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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 1



















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Page 2 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018


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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 3

Special Fishing Destination Sections Lake of the Woods, Minnesota 24-25 Northern & Central Minnesota 26-29 Park Rapids, Minnesota 30-31 Devil’s Lake, North Dakota 34-35 Watertown, South Dakota 44-45 Pierre, South Dakota 58-59 Canada 81

Ice Fishing

Boat Buying Tips for getting what you want - on a budget!


The Dog Days of Winter

Mid-Winter Panfish....................................................... 6 Staying Mobile

Cruisin’ the Basins....................................................10 Choosing The Right Bait

Ice Jiggin’ Walleyes..................................................14 Tip-Ups

For Panfish.......................................................................16 Creating Ice Fishing

Nirvana................................................................................18 Lake of the Woods:

A Fishing Destination............................................22 Fish High Above the Pack

Upsize Panfish this Winter................................32 Team Walleye Slayerz

2nd Annual Veterans Weekend..................36 Watertown, SD to host 2nd

NAIFC National Qualifier...................................38 Straightening the

Learning Curve.............................................................46

Open Water Fishing Coming to South Dakota’s Lake Oahe

Bassmasters Elite Series....................................52 Get what Your Want—on a Budget!

Boat Buying.....................................................................60 Photo Credit: Chad Peterson HSM Outdoors

Ice Catch of the Day.......................48-51 Recipes Jaws’ Journey.............................................78 Keslar Kennels The Right Lens for the Right Occasion......................................82

Magazine Team

CEO/PRESIDENT: K.A. Lesnar MANAGING EDITOR: Paul Nester OPERATIONS MANAGER: Hosea Bennett COMPOSITION MANAGER: Catherine Krause Composition: Dan Brauer, Jesse Bierman, Dawn Giedd, Dustin Scheideler

Marketing 605-274-2640 Paul Nester - Joey Craft -

Contributors Jerry Carlson Josh Hagemeister Joe Henry Jordan Joshua Pat Keslar Jason Mitchell

• HSM - Kevin Dahlke - Colby Gallagher - Chad Peterson • Avera Health • Bassmasters

• Clam - Jason Durham • NAIFC - Jack Baker • Pheasants Forever - Jared Wiklund

The opinions expressed within are those of the authors and do not necessarily Midwest Huntingunting & Fishing Magazine. No part of this magazine may be agereflect idwest ishing anuary ebruary reproduced in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher.







Special Destination Section

2018 Pheasant Hunting Preview Public Lands Advocate Keynotes at Pheasant Fest Banquet 68 Harvest More Buck$ & Birds: Precision Ag Workshop 70 2018 Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic Highlights 72-73 Missouri River Blast & Cast 74-75 Jaws’ Journey at Keslar Kennals, Sandhills of Nebraska 78-79

Cover Photo: Steve Thompson at the Glacial Lakes of South Dakota By Greg Latza, Greg Latza Photography

Note from the Editor

It’s hard water season, and the augers are humming. We have some great stories on ice fishing in this issue. Check out Chad’s story on Mid-Winter Panfish, they don’t call him the Crappie Sniffer for nothing. Joe Henry also brings us to Ice Fishing Nirvana. The NAIFC (North American Ice Fishing Circuit) has chosen Watertown, SD to host one of their National Qualifying tournaments on Bitter Lake in South Dakota. If you haven’t visited Watertown this would be a good tome to check it out. It is in the center of the glacial lakes, with great ice fishing all around it. We have some big things happening around us this year. Pheasants Forever will be holding their annual Pheasant Fest for the first time in Sioux Falls, SD, February 16-18th. If you are a bird hunter you don’t want to miss this. This summer the Bassmaster Elite Series will be coming to South Dakota to fish Lake Oahe, on the Missouri River. The Elite Series features the greatest anglers in professional bass fishing, including reigning Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Brandon Palaniuk, from Hayden Idaho. Plan your trip to Pierre, SD, June 29th - July 2nd. midwesthuntfish • Like our page! • Post your photos & much more!

Be safe on the ice. ~ Paul

4005 S. Western Ave - PO Box 5184, Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5184 Sales: 605-274-2640 - Fax: 605-335-6873 •


All copy, pictures and graphics are reserved and may not be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. The opinions 2018 expressed and information given are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect Midwest Hunting & Fishing Magazine. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part, without the written permission of the publisher.

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 5

HSM Outdoors

6 Page 6 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018

It doesn’t have to be a tough time if you know what you’re looking for during these winter months

Photo Credits: Chad Peterson/HSM Outdoors


Mid-Winter is often called the “The Dog Days of Winter” like we call late July and August in the summer. It’s a time when fishing can be tough at times, but it doesn’t have to be if you know what you’re looking for during these winter months. Early ice is very exciting, because fish are still feeding heavily for the colder months ahead and are easy to target. But, the months of January and February are and can be very good fishing as well. Here are a few things that I’ve done homework on during these months to be successful: Location, types of lakes and presentations, are the things that have been keyed on to having success on the ice. As an angler, I do a lot of photography and I want to be able to get good photos of not only the fish I catch, but the tackle and equipment that is used. So, let’s talk about one of the keys that I use during the mid-winter months.

Sure, there’s a ton of lakes in the upper Midwest, but the lakes that I fish are small to mid-sized lakes. On these lakes, there are a few locations that I’ll target.

An area is where weeds are abundant

It holds cover, food and most of all...oxygen. These locations are often overlooked because of several reasons. One is that most anglers will be attracted to the community holes or where they see other anglers fishing. That’s fine too, but too often the fish are spooked and are a little harder to catch. I choose to fish off the beaten path, where fish aren’t spooked. Fishing in areas where the weeds can be in 4-9 FOW and I’ve had some of the best luck in those shallow areas. The water clarity is something to keep in mind as well. If it’s clear, most of the areas that I fish are for sight fishing and is the best way to watch and catch incoming panfish. The one thing that I get asked is, “where do you get those big crappies”? Well, most of the time, I catch them right under the ice. Yes, just put your presentation about 12” below the bottom of the ice.

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 7

Clam Outdoors Pro Tackle Duckbill Drop Jig - Firetiger/White Glow Bar

Clam Snow Drop XL Jig - Blueberry Spot

Just work your presentation slowly and wait for the ambush that comes from a crappie. Two things will happen, one is that you won’t know when they’ll hit your presentation and other times you can see them come in slowly and just look at your presentation until they decide to bite. The other location that I like to fish is where the

weed lines meet up with deeper water

The weed lines normally start to drop off in 12-15 FOW and then drops off into deeper water. I’ll punch several holes along that weed line and search for fish. If you’re marking weeds with your Vexilar, you’re in the right area. The crappies and bluegills will filter through and it is a favorite area of mine to target panfish. I don’t normally like to fish in deep water, for the risk of not being able to release the fish. The goal is to catch the fish, take the photography that I need for reports, product shots and video work. Remember, fish will hold to these areas because of food and oxygen.


The number one rule for me, and has been for a long time, is

not to fish any deeper than 20-25 FOW

Most of the lakes that I fish are that deep or shallower. Smaller to mid-sized lakes are my favorite and if they are stained or somewhat dirty, these are my preferred to fish. I guess I like fishing when there’s good light and the colors of gills and crappies are much more vibrant to photograph. The other reason is that I want to release these fish for another day. Don’t get me wrong, I keep fish for a meal at times, but when fishing, I want to get the information I need to create reports and the photography to educate others with. So, fishing during the “dog days of winter” can be very successful if you are willing to put in the work and to be patient when your fishing in the weeds and on the outside weed lines. Crappies and gills will be there and the bigger ones will be also and of course, you’ll catch bass, walleyes and northern pike. Remember to practice selective harvest and as always, bring a youngster with you on your next outdoor adventure. Until next time, be safe and we’ll see you in the outdoors. Page 8 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018

Northland Fishing Tackle Mitee Mouse Jig - Bambi


I’ve used just about everything when it comes to tackle, so I’m going to share my favorite jigs that are my go to for catching crappies and bluegills. First the Clam Outdoors Pro Tackle Duckbill Drop Jig tipped with plastic or euro larva. This jig has a nice forward motion when you are jigging it. This is one of my favorites for fall fishing as well, so I just carry it through into the ice season. When fishing shallow or sight fishing, you will see how the fish react and they just can resist it. Second, the Clam Snow Drop XL Jig I’ll mainly use them when fishing late afternoon and in to the evening hours because they are a little smaller in profile and they glow. They also have a snow like texture to the jig that gives it a nice reflective appearance during the day and a deep glow during these evening bites. Third, the Northland Fishing Tackle Mitee Mouse Jig The unique shape of this jig gives it that life like bug appearance when fishing in the weeds. Using a plastic or live bait on the Mitee Mouse jig and getting down in the weeds without getting caught up. The one thing that these jigs have in common is that they’re tungsten. Whether you’re fishing in weeds, to get through the weeds to where the fish are, or in deeper water, to get down faster on the moving schools of panfish. Tungsten has put ice fishing anglers in a better position to catch more fish in one hole rather than moving from one hole to another. Running and gunning will always be part of ice fishing, but at times, staying in the key areas like weeds and the outside of the weeds without moving, has proven far more success on big fish. Noise from the ice above will spook the fish, so it’s important to move as little as possible.

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The early ice season has come and gone and with that, the typical locations that held those early season fish are starting to become void of those said fish. You can keep pounding those areas and hope some new fish move into them, but, it is time to start finding where these fish have moved off to. Where did they go? As we start looking around the lake, shoreline fishing is what we have been doing in the early ice season for finding early season fish. As we look out towards the big expanse of the main lake, that basin can be overwhelming and intimidating at first look, as questions start coming to mind. Where am I going to start? As the ice season gets later into the winter, and if there are good amounts of snow on the ice, the shallow vegetation will start dying off, which can create some lack of oxygen being made and this may have the fish moving out into the basins of the lake looking for better living conditions. So where do we start when the basins are wide and vast? Think about a given body of water that you may fish in the warmer months. Were you able to locate these deeper fish in those basins then? If you did, those are always great places to start. If the waters are new to you, looking at the contour maps or the Navionics application is always a good choice for getting a starting point. These fish are schooled up and roaming these vast basin areas and finding locations that you can intercept them at is an advantage for a productive day.

Page 10 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 10

Some locations that need to be checked are long underwater points and if there is a point off that point, these are great areas to start probing. Start out setting up on the end of that furthest point and fishing the topside to see if anything is cruising the shallower area. You can fish these areas quickly with a variety of baits from jigs to spoons, tipping them with a variety of livebaits to plastics. One main thing to keep in mind, is that you need to keep drilling and moving from hole to hole until you find those locations that are holding these fish. If you are fortunate and find fish there, are they the quality of fish that you were hoping to catch? If they are, then keep on searching and catching them there and enjoy your time fishing. If they aren’t, then it means that it is time to pick up and continue that search out into the deeper waters of the basin. The fish that inhabit the basins in the winter, crappies to being more specific, will travel around in a variety of school sizes. These schools, each of them, tends to be of a consistent size of fish, meaning, if you catch an 8-inch fish, many times, many of them in that particular school will be around that 8 inch mark.

The main point about fishing basins is... try known structure, try a variety of contour changes with tight turns or any other little difference than the surrounding area. - Kevin Dahlke

Left: Clam Outdoors Spoons Photo Credits: Kevin Dahlke/ HSM Outdoors

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page11 11

These fish can and will be anywhere at a given time, it So, when you do start catching these takes some leg work in finding basin crappies, and they aren’t the size that them. It takes some time in you were looking for, keep moving around moving around and drilling more and get yourself onto another one of these schools. Many times, you won’t have to move holes. You can drill easily over 100 very far, as schools of fish can and will be using holes in each outing or location. the same general areas as another school does, Stay mobile, think outside of the just maybe a small little difference of an area, than box, try a variety of baits. By what the smaller schooled fish are using. doing some of these things, you When fishing away from anything structure wise, open basin area, any should be able to get yourself onto little variation in the bottom content, soft to hard or vice versa, these some great basin fishing. areas hold these fish as well. There are a variety of nymphs hatching in these transition areas and this becomes a feeding area. Finding these areas can be done by watching your flasher screen and as the signal comes back, it will be of a finer colored bottom line for hard and for a soft bottom, the bottom color line will be much wider. Most fish that are cruising these basin areas will also be suspending in a variety of levels in the water column. There are times that you can catch them directly underneath the ice, this is when sight fishing becomes a lot of fun if you are in clearer water. You won’t need the electronics for catching these as you can watch how they are reacting and biting your bait while looking down the hole. Other depths can be seen while watching your flasher screen and by having the flasher gain set to seeing your bait on the screen, this allows you to put that bait right at the level that the fish are using. Stopping your bait, a couple of feet above them and seeing how they react, will give you a good indication as to their feeding mood. If they come up quickly to inspect and hit the bait, then you have an aggressive bite happening and many times you can’t get the bait down to them without one rising to hit it on the fall. If they come up and inspect the bait and drop back down, they are in more of a negative mood and will need some enticing for them to commit to the bite. How deep the active feeding fish are can give you an idea as to which type of bait will work at that time. For the shallower holding fish, you can use a variety of jigs/bait combinations and by not having to go to deep into the water column, these will get back to them quickly. If these fish are feeding deeper down, for example 10-25 FOW, use a heavier jig. Now may be the time to send a spoon bait down, tipped with a plastic trailer or live bait option. These spoons are heavier in weight and allow you to get to them much quicker, plus each spoon type, has a different action and it won’t take long to see which one they are preferring. Always keep several different options tied on. The main point about fishing basins is to try known structure and try a variety of contour changes with tight turns or any other little difference than the surrounding area. Sometimes, just going out into the middle of the basin and trying will reap rewards as well, especially away from crowds.

12 Page 12 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018

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Back in the day, the go to ice jigging bait for walleyes was a silver Swedish Pimple. The other option was a Kastmaster. Today, the shelves at the local bait shop are decorated with hundreds of icy fish enticing vertical jigging options geared towards helping you catch the big one. For many ice anglers, the choice of what to drop down the hole can be quite overwhelming. Actually, it’s quite simple if you understand just a few key points in regards to the jigging lure itself and how to match the lure to the walleyes aggressiveness. Let’s keep this simple and break down the multitude of ice jigging lures into 3 basic groups. The groups of jigging lures are based on the action/characteristics of the lure themselves and the general activity level of the fish.

Drum roll please... The 3 basic jigging lure groups are: 1. Swimming/gliding lures, 2. Updown lures and 3. Basic jig heads (like your favorite lead head jig you use all summer long).

Let’s quickly chat about each category and the basic application

1. Swimming or gilding lures

Swimming or gliding lures themselves make up the most aggressive lure group of the 3 groups. After the initial upward pull (usually 1-2 ft), these lures swim or glide up, then out to the side as they begin an unpredictable darting quarter to full circle type pattern downward as it settles back to its original starting point. Let it sit still for 10-15 seconds, then “twitch” it about 5 seconds, let it sit still again for another 10-15 seconds and repeat! That’s a lot of action fishing through a hole in the ice! Common examples of these lures are the Rapala Slab Rap, Jigging Rap and the Moonshine Shiver Minnow. I use these lures 90% of the time to catch aggressively feeding fish of all species—like a hot crappie bite, “golden hour” walleyes, or pike in general. The other 10% of the time I use swimming/ gliding lures to trigger fish that are not aggressive at all. Can you say deadly on finicky walleye? In other words, this group of lures can be quite versatile. Keep the colors basic. Bright “fire tiger” type colors in stained water, golds/oranges/glow in tanic stained water (i.e. Lake of The Woods/Rainy), and the classic silver/black, gold/black, white, perch, silver/ blue in clear water situations. Fish the baits “naked” or tipped with a small minnow head for scent (a big minnow head can ruin the action). Experiment with different upward pull lengths and pause time in between your customized jigging sequence. I hang ‘em up on a lighter monofilament line like Berkley Trilene 8-10 lb. test tied directly to the lure or with a small cross lock snap to make switching lures faster. Generally, once I settle on particular lure, I will remove the snap and tie it direct.

Page 14 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 2018

2. Updown lures are just that

(Yes, I just created that word) When pulled upward at a fast rate, they basically travel straight up flutter or dart just about straight down. These lures are typical “flashy” chrome colored lures. Silver and gold on almost all of them. I think that classic Christmas song “Silver and Gold” by Burle Ives was actually about these lures! Classic examples of these lures are the Swedish Pimple or the Kastmaster. The JB Weasel is another example. Just about any jigging spoon falls into this group. This group of lures is in my opinion the most versatile in regards to catching active or inactive fish.

I probably catch 75% of my walleyes throughout the winter using this lure group. I also tend to use smaller sizes (1.5”-1/8 oz type of stuff) to help catch numbers of walleyes and those bonus big perch. I use the same line as I do with the swimming/gliding baits but a small cross lock snap is always used in this case. I also recommend tipping the bait each time with a fresh minnow head. Minnow tails work too, but the heads are better most of the time. I start with a more aggressive jigging approach using 1-3 foot upward pulls, let it settle and sit for 5-10 seconds, twitch for 3 seconds, let it sit for 5-10 seconds, then another upward pull. That’s where I start, and I tweak from there depending on the bites. Gold or silver with a little blue, glow, green, orange or white will do the trick in the color department.

3. Basic jig head

Yup, go get the jigs you left in your boat in storage. My summer tackle is in my ice box and my ice tackle is in my boat. There’s a hint. I use jig heads through the ice the least amount amongst the three groups. However, they are very important in catching non-aggressive fish. Slowly tapping the bottom with a 1/16-1/4 o. jigs (1/8 oz. seems to be most consistent) tipped with a whole minnow (lip hooked or threaded onto the hook). The entire lead head jig approach is less invasive. Slow short lifts, resting on the bottom, hovering and twitching a few inches off the bottom. With the jigs I use 6lb. test Berkley monofilament. I like the stretch in the line which offers less resistance to help a non-aggressive walleye “inhale” the bait in easier. This combined with a lighter action rod and a slow rod tip will help put more fish on the ice. A jig set up in this fashion can easily be used as a dead stick. Pull the fish to you with an Updown lure and watch them smack the dead stick.

Moonshine Shiver Minnow

Jigging Rapala

• • • •

Let your lure sit still for 10-15 seconds “Twitch” it about 5 seconds Let it sit still again for another 10-15 seconds Repeat! That’s a lot of action fishing through a hole in the ice! Common examples of swimming/gilding lures are the • Rapala Slab Rap • Jigging Rap Rapala • Moonshine Shiver Slab Rap Minnow

Pretty basic but deadly. By adding jigging lures to your “bag o’ walleye tricks” this ice fishing season (use them in the summer too!), I’m confident you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 15

If you actually think tip-ups are only for ice fishing walleyes and pike—you’re dead bait wrong. I’ve been using this non finesse technique for panfish for years, and now it’s your turn! Today’s tip-ups are more than sensitive enough to produce crappies (and bluegills) when used as a stealthy search weapon.

In the dialogue of ice fishing panfish, the term “tip-up” doesn’t come to fruition much. The fact is that it’s almost impossible to verify fishing spots trying to watch a bobber while searching/probing other areas with a jig/ spike/worm combo. And frankly, with the unattended line laws involved— there is more slack and distance in using a tip-up being used than a “dead stick” or a bobber line. It all started years ago when I began catching huge crappies on tip-ups when fishing for suspended walleyes using shiner minnows. Long story short, I’ve adapted my techniques and tackle to effectively catch huge bluegills and crappies using tip-ups! There’s no real secret other than thinking outside the box. It’s very similar to the not so new trend of using jigging Rapalas all summer long. Once I locate my fishing spot(s) of choice, and actually marked fish through the ice using my Vexilar, I will drill few holes in the area and begin to catch and verify the numbers and size of fish. I actively search for fish, moving from hole to hole. I typically only drill 5-8 holes to avoid spooking any fish—especially if the water is less than 20 ft deep.

Once the flags start flying, jump on the line and set the hook. If there is a hole where flags are flying, get that tip-up out of there and start jigging with the rod in hand and transplant the tip-up in another hole and continue the sequence. The tip-up is used as a search weapon only— remember that. Tip-up search, jig destroy!

Page 16 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 16

Photo Credits: Captain Josh Hagemeister

The first thing I do is set a tip-up at the level the Vexilar located fish are hanging at. The tip-up is loaded with the usual braided black tip-up type line with a small snap swivel on it so I can quickly switch from pike/walleye over to panfish by simple attaching a different 6’ leader. For the panfish I prefer 3-4 lb. Berkley Trilene XL monofiliment. I like the monofilament to stretch when the fish “inhales” the bait. This lessens the odds of the bait being stripped or the fish feeling the tension due to the tip-up. Non-stretch line is not recommended for this application. On the fish end of the business is a number 8 octopus hook anchored with a small split shot about 7-8 inches from the hook (typically red during the day or glow when the light conditions are closer to the dark side) with a lively killer crappie minnow on it—hooked behind the dorsal fin by the way. I adjust the tip-up sensitivity a little on the light side to be safe. Pick a hole and let’r rip. Continue searching the other pre-drilled holes and keep a close eye on the tip-up.

And there you go, simple and sweet. Imagine this system with five of your friends! Lotsa Fish! Lotsa Fun! Captain Josh Hagemeister, Minnesota Fishing Guide Service. 320-291-0708, 218-732-9919, or visit P.S. Camp Fish & Minnesota Fishing Guide Service will be hosting “Camp Ice Fishing Weekend” on January 12-14, 2018. 2 nights/2 days. Seminars, ice fishing, meals, lodging, socializing—the works at Bugbee Hive Resort on Lake Koronis in Central Minnesota. If interested in being a better ice angler and having a great time, give me a call right away, we are limiting the camp to 35 anglers! (RSVP by Jan 7, 2018) Capt. Josh 320-291-0708 or email:

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 17

Thousands flock every winter to the famous waters of Lake of the Woods to enjoy some of the best ice fishing in North America. Most take advantage of the unique infrastructure that has been created, traversing from a heated resort into a heated ice rig to a heated fish house without lifting a finger. Others prefer the challenge of doing it on their own with their own equipment, either driving out on a plowed ice road or navigating on a groomed snowmobile trail across the lake up to the NW Angle. There are many options in these parts. What most visitors don’t realize is what happens behind the scenes to make this incredible environment possible. Prepping for the winter season for some is a year round process. For most, though, the process starts up towards the end of summer. Resorts begin the process of getting their ice fishing vehicles, trailers, fish houses and other equipment ready for the upcoming ice season. For the many fish houses, there is painting, adding new skids, repairs, checking heaters, fixing windows and a myriad of other tasks that are all part of the process. Part of this process is the decision of how many fish houses to retire from the fleet. Some of these houses have seen 40 below temps, gale force winds, thousands of fish and have been the stage for families, groups and couples making lifelong memories. From a mechanical perspective, light ice rigs such as Geo Trackers with heated trailers are the norm for transporting people out to the fish houses early in the season. These rigs are fixed up, tuned up, welded and made operational so that when that first ice forms in early December, they are ready to roll. As the ice thickens, many resorts will transport visitors in a bombardier or possibly a homemade type of track rig. These rigs allow clearance over large snow drifts and exceptional traction with long tracks instead of tires. The rigs are typically steered with big skis on the front of the vehicle similar to snowmobile skis, rather than tires that would get stuck in the deep snow. Fully heated, these rigs are part of the experience of ice fishing the Walleye Capital.

In early December when the ice forms, resorts from around the lake up through the NW Angle are working hard marking trails on the thickest ice. Most resorts use a chainsaw to check the thickness of the ice. The guide bar of the chainsaw is marked off in inches. While slowly cutting down into the ice, the ice workers can get a quick measurement of the ice making note the ice level on the guide bar when the water begins to spray up. This is a quick way to check the ice in a variety of different spots while staking trails. On the south shore, many resorts cross Four Mile Bay eventually reaching Pine Island, a thin strip of land that separates the bay from the main lake. This island is made up of primarily sand. As soon as they can make it across, resorts that have a road or bombardier trail will actually cut a hole in the ice and pump water into the sand. “We really soak the sand with the water. This not only makes travel easier, but reduces wear and tear on fish houses and other equipment,” explains Brian Ney of Adrian’s Resort. “This is normally done on cold days so the road will freeze hard, making it easier to cross the island.” “Once to the lake, the lake ice is usually more consistent than the bay ice. Some years, there can be areas of really rough ice. We normally chop it down and then flood it, making the ice road as smooth as possible,” says Ney.

There are a few pilots in the area that will fly the lake to observe and take notes on what part of the lake freezes first, what part of the lake stays open the latest, where there might be rough ice, which gives resorts some help to stake a trail on the thickest and most consistent ice. Resorts continue to test the ice out to fertile fishing grounds. Closely monitoring the ice every day, they know when it is right to allow the first bit of travel from ATV’s with collapsible fish houses. After a short time of cold weather, resorts begin pulling out the first few fish houses, which on an average year is around December 10th. These first houses out, in many cases, experience some of the best fishing of the year. All winter long, it is important to follow the marked trails of the resorts as thickness of the ice can obviously vary. Typically around December 15th, the snowmobile trails are staked from the mouth of the Rainy River across the lake to the Northwest Angle to the north, Warroad the west, and to Baudette along the Rainy River to the south. These trails really open up travel to the many resorts up at the NW Angle. Zippel Bay Page 18 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 18

Resort Igloo Bar

Inside an Arnesen's Rocky Point Resort sleeper fish house

Nick Painovich, owner of Zippel Bay Resort is also busy preparing for the busy ice season. He, like many resort owners, is one of the first people out early on thin ice checking conditions and staking a trail. “I invested in an airboat a number of years ago to make things easier on me. This way, as I am checking ice on Zippel Bay and eventually out on the main lake, I have a sense of security.” Painovich, like many others, uses a chainsaw marked off in inches to quickly and efficiently test ice depths. He places flags in the areas he has checked that are coming along nicely, and a double flag in areas that are a bit thinner. With the goal of thicker ice, Painovich sometimes helps Mother Nature out a bit. “Out in the open areas, we get some wind that blows the snow off the ice, creating thicker ice. Back in the narrow parts of the bay, the wind doesn’t hit these areas so much and snow starts accumulating. Because of this, I will take out my airboat and give it some power, blowing much of the snow off of the ice, which allows it to freeze quicker.”

Gregg Hennum, owner of Sportsman’s Lodge stakes and grooms the trail across the lake. “We actually use six snowmobiles the day we mark the trail. Two sleds haul trailers with the stakes. Two more go ahead and drill holes that are about 2 inches in diameter while the other two follow and stick in the marker poles.” explains Hennum. The poles are painted black with reflective tape around the top, not only to see the trail, but the black marker allows melting in the warmer weather months. “With those black markers, the ice around the marker melts nicely in the spring, allowing us to pull markers out while moving along at a nice clip on a snowmobile. We have one person drive while the other sits on the back of the snowmobile and pulls the trail markers,” explains Hennum. He grooms the trails on the lake and the Rainy River on a regular basis throughout the winter. Photo Credits: Joe Henry

Zippel Bay is famous for their Igloo Bar on the ice. This oversized fish house is in the shape of an igloo, painted like ice blocks and shaped like a real igloo. With over 1,000 square feet on the inside, electric lights, big screen TV, full bar and partial food menu, this is definitely a gathering spot for visitors. Outside of the Igloo, there are actually two heated porta potties that fit the theme, looking like small igloos. Some patrons were commenting about a cold toilet seat in the outhouses, so heaters were added. Each night, there is a bonfire outside on the ice. “People seem to like the fire. Whether they step outside to smoke or simply to enjoy the camaraderie, it has been a hit.” “We take the Igloo Bar out in two pieces and with a comealong, pull the two pieces together once the bar is in the right spot. We need about 15 inches of ice to bring it out,” explains Painovich. “We also prepare the ice some before setting the igloo. I actually will build a snow bank around the spot where the Igloo Bar will be placed. I punch a hole in the ice and pump lake water on the ice flooding it. I will build this spot up, actually forming a crown on the ice of 3 - 4 inches also giving the ice more strength.” Painovich said the Igloo usually gets out on the ice before Christmas. The Igloo is placed on a reef in front of Zippel Bay. Did I mention, there are holes inside the bar to ice fish? For $5 per hour you can rent an ice hole and fish while in the bar. As you can imagine, it gets quite festive when a patron pulls up a nice walleye. “Later in the year, we move the Igloo to the west from the rock just a bit and actually get into some big pike,” explains Painovich. Pike over 20lbs have been caught out of the bar. Definitely a must see attraction. Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 19

Yes, the winter months at Lake of the Woods are filled with good times, snowmobiling and certainly lots of ice fishing. The next time you come up and are being transported out to a fish house, driving on an ice road or are zipping along on a snowmobile trail, give an extra thought about all of the preparation that takes place to make this frozen environment an epic ice fishing mecca.

Light ice rig with people hauler trailer Cyrus Resort

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It had been a couple of years since I made my last trek to ice fish on Lake of the Woods. Because of this fact, I was quite thrilled to be invited to join tourism director, Joe Henry and a group of Ice Team anglers on a midMarch excursion to Arnesen’s Rocky Point Resort. Although it was my first trip to Arnesen’s, I was quite familiar with this resort. It has been a mainstay in the Lake of the Woods region for years and is a top rated destination for both summer and winter angling. Their reputation for putting guests on fish is legendary. We were all up early on the first morning of fishing. Working with the Ice Team crew meant there were plenty of details to take care of before we embarked onto the ice. It was barely light when we pulled off of the shore. Since the date was late and the ice was just starting to deteriorate, all of our fishing was going to be done out of portable shelters. Although I had never fished out of a hub shelter before, they proved to be easy to put up, very roomy and a warm environment out of the wind. As is usually the case when on a fishing trip of this nature, it took a while to sort out the best technique. There seemed to be plenty of fish showing up on our Vexilars, but refining the presentation took a little time. Eventually, we got dialed in on what seemed to be the best presentation. My best action came on a Clam Red/Gold Leech Flutter Spoon tipped with a minnow head or tail. I also caught plenty of fish on a dead stick and minnow. I found that by hooking my minnow through the belly I got more bites. When hooked this way, the minnow is constantly struggling to turn over and right itself which seems to trigger strikes.

In typical Lake of the Woods fashion, we found ourselves catching a real variety of fish. The walleyes were cooperative but so were the sauger, perch and tullibee. Some of the tullibee were quite large and very scrappy fighters.

Page 2222 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018

It wouldn’t be a Lake of the Woods trip without a few eelpout in the mix. A couple of the ones I caught were huge and tested my four-pound-test line to the max. Anglers have learned that these fish are actually very good to eat. Mine went back down the hole, however. Lake of the Woods is an incredible body of water. It is a fish factory that produces quality angling year round, year after year. Although superb fishing can be found during any season, it has certainly become a favorite winter destination for ice anglers. One of the reasons for the popularity of this body of water is the diverse angling options. Those that wish to stay in one of the many resorts and fish out of heated fish houses can do so. Others, that want to venture out on their own, also have that opportunity. As we settle into winter and the ice season begins in earnest, you can be sure hundreds of anglers will be putting a trip to Lake of the Woods on their cold water itinerary. And, with good reason!

“I had never fished out of a hub shelter before, they proved to be easy to put up, very roomy and a warm environment out of the wind.”

“My best action came on a Clam Red/Gold Leech Flutter Spoon tipped with a minnow head or tail. By hooking my minnow through the belly, I got more bites. The minnow is constantly struggling to turn over and right itself which seems to trigger strikes.”

Photo Credits: Jerry Carlson

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 23 23

Ice fishing on Minnesota’s Lake of the Woods & Rainy River area truly offers a unique and satisfying winter experience. Each year more visitors return to the area as they hear by word-of-mouth from their friends or relatives about this exciting wilderness area. Sprawling Lake of the Woods is the largest inland freshwater lake in the continental U.S. next to the Great Lakes and is truly considered “big water” country. Even so, it doesn’t take long to get out on the ice where the action is waiting. There are over 50 resorts, sleeper services, and hotels in Lake of the Woods County. A wide range of winter services are offered. Visitors can have all the conveniences of home as they stay in a warm cabin, condo, motel, or sleeper fish house. Travel is available in heated track vehicles: van, bombardier (which seats 12); or by conventional trucks on plowed roads across the ice.

Photos courtesy of: Lake Of The Woods MN Tourism



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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 25

From mid-December through February, Central and Northern Minnesota come alive with the roar of snowmobiles and the sounds of ice augers. The lakes become ice villages, complete with roads, shacks and a population of ice anglers. They are all on the ice to take advantage of walleye, northern pike and other game fish, even Eelpouts. Ice fishing is one of Minnesota's top winter outdoors activities, and with more than 11,800 lakes, Minnesota is an ice angler’s paradise. Many of these lakes become winter vacation destinations and are home to winter resorts, ice house rental and guiding business.


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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 27

Minnesota plays host to hundreds of fishing tournaments every year. These events range from small-scale local fishing derbies all the way up to professional touring walleye and bass circuits. Fishing contests are popular— each year the DNR issues nearly 400 permits for fishing contests.

The DNR regulates fishing contests to protect fish and fish habitat, to restrict activity during high use periods, and for the safety of the participants. Regulating contests helps reduce the potential for conflicts with other water recreationists at public access sites, on the water and ice.

Photos courtesy of: Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza

Page 28 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 28

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 29

MN Park Rapids has been a winter vacation destination for decades due to a multitude of unique offerings. One primary draw to the area is the vast ice fishing opportunities. When anglers talk about "heading to the lake", Park Rapids doesn't have "a lake". A ten-mile radius offers nearly 100 lakes, while about 400 are accessible within a 25-mile radius. The Park Rapids Lakes Area is dynamically diverse in the variety of species available to anglers. This includes walleye, northern pike, muskellunge, largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappies, bluegill, perch, brown, brook and rainbow trout, rock bass, tullibee among others. If you've never heard of a silver pike, you might just be lucky enough to catch one and subsequently photograph and release the unique fish. Essentially, a silver pike has a body identical to a typical northern pike. The identifying difference is that silver pike do not have a green body spattered with white lines and spots. Instead, the uncommon fish is covered in silver scales outlined in gold. Silver pike are truly magnificent. Most fish species can be found in the majority of our local lakes, which range in size from a couple hundred acres up to about 2,500 acres. Numerous bodies are part of lake chains, so anglers can navigate from lake to lake. Yet those hidden water's deep in the forest are equally exciting to explore. Follow weekly fishing reports and find lodging at: Josh Hagemeister. Minnesota Fishing Guide Service

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Many ice anglers covet big panfish. What constitutes a big bluegill, sunfish or crappie can vary across regions and can depend on the angler, water and year. Some lakes only seem capable of producing bluegills that max out at eight inches. Other lakes rarely ever produce a crappie over twelve inches. There is no secret ingredient for success that will change what swims in a lake. Rule number one is to fish water that has big panfish. If you want to catch big panfish, you have to fish water that is capable of producing big panfish. Factors that seem to have the most limiting factor on panfish size is angler harvest and predator prey imbalances. Population structure has an enormous effect on overall strategy for ice angling. For example, winter kills often produce big panfish about four or five years later.

What typically happens is the lake dies off, anglers forget about the lake and the few fish that survive compete with fewer fish. If you are dealing with one size class of fish or fish that have grossly large body condition resulting from few fish and too much forage, the strategies are completely different. I dare say however that what most ice anglers deal with on most lakes is something completely different where the fishery has a very robust panfish population but...only a very small percentage of fish are the largest or top end size. Many fisheries might consist of numbers of five to seven-inch bluegill for example with perhaps five percent of the fish measuring over nine inches. This type of fishing is obviously a numbers game where the more fish you catch, the more likely you are to encounter the largest fish in the system but ice anglers can also improve the odds dramatically by specifically targeting the largest fish.

Larger profiled jig and soft plastic combinations fished high above schools of panfish will often account for the larger fish in the school. Photo Credits: Jason Mitchell Page 32 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 32

Ice anglers often spend a tremendous amount of time locating schools of panfish assuming that the more fish are below you, the greater the odds of bigger fish being present. This assumption is often correct in that in a pack of a hundred fish, there are often a few outliers that are bigger. This mob of fish however can consume you. The hardest thing in the world can be leaving biting fish. A strategy that has worked so well over the years for targeting the biggest panfish in the school is to fish high above the pack and force the fish to rise in the water column. If you drop right down to the pack, you are going to have to catch an enormous amount of fish before you find the fish you want if you are targeting the larger fish. What I so often find is that the largest fish in the school are typically dominant and most confident to leave the security of the pack. If there is one fish in that school that will rise five feet higher than the rest, it is often the largest fish in the pack. Fish high above the fish and force the larger fish to rise from the pack. Four inch bluegills will quickly dart up and dart back down because they don’t seem to like being alone and silhouetted. Bigger fish will rise higher and stay above the pack for longer periods of time. When fishing basins and channels where panfish typically suspend over deeper water, larger profiles often shine because fish can see the presentation from much further away and separating fish by how far they will rise is one of the best strategies there is for sorting out the largest fish from the rest of the school. Realize as well that when you start fishing high above a school of fish, you will get fewer bites and catch fewer fish but you will often catch the largest fish. Because of the effectiveness of this high sorting strategy, we often upsize the profile or size of our baits by using soft plastics. Larger profiles like the Maki Plastic’s Jamei and Draggi can be

Day in and day out, people who find fish catch the biggest fish. In the dynamics of a school of fish, the biggest fish are often the dominant fish in that particular school. The biggest fish often eat first and eat the most. The little fish often don’t get to eat until the big fish are done. Guess who gets caught first? Community holes are often very difficult to catch the largest fish in unless you get to that spot first. You see it every winter, the first people on the ice during the early ice period catch some nice fish and then the size of the fish drops off through the winter on community spots. If you want to catch the largest panfish beyond first ice, find fish that are not using the community spots. Which might mean finding an unassuming lake that doesn’t have a reputation or is difficult to access, looking for a secondary basin or figuring out the small details like an inside turn or soft bottom point that anglers overlooked. Don’t overthink fishing however, success is often simply leaving the pack and drilling holes over fresh ice. Simply moving fifty yards away from the crowd can often produce a nicer class of fish. As a rule of thumb, some of the first fish you pull off a location will often be some of the nicest fish. Anglers who have a knack for catching bigger panfish through the ice typically have a lone wolf mentality. They put in the work looking for fish and cycle through fish on fresh spots. This winter, get confident in blazing your own trail and adapt your presentation to upsize your presentation and fish well above the pack. This combination of location and presentation will increase the size of the panfish you catch dramatically on fisheries where there is a substantial amount of fish with only a smaller percentage of fish being on the upper end of size.

seen from further away which means that you can lift fish higher in the water column from greater distances. This distance often separates the big fish from the small fish. The second factor is to keep moving and hitting fresh fish. If you sit over the same hole for any extended period of time, you can quickly wear out your welcome. When you see the fish size drop off in a hole, move. Now if you sit over a hole long enough, fresh fish can recharge a hole so patience can sometimes work but what I find is that drilling more holes and fishing new water is usually best because you can always rest your old holes for a half hour or so and simply let that hole load up with more big fish. I find that I can sit over a hole and pick away at fish where the rate of catching nice fish might be a handful an hour... or I can bounce around to several holes and go back to the hole described above and still catch the same number of nice fish, just in a much shorter window of time. Knowing when to give fish a rest and look for new fish is often what separates great ice anglers from the rest.

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 33

This very fertile prairie lake grows large numbers of Walleye, Northern Pike, White Bass. It has earned the reputation of being the “Perch Capital of the World” and has been ranked as one of the top five fishing lakes in the U.S.


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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 35

ual n n A 2nd

was held Feb 11-12, 2017 Ackerman Acres Resort, Devil’s Lake, ND.

With nine staff arriving days prior our goal was to locate numbers of fish for the weekend. The staff was pumped to fire up the sleds early Friday morning. Splitting up into three groups the guys covered ground most of the day jumping from spot to spot checking different structure. Fish seemed to be sporadic throughout different areas and structure but there was a pot of gold at the end of one rainbow, pulling 6 quality fish out in a 5-minute time period the guys backed off that spot and let those fish be. 

We will be hosting our 3rd Annual Veterans Weekend on Devils Lake, ND February 10-11, 2018. For updates visit us at our Facebook page @ Team Walleye Slayerz.

Page 36 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 36

Friday evening Veterans from across the Midwest as far as Nebraska started to arrive at Ackerman Acres Resort. The anticipation of getting out that next morning was almost unbearable. After a short meeting all the veterans and staff engaged in some competitive dart games while enjoying the newly found camaraderie.  With a heavy fog that morning, our snow machines hit the ice with a sure destination. The sounds of eight Jiffy ice augers in the background was satisfying.  For the first hour or two while sitting in silence you could hear hook set after hook set coming from all directions. With evident smiles from those visible it was turning out to be a great day on the ice. Now they call it fishing for a reason and it was as if we hit a brick wall. The fish disappeared and almost seemed nonexistent. We had experienced this a week prior while pre-fishing so we figured those fish would cycle back but they evidently didn't read that book. We drilled out across the basin covering ground in search of these pesky creatures. Picking one off here and there all the guys enjoyed the nice day out hole hoping, laying a few fish top side. 

Day two called for a move due to slush pockets building up around our day one area due to heavy snow cover. With only a few hours to fish on Sunday, the group spread out across a mile of water looking for that pot of gold. Fishing seemed to be a little steadier, picking up a few here and there. Ripping raps and rattle spoons tipped with minnow heads were a group favorite calling in these roaming eyes from a distance. The weekend was more than just about how many fish we could put topside, but instead to give thanks to the men and women who served our country to fight for the freedom we all take for granted every day. We would like to thank all our event sponsors for everything they contributed. Ackerman Acres Resort for all the support over the past few years.  Clam Outdoors, Vexilar, Jiffy Ice Drills, Double D Ranch out of Dunn Center, ND. JB Lures, Dakota Helicopters, Dunn Spraying, Venom Outdoors, Reeds Sporting Goods, Titan Oil Services, TyDak Motorsports, NUVERA, Hot Shot Metal Service out of Dilworth, MN, Crosby Creek Consulting and Andrus Outdoors.

Team Walleye Slayerz was developed by Jordan Joshua, Aaron Nelson and Jeramy Poehler. We are based in North Dakota with guides and tournament anglers representing TWS from across the Midwest. TWS was developed to promote outdoor companies as well as provide our followers with hot fishing tips, local reports, guide directory, advocate for the outdoors, and much more. To find out about future veteran events head on over to our Facebook page @ Team Walleye Slayerz or Check out our website @ Photo Credits: Team Walleye Slayerz

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 37• Page 37



2018 Watertown will once again Host a NAIFC (North American Ice Fishing Circuit) National Qualifier on Bitter Lake. The tournament will be headquartered out of Evolution Power Sports of Watertown and is open to 100 two - person teams. The Top-10 finishing teams will receive an invitation to the NAIFC North American Championship to be held in December of 2018 on North & South Twin Lakes, MN. Photo Credits: NAIFC


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2017 winners Jeff & Grant Wirkus, celebrate their win!

NAIFC Qualifiers are not derby style events, they are competitive in nature. Lake boundaries are set with teams allowed to move and drill as many holes as they wish. Tournament fishing hours are from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm. The species and team bag limit for Bitter Lake are 16 perch. Portable fish shelters are allowed with walking, ATVs and snowmobiles the modes of transportation. The NAIFC pays deep into the field with one team out of every five teams earning cash. Along with the cash prizes the winning team takes home "The Wood" (NAIFC Trophy). Aqua Vu, Quicksilver Lubricants and Lucky John Lures provide additional Product Prizes.

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While the competitive portion of the Qualifier takes place on Sunday, the NAIFC weekend kicks off with a Friday Night Seminar. Hosted at Evolution Power Sports the seminar series opens with a 5:00-7:00 PM demonstration of Ice Fishing basics covering everything from what knot to tie to the use of plastic baits. Then at 7:00 PM the technical/how-to information is taken up a notch by highlighting fishing techniques from across the Ice Belt as well as underwater camera use and tournament tactics. NAIFC Prostaff, Team USA members along with Prostaff from major manufacturing will be the seminar speakers. The seminars are "Free" to attend and are open to the General Public. There will be a drawing for Quicksilver Lubricants prizes for those in attendance. On Saturday local kids will take center stage during the Kids Ice Camp to be held at the Redlin Arts Center. All area kids and parents are welcome to the "Free" Kids Ice Camp sponsored by Ice Team and Lucky John Lures. Starting indoors at 1:00 PM kids and parents learn about ice safety, bait, electronics, rods and jigging techniques. At 2:00 PM both the kids and parents are invited out onto the ice to experience in person what was demonstrated inside. Every kid in attendance will receive a fishing rod from Lucky John Lures. Quicksilver Lubricants product prizes for adults will be drawn for.

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 41

2017 1st place winners, Jeff and Grant Wirkus.

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While NAIFC tournaments attract the best of the best from across the Ice Belt, it is generally the local teams with their home field advantage that hold the competitive edge. In 2017, Jeff and Grant Wirkus, a father/son team from Watertown proved that very statement when they smoked the field on Bitter Lake. The local family duo's 16 perch bucket tipped the scale at 16 pounds, 11 ounces, which is over a pound a fish, an accomplishment that is seldom done in a panfish tournament and speaks to the tremendous fishery that Bitter Lake provides.

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Page 42 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018


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Jeff Wirkus, Team Captain and father explained: "We found the spot a couple of weeks ago and hoped other teams would not find it." "30-32 feet of water off a hump that has a pretty steep drop off." "It worked out Chad perfect, the perch were there and the other teams weren't." "Being a Schuab & dad and getting to watch your son pull monster perch, beating teams Anthony that travel the nation is unbelievable, fantastic." Rodriguez, In 2017, teams from 6 States converged on Watertown for the St. Croix NAIFC South Dakota Qualifier. The quality of perch on Bitter Lake Rod Big and the hospitality shown by the community of Watertown created Fish 2017 quite a buzz in the tournament world and the 2018 tournament is Winners! poised to build off that success. As an added incentive to enter the Bitter Lake Qualifier, Aqua Vu Underwater Cameras is offering special VIP pricing to all involved in the event, a saving per camera that literally covers the cost of registration. NAIFC Tournament Director Jack Baker reported, "The NAIFC's motto is Every Ounce Counts and in most of our tournaments the local fishermen do real good, Watertown was no exception." "Jeff and Grant winning by 8 plus ounces just proves the value of local knowledge." "A lot of local fishermen don't think they can compete against tournament guys and that just isn't true." "All they have to do is get off the couch and get in the game, they know the area lakes and that home field advantage is huge."

For more information on the NAIFC, Qualifiers, Championship, Friday Night Seminar or Kids Ice Camp go to or contact Jack Baker at 612.308.4858 - To enter a NAIFC Qualifying tournament click on Registration at For information on Watertown check out

Chad Schuab & Anthony Rodriguez, with a 1.61 lb. perch, took 2nd place in the tournament. NAIFC Team of the Year in 2016.


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NATIONAL QUALIFIER Chad Schuab & Anthony Rodriguez, took 2nd place in the 2017 NAIFC tournament and were the 2017 St. Croix Rod Big Fish Winners! Page 44 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 44


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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 45 45

“When searching basins for crappie, you are also going to encounter tullibee and whitefish over many deep water areas.” “Watch the marks on the Vexilar. If they slash in and out and chase you down they are usually not crappies.”

We sat down with a few of our Clam pros and asked for one simple tip that will help ice anglers from novice to expert catch more and bigger panfish. Here’s what we learned...

Photo credit: Jason Durham Clam Outdoors

Page 46 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018

“Think of your holes as channel buttons on your remote. If you don't like what's on, move holes, in essence, changing the channel. The more holes you drill, the more channels you get. Eventually you're going to find something worth watching!”

Matt adds: You constantly hear today’s expert ice anglers preach the advantages of mobility on the ice. Actively searching for active schools of panfish by drilling hole after hole, searching with your Vexilar and probing the underwater environment with fast falling tungsten jigs is commonplace for panfish anglers. Today it’s never been easier to do so with products like Clam’s drill plate that bores holes quickly and because of the light weight, minimizes fatigue, allowing the angler to “change channels” all day long.

Jason adds: Anglers get excited when they see targets on their sonar and rightfully so. But understanding the movements of the lights on your screen will positively influence your catch rate because you won’t be erroneously trying to catch a fish you actually don’t intend to catch.

Ice anglers are innovative. They’re constantly refining technique, equipment and their understanding of fish behavior. Yet acquiring information through simple trial and error requires a massive amount of time. Advice from others who have put in the time to cultivate new angling ideas drastically reduces the time you need to dedicate toward developing innovative angling concepts and allows you to apply an already proven idea, technique or presentation. Avid ice anglers will sometimes give you their entire lifetime of advice, all you need to do is ask.

“Light line is key; 2-3lb test teamed up with a #12 Red Glow Drop Jig loaded with lively, colored maggots.” Although Seibert’s quote is brief, the amount of information runs deep. First off, light line for panfish is imperative, especially when the activity level of the fish is neutral or negative. There are anglers who try to apply their open water panfish ideas to ice fishing and though they’ll catch a few fish, their success will be greatly impeded by not taking the simple step to downsize.

“Look to your spring bobber as not just a strike indicator, but as a tool for suppressing your jigging sequence.” We all get excited when we’re catching slab crappies and monster bluegills. That excitement can sometimes translate into too much movement of your bait.

Seibert’s Drop jig suggestion is spot-on, since the tungsten composition fishes fast, falling quickly through the water column. This is very important when there are small schools of roaming fish and you only have a short window to capitalize on their presence. Seibert suggests the Red Glow color of the Drop Jig, one of his personal favorites. Utilizing the glow capabilities is not only effective during low-light periods, but any time of day since the underwater environment has limited ambient light since the sheet of ice and snow impedes sunlight penetration. The final tidbit of Seibert’s tip mentions “…lively, colored maggots”. During the summer months, some anglers hyperfocus on ensuring their bait is fresh and lively. Yet through the ice we become content with using a smashed gob of worms. Having fresh bait is most important when the fish are less active, but less important when the fish are aggressive.

Matt adds: Keep in mind that panfish are used to preying upon organisms that are miniature and exhibit minute movements. A spring bobber can absorb a portion of your overzealous jigging. However, realize that the weight of your jig or spoon influences the effectiveness of a spring bobber. A heavier jig will make the spring bobber “bounce” when you intend to stop jigging and the heaviest jigs will cause the spring bobber to lose all of its effectiveness and intent.

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 47

By Taste of Home

By Rose Mary Morgan

Cook time: 15 Min. • Prep time: 25 Min. • Serves: 3 to 4 people

Ingredients: • 1 lb. ocean perch fillets (or fish of your choice) • 2 large eggs, room temp • 1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice • 1 1/2 C. Panko bread crumbs • 1 tsp. dill weed • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt • 1 tsp. white pepper • 2 tsp. each garlic powder, paprika, & Old Bay seasoning*

Page 48 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 48

Directions: Preheat oven to 400º. In a small bowl add eggs salt, pepper & lemon juice, then beat until blended together. In a large zip lock bag or bowl, add the Panko bread crumbs, paprika, Old Bay seasoning, dill & garlic powder. Shake or stir to blend together. Add a wire baking rack to a large shallow pan then spray with non stick cooking spray, and set aside until needed. Dip fish into egg batter then coat both sides of fish with Panko bread crumbs mixture. Place on prepared wire rack, leaving a little space between each piece for even heat distribution. Spray lightly with non stick cooking spray. Bake in preheated 400º oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork. Serve with lemon wedge & tartar or Hot Sauce as desired. *Homemade Old Bay Seasoning Recipe • 1 Tbsp. celery salt • 1/4 tsp paprika • 1/8 tsp. black pepper • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper • 1 pinch ground dry mustard • 1 pinch ground mace • 1 pinch ground cinnamon • 1 pinch ground cardamom • 1 pinch ground allspice • 1 pinch ground cloves • 1 pinch ground ginger • 2 Tbsp. bay leaf powder • 2 Tbsp. celery salt • 1 Tbsp. dry mustard • 2 tsp. ground black pepper • 2 tsp. ground ginger • 2 tsp. sweet paprika • 1 tsp. white pepper • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg • 1 tsp. ground cloves • 1 tsp. ground allspice • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes • 1/2 tsp. ground mace • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Ingredients: • 1/4 C. butter or margarine, melted • 1/2 C. dry bread crumbs • 1/3 C. grated Parmesan cheese • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley • 1 tsp. salt • 1/2 tsp. paprika • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano • 1/4 tsp. dried basil • 1/4 tsp. pepper • 1 lb. fresh or frozen bluegill fillets, thawed Directions: Place butter in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and seasonings. Dip fillets in butter, then coat with the crumb mixture. Place in a greased 15”x 10”x 1” baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Yield: 4 servings. Note: Perch or crappie may be substituted for the bluegill.

Ingredients: • 1/3 C. all-purpose flour • 1 tsp. paprika • 1/2 tsp. salt • 1/4 tsp. pepper • 1/4 tsp. onion powder • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder • 2 eggs • 2-1/4 lb. walleye, perch or pike fillets • 1-1/2 C. mashed potato flakes • 1/3 C. vegetable oil • Tartar sauce and lemon wedges, optional:

By Quick Cooking

Directions: In a shallow bowl, combine flour, paprika, salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. In another bowl, beat the eggs. Dip both sides of fillets in flour mixture and eggs, then coat with potato flakes. In a skillet, fry fillets in oil for 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with tartar sauce and lemon if desired. Yield: 4 servings.

Quality cheese made in South Dakota since 1931 By Raschell Rule

Ingredients: • 4 C. hash brown potatoes • 4 C. crappie fillets, chunked • 1/2 C. celery, diced • 1/2 C. onion, diced • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder • 1/4 tsp. onion powder • 1 to 2 cans evaporated milk • 1/4 C. melted butter Directions: In a saucepan, boil potatoes until fork tender. Add the fish chunks and remove when cooked. Sauté the celery and onion until tender; drain. Combine all into one large dutch oven or pot. Now add cream of mushroom soup, evaporated milk, and butter. Simmer together until hot. Do not boil or milk will curdle. Simple and hearty soup that tastes great with salad and fresh bread. You can top this soup with crumbled bacon and shredded cheese.

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By Taste of Home

By Kraft

Ingredients: • 1/3 C. butter, divided • 1-1/2 lb. perch fillets, 1”thick • 1/2 C. chopped celery • 1/4 C. chopped onions • 1/4 C. chopped green peppers • 1 Tbsp. flour • 1 cup chopped tomatoes • 1/2 lb. (8 oz.) Velveeta® cut into 1/2” cubes • 1 tsp. Creole seasoning

Ingredients: • 1/2 C. apricot preserves • 1/4 C. ketchup • 1/4 C. light corn syrup • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger • 2 C. crushed butter-flavored crackers (about 50 crackers) • 1 C. flaked coconut • 2 eggs • 2 Tbsp. evaporated milk • 1/2 tsp. salt • 3 lb. perch fillet • 1 C. vegetable oil, divided Directions: Sweet-sour sauce: combine first 5 ingredients in small saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 min. or until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and keep warm. In a shallow dish, combine cracker crumbs & coconut. In another shallow dish, whisk eggs, milk & salt. Dip each fillet in egg mixture, then coat with crumb mixture. In large skillet, cook fish in 3 Tbsp. oil in batches over med-high heat for 1-2 min. on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with sweet-sour sauce. Yield: 10-12 servings.

Directions: Heat broiler. Melt 3 Tbsp. of butter. Place fish on rack of broiler pan sprayed with cooking spray. Broil 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with fork, brushing them frequently with melted butter. Cook and stir celery, onions and peppers in remaining butter in medium skillet on medium heat 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in flour until blended. Add tomatoes, Velveeta cheese and seasoning. Cook on low heat until Velveeta cheese is completely melted, stirring occasionally. Serve over fish.

Page 50 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 50

By Taste of Home

Ingredients: • 1 envelope taco seasoning • 1 lb. lake perch fillets • 1 egg • 1/2 C. yellow cornmeal • 1/4 C. all-purpose flour • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil Directions: Place taco seasoning in a large resealable bag; add perch fillets, one at a time, and shake to coat. In a shallow bowl, lightly beat the egg. Combine cornmeal and flour in another shallow bowl. Dip fillets in egg, then coat with cornmeal mixture. Place in a single layer on a plate; refrigerate for 15 minutes. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Fry fillets for 2-3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Yield: 4 servings.

By Chefs Jerry Swanson & Tommy Nuesse

Ingredients: • 8 oz. (1/2 lb) walleye, cooked • 11⁄2 C. mayonnaise • 4 eggs • 1 C. cooked wild rice • 1/2 C. shredded Parmesan (or ­substitute your favorite cheese) • 4 green onions, chopped, or 1/4 C. chopped yellow onion • 1 tsp. garlic powder, or 1 clove fresh garlic • 1 pkg. saltine crackers • 2 tsp. seasonings (salt, pepper, herbs) • 2 tbsp. oil or butter Blue Cheese Aioli: • 1/2 C. mayonnaise • 1 tsp. garlic powder or 1 clove fresh garlic, minced • 1 oz. crumbled blue cheese Mix well. (Substitute: blue cheese salad dressing) Directions: Cook the walleye in simmering water until flesh is firm, about 5 minutes, then cool. In a large bowl combine the walleye (flaked), mayonnaise, rice, chopped onion, garlic, and cheese. Add eggs and mix with a fork. Add the seasoning. Crush saltines and fold into batter until mixture is firm enough to form into cakes. Heat oil or butter in skillet over medium-high heat, form mix into small (2 to 4 oz.) cakes and cook approximately 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve with blue cheese aioli.

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 51 51

Page 52 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018

The trail’s top tour, the Bassmaster Elite Series, will hold the seventh event of its 2018 regular season on Lake Oahe June 29 - July 2 with daily takeoffs and weigh-ins out of Spring Creek Resort. All B.A.S.S. events are free and open to the public. The Elite Series features the greatest anglers in professional bass fishing, including reigning Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Brandon Palaniuk from Hayden, Idaho. Other iconic names in the event will include Alabama anglers Gerald Swindle and Randy Howell, California pros Skeet Reese and Chris Zaldain and Oklahoma veterans Jason Christie and Edwin Evers. B.A.S.S. officials are excited about fishing a lake for the first time in one of the more scenic areas of the country. “We have been keeping an eye on Lake Oahe for quite some time,” said Michael Mulone, director of event and tourism partnerships for B.A.S.S. “While it is known as a top-quality walleye lake, bass tournaments have produced some big results, with kicker smallmouth in the 4-plus-pound range. It is expected that the tournament will produce good numbers of bass and a lot of big fish.”

With a population of just over 13,000, Pierre is the second-smallest state capital in the nation — and the financial impact on the area will be huge. In addition to the estimated $2.3 million economic impact the tournament is expected to produce for the local economy, the long-term effects of highlighting Lake Oahe as a bass fishery will expand the tourism potential for Pierre. The tournament will receive massive coverage on, including blogs, photo galleries and daily stories to update fans on the action. The final three days will also be featured on Bassmaster LIVE, allowing fans to see in real time what Lake Oahe has to offer. That will be a boon for an area that already relies heavily on its natural resources to invite tourism from fisherman and hunters. “The community is very excited about hosting B.A.S.S. and welcoming anglers, fans, sponsors and our team,” Mulone said. “And the buzz at B.A.S.S. over this event has been amazing. The people from our organization can’t wait to get there.”

Photo credits: B.A.S.S.

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 53 53

Unlike many of the lakes visited by the Elite Series each year—regular venues like Kentucky Lake in Tennessee and Grand Lake in Oklahoma—Oahe will be an unknown commodity for the pros. While they’re free to practice at Oahe until the lake goes off limits 30 days prior to the event, according to B.A.S.S. rules, they can’t receive information from locals or anyone else with experience on the fishery.

Photo credits: B.A.S.S.

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 55

Date Feb. 8-11 March 16-18 April 6-9 April 26-29 May 4-7 May 17-20 June 21-24 June 29-July 2 July 26-29 Aug. 23-26 Sept. 20-23 Oct. 23-26

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Schedule

Event Elite 1 Bassmaster Classic Elite 2 Elite 3 Elite 4 Toyota Texas Fest Elite 6 Elite 7 Elite 8 Elite 9 AOY Championship Classic Bracket

Fishery Lake Martin Lake Hartwell Sabine River Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees Kentucky Lake Lake Travis Mississippi River Lake Oahe Upper Chesapeake Bay St. Lawrence River Lake Chatuge Carters Lake

City, State Alexander City, Ala. Greenville/Anderson, S.C. Orange, Texas Grove, Okla. Paris, Tenn. Lufkin, Texas La Crosse, Wis. Pierre, S.D. Havre de Grace, Md. Waddington, N.Y. Young Harris, Ga. Ellijay, Ga.


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Page 56 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018

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Many pros will likely the see the giant Missouri River impoundment that stretches 231 miles from Oahe Dam near Pierre all the way north to Bismarck, ND, for the first time when they arrive for the official three-day practice period for the event. The competitors will be allowed to fish Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before the tournament starts Thursday and continues through Sunday. That unknown element could mean the tournament will have a giant effect on the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings since it’s one of the final three regular-season events on the schedule. “It’ll definitely be a nice measuring stick for our anglers, fishing a lake a lot of them have never seen before,” said B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon. “But that’s part of being the best in the world—proving you can find fish in that kind of event.” The winner will not only receive points toward the final AOY standings, but a $100,000 first-place prize and the coveted blue trophy that goes with it. The total purse for the tournament will be $638,000.

For more information, visit

Photo credits: B.A.S.S.

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 57


If you’re looking for a picture-perfect place to cast your line, you’ll find it in Pierre, South Dakota. Pristine waters, a diverse assortment of fish, and friendly, informed guides make the Capital City a dream destination for both new and experienced anglers alike.

Page 58 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018

Visitors from around the world come to Pierre to enjoy the area’s first-class fishing and hometown hospitality. Before you set out on your own excursion, read on to learn more about this incredible area and see why so many make the trek to Pierre for their ideal fishing trip.

Know Your Lakes LAKE SHARPE Stretching out more than 80 miles from the Oahe Dam, Lake Sharpe is teeming with walleye, smallmouth bass and other fish. Plentiful boat ramps allow for easy access to the lake, which covers over 56,000 acres. Scenic bluffs and breathtaking views make the experience that much more amazing. For those interested in a casual outing, Farm Island State Recreation Area is the perfect spot for a few hours of leisure fishing.


MAY THE BEST ANGLER WIN BASSMASTER Elite Series™ To Hold Tournament Event In Pierre For the first time in South Dakota history, a major, national bass tournament will be held in the state. Lake Oahe will serve as the stage for an Elite Series event scheduled from June 29 through July 2, 2018. A big reason why the lake was selected? The sheer abundance of bass! Come out and watch the pros, then cast your lines at any of the area’s tried-and-true fishing spots. See more fishing adventures and places to stay at

Situated behind the Oahe Dam on the Missouri River, this deep, clear lake and its 2,000+ miles of shoreline are ideal for both fishing and boating. Anglers will encounter walleye, perch, smallmouth bass, pike and more. Don’t be surprised if it only takes an afternoon on Oahe for you to hit your daily limit.

Four Reasons Anglers Prefer Pierre OPTIONS




Two major lakes, a river, and a handful of smaller bodies of water mean anglers can pick and choose where to fish.

Cozy hotels, ample dining options and unique museums mean you’ll have plenty to keep you busy once you’re back from your outing.

The waters in and around Pierre are filled with hundreds of thousands of fish, making the area one of the region’s best for shore and boat fishing.

Nothing beats the thrill of landing a keeper. With so much water and so many fish, adventurous anglers are guaranteed a great outing.

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 59

With the winter months bearing down on most in the upper Midwest, one can’t help but look out at the backyard or in the garage and see the old faithful vessel, that has housed many fond memories on the water. At that instant, you start to ponder better times with sun shining, light breezes and the sound of that old outboard ringing in your ears. For some though, the dismal view spawns the desire for something newer, perhaps with more sparkle and shine. Welcome to the exciting, anxious and sometimes confusing world of the “Boat Purchase!”

The first step in the search of your new fishing vessel is to establish a budget for yourself. Much in the same as buying a vehicle, there will most likely be monthly payments, so you will need to figure that into your current financial situation, and while we all dream of riding in the most current, flashiest rig on the market, with high horsepower hanging off the transom, it may just not be feasible. Now this doesn’t have to be a dream crushing reality, as there are a good number of boat manufacturers who will offer lower budget options and of course there are many good used rigs hitting the market every day. After you have your head wrapped around your affordability, it’s time to start the search.

Photo Credits:

Page60 60 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018

Colby Gallagher HSM Outdoors

s of new boat Showroom

Much like the search for a new (or new to you) vehicle, there is no reason to rush. As stated above, there are many good boats that are hitting the used market every single day. Having a need and wish list in place, will make this search much easier to find out what rig will fit you the best. Perhaps, you like to troll the great lakes, primarily fish rivers or have those little potholes near home. Find a boat that will settle well with what your main fishing focus will be and make it work for those “occasional” trips.

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 61 61

Now relating back to your budget, you may not be able to afford the latest and greatest boat that you get to peel all the plastic protections off of the features. In that case, look for a boat that has been well taken care of, ask the important questions to the seller, even before going to look at it. Sellers should be able to tell you every little detail of the boat, even if they only fish a few times a year. On newer models (2000’s+), you should be able to get an hour read out from the main engine computer with detailed information of how long it was run at certain RPM’s. Boats that are only a few years old may also have some warranties left on the engine and hull. So, if you’re not purchasing thru a dealer, be sure to do the research on how those can be transferred.

For some of you, a used boat is simply not an option and the smell of fresh carpet and vinyl is the only thing that gets your pulse rate going. The sparkle and shine appeal can sometimes blind you to the true features (or lack thereof) from a new boat. The only true way of getting something to fit your needs, is to use your resources and do the research. Unlike making a new vehicle purchase, test drives may not be available. So essentially, you are stuck either with envisioning how the boat will handle or gaining real information from owners of that particular boat manufacturer. However, if this is a brand-new model offering, you may want to find a dealership who is willing to take you on a test ride, wherever there is open water.

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Page 62 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 63

Building on the “new boat” concept, you will need to factor in many different variables, just the same as discussed with purchasing a used vessel. The very first factor is to take value and resale into consideration. There are many big brand names out there that are highly regarded in not only initial selling price, but also in resale. If one of these rigs fit into your financial situation, the next step is to choose a particular size and layout to properly fit your fishing style. Each manufacturer builds species specific models to ensure that fishermen can get the most out of their investment. If you’re a Great Lakes angler, a boat with low gunnel height is probably not a great choice; nor would a deep V be a best fit for those who chase fish throughout shallow rivers or bays. Without getting into much more detail, your local marine dealership will surely have great suggestions for your needs.

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2018 • Page 65

As stated before, there are MANY great boat manufacturers out there now. Most of which have the same parent companies and will share several features from one company to another. Be sure to keep going with the search until you find the exact boat that will be the best fit for you. In the past, my tournament partner and I have spent countless hours scouring sport and boat shows, climbing in and out of different boats, with only a length and horsepower requirement in mind. One would be surprised at the differences you will find from one company to another. Some offer onboard moveable storage compartments, some offer gigantic rod lockers or live wells, others had great stereos. The simple fact is that no two boat models are the same. After narrowing down to just a couple of rigs, that is when the true “work” begins. Put together a list of the dealerships near you who offer the boat models that you have narrowed your search down to and spend some time visiting with them. A boat dealer hires sales personnel, not only to sell boats, but to ensure that their customers leave the shop happy and keeping you as a return customer with any future purchases. A key thing to keep in mind when making a purchase, is how far will you have to travel for service or any warranty work that may arise. Much like new vehicles, you will be required to show certified maintenance as part of the warranty program and your dealer, that you purchased your rig from, is the best place to have any work done, as they already have you in their system.  As far as pricing goes, all dealers have a set cost or “MSRP” that they need to work off (just as in new car dealerships) however, be sure to ask your salesperson if there are any additional upgrades with electronics or other goodies that they are overstocked or closing out on. This may result in a little savings when it comes to adding the accessories.

Ranger 2018 Models are in!

Boat purchasing is essentially what you make of it and its key to take your time to find the “Right One” for your needs and wants. It is unnecessary to make the process into an anxiety driven chore, rather enjoy the experience! After all, this is something that you will spend your leisure time in.

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Check out our New and Pre-owned Inventory at Webster, SD • 605-345-6789 • Mon-Fri: 8am - 5pm • Sat: 8am - Noon or by appointment

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 67

Early bird registration available now for nation’s largest upland hunting & habitat event

Page 68 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 68

Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever has announced conservationist and public lands advocate, Steven Rinella, as the featured speaker for National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2018 coming to the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls on February 16, 17 & 18. Rinella will deliver the keynote address to a crowd of more than 1,000 members and supporters at the National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic Banquet on Saturday evening, February 17th. Steven Rinella is an avid outdoorsman, writer, television host and staunch public lands advocate who makes a living amongst America’s national forests, grasslands, and sage flats that belong to hunters from all walks of life – the nation’s public lands system. He is the author of The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine, American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon, and recently published, Meat Eater: Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter. Rinella's writing has also appeared in many publications, including Outside, Field and Stream, the New Yorker, Glamour, the New York Times, Men's Journal,, O the Oprah Magazine, Bowhunter, and the annual anthologies Best American Travel Writing and Best Food Writing. In 2010, Rinella hosted “The Wild Within” on Travel Channel. Currently, he is the host of “MeatEater” on Sportsman Channel. “Upland hunters are an indispensable factor for the nation’s conservation successes and iconic grassland landscapes that remain a focal point of public lands in North America,” expressed Rinella. “Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever members recognize that conservation is not a luxury in the 21st century, but a responsibility amongst the outdoor community. I look forward to sharing the weekend in Sioux Falls with devoted conservationists and discussing the important work carried out by ‘The Habitat Organization’ which is helping to reinvigorate Aldo Leopold’s ‘Land Ethic’ in our country.”

Steven Rinella Photo Courtesy of: Pheasants Forever

About Pheasants Forever Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 145,000 members and 700 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent; the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent $708 million on 517,000 habitat projects benefiting 15.8 million acres nationwide.

National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2018, presented by Federal Premium® Ammunition, will be the nation’s largest tradeshow and convention for upland hunters, landowners, bird dog trainers, and wildlife habitat conservationists. Additionally, the event will celebrate Pheasants Forever’s 35th anniversary and conservation impacts since the organization’s inception. Purchase your Saturday night banquet (2/17) tickets now for a chance to hear Steven Rinella and take part in the nation’s largest event for upland hunters: Early Bird Registration now available through December 1st.


Sioux Falls, SD Trophy Gun Show

Sioux Falls Convention Center

1.5 miles East of I-29, Exit 81 on Russell

February 10 & 11, 2018 The Trophy Show - The Big One! 1,000 Tables With Winchester Arms Collectors Association Guests

Sat., February 10th 9am-5pm Sun., February 11th 9am-3pm Admission $5 Per Day Jesi Bennett of the Cody Firearms Museum will be onsite to run Winchester, Marlin & L.C. Smith factory record searches

For more information contact Rob Moore 605-630-2199 Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 69


February 22nd - February 25th

Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever has partnered with South Dakota State University to offer a Precision Ag Workshop as part of the 2018 National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic. Scheduled to begin on Friday, February 16th at 10 a.m. within the Denny Sanford Premier Center, the workshop is designed specifically for farmers, precision specialists, agronomists and Ag lenders, focusing on maximizing return-on-investment (ROI) for every acre on the farm while also improving wildlife habitat. Highlighting the event is Betsy Jibben, national reporter for AgDay and SDSU alum, serving as Master of Ceremonies and moderator of a farmer panel.

72th Annual




Thursday, Feb.22 23 5pm—9pm Thursday, Feb. Friday, Feb.23 24 Noon—9pm Friday, Feb. Saturday, Feb. Saturday, Feb.24 25 9am—9pm Sunday, Feb. Sunday, Feb.25 26 9am—5pm


Adults Students (under 18) Children (under 5)

$10.00 $5.00 Free

The Precision Ag Workshop will help producers identify new strategies to be profitable in their operations by focusing on ROI, acre by acre, to identify field zones where implementing conservation and alternative practices actually increases whole field profitability. The workshop strives to shift a perception that profitability and conservation are competitive – this viewpoint is especially important for South Dakota, a state which is dominated by agriculture and renowned for its natural resources, including wingshooting opportunities each fall. Dr. Bill Gibbons, Director of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station at SDSU says, “Pheasants Forever is a great partner in helping to build strong bridges between farmers and sportsmen, thereby serving both agriculture and conservation interests. This workshop on precision agriculture will focus on how new technologies will both enhance environmental sustainability and conservation, while contributing to profitable and efficient agricultural production to feed a hungry world.”

Signup now available, workshop limited to first 200 registrants Register @


It’s the Granddaddy of Them All! Don’t Miss the Great Family Get-Together Page 70 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 70

About Quail Forever Quail Forever is a leading organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation efforts for the United States’ native quail species. Since its creation in 2005, Quail Forever has conducted more than 8,500 habitat projects across the nation benefitting quail and other wildlife. Along with its affiliate organization Pheasants Forever, it has committed more than $708 million to improve more than 15.8 million acres of wildlife habitat. Quail Forever has more than 16,000 members and 165 local chapters across the country. Both Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever are part of Pheasants Forever, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

What: 2018 Precision Ag Workshop When: Friday, February 16th from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Where: Denny Sanford Premier Center Cost: Event registration is $35 and includes a one-year Pheasants

Forever membership, lunch, entry for a Henry Golden Boy Farmer Edition Rifle, and daily admission to the 2018 National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic show floor. Speakers: The event will include a panel of Midwest producers and Precision professionals, SDSU President Barry Dunn, and Howard Vincent, PF/QF President and CEO. The 2018 Precision Ag Workshop is sponsored by Wells Fargo, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, EFC Systems Inc., AgDNA, FieldRevealTM and Certified Crop Advisor®, which will offer Continuing Education Units for workshop completion. For more information about the event including registration, presenters, or to speak with a Precision Ag Specialist, contact Ryan Heiniger, Pheasants Forever’s Director of Agriculture & Conservation Innovations, at (319) 768-8348 or RHeiniger@PheasantsForever.Org.

Graphic Courtesy of: Pheasants Forever

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 71


T SATURDAY NIGHT BANQUE at Eater” will keynote Steven Rinella, author and host of “Me 17, 2018 Saturday evening banquet on February : (877) 773 - 2070 For Banquet Tickets please call Limited Availability!

POLLINATOR PLAZA Quality pollinator habitat is good bird habitat! Pollinator experts will share ways to establish pollinator-friendly cover.

PRECISION AG Learn from Farmers, Precision Specialists, Agronomists, and Ag Lenders on growing More Green to get the red out of the field.

Page 72 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018



8 1 6 1 Y R A U R FEB Falls, SD x ou Si | R TE EN C R IE EM PR RD DENNY SANFO

is a celebration of wildlife sic as Cl ail Qu d an st Fe nt sa ea The 2018 National Ph e cooking and hundreds of m ga ld wi , ng ini tra g do , ing nt hu conservation, upland bird tion event in the world! va er ns co d an g in nt hu nd la exhibitors. It’s the largest up Friday February 16, 2018 • 12 pm - 8 pm

BIRD DOG BONANZA Seminars by nation’s leading dog trainers including Bob West, Rick Smith, Ronnie Smith, Delmar Smith and Tom Dokken.



February 18, 2018 • 9 am - 4 pm

February 17, 2018 • 9 am - 6 pm

YOUTH VILLAGE The epicenter for getting youth involved in the great outdoors and learning about biology, hunting ethics and firearm safety.


HABITAT HELP Improve your acres for wildlife and learn what local, state and federal programs your property may be eligible for enrollment.

Wild game cooking experts will serve up unique recipes to help hunters turn their game meats into delicious dishes.

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2018 • Page 73

When it come to the outdoors in South Dakota, the Chamberlin/Oacoma area on the Missouri River provides some of the best pheasant hunting and walleye fishing you can find. The big decision when you visit this area is whether to get up early and catch a limit of world class walleyes before you go out and shoot a limit of pheasants.

Page 74 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 74

For the best shot at a cast-and-blast adventure, plan a trip between the opening day of the pheasant season and the end of November. Because of the 10 a.m. or noon pheasant start time, fishing can be a morning activity with hunting in the afternoon. Some of the best walleye fishing of the season occurs during the fall hunting season. Chamberlain-Oacoma rests in the heart of prime pheasant, grouse, and walleye river fishing, and is located on Lake Francis Case on the Missouri River. With easy access from Interstate 90 and one of the highest annual bird harvests and walleye catches, Chamberlain-Oacoma will become your top hunting and fishing destination in South Dakota.

Start planning today for your dream Blast & Cast hunting trip to South Dakota.

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 75 75

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We are looking for contributors that would like to share their story with our audience.

WRITING & PHOTOGRAPHY? Do you have an article or photo you want published? Contact us at 605-274-2687 or Page 76 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018

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2018 • Page 77 77

• “Best All-Around Chocolate Female the Breed Has Had!” • AKC Master National Hall of Fame Inductee (2015) • 4/4 AKC Master National Passes • 5 HRC International Grand Passes

By Pat Keslar, Keslar Kennels

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The sunrise peaks through the sunflowers and needle grass bestowing another beautiful morning in the serene Sandhills of Nebraska. Nested in these hills known as “God’s Cattle Country” is a cowboy and his wife who raise Labrador retrievers in a dream kennel they built from scratch. Pat and Carmen Keslar are lifetime Sandhillers, calling Hyannis, NE (pop. 293) home, in the heart of the county seat of Grant County. They live in remote ranch country where most people are cowboys and ranchers. They raised their two children, son Tehl, daughter Marcee (now full grown), in the little village since they were in kindergarten. Hyannis has always been home. Keslar Kennels started raising labs in 1980 and focused primarily on hunting dogs. Six years ago, Pat wanted to take the kennel brand and quality of his labs to an elite national level, and to do that he knew he had to find a phenomenal foundation female.  Shortly after Pat’s search he came across a chocolate female: Leitner Farms Land Shark QAA, aka...“Jaws”. Jaws was two years old and had a title of Qualified All Age (QAA) when Keslar Kennels bought her. To unlock and maximize Jaws’ full potential, they knew they had to find the right trainer. Chris Jobman of Flatlander Kennels in Bayard, NE took Jaws under his wing, and the pairing has been nothing short of magical. Throughout the next two years of intense training Jaws performed at a level that no other chocolate female has ever risen to in HRC (Hunter Retriever Club), and AKC (American Kennel Club) Master Hunt tests.  Jaws successfully earned her Grand Hunter Retriever Champion and Master Hunter titles, something no other chocolate female in the history of the breed had accomplished. Four years later, she now has 5 HRC International Grand passes, and has passed the AKC Master National 4 times to become a Master National Hunter.  She has been inducted into the Master National Hall of Fame and still remains the only chocolate female to have met these lofty goals! Her current title as of printing of this article is:


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Throughout the field trial/hunt test games there have been many great individual dogs that have come and gone, but the true testament to the genes is how the offspring of those dogs perform. Jaws has now raised 3 litters of pups that garnered national attention in the field/hunt test world. Because of her performance and the quality breedings of highly selected and vetted sires, she has had five of her offspring compete at the recent 2017 HRC Grand and six at the AKC Master National with more in the pipeline developing. The oldest of which was three year old “HRCH KESLARS LAND SHARK ON THE RITZ MH”, which is Keslar Kennel’s own Jaws’ daughter who qualified for both! The Jaws and Ritz mother-daughter duo will be competing for the first time together at the HRC Grand and AKC Master National this year!!! With all the competitive hunt tests, Pat is adamant about still allowing the dogs in the offseason to enjoy the “hunting” season. “I’m a firm believer that no lab should be bred only for the pure purpose of competition. I want them to have the opportunity to hunt and enjoy what they were born to do.” Keslar said.

Another opportunity Pat has had to showcase his labs is at another nationally recognized event, known as the Nebraska One Box Pheasant Hunt (, which will celebrate it’s 57th hunt this year. This hunt has drawn celebrities, astronauts, music artists, sports athletes, and past NRA presidents. Pat and Tehl have been official new team dog handlers for the event.  Pat just completed his 36th year and Tehl has been competing for 14 years. They both use Keslar Kennels dogs and have the most combined family wins in the entirety of the hunts existence.  They love to compete. Their kennel tagline, “Our Dogs Hunt” highlights the dog power they bring, and their passion for the outdoors have made many lifelong friends through their dogs and time in the blind and field.  Pat says, “I hope to see my two year old grandson, Patrick Keslar, carry on the tradition with our dogs for this great hunt someday. He’ll damn sure have the dogs to do it!” The growth and development of Keslar Kennels has been and will continue to be a true adventure for the Keslar family. Tehl, is totally

responsible for the website, social media, and advertisements of the kennel. Carmen, known by many as the “puppy whisperer”, spends hours in the whelping box with every litter creating that imprint of well-behaved and socially temperamental pups they have been known to sell. Most if not all have an established name that Carmen has given based on the personality of the pup! Both Carmen and Tehl’s wife, Kelsey, love the dogs and support their husband’s passion they have for labs and hunting. They are proud to share these accomplishments and know Jaws is a one in a million find. She has established the foundation and future of their kennel.  They hope to have one of their pups be the foundation of yours!  You can view their website at www. or visit them on Facebook at www.facebook. com/KeslarKennels.  Lastly, Pat says in true Sandhills fashion, “Stop by anytime or give us a call, we would be happy to visit with you over a cup of coffee or an adult beverage or two. Until then, Happy Trails!”

“My first contact with Pat Keslar, owner of Keslar Kennels, was very informative and to the point. I purchased a Jaws puppy and she has turned out to be phenomenal! Keslar Kennels has earned my dog business loyalty, and I have just purchased my second female from Pat and will plan to purchase more down the road.”

Todd Helton Former Colorado Rockies 1st Baseman 5X MLB All-Star, 4X Silver Slugger, 3X Golden Glove

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 79

ADVERTISER INDEX A Aero Trailers............................. 38 Al’s Oasis................................. 75 Arnesen’s Rocky Point Resort.... 24 Arrowwood at Cedar Shore Resort - Oacoma, SD.............. 74 Arrowwood Resort Hotel & Conference Center Alexandria, MN....................... 27 Arrowwood Lodge at Brainerd Lakes - Brainerd, MN................ 27 Avera Health............................. 83 B Baymont Inn, Pierre, SD........... 56 Big Frig.................................... 71 Boat2Trailer................................ 3 Boomers Outback Hotel............ 42 Brainerd Jaycees...................... 28 C Cenaiko Productions Sportsmen’s Show.................. 77 Circle Pines Motel.................... 43 Club House Hotel & Suites Pierre, SD............................... 55 Cox Johnson Corp.- Omaha Boat, Sports & Travel Show.... 70 CW Welding............................. 20

D Dakota Tackle........................... 35 Dakota Territory Gun Show....... 69 Dakota Sioux Casino/ Results Radio......................... 41 Dan O’s Marine - Warrior, Mercury.................................. 54 Dan O’s Marine - Ranger, Mercury.................................. 66 Dangler Enterprises.................... 9 Dave’s Marine........................... 67 Dimock Dairy............................ 49 Distinct Builders....................... 17 Doug’s Anchor Marine.............. 40 E Easy Loader Custom Molding Services...... 78 Evolution Power Sports............ 39 F Fillet Maker.............................. 26 Fish Monkey............................... 2 Fred’s Beds............................... 25 G Greater Lakes Marine.................................... 62

P Park Rapids, MN CVB..........30-31 American Legion Derby.......... 31 Smokey Hills Outdoor Store... 30 Pheasants Forever, Inc. Pheasant Fest....................72-73 Pond Tini.................................. 64 R Ramkota - Pierre, SD................ 57 Ramkota - Watertown, SD......... 43 Rapala MarCum................................... 1 Lithium 40v............................ 21 Lithium Shuttle....................... 84 S Soo Sports............................... 63 South Shore Lodge................... 81 Speedy Worm........................... 29 Super 8, Pierre, SD................... 56 W Watertown, SD CVB.................. 44 Waubay Guide Service ............. 42 Woman River Camp ................. 81 Z Zippel Bay Resort..................... 24

H Holiday Inn Express.................. 34 I Ice Castle Fishing Classic................................... 29 ICNUTS.................................... 20 J Jack’s Campers........................... 5 Jeff’s Ico O Miniums................. 25 K Keslar Kennels.......................... 79 KMDA Inc................................. 13 L Lake Country Guide Service...... 35 Lakeview Lodge........................ 34 Lawrence & Schiller Pierre, SD..........................58-59 Lynn’s Dakota Mart................... 55 M Midwest Hunting & Fishing............................. 76, 80 Minnewaska Bait & Tackle........ 26 Morton Building....................... 76 N Northstar Power Sports............. 65



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Article courtesy of

For his work as an orthopedic surgeon, and his favorite avocations of fishing and hunting, Thomas Ambrose, MD, needed optimal vision without dryness or irritation in his eyes. When his long-time standby lenses were no longer working for him, Ambrose, who practices with Avera Orthopedics in Sioux Falls, turned to his colleague, Gregory Hill, OD, with Avera Medical Group Eye Care. “I had been wearing rigid gas-permeable lenses for well over 25 years, and my current pair was several years old. Over time, they were hard to keep clean. If I was out hunting, I would suffer tremendously with dust particles that would get under my contacts. Once, I had to sit out for several days of hunting because my eyes were so irritated,” Ambrose said. In the operating room, Ambrose’s eyes tended to get dry, because he wears what’s called an exhaust gown through which air circulates. “Inside the gown, which covers the surgeon from head to foot, it can get extremely dry. My eyes would get very dry and tired by the end of the day.” Hill’s first recommendation to Ambrose were scleral lenses. “Scleral lenses stay put better and provide a fluid reservoir in the eye. This was a good fit with Dr. Ambrose’s love of outdoor sports, and the demands he places on his eyes as an orthopedic surgeon,” Hill said.

Page 82 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 82

Scleral lenses are larger than conventional size contact lenses. They cover the entire corneal surface and rest on the “white” of the eye, or the sclera. They are less likely to accidentally dislodge from the eye. They can be worn comfortably for more hours of the day. A space between the back surface of the lens and cornea acts as a tear reservoir to keep eyes moist. Ambrose had never heard of scleral lenses, but once he tried them, he was immediately sold. “The dust can be blowing, the wind can be howling but I don’t even know I have contacts in. I can spend the whole day in the OR and my eyes don’t even react to the dryness.” Scleral lenses are more expensive up front than the typical soft contact lenses, but they also tend to last up to five years with proper care, so the investment pays off – especially for patients whose vision does not change. Having settled on the type of lens, the next step was to figure out the best vision correction for Ambrose. Like many adults age 50 and over, Ambrose needed correction for both distance and up-close vision. Ambrose first selected multifocal contacts, which are similar to bifocal or progressive eyeglasses. “These contacts have multiple powers built into the same lens for up-close vision, like reading glasses, and for distance vision. There’s a time of adjustment, but for most people, the brain learns how to focus the eye for both near and far vision,” Hill said. Ambrose liked the multifocal contacts for his up-close work as a surgeon, as well as everyday distance vision needs, such as driving. “I could go to lunch with friends and see the menu, while they were pulling out their reading glasses,” Ambrose said. Yet he wasn’t yet satisfied with the distance vision that these lenses delivered. “Because of the multifocal aspects of these lenses, the distance vision can be compromised, especially long distances,” Hill said. So, Hill prescribed a special set of scleral lenses for Ambrose that are especially for distance. He wears them only when he’s at the water or in the field. While these lenses don’t allow up-close focus for reading, Ambrose typically isn’t reading when he’s out hunting or fishing, so it’s a good trade-off. “My distance acuity with these lenses is fabulous. I can tell between a redhead or canvasback at 50 yards,” Ambrose said. These waterfowl are very similar, yet the canvasback has a white back and the redhead has a light grey back. Yet distinguishing between the two ducks is important for hunters, because of the daily limits in South Dakota of two redheads and two canvasbacks. “Work as an orthopedic surgeon takes up a tremendous amount of time, so I like to enjoy as much time as I can fishing during the summer and hunting in the fall. I’ll hunt anything that has a season. And my free time in the winter is spent keeping warm,” he said. The improvements in Ambrose’s vision through two new sets of contact lenses is helping him to enjoy all seasons without tired, irritated, dry eyes.

4.5 million patients need medical care for shoulder pain yearly in the U.S.




A complex system of bones, joints, ligaments and tendons choreographs every movement throughout your day. Where you get care for your body matters. Turn to the experienced team at Avera Orthopedics, where technology and orthopedic care, sports medicine and recovery meet to support your every move. MAKE YOUR MOVE TO THE LARGEST ORTHOPEDIC PHYSICIAN TEAM IN THE REGION — AVERA ORTHOPEDICS. Source: A Nation in Motion

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018 • Page 83


NEW LITHIUM SHUTTLE Add the long-life power of Lithium ION to your MarCum sonar units 30% longer runtime • 30% lighter • Designed for all MarCum sonar systems ®


Up to 40 Hour Continuous Run Time. Battery Status Indicator. LED Lighting Positioned to Illuminate Hole and Charge Glow Lures. Dual USB Power Ports. Dual Rod Holders. Designed for MarCum M-Series, LX-Series, I-Series sonar systems. Compatible with other ice electronics that use 9 to 12.6 volt batteries with optional Lithium Shuttle Power Adapter (sold separately). ®

Page 84 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - January-February 2018

Midwest Hunting and Fishing Jan/Feb 2018  
Midwest Hunting and Fishing Jan/Feb 2018