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MAY-JUNE 2017

SMALLMOUTH r e t h g i F e h T Morel Mushrooms Hunting for

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 1


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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 3


Fishing & Fun

DESTINATIONS

FISHING Smallmouth Bass

Mille Lacs Style................................................................. 6 Smallmouth Bass

The Fighter.......................................................................10 Evening Spring

Crappies.............................................................................14 First class fishing. Hospitality second to none.

Northern Lake Oahe...............................................20 A quick and easy way to

Learn to Fish a New Lake

................................

30

Making the Connection

Spring Walleyes..........................................................34

SMALLMOUTH

Fishing the

The Iowa Great Lakes............................................40

Featured Destination Iowa Great Lakes/ Okoboji....................................... 44 Brainerd Lakes Area..................... 16-17 Central & Northern Minnesota .......18 Upper Oahe/Mobridge ....................24 Lake Oahe/Pierre................................26 Lake Francis Case..............................28 Fishing Canada................................... 33 SD Glacial Lakes.................................38 Lake of the Woods.............................48

Magical Times Aboard a

Lake of the Woods Charter...............................46

The Fighter

Bowfishing.......................................................................50

Of Mice and Men—Night Fly Fishing

The Minnesota Driftless

....................................

52

Aquatic Invasive Species

Out-muscling the Mussels................................58

Featured Gamefish

Erik Quanrud HSM Outdoors

HUNTING

Hunting for Fish

Smallmouth BASS Smallmouth Bass, Mille Lacs Style....6 Smallmouth Bass—The Fighter..........10 Smallie Tactics..........................................12

The Anatomy of a Good

Morel Mushroom Spot..........................................60 Keep your

Hunting Dog Busy this Offseason.............62

EDITORIAL Finding New Purpose My Fishing Pond ..................................................... 32 Success in the Boat or Field Goes Back to Getting Good Rest .................................................. 66 Avera.org

SECTIONS Cooking Your Catch Best Bass Recipes...................................................... 56 Morel Mushrooms & Asparagus......................57

Magazine Team

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

Marketing 605-274-2640 Paul Nester - Paul@midwesthuntfish.com Jeff Bullis - Jeff@midwesthuntfish.com

Contributors M. Doug Burns Dennis Foster Josh Hagemeister Joe Henry Kayla Lemon Joel Nelson

Brian Schumacher HSM Colby Gallagher Chad Peterson Eric Quanrud Tammie Schreiber

Avera Health Jarett C. Bies SD GFP Passion for the Hunt Chad Hines

expressed within are & those of the authors and-J doune not necessarily P4ageThe 4 •opinions Midwest Hunting Fishing - May 2017 reflect Midwest Hunting & Fishing Magazine. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher.

Note from the Editor

It has been a great early spring here in South Dakota. The lakes and rivers opened and the fishing has been awesome. May is here and that means Minnesota fishing begins. We have some great stories on early season fishing in this issue. Our featured fish is the Smallmouth Bass. Check out our spread on this fighting sport fish that is becoming a favorite of anglers in our area. If you are looking at planning a summer family fishing vacation, we have some great destination pages on Northern Minnesota, Lake of the Woods, the Missouri River and a new option—Fishing the Great Lakes of Iowa. For hunting, we have a great story on Searching for Morel Mushrooms and some tips on off-season dog training. Remember to pay attention to the invasive species rules and regulations in the state you are fishing. This is a big problem and we need everyone’s help, Zebra Mussels are a serious threat to our lakes.

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Enjoy the issue, I will see you on the water. ~ Paul

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All copy, pictures and graphics are reserved and may not be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. The opinions Midwesthuntfish.com 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 - May-June 2017 • Page 5


It’s that time of year again and if you are like me, I have all my gear rigged and ready to hit the cool spring waters. This is a great time of year to get out and catch some big fish that are hungry. Personally, my favorite fish, hands down would have to be the big brown smallmouth bass, most importantly, on Mille Lacs Lake. This amazing fishery has brought and will bring back, the best of the best to Minnesota.

6 Page 6 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017

Mille Lacs hosted the Bass Masters Angler of the Year Tournament this last September and the weights were out of this world. The fishing on Mille Lacs is no secret to the bass fishing world anymore. For years, it has been the hot spot for world-class walleyes. However, the tables have turned and the illusive smallmouth have grown to sizes unheard of in Minnesota. This previous spring I was fortunate enough to get out on Mille Lacs a handful of times. Pre-spawn, spawn and post spawn were all prime times to put enormous smallmouth in the boat. With a little practice, you can learn an immense amount of information in one season. I know this place has changed how I fish as an angler and I hope you can take some of this information and apply it to your own future experiences. Not all smallmouth spawn at the same time. They also spawn at different depths, making fishing even more vigorous. Once you find a pattern, things can quickly change in your favor. The pursuit of the big smallmouth is what spring is all about. The big fat fish get my blood pumping and cause me to call in “sick” to work. The pre-spawn happens between the mid 40’s and upper 50’s and during this time, fishing can be incredible or extremely frustrating. Very early, the bite can be tough, but there are fish that will feed. Pre-spawn will last longer than the spawn, because fish are in a funk and the water temperature doesn’t always stay consistent. Either way, the fish are putting the feedbag on and preparing for the spawn. Some fish are also recuperating from the harsh winter that we had endured here in the North Country. When searching for smallmouth, I found that structure is especially key, typically along the shoreline on the south and north end, you can even see buoys marking these areas making them noticeable when on the water.

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My favorite fish, would have to be the big brown smallmouth bass, most importantly, on Mille Lacs Lake. This amazing fishery has brought and will bring back, the best of the best to Minnesota.

Photo credits: Erik Quanrud, HSM Outdoors

Travis Sorokie HSM Outdoors

Not all smallmouth spawn at the same time. They also spawn at different depths, making fishing even more vigorous. Once you find a pattern, things can quickly change in your favor. The pursuit of the big smallmouth is what spring is all about. The big fat fish get my blood pumping and cause me to call in “sick” to work. Midwesthuntfish.com

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 7


On week days, two or three bass boats are on every spot, not making many areas very secret. Doing your homework at home will help a lot. Get a good map or use sonar to find rock spines or piles in order to eliminate areas. Navionics has helped me a lot, before I had invested in a good sonar and they make a pretty cool app also. Smallmouth are looking to transition and can be found in predictable areas. Moving from their deep winter locations, rock piles can be good from 1-12 feet. Of course, you can always find them deeper, around big couch size rocks, but 1-12 feet is a good rule of thumb. These rock piles can hold a bunch of fish or could be a total bust. The only way to find them is to get out and get a line in the water. On my first couple of trips, fan casting an area with a Berkley PitBull Square Bill or Rattletrap, would worked. Something with a lot of action and noise to get their attention was important. I found that I could get my square bill down to 6 feet and this was the hot spot for most of my pre-spawn fish. I was using a Denali Kovert 6’6 Medium action rod, something with an extreme amount of give is ideal for jumping smallmouth. Using a Lews Speed Spool, 6:8:1, this fast ratio allows me to slow down or pick up line very quickly depending on the bite. I’d almost always be using 8 lb Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon Line, sometimes even going down to 6 if I was feeling lucky. One critical component to my success was being stealthy. Smallmouth like to school up, when you find one, there is usually a half dozen. Smallmouth tend to school up this time of year and these fish are old, thus they are smart, if you spooked one, almost always the whole school would shut down. When the school is spooked, you must back off those fish and move onto a different area before returning. I would search for hidden rock piles with my Side Imaging from Hummingbird after spooking a school of fish. It’s amazing how much you can find with the new electronics. If you haven’t invested, you are missing out on a true game changer. You’ll see the fish start to move from these schools into their spawning areas, where they become more self-dependent. When the fish start spawning and move onto their beds, that’s when fishing is beyond amazing. Start looking for water in the upper 50’s during this stage. I fan cast a square bill until I find a bedded fish while still staying in less than 12 feet of water. This technique works well when searching for very early bedded fish. Once the water reaches 61 65º, fish should be in full spawn mode. Like I said earlier, smallmouth will spawn in different water temperatures. This is Mother Nature’s way of protecting fish in case harsh weather comes through and kills out the spawn. This is done by drastic water temperature changes and makes fishing tough. Males will be the first to move shallow and make beds for the females. When this is happening, you might see solo females cruising in the shallows and they can be impossible to catch.

These fish will soon be on beds, maybe not that day but when the water increases a couple degrees, start looking for those females. Male smallmouth can range from 1-3 pounds sometimes even 4. However, the huge females in this amazing habitat range from 4-7 pounds! You can easily tell the difference when you start to stumble upon the bigger females. Smallmouth beds are easily seen in the clear waters of Mille Lacs. The top of the rock piles are littered with fish on beds. A lot of the time these are the smaller fish. Those quality bites will come from the deeper beds. Having a good pair of sunglasses in extremely vital, without this tool, I would have never been able to spot key locations. I found myself searching in 8-12’ of water for those bigger fish. I believe that the better-quality fish will stick to individual bigger than average rocks, these big boulders can sometimes be the size of a car. I use my Side Imaging to quickly find boulders and later, return to fish them slower. Areas where pre-spawn fish have been could hold potential for spawning fish. If there are bigger rocks present its game on. Once I find a bedded fish, I either use a homemade hair jig or a drop shot. The drop shot I use has a 1/4 oz. weight with about a 6” difference between my bait and weight. However, I found myself almost exclusively throwing a hair jig. Something that many don’t use or don’t like to talk about, the hair jig is greatly underutilized. Natural deer hair moves in the water like nothing else on the market. Jigs are usually a white-pearl color with a mix of chartreuse. I pick up most of my material from Cabelas and I even use their round head jig in white to top it off. About 80% of the time I use a 3/8 oz. jig head, this allows the bait to drop fast enough and lets me control the jig more verses a lighter size. I pair this with spinning gear, making it easier to drop the bait onto beds. My rod of choice is a Denali Kovert 7’ 2” medium action rod, yes very long but I like it. With 20-pound Power Pro braided line and a 3-6’ eight pound Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon leader, I never feel the need to run straight fluorocarbon and I personally love braid. Sometimes the fast drop really grabs their attention and other times, it takes 5 or 6 casts to the bed in order to hit that “sweet spot” and convince them to bite/attack my lure. Every smallmouth bed has a “sweet spot”, this means that every time that lure is in that specific spot, the fish can’t help but eat/ attack. Yes, in fact these fish will attack a lure just because they simply don’t want it in their bed. If a smallmouth moves your jig out of its bed without being hooked, keep hitting that sweet spot until the fish commits. However, as the spawn ends, you can tell the fish are worn out and pressured. Beds that once held 5 pound monsters, will be vacant and the fish officially will make their move towards their summer locations, thus bringing in the post spawn. The post spawn will be a very tough time to fish, but you can still manage to get bites. Water temperature will be beyond mid 60’s, but you can still find fish on beds, they are just extremely hard to catch.

If you are looking for a great spring-time getaway, Mille Lacs is the perfect destination, especially during the spawn. For any die-hard bass fisherman, this destination must be on your bucket list.

Not to mention, I’ve heard the walleye fishing is more than great! Page 8 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 8

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During this stage, I’ll simply swap out my Pit-Bull square bill for a Berkley Digger allowing me to get a little deeper. I’ll start to avoid the super shallow bite and look for schools off the shallow rocks, focusing on water that is 8-12 feet and eventually moving even deeper as summer starts. Sometimes, solo fish will cruise the shallows and using a jerkbait, rattle-trap or chatterbait, you can get a bigger fish in the boat. This is also when electronics are a lifesaver, looking for those hidden rock piles not labeled on the map can be huge. These under water rock piles can sometimes be close to marked rock spines or piles, so searching with electronics is critical. In these areas, I’ll slow down and use a 1/2 ounce Jewel Football Jig in usually black/blue or crawfish color. My jigging rod has been a 7’3 medium heavy Abu Garcia with 30lb braid. However, I like anything between 7’0-7’6, usually heavy or medium-heavy action depends on the brand. Everyone has their personal likes, whatever works for you is the best option. The fish can be very lethargic during this time, so slowing down and focusing goes a long ways. Pay close attention to the bottom transitions, smallmouth like to move daily sometimes hourly. Are you fishing an area with sand mixed in with rock or is there exclusively rock? One day smallmouth could be holding to baseball size rock, the next they are looking for isolated boulders. Heck, you can even find them on the sand flats some mornings. Fishing changes daily making the reward in the end so worth it.

Don’t forget to practice catch and release when bringing in trophy sized fish, we control the future fishing populations.

Travis Sorokie HSM Outdoors

The illusive smallmouth have grown to sizes unheard of in Minnesota as Erik Quanrud proves here.

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June9 2017 • Page 9


SMALLMOUTH

BASS: The Fighter

The Smallmouth Bass is Native to North America. The Algonquin Indians called the smallmouth bass “achigan” which means “the one that fights”. The smallmouth is sought after by many anglers, and considered one of the sportiest freshwater fish. Smallmouth bass is a part of the sunfish family. It’s common names include smallmouth, bronzeback, brown bass, brownie, smallie, bronze bass, and bareback bass. The smallmouth bass is generally brown, appearing sometimes as black or green (seldom yellow) with red eyes, and dark brown vertical bands, rather than a horizontal band along the side. There are 13–15 soft rays in the dorsal fin. The upper jaw of smallmouth bass extends to the middle of the eye. The smallmouth's coloration and hue may vary per environmental variables such as water clarity or diet. It has a broad, powerful tail, uncanny vision and excellent hearing. These physical attributes, and a savage instinct to kill its prey with a single blow, makes the smallmouth the perfect predator. Page 10 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 10

Males are generally smaller than females, but look almost completely identical. The females tend to live longer than males. Bass grow continually; the larger the fish, the older it usually is. The average adult size of a smallmouth is 15-20 inches. The maximum recorded size is approximately 27 inches and 12 pounds. Smallmouth bass tend to live in clear, calm water with rocky bottoms and places to hide. They will hide in deep water between rocks, among water vegetation, or under roots and limbs of sunken trees. Midwesthuntfish.com


BASS FUN FACTS “Fry” are extremely young bass under 2”. They feed primarily on microcrustaceans & insect larvae. A bass’ average lifespan is about 10-12 years. Female smallmouth bass is usually larger than male smallmouth bass of the same age. Bass reach maturity at the age of 3 or 4. • South Dakota Smallmouth record is 7 lb., 3 oz. • Minnesota Smallmouth state record in 8 lb. • North Dakota Smallmouth record 6 lb., 13 oz. Smallmouth bass grow larger in lakes than in streams. The world record bass was caught on July 9, 1955 and weighed 11 lb., 15 oz. and measured 27” in length. Bass never stop growing; the larger the fish the older it usually is. The natural predator list for a bass is larger bass, northern pike, and musky. The smallmouth bass has a number of aliases: smallie, red eye, green trout, brown bass, bronzeback, and bareback bass. Small bass in the 1/2 to 2 lb. range will school and stay in hunting packs. SMALLMOUTH BASS

Dorsal fins connected The lines on the sides of a smallmouth bass fade with age

Moderately large mouth Cheek scales much smaller than rest of body scales Midwesthuntfish.com

Really big smallmouth bass that are 3 lb. or larger will travel in mating pairs. They will also have a territory and try to keep the smaller bass out. Where crayfish are abundant, they frequently comprise over two-thirds of the food. Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 11


Early spring is when spawning begins and when the water temperature begins to rise above 60 degrees. At this time, the male builds a nest in shallow water above a rock or gravel bottom. The female will then drop her eggs and the male will fertilize them. Between 5,000 and 14,000 eggs will be dropped from the mother. After her eggs are all dropped, she returns to deeper water. After about a week, the eggs hatch and the male bass cares for them. Together, they will form a school called a “brood swarm,” and stay in it for a month. Most of the newly hatched bass, also known as “fry,” die within this period. The average lifespan of a bass that survives the first month is 10 to 12 years.

Springing to Surface

Early spring is the easiest time to hook a bass because they will start moving closer to the surface.

Common Lures

The most common lures used for smallmouth bass fishing include plastic worms, jigs, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, grubs, and spoons.

Bass will go for it

Bass are opportunist foragers, so experiment with different types of bait and lures.

Live Bait works too

Although artificial lures are the most ordinarily used, good baits also include nightcrawlers, minnows, small shad or crayfish.

SMALLMOUTH LENGTH TO WEIGHT CONVERSION CHART Length (inches) Weight (pounds) Length (inches) Weight (pounds)

8.0 9.0 10.0 11.0 12.0 13.0 14.0 15.0

4.0 oz. 5.9 oz. 8.0 oz. 11.2 oz. 14.7 oz. 1 lb., 3 oz. 1 lb., 8 oz. 1 lb., 14 oz.

Page 12 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 12

16.0 17.0 18.0 19.0 20.0 21.0 22.0 23.0

2 lb., 5 oz. 2 lb., 12 oz. 3 lb., 6 oz. 4 lb. 4 lb., 11 oz. 5 lb., 8 oz. 6 lb., 6 oz. 7 lb., 6 oz.

References wikipedia.org almanac.com forum.americanexpedition.us Minnesota DNR

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So, the next time you are out on the water and want to fish for one of the toughest fighting freshwater fish in North America, it’s time to go after some Smallmouth Bass. Ounce for ounce and pound for pound the gamest fish that swims. The most important thing to remember is the temperature of the water. Smallies will transition from one area to another depending on the time of their spawning cycle and the temperature of the water. Smallmouth bass are taken for the table, with filets of white, firm flesh when cooked. Today, many fishermen practice catchand-release fishing to improve fish populations. By keeping less than your limit and releasing some fish—especially large fish—you will perpetuate the quality of your own fishing and that of other anglers. Catchand-release fishing, whether voluntary or required by special regulations, will help keep our smallmouth fishing as great as it is.

Smallmouth

BASS TACTICS Midwesthuntfish.com

A fight you CAN win!

Smallmouth bass are known for being tough fighters when reeling them in. Never give up!

The best tasting Bass

The majority of people think that smallmouth bass is better tasting than largemouth bass.

Holding a smallie

To correctly hold a bass, put its bottom lip between your thumb and bended pointer finger. Be sure to maintain a tight grip.

Let it go!

Most states have a length limit for their fish. If the fish you caught does not measure the minimum, it is required that you let it go. There are sometimes maximum limits for certain fish as well.

Moving water

Look for moving water, big smallmouths like to hang out where there is current and food is moving in their direction.

Big baits, Big fish

You've probably heard the saying "big baits, big fish." Well, it's true. It's possible you can catch big smallmouth on tiny lures, but on average, bigger lures will pick off more of the bigger fish.

Wind triggers feeding

Wind triggers feeding smallmouth. Wind gets the whole food chain going, from plankton to baitfish to predators, and if you're after the predators it's important to be there when they're feeding.

The early angler gets the big fish

If the early bird gets the worm, the early angler often gets the biggest fish. In the warmer months, many big smallmouth will only come shallow to feed in low-light conditions, especially the early morning.

They love drop offs

Look for drop offs. Smallmouth bass love sudden drop offs as it allows them to ambush anything that comes toward them.

Go-to Buzzbaits

Buzzbaits are your go-to lures when you notice that smallies are feeding on top of the water.

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 13


Spring, a new beginning. It all begins with the itch that needs to be scratched after a long cold winter. Most anglers welcome the change and who wouldn’t. I look forward every year to start the hunt for spring crappies. Of course, they are pretty easy to locate, but every lake is different in the sense of how the water warms in the beginning. There are a few things to not only look for, but to be concerned with during the search for those beloved crappies. Often, most anglers will target pan fish or in this case, “crappies”, during the daytime hours and are very successful. But, don’t overlook that evening bite before the sun goes down. The hours between 6-8 pm, before the sun goes down, can be exciting and rewarding. Last year, I decided to change things up a bit and focus on targeting crappies before the sun went down and it was the best decision I had ever made. Not only did the crappies bite, but you will catch larger ones.

Don’t overlook that evening bite before the sun goes down The hours between 6-8 pm, before the sun goes down, can be exciting and rewarding. Last year, I decided to change things up a bit and focus on targeting crappies before the sun went down and it was the best decision I had ever made. Not only did the crappies bite, but you will catch larger ones.

Page 14 • 14 Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017

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Here are a few things that you’ll need to do to be successful when you venture out: Make sure to wear warm outerwear and a pair of hip waders. Even when the temperatures seem warm, the evening can really become cold as the sun sets so don’t be caught off guard. Rod length is very important for me because of long cast and hooksets. My go to rod is either a 7’ or 8’ St. Croix Pan Fish Series rod. They have a soft tip, but have the backbone if you get a surprise bass, walleye or pike. The casting ability is the best especially when you use the right bobber. I really like casting past the prime areas, so that I don’t disturb the areas that are holding fish and from there, reel back in slowly until you’re in the target zone. The presentation that I’ll use is the ice fishing jigs and plastics. I believe that the crappies are feeding, but are still looking for something small. Use smaller jigs as soon as the ice goes out and as the water warms, switch it up to a little larger presentation. The Northland Tackle Tungsten Fireball Jig with an Impulse Bloodworm is what I start out with and then up size it to a 1/64oz Firefly Jig. For most of the spring I’ll just use that size until after the spawn. For years, that has been my go to jig and like they say, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”! What color, does it matter? I believe it does at times. The colors that have had the most success for me is the Pink/White or the Bumble Bee Fire Flies and I’ll tip them with the Impulse White Bloodworm. The right bobber is probably the most important part when targeting crappies in the spring and especially right after ice out. The Rocket Bobber acts like a spring bobber in the ice months, but now for open water. It indicates the light bites like a charm and I have been using this type of bobber for years. In my younger years, the bobber was the old style white and red, which was not as heavy or durable as the Rocket Bobber. I’ll bring a lantern or a battery light with for when the sun goes down. Sometimes I’ll walk a mile or so to get in the areas that I need to get to. Being prepared and traveling light is key and I always feel it’s worth it to have some type of light to get back. The areas that I look for are the shallowest water that will warm the quickest after the ice goes out. Believe it or not the water can warm 3-4º and that’s all you need for crappies to come in and feed. Typically, mud bottoms and areas that have vegetation like pencil weeds have a tendency of warming the quickest. I will always look for those pencil weeds, because crappies and other species migrate to them for oxygen. They produce the most once the water starts to warm and it’s where the crappies will spawn.

In conclusion, spring is one of my favorite times to fish and to watch the new beginning of growth, the trees, flowers, animals, fish and all that surrounds us. Until next time, be safe and we’ll see you in the outdoors. Photo credits: Chad Peterson HSM Outdoors

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 15


BRAINERD Many outdoor enthusiasts have made the Brainerd and Cuyuna Lakes Area in Minnesota an annual destination for a variety of reasons. Known as Minnesota’s year round playground the area offers a diverse set of activities, events & attractions throughout the year. Ample lodging is available with a wide variety of amenities and prices to please any group and budget. In addition for those that want to bring the family the area offers 3 of Minnesota’s best indoor waterparks. For fishing enthusiasts the area offers over four hundred and twenty lakes and rivers with a wide variety of species including Walleye, Northern Pike, Muskellunge, Crappie, Sunfish, Bass (large/small mouth), Trout (rainbow/brook/brown/lake), and many others. Gull Lake is the area’s best known lake and offers several restaurants on the water with a variety of food, beverages, and entertainment throughout the year. Many of the smaller lakes in the Brainerd Lakes area offer excellent fishing opportunities as well. Local guides recommend using the DNR lake finder to review surveys and choose a lake that has the species you are looking for. Of course, a great way to enjoy the area’s fishing opportunities is to hire one of the many local guides in the area. Hunting enthusiasts from around the world travel to the Brainerd Lakes Area for a variety of game during the spring and fall seasons. Wild turkey, whitetail deer, grouse, woodcock and snowshoe hare, are just a few of the species that hunters target. The expanded area is known for some of the best grouse and woodcock hunting in the world and with ample forest and swamp land the area produces many large bucks each year making it a great destination for trophy hunters. Ample public hunting land including county and state forest in addition to wildlife management areas offer visitors days of hunting opportunities throughout the area. There are many area activities to enhance any hunting or fishing trip in the area. These include biking, mountain biking, indoor water parks, amusement parks, racing, and much more. In addition the area offers a variety of unique towns to explore.

Brainerd & Baxter Brainerd is considered the heart of the lakes area while Baxter is called by many the gateway to the lakes area. These two towns each have their own personality and offer a variety of shopping, dining and events. The two towns offer a variety of parks with fishing piers, boat landings and beaches. The Mississippi river runs through Brainerd and the outskirts of Baxter offering scenic canoeing and kayaking in addition to excellent fishing. Many of the areas’ hotels and indoor water parks are located here and staying with them gives you centralized access to the entire Brainerd Lakes Area including the lakes, rivers, state forests, and wildlife management areas. The area around Brainerd and Baxter, the Brainerd Lakes Area, is Minnesota’s premier vacation destination and offers a variety of activities, amusement parks, wildlife parks and more. The area hosts huge events including Lakes Jam Music Fest, Lucas Oil Nationals (top fuel drag racing), and the Ice Fishing Extravaganza which is the largest live release ice fishing tournament in the world bringing over ten thousand people to Gull Lake each January. WWW.VISITBRAINERD.COM

Page 16 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017

Zip Line - visitbrainerd.com

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brainerdfishingguide.com cuyunalakes.com

Cuyuna Lakes Area The Cuyuna Lakes Area offers some of Minnesota’s newest and most scenic lakes filled with a variety of fish species including rainbow trout in the old mine pits. The area offers unique towns, a paved bike trail, and is best known for its world class mountain bike trails which are IMBA certified. Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area boasts 25 miles of forested shoreline providing peaceful relaxation for those who desire a rustic experience. Leave technology behind and embrace the sun dancing on quiet, crystal blue waters, the crackling warmth of a campfire and the haunting call of loons. Spend a lazy afternoon paddling in a canoe or kayak. Slip over the side in scuba gear and explore the remnants of an iron mine hundreds of feet below the still surface. The area offers a variety of trails including snowmobile, ATV, Mountain Bike, and paved bike trails. In addition the areas scenic forest trails make it an excellent destination for non-motorized activities like hiking, biking, mountain biking, mushroom hunting, and birding. Throughout the year the Cuyuna Lakes Area hosts a variety of unique events that draw people from around the region. Be sure to check out the Cuyuna Crusher, Heritage Days, Woodtick Races, Fast and Furious, or Music in the Park just to name a few. While in town be sure to discover why the area is designated “The Antique Capital of the Lakes Area,” Crosby’s antique shops beckon residents and visitors all four seasons. Whether you buy or browse, the variety of antiques and collectibles tucked away in historic brick buildings is sure to delight. The area is also popular with history buffs and is home to the Croft Mine, Cuyuna Range Historical Museum and Miners Memorial just to name a few. WWW.CUYUNALAKES.COM

Nisswa Located just a few miles north of Brainerd and Baxter, Nisswa is a popular destination for many people due to its unique shopping and events throughout the year. This is the quintessential Minnesota small town. Walk through the town exploring unique shops, the famous Chocolate Ox candy store, or stop by the famous pickle factory for a cold beverage. The Paul Bunyan State Bike Trail runs through the center of this great Minnesota town making it a popular stop for cyclists. The town also recently added two new craft breweries with each one offering a unique flavor and ambiance. Throughout the year Nisswa draws in thousands of visitors for its events including Nisswa Freedom Days, Nisswa Stamman, and city of lights just to name a few. Of course, one of the most popular activities here are the turtle races held every Wednesday throughout the summer. This popular event brings in hundreds of people each week from around the region. WWW.NISSWA.COM

Regardless of the experience you are looking for the unique lodging offered by the area combined with the activities, events, public hunting land, lakes and rivers are sure to make the Brainerd Lakes Area your outdoor activity destination for years to come.

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 17


Brainerd, Minnesota We are located in the heart of the Brainerd Lakes area. In the space of 1 mile, you are off the busy highway and into a tranquil environment surrounded by woods and water. Spread over 100 acres, with a mile of undeveloped shoreline, the resort & RV parks offer family enjoyment, solitude and the unspoiled beauty of the Mississippi River. Once you’ve arrived, it’s hard to believe you are only minutes away from the many activities of the Brainerd Lakes Area. Make us your family tradition!

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P age 18 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 18

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Minnesota fishing vacations are some of the best in the United States. From Central Minnesota known as Lake Country to the Brainerd Lakes area and north to Lake of the woods, you will find thousands of lakes to fish. Anglers keep 3.5 million walleyes every year. Nearly twice as many people fish for walleye in Minnesota as for other species. And they spend nearly twice the amount of time on the water. The Minnesota Walleye opener is May 13, 2017. Early season is the best time for all around action, shallow water flats contain most of the bait fish and post spawn Walleyes remain in these shallow locations until water warms and bait supplies become more available in deeper water.

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During the fall more trophy caliber fish are caught than any other time of the year. The fishing is good but the scenery with the changing colors makes for a great day on the lake.

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We aim to be the lakes area premiere small town bait shop. We eliminate the long trip to Brainerd or Walker to meet your outdoor recreational needs. Spend more time outdoors than in the car/truck/SUV. Find bait, tackle, camping, hunting, or any other need or want under one roof. Guide services, detailing, and informational seminars throughout the seasons. And so much more!!!

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 19 19


Photo credits: Dennis Foster

The potential for trophy sized pike, those reaching and exceeding 20 pounds is as good as anywhere on the continent. Folks are just starting to discover how abundant the crappies are. Big fish too with 13, 14 and even 15 inchers, becoming commonplace. The smallmouth fishing remains all but untouched with extremely good numbers and quite respectable size. Toss in cooperative silver bass and all the channel cats one could ever hope to catch and you have a pretty wide selection to choose from. Odds are high you will catch some specimens of each on most every outing. Balance is an ongoing struggle, but one the Reservoir always seems to sort out for itself. By this, I am largely referring to the importance of ample forage. There are natural ebbs and flows in baitfish populations and with these so goes the fortunes of the gamefish that rely on them. Along with factors beyond man’s control, such as weather; all of the fish are affected by man’s actions in the form of water management. A prime example of this would be the ill-fated planning on the part of the Corps of Engineers in 2011. In a nutshell, they grossly underestimated the amount of water flowing into the system. They had to open the floodgates on Oahe (the very first time the emergency spillway had ever been used) and along with the torrent of water, went a good portion of our smelt and untold numbers of game fish.

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The good news is that the big lake once again showed its resiliency when faced with adverse conditions. In the absence of cold water baitfish, such as the now decimated smelt, lake herring showed a dramatic increase in population and helped to supplant that resource. The gamefish themselves also displayed their ability to adapt and began keying on other prey species such as gizzard shad, emerald shiners and young of the year panfish. By keying in on the panfish offspring, a good portion of the walleyes simply transitioned shallow. Very shallow at that. Often in as little as 2-10’ in the warm water found at the backs of bays. Making their living off of this clearly plentiful and more reliable source of protein. Providing anglers with a willingness to go beyond most fisherman’s comfort level in an all but untouched and largely overlooked population of walleyes of which to capitalize on. The entire reservoir offers excellent Walleye angling, but of particular note is the Northern half of the lake. If we were to divide the lake into two distinct sections, the highway 212 bridge west of the town of Gettysburg, or what is commonly referred to as Whitlock Crossing, would be a logical spot. The name is derived from the fact that this is where the Whitlock family operated a ferry crossing the Missouri River long before automobiles and bridges. From this point south, the water gets progressively deeper, the structure breaks sharper and is a bit more sterile. Travelling north, we begin to experience a shallower more fertile environment, and in my opinion, more consistent fishing success. Midwesthuntfish.com


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Lake Oahe has a well-deserved reputation as a walleye factory. And rightly so. No matter what Mother Nature throws at it or what management decisions are made; this expansive Prairie reservoir just keeps churning out plenty of toothy, glassy eyed and oh so tasty walleyes.

And lots more too.

Of particular note are the large creek arms, river arms and bays. The most notable of the fishing areas, and all conveniently within easy reach, from south to north from the Hwy. 212 bridge are as follows: Whitlock Bay, Swiftbird Creek, Swan Creek, Moreau River, Blue Blanket, Grand River, Oak Creek, Pollock Bay and State Line Bay at the furthest point north at you guessed it, the South Dakota and North Dakota boundary. This list is far from all inclusive, but these are great starting points with hundreds if not thousands of other viable nooks and crannies nestled between them to explore. The great part is that they will all hold good numbers of fish on any given day. You just need to bounce around to locate actively feeding fish. Aside from the exceptional fishing to be found on the water, there is also plenty of enjoyment to had on shore. The entire corridor boasts the friendliest of folks offering comfortable and affordable accommodations complimented by some great eating options. You will no doubt agree the steaks served throughout the area are as good or better than can be found anywhere. There are little gems in the form of fishing communities to be found up and down the Reservoir. From the 212 bridge and heading up river, you first have the Whitlock’s area. Here you will find two steakhouses, two motels, two bait shops and another lounge with lodging. There is also more permanent housing options sprinkled throughout. You can then head straight up Hwy. 1804 to Akaska. Affectionately and dare I say, accurately known as the little drinking town with a fishing problem. Two bars and eating establishments, one with a bait shop-along a 3 block long main street are strong evidence of this. From there you continue on up 1804 to the little resort community of New Evarts which has a good steakhouse and lounge along with a Motel. It is only a bit further north to Mobridge, the “big” town, if you will, along the stretch that offers everything you could ever need or want. It is also notable that their Chamber of Commerce is very proactive in promoting Midwesthuntfish.com

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the wealth of recreational activities that the big lake provides. To that end, they have generously stepped up in providing logistical support for the Northern Oahe Walleye Series, which coincidentally, all of the mentioned communities conduct extremely well run walleye tournaments that serve as qualifying events for the Series. Concluding in a Championship Tournament, based out of Mobridge, where Team of the Year honors will be awarded. Last but far from least is Pollock. It is interesting to note that this quaint, but not exactly quiet little village was actually relocated on higher ground to its current location as the advancing waters of the newly dammed Lake Oahe would permanently overtake the original town. These folks are a little off the beaten path and enthusiastically welcome visitors. All locations have excellent well-seasoned guides who I would strongly recommend if you are new to Lake Oahe and wish to ensure success on your first outing. As an added benefit, you will learn some valuable fishing lessons as part of the experience. Another thing to note is that each of these locations have private campgrounds and beautiful state parks with camping facilities featuring excellent boat ramps and fish cleaning stations. Mobridge even boasts a year-round climate controlled indoor cleaning station. I will admit to being prejudiced as I have come to know the folks in every community and their commitment to excellence quite well over the years. That is why I helped organize and firmly stand behind the entire concept of the Northern Oahe Walleye Series. I know exactly how these tournaments are ran and the amount of hard work and dedication that goes into making sure each goes off without a hitch. They are truly special events. With the added anglers we are attracting and along with their input, we are witnessing some positive changes and developments. One of them is the growing commitment of Sponsors to provide much added value in the form of prizes for the participants. In addition to being well conducted, each Tournament offers a good mix of affordable entries and attractive payouts. These are all enhanced by the generosity of our Sponsors: Raymarine, Lund Boats, Mercury, Dave’s Marine, JB Lures, ReefRuner Lures, Rod Select 360, Sodak Sports, Scheels and Moritz Marine. More will most likely come onboard before the first tournament of this, our sophomore season. I would encourage you to display your appreciation and support these thoughtful Sponsors whenever possible. Schedule is as follows: Wolves on the Water June 3rd, Denny Palmer Memorial June 10th, Pollock Men’s Club June 17th and 18th, Whitlock Bay July 8th and 9th, SD Walleye Classic July 21st and 22nd, and concluding with the Northern Oahe Series Championship in Mobridge on August 19th. Full information, contact information and entry forms for all tournaments can be found at www.northernoaheseries.com. If interested, I would strongly recommend entering just as soon as you can as each and every one of these tournaments will fill quickly. Whether you are a hardcore tournament type or a fair-weather fisherman, the attraction of the entire area is equally compelling. If you are looking for a new destination or just haven’t had the good fortune of being there latelyconsider heading to the northern reaches of always amazing Lake Oahe… where the fishing and folks are always fine. Dennis Foster is an outdoor communicator, hunting/fishing guide and tournament fisherman. He welcomes input and can be reached via either of his websites www.eyetimepromotions.com or www. dakotapheasantguide.com.

701-222-3092 or 800-880-4665 Page 22 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 22

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We are famous for our Walleye fishing, having hosted many national and regional tournaments every year. Lake Oahe also offers several species of other fish that are plentiful and fun to catch, from the smallmouth & silver bass, to the trophy sized catfish and northern pike, you will have a great time on Lake Oahe. With the positioning of Mobridge on Lake Oahe, there is always boat access, no matter what the wind speed and direction is. The structure of Upper Lake Oahe can cater to any type of fishing. There are deep and shallow points, submerged railroad grades and islands, in addition to shoreline flats.  Photos courtesy of Oahe Wings & Walleyes and Oahe Sunset Lodge.

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In Pierre, our natural assets run deep. Lake Oahe, Lake Sharpe and many surrounding smaller lakes supply the area some of the best walleye fishing in the nation. South Dakota does not have a limited fishing season so anglers can fish year-round for trout, northern pike, bass, salmon, and catfish.

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CALL TODAY! Platte Creek Lodge & Guide Service

Platte/Chamberlain, SD

We go to where the fish are biting. Your 1 stop shop for all your fishing and hunting needs. We offer a full-service Lodge and guides to make your trip an enjoyable one. For all of you fisherman that have your own boats, you are welcome to get a room and enjoy all we have to offer. Bait shop, gift shop, kitchen, Grills and cleaning station. Just back in, plug in your boat. Relax and talk to our local guides about where and how the fish are biting. Our lodge can handle 1 person to a group of 16. So, come and enjoy all that Platte Creek Lodge & Guide Service has to offer. Give Nova a call to book your trip as some dates to go early. LODGE & GUIDE SERVICE 36537 Platte Lake Rd., Platte, SD 57369 (605) 337-9777 • Plattecreek.com Plattecreek@midstatesd.net PLATTE, SOUTH DAKOTA

Lake Francis Case is the large, gently winding reservoir behind Fort Randall Dam on the Missouri River in south-central South Dakota. The lake has an area of 102,000 acres and a maximum depth of 140 ft. Lake Francis Case covers just over 100 miles, with a shoreline of 540 miles.

Photo courtesy of Platte Creek Lodge

A majority of the spawning size walleye move into the upper 1/3 of the reservoir in late fall/ early spring. After spawning in mid/late April, walleye disperse throughout the reservoir. As water temps rise, walleye fishing can be good throughout the entire reservoir. Lake Francis Case typically sees most of its fishing use during the May-July time period. Walleye must be a minimum length of 15”, except in July & August when there is no minimum. Daily limit is no more than one 20” or longer, year round. Daily limit 4. Possession limit 8.

Page 28 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 28

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 29


As a professional fishing guide, I have developed a system to approach a new lake, dissect the lake, and put fish in the boat— all within hours...

Page 30 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 30

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As a professional fishing guide that guarantees fish and is forced to fish new lakes (that I have never visited or fished before) on a weekly basis, I place a lot of pressure on myself to produce. This is where the stress of being a successful fishing guide comes in. But this also keeps my mind flowing and away from any kind of “fishing rut”. About half of the 200 trips a summer I crank out with my boat are 4 hour, half day trips—meaning four hours to find and catch whatever the clients want. And that usually translates into walleye fishing because frankly, anglers come to Minnesota to catch and eat walleyes­—period. Thankfully, pike, bass, pan fish, and muskies are also thrown into the mix. In either case, over the last 29 years I have developed a system I use to approach a new lake, dissect the lake, and put fish in the boat all within hours. Back in the early days of guiding, I had time to pre fish or scout a new lake because I wasn’t booked every minute of every day like I am now. Heck I almost forgot to write this article! So it was easy—find the lake on a road map and go fish it until I had it figured out. Now, that’s not the case. The day before a guide trip to a new lake is spent guiding somewhere else—maybe 60 miles away. Since I am not a “one lake fishing guide” I travel to the clients which are vacationing all over the “fishing hot spots” in Minnesota. Brainerd, Ottertail, Leech, Park Rapids, Mille Lacs, Alexandria, just to name a few and countless others. Yes, I have many 1,000 mile weeks during the summer months. That’s where the challenge starts. Let’s say I have a trip on Lake Wishyaknew. I realize I have never been to the lake before, I don’t even know where the boat landing is, but the clients are staying on the lake for a week at a resort and want to get some pointers on how to fish the lake so they can enjoy time in their own boat during the rest of their stay—and hopefully catch more fish. That’s a common situation for me. I book the trip sometime in March and the trip actually occurs in July. The clients want to catch walleyes. Ok, here we go. Find the lake on a map, locate the access If there isn’t one, I call the resort and pay to use theirs—which is rare. If it’s an afternoon fishing trip, I have to do a little math for drive time based on where I will be that morning. No problem. I make a very basic guess on the “style” of lake hinged on its geographic location— southern Minnesota lake probably shallow and dirty vs. a northern Minnesota lake which can be deep and clear. Research the characteristics & biological makeup Go to the Minnesota DNR Lake Finder website and research the lakes characteristics and biological makeup. I have 3 basic lake styles that I clump lakes into. Each style of lake has a big bag of fishing techniques and approaches that will work on lakes that are similar. The 3 styles I use are: A. deep (60-100+) clear cold lakes, good water clarity (8-15 ft.), forage base which includes perch and also open water forage like cisco or tullibee, B. moderate depth (20-70 ft.) lakes, average clarity (3-6 ft.), cool to warm water temps with perch as a primary forage base, or C. shallow bowl shaped basin lakes (6-15 ft.), warm water, poor clarity (1-2’), primary forage base can be small pan fish or bullheads/catfish. Using the website along with numerous informative lake map books (i.e. Sportsmans Atlas), I look for water clarity information, forage/perch/ tullibee numbers and sizes, weed line depths, and bottom content. This paints a picture of which one of the 3 categories/ styles of lakes I’m putting the lake in. Google Earth—Use it I like to look at the lake surface via satellite. I’m looking at the water color, where the weed beds are (lily pads) surface weeds, etc. If the satellite picture is good, shallow reefs, sand bars, even break lines can be observed. This also helps me categorize the lake. It’s usually obvious if the water is blue, green, or brown (in the satellite picture). Verify the information you collected Once I’m at the lake, I walk down to the dock to verify the water clarity to determine if the information I collected is accurate. I also look to see if any minnows or small fish are swimming around the shallows. Could be a shallow water pattern if so. Water clarity is going to influence lure colors, styles, and most importantly the weed line depth—which is the blood of any lake and always the best place to start--in my opinion. Perform a weed line “check” On the way to picking up the clients at the dock I am cruising the boat out towards the deep water and the first break line at about 35mph watching my Vexilar flasher to start charting the inside/shallow weed line depth and of course the depth of the deep weed line. I will perform this “check” at 3 different areas of the lake to come up with average depths of the weeds. I also have the basic depth of the main body of weeds. I now have 3 fishing depths to play with—shallow inside weed Midwesthuntfish.com

line, the main weed bed itself, and the deep weed line. I have also noted the depths at which the different weed species are growing—usually visibly with my Maui Jims. I am more concerned about the depths of Cabbage or Coontail weed—fish favorites. Chart feeding depth Now that the weed line depths have been averaged, I need to find out what depth the potential baitfish are using. This depth will be a key feeding depth for the fish and of course another depth number to fish in. I continue driving the boat into the deep water just outside the weed line and watch both the Vexilar Fl-28 and Humminbird side imaging for schools of bait fish. I will keep a mental note of the actual depths of the schools of bait fish / forage--even if I do not see any fish. I am only concerned with depth numbers the forage is found until fishing has started. Fine tune presentation Pick up the clients and load up with an easy, fast searching presentation so we can fish and fine tune at the same time. A crawler on a spinner harness (a JB Lures spinner with a small blade) attached to a bottom bouncer is the way to go. Everything will bite a crawler— everything. This gives us a ton of info when anything can be caught This presentation can be used on the shallow weed line, over the tops of the main weed bed, and of course along the deep weed edge. Use a 3/4 oz bouncer weight and keep a speed of 1/2 mph up to 1.5 mph. Covering a lot of water and eliminating options quick is the trick. Vary the lure depth 5’ ft. either way of your pre-determined depths until enough fish are caught to narrow the fishing depth to a 1’-2’ slice of water. Meaning, you should be able to tell someone to fish between 19-20 ft. verses between 15-20 ft. Find the “hot spots” Try the spinner presentation at a variety of spots until the “hot spot” has been found. Meaning, try the deep weed line, inside weed line, sunken islands, points, flats—things like that. These can be “scanned” with electronics. Check 3 islands, no fish on any of them?—scratch islands off the list. Only spend about 10-15 minutes at each area, then move on. Remember, 4 hours goes fast! Keep fresh bait on the hooks and vary the colors on every line until the fish tell you what to use. Sorry, I only have 8 steps—lol. Although this summary of my system to find fish on new bodies of water efficiently is kinda vague, It should help you develop your own way of approaching a new body of water with confidence and success. Part of the fun about fishing a new lake is the challenge—which is the name of the game when it comes to fishing. Good Luck, Captain Josh, Minnesota Fishing Guide Service www.minnesotaguideservice.com 320-291-0708, 218-732-9919 Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 31 Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 31


One sunny afternoon in Arizona, John Alvarez's world came to a screeching halt. While the car accident did not claim his life, it claimed his life as he knew it. As a result of the accident, Mr. Alvarez forgot how to do many of the everyday skills we all know. He struggled with remembering names and putting sentences together. After 18 months of rehab, he and his family made the move from Arizona, where the sounds and the noise became overwhelming, to the calm and quiet Great Plains of South Dakota. But these remain simply details, ones not important to the happenings in Mr. Alvarez's life today. Soon after moving to South Dakota, a need for an outlet inspired My Fishing Pond, Inc., a nonprofit organization that acts as a rehabilitation mechanism for brain injury survivors, handicapped children, and the elderly in nursing homes. Mr. Alvarez and his son spent countless hours fishing at Wolf Creek and soon the idea developed. Mr. Alvarez, his son, and countless volunteers built a pond and placed hundreds of fish into the pond. For those visiting the pond, they can fish with all the necessary gear and it costs them nothing. In it’s short history, My Fishing Pond has helped over thousands of people since 2002. Construction on the pond began in 1998 and slowly the pond was born. Once built, the first group of children came to fish. Mr. Alvarez's son Trevor who worked at the Children's Care Hospital in Sioux Falls, brought a group of children in. Since that day, countless lives have been helped through My Fishing Pond. After a day of fishing, those fishing also get a chance to sit down to eat a meal prepared by the hosts. As with any non-profit organization, My Fishing Pond faces struggles as well—namely financial struggles. The organization always looks to add things to the pond. The Mitchell Christian sophomore class spent a day in May helping My Fishing Pond by cleaning and helping prepare for the summer season. My Fishing Pond must also pay a considerable amount for insurance as well, and most of the money comes from donors. After a time of fishing, My Fishing Pond also provides a full meal for their participants, much of it comes from financial donations or food donations. Essentially, My Pond hangs on the donations of others. However, even with these struggles, the possibilities seem endless. Through the gracious giving of supporters, My Fishing Pond continues to touch lives. In early May, Mr. Alvarez and the supporters of My Fishing Pond will gear up for a full summer. Near the end of May and throughout June, July, and August, the fishing pond will host hundreds of visitors all trying to catch "the big one." The need for volunteers throughout the year always remains, so Mr. Alvarez is grateful for everyone who comes to work for an afternoon. Financial donations come as major blessings to My Fishing Pond as they always want to make My Fishing Pond better. Even though Mr. Alvarez's life changed in a single moment, his life has remained a blessing to the countless volunteers and visitors of My Fishing Pond. His contagious passion and zest for life spreads and the smiles from those visiting about as contagious. While the history of My Fishing Pond seems somewhat important, the major importance rests on its future. For more information on bringing a group to the pond or to help with John’s Pond, go to myfishingpond.com or give John a call at 605 729 9400 or 605 240 0248

32 Page 32 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017

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Canada’s vast land and beautiful wilderness offers amazing landscapes and an unprecedented variety of outdoor activities.

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Its lakes, rivers and rugged coastlines are prime sport fishing grounds, and from its inland central forests, to the Rockies in the west, to the pure expanse of vast arctic plains, are home to some of the best game hunting ever experienced. This has made Canada a yearround, season to season ground for outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world.

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3333 Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page


Vernal Equinox Sander Vitreus (Spring Walleyes)

Reading the Lake The first thing to consider when trying to locate a group of white tip tails, is whether the particular body of water you are fishing is capable of natural reproduction or purely a stocked lake. A natural spawning lake will tend to be several thousand acres in size with large amounts of shallow spawning structure (i.e. sand/rock bars). While it’s not entirely out of the question for walleyes to spawn in sparse cabbage beds, they prefer flat sand areas with boulders or gravel bottoms. With the wind and waves they will deposit eggs in their beds (holes) that offer protection. Water depths will typically range anywhere from 4 feet out to roughly 10 feet, with the spawned out males hanging just on the edge of the break line from that 10 foot range. Of course this is a generalization regarding most large bodies of water. There are always outlier lakes where fish can be found slightly deeper depending on water clarity. Tracking Them Down With colder water temps and spawning conditions, walleyes will be grouped up within a short range of the structures mentioned above. Having a quality graph will allow you to cruise through potential fish holding areas swiftly while using down and side imaging capabilities that can be the telltale difference between a full livewell or just having a deep fried hors d’oeuvres. There are many brands of graphs on the market today that offer these features and finding one that you feel comfortable using, tends to be more important than the price tag. From the basic sonar with DI & SI (down & side imaging) to a several thousand dollar flat screen, that can just about do everything but make you a cup of coffee. They all can aide you in finding fish outside of what’s directly below your boat and show you structure you may not have known was even there.

Springtime, is surely one of the favorite times of the year for Midwesterners who suffered through months of bitter cold and snow. Its arrival brings sunshine, green grass, migratory birds, but more importantly, pre & post spawn walleyes who are chomping up anything that looks like a delicacy!

Doing a Little Jig Staying on the move, with active baits, can increase your catch rates. While the old method of trolling spinner rigs with live bait can be productive, utilizing jigs such as a Northland Fireball tipped with live bait or plastics will provide the active profile these hungry walleyes are looking for. In the spring-time, there are many different species of fish that use warm shallow water for spawning and feeding purposes. What this means is, you will need to do a little research on what types of baitfish reside in the body of water you are fishing. Medium to large profiles will produce bigger fish, but could also result in many missed strikes (and frustration) caused by smalls. This is where plastics such as the new Northland Impulse Core baits can be a great happy medium Not only do you have a variety of colors and sizes, but they will also withstand repeated fish. What does this mean to you? Less time digging around in your minnow bucket and more time pitching for fish.

Northland Fire-Ball Jig in Firetiger, FishUSA.com

34

Page 34 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017

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Having their full predatory instinct on overdrive, the reaction strike bite can lead to fishing trips that will leave you telling true stories that no one will believe.

Colby Gallagher HSM Outdoors

Photo credits: Colby Gallagher, HS M

Midwesthuntfish.com

Outdoors

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 35


Reaching Out to Them Having an exclusive type rod is key in any fishing scenario. The old adage of one tool to do it all isn’t the most efficient way to make yourself more successful. Now everyone will have their own preference on what rods work best to rig up for various fishing styles, but the consensus is that a spinning rod set up is the most versatile. Using the information given above regarding jigging, which is personally my favorite spring walleye technique, selecting a rod and reel combo built specifically for the task is imperative. After many years of trial and error with rod companies, I settled in nicely with a Limit Creek “The Smoothie” 6’9” medium light, fast action rod. The rod is extremely lightweight, cost efficient and carries a warranty that makes other companies blush. Using a rod near 7 feet in length not only helps you to cast further, but also creates a desirable action whether you’re bouncing live bait or twitching plastics. Not to mention the sensitivity of the medium light tip which lends itself perfectly to a 1/4 oz or lighter jig head. Pair all this awesomeness up to a smooth running reel such as a Pflueger President or Diawa Revros and you have yourself an affordable, jig skipping, walleye lip ripping machine.

Making the Connection Spooling up for the fight is also just as important as the rod and reel you are using. For the main line, a braid such as P-Line XTCB is crucial to get a deep hookset. Using a 10 lb test braid gives you superior strength compared to non-braided lines and has the same diameter as 4 lb test monofilament. More strength with smaller profile is a win-win, especially when fishing clear waters. Moving towards the business end of the line, having a 3 foot leader of fluorocarbon attached to the braid using a small swivel will make your connection to the jig undetectable by fish. In addition, the swivel will allow the jig to work properly without twisting up the line and creating an unwanted disaster when reeling up any slack. Taking a little time to do some research on the body of water you are planning to fish and getting yourself the proper set up in accordance with what baitfish those hungry predators will be searching for, will increase your dinner rations significantly. Good luck with your hunt for spring walleyes and always keep thinking outside of the box. Be a leader on the water, not a follower.

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38 Page 38 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017

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Formed by the glaciers receding to the north over 20,000 years ago, this area of South Dakota is unique in its variety of family attractions, festivals, scenery, parks, hunting, fishing, outdoor activities and history. With over 100 great fishing lakes, you can fish a new lake every day. Over the past several years, the fishing has been outstanding, some of the best in the Upper Midwest for walleye, perch and northern. Fisherman are coming to the glacial lakes area to experience some of the best fishing in our five state area. Pheasant populations have rebounded  and now present excellent bird numbers. Fishing & pheasant hunting along with great waterfowl hunting give you opportunities unmatched in other surrounding states.

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 39


So what makes them great? Could it be the bass fishing? Well both Spirit Lake and West Okoboji have been on the Bassmasters Top 100 list of bass lakes in the past few years. Is it The Great Walleye Weekend? Possibly. During this annual tournament held the first weekend of May anglers fish for a chance of catching one of 10 tagged walleye worth $35,000. There’s also fantastic panfish opportunities with bluegills stretching to 10+ inches and slab crappies, mostly black but some white crappie also. There’s also Arnold’s Park, one of the oldest amusement parks west of the Mississippi. Resorts on these beautiful glacial lake shores have been drawing people to the area since the late 1800s. Of course it’s all of these things combined that put the greatness in the Iowa Great Lakes but for this article I will focus on the fishing available.

700th St.

Spirit Lake

240th Av

86

MINNESOTA Co. Hwy. 2 IOWA

Co. Rd. M56 / A 15

e.

205th Ave. 140th St.

9

Triboji Beach

Spirit Lake

150th St.

East Okoboji Lake

Av e. ji bo ko O

260th Ave.

Arnold’s Park Upper Gar Lake Lake Minnewashta Lower Gar Lake

40 P age 40 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017

M56

West Okoboji

.

Rd.

71

Av e

Co.

Wahpeton

East Okoboji Lake

Okoboji Ave.

Okoboji

0th

245th Ave.

71

71

9

25 Hull Ave.

Center Lake

Egralharve

150th St.

9

18th St.

86

Orleans

Co. Rd. M56

MINNESOTA IOWA

Co. Hwy 2

Little Spirit Lake

The bass fishing starts as soon as the ice goes out with smallmouth bass as the main target. Rock points are the key to finding both the largest smallies and the biggest congregations of fish. The best spots have direct access to deep water and the bigger the boulders on an area the better. Often, especially on West Okoboji, these same holding places will have largemouth bass as well. And do not be surprised by pike, muskie, or walleye. My first choice of lures is always a suspending jerkbait, like the Berkley Cutter 110 and the XRap #10. Work these lures in a series of jerks, twitches, and pauses, looking for the proper cadence to provoke a strike. The basic rule of thumb is the colder the water the longer the pause and smaller the jerks. As the water warms increase the action on the lure. Hair jigs fished just fast enough to keep them swimming above the rocks, even occasionally bumping the rocks, are a good option especially on days with no wind. When the water starts to warm into the low 50s the smallmouth begin to think about spawning and shallower water comes into play. Males start looking for prime nesting areas and females will cruise the shallows in search of good feeding opportunities before they spawn. Swimming 3-5” Berkley Power grubs covers water fast and triggers bites from these cruising fish. Once the smallmouth start to bed, tubes are a good choice along with a Swim Senko, and a Havoc Flat Dawg. All of these hopped along on a jig in the 1/8th to 1/4 oz. size appeal to pre-spawn and spawning bass. The bites are usually subtle, as in the jig just feels heavy almost like it is swimming through molasses instead of water. I tell my guide clients, if it might be a bite, set the hook. Fishing is not baseball, you get as many swings as you want. On clear, calm days when the smallies are Midwesthuntfish.com


tight on the beds sight fishing is possible. This happens sometime in late May to early June. A bright colored tube like white or chartreuse makes it easy for the angler to see a bass pick up his bait. This visual is vital as these fish aren’t eating the bait, they just pick it up and carry it off of the bed before spitting it out. Seeing the bite and setting the hook at the right time provides excitement and good results. The largemouth fishing, though good in the spring, really kicks into high gear after the spawn. By then the weeds on West Okoboji have reached a significant growth and a strong weed line has developed. Points and turns within the weed line become apparent and these are great places for largemouth bass to lay in ambush of bluegill, their prime food source on Okoboji. There are many lures that will entice these predators but I usually start with a skirted jig, 1/4 to 1/4 oz. in weight, tipped with a Berkley Chigger Craw in the 3 or 4 inch size. Position your boat a short cast outside the weed edge, then make a long cast into the weeds and work the jig back to the boat, all the way to back to the boat. Many times anglers will reel in and make another cast once they stop feeling the jig contacting weeds. This is a major mistake as bluegill will often hold just outside the weeds slightly suspended 1-2 foot off the bottom. The biggest bass many times can be found out chasing these suspended fish. If this is the case then I switch to crankbaits and/or swim jigs tipped with a boot tail bait like the Havoc Grass pig. Cast these baits parallel to the weed edge. I like to put a series of pauses in the retrieve with these baits. With the crainkbait the pause allows the bait to rise slowly triggering a strike from a following bass. With the swim jig it’s just the opposite, the jig will sink slowly and most of the time that is when the strike will come.

Midwesthuntfish.com

One more thing on bass fishing. When the bluegill spawn is happening, in around 68-72º water temps, both the smallmouth and largemouth move into feed on these spawners. This is topwater time. I like a walking bait like The Strike King Sexy Dawg or a Zara Spook for this. A popping plug is sometimes better. This is a lowlight, low wind situation so get out there at sunrise or sunset. Cloud cover can extend the bite to all day.

4141 Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page


The Iowa Great Lakes are the only lakes in Iowa to have a closed season. Opener is the first full weekend of May and this is when The Great Walleye Weekend happens and what a tradition it is. This year marks the 35th year that people have been traveling to this fishing destination just south of the Minnesota border to join family and friends in trying to catch one of the tagged walleye. There is also a prize for the heaviest stringer, all fish must be under 17 inches, of three walleye weighed in. To help insure that the great walleye fishing remains that way there is a slot limit on the Great Lakes, any walleye between 17-22 inches must be immediately released. In an anglers 3 fish limit, one walleye may be over 22 inches. Opener often means very clear water on these glacial lakes which means that fishing after dark is very popular. Waders stand shoulder to shoulder, float tube next to float tube, as they cast current areas, along points, and in necked down areas between the lakes. Some folks swear by jigs tipped with Ripple Shads or Impulse Minnows, while others like a nice live bait fixed beneath a slip float. The view from a boat looks like fireflies are on the water as nearly every dock has anglers casting lighted bobbers out.

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42 Page 42 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017

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Boat anglers also get in on the night bite with most slow trolling stick baits like #9 & 11 Floating Rapalas or Smithwick Rogues. I personally like a Reef Runner Ripstick which has a big wobble and is easy for a walleye to find after dark. Over the past ten years Berkley Flicker Shads have become popular amongst the trolling crowd. But trolling isn’t the only option for boat anglers. Many will anchor up on rock piles or newly grown weed beds and use the same tactics employed by shore anglers. Please come visit The Iowa Great Lakes area and find out just what will make it great for you. Doug Burns has owned & operated The Iowa Guide service since 1999. Call 712-209-4286. 0840.cc40.ad_Layout 1 2/10/17 8:24 or AM visitfishnfunokoboji.com. Page 1 Follow on Facebook @ The Iowa Guide service.

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 43


Nestled in the northwest corner of Iowa, the Iowa Great Lakes include Iowa’s largest natural lake, Spirit Lake, and five interconnected lakes: West Lake Okoboji, East Lake Okoboji, Upper Gar, Lower Gar, and Minnewashta. These beautiful lakes are the result of a geological drama that occurred over 14,000 years ago – when the Des Moines Ice Lobe of the Late Wisconsin Glaciation period retreated southward across the upper Midwest. The result was a phenomenon that sculpted the earth with unimaginable power and beauty, fashioning the landscape now known as the Iowa Great Lakes. The chain of six natural lakes, covering more than 12,000 acres with nearly 70 miles of shoreline, is a noted fishery for such game fish species as walleye, northern pike muskellunge, largemouth and smallmouth bass, perch, crappie, and bluegill. Big Spirit Lake is the largest natural lake in Iowa at 5,684 acres. West Lake Okoboji is one of only three blue water lakes in the world, spring fed and 136 feet deep. Water recreational opportunities, from boating to sailing to various water sports, are boundless.

Page 44 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 44

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The Iowa Guide Estherville, IA

The Iowa Guide service, operating on The Iowa Great Lakes, is the premier guide service in the area and is owned and operated by M. Doug Burns since 1999. There are several packages, including 1/2 day trips, the Full Day Canadian Adventure, and The FishnFun Family Pac, available from The Iowa Guide service to suit the needs of anglers and families of all skill levels. For more info check out fishnfunokoboji.com or call 712-209-4286

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 45 45


Fishing on a charter is about as easy as it gets. Everything is provided, all you have to do

is catch fish!

Photo credits: Joe Henry

Brent (right) came to the Walleye Capital hoping for a trophy. On this trip, he hit Lake of the Woods gold with a 31” walleye! Borderview Lodge

Page 46 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 46

Lake of the Woods is one of the few lakes you can jump on a 27-30’ charter boat and fish walleyes. A Coast Guard licensed charter captain takes away all of the worry regarding navigation, lunch, bait, tackle, getting on the fish and even the fish cleaning after the trip. Most resorts in these parts offer charter fishing, and it makes life easy. Charter captains have a license that allows them to guide up to 6 customers at a time, which makes this type of boat ideal for the size of the crew. With a cuddy cabin below, a small restroom if needed and big enough to handle the big water this lake is known for are all nice benefits. If you don’t have a crew of six, which many don’t, many resorts will work with you to combine groups so you only pay your fair share. Whether you are by yourself or in a small group, jumping on a charter boat is certainly doable. Fishing with people you don’t know can end up being a nice bonus as I was about to find out. I was on board with four other people. One couple, John and Sonja and a father son team of Tom and Brent. We had never fished together, but we were all excited to hit the water for a great day of fishing. Midwesthuntfish.com


A day on a charter boat catc hing walleyes in the middle of Lake of the Woods is a great way to con nect. Some call it, "cheap psy chology".

Some people believe there are no coincidences, but rather that things are meant to be. Regardless of your beliefs, this particular day on a charter boat on the big water of Lake of the Woods turned out to be magical. My intent was to jump on a charter with the purpose of getting some good photography of walleye fishing, maybe make a video and certainly, to feel that oh so special feeling of setting the hook on a nice walleye myself. It seems good things typically happen on a charter, and let me tell you,

this day was no different.

Our destination was some structure on the south end of Garden Island which is located on the north end of Big Traverse Bay, a good boat ride from the mouth of the Rainy River where we departed from. Once to our destination, we anchored up and started jigging with jigs and frozen shiners. The emerald shiner is a main forage for Lake of the Woods walleyes. In addition, they provide a nice flash and a lot of scent. Walleyes love them. It didn’t take long and we started to catch a combination of walleyes, saugers and jumbo perch, with an occasional pike thrown in for good measure. Initially, Sonja had the hot stick. Sonja is a fun person with a good sense of humor and she enjoys good conversation. I think she would be the first to tell you, between her and her husband John, she is definitely the chattier of the two. We had some fun with her very unique, yet effective method of jigging. You need to have an apple in one hand and your fishing rod in the other. While holding a conversation with the rest Midwesthuntfish.com

of the boat and eating an apple, she would lift her jig way off the bottom, and then drop it erratically back down to the bottom. This was not pre planned or by design, but on this day, the walleyes wanted it! She was on fire and taught us all a lesson for the first part of the trip hauling in a good number of nice walleyes. John held his own though and throughout the day caught up nicely, just without the flare of his wife. He did it old school, without an apple or the conversation or the patent lift and drop technique of his wife. Enjoying the camaraderie of good people on a charter boat is a gratifying experience. It really adds to the overall experience of catching walleyes, relaxing on the water, breathing in the fresh northern air, and making the trip mean that much more. The other two anglers on the boat were the father/son duo of Tom and Brent. Wanting to spend some quality time together, they thought a fishing vacation would be spot on. The thought was to spend some quality father/son time together while staying at a nice resort, eating some good food and doing some fishing on the big pond. And fishing they did. Side by side reeling in walleyes, listening to the water lap against the side of the boat, soaking in the sun, talking about old times while hanging out with a loved one is a nice gig. It was evident, these guys were enjoying every moment. Both Tom and Brent are good anglers and caught good numbers of walleyes and saugers. Although Brent enjoyed the day, he really wanted a bit more. He had always heard about the trophy walleyes in this lake and wanted to catch a monster. As the day went on, we all caught good fish and a lot of them, slowly filling the icy cooler for the evening fish fry. As time slipped away into the afternoon, we were sitting just fine as far as numbers of fish. Our captain decided to make a move to an area that was holding some larger fish. We pulled into the spot, he dropped the anchor and we began to fish. After about 15 minutes, we started hooking up with some nice walleyes. Although we caught fish up to 25”, we never did get that true trophy Brent was hoping for. Brent would be the first one to tell you, not catching a trophy walleye this day really wasn’t the end of the world. We had a great day in so many ways. It was a day of incredible day of fishing, new friendships and great memories to never be forgotten. Was it that Brent knew something about the rest of the trip we didn’t? I don’t think so, but trophy walleye luck for Brent was about to change. My four new friends enjoyed a second day of fishing without me as I had to depart. And wouldn’t you know it, later the next day I received a message. He did it! Brent caught the fish of his dreams, a 31 inch monster walleye with his Dad by his side. As some might say, this was simply the icing on the cake to a fishing trip for the books. This day on a Lake of the Woods charter boat was special. I was very touched to have shared the father/son experience of Brent and his Dad fishing together. I couldn’t believe it when Brent reached out to let me know he caught his monster. Unbelievable! I was also touched meeting a couple spending quality time together on the water. When I am in a booth or giving a seminar at a sports show in the twin cities area, I look forward to seeing John and Sonja as they always make sure they come by and say hello. My four new friends who had just met on that charter have actually booked other charter trips together since then. From perfect strangers to a tradition of an annual walleye trip. Magical things can happen on a charter boat in the middle of Lake of the Woods. Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 47


Welcome to Minnesota’s Lake of the Woods—The Walleye Capital of the World. The international waters of LOW, the Rainy River and the NW Angle are famous for their fishing. This world class fishery showcases 317,000 acres in Minnesota for the best fishing open water and on ice. Sharing the lake with Canada, many guests choose to utilize both sides. Overall, Lake of the Woods has over 65,000 miles of shoreline and 14,552 islands.

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Zippel Bay Resort Williams, MN

Nick and Deanna welcome you to Minnesota’s legendary Lake of the Woods, on the Canadian border where world-class fishing & wildlife complement each other in the secluded setting of the only resort on Zippel Bay. Lake of the Woods is a large, pristine body of water with many bays, 65,000 miles of shoreline, 14,000 islands. Rated “worldclass” walleye and sauger fishing, trophy northern pike in Zippel Bay, excellent smallmouth bass and perch abound. Fish spring or fall in shallow water, July and August on rock reefs or winter angling in Zippel Bay area. 

Phone: 800-222-2537 www.zippelbay.com

48 Page 48 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017

Long Point Resort

River Bend’s Resort

Considered the “Walleye Capitol of the World.” Thousands of miles of shoreline, many islands and reefs ideal for fishing Walleyes, Northerns, Bass, Saugers, Perch & more. Great fishing within minutes of our lodge, winter & summer. Fishing is great on several reefs within a mile (Great July & August fishing) down rigging for walleyes within minutes. Many fisherman travel to the Northwest Angle from our resort, fishing around numerous islands and reefs. Fish Cleaning facilities, spacious & clean. RV Parking Facilities with bathroom & shower facilities. Camp Sites, picnic tables, BBQ grills. The Lodge has fishing licenses, tackle, groceries, beer, soft drinks, candy, sandwiches, pizzas, etc. Fish freezing service, gas and oil available. There are golf courses nearby.

Lake of the Woods is a healthy, multispecies fishery with endless summer charter fishing opportunities. Walleye, sauger, crappies, small mouth bass, northern and more can be caught while open water fishing on LOW. The continuous bite is sure to keep everyone engaged & entertained—bring the whole family and let us help you create memories that will last a lifetime! Walleye charter fishing packages include all angling equipment, a USCG certified charter captain, on board restrooms, fish cleaning & packaging. If you don’t see a package that meets your needs, call us & we will custom build one for you! Summer rates are effective Walleye Opener weekend—Labor Day Weekend. Call Today/ Family Charters

Williams, MN

Baudette, MN

Phone: 218-783-3365 www.longpointresortlw.com

1-218-634-3084 www.riverbendsresorts.com

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Arnesen’s Rocky Point

Steve’s Lucky Bait

Roosevelt, MN

Baudette, MN

Phone: 800-535-7585 www.arnesens.com

Phone: 218-634-1019 stevessleepininn.com

There’s something for everyone at Arnesen’s Rocky Point! We’re in the business of making memories for you and your loved ones. Rocky Point is perfectly situated on the south shore of Lake of the Woods with easy access to more than 14 reefs. We offer charter fishing packages and small boat fishing with the largest protected marina on the south shore. Accommodations range in size from one to four bedrooms. Our updated rental units have complete kitchens, flat screen TV’s, satellite television and A/C. Rock Harbor Lodge, our full-service bar and restaurant, offers resort guests a quality dining experience along with spectacular views of the lake. Whether you’re looking for a fishing paradise or a relaxing vacation, Arnesen’s Rocky Point has it all!

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Sunset Lodge

Don’t be surprised to see some fishing greats when you walk in the door. Steve’s Lucky Bait Shop located in Baudette Minnesota, “The Walleye Capital of the World”, has all you will need for a great fishing trip on Lake of the Woods and Rainy River. We are a small family owned business that strives for excellent customer service. At Steve’s Lucky Bait you will find the best in live and frozen bait, fishing gear and boat accessories. Don’t forget about the bunk house, Lucky’s Lodge! We are open 24/7 for your convenience. Ring the bell for late night service.   

Oak Island, MN

Sunset Lodge is a full-service resort located on Oak Island in the Northwest Angle of Lake of the Woods. Our beautiful lodge features a full bar and restaurant. Guests enjoy amenities such as A/C, free WiFi, break water that protects your boat at our private docks (free boat slips for guests) and an on-site convenience store offers ice, bait, apparel, tackle and gas. The lodge’s boat rentals and experienced guides add to the enjoyment of the area’s fantastic fishing. Fish house rentals and heated bombardier transportation provides a comfortable way to fish in the winter. Come to Sunset Lodge to enjoy world class fishing, hunting and relaxation!

Phone: 1-855-634-1863 www.sunsetlodgeresort.com

49 Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 49


ve If you lo , & fishing hunting g oin you’re g v to lo e fish... hunting fishing aka bow

A gar has two strips of meat down their backside (similar to the backstraps of a deer) that are boneless, white meat.

Page 50 50• Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017

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As you slowly approach the cattails, you notice a shadow and what seems to be a dorsal fin sticking out of the water. You creep closer, ever so slowly. Trying to make out the shape in the water... You tilt your head one way, then the other. You bend down, trying to take the glare from the sun’s reflection out of your line of sight. Finally, you’re able to make identification. It’s a carp. You quickly draw your bow (careful as not to move too much), and release your arrow. It’s a hit. You’ve connected with a big ol’ carp and the fight is on! Sound like fun? You bet it is, and if you love hunting and fishing, you’re going to love hunting fish – aka bowfishing. Bowfishing has become one of the fastest growing sports in the outdoors over the past few years and with good reasons; just about anyone can try it – men, women and youth and on a good day, when the action is fast and furious, you’ll get a lot of opportunities to shoot. It’s a great way to introduce youth to the outdoors, because they don’t need to sit too still or be quiet and they get in lots of shooting. Even when the fish aren’t cooperating, you can pass the time by practicing aiming at lily pads or sticks—it’s a great way to improve aim. The equipment needed is all based on personal preference. I usually recommend an older bow that you have lying around the house just for starters. You can use a compound, traditional or cross-bow (with the proper permit in Minnesota). I’ve seen people shoot as low as 25lbs on upwards to 60lbs draw weights, with 35-50 being the most common. The AMS retriever is probably the most popular reel, because it’s simple to use and is great for beginners. Others prefer a push button type spincast reel. For an arrow rest, Quick Draw makes an enclosed rest designed specifically for the bowfisher, another option is a handmade epoxy rest. A simple fiberglass arrow works great with a point made specifically for bowfishing. Again, the sky is the limit with your choices for points like the Gene Davis 4 barb or Muzzy 2 barb. One final necessity, especially for daytime bowfishing, is polarized glasses. They allow you to see through the glare off the water and help you identify the fish you’re looking for.

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Minnesota allows bowfishing for rough fish only; carp, suckers, drum/sheepshead, buffalo, gar or dogfish/bowfin. A simple fishing license is all that is required to bowfish and there is a limit on suckers and also a season that you can shoot. The part of the state you’re bowfishing will determine what dates you can bowfish, as well as if you can shoot creeks or rivers or if you need to be in a boat. Minnesota also allows for night bowfishing, with certain guidelines. There are occupied structure setbacks as well as noise level restrictions. The rules are very specific, so I recommend checking current regulations before heading out. You have your license, your equipment is setup, now to find the fish. Suckers can often be found in the earlier part of the season in creeks and rivers. Common carp will often lay in the shallows on warm days and sometimes you’ll find them hiding in cattails, lounging, what I like to call “sleeping”. If you’re lucky enough to find carp in thick cattails, often times if they can’t see you, they think you can’t see them, so you may be able to sneak up on them before the take off. Be ready, because once they catch any glimpse of you, they will immediately swim for deep water, leaving nothing behind but a trail of dust. After you’ve had a fun time on the water and you’ve connected with some fish, you might ask yourself, “Now what?” What do you do with the fish you’ve shot? In Minnesota is it illegal to put fish back into the water after they’ve been shot—but you have a few options. Find a local farmer that would be willing to let you put them in their fields for compost. Zoos or raptor centers are another place to call as sometimes they will need fish for food for the birds/animals. Trappers can also use fish as bait and you can also consume the fish­—yes, that’s right. Carp, suckers and gar can be very good table fare. Suckers taken in the early spring are quite tasty smoked. A gar has two strips of meat down their backside (similar to the backstraps of a deer) that are boneless, white meat. Rolled in fish batter and fried, or grilled in butter, they make a tasty meal.

This summer, when the water is calm and you see those carp lips surfacing, feeding at the surface, grab a bow and try “hunting” them. But be careful – it’s addictive! Photo credits: Tammie Priem Schreiber HSM Outdoors

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 51 51


Mouse Rat

An area of approximately 2,500 square miles in the southeastern part of Minnesota is part of the well-known unglaciated or driftless area, which also includes parts of southwestern Wisconsin, northeastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois. In Minnesota, this region borders the Mississippi River and is drained by the Root, Whitewater and Zumbro rivers. The counties involved include all or part of Dakota, Goodhue, Wabasha, Winona, Olmsted, Dodge, Houston, Fillmore, and Mower. Karst topography is found throughout this region and is characterized by caves and cave systems, disappearing streams, blind valleys, underground streams, sinkholes, springs and cold streams. These fertile waters provide superb trout habitat with many streams sustaining population counts ranging in the area of 2,000 to 4,000 trout per mile.

The Loco Mouse

Morrish Mouse

Frog fly

The following fly patterns have all been proven effective at producing larger Browns at night:

Mouse Rat: This is a large fly for trout and tends to attract a lot of attention from fish by moving a sizeable amount of water. It is nearly perfect in representing the size of an adult mouse. The Loco Mouse: These tend to ride a little lower in the water and with their smaller size will often coax a strike from trout that refuse a larger fly. Morrish Mouse: This is at the top of my list of night flies for trout. The wide body moves a lot of water and the tail makes it very appealing under water. The foam in its construction keeps it floating and the head shape gives it a “pop” that draws a lot of attention. Frog fly: Designed to look, move and float like a real frog Page 52 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 52

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A great time of year to target the larger specimens within this incredible biomass of trout with a fly rod is during the summer. As the Mercury climbs, conditions are created that often put trout into a pattern of feeding early and late, reserving much of the day for resting and loafing. By staying hidden in cover, not only are they protected from the heat of the day but also from predators. But when the sun drops below the limestone bluffs and night is ushered in the bigger, predatory Browns become less wary as they go on the offensive. They cruise the water for their prey under the protective cloak of darkness. Those small spring creeks that many may think are lacking big trout are apt to boil in the darkness and the mouse fly is the key to making that happen. For trout, I can think of no other way of fishing that produces such violent and entertaining takes. The unrestrained sound of erupting water unravels the calm, still of night when a fish decides to take a mouse. Hearing a trout pummel such a pattern on the surface is not only one of the most thrilling moments in fly fishing but may just change your perception of trout. Gentle takes of nymphs, midges and mayflies may happen the majority of time in the streams of the Minnesota Driftless but when Browns reach a certain size, they can no longer survive by eating only tiny insects. Trophy trout require larger quantities of protein to maintain weight, so their attention turns towards baitfish as well as unfortunate rodents and amphibians that fall into the flow. I try to replicate with the “flies” I use the size and silhouette of these vertebrates found along the trout streams of southeastern Minnesota. Trout have superb night vision so I tend to use darker colored flies because of the way they silhouette against the dark sky. The fly patterns featured to the left have all been proven effective at producing larger Browns at night.

Since these Mouse flies are heavy and certainly if there is any wind, use a 5 or 6 wt. rod as you will need that heavier line to get the fly where you need it. There is certainly no need for a long leader so since I regularly fish 5x or 6x, I merely cut one of those down to a 4ft section. At night, fish are not going to see your line and you will be thankful you have something that strong if you tangle with a large Brown! There are several ways to present a mouse fly and by using the following techniques, I have found success. Cast across the pool or run as tight to the far bank as possible then make slow, steady strips with frequent pauses. A variation of this is casting upstream close to the bank you are on and stripping the mouse back to you. While mice are proficient swimmers, they are still at the mercy of the current so the best retrieve cadence is a slow, natural retrieve. To skate your mouse, cast at a 45º angle to the far bank and let it swing creating a wake. By swinging mouse patterns, you are able to simulate a swimming mouse as it tries to fight the current while attempting to traverse across. Although any water is certainly fair game to target, deeper pools with slow to moderate flow is where I have encountered the most action in terms of strikes and hook-ups. Fast moving water seems to conceal the silhouette of the mouse rendering it less effective. Cover a lot of water. Not all fish will eat a mouse, but those who will generally strike quickly, often times moving great distances to secure their prey. It is quite common for Browns to take a mouse shortly after the fly hits the water; therefore, it isn’t necessary to make more than one or two casts in a given spot. This is a game of “hide and seek” where we are searching for a few willing participants and not the overzealous masses. Photo credits

: Brian Schum

acher

Trophy trout require larger quantities of protein, so their attention turns towards rodents & amphibians. I try to replicate the size & silhouette of these vertebrates found along the trout streams of southeastern Minnesota. Midwesthuntfish.com

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 53


A mouse represents a big meal to a trout, so they move to the mouse fly aggressively, so takes are generally violent marked by exploding water. Resist the urge to immediately set the hook! Keeping calm and continuing stripping will be the last thing on your mind but it’s the best thing. Strip setting is the key while “mousing”. If you set the hook by lifting the rod tip (trout set), you may pull the mouse from the fish’s mouth. Wait until you feel good tension on the line, make your move based on this factor, and not sound. Patience is the name of the game. A few points in closing, to be successful fly fishing at night for trout you need accurate knowledge of the stream you plan to fish. Know where the deep holes, trees and other obstacles lie. Be mindful of the time because legal stream trout fishing hours in Minnesota are one hour before sunrise to 11pm. For safety, elcome to Minnesota’s consider carrying a wading staff and if you’re alone always let Trout Capital on the South someone know exactly where you will be. Also, if using a light to Branch of the Root River! navigate the stream, never let it hit the water you plan to fish. This will surely send the trout back to the deep, dark abyss. Several things about night fly fishing for trout keep drawing me back: The thrill of hooking into a fish after a fierce take, the very real opportunity to land a true trophy Brown and the quiet solitude of a summer night in the Minnesota Driftless Area. Try it for yourself; you just might enjoy the thrill just as much as I do!

W

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Page 54 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017

Brian Schumacher is a lifelong resident of the MN Driftless Area and is an avid outdoorsman and ardent fly angler. This passion for fly fishing has taken him along with his wife, Janet Veit, to the high mountain streams of the Uinta’s in northeastern Utah, the storied Brule River in northern Wisconsin, the Connecticut and Androscoggin Rivers in New Hampshire and the streams of the high Sierra Nevada range in California. Brian is a fly fishing guide in southeastern Minnesota for The Driftless Fly Fishing Company in Preston, Minnesota, “The Trout Capital of Minnesota.” Midwesthuntfish.com Minnesotaflyfishing.com


FISH EAT SLEEP Fish the Driftless Area in scenic Southeast Minnesota. Stay at our 276 site campground, or reserve a room in our hostel. Full restaurant and bar with award winning food. Only minutes from the National Trout Center.

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Ingredients: • 6 bass fillets • 2 red bell peppers • 2 yellow bell peppers • 2 onions, • extra virgin olive oil • 1 lemon peel zested • 2 tsp. dry thyme • salt & pepper to taste Directions: Combine lemon zest, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, thyme, & salt & pepper to taste. Reserve about 2 tsp. for veggies. Rub remaining ingredients onto both sides of bass fillets. In med. bowl, combine julienned vegetables, reserved seasoning mixture and 1 Tbsp. of olive oil; toss together to evenly coat. Add vegetables to 10"x15"x2" baking dish. Place fillets on bed of vegetables; cover with foil. Pre-heat oven 400°. Place baking pan on center rack; bake for 15-20 min., or until the fish is done by testing with a fork for flakiness. Remove & serve immediately.

Eating Smallmouth Bass?

Yes, maybe not as good as walleye or perch, but smallies can be good table fair. When cleaning them, start along the back. DO NOT cut through the ribs, follow them down around till they end. then finish off the tail like you normally fillet. It will be 1/2 size for the area around the ribs but will be much better eating. Belly meat around the ribs is what give bass their bad table fair rep. Here are a few recipes you can try.

Citrus Herb Baked Bass

Bacon Fried Bass

Pan Fried Bass

56 Page 56 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017

Ingredients: • 4 bass fillets • 2 slices of bacon • olive oil • 1/4 C. flour • 1 tsp. dried thyme • 1 tsp. dried tarragon • 1 tsp. dry parsley • salt & pepper to taste • lemon wedges Directions: Pour about 3 Tbsp. of olive oil into a large skillet; cook bacon over low heat. Remove bacon; let it cool on side. In a bowl, combine flour & seasonings together. Coat bass fillets with flour mixture; shake off excess. Add fillets to bacon flavored oil over medium heat; cook for about 3-4 min. per side until golden brown or until done. Remove fillets and garnish with crumbled bacon pieces & lemon wedges.

Ingredients: • 1 C. flour • 1 tsp. salt • 1/2 tsp. black pepper • 2 Tbsp. water • 2 large egg whites (lightly beaten) • 1/2 C. seasoned breadcrumbs • 4 Tbsp. cornmeal • 1 lb. bass fillets (skinned) • 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil • 2 tsp. butter • 1 lemon (cut into wedges) Directions: Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a 1 gallon food grade plastic disposable bag. In a wide dish mix together the seasoned bread crumbs and cornmeal. in a medium size bowl whisk together the egg whites and water. Shake fillets one at a time in the flour mixture, and then roll them in the bread crumbs. Place the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook the fish until golden brown on both sides and fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with lemon wedges. Midwesthuntfish.com


Ingredients: • 1/2 C. butter • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic • 8 oz. morel mushrooms, sliced • 1 Tbsp. flour • 2 C. water • 1/8 tsp. ground dry thyme • salt to taste

• 1 large onion, diced • 1 Tbsp. chicken soup base • 2 C. heavy cream • 2 tsp. ground black pepper

Directions: Melt the butter in a large pot over med. heat. Stir in garlic, onion, and morels; cook, stirring frequently, until onions have softened and turned translucent, about 5 min. Stir in chicken soup base and flour; cook for 1-2 min. Pour in water & cream; bring to a simmer; cook 5 min. Puree half of the soup in small batches, filling blender no more than halfway each time. Return soup puree to pot. Cook on low 10-15 min. Season with thyme, salt & pepper before serving.

Ingredients: • 4 lb. asparagus • 1⁄4 C. butter • 1 1⁄2 C. chicken broth • 16 oz. lasagna noodles

• 2 Tbsp. olive oil • 1⁄4 C. flour • 2 C. mozzarella • 1 2⁄3 C. parmesan

Morel Bisque

• salt to taste • 1⁄2 C. water • 1 Tbsp. lemon zest • 1 C. whipping cream

Directions: Cook lasagna noodles; drain. Heat oven to 500°. Cut asparagus off 1" at end oil; spread in single layer in baking dish. Roast 5-10 min. Remove from oven, sprinkle with salt, cut into bite-size pieces; let cool. Reduce oven to 400°. In large pot, melt butter over med. heat. Add flour; stir 2-3 min. Combine water & broth. Slowly add to flour-butter mixture, constantly stirring. Cook 5 min. Add mozzarella and fine lemon zest, stirring until smooth. Butter a 13”x 9” baking pan. Place layer of noodles in pan, then half the sauce, then half the asparagus pieces, then 1/2 C. grated parmesan. Repeat. Put on the top layer of noodles. In a small bowl combine cream & dash of salt. Whip until soft peaks form; spoon over noodles. Sprinkle with remaining 2/3 C. parmesan. Bake 30 min. Ingredients: • 1⁄2 oz. dried morel mushrooms (5) • 1 lb. spaghetti • 1⁄4 C. olive oil, plus drizzling • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter • 6 cloves garlic, sliced Directions: • 3 med. shallots, Place morels & 8 C. boiling water in bowl, until finely chopped morels are tender, about 30 min. Transfer to • 1 bunch asparagus cutting board; slice in half lengthwise. Pour (1 lb.), ends trimmed soaking liquid into large stockpot, discarding any & cut into 1” pieces sediment at bottom. Add additional water to cook • 3⁄4 C. vegetable pasta, bring to boil. Season water with salt, add stock spaghetti; cook, stirring, until al dente, about 13 • 1⁄2 C. heavy cream min. Meanwhile, heat oil & butter in a 12” skillet • Juice & zest of over med.-high heat. Add garlic and shallots. 1 lemon Cook, stirring occasionally until golden, about • Kosher salt & freshly 4 min. Add reserved morels, plus asparagus ground black pepper, and stock, bring to boil. Cook, covered, until to taste asparagus is tender, about 3 min. Uncover, add • 1⁄4 C. grated cream, cook until slightly reduced, about 3 min. parmesan cheese, Remove from heat and add pasta, juice, zest, salt, plus more for pepper, and cheese. Toss until evenly combined. serving Drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with more cheese, if you like. Midwesthuntfish.com

Asparagus Lasagna

Morel & Asparagus Spaghetti Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 57


As has become the new norm for Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) management in South Dakota, the summer and fall of 2016 were very busy and offered up a few surprises, success stories and ideas for new regulations.

Article Courtesy of: SDGFP

Zebra Mussels have quickly moved to the forefront of AIS management in South Dakota. We now have 3 waterbodies in the state where this particularly troublesome AIS can be found. Zebra mussels were discovered in Lewis & Clark Lake and the Missouri River below Gavins Point Dam in 2015. A mussel population was also discovered at McCook Lake in May of 2016. While the spread of Zebra mussels into McCook Lake was alarming, it was not unexpected. Surprises Since the initial discovery of Zebra mussels in Lewis and Clark Lake, they have been rapidly spreading throughout the lower portion of the lake and downstream through Gavins Point Dam. Downstream spread is inevitable since larval Zebra mussels, called veligers, are free floating and move wherever the current takes them. McCook Lake is an oxbow lake in Union County with a water table tied directly to the Missouri River. In order to artificially maintain the water level in McCook Lake, the lake association and various partners pump water directly from the Missouri River into the lake through an irrigation pump system. It is likely that veligers were pumped from the river into the lake through that system and matured into the adults that can now be found in the lake. The speed at which Zebra Mussels have reproduced and spread within Lewis and Clark Lake is a little shocking. In 2015 Game, Fish & Parks staff performed a snorkel survey of boats in Lewis and Clark marina and discovered that about 34% of all boats surveyed in the marina had at least one mussel attached somewhere on the hull or motor with only 5% of those boats being heavily infested (more than 10 mussels). When that same survey was performed in 2016 the percentage of boats with mussels attached skyrocketed to about 84% with 80% of those being heavily infested. Many of the boats surveyed in 2016 had thousands if not tens of thousands of mussels encrusting the hull, motor, trim tabs and anything else that spent time in the water. The biggest success story in 2016 came from inspecting construction Successes equipment at Belle Fourche Reservoir. Game, Fish and Parks was Although there are certainly obstacles to overcome at Lewis and contacted to inspect 9 large barges that were going to be used for a Clark Lake, there were some major successes in AIS management in dredging project at Belle Fourche Reservoir. Conservation officers and South Dakota in 2016 that should not be overlooked. For the first time fisheries staff immediately identified many zebra mussels on the equipment a Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination (WID) program was up and and prohibited the contractor from launching them. After nearly a week of running in South Dakota. Four WID teams were stationed in each of the work, the equipment was fully decontaminated and allowed to launch into geographic regions of the state (Northeast, Southeast, Missouri River & the reservoir. Although many of the mussels on the barge were dead before Black Hills) and one team was stationed at Lewis and Clark Lake. These the inspection, this inspection and decontamination prevented those that teams inspected boats entering or leaving a lake to make sure that AIS may have been able survive from reaching Belle Fourche Reservoir. were not attached and introduced to a new lake. Although many inspections New Rules were completed, no decontaminations were required and many people Throughout the course of 2016 it became evident that some modifications were able to learn about AIS and how they can take a few simple steps to needed to be made to the AIS regulations to better serve boaters, anglers prevent the spread to new waters. Page age 58 • Midwest idwest Hunting unting & Fishing ishing - May ay-June une 2017

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and the ecosystem. In October, Red-swamp cray fish were added to the AIS list. These crayfish are prized as table fare, but can have significant impacts to the ecosystem if they make it into a lake or river. The second change that was made in October was to remove the term “immediately adjacent” from the AIS rules pertaining to plug removal and live bait and fish transport. This term was very confusing for boaters, anglers and Game Fish and Parks staff and it became difficult to understand when and where plugs should be removed. In order to make this easier for everyone to understand, the new regulation states that all plugs need to be removed before leaving the boat ramp parking area. Similarly live bait and fish may not be transported in lake or river water beyond the boat ramp parking area. These changes should help everyone to easily do their part to ensure that they aren’t moving water from one lake to another. The Game, Fish and Parks Commission made more significant changes to the AIS Regulations in March. These regulations work together as a package not only to protect South Dakota lakes and rivers from new AIS introductions, but also to make compliance faster and easier for boaters, anglers and other sportsmen and women. The first new rule will create a list of waterbodies that will be classified as Containment Waters. These are waterbodies that have an AIS of concern in them and require special designation to facilitate management efforts. The next new rule builds off of the containment water list and allows Game, Fish and Parks to create Local Boat Registries at Containment Waters. The Local Boat Registry program will give boaters that participate the freedom to more easily transport and store boats locally in areas with Zebra mussel infestations, while restricting their movement to other waterbodies unless they are decontaminated. The next two rules also relate to the Containment Water list and require boats to be decontaminated if they are used on a containment water and either have a ballast tank with undrained water (like a wakeboard boat) or are moored in the containment water for more than 3 days.

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guns bows The purpose of these rules is to ensure that water that may hold mussel veligers and boats with very small mussels attached to the hull are properly cleaned before they are used in a different waterbody. The fight against Zebra Mussels in South Dakota is still in the early stages. We do have 3 infested waters, but we still have the opportunity to slow or prevent the spread of mussels to other waterbodies. Anglers and boaters are now more aware than ever on how they can slow the spread of AIS in South Dakota and with the new regulations and WID teams out in full force again, 2017 is shaping up to be a year where we have a great opportunity to work together to out-muscle the mussels and keep them from spreading to more South Dakota waters. Midwesthuntfish.com

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brotherhoodarms.net 1550 SD 20 • Watertown SD Midwest idwest Hunting unting & Fishing ishing - May ay-June une 2017 • Page age 59


Each spring there’s an excitement that grows with the increasing temperatures & weather of Spring. People take time off of work, search online message boards and social media for clues, and engage in an annual treasure-hunt for the

MOREL MUSHROOM. Page 60 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 60

Photo credits: Joel Nelson Midwesthuntfish.com


There’s something about these little fungi, that makes grown men & women lie to their children, friends turn into mushroom-crazed adversaries, and to people who like them, binge heavily on butter and garlic-soaked specimens from hillsides and valleys across the Midwest. I was trained in morel-hunting by my grandmother, during perhaps one of the greatest booms the sport might ever see. In southern Minnesota throughout much of the mid-late 1980s, Dutch-elm disease ripped through the region, killing off a vast number of elm species, and creating the all-too-perfect conditions which can create a flush of morel mushrooms. Morels are the fruiting body of a fungi that lives off of dead and decaying tree roots, so these roots in a certain age/condition are vital to finding morels in the first place. Back then, there were areas where it was hard to walk without stepping on one. Nowadays, there isn’t that much dead tree root throughout the soil, so the first step is to find dead trees, or what’s left of a dead tree, in order to find the food which they need to exist in the first place. I have found it to be true, that a good morel-hunter spends as much time looking up at the tree-tops for dead branches, as they do looking down for the morels themselves. One weekend in May, my family went to visit some friends in South Dakota, an area where I had never morel-hunted before in my life. I asked around, and got some second-hand information from a friend in eastern South Dakota. I had a few leads on locations likely to hold morels, and decided to spend some time looking at aerial photos for similar locations on public land where I could look for them myself when out there visiting. This would be a challenge. It’s difficult to find spots near home, that you can check on constantly. Not to mention, I had no local knowledge of the area I was to be hunting, only some experiences in finding them throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin to draw upon. This report is dedicated to helping people look for the right areas, so that you can find locations likely to hold morel mushrooms, no matter where you might be. This year, I’ve found morels under decaying ash, apple, and elm trees, though they grow under a variety of other tree species as well. For the most part, elms are the easiest to find as they tend to grow larger, and their white, bark-free branches are the most conspicuous and easily identified. The perfect elm tree is large (more roots), freshly dead, with most of its bark still intact. This tree, on a slope with some sunlight, yet a medium-dense understory, along with some moss and other forbs to keep it moist makes for conditions morels thrive in. In South Dakota, we first found dead elm on an open grassy site. Those morels were not very well protected and we found a few “burned” ones that were dried and crumbly. We focused on a river bottom after that, with more wooded understory, and found our first morel nearly 30 feet from the tree that produced it. As it turned out, sunlight was the limiting factor in this darker and deeper river valley, so all of our morels were found in a band next to the trail where enough canopy was opened for sunlight. My experience has been that you typically have a limiting factor, be it water, sunlight, slope, etc., and honing in on these limiting factors will help you pinpoint the location of other morels as a pattern emerges. Just like fishing, you find one, then another, and another until there becomes a rhyme and reason for their location. Most of our morels were found on east facing slopes, with the south-slope mushrooms either only existing in thick greenery, or burned up, and along the edges of openings. We located the dead elm trees first and then searched the perimeter of their canopy, knowing that the root system comes out from the tree base just as far, if not further. Keep in mind, we found some incredible looking elm that had zero mushrooms under them. That’s part of the game. Sometimes they’re there, sometimes they’re not, but when you do find them, you’ve really done something. Morel mushrooms are a spring treasure to me, and even though fishing has my attention for most of the year, I always make time for this hobby! Midwesthuntfish.com

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 61


How do you keep your hunting dog sharp this offseason? Chad Hines, owner of Willow Creek Kennels and Hunting out of Little Falls, MN offers some insights from his proven and successful offseason training regimen. Chad is an accomplished dog trainer and breeder of registered German Shorthair Pointers, but his insights are universal for all hunting breeds. Conditioning your dog is key to effective training. Dogs that are not in good condition are prone to a number of injuries that can cause setbacks. Healthy dogs not only train better but hunt better because stamina is important to hunting. Many dog owners walk or run with their dogs. “Roading” is an effective way many professional trainers exercise dogs for top physical conditioning throughout the year. Use a harness to hook up the dog to a vehicle like a golf cart or UTV. Simply drive while the dogs run next to the vehicle. A quiet gravel road can work well along with any trail but stay away from pavement or concrete. Large in-shape dogs shouldn’t have an issue running 10+ miles a day. Like any training, ease into the repetition and work your dog progressively over time to A. Get your dog in shape, and B. Keep your dog in shape.

Page 62 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 62

Besides the cardio advantages, this training will naturally wear down the nails. Many large hunting breeds need this physical activity and will be not only be in better shape physically but also mentally as well. There is an old saying with dog draining, “a tired dog is a good dog." Back to Basics Spring training is a perfect time to get back to basics. Trainer Chad Hines recommends lots of yard work with food rewards and positive reinforcement training. Bring out the place boards and work on the basics. Hines stresses the importance of taking small steps with your dog. Obedience and steadiness should be a top priority using positive reinforcement. Check cords should be incorporated with place board training for added control when necessary. In every training situation, the handler should make movements with the dog. Dogs are great learners and will pick up on body language. At times, no verbal communication is necessary when a dog knows what to do based on the human’s body language. Preventing Gun Shyness Gunfire conditioning can be delicate. Be creative, start with a small cap gun for a soft approach. Only display and fire a weapon around the dog directly before some form of reward. Step outside the vehicle where a dog can watch you raise and fire a cap gun then turn around and open the door for them to run around and play. Repetition of this will soon have a dog excited about the crack of a gun and eliminating shyness around gun fire. 

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Hunting Familiarity & Repetition Embrace any hunting situation during the offseason that can get your dog field work. Trials and preserves create these field atmospheres. Pigeon hunting is an often-underappreciated activity that offers great sporting action for hunters as well as great work for hunting dogs during the off time of year when nothing else is in season. Like waterfowl, pigeon fields can be scouted and a simple blind setup with a few spinning wing decoys will make for some great shooting action at times. Keeping a dog sharp and conditioned for real live hunting situations should include training exercises that replicate those situations. Shooting a few pigeons in a field for a dog to mark and retrieve is great training exercise. Planting chukars, pigeons, pheasants or quail to create hunting situations is also great repetition for breaking up the training routine. “These training situations don’t necessarily have to be long or intense through the off season, just keep your dog exposed to the basics. Focus on obedience and conditioning and both you and your dog will have a much more memorable hunting season,” explains Hines.

More information on Chad Hines and Willow Creek Kennels can be found at: willowcreekkennels.net/ about-us/the-people/

Photo credits: Chad Hines

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 63


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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017 • Page 65


If you’re one of those lucky ducks who falls asleep fast, stays asleep all night and awakes chipper and revving with energy—count your blessings.

Many American (approximately 20 to 40 million!) envy those who can just go “lights out” when they hit the pillow. A lack of good restful sleep can make your big day on the river or your outing to bag walleye an irritable and short-lived mess. If you’re like many and struggle to find the snooze zone, there’s some strategy to overcoming that hurdle. Sally Williams, DO, Avera Medical Group Integrative Medicine physician, reminds us all that sleep isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessary part of a healthy life. “Lack of good rest is becoming a public health problem, and there are steps you can take to fight back and get good rest.” she said. “Without the adequate rest, you’re more likely to lose concentration, your memory can fail and it can be a safety risk, too.” You need that concentration when you’ve got a summer full of fishing plans, and Williams said anglers can use acupuncture to improve those shoddy sleep habits. “Whether you’re struggling to fall asleep or you wake up and can't get return to sleep, the use of fine hair-like acupuncture needles can stimulate your body's acupoints to improve your sleep.” she said. “Most people feel minimal discomfort with acupuncture, they feel relaxed, and may return to a more normal sleep pattern after as few as a half-dozen treatments.” She said for folks who are fond of and familiar to hooks and lures, the mild poke of an acupuncture needle is nothing, and if it gets you where you need to go, sleep-wise, you’ll be grateful to have the procedure. Becky Hanzen also has some good insights when it comes to getting recharged from your slumber. She’s an Avera Integrative Medicine Health Coach and she said she’s had her own struggles. They hit her in many ways. “When life leaves me short on sleep – that’s when I truly appreciate the nights I get a good rest. Sleep is such a blessing,” she said. “Some people rarely get good quality sleep, and when I think about how one bad night leaves me unsettled and crabby -- just plain ‘off’ – I realize the need to try to help those folks out.” Hanzen said over time, a lack of good rest adds up. Page 66 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - May-June 2017

“Long-term consequences of limited rest can include risk for heart conditions and weakened immune systems.” she said. “Experts mostly agree people need seven to nine hours of sleep each day, generally.” Williams sees patients who are not enthused about acupuncture, and when she does, she asks them to try aromatherapy. These plant essential oils can lead to better sleep. “Lavender and chamomile are popular options, and we can create blends to help those who are unfamiliar. There are many to pick from,” she said. “People who spend a lot of time outside know how important our sense of smell is, but they might not realize it’s hard-wired to our brain. The oil’s scent can help release chemicals that naturally bring relaxation and rest.” Meditation is another approach, Williams said, and she recommends working with a doctor for best results. “Spending 10 to 20 minutes meditating can help you sleep better, and even skeptics who do this daily feel the pay-off,” said Williams. Here are some additional tips they offer: Track how much sleep you have when you’re at the top of your game, then go to bed and wake up every morning, including weekends, to hit that target. Avoid large meals at night, and make sure you have a quiet, cool bedroom. Cut the caffeine after lunch and curb your evening alcohol use. Build at least 30 minutes of walking or jogging into every day, too. Shut your phone off! Leave all electronics out of your life an hour before you crash out. They suppress melatonin releases, and that chemical triggers sleep. Try white noise or soft music to get started sleeping. Hanzen said you’re probably already doing one of the tips she endorses. “Spend more time outdoors,” she said. “Find methods to reduce stress, like perhaps, fishing.”

Article courtesyMidwesthuntfish.com of Avera.org


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