019 pheasant season likely impacted by winter storm

Birds of a feather Above, an eagle finds a tasty meal of deer meet. At right, a Cooperʼs Hawk finds a perch and some food on a bird feeder. Below, two eagles keep a birdʼs eye view on the landscape. Photos and copy by Mike Fredrickson

DES MOINES - Story after story on TV, the radio and in newspapers detailed the historic winter storm that swept across northern and western Iowa last weekend, stranding vehicles and closing roads for days. Drivers were warned repeatedly to stay off the roads because not doing so was “taking your life into your own hands.” For Iowa’s pheasant and quail, the storm and this winter continues to be a life and death event. The storm’s path dumped heavy snow on top of existing ice crusted drifts and blew it with 50 mph winds filling in every ditch, fencerow and CRP field. About the only relief is available in the cattails or winter shelter belts, if they’re available. “This deep snow cover has buried all food for quail and most of it for pheasants,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife research biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “Areas with good winter cover adjacent to food plots are likely the spots where we'll see better survival. Landowners managing for pheasant and quail should include food plots as part of their strategy.” What will the impact be on northern Iowa’s pheasant population and southern Iowa’s quail? A quick survey of area wildlife biologists settled on one theme: Not Good. Across southeast Iowa,

frequent winter storms have created a snow and ice layered lasagna making it difficult for birds to find food. In southwest Iowa, two feet of snow on top of an inch of ice likely marks the end of the 2-3 year run of record quail population. While winter claims some wildlife every year, the impacts this winter will be most heavily felt by pheasants and quail. “I expect we'll see significant declines in both pheasant and quail this coming year,” Bogenschutz said. “It’s the toughest winter we've seen since 2013-14.”

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Outdoor Connection - March 2019  

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