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February 2013

OUTDOOR CONNECTION Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund and its impact Pheasant Fest just around the corner

Ice fishing revelations

2-Estherville (Ia.) Outdoor Connection, FRIDAY, Feb. 1, 2013


our License DollarsY O U R LEGACY.” This statement sums up the impact that fishing, hunting and trapping license sales have for outdoor enthusiasts in Iowa. That’s right, 100 percent of license fees goes directly to the Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund, which is managed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and spent exclusively for fish and wildlife-related research, education, management and expansion of natural resource opportunities in Iowa. Even more importantly, since an amendment to the Iowa Constitution in 1996, the fund is constitutionally protected so that the license dollars cannot be used for any other purpose. For Iowans, I’d say this is pretty powerful stuff! However, until last year, I didn’t realize the potential of just how powerful this could be. Trust Fund history The account was first established in 1937 to manage and regulate Iowa's wildlife and fishery resources. The Trust Fund is comprised of all fees from hunting, angling, and trapping licenses and from the sale of habitat fees. These state license fees, paid by outdoor recreationists, provide matching funds for federal excise tax receipts from nationwide hunting and angling equipment sales. These federal funds are administered to the states by the US Fish and Wildlife Service through its formulabased federal aid programs (Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson) and deposited into the Trust Fund. This federal aid averages approximately $9 mil-

lion, annually. The Trust Fund also houses Boat Registration Fees, which are earmarked toward boating recreation, navigational safety and aquatic invasive


species control as outlined in Iowa Code. What the Trust Fund Means to Iowans Until this point, I think I was like most Iowans, who pretty much felt that you had to be involved in fishing, hunting and trapping to reap the benefits from the Trust Fund. On the contrary! Greg Drees, chairperson of the Natural Resource Commission, a group of seven citizens appointed by the governor to set policy, adopt administrative rules and hear appeals in contested cases related to fish, wildlife, conservation law enforcement, park and forestry programs, believes that the fund is for all Iowans. “You don’t have to be an angler, hunter or trapper to realize the benefits from The Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund. It’s for all outdoor enthusiasts from bird watchers, to hikers to bikers…all nature lovers. With the matching federal funds from Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson, the license dollars are increased greatly. I believe that the more people learn about the positive impact these dollars have for promoting and enhancing our natural resources, the more they will be willing to buy licenses.”

Drees continued, “The best part is that this is not a tax, not a fee or an additional levy. It is simply giving people the chance to enhance our natural resources.” Joe Larsheid, Chief of the Fisheries Bureau, added, “This is the public’s trust fund. It can only be used for fish and wildlife management. I really believe that people in Iowa see the importance of Iowa’s resources and that they want to do better. You don’t have to be a hunter, fisherman or trapper to buy a license. Most importantly, the money goes to the trust fund that in turn is used to improve habitat and water quality.” Itʼs up to us Twice in the past three years outdoor enthusiasts have had the chance to participate in a series of public forums held by the DNR to discuss and give input about the fish and wildlife management practices in the Hawkeye state and ways in which their license dollars might be spent. Each time all of the ideas were collected and compiled into a statewide list and used to help shape how our license dollars are allocated and the legacy Iowans hope to leave for future generations. I attended the public forum held last May at Fort Defiance State Park south of Estherville. One of the topics discussed was the everlooming threat of budget cuts. This, of course, led to the topic of raising cost of buying a license, but that also brought concerns about how this might cause license sales to drop. A friend, Dick Lineweaver of Arnolds Park, and I discussed the idea later. He made a great point to me: “Steve, just think how much

money we could generate if everybody bought a license (fishing, hunting or trapping). They don’t have to use it, but the impact of buying the license is really powerful when you consider that for every license dollar generated, three dollars is matched through federal funds.” The next day Dick bought his wife, Linda a fishing license and also his granddaughter. That led me to buy my wife a fishing license for the first time in several years. His idea really makes sense. No tax, no special fee, no assessment. No, it’s really a donation that brings an additional $3 for every dollar generated through fishing, hunting and trapping licenses. Let’s take a look at some of the ways license dollars have been used over the years. License dollars at work (Iowa DNR data) ■ World Class Walleye Production Iowa is considered a national leader for its innovative walleye hatchery research, and currently produces and stocks around 150 million walleyes annually across the state. ■ Brown Trout Explosion Brown trout have a selfsustaining population in 34 northeast Iowa streams. In fact, wild brown trout are now the source of DNR hatchery eggs, eliminating the need for domestic browns at hatcheries. The number of self-sustaining streams is partly due to partnerships with private landowners who improved water quality through land practices. ■ Turkey Turn-around Wild turkeys were nonexistent in Iowa until 1966 when the DNR released eastern wild turkeys in areas

Author with 27” walleye (released) taken on Big Spirit Lake. Photo submitted

of southern Iowa with good turkey habitat. As populations began to flourish, the DNR trapped and relocated turkeys around the state. Today, Iowa has an excellent turkey population and 50,000 turkey hunters who passionately pursue this elusive game each spring and fall. ■ Wildlife Restoration Iowa is home to several wildlife restoration successes. From 16 river otters released at Lake Red Rock in the 1980s, river otters can now be found in every county, thanks to help from fur-harvesters who helped trap and move animals. The deer population in 1936 had dwindled to only 500 and 700 statewide. Managing the deer herd through habitat and regulation has been key to bringing back this trophy animal, making Iowa a destination state for deer hunters. Other species restored to Iowa include trumpeter swans, peregrine falcons and giant Canada

geese. ■ Lake Restoration Lakes with decent water quality contribute to a higher quality of life, local economic development and increased property values. To date, Iowa has completed seven lake restoration projects, with 26 more underway and 11 in the planning stages. License dollars are leveraged through habitat development and improved access on these lakes. Iowa anglers experience excellent fishing within two to three years of completion of these projects, with benefits lasting at least 50 years. Final Thoughts Your License DollarsYOUR LEGACY! Sure makes sense, doesn’t it? The key to getting more Iowans involved lies with you and me! We need to spread the word, to tell our relatives and friends about the Trust Fund and the impact their dollars could have on our natural resources. Let’s see what we can do!

Estherville (Ia.) Outdoor Connection, FRIDAY, Feb. 1, 2013-3


e’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. What’s most captivating are those iconic images, captured by the continuum from novice to professional, which render us speechless. No matter the skill level, every photographer knows that out of the thousands of pictures one takes in a year, there may be only one image that satisfies the soul. The ability to capture that single, vivid image that evokes a passionate response can be aided by seeking the help of a professional. Emmet County Conservation hosted a photography workshop presented by Sarah Morphew on Saturday January 19th at the Emmet County Nature Center. The audience of 38 traveled from near and far to learn about composition, focus, lighting, and use of subjects. The presenter, Sarah Morphew, has vast experience as a photographer in California working for a premiere senior portrait studio. Her talents currently infuse the work crafted by Morphew Studios where Sarah, along with her husband Alan, creates masterful pieces of work in pho-


tography, website design, graphics, and music. They also offer lessons and workshops for those looking to gain insight and increase their skill. Sarah began the photography workshop with an introduction into quality equipment. Sarah noted that "The quality and effectiveness of your work will be determined by: your experience and skill level, your "eye" (having the ability to see the world in a unique way which others can then relate to and be inspired by), and the quality of your equipment." The Canon camera seemed to be the most popular at the workshop from easy to handle point-and-shoot to the professional grade. As the workshop moved into the act of capturing images, Sarah discussed composition. There may be a single subject in the photo, possibly a person or

a flower, but the background is just as important. Like any director worth their salt works to set the stage and scene just right, a photographer needs to pay attention to every detail that their image highlights. Composition is key! Getting “photo bombed” by a pile of trash can put a damper on the excitement of any photo shoot. Adjusting the focus of a photo can be a lot of fun and help determine what part of the picture one wants to highlight. Sarah noted that it’s important when photographing an animal subject to always have the eyes in focus. Adjusting the focus, whether by zooming in on an image, or setting the function on one’s camera can make a big difference in quality photos. Use of light can be a fun twist on a familiar scene. As participants learned at the workshop, working with shadows can enhance a photo when captured purposefully. Shadows can also ruin a photo when overlooked. To wrap up the workshop Sarah Morphew sent her eager students outside on an assignment. Participants were asked to take pictures

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of a subject at different distances, different angles, and various lighting sources. The key to taking pictures and improving performance has to do with experimenting. Take time to get to know the camera and equipment that you will put to use. Learn what settings appeal to your eye. Not everyone agrees on what makes a good picture, and that’s what makes photography appealing. Sarah encourages photography enthusiasts to, "Learn to see the world in new and different ways. Next time you take a picture, try something you have never done before." Emmet County Conservation wishes to extend a wealth of appreciation to Sarah for sharing her talents with us and presenting this workshop. You can see Sarah’s work by visiting This photo taken by David Haukoos, one of the participants of the recent photography workshop held at the Emmet County Nature Center, captures the sun shining on the austere winter landscape. (photo by David Haukoos)

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4-Estherville (Ia.) Outdoor Connection, FRIDAY, Feb. 1, 2013


The scene is a trout angler’s dream come true. Or nightmare of the highest order. All around this corner of the Manchester trout hatchery, 2-pound, 3-pound…7 and 8-pound rainbow trout splash in holding tanks. Glistening, colorful…but with no room to flip a fly or redworm. “We’re spawning rainbow trout today,” explains Randy Mack, DNR hatchery technician, as he and two co-workers wrestle 40 female trout (the big ones) and a similar number of smaller males inside the Manchester hatchery. Longtime hatchery technician Kenny Linderwell ‘trays’ the fertilized eggs and sets them into place along the wall. A constant flow of 52 degree water washes over them for about 30 days. The water quantity and quality here have meant a trout hatchery has been on the premises for more than a century. “We normally spawn

enough to produce about 250,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout,” explains Mack. “In the wild, rainbow trout in Iowa reproduce very poorly. We spawn them here and raise them for a year and a half, until they are ready to stock.” At some point in 2014, these now fertilized eggs will be half-pound rainbow trout, released into about 50 northeast Iowa streams or – increasingly - into urban lakes around Iowa. Selective breeding over the years has produced a trout timetable. In October, brook trout are ready to give up their eggs. Iowa’s only native trout, they are spawned streamside on South Pine Creek in Winneshiek County. Eggs are brought back to the hatchery to hatch and grow. As they are stocked, they do better in certain streams and overall, are harder to catch than the angler friendly Shasta strain rainbow trout. About 50,000 brookies are stocked each year. By November, brown

Randy Mack, DNR hatchery technician, wrestles a large female rainbow trout inside the Manchester hatchery. “We normally spawn enough to produce about 250,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout,” explains Mack. (Photo courtesy Iowa DNR)

trout are spawned. Brood ery. released to grow wild in east Iowa, supplementing trout are brought from They will be raised until several dozen stretches of French Creek to the hatch- fingerling sized, then streams throughout northTurn to SPAWN, Page 5


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Estherville (Ia.) Outdoor Connection, FRIDAY, Feb. 1, 2013-5

Pheasant Fest just around the corner

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Pheasants Forever will hold its annual National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic on Feb. 15, 16 and 17, 2013 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The national convention and outdoor tradeshow will mark the Twin Cities-based wildlife habitat conservation organization’s 30th anniversary. Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic is a trade show that will focus on wildlife conservation, upland game bird hunting (pheasant and quail), dog training, and wildlife habitat management and restoration. In connection with the trade show, Pheasants Forever will hold seminars on habitat improvement, pheasant hunting, shooting sports, wild game cooking, dog training, conservation and lots more! The nonprofit Pheasants Forever – which formed in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 1982 and is currently headquartered in the nearby suburb of White Bear Lake – has grown to more than

130,000 members and 700 chapters across the U.S. and Canada. Members, chapter volunteers and the public will celebrate at the organization’s largest event, which features hundreds of exhibits, bird dogs, seminars, special events and attractions. Pheasants Forever’s last national event in Minnesota drew 29,802 attendees in 2008, the largest event in PF history. “What was, three decades ago, a fledgling conservation group being run out of a house basement has matured into an organization that delivered more than $50 million last year to our wildlife habitat conservation mission,” said Howard Vincent, President and CEO of Pheasants Forever and its quail division, Quail Forever (which it formed in 2005), “Pheasants Forever’s success is built by thousands of volunteers who’ve donated time, money, sweat, energy and passion for the altruistic cause of conserving this nation’s precious uplands and wetlands. It’s important

Festival Hours To order tickets, go to ( ■ Friday, February 15 from 1 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ■ Saturday, February 16 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ■ Sunday, February 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission

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instrumental player in the passage of Minnesota Pheasant Habitat Stamp legislation, to this day required by all Minnesota pheasant hunters. Today, Minnesota is home to 77 Pheasants Forever chapters, 2 Quail Forever chapters and 25,000 members. Pheasants Forever has spent more than $52 million on habitat and conservation education in the state, including more than $37 million on 33,770 acres that have been purchased, permanently protected and opened to public hunting and outdoor recreation.

SPAWN, Continued from Page 4 earlier generations of brown trout. Through December and January, rainbow trout— the backbone of Iowa’s program—are ready to spawn. Once a week, crews check outdoor raceways for ripe female brood stock. Back inside, they firmly massage slimy trout bellies to produce a steady stream of golden eggs, to be fertilized, trayed and hatched. The eggs hatch into sac fry and are switched to indoor raceways in the hatchery. As they consume their yolks, they swim up and learn to feed on commercial pellets; until loaded for the truck ride to a nearby stream. From there, they fend for themselves…or go home in the coolers of 40,000 plus trout anglers.

for us to celebrate these anniversary milestones, but more important to say ‘thank you’ to our supporters.” Fittingly, the celebration will take place in the organization's birth place, as Pheasants Forever was formed by a group of Minnesota pheasant hunters who saw the need for habitat preservation and restoration in 1982. Pheasants Forever’s first accomplishment was as the

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That number has grown over the years. First sold in 1962, fewer than 22,000 trout stamps were out there in 1970. The number rose slowly and, in 2010, first topped 40,000. Over 43,000 were sold in 2011; boosted in large part by late fall to early spring urban trout stockings. That cold weather stocking program, rose from just three urban ponds 25 years ago to 16 quarries, ponds and small lakes this winter, brings trout to city anglers. They can fish locally, and if the urge strikes….use that good-for-the-year trout fee to head to northeast Iowa in the spring, summer or fall. In the meantime, several thousand people who might never have fished for—or tasted—trout are hooked.

6-Estherville (Ia.) Outdoor Connection, FRIDAY, Feb. 1, 2013

Developing a touch for bite detection BY MARK STRAND

After all the map study, after all the hole drilling, once you drop the line down the hole and start presenting a bait, that’s when the most elusive skill of all comes into play. Even with the finest graphite rods and fresh line, it can look like a magic act when good anglers just ‘know’ a fish has taken the bait and it’s time to set the hook. Solid, thunking bites are easy. Everybody can feel those, even with gloves on. But knowing a light bite when you feel it – or sense it – separates the best anglers from the rest. For so many, this becomes a lifetime quest full of frustration. How do you know a soft bite when you feel it? What does it feel like? Is there a way to develop a better touch for detecting bites? The answer is a resounding yes, but you have to pay attention to detail and tidy up several tricky variables. Bite Detection System

This is not going to be a commercial for specific models of rods and reels, but rather a description of what Genz uses and what he believes to be the keys to better bite detection. He’s said this before, but you must begin with the right gear. “Your equipment has to be balanced,” Dave begins. “If it isn’t, you’re not going to feel the bite. The line has to hang straight (meaning fresh and free of coils). Your jig has to be heavy enough to take all the kinks out of the line. Even with new line, if the line is too thick for the weight of the jig, there will be all these coils in it, and you can’t feel bites then. “And you have to have a fairly stiff rod. It’s so hard to get people to understand

that stiffness equals sensitivity, but that doesn’t mean I’m using a pool cue. People say they want a ‘more sensitive’ tip, but after I talk to them, I find out they want to watch the rod tip and see the rod bend to see the bite. That’s how they want to detect the bite, by seeing it rather than feeling it, because they don’t think they can learn to feel it. But if you have such a soft tip on your rod that it bends when you get a light bite, it’s going to be harder to feel any bite.” Genz urges us to get away from trying to see bites by watching the rod bend. “It’s the little bites, being able to feel them, that you should be trying for,” he says, then goes on to describe how to pull it off. “You have to be able to feel that lure down there as you’re jigging it,” he says. “Even with tiny baits, if your rod and line are in balance, you can feel the cycles of the jiggling motion as you go up and down. It’s crisp and noticeable once you get used to it, and you just know it. We talk about pounding the lure, and now we talk more about the cadence, which is how fast you are pounding it. “With a good rod, you can feel the bottom of every cycle, right in the rod blank. That’s why it has to be stiff enough to let you feel that. If the rod is too soft, everything mushes around and you can’t feel anything. (But with a good rod) you’re jiggling away and feeling the bottom of every jiggle, and then all of a sudden something changes.” In other words, the distinct ‘thunk’ (or whatever you want to call it) at the bottom of every jiggle suddenly goes away. It might just

deaden, or there might be a sensation that everything got lighter, or heavier. The changes can be, and are, subtle a lot of times. It isn’t like a big jolt most of the time – just enough of a difference to tell you something interrupted things. Close Your Eyes Genz hasn’t talked much about this next idea, but credits it for helping him refine the ability to detect light bites without the aid of spring bobbers or other visual cues. “What I do, which helped tremendously,” he says, “is when a fish is coming in and I know it’s going to bite, I close my eyes and fish like I’m blind. Blind people have tremendous senses, and doing this will really help you sense when the lure gets a little heavier. You can really tell when the bounce goes away at the bottom of your jigging cycles. When you can’t feel it bounce anymore, you know the fish has it. “Sometimes there’s this big jerk on the end of the line, but sometimes the fish comes in and grabs the lure and swims across the hole with it and everything just gets a little bit heavier.” He does this close-the-eyes trick occasionally, to this day, to keep his senses honed and refine his instincts. “You start to feel, or almost sense, that the fish is on there,” Genz says. “I do this when the fishing is pretty good, not on the first fish of the day. It probably works best when you’re sight fishing or using a camera – you’ve already caught some fish and can picture what they’re doing as they bite it. Then, close your eyes on some fish and go for that feeling.”

Here, the master ices another bluegill – not a monster, but they all bring a feeling of satisfaction. Photo:

There is more to this story, as there always is, including what to do when the fish are just coming up and kissing the bait with their mouths closed. That will interrupt the jigging cycle and you can feel it, but setting the hook right away on those bites results in wondering what the heck happened. In those instances, Genz has taught us to drop the rod tip rather than setting the hook,

giving the fish a chance to have a second go at it and hopefully suck it in. “When I drop the rod tip,” he says, “my eyes are wide open and I’m watching the line. If the line sits in the hole with coils, that means the fish has it and I can set the hook and get him.” Sometimes by sight, always by feel, using good quality rods and reels, almost anybody can learn to

sink the hook into far more biters. Editor’s Note: 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, go

Estherville (Ia.) Outdoor Connection, FRIDAY, Feb. 1, 2013-7

Reflections on fishing the Okoboji Hardwater Open Over the years I have fished many tournaments, and I have to say there’s only one I truly enjoy: The Okoboji Hardwater Open. Some of the best pan fishermen in the Midwest gather each year on West Okoboji’s Little Emerson Bay to see who can catch and weigh the heaviest 10 bluegills. This year anglers traveled from Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska and Minnesota to try their hand at catching Okoboji’s giant bluegills. In previous years Wisconsin and Michigan have also been represented. Don’t be intimidated. This tournament can be anyone’s to win. And often tenths…even hundredths of an ounce separate winners from losers. The event focuses more on fun than competition. If you keep your eyes and ears open you’ll also pick up a few new tricks. It’s not just a Sunday tournament; it’s a weekend event. Nearly all the competitors gather on Saturday to pre-fish and find the areas they think will produce the biggest fish. At noon, tournament organizers serve lunch for everyone. Hot dogs or Chili Dogs and hot

chocolate for everyone on the ice. Saturday night everyone meets at Village West resort for the rules meeting. But it’s more than a rules meeting. There are give-aways JOHN everyone and GROSVENOR for time to swap stoJTG EXPEDITIONS ries with those fishing the tournament on Sunday. Teeg Stouffer and his army of volunteers at Recycled Fish have organized the tournament for the past six years. Recycled fish is an organization dedicated to keeping our lakes and rivers clean for the next generation. Stouffer spends nearly 40 weeks a year on the road all over the country promoting stewardship of your waterways. He is a hero for our environment. I look forward to this event every year because it is always an opportunity to learn from some of the best in the industry. If you desire to become a better ice fisherman, I encourage you to enter the Okoboji Hard Water Open next January. To find out more about Recycled fish and what they do for ALL of us, find them on line at Great job guys!

NEW REPORT HIGHLIGHTS FISHING’S BROAD ECONOMIC AND CONSERVATION IMPACT ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Recreational fishing is more than just a pleasant getaway for millions of Americans. As an industry, it provides a living for countless people in businesses ranging from fishing tackle and boating manufacturing to travel and hospitality to publications, magazines and much more. As reported in Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation, a new fishing statistics report produced by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the trade association that represents the sportfishing industry, the number of anglers increased 11 percent over the past five years and fishing tackle sales grew more than 16 percent. When expenditures are multiplied by our nation’s 60 million anglers, their dollars have a significant impact on our nation’s economy. Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation highlights how recreational fishing not only endures as an activity that permeates all social and economic aspects of Americans’ lives, but also plays a significant role in the country’s most successful fisheries conservation efforts. “As an industry, we are keenly aware of the impact that sportfishing has on this nation’s economy,” said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman. “Just by enjoying

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a day on the water, men, women and children across the United States pump billions of dollars into this country’s economy.” Nussman further said, “And it’s not just the economy. In many ways, America’s anglers are the nation’s most powerful force for conserving our nation’s fisheries and waters, investing more than $1 billion dollars each year in fisheries management and conservation through taxes on fishing equipment and state fishing license sales.” According to the new study, America’s nearly 60 million anglers are estimated to spend $46 billion per year on fishing equipment, transportation, lodging and other expenses associated with their sport. With a total annual economic impact of $115 billion, fishing supports more than 828,000 jobs and generates $35 billion in wages and $15 billion in federal and state taxes. Despite the economic difficulties facing the U.S. economy over the past five years; the total amount spent on sportfishing, which encompasses tackle, travel and other equipment, grew five percent. A number of reports strongly indicate that fishing is identified by American families as one of the best ways to spend quality time together. According to the National Sporting Goods

Association, fishing as a leisuretime activity ranks higher than playing basketball or softball, skateboarding, jogging or hiking. “Despite the uncertain economic conditions that beset all Americas, or because of it, anglers continue to fish and spend even more time outdoors,” said ASA Vice President Gordon Robertson. “A growing interest in the outdoors helped fuel the growth in angler numbers which we believe will create even more momentum in fishing participation and sales in 2013 and beyond.” Substantially more than any other groups, anglers support the nation’s conservation efforts through the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund Program. Special taxes on fishing gear and motorboat fuel channel more than $1 billion of anglers’ dollars to state fish and wildlife conservation and recreation programs each year. ASA’s new analysis is based on data from the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, conducted every five years on behalf of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies by the Census Bureau and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Sportfishing in America was compiled for ASA by Southwick Associates, Fernandina Beach, Fla.

8-Estherville (Ia.) Outdoor Connection, FRIDAY, Feb. 1, 2013

Interesting ice fishing revelations BY BOB JENSEN FISHING THE MIDWEST FISHING TEAM

I was on a very interesting icefishing trip this past week. We caught a lot of perch and crappies, and I was introduced to a couple of ice-fishing concepts that really caught my attention. Following are some of the things that I was introduced to on this trip. We were fishing in the Webster area of northeast South Dakota. There are a bunch of lakes in this area, and most of them provide outstanding fishing at some time in the ice-fishing season. When I'm in this area, I usually fish with my friend Joe Honer. Joe is an outstanding angler on ice or open water. Joe wasn't available last week, but he suggested I contact Blake Using little tricks gleaned from days on the Anderson. Joe told me that Blake was an ice will help anglers catch more fish. Photo by Bob Jensen outstanding angler: Joe was

right! Blake brought his brother Taylor along. Taylor is also an outstanding angler. We got on the ice before daybreak and experienced a brief but intense bite. When that bite slowed down, we moved to a different lake that had stained water. The fish were willing to bite at mid-day on that lake. Here's where Blake got my attention on how to handle a hot bite. We found some holes that had lots of perch below them. We were in 14 feet of water. The fish would bite as soon as our bait got down to them, as long as we did one thing: We weren't keeping any fish, so Blake said that we had to get our bait back down the hole before we released the perch that we had just caught. We caught a perch, took it off the hook, put our bait back down the hole and got it headed toward the bottom, then we

released the perch. It seemed like if we put the perch down the hole first, it would leave the area, and the other perch would follow it. If the perch that were still down there saw the bait headed in their direction before they saw the perch released, they would key in on the bait and eat it. I experimented with this concept several times, and every time I released the perch before dropping the bait down, the bite stopped. Later on in the day we got on another hot bite on another lake. This lake had clear water, and the bite was noticeably better just before the sun hit the horizon and for about a half hour after. Blake and Taylor had been using waxworms on their spoons all day, and they had been successful. I'd been using Impulse plastic baits in the one inch Mini Smelt shape. I'd been catching them pretty good also.

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FISHINGTHEMIDWEST.COM When the late afternoon bite started, Taylor switched over to the Impulse. He found that the Impulse caught the fish just as well as the live, but he caught bigger fish on the Impulse, and he caught more fish per bait. When the bite is on, it's good to get your bait back down to the fish as quickly as possible. Impulse enables you to do that. Anglers who spend a lot of time on the ice or water learn little tricks that help them catch more or bigger fish. If you keep these ideas in mind, you'll also experience that success. If you really want to experience success on the ice, line up a day of fishing with Joe or Blake or Taylor. Contact them at

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2013 February Outdoor Connection  

2013 February Outdoor Connection

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