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UTDOOR CONNECTION

SECTION C NOVEMBER 2, 2013 ESTHERVILLE NEWS

STORIES, ADVICE AND INFORMATION FOR OUTDOOR LOVERS

Also inside: Shop with the Pros

HABITAT

Pheasant season underway Adding to the ice revolution

Hunters need habitat too BY JENNA POLLOCK EMMET COUNTY NATURALIST

Whether I’m walking through Fort Defiance with a group of ELC first-graders, talking to an observant farmer, talking to wildlife watchers, or listening to a group of visiting hunters; the topic of habitat comes to the surface. Different opinions that all reflect the same need: The need for habitat. Working in the conservation field often interferes with my agricultural-self. The desire to preserve natural resources isn’t the same as the desire to conserve those same resources. The need to farm the land and raise livestock to sustain a person’s livelihood often interferes with the health of the environment. The hunter who needs to bag fresh game to feed his family doesn’t have the same mindset as the hunter who invests thousands of dollars for recreation and love of the sport. Both of those hunters may find themselves on a different wavelength than the hunter who goes looking for the best bargain at the local grocery store. Opinions differ. I’m young enough in my career that I’m not too boisterous. I’m a constant witness to how my opinion evolves and grows. That’s not the same as being malleable. I’m learning how to see differ-

See HABITAT on Page C4 ELC first grade students enjoy the trails at Ft. Defiance, an example of land set aside for all to use. Photo by Jenna Pollock

Fishing club to host seminar Drop-shot for more fish


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2013

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Shop with the Pros 2013 set for November 16

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contemplating taking down a wall A day to look, talk and listen to add additional floor space and That’s what “Shop with the Pros” will be all about. A wide array of product will be on display, and Thane and Tanya want customers to browse and look. As with last year, seminars will be TEVE placed strategically throughout the EISMAN day to give anglers “food for OUTDOOR EDITOR thought” followed by a chance to talk with the pros and other anglers. Cornerstone of the day will be wall space. It was just time, so we seminars by three different pro did all of the work ourselves, aside staffers. from some electrical and plumb- Heading the list will be Jason ing. We are trying to add availabil- Mitchell, Clam and Ice Team Pro ity of items that people could not Staffer. Mitchell hosts the highly get here before, becoming bigger, acclaimed outdoor program, Jason but still maintaining our one-on- Mitchell Outdoors that airs across one customer service.” the Midwest on Fox Sports North and Fox Sport Midwest channels. In addition, Mitchell has earned a renowned reputation as a top wallEMINAR SCHEDULE AND TOPICS eye guide on North Dakota's Devils Lake often guiding well 10:30 a.m. Steve Weisman will share a general fishing over 250 days on the water and ice forecast for northwest Iowa lakes and how he views ice as each season. the great equalizer-especially if anglers are set with cutting John Grosvenor, who has his edge equipment. own guiding service JTG 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Jason Mitchell will offer two seminars Expeditions on the Iowa Great (with a break for noon lunch, of course). Topics include Lakes, will also present a seminar. panfish insights: strategy, tactics and details to catch more During the ice season, Grosvenor panfish this winter. is an Ice Force and Berkley Pro Staffer and has been a professional Thane and Tanya are surrounded by just a sampling of the ice 2 p.m. John Grosvenor will focus on sight fishing clear fishing gear at Kabeleʼs Trading Post. water.

ey, ice fishermen! Mark your calendar for the second annual “Shop with the Pros 2013” day scheduled for Saturday, November 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Kabele’s Trading Post in Spirit Lake. After the success of their first “Shop with the Pros” last November, owners Thane and Tanya Johnson are excited about what this year’s day will offer ice fishermen. “We think having approximately 250 ice fishing enthusiasts last November was a pretty successful day.” To prepare for this event, Thane and Tanya have recently remodeled Kabele’s Trading Post to provide more space to display more product. Tanya says, “W had been

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Pheasant season underway in Iowa BY STEVE WEISMAN OUTDOOR EDITOR

You couldn’t have asked for better temperatures for the pheasant opener here in northwest Iowa. Temperatures were cool-just right for both hunters and dogs. The wind was up, but at least it wasn’t a gale like some years. Standing corn was an issue in some areas, while in other areas, crops were out and the birds were in the grassy areas. Our party of four included my son, son-in-law, grandson and myself. We hunted CRP ground near Graettinger with two Labrador retrievers. Most of the crops were out, although one adjacent cornfield was still in. Even with the wind on Saturday, we found most of the birds held pretty tight. Overall, we saw probably 15 roosters and maybe 20 or so hens. By Hawkeye game time we had 10 roosters and called it quits to watch the game (plus, I had had enough walking!). According to Rich Jordet, northwest Iowa Law Enforcement Supervisor, hunting success was kind of a “mixed bag” so to speak. “It was pretty much what I expected, pretty similar to last year. I checked around 40 hunters that had bagged 30 birds. Hunting pressure was very heavy in Palo Alto

County around the Ruthven area and also in Dickinson County.” The conservation officer in Kossuth County checked 85 hunters by noon on Saturday. “Pressure on Sunday was much lower in all areas, but then that is pretty normal,” said Jordet. In addition to Iowa hunters, hunters from other states included Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas and Wisconsin. Emmet County Youth Pheasant hunt The youth hunt held on Sunday, Oct. 20 and sponsored by the Emmet County Izaak Walton League was a big success. Jordet said, “We had 17 young hunters. Four rooster pheasants were bagged, but it was good to see that most of them got shots. They just happened to miss.” Several adult mentors and their dogs guided the 17 youngsters on a mixture of both state and private land. Jordet commented that it was a team effort. “We couldn’t have done the hunt without the help of the many adult volunteers and landowners who allowed us to hunt their property. We also gave away four youth 20 gauge shotguns donated by Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, the Emmet County Izaak Walton League and an anonymous donor.”

Above: Youth hunters from the Emmet County youth pheasant hunt take time after their hunt for a quick picture. At left: Gun winners (L to R) RaeAnn Krull, Lucas Gardner, Chris Colsrud and Drew Herum. Photos submitted

Weisman, Mitchell and Grosvener to hold seminars at Pros event PROS Continued from page C2 fishing guide on the Okoboji chain of lakes since 2001. Steve Weisman, outdoor writer and communicator from Spirit Lake and a Clam and Ice Team Pro Staffer, will also present a seminar. Weisman has been an outdoor writer for the past 20 years. “We are incredibly honored to have Jason Mitchell at our event and in our community. He truly is an icon to the fishing world. Local

guide and Ice Force Pro-staff John Grovesnor has had years of experience fishing the clear waters of Iowa Great Lakes. We are happy to have him in our seminar lineup this year and representing, Ice Force and Berkley. Steve Weisman is a favorite among the locals, a long time fisherman and free lance writer,” adds Tanya. Kevan Paul, Clam and Ice Team Pro Staffer and Trevor Fey of Ice Force will be on hand to answer questions about the array of products offered by Clam and Ice Force. J & K Snowmobiles will

also be on hand to display the lat- ■ Travel covers and hoodies est in the Arctic Cat line of 4- with select ice shacks wheelers and snowmobiles. ■ Shucks Jigger Minnow special ■ Free set of auger blades with Kabeleʼs Promotions Thane and Tanya working Jiffy and Ion augers together with their ice fishing ■ Instant rebates manufacturers have come up with ■ Promotional items with rods, a wide range of promotions for the reels, lures, ice line and clothing. day. They include: ■ Giveaways every hour ■ Specials on Vexilar LCD ■ Grand prize drawing Color Camera Just have fun ■ Specials on MarCum LCD That’s the name of the game. “It Black/White camera will be a busy day that is for sure,” ■ Ice Force sweatshirts and tack- say Thane and Tanya. “We like to le pack with select items greet everyone who walks in the

door that day, giving them multiple items they can enjoy after the event. We do not charge for this event, but if you are looking for any ice fishing equipment, this will be the time to get it!” Oh, and don’t forget the lunch. Thuls West River Meats and Catering will be offering a brisket sandwich, baked beans, chips and drink for $5. Sponsors for “Shop with the Pros 2013” include Clam, Ice Team, Vexilar, Ice Force, Berkley and Iowa Sportsman magazine.


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2013

ESTHERVILLE NEWS/ESTHERVILLE, IA

Good habitat for wildlife leads to hunter success

Iowa Great Lakes Fishing Club to host fall seminar

HABITAT

Continued from page C1

Event is Thursday, Nov. 14 BY STEVE WEISMAN OUTDOOR EDITOR

The Iowa Great Lakes Fishing Club (IGLFC) will host its fall seminar on Thursday, Nov. 14 at Godfather's Pizza in Spencer starting at 6 p.m. Iowa DNR Fisheries Biologist Mike Hawkins will be the featured speaker and talk about the state of fishing in our local lakes. Terry Thomsen, club VP, said, "Mike and his co-workers always give a very informative and interesting talk about what they are seeing happen to our local fisheries. They also discuss any changes being implemented by our DNR and the reasoning behind those changes. As always, Mike will have a question and answer session following his presentation." Pizza and drinks will be served, which is free for all club members. Following the presentation, raffle drawings will be held for fishing gear. The IGLFC’s mission is to help protect area waters and the natural resources. “Being part of IGLFC is an easy way to get to know people, gain

and share fishing knowledge and help support the betterment of our natural resources,” notes Thomsen. Memberships, which are $20, will be available that evening.

Fall season upon us Fall can be one of those “crazy” seasons. It can be warm and beautiful one day, rainy another day and freezing cold with snow another day. When the northwest winds begin to howl and daytime temperatures begin to slide toward freezing, it’s definitely a sign that waterfowl hunters will be watching for a waterfowl migration push. Nothing much has happened yet, although with “weather beginning to show up” in North Dakota and northern Minnesota, it shouldn’t be long. The trouble is that often the temperatures around here seem to be so similar to those even a hundred miles north. It’s

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only when the really rough, cold and snowy weather hits north of us and the sloughs lock up, while we remain on the milder side, that we’ll really get to witness a true migration. One way that I have been following the waterfowl progress is with Waterfowl360.com, sponsored by Ducks Unlimited. Although there are lots of hunting articles and videos, I spend most of my time looking at their updated waterfowl migration map. Hunters and DU biologists provide field reports, migration progress from Canada all through the 48 states. In addition, weather conditions and snow cover maps can also be brought up. As I write this column, there appears to be a push of ducks coming out of Canada and down into the Dakotas and across into Minnesota. Maybe with a strong, strong northwest wind, we’ll get some of the action down here.

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ences, pull out the common ground, and bridge an end result that benefits all parties involved. At least I hope I am… I was raised to respect and appreciate the land because it can grow a family and provide a future if properly nurtured. When I entered the conservation field I encountered negativism aimed at farming practices. I had to resolve these disparities based on my own knowledge. I know that a good farmer knows when his soil needs nourishment and rest. I also know that there are farmers that have yet to acclimate this understanding. In a similar vein, I encounter the recurring tension between hunters and conservationists. Most conservationists I know also hunt. For their own success, hunters should hone a conservation mindset. Without the proper habitat and time for a regaled trophy buck to reach maturity, the hunter looks through his sights at a barren field devoid of prey. A recent report in the Iowa Fish & Game magazine article, “Where To Get Your Whitetail,” gave me a new perspective on conflicting opinions between hunters, conservationists, preservationists, and farmers. The county where I spent the first 18 years of my life, Clayton, happens to be the #1 place to tag a deer. There are more deer because there is more habitat, and truth be told there are more regions that cannot and should not ever be farmed. Clayton County is a naturally rich county with limestone bluffs, rivers, and rolling hills. It’s a stark contrast to Emmet, Palo Alto, Dickinson, Clay, Kossuth, and other northwest Iowa flatland counties. All

these counties are bountiful in their own way. Recognizing those differences can help spur movements to invest in habitat restoration. To be blunt and directly to the point: there will never be a booming deer population in Emmet County without proper habitat. Predation aside, the whitetail deer needs food, water, shelter, and space to flourish. Emmet County doesn’t have what the deer population is looking for despite the roughly 11,500 acres of wildlife management area. I hear from various hunters all the time that they can’t find deer or pheasants like they once were able to. If these same folks check the habitat acre numbers today in comparison to the habitat (including timber) acres in the years of bountiful wild game, I think they’ll notice a disparity. We no longer have the habitat acres necessary for wildlife breeding and feeding ground. Something as simple as leaving grass strips can make a difference! To be fair, I did not address another side to this argument. I did not address the opinion that there should be no hunting. Period. I’m not ignoring it or disingenuously negating the merit of that argument, but I am trying to motivate the movement for habitat restoration by acquiescing the different philosophies among hunters, farmers, and conservationists. No matter what philosophy or combinations of mindsets you find yourself rallying behind, we can all agree that habitat is necessary for increased wildlife numbers. The environment needs to be balanced in order to be healthy. That means each mindset has to get behind the idea of giving back to habitat restoration in order to make gains in the long run.


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Adding to the Ice Revolution, part 1 BY MARK STRAND

The modern ice fishing revolution is about mindset and tools. About approaching ice fishing as real fishing, rather than focusing on its limitations. We all know the limitations. Mainly, you can’t cast or troll, in the traditional sense. You have to drill a hole through the ice for every “cast” you make, as Dave Genz says. But if you follow the history of the ice revolution, you also know Genz has been highlighting the advantages ice anglers have – especially the ability to settle over a spot, tightly control your presentation, and closely observe the reaction fish have to that presentation. Done right, you can experiment with the most crucial moment in fishing better through the ice than over open water – that make or break time when fish are closely inspecting your bait, and the decision is made to suck it in or move on. When you marry mobility and specialized gear with the right mindset, says Genz, “you’re definitely a fisherman in the winter.” In addition to mindset, the revolution has always been about gear. These two things are so interconnected that you can’t have one without the other. A mobile mindset, in other words, does no good if you don’t have an auger that can easily drill lots of holes. Makes sense, right? Likewise, the intention to experiment with presentation cannot be carried out unless you also have a good rod that can make that bait dance in various ways.

So Whatʼs New? This is the big question every year, as Genz makes his annual tour of the Ice Belt, talking to anglers at sports shows, in tackle shops, and out on the ice. “It’s the first question everybody asks,” says Genz. The difference in the way Dave handles the question is this: he focuses on whether a new piece of gear will actually come with him on the ice. You might know his mantra: bring everything you need, but nothing else. As time goes on, his pursuit of mobility has not

A BOUT D AVE G ENZ Editorʼs 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 and to order his info-packed new book, Ice Revolution, go to www.davegenz.com.

first time, Genz is ready to say that they are legitimate tools in all but the most extreme conditions. They are lightweight and ‘stashable’ inside the sled of a Fish Trap. “Electric (augers) is the future,” he says, “but they’re here now, too.” His prediction: battery technology, driven by the needs of on-the-go smartphone, tablet and laptop computer users, will continue to improve, benefitting applications like this. The Conversion Kit is actually three separately-available components: the handle section, a standard-length auger, and an extension for thicker ice.

So what else is new? Rod technology continues to Pounding claims another victim! Dave Genz holds up a monster crappie caught by using the advance. Lighter-weight guides and famous pounding presentation. sophisticated blanks built to simuPhoto by davegenz.com late performance of a much longer spin the auger, not to support the rod are resulting in tools Genz is slowed one bit. And his drive to promise they hold. keep overall weight down has actu- “Now we have something that auger torque. That extends the life excited to use. He has a, well, uhturns your 18-volt portable drill of the battery and the drill itself.” ally intensified. hum, well-deserved reputation for So when Dave volunteers a prod- into a real auger,” Dave continues. The bearing system is a huge key, being starkly honest about whether uct review, it comes from one “I’ve been experimenting with dif- he says. “It turns it into a real a given rod will allow you to fish place: whether that piece of gear ferent setups for the last five years, auger,” he stresses. “You get the with the famous ‘pounding’ presencomes with him on every mission, cutting lots of holes with my drill, speed (rivaling gas augers) now, tation. That, and whether they help or plays an important role in certain using adapters that connect directly using a lightweight drill.” you feel the distinct bounce of your situations. You don’t get a long list to the auger bit. And I’ve twisted Bring two fully-charged batteries, bait at the bottom of each pounding of features and benefits that sounds my wrist more than once, where it and an inverter so you can recharge cycle – the secret to feeling bites. takes half the summer before it batteries off your vehicle, ATV or (When the bounce goes away, when like a press release. snowmobile. “If you’re set up like the weight of the bait either disapThis is what you’re likely to hear quits hurting.” Your portable drill fits into the that,” Genz says, “there is no limit pears or becomes ‘different’ that from Genz this winter… “The handle for the electric drill,” conversion kit and you wind up to the number of holes you can usually means a fish has it.) he begins, and we’re off and run- with familiar auger handles and a drill.” Learning the ‘Genz Pound’ has ning. He’s talking about the new Ice lever to press on to start the drill. Using portable drills as ice augers long been one of the cornerstones of Auger Conversion Kit from Clam. “There’s an industrial ball bearing has become popular in fringe areas his fishing system. This style, based For more than 30 years, Genz has that absorbs the load,” explains of the Ice Belt, where the ice rarely been a fan of electric augers and the Genz, “so your drill is only used to gets very thick. But now, for the See ICE on Page C7


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Evil or good? BY WENDELL HANSEN BIRD HAVEN

It 's a fact. Winter is coming, and there is nothing that will stop it from happening. For some people it's doom and gloom; for others it’s a time of joy, seeing old and new and maybe, just maybe, a rare bird coming down from up North. Cold temps also mean more birds at the feeder and more seed being used. Since the temps have dropped in the last few weeks I hear it over and over‌"the birds are eating me out of house and home." That statement is only partly true. It is true that our American Goldfinch, House Finch and the Dark-eyed Junco are eating a lot more seed. They need it to keep their small bodies warm in our cold temps.

On the other hand, we have our hoarders. There is the Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker and the worst hoarder of all the birds: The evil Blue Jay! Many people dislike Blue Jays for their aggressive ways. I cannot count the times I have heard that the evil Blue Jay is a mean and nasty bird: that jays will raid nests for eggs and nestlings; that jays have been seen eating a dead or dying adult bird; that they chase all of the good birds away from the feeders. Yes this is true, but many of our native birds do the same thing. Did you know that the little House Wren

that everyone loves so much will also raid Bluebird, Tree Swallow and the Blackcapped Chickadee nest boxes and break eggs and kill the young? The Redbellied Woodpecker will also do the same thing. Blue Jays are far less aggressive than many other species. I have seen the Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Red-headed Woodpeckers and Common Grackles strongly dominate Blue Jays at feeders, often preventing them from obtaining food, and at times Mourning Doves and Northern Cardinals will dominate them as well.

About Blue Jays Blue Jays are known for their intelligence, complex social systems, and their tight family bonds. They often mate for life. Blue jays

A blue jay finds a tasty meal. will eat all kinds of seeds, nuts and grains. They especially have a fondness for acorns and peanuts in the shell. Their fondness for acorns and their accuracy in selecting and burying acorns that have not been infested with weevils are credited with spreading oak trees after the last glacial period. When it comes to peanuts in the shell I believe there should be a drug rehab program for Blue Jays. Jays are junkies for peanuts in the shell. They will eat their fill and then spend the rest of the time stealing what is left and hiding them all over the place. I have seen them take a nut, fly to the center of the yard, shove it deep into the grass, then pull a leaf over the top and go back for more. I watched one Blue Jay make trip after trip from the platform feeder taking peanuts in the shell and mixed nuts, flying only about 15 feet before dropping down into the flower bed and burying them in the cedar bedding. Later in the winter, that same jay was back poking around in the

bedding looking for its stash of nuts. The poor Jay was out of luck, as a squirrel had stolen every thing it had hidden. One of the best reasons of all for having Blue Jays around is protection. The Blue Jay is a pit bull with feathers. They are the guardian and protector of my Purple Martins and all the songbirds that come to my feeders. Birdhaven is constantly under attack from the Sharp-shinned Hawk and the Coopers Hawk. Both are bird killers. Both hawks are protected by federal law and CANNOT be killed by any means. My hands are tied; there is very little that I can do to prevent a hawk attack. So I do the next best thing I feed and reward Blue Jays. When a hawk attacks, the songbirds will just dive for cover and hide, and it can take over an hour or more for them to come back out to feed. When Blue Jays are around, they always spot the hawk first. It seems there is always one Blue jay on guard duty. The alarm call is sounded, all the songbirds

dive for cover and troops come from all over the area. The jays are not just satisfied in driving the hawks into cover. No, they go in after it and attack and drive the hawk out. The alarm calls get louder, more troops show up and the battle is on. The hawk knows it cannot hide. The hawk will try to fly into deeper cover. It's no use. With total disregard for their own safety, the jays go in after it. The hawk makes a run for it with the jays hot on its tail. The jays don't just drive the hawk a short ways down the road. No, they can and will drive the hawk miles from the area. Within five or ten minutes after the attack, the songbirds are out and feeding again. They know exactly where the hawk is due to the alarm and battle calls of the Blue Jays. When the blue-feathered pit bulls come back from battle there are always extra peanuts in the shell and mixed nuts waiting for them as a reward. In my book of birds, the Blue Jay is not evil, mean or nasty! It's a good one to have around!


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2013

Rod tech still advancing ICE Continued from page C5 on letting fish see (and feel!) a certain cadence (another one of Genz’s favorite words), brings bites when other approaches go unbit. It takes a quality rod to do this. It has to be both stiff and resilient. This is the secret sauce. It has to both flex with, and rebound from, extremely fast, almost vibrating, presentations. All while helping you feel what your bait is doing, on every little bounce. If you learn anything new about ice rods this year, let this be it. The right rod has to transmit the feel, so you come to know that feel, so you come to know when the feel goes away, or changes just enough. A mushy rod – or even a rod that sports the right characteristics but is either too stiff or too soft to match up well with the weight of a given bait – doesn’t allow you to fish this way. Again, it’s a matter of having the right gear to execute an incredibly effective fishing style. Until this year, there has been a detectable performance gap between the best widely-available rods and the best custom rods. Genz is more than excited about the new Legacy Series rods by Clam, saying that they are as good as any he’s ever fished with. “Just pick one up,” Dave says, “and you can tell right away. The guides are very light, they have all the attributes of a custom rod, and they come with a good reel that has a smooth drag.” We’ll have more to say this winter about distinct styles of presentation and how the qualities of the right rod vary with each. From a rod performance standpoint, the pounding style, with the premium placed on responsiveness and feel, is the most demanding. The right rod for pounding can also be used for other styles, such as a smoother swimming presentation. But you cannot take a softer rod, or a rod equipped with a spring bobber, and make it work well for pounding.

What else? Feel is enhanced, especially when using lighter baits, by using tungsten jigs. Tungsten is about 30 percent heavier than lead, apples to apples, so the feel advantage is there for the taking, as long as the jig design maximizes it. Genz helped with the new Tungsten Drop series jigs. When a jig is “heavy for its size,” it makes Genz smile. Forever, he has preached efficiency in ice fishing, “and a huge part of that is seeing how fast you can get up and down in deeper water,” he says. “Every new hole, every drop, is like a cast. If I can make a lot of casts out there on the ice, it’s going to help me find fish faster, and catch more.” The tools and techniques are impossible to separate, and the process of evolution and refinement continues. More on this next time.

ESTHERVILLE NEWS/ESTHERVILLE, IA

PLANT AN OAK FOR HERITAGE SAKE BY JOHN H. WILLS CLEAN WATER ALLIANCE COORDINATOR

Everyone knows and recognizes the majestic Bur Oak trees in the Iowa Great Lakes as something of our past. It is one of the few native trees that grew here, when little else was here except prairie. Few other trees could endure the harsh prairie fires that swept through the area upon occasion and kept the prairie as the dominant plant type. The thing about bur oak trees is that they are intolerant of shade and are slow growing. In other words, they do not like shade and so they do not grow closely together and many trees can outgrow and out-compete them. Why are we talking about a tree in a clean water column? Part of the love people feel about our lakes here in Dickinson County, isn’t just the clean water that we have. It is the character of the area. Bur oak trees add to that character. The life span of a bur oak tree is 100 to 180 years for an urban setting. Many of our trees are reaching that age. They will begin dying soon and if not replaced, we will lose that character. Bur oak trees are actually very shallow rooted trees. They have a massive tap root but a shallow root system that is barely 5 feet below the surface of the ground. These trees hold soil and protect the ground they stand on. They are excellent trees to prevent pollution from entering our lakes. On the other side, trees such as maple, green ash and willow trees tend to shade the ground where they stand keeping the ground bare. This allows erosion to occur and becomes a source of pollution to our lakes. If one were to look at the areas around our lakes that have massive gullies the one common denominator that can be found is these “scrub” trees with little or no undergrowth. It has become ingrained in our society that trees are conservation, no matter the type. Sometimes we have to look at the site, the tree and the situation and make a determination that trees are not always a good thing. Bur Oak trees, however, have a place in the protection of our lakes and its character. They hold soil, they are tolerant of most pests in our area and they are hardy to our winters.

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STEWARDSHIP TIP: Recycle CFLs BY BEN LEAL RECYCLED FISH PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Compact florescent lightbulbs (CFLs) are a two-edged sword. On the one hand, they save you money by slicing your electricity usage and, in areas powered by coal-fired, power plants, they reduce emissions. other hand, CFLs use mercury vapor to produce light. They contain small amounts of mercury, between 3.5 and 15 milligrams per bulb. If they are improperly discarded, they can introduce mercury directly into the soil or a body of water. Even small amounts of mercury can cause significant problems to both humans and fish. Mercury can adversely affect the immune system, it can alter genetic and enzyme systems, and it can damage the nervous system. According to the United States Geological Survey, mercury was the second leading cause of stream impairment throughout the United States. Atmospheric deposition is the primary

source of mercury pollution, mercury in solid waste contributes to stream contamination as well. There is no reason that a CFL, or any fluorescent bulb for that matter, should be discarded. All of the components can be recycled and there are a multitude of convenient options for doing so. The US EPA maintains a web page that lists CFL and fluorescent bulb collection and recycling programs by state. earth911 is a another resource for finding recycling programs in your area and has extensive listings of centers that will recycle CFLs. And, many vendors, including the Home Depot, accept CFLs for recycling at their stores throughout the North America. Editorʼs 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.

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ESTHERVILLE NEWS/ESTHERVILLE, IA

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DROP-SHOT FOR MORE FISH BY BOB JENSEN FISHING THE MIDWEST FISHING TEAM

I enjoy fishing year ‘round, but this time of the year can be one of the best if size and numbers are what you’re looking for. I was reminded of that on a recent fishing trip. I was also reminded that drop-shotting is a great way to catch fish, particularly smallmouth and largemouth bass. We were after smallmouth on this trip and we caught’em, we caught’em good. And drop-shotting was the technique that produced the best. Drop-shotting is a technique that anyone can do. Here’s how you drop-shot. First of all, on a drop-shot rig, the sinker is below the hook. There are hooks made specifically for dropshotting and they work very well. However, on this day we were using short shank hooks much like you would use live-bait rigging for walleyes. The hooks were #1s and #2s. They were attached to the line using a Palomar knot, and a tag end was left that was twelve to six-

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FACEBOOK.COM/FISHINGTHEMIDWEST teen inches long. A sinker is attached to the end of that tag line. Again, there are sinkers made specifically for drop-shotting, and again, they work very well. But a plain splitshot will do the job also. When it comes to attaching the hook to the line, tie the Palomar knot so the hook rides with point of the hook up. Rigged with the hook up, you’ll catch most fish in the upper jaw. Rigged with the hook pointing down, you’ll miss too many. Drop-shotting is often thought of as a finesse technique, and at some times of the year it is. But on our recent trip, we used larger baits than we would when finesse is called for. The most productive

A nice bass taken using the drop-shot method. Photo by Bob Jensen

baits were Impulse four inch Ringworms and five inch Impulse Jerk Minnows. Much of the time a three inch bait will be best when drop-shotting, but on this day, the bigger baits were better. White was the most productive color. To fish a drop-shot rig, you first find an area that you believe will hold fish. In deep water, anything over about 15 feet, the drop-shot rig will be fished directly below the boat. We were fishing depths of less than 10 feet, so we pitched

the rig out a bit from the boat. The sinker was right on the bottom, the hook and bait were twelve to sixteen inches above the bottom. We gently lifted the rod tip, then let the sinker go back to the bottom on a tight line. It’s a fairly simple technique that can be learned quickly. Spinning tackle is usually used for drop-shotting, eight pound test line will be about right. I was using one of Cabela’s new Tournament ZX rods that were designed espe-

cially for drop-shotting. It has a softer tip but lots of backbone. It did an outstanding job and would also work for jigging and trolling light crankbaits for walleyes. You’ll also catch walleyes and panfish while drop-shotting. It’s a very good technique that will help anglers catch fish when they don’t want to bite, but will also be a very good way to catch them when they’re active. Add drop-shotting to your bag of fishing tricks and your catches will go up.

For All Your Fall Sporting Needs.

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