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July 2013

OUTDOOR CONNECTION Tips for catching more walleyes trolling crankbaits Time to enjoy the summer bird

Middle of the summer bass

2-Estherville (Ia.) Outdoor Connection, FRIDAY, July 12, 2013

TIPS FOR CATCHING MORE WALLEYES TROLLING CRANKBAITS The two words crankbaits and walleyes bring a smile to a lot of walleye anglers. Certainly it sounds pretty simple. Grab your favorite colored crankbait, tie it on your favorite rod and reel, let out some line and take off at the speed you think will work. Unless you are really lucky or just a natural, this type of plan can bring a lot of

vides a great background. “Once you get into the book, there is a page covering the most popular crankbaits showing each crankbait’s diving curve, a graph that shows how deep the lure will run based on the amount of line let out and your speed.” Grosvenor believes it is important to get out the tackle box and become familiar with the crankbaits themselves and their relation to the charts in the “Troller’s Bible.” Grosvenor adds, “Then it’s TEVE time to go out on the lake and EISMAN give it a try yourself. Seeing OUTDOOR EDITOR is believing!” With a lot of excellent lure choices out there, he believes anglers should find the baits frustration. that work on the waters they That’s the purpose of this will be fishing. A good place article: to provide the basic to start here is with the help framework for successfully of local baitshops. trolling crankbaits. These Equipment tips from John Grosvenor, Choosing the right equipveteran guide on the Iowa ment is crucial. First is getGreat Lakes and owner of ting the right reels. “You JTG Expeditions really need to get a good (, will linecounter reel, if you are help put the odds in your going to replicate the dive favor. chart and graph. Abu Grosvenor finds that Garcia’s 5500 and 6500 LC pulling cranks works well on are two excellent choices.” all of these lakes. There are many line choices, It really comes down to but Grosvenor chooses to use answering three questions: 10# Berkley Fireline How much line? How deep? “because it allows the How fast? It’s about finding crankbait to get deeper the answers and then repeat- faster. Plus, if you have the ing the presentation consis- rod in your hand, there is tently. much greater sensitivity.” Where to begin Grosvenor also believes in Grosvenor’s answer lies in a medium action rod with a his own journey from over relatively soft tip. “Fireline 15 years ago. “I knew that does not stretch, so when a pulling crankbaits worked, walleye hits the bait, the soft but I didn’t know where to tip sort of softens the shock start. That’s when I came of the strike. With a stiff rod, across the book Precision I think there is a greater Trolling: “The Troller’s chance of the walleye getting Bible” by Holt, Irwin and off (the hook pulling out).” Romanack. “As far as I am How about rod length? concerned, it is a must.” Some anglers like eight-foot Grosvenor believes the long and longer rods, but lengthy introduction pro- Grosvenor is happier with a


seven to seven and a half footer. “Once again, I lean toward Berkley products. A good Lightning Rod is hard to beat, but I have two Fenwick rods that I think are my favorites.” To complete the outfit, Grosvenor uses a Berkley Cross Lok Snap to attach the lure to the line.

Boat control As mentioned earlier, the key to pulling crankbaits successfully is having the ability to repeat the presentation consistently. That comes with boat control. “That’s why I went with the Skeeter WX 1900. Using my 101# thrust Terrova I-Pilot, I can put the Skeeter exactly on the course that I want at the speed that I want. One of our most successful pulls is in May after the Walleye Opener in the shallows just outside the docks on West A three-person limit taken trolling crankbaits in the shallows on West Okoboji. Lake. This presentation realPhoto by John Grosvenor ly works well for this.” begin to grow, it’s time to “Troller’s Bible”, Grosvenor Within 100 yards, we had Time of year work over the weeds and just will let out line so that each each caught a walleye. That Grosvenor finds time of the outside the weeds. bait is at a different depth in made me a believer in changyear helps determine the Weedlines can vary from the water column. For the ing the action of a bait.” crankbaits he will use. The three feet to 20 feet depend- bait that is set for the bottom Grosvenor also notes, old adage match the hatch is ing on the lake. Finally, in structure or the weeds, “We’ll make a long sweep very important. “When the the summer, walleyes will enough line is let out so the forward – maybe six feet – water is cold, I prefer to use often go to the basin and it bait ticks the bottom or the and then let it go back. It smaller shad-like baits. becomes an open water bite. tips of the weeds. “If there seems that it’s on the pause That’s where I will use #5 “In all of these cases, how- are two of us, we will put out that the walleyes will often and #7 Berkley Flicker Shad. ever, don’t believe that you two baits and put the rods in strike. At other times, we do This time of year the water is have to be on the bottom to the rod holders as dead a single quick jerk…jerk… really clear, so Black Silver catch walleyes. Active sticks. The waves and the jerk. Once a strike occurs, is at the top of the list. Other walleyes will suspend up in motion of the boat will pro- that’s an indicator of what to colors that I like are Blue the water column.” vide the movement. We will repeat.” Tiger, Pearl White, Firetiger Throughout the trolling run, hold the other two rods and As the fishing continues, and, of course, Chartreuse Grosvenor will train his eyes provide the presentation Grosvenor constantly looks Pearl.” on his Lowrance HDS8 changes.” for the secret to that day’s As the water warms into the looking for baitfish and those Why hold the rod? “I can bite. “When a bite occurs, 60s, Grosvenor will move telltale arcs. “The side scan remember doing that,” says take in everything and toward the bigger baits feature helps me dial in on Grosvenor. “One trip many answer these questions: including the Rapala Shad the weedlines. It’s an unbe- years ago, a buddy and I What bait? What size? What Rap and will also increase lievably true picture of pulled crankbaits around color? What depth? What the speed from ½ mph in what’s below, nearly as clear West Okoboji. We had just speed? Did it happen after a May up to as fast as 3-4 as a photograph.” about gone around the lake sweep and on the pause?” mph. In May during clear with no hits. So, kind of out Grosvenor constantly monwater times, Grosvenor tar- Getting specific of desperation, I suggested itors the boat control and gets walleyes after dark As the fishing begins, each that we each grab one of the speed. Once a hit occurs, rod will be matched with a pulling cranks in the shaldifferent colored and style of rods and begin to give a pull look for the same thing to lows. Using the on the rod (speeding up the happen. If it does, a pattern Then in June, as the weeds crankbait. bait) and then let it go back. has been established.

Estherville (Ia.) Outdoor Connection, FRIDAY, July 12, 2013-3


In the quest to document the catch, we’ve seen all manner of camera mounts recently. We’ve seen cameras mounted on top of hats, cameras mounted to chest slings, James Bond-like devices that hold the camera in place on the forearm, and GoPro’s mounted on the fork of a landing net. We’ve also seen all manner of articles dedicated to different ways to hold fish while photographing them… holds to make the fish look bigger, holds that hide the hands, holds for two fish at once, holds to kiss the fish. Quite honestly, we do not have a problem with anglers who want creatively photograph their catch. However, we believe the focus should be on the fish rather than the equipment or the hold. If catch and release is your goal, then you must remember that every second you keep a fish out of water, you reduce its chance to survive. Landing, reviving, photographing, and releasing your catch should be done quickly and efficiently in order ensure survival. Not only should you be quick and efficient, you should focus on keep-

ing the fish in the water. If you plan to photograph your catch prior to release, be ready. Have you camera handy and accessible before you land your fish. Keep your fish in the water after you land it. You can use a knot-free, catch and release net not only to land but also to contain your fish. Wet your hands before handling the fish and remove the hook before you take the picture. Secure the hook and place the line out of the way, if you happen to fumble the fish, it won’t get tangled in a dangling hook or line. Finally, and rapidly, lift the fish from the water. Quickly take the photograph, and return the fish to the water. Aim to keep your fish out of the water for a matter of seconds, if even that. Make sure to revive the fish before releasing it back into the wild. We give a fish its best chance to survive, and indeed, to thrive if we land it rapidly, handle it carefully, resuscitate it, and keep it in the water! Study after study has shown that minimizing the time a fish is kept out of water minimizes the risk of mortality. When we keep the fish in the water, we keep oxygen running across its gills. With oxygen

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running across its gills, a fish recovers quickly and will not suffer ill effects of oxygen deprivation. According to Steven Cooke, an Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Biology at Carleton University, air exposure, if limited to less than 30 seconds, may not be detrimental to largemouth bass. He adds that, if possible, air exposure should be “avoided completely.” Be ready to take your picture. Do it rapidly and efficiently while keeping your fish in the water. Limit the amount of time that you keep the fish out of the water to take your picture. If you do so, the fish in your picture, will survive, thrive, and fight another day. Who knows, someday down the road, you may take a picture of your fish’s offspring. Editor’s note: Each month the Outdoor Connection tab will feature a column by Recycled Fish, a nonprofit organization founded by Teeg Stouffer in 2003. Originally a Catch and Release education organization, it is now a national movement of anglers who live and promote a lifestyle of stewardship both on and off the water.

First time since 1974 Iowa has fewer woodland acres DES MOINES — Iowa’s woodlands have shrunk by 40,000 acres, according to the latest Forest Inventory Analysis conducted by the USDA Forest Service, marking the first time since 1974 that Iowa has lost woodland acres. To put it in perspective, that’s more woodland acres lost than the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau (34,000 acres) and Forestry Bureaus’ state forests (36,000 acres) manage. “This report provides us with hard data that backs up our anecdotal evidence,” said Paul Tauke, chief of the Forestry Bureau and State Forester for the Iowa DNR. “We’re seeing more tree clearing in the last three years than the previous 20 years.” Based on the report, Iowa’s forest acres have dropped below the 3 million mark. “Our concern as foresters is, we would like to see more trees out there, not fewer,” he said. Pre-settlement, Iowa had an estimated 6.8-7 million woodland acres. At its peak, about 18 percent of the state was wooded. Today, Iowa has about 3 percent wooded. “This is the first time in my career that I can say I believe more trees are being removed than are being planted,” said Tauke, whose career began in 1988. Tauke said tree inventory can be somewhat cyclical based on economic factors, but that the trend line can be reversed in Iowa. “Most Iowans like and value trees. In a state where most of our landmass is devoted to annual crops, I think we have a special appreciation as well for the long-term value of trees that span the generations,” said Tauke. Tauke said the DNR Forestry Bureau can assist Iowans in adding additional trees to the landscape through the expertise of its foresters and from products through the state nursery. Trees offer tremendous economic benefits from private homeowners to industry with more than $30 million being paid annually to private landowners for wood harvest. “Trees offer shade and reduce energy costs for homeowners as well as providing a tremendous benefit in reducing erosion to improve water quality and providing wildlife habitat,” said Tauke.

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4-Estherville (Ia.) Outdoor Connection, FRIDAY, July 12, 2013

Lindner “goes green” on summer walleyes BY JACK BUSBY

Legendary angler Al Lindner continues finding and catching fish like no one else by adapting, learning and utilizing new technologies. For over 50 years Al and Ron Lindner have been helping anglers locate and catch fish. From the seminal “Secret Teachings” formula of F + L + P = Success to FRS (Fish Response System), decades of info-packed TV and radio fishing programming, countless DVDs, to Lindner Media’s “Angling Edge” TV series, Al and family have dedicated their careers to the lifelong pursuit of fishing knowledge. Besides making fisheries biology accessible to your average angler, Al and Ron are also responsible for teaching anglers how to utilize technology to up catch percentages. From the first portable flasher units to paper graphs, LCD graphs, GPS, Side Imaging, Down Imaging and now 360 Imaging, Al says he still gets excited when the technological paradigm shifts and presents brand new ways of locating and catching fish. “I’ve always tuned into technology. Anything that helps me understand more about what’s going on underwater is a good thing. I try to embrace whatever is going to help me do that. In fishing—like life—you never stop learning,” says Lindner.

Going Green Al Lindner says he relies on LakeMaster digital charts in his Humminbird units to find summer walleyes, among other fish species, depending on the day. “You can set a Depth Highlight, which is the most important factor for me. Key in on the initial breakline the fish are using on the first drop-off edge, whether it’s weedline or just a natural breakline that rolls into deeper water, and you can stay spot-on all the time,” says Lindner. This means he can quickly glance at his Humminbird screen and look for the area that he’s highlighted in green, positioning his boat to fan-cast over the funnel

areas. “In particular, it’s been a huge asset for fishing weedbeds where I want to lean in at certain points from deeper water and find funnel areas that hold fish, whether it’s walleyes, bass or muskies,” says Lindner. For example, if the weed edge is in 15 feet of water, Al will set his Depth Highlight at 13 feet and key in plus or minus two feet to reveal areas of 11 to 15 feet where the bottom flattens out, forming a funnel going up on to the flat. “When you’re fishing shallowwater breaklines, fish will penetrate farther up into these funnel areas than you might expect. What you find is a living space that is much more extensive than the sharp breaks on the weedline. You’ll find groups of fish, not just a single here and there,” says Lindner. He continues: “It’s astounding how many walleye fishermen avoid shallow water. They get into 12 feet or shallower and start touching weeds and they get nervous and immediately go back down. It’s mind-boggling to see guys pulling rigs, boards and vertical jigging the breakline and deeper when the walleyes are in the weeds.” He says he used to spend hours studying paper maps to locate these kinds of spots. “With the LakeMaster map on my Humminbird, it’s the press of a button and those locations are there. Plus, now I can scan the screen for the other similar funnel habitat throughout the entire lake. It’s simple, they show up in green for go.” Look Both Ways Unlike traditional sonar that generates views of what’s immediately under the boat, Side Imaging allows anglers to see off both sides, revealing lake structure, cover and changes in depth and bottom composition. “If you don’t have Side Imaging on your boat, you’re fishing blind. Whenever I’m on the water I have it turned on. It’s completely changed the way we fish,” says

Lindner. Lindner says Humminbird Side Imaging has allowed him to tap into a virtually unexploited walleye bite that most walleye anglers miss because they’re stuck in the mindset that you have to fish deep and stay vertical. “A sizeable walleye population can be found from that first breakline and shallower on eight to ten foot flats. Earlier in the year they’ll roam these flats eating post-spawn perch and then as the weeds start to form they’re chasing the rush of spottail shiners. Truth is, a lot of these walleyes never move deep,” says Lindner. He says these are the same fish people catch at night while trolling Rapalas but can’t seem to catch during the day. Although many anglers believe these fish slide off into deeper water by day, they’re still there, just spooky, especially on clear water lakes. “Here’s the key. Use Side Imaging to scan for little dips on the flats. Let’s say it’s an eightfoot flat. Chances are somewhere up on that flat it’ll roll into nineand-one-half feet like a little depression. You get sediment and little tufts of weeds in these dips that draw in the minnows to feed, and in turn, walleyes,” says Lindner. Side Imaging reveals these depth gradients in variations of light and dark, depending on the color palette you choose. So, by scanning for these shading variations you’ll begin to notice what appears like little ditches. He also recommends scanning shallow flats for isolated areas of scattered rock. “Rocks show up clear as day on Side Imaging. On shallow water flats it could be a small band that’s no more than 15- or 20-feet wide. These are the kinds of spots on the spots that consistently hold fish and are overlooked because everybody’s sitting on the first breakline and on down, not up,” says Lindner. Once located, your Side Imaging scale will tell you exactly the distance off the right or left side of

Al Lindner says 360 Imaging works like ʻunderwater radar,ʼ helping him put the bead on roaming open-water walleyes. Here, Lindner points to a walleye revealed by Humminbird 360 Imaging. Photo by Bill Lindner Photography

the boat where the structure’s located. Then it’s simply a matter of lining up your casts from as far away as possible to avoid spooking the fish. “Jigs are my go-to confidence bait. I don’t know of anything that works better. Guys will troll over those fish with rigs and cranks and spook ‘em. You’ll catch far more fish by making long casts to them, even in high winds. It’s just that simple.”

Full Circle Looking forward to late-summer walleyes in big waters, Lindner says 360 Imaging is a great tool for locating and catching roaming fish. “For open-water walleyes— especially those high in the water column—360 Imaging helps eliminate a lot of water. It can put anglers on big roaming pods of bait and the walleyes feeding on them a lot quicker,” says Lindner. With 360, anglers can see the real-time movements of suspended walleyes while the boat is stationary, which is not possible with Side Imaging. This opens up possibilities for “power corking” with

slip bobbers or casting cranks and swimbaits to walleyes moving off points or sunken islands into surrounding open water. “Even sitting still, with 360 you can see fish, bait and objects; plus, you know the distance to the cover on the structure and the fish. That’s huge that I can go right to the target.” But Al says 360 has a learning curve, just like Side Imaging did for anglers when it first hit the scene. “Although the menu is simple, it’s not a flick of the switch kind of thing. Depending on hard or soft cover, certain color palettes work best, so you do need to play with that. Go where you know the water and the bottom and start playing with it.” Last year Lindner split his learning time with the technology between the natural lakes of the Brainerd, Minnesota, area and Arizona’s Lake Havasu. “I can now pull into a cove on Lake Havasu and know exactly what kind of natural or manmade cover is there and if there are fish Turn to LINDNER, Page 5

Estherville (Ia.) Outdoor Connection, FRIDAY, July 12, 2013-5

Educating our future Where did June go? After a long-winded winter it appears that summer might skip past faster than the spring we never really had time to enjoy. It’s been rainy and wet, but we’re not complaining! Puddle splashing and playing in the mud doesn’t upset the young at heart. At the Emmet County Nature Center, we’ve been busy with programs and trying to keep up with the kids. We’ve had a whirlwind summer and are excited to announce some very good news! We were thrilled to kickstart our summer with Junior Naturalist Camps. These camps are offered throughout the summer for kindergarten through eighth graders. We hosted 21 young naturalists in June, and we are preparing for the second wave of camps in July. Our Junior Naturalist Camps are designed to allow youth to engage nature, explore and seek out answers to the quandaries they uncover. Summer Reading Programs have been keeping us busy too. With the theme, “Dig Into Reading,” we’ve shared our knowledge of critters that love to dig, swim, and live under the earth. Emmet

County Conservation has annual Emmet County enjoyed partnering with the Nature Center Foundation banquet to help fund our Environmental Education Endowment. This endowment will ensure that future ENNA generations of Emmet OLLOCK County residents experience quality environmental educaEMMET COUNTY NATURALIST tion. We thank our past Environmental Education supporters, we appreciate their continued support, and Armstrong, Ringsted, we look forward to building Graettinger, and Estherville new partnerships to help susPublic Libraries. It’s great to tain future programming see kids excited about read- efforts. ing throughout the summer The Emmet County Nature and digging into the past and Center Foundation was forpresent as they peruse a new tunate to receive an Emmet book. County Community The Nature Center has been Foundation, an affiliate of busy on weekends! Guests the Community Foundation from all over the state and of Northeast Iowa, grant. across the country have These funds will help us purstopped by to look over the chase Water Safety and displays, cool off, ask ques- Environmental Education tions about the area, and head Equipment. We look forward out on an adventure to to offering paddle clinics, explore Emmet County. water safety talks, geoWe’re excited to announce caching events, and other that the Nature Center was environmental programs for paid-off, four years ahead of all ages and all interests! schedule, on June 11th. This Emmet County would not have been possible Conservation partnered with without the generous support Kilpatrick Marsh and Field, of residents and visitors of the Emmet County Wellness Emmet County. Thank you! Coalition, Public Health, and We are transitioning the AVERA Hospital to host fundraising efforts of our Paddle Craft: 101 in June.



The Emmet County Junior Naturalist Camps are designed to allow youth to engage nature, explore and seek out answers to the quandaries they uncover. Photo by Jenna Pollock

Paddle Craft allowed novice and experienced paddlers a chance to try out a variety of paddling equipment, including 2013 NuCanoes, on High Lake. We won’t complain about the rain because we’re happy to see our lakes returning to their normal water levels.

If you haven’t found the rhythm of summer just yet, and are eager to get outdoors- we may have the perfect opportunity for you! Our website is under construction, but you can like us on facebook or send us an email to receive our seasonal enewsletter for upcoming

event information. The Summer 2013 edition of the Emmet Trumpeter enewsletter is hot off the presses! Check out or CountyConservation. Get outdoors and explore Emmet County!

LINDNER, Continued from Page 4 on it; 360 has allowed me to communicate with the learn the habitat incredibly trolling motor, allowing quick.” anglers to “follow the contour” for super-accurate The Missing Link Minn Kota’s iPilot earned trolling and casting. almost immediate MVP sta- “Especially if you’re a tus with anglers for making walleye fisherman, it’s the anchors practically obsolete only way to go. With iPilot and revolutionizing boat Link you can dial in your control via the Spot-Lock contour off the LakeMaster map and set up an autofeature. Taken yet another step into steered trolling route or prothe future, Minn Kota’s new gram Spot Lock locations. iPilot Link allows your Or you might find five Humminbird units and bunches of emerging cabLakeMaster mapping to bage on a shallow flat. Simply plug them in as Spot

Lock locations, connect the dots, and press go to run your milk route.” But the technology isn’t limited to walleye fishermen. You can also set a zero contour to follow the shoreline for pitching docks or emergent structure until you either run out lakeshore or battery, whichever comes first. “When you marry everything together, LakeMaster, Humminbird, Minn Kota, I can’t imagine fishing without it now. All I can say is it’s just incredible!”

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6-Estherville (Ia.) Outdoor Connection, FRIDAY, July 12, 2013

GREAT EARLY-SUMMER WALLEYE BITE ON LAKE SHARPE F or the past month I had heard the stories of the great walleye fishing taking place on the Missouri River impoundments in South Dakota. From Akaska (far north) and several locations on Lake Oahe and Lake Sharpe (Pierre to Ft. Thompson), the walleye bite has been on fire. Several Iowa Great Lakes Fishing Club members have made the trip with great success. I couldn’t stand it. So, I made plans with my son to take a threeday trip out to the river. The most fishing pressure has occurred on Lake Oahe, where special regulations have been put in place to help get the walleye size in better balance. Following the flood of a couple of years ago, forage fish numbers are down causing prob-

lems with both length and weight. To address this, anglers can now catch 4 smaller walleyes below the


15” minimum size limit along with the regular 4-fish limit of 15” or larger with one over 20”. Will it work? Fisheries biologists believe so, because this plan has been utilized before with success. Most likely it will only be a one or two year adjustment. However, our plan was not to travel all the way to Lake

Cedar Shore offers its guests many options. Photo by Steve Weisman

Oahe. Instead, we chose to headquarter out of Chamberlain and fish Lake Sharpe (above the dam at Ft. Thompson). For one thing, Chamberlain is less than a four-hour trip, and we

would be taking my wife, Darial and my son’s girlfriend, Kris. Knowing that they would want more than just a motel room in which to stay, I had the perfect spot.

Cedar Shore Resort Located across the bridge from Chamberlain on the west side of Lake Francis Case, Cedar Shore Resort is a full service facility nestled along the edge of the picturesque bluffs of the Missouri River. With 99 rooms including riverside, hillside, poolside rooms and suites, guests have a variety of options from which to choose. In addition, a full service restaurant and lounge, waterfront grill and tiki bar, indoor pool and gift shop make Cedar Shore a one-stop destination. In addition, Cedar Shore offers a conference center featuring 11 meeting rooms with the ability to accommodate up to 1290 people. Want to camp? Cedar Shore offers a 39-site campground located along the banks of the Missouri River offering full hookups including water, sewer, electricity and cable television. A public boat ramp is near the property and ties in

to the 120 slip full service marina. From fuel to bait and tackle and fishing licenses, the marina completes the amenities of Cedar Shore Resort. The resort also has a huge green space that is perfect for youngsters to play at their leisure. With second floor riverside rooms with a deck for viewing the river in the evening shade, we could all see why Trip Advisor named Cedar Shore Resort the winner of the 2012 Certificate of Excellence. That’s all fine, but what would the gals do while Curt and I were fishing? Well, leave it to my wife. If anybody can find those little “gem” shopping spots, she can. Both she and Kris spent several hours each day discovering those gems: The Picket Fence (home décor and furniture), Spotted Horse (local art, jewelry and clothing) Quilt Shop (jewelry, beading supplies and fabric) and Al’s Oasis (restaurant, bakery, clothing shop and gift shop).

Fishing Curt and I knew going into this that the bite on Lake Francis Case around Chamberlain was mostly small sub-15” fish. So, we knew we would trailer the boat north to Lake Sharpe. We visited with Garry Allen of Allen’s Guide Service to learn some of the specifics. Bottom bouncers, chartreuse or gold spinners tipped with a nightcrawler, leech or minnow were the baits of choice. Curt also tried a Berkley Power Minnow with pretty good success. A quick two-hour trip (with the gals along on a mild, calm afternoon) included five 15-17” fish along with another 15 sub-legal fish. Good enough for a specially cooked meal at Charley’s

Restaurant, where you bring in your fish and the chef will cook it for you. The next day Curt and I headed to Lower Brule at the North Iron Nation Recreation Area. It still meant a 10-mile run up river to a series of flats, humps and drop-offs that we learned were holding lots of walleyes. Four hours of fishing brought us an 8-fish limit of 15 ½“ to 17½” walleyes and a total of over 60 walleyes both sub-legal and legal size. The toughest part for this day was contending with the 20-30 mph northwest wind that caused 3-4 foot swells that we had to maneuver through. Saturday’s forecast was for more northwest winds, so we decided to be on the water by 7 a.m. Instead of heading to Lower Brule, we went to North Shore Recreation Area with hopes of being able to make the 15-mile run back to the same area we had been on Friday. The one-foot waves on the way up soon became 3-4 footers. However, the bite remained similar to the previous day. I would guess on average one of us had a fish on every 5 minutes or so. By noon, we had had enough of the waves and headed back to the ramp. This time, however, we went half way back and stopped at the area we had fished with the gals on Thursday afternoon. Just being able to take a break from the pounding for a half hour or so made the return much easier. Curt and I always enjoy a trip to the river, but what about the gals? Well, they are already working on plans to get the “whole” gang of family members to make the trip next summer. That’s 20 people…that’s quite an invasion!

Estherville (Ia.) Outdoor Connection, FRIDAY, July 12, 2013-7


Last month I talked about the arrival of spring and the birds it brings. Now we're well into summer. Perhaps this is my favorite time of the year for bird watching. I truly enjoy seeing all of the bird parents bring their young to the feeders. By the time we see them, they're about full grown. You can tell the young ones by the fluttering of their wings and the loud chatter like they are saying "feed me-feed me.” This morning I observed a female Downy Woodpecker taking care of her feeding chores. I don't know how many young there were but they came one at a time and were very impatient. Downys lay 4-6 eggs. The female liked the mixture in the thistle feeders and obviously so did the ones getting fed. Then the mother decided it was time to get something sweeter and flew to the nearby hummingbird/ oriole feeder full of nectar. She guzzled away while the young one tried to find a place on the feeder to perch. That didn't work at all well so the young one flew to the lilac bush. Mother downy followed close behind. Most of our customers are complaining about the Grackles (blackbirds). They don't like safflower seed or aren't supposed to like it anyway. I changed my squirrel proof platform feeder to safflower. If you think young birds are noisy (which they are), young grackles are obnoxiously loud. They did not like the change of seed. Next they went to my small squirrel proof feeder, which I fill with coarse sunflower chips. That really made my Irish boil! So I changed that one to safflower seed too. In retaliation, they emptied that feeder in one day while I was

at work. Blackbirds will typically do that when you change seed as they are looking for something that tastes better. Grackles are winning the next round too as they are now eating safflower. With that many mouths to feed obviously safflower is better than nothing. Purple Martin eggs are hatching and I've been seeing more activity from the adult birds. Pretty soon they will all be busy feeding those hungry mouths. Amazes me to watch them as they fly straight into their own homes with no hesitation. Dragon flies are one of their preferred foods and yes they feed those large dragon flies to those tiny little birds. The Chickadees in my yard fledged (left the nest) a couple of weeks ago. As far as I could tell, the parents moved them to the upper branches of the oak tree where the nest box is. There was certainly much chickadee chatter, but now they've disbursed to a larger area. At this point, I can't tell which are the adults and which are the younger ones but there are a lot of

These young robins are just about to leave the nest for the first time! Photo by Sandy Hunt

chickadees at my feeders. Frequently I advise customers to go "shopping in their garage.” Many people will put a feeder away when they get a new feeder or when one doesn't work so well anymore. I took my own advice; imagine that. I found a small caged feeder in the garage that I hadn't used for quite some time, because the squirrels had learned to get off the lid. It worked perfectly for

the chickadee parents. I hung it in a dwarf crabapple tree about 10 feet from the nest box, watched for awhile and

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observed the parents going back and forth from the feeder to the nest box. Saved them a lot of trips to the feeder by the house, one sunflower at a time. So far the squirrels have only inspected the new feeder but haven't gotten any further. If they begin to raid it, that feeder will go back to the garage. Orioles are very plentiful here at Bird Haven. When they come up out of the stream, they are really orange. There are no doubt several nests close by and soon those young ones will be coming into eat at the two areas supplied with grape jelly and nectar. Just once I would love to see an oriole weaving one of their spectacular nests. They are works of art. Customers have noted there are not as many humming-

birds as in other years. The beautiful honeysuckle vine in front of the store is in full bloom so it will be seeing more activity. When the migration starts, Wendell always tells people they need to wear a hard hat and that is true. August into September brings many of them through here. Last year Wendell had out 15 feeders, and it was amazing. I try to avoid wearing red during the migration back south; they will come directly at you when they're chasing around. But I've never been hit. There are many more young birds I could talk about. Bird Haven has a small brick patio on the west side of the store with benches and a small pond. Come and sit a spell to enjoy all of the feeding activity.

8-Estherville (Ia.) Outdoor Connection, FRIDAY, July 12, 2013


It’s mid-summer and the weather is hot. In many areas of the Midwest, the bass fishing is pretty hot also. Some of the most consistent bass-catching of the year, for largemouth and smallmouth, can take place during the hottest period of the year if you keep a few things in mind. Here are some of those things. Some of the best bites will take place early and late in the day. The bass will get more active and be more willing to chase baits when light levels are a little lower. Largemouth will wander farther away from cover when the sun isn’t beating down as intensely on the water, and smallmouth will move shallower on the structures they’re working during lower light. Overcast days will also encourage them to move around more. That doesn’t mean bass won’t bite at mid-day: They will. You just have to remember that, especially largemouth in the shallows

and mid-depths, will be closer to cover. In fact, they’ll probably be right in the middle of the cover. If you can find a clump of coontail or some other heavy shallow cover, you can have some outstanding action. When the sun is directly overhead, largemouth will be tight to cover. You have a much better idea where to put your bait. If you put that bait where the fish is, it will often eat the bait. A rubberlegged jig like a Jungle Jig tipped with an Impulse Brush Beaver will be good. Use a jig heavy enough to get through the top layer of vegetation. Smallmouth at mid-day can be very susceptible to a live-bait presentation. I have many memories of catching smallies on live-bait rigs tipped with crawlers or leeches in 12-15 feet of water right on the transition where rock changes to sand. But, you’ve got to be using healthy crawlers and leeches. Keep them cool and out of the sun. Frabill's Crawler Can does an outstanding job

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of keeping crawlers healthy on the hottest days. When the light is low and the fish are wandering, you have to cover water to find them. If you can get on the water when the sun is coming up or going down, work the areas around the heavy cover or the weedline for largemouth, and try the tops of rock humps or rock points for smallmouth. Rushes near deep water can be good for either specie. Topwater baits, minnow imitating baits, swimming jigs, and spinnerbaits will fool largemouth and smallmouth. A Slurp! Jig with a white four inch Impulse Swim'N Grub is a proven bass-catcher. There are lots of fish, especially largemouth and smallmouth bass, to be caught right now. Get on the water and find out how good this bass action can be.

excellence in the field SPIRIT LAKE - Iowa fisheries biologist Mike Hawkins has been awarded the Fisheries Biologist of the Year by the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies for his work in lake restoration, watershed management and his leadership in getting the electric fish barrier placed at the outlet from Lower Gar Lake. Member states of the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies include Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Canadian provinces Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Hawkins is the Iowa Department of Natural Resources fisheries management biologist working out of Spirit Lake Hatchery for the nine-county region in northwest Iowa. Hawkins was recognized for his successes that include a significant renovation of the 1,100-acre Lost Island Lake. The Lost Island Lake renovation project included adding water control structures to connected marshes and installing fish barriers to prevent carp migration to the marshes to spawn; working with a commercial fishing company to remove hundreds of thousands of pounds of adult carp and aggressively stock predators to

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help control recently hatched carp. He also worked with landowners in the watershed to create a management plan to reduce harmful runoff from entering the lake. Water quality improved substantially and anglers have returned, spending nearly 15,000 hours fishing during the summer of 2012. Hawkins received the Ace Cory Conservation Award from the Okoboji Protective Association for his efforts to construct the electric fish barrier at the outlet of the Spirit Lake-Okoboji chain to prevent unwanted invasive carp species from entering the lakes during flood events. He also led a multi agency project with South Dakota to replace the severely damaged low head Klondike Dam on the Big Sioux River in Lyon County. The dam was replaced with arched rapids that provide necessary upstream water elevation while allowing fish migration and eliminated safety concerns about the low head dam. Hawkins also installed the Iowa DNR’s first-ever low power AM travelers radio station broadcasting aquatic invasive species messages and other boating and fishing information from the Spirit Lake Hatchery.

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