See page 44
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April 1, 2016
VOL. 49, NO. 14
w w w . o u t d o o r n e w s . c o m / m i n n e s o t a
Inside News Outdoor News 2016 Man of the Year: Dennis Olson
See Pages 32-33
Walleye Bag Limit Increase at Upper Red?
It’s looking likely that the walleye daily bag limit at Upper Red Lake will increase from three fish to four by the middle of June. See Page 4
Bobwhite Restoration The DNR last week held a public meeting in Caledonia to discuss the feasibility of restoring northern bobwhite quail to southeastern Minnesota. Officials say it’ll be tough. See Page 6
THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS. The ice may be off many lakes in the state, but the wait continues until the May 14 walleye-fishing Photo by Eric Engbretson opener for the state’s inland waters. See the fishing report on pages 54-55 for the most current conditions.
Legislature to play role in Mille Lacs’ future
By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul — While the state DNR has a host of plans it believes might help improve
For show hours and dates, see details in Mixed Bag on Page 4
Goal is 10 million stocked walleye fry this year fishing on Lake Mille Lacs, one of Minnesota’s most storied fisheries, it will be up to the state Legislature to determine if the department is able to proceed as planned. Several initiatives and lots of dollars are on the line. Foremost is a $3.5 million bonding request, included in Gov. Mark Dayton’s bonding proposal. Per the DNR’s 2016 capital
budget request, under the heading, Mille Lacs Fishery Station: “This project will develop a new facility at Mille Lacs Lake, including a fisheries management station, fish hatchery, and storage to efficiently and
effectively meet fish management, stocking, research, and outreach needs. The fishery station will contribute to restor-
2016: Worst duckproduction year in recent memory?
prodigious fall flights (near-record and record, according to federal surveys) have greeted duck hunters, particularly those in the Mississippi and Central flyways.
Wetland conditions dry in U.S., prairie Canada By Tori J. McCormick Contributing Writer Bismarck, N.D. — A pop quiz: Of all the variables that influence spring duck production, waterfowlers, what’s most important? If you guessed water, you’re correct. For the vast majority of the past two decades, moisture from snowmelt and timely spring rains have saturated good portions of the fabled Prairie Pothole Region, the epicenter of duck production in North America. As a result,
Contents Opinion.................Page 3 News.................Pages 4-8 Classifieds............Page 51 Fishing Report...Pages 54-55 Cuffs & Collars........Page 58 Almanac...............Page 61
Upcoming Events MARCH GOBBLER. This 20-pound Osceola turkey was taken March 23 near Indiantown, Fla. by Outdoor News salesman Eric Meyer. The beard measured 101⁄2 inches.
(See Mille Lacs Page 23)
April 13 – Spring wild turkey hunting A season begins.
Subscribe to Outdoor News 1-800-535- 5191 or see Page 57
(See Duck Production Page 40)
Early spring equals early walleye egg-take
By Javier Serna Assistant Editor Bemidji, Minn. — This year’s early start to spring reminded Minnesota fisheries managers, particularly those involved in one way or another in walleye eggtake, of 2012’s early spring. In terms of this year’s egg-take, it’s looking like the operation will run a little earlier than average, but not by much. “Yes, it’s an early spring, but probably not as early as 2012,” said Henry Drewes, DNR regional (See Egg-Take Page 46)
APRIL 1, 2016
Opinion UTDOOR INSIGHT
APRIL 1, 2016
A WOLF IN SLIMY CLOTHING? Even during this abbreviated legislative session, the bills just keep coming. One that’s risen in prominence of late, on the natural resources side of things, pertains to the DNR’s proposed stocking of muskies in four “new” lakes in Minnesota. The banter during a hearing last week was compelling, to say the least. It made me realize once again why 90 percent of the time I’d rather have actual experts making management decisions regardTim Spielman ing our fish and wildlife than I would Associate Editor our elected officials. The debate regarding muskie stocking was Exhibit A. To summarize, the DNR, based on a decade-old plan to manage muskies and northern pike in the state, is moving toward stocking muskies in lakes that meet set criteria for doing so. That plan, by the way, was signed off on by not only the “muskie” groups, but the “pike” groups, too. But this plan has met with resistance, much of which surfaced during a House committee hearing that featured a bill to prohibit the stocking of muskies in the four designated lakes. Here are a few takeaways from that hearing: The bill, 3207, is sponsored by Mark Anderson, a Lake Shore Republican whose district includes the area around Gull Lake – one of those scheduled for muskie stocking. He says lake associations and lakeshore property owners – his constituents – don’t want muskies in Gull, and that muskies would create a zoo-like atmosphere on Gull greater than the one that already exists. He says Gull on some weekends becomes a “military zone,” complete with DNR COs and a “uniformed cop with a squad car” at an access. I’m sure he’s aware that the presence of COs is to check boats for invasive species, something property owners say is a primary concern. “And now they (the DNR) want to bring in the biggest predator fish that’s out there? They brought in this other predator called a wolf,” he said. “But I don’t want to get into that right now.” Me? I’d rather not get into a discussion about how the DNR didn’t “bring in” either species. There’s concern, too, about how muskies might affect other fish species in a particular lake. Jason Metsa, a Virgina DFLer, pointed out a bit of irony during the hearing, that one of the critics of muskie stocking and its effects on other fish also brought us the weed roller, something that’s “essentially destroying habitat for fish on many lakes,” Metsa said. He didn’t mention him by name, but I’m sure Metsa was referring to Dave Majkrzak (weed roller patent number: 5359835), chair of the Otter Tail County Coalition of Lake Associations, who later testified that he represented lakeshore property owners in their support of the bill, some half a million statewide. But Metsa countered: He’d talked with several lakeshore property owners himself, and called it “disingenuous” for Majkrzak to believe he was speaking for all of them. Tim Spreck, lobbyist for the Minnesota Darkhouse Angling Association, was similarly tagged by Metsa after Spreck stated, “I’m representing literally thousands and thousands of spear fishermen, and unanimously, we support this bill.” (He also said many of his constituency didn’t have the ability to respond to DNR surveys regarding muskie stocking via the Internet.) I’ve only caught a half-dozen or so muskies in my life, some while fishing for them, some incidentally. But each one was a memorable thrill. And I’ve written lake reports for this paper for nearly two decades. Not once have I encountered a situation in which the existence of muskies has notably hindered other fish. I just wish those opposed to stocking would say what’s really on their minds. Outdoor News welcomes unsolicited fishing and hunting photographs; enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope for return. Mail all subscriptions, advertising, correspondence, and address changes to: Outdoor News, 9850 51st Ave. N., Suite 130, Plymouth, MN 55442-3271 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.outdoornews.com/minnesota
Publisher: Glenn A. Meyer Managing Editor: Rob A. Drieslein Director of Sales & Marketing: Evy Gebhardt Editor: Joe Albert Associate Editors: Tim Spielman, Javier Serna Webmaster: Aaron Geddis Social Media Specialist: Jason Revermann Display Advertising: Terry Tuma, Eric G. Meyer, Glen Schmitt Classified Advertising: Patty Haubrick (763) 398-3453 or (877) 494-4246 Administration: Dianne J. Meyer, Teresa Anderson Subscriber Services: Sara A. Pojar, Jennifer Chamberlain, Stephanie Meybaum, Carol Soberg, Gloria Raymond Layout Supervisor: Ron Nelson Layout Associates: Don Dittberner, Ronnie Anderson, Aaron Geddis Ad Production Supervisor: Cindy Rosin Ad Production Associates: Dana Tuss, Nichole Kinzer Office hours: Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Phone: (763) 546-4251 or (800) 535-5191 Fax: (763) 546-5913 OUTDOOR NEWS (USPS 286-440) is published weekly by Outdoor News, Inc., 9850 51st Ave. N., Suite 130, Plymouth, MN 55442-3271. Periodical postage paid at St. Paul, MN and additional mailing offices. Subscription rates: $36.00 (one year), $68.00 (two years). Single copy: $2.50 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Outdoor News Inc., 9850 51st Ave. N., Suite 130 Plymouth, MN 55442-3271
“No matter where the turkeys are, they’ll be able to hear this box call.”
Commentary Do moose and deer mix well?
By Kirk Schnitker
It’s been known for years that moose contract brainworm from deer. Brainworm, as its name implies, is not a good thing. It is fatal to moose but not to deer. Let me back up. Since the mid-1980s, Minnesota’s moose population has crashed. It has crashed so badly in northwestern Minnesota that it’s but a tiny fraction of what it used to be. In the 1980s, for example, there were more than 4,000 moose in the northwest. The number today is negligible – fewer than 100, in fact. It’s a very
sad thing. In northeastern Minnesota in the 1980s, there were as many as 9,000 moose. Today, there are fewer than half that number, and maybe as few as 3,500. These significant declines have been researched and studied for almost 30 years and, at best, the DNR’s scientific conclusions seem to be that there are multiple reasons why the moose populations have crashed and continue to crash. (See Commentary Page 39)
Letters to the Editor
Commentaries and letters are the opinions of the writers – not necessarily those of Outdoor News
The real issue is cats, not lead I’m writing this after reading an article on lead killing nontarget species. I am amazed that the biggest bird killers in the nation – farm cats and stray cats – are never spoken of by the DNR, the Raptor Center, or Audubon. My grandfather had a farm and had about 20 cats. They were always hunting. When my daughter was young, she had three cats and they would bring dead birds, mice, chipmunks, and rabbits to the door to try to bring them in. After those cats died, it was no more cats for me. There are millions of cats hunting every day throughout the nation. What’s a little lead compared to that?
Ron Forar Savage
Hopes the DNR’s new big-game leader has some courage I would like to wish congratulations to Adam Murkowski, the new leader of the
Online Opinions This issue’s question -----------------------------------------------------------Have you hunted for light geese during the 2016 light goose conservation order? A) No – they flew through too fast B) Yes – it’s always fun C) No – I’ve never gotten into it
Online results from last issue’s question ---------------------------Several state legislators have introduced legislation that would prohibit the stocking of muskies in new lakes in Minnesota. Do you agree muskie stocking should be put on hold for those lakes in 2016? Yes (74 percent) or No (26 percent)
Vote @ www.outdoornews.com/Minnesota Discuss at facebook.com/OutdoorNews
Attention Readers Outdoor News invites letters from its readers. All letters must have the writer’s name, complete address and phone number. (Phone numbers will not be printed.) Please keep letters to 250 words. Form letters will not be printed. Outdoor News reserves the right to edit. Address letters to: Letters to the Editor, Outdoor News, 9850 51st Ave. N., Suite 130, Plymouth, MN 55442-3271. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
DNR big game program. I would also like to wish him courage – courage to implement long-overdue changes to how the DNR manages the white-tailed deer herd in Minnesota. We need a leader who will eliminate cross-tagging. Do we really need hunters killing deer to fill other hunters’ tags? We also need a leader who will manage the overall health and age structure of the herd. I wish him the courage to implement antler-point restrictions statewide. He will face a great deal of resistance in years one and two over this decision. In year three he will be applauded.
Al Turnquist New London
Time to increase fines and penalties for poaching After reading the commentary in the March 11 issue titled “Poaching is not the biggest problem,” I hope we never have a DNR Wildlife Section chief like Michigan’s Russ Mason. He looks at poaching (illegal taking of game and fish or any wild animal or plant species) as “something almost biologically trivial” if it doesn’t permanently reduce the population, and therefore, if species aren’t endangered then anti-poaching efforts are a waste of time (See Letters Page 43)
NORTHWEST SPORTSHOW NOW UNDER WAY Minneapolis — The 2016 Progressive Insurance Northwest Sportshow kicked off Wednesday and continues through Sunday at the Minneapolis Convention Center, giving those who attend a chance to check out everything from new boats to new gear to new vacation destinations, and much more. Special features include the Extreme Raptors Show, Progressive Boat School, the Ducks Unlimited room with info about wetlands and conservation, a live fish pond, the kids Create-a-Crankbait for a cause, and a variety of seminar speakers, including Outdoor News’ “Tackle” Terry Tuma, Joe Bucher, Tony Roach, and many others. Show hours are 1-9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, March 29-30; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, April 1; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 2; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 3. Admission is $14 for adults age 16 and older, while youths 15 and younger are admitted free with a paying adult. Thursday is “Senior Day,” when those age 62 and older are offered admission reduced to $11. For more information, visit www.NorthwestSporshow.com DUCK SEASON TO RESEMBLE LAST YEAR’S
Bemidji, Minn. — The DNR is expected to announce soon the regulations for the upcoming duck- and goose-hunting seasons in the state. The early announcement is due to a change in the manner in which the overseer of migratory waterfowl – the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – sets hunting frameworks. The DNR’s duck specialist, Steve Cordts, said a 60-day season and Sept. 24 duck opener are expected, with a split-less season in the north, a five-day split in the central area, and a 12-day split in the south. Check out next week’s Outdoor News for more details.
CO-AUTHOR DROPS FROM BILL TO STOP SOME MUSKIE STOCKING
St. Paul — One of the co-authors of a Minnesota House bill to stop the proposed stocking of muskies in four lakes in the state has dropped his name from House File 3207. Rep. Bob Gunther, a Fairmont Republican, at the suggestion of two sports groups, removed himself as a bill author. However, Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake, has signed on as a co-author of the legislation. Also, Outdoor News incorrectly identified the House bill’s author last week as Paul Anderson; the sponsor is Mark Anderson, of Lake Shore.
DU RECOGNIZES TOP FUND-RAISING CHAPTERS
Memphis, Tenn. — Ducks Unlimited recently announced the top volunteer chapters across the nation honored in four categories: Chairman’s Elite, Chairman’s Roll of Honor, President’s Elite, and President’s Roll of Honor. The President’s Elite are among Ducks Unlimited’s most prestigious volunteer chapters throughout the nation. Every year, the list is reserved for the chapters that raise $100,000 to $250,000 for DU’s habitat conservation work. In 2015 in Minnesota, three chapters made the list. The winners were the Garrison chapter, the South Metro Flyway chapter from Lakeville, and the Metro/St. Paul chapter from St. Paul. The chapters honored this year earned their spots on the nationally recognized lists out of more than 2,600 DU chapters nationwide that hosted more than 3,900 fund-raising events. For more information, visit www.ducks.org
APRIL 1, 2016
Four-walleye bag could be in Upper Red’s future By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Bemidji, Minn. — What late fall taketh from Upper Red Lake anglers in 2015, late spring might give back, a DNR official says. That’s because early December ice usually provides a “hot bite” for walleye anglers on that lake. Late ice development meant that bite passed fishermen by. “(Ice anglers) weren’t able to get on the ice until after Christmas,” said Gary Barnard, DNR area fisheries supervisor in Bemidji, adding that it’s early December when walleye anglers typically score big. “We never really had the real good fishing in December.” So when the walleye season drew to a close, creel clerks on the 72,000 acres of Upper Red fished by state anglers found the harvest had decreased several thousand pounds from last year. That, coupled with a new management regime and the fact that current harvest is based on a management plan’s “surplus” mode of walleye spawners, means there’s great likelihood the walleye bag limit will increase in mid-June. Here are a couple reasons why Barnard and other fish managers believe the bag limit for Upper Red walleyes – currently three fish with one over 17 inches allowed – will jump to four in mid-June. First, the ice-fishing season regularly accounts for about two-thirds of walleye harvest. Second, an estimated 113,000 pounds of harvest occurred this winter. And finally, only if the harvest appeared to be in the neighborhood of 240,000 pounds or greater at the end of
It’s looking likely that the walleye bag limit on Upper Red Lake will increase to four by the middle of June. Photo by Steve Oehlenschlager May – with two weeks of openwater walleye fishing in the books – would the department considered leaving the regulations as is. “There’s just no way we’re going
to hit that at this point,” he said. Last winter, ice anglers scored about 140,000 pounds of walleyes (See Upper Red Page 23)
PF’S NOMSEN AWARDED HIGHEST HONOR AT CONFERENCE
St. Paul — One of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s longesttenured staff members, Dave Nomsen, was honored last week at the 81st North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference with the George Bird Grinnell Memorial Award for Distinguished Service to Natural Resource Conservation. The memorial award was initiated 16 years ago in the memory of George Bird Grinnell – the acknowledged “father of American conservation” – who was diverse in lending his time, foresight, and talents to the causes of wildlife protection and management, habitat restoration, and wildlands preservation. Nomsen is now Pheasants Forever’s direcDave Nomsen tor in South Dakota following more than two decades as the organization’s vice president of government affairs. He has been with Pheasants Forever since 1992, where he began as PF’s wildlife biologist for Minnesota.
WISCONSIN DNR FINDS 295 DEER WITH CWD IN 2015
Madison (AP) — The Wisconsin DNR says 295 out of 3,117 deer analyzed last year had CWD. Most of the positives – 293 of them – came out of the southern section of the state where the disease has been the most prevalent. The remaining two cases came from the central section of the state. The Wisconsin DNR found 331 positives out of 5,465 carcasses in 2014. Agency officials attributed the drop-off in 2015 carcass submissions to electronic registration. Last year was the first year hunters could register kills by phone or online and skip hauling carcasses to registration stations, where they had turned over heads for testing.
CORRECTION: NORTH AND SOUTH ZONE BEAVER SEASONS CLOSE MAY 15
St. Paul — The beaver-trapping season in both the state’s North Furbearer Zone and South Furbearer Zone closes Sunday, May 15. The Outdoor News Calendar incorrectly listed April 30 as the seasonending date.
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APRIL 1, 2016
APRIL 1, 2016
Bobwhite quail recovery wouldn’t ‘be easy’ By Javier Serna Assistant Editor Caledonia, Minn. — Is restoring northern bobwhite quail in southeastern Minnesota feasible? The answer to that question was mandated by a piece of 2014 state legislation. Two years later, the law resulted in a March 21 public meeting at Good Times Restaurant in Caledonia, more than a year after a quail recovery feasibility study was produced, though it remains in draft status. Recovering bobwhite quail beyond their current remnant numbers in southeast Minnesota would take a lot of effort and will, said Mike Tenney, the DNR’s Rochester-area wildlife manager. “It’s not going to be easy,” he told Outdoor News before the meeting. Asked if the birds, which are at the northern edge of their range in Minnesota, might do better if the state’s climate warms as scientists suggest it will, he said
Mike Tenney, DNR area wildlife manager in Rochester (left), and Thurman Tucker (right), spoke Photo by Javier Serna at last week’s meeting in Caledonia about bobwhite quail restoration. they might. “If we have milder weather, and lower snowfalls, that’s going to be helpful,” he said. But Tenney said the sensitive birds could also be hurt if climate change brings with it more severe winter storms, which also has been associated with climate change science. “These storms, even if they are infrequent, will result in
significant mortality if they occur in winter months,” the study states. Once snow piles up, the tiny birds aren’t able to claw and peck their way down to food. The birds don’t do well in snow deeper than 4 inches, Tenney said. More than 30 people showed up for the meeting. A few days earlier, about 180 people
attended a banquet here for the Southeast Minnesota Chapter of Quail Forever, according to Thurman Tucker, the Minneapolis man who has helped coordinate both Minnesota chapters of Quail Forever, including one in the metro area. Tucker, a Mississippi native, has been working at quail conservation in Minnesota for three decades, and he’s probably as responsible as anyone for the legislation, which was authored by Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul. Hansen did not attend the meeting, but, reached by phone, reiterated his hope that bobwhite quail could be a success story in Minnesota like the wild turkey has been. “It was the same question with wild turkeys,” Hansen said. “Is the will there? Will it work? The same questions were there about wild birds. Wild turkeys have been a success, and I think the will is there for quail.” Hansen alluded to questions about quail, both if there are actually any wild birds left in
Minnesota or whether the quail that exist in southeast Minnesota are merely birds that were released into the wild. Tucker dispelled that notion during the meeting, acknowledging he knew of one instance in which it was the case, but that the birds are too numerous and well distributed in Houston County for that to be widespread. DNR wildlife managers have questioned whether or not that’s been the case, and they don’t believe releasing game farmraised quail, which Tenney suggested would likely be genetically inferior, is anything more than a waste of money. “We are hoping some of these birds here are real wild quail,” Tenney said. If the bobwhite quail roaming Minnesota are wild, which could be determined by genetic testing, the feasibility study suggests that habitat restoration done on a large enough scale could restore bobwhite populations. If there aren’t any wild birds here, then habitat restoration alone will not likely work, it said. The feasibility study mentions (See Quail Page 7)
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(From Page 6) the possibility of translocating wild birds from well-established source populations, similar to how Minnesota’s wild turkey population was established. But the report implies it may be difficult to find a source, and the technique is unproven for bobwhites. It mentions the birds have high mortality rates to begin with, and, as such, it would require high numbers of birds to be relocated. Tenney, during his presentation, talked about how the birds may have existed in southeast Minnesota presettlement, but as settlers moved in and created disturbance on the landscape, the species quickly expanded, with records of the birds as far north as Otter Tail County by 1850. The birds were hunted from around that time in Minnesota until 1952. Modern farming practices have eliminated the edge areas that quail covet, making restoring the birds here a difficult proposition. Among those in attendance were many farmers and owners of larger private tracts of land. Tucker printed out fact sheets and talked about what quail need. He acknowledged volatile crop prices can make it difficult for some farmers to set aside land for quail. “We’ve got to change our
mindset,” he said. “But we can do it without a whole lot of trouble. It’s very doable.” One of those farmers was Jeff Gerard, of Spring Grove, who has used some conservation programs on 6 acres of his property already for the benefit of quail. He said he intended to do more of what Tucker prescribed this coming summer. “I definitely would like to see them on my property, but I haven’t yet,” he said after the meeting. “Our neighbors have had them on their property.” That gets at one of several questions the feasibility study raises, questions that must be answered before a restoration effort can be undertaken – namely, are there enough landowners in southeast Minnesota willing to implement habitat practices on their working lands to support a sustainable wild bobwhite population? The report suggests history and economics will make it difficult, but suggested conducting a landowner survey. The study mentioned the efforts of Quail Forever, the possibility of using grant money for projects, national interests in restoring the species, which is having trouble across its range, and the possibility of partnering with overlapping interests, such as other species that have similar habitat needs. Whether or not restoring these whistling birds to Minnesota is possible hasn’t been fully
addressed yet, Tenney said. “First we would have to be convinced that it would be worth it,” he said. “Then we would
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OUTDOOR NEWS PAGE 7 meetings were in the works, but said nothing is scheduled yet, and officials didn’t have a timetable for when the study would be finalized.
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have to come up with a wellthought-out plan. It would be difficult.” Tenney said more public
PAGE 8 OUTDOOR NEWS By Pat Miller Contributing Writer Cass Lake, Minn. — The recent completion of a creel study on Cass Lake prompted Bemidji area DNR fisheries officials to host a public information meeting last week on the status of the fishery. The 27 people who attended the meeting at Pike Bay Town Hall heard a mostly positive report. “The walleye fishery on Cass Lake is good and a series of strong year-classes are carrying the fishery,” said Gary Barnard, Bemidji area DNR fisheries supervisor. Because of its relatively clear water, Cass Lake attracts many evening walleye anglers in addition to the daytime fishermen, and DNR creel staff members have shifted their working hours to survey both groups of anglers.
At Cass Lake, the news is good
“On Cass Lake there has been a shift to more night fishing and this year we tried to track (the evening success) by having our creel staff count the boats at dusk and also by distributing (survey) cards to the resorts,” Barnard said. “Based on those survey results, it looks like a fair amount of the walleye harvest on Cass Lake has shifted to after dark. There is more fishing activity after dark and the folks who fish at night are usually serious fishermen who know what they are doing. And they appear to be doing well.” As are the walleyes. “Cass Lake receives a fair amount of fishing pressure but it appears to be holding up well,”
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Barnard said. “It is one of the state’s 10 large lakes (in terms of management status) and it is the only one that is governed by the regular Minnesota walleye regulations. There is no special regulation for walleyes on Cass Lake and there is no need to have one.” The perch fishery also is an important component of the Cass Lake angling picture but in recent years there has been a decline in the quality of the fishery (perch 9 inches or larger). That decline, however, appears to follow a natural pattern. “Perch are very important to the fishery of Cass Lake and the Cass Lake Chain,” Barnard said, “and people are concerned about the lack of perch 9 inches and larger. After a few years of the perch being on the upswing, they are in a down cycle right now and we will need two or three new year-classes to build the numbers again.”
The bulk of Cass Lake’s targeted perch average 8.5 inches and are survivors of the 2011 year-class. History indicates that sometime in the next few seasons Cass Lake will experience another strong perch year class and perch anglers will be happy once again. “The folks have seen this perch cycle before. Overall the perch population is fine and the perch are reproducing well,” Barnard said. “This isn’t a problem that can’t fix itself with a few strong year-classes.” Joining Cass Lake as lakes on the chain are Andrusia, Big Wolf, Big Rice, and Kitchi, and walleyes are known to migrate among those lakes. Just how common the migration is and how far the fish travel are the questions the DNR Fisheries staff will try to answer during the next few years when they mark walleye fry this spring with tetracycline and stock them back into Andrusia.
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APRIL 1, 2016 “We want to get a better handle on the walleye migration through the chain,” Barnard said. “This year we will mark the walleye fry that we stock into Andrusia and we will look for those marks when we do the assessments of the lakes in the chain. During those lake assessments we also will be able to monitor the growth rates of the stocked walleyes and compare them to the growth of the wild fish. Our goal is to understand the dynamics of the walleye recruitment in the Cass Lake Chain and this project will help us do that.” People at last week’s information meeting also were told that survey results indicate that stocking fry into Pike Bay (which connects to Cass Lake via a slow moving channel) appears to be equally effective as the previous practice of stocking fingerlings. Stocking fry also is less expensive in terms of manpower and money so, in this situation, it might be the preferred option. “In the past we had been stocking a couple thousand walleye fingerlings into Pike Bay and they did well but in 2011 we switched to fry stocking,” Barnard said. “We have had two good year-classes out of the last five and that’s pretty good. It looks like fry stocking in Pike Bay might be as effective as fingerling stocking so we plan to continue the fry stocking for another five years and monitor the fishery. We will have the fingerling stocking ready, however, as a contingency, if it is needed.”
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APRIL 1, 2016
Smallmouth bass group pushed for tight Mille Lacs rules By Javier Serna Assistant Editor
Isle, Minn. — The smallmouth bass of Lake Mille Lacs got a new advocate in the form of the Mille Lacs Smallmouth Bass Alliance earlier this year. The group appeared to influence the Minnesota DNR as it formulated bass regulations for the coming open-water season on the lake. Even as the group in a public response last week expressed some disappointment that the coming regulations do not go as far as it would have liked, the new rules do swing back in the direction of conserving what is considered a world-class trophy smallmouth bass fishery.
The new rules are certainly a departure from the ones for the 2014 open-water season, which opened up harvest of smallmouth bass as walleye harvest was being sharply curtailed. This year’s rules drop the daily bag from six fish to four, and create a protected slot between 17 and 21 inches, with only one fish allowed longer than 21 inches. The group had sought a three-fish bag and a protected slot of 15 to 21 inches. It also wanted harvest closed in the early spring and fall, as is the case most elsewhere in the state. Instead, the DNR shut down harvest during only the first two weeks of the open-water season, while the fish are
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typically on their spawning beds, though catch-and-release fishing will still be allowed. “These new regulations only reinforce the reason we founded this non-profit organization,” said Jim DaRosa, president of the group “More than ever, we need to work together for the best possible outcome of this trophy fishery.” The DNR has maintained the previous liberal rules were biologically sound and changing them back was not for conservation reasons. When the DNR liberalized the rules, it said it was doing so only to open up harvest opportunities as walleye harvest was being drastically reduced and top fisheries managers were careful not to blame smallmouth bass and northern pike, which also saw liberalized regulations two seasons ago. But the change in rules fed into the belief some held that smallmouth bass were to blame for the demise of walleyes. “It was sending the wrong message,” said Alliance board member Tony Roach, a fishing guide on the lake and a member of the DNR-appointed Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee, made up of stakeholders of the Mille Lacs fishing community. “I know that that wasn’t (the DNR’s) intention. However, people are going to perceive things however they are going to perceive them. It seems like there this was this big explosion in public perception that black bass and pike were to blame and we need to
(See Smallmouth Page 30)
APRIL 1, 2016
Deerwood. He did some real guiding after college. And from 1969 through 1978, school-teacher Royal worked with the famous Nisswa Guides League out of Marv Koep’s Nisswa Bait Shop. He went on his own in 1979 and has enjoyed working with Cragun’s Resort on Gull Lake since 1993. Throughout Royal’s long fishing-guiding life, he’s been ultradeep into the sport’s fine points
Royal Karels, now 78 and still guiding fulltime, has experienced bass fishing’s evolution, from 1940s boyhood summers at his grandpa’s resort through decades of big change.
and how-to stuff. He’s fished and co-mentored aplenty with legendary Minnesota fishing names like Lindner, Roach, Van Doren, Capra, Koep, and many others. He’s hobnobbed with prominent manufacturers and sellers of boats, motors, tackle, and electronics. Given his long and deep history as a popular guide and fish-catching pacesetter, he’s naturally been sought (See Fellegy Page 18)
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erms like hardcore angler, career fisherman, legendary guide, and angling educator apply to Royal Karels like few anglers can imagine. This spring, Karels, now 78, will begin his 48th season of formal full-time guiding in the greater Brainerd-Nisswa lakes region. Maybe add another seven or eight years because pre-teen and teen-aged Royal often shared his fishing smarts (sometimes for tips!) with patrons ofs r Currier’s Resort, his grandparents’ place on Shirt Lake near
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The earlier the turkey season, the higher the likelihood you’ll run into a wintering flock. While not as big an issue here in Minnesota because of the timing of our opener, several states that offer early archery seasons will give hunters fits because of size of the flocks and the unwillingness of longbeards to leave. Photos courtesy of Tony Peterson By Tony J. Peterson Contributing Writer
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you’re plugged into turkey hunting circles, you’re probably hearing a lot of talk about birds gobbling right now and flocks splitting up. To me, it feels an awful lot like the end of October or beginning of November, when most of my conversations center on when the rut will really kick in. While we obsess over it, the reality is that Mother Nature has things figured out pretty well, and the spring breakup of flocks, just like the fall deer rut, happens at the same time each year.
Knowing this, I still cross my fingers for bluebird skies and warm weather this time of year in the hopes of ushering things along a little quicker. For me, turkey season starts in one of the states that offer an early archery opportunity. That means that by the first weekend of April I’m set up in a blind on public land in either Nebraska or South Dakota. During these hunts, I know my hunting buddies and I will likely hear lots of gobbling and we might even see a pile of birds. The wintering flocks that are beginning to fracture this time of year can provide an
impressive sight for the early season hunter. I’ve watched as many as probably 75 birds at one time in Nebraska, and the sheer amount of strutting, fighting, calling, and general turkey carrying on is amazing. It is also very frustrating. A tom that has dozens of hens to try to impress doesn’t much need to break from the group to go check out a different group of ladies. And often throughout the morning, toms won’t. It does seem as the day progresses, gobblers will splinter off of the groups to go looking, but it can be hard to wait them out. But wait them out you should. If you opt for an out-of-state early hunt, it’s probably going to be necessary. I’ve also experienced this during the first season in Minnesota as well, but the wintering flocks here are often quite a bit smaller than they are in some of the other states I hunt. Here we tend to just lament that the birds are henned-up, which pretty much sums up the problem whether a tom has one girlfriend or 30. Getting him to leave is tough, but his resolve will weaken throughout the day. Perhaps these toms grow frustrated after hours of showing their best stuff and finding the local ladies not amenable to their advances. I don’t know. What I do know is that throughout the first days of April, and often later toward the middle of the month, the hunting can be really exciting and very frustrating. My strategy tends to involve setting up close enough to where the birds will be feeding so that they can hear me and catch an eyeful of my decoy spread. For many of my sits, I call to a black mass of turkeys well out of range for the first half of the day and then things seem to change. I don’t know how many times I’ve been surprised by a gobble in the afternoon and then had a sudden encounter with a bird that wouldn’t give me anything more than a courtesy gobble only a few hours earlier, but it has happened a lot. Now, I’m writing from a bowhunter’s perspective for the most part, because nearly all of my early hunts involve archery tackle. The task can get much easier with a shotgun and a willingness to get close enough to the flock to encourage a bird to peel off and strut into range. With that comes great risk, however, because with that many turkey eyes and ears nearby, it doesn’t take much of a mistake to go from covered in birds to completely birdless. If you’re looking to get in on the front-end of the season here, or out of state, remember that the birds are transitioning from winter habits to spring. This means that patience and a plan are of the utmost importance for anyone looking to tag out.
The legacy of a shooting club
The Minnetonka Sportsmen Inc. shooting club dedicated its new clubhouse in 1949. The building still stands where it was built on County Road 15 west of Mound.
ome see shooting clubs as places to poke holes in paper with a projectile. Some like the camaraderie that comes from a membership in an organization with like-minded individuals. Some appreciate the member events like wild-game feeds and special trap shoots. Some relish the youth functions that maintain the shooting traditions. I like them all, but I am also enamored by the history of my shooting club. The Minnetonka Sportsmens’ Club was formed in the 1930s in Navarre for the purpose of stocking walleyes in Lake Minnetonka. In the early 1940s, the club was officially established, and it moved to its current location when the clubhouse was built in 1949. The site now stands on County Road 15 just west of Mound. There are a rifle range, pistol range, trap bunkers, a self-throw clay pigeon range, and an archery range. There is much for the shooter there, including permit-to-carry courses, hunter safety courses, and the regular meetings, which feature a swap meet. Old photos and newspaper clips adorn the Minnetonka Sportsmen Inc. website. These articles show that shooting wasn’t the only pastime enjoyed by the membership and that women played an important role in the success of
the organization. One clip invites the public to a roller skating event at the GlenIsle Casino in Mound. There was a casino in Mound? It was being sponsored by the Minnetonka Sports Women club, an arm of the main group. Today, an invitation to skip pheasant hunting and plant trees would be sent out in an email distribution. Then the local newspaper handled the notice. Tree planting was a huge
(See Lesmeister Page 52)
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APRIL 1, 2016
takes neighbors to make a neighborhood. Years ago, we rented a duplex unit in a Twin Cities suburb. It was on a quiet street with lots of young families. All the kids played outside. And they were good kids. Change happened quickly. When we came home after a weekend away, a neighbor told us there had been five cop cars in our driveway on Saturday night, paying a visit to the new guy next door. Then a lout moved in across the street and spent his day shouting obscenities at the neighborhood kids. Fortunately, we moved on not long after he arrived. I started thinking about the old neighborhood while
reading a story about deer management in Wisconsin. The story, “DNR denial can’t change CWD truths,” was by veteran outdoor writer Patrick Durkin. He reports the Wisconsin DNR’s 2015 chronic wasting disease monitoring found an infection rate
of 9.5 percent in free-ranging whitetails. This marks the state’s 10th annual increase in CWD infections. CWD to date has not been found in other animals or people. That said, many folks, myself included, don’t want to eat CWD-infected venison. Obviously, if CWD becomes widespread in a deer population, it may change deer hunting as we know it. While it is widely believed CWD has moved from place to place with captive deer, many in the deer-farming industry dispute this. But we do know the disease is transmitted from one animal to another via close contact, such as in captivity or at a feeding or baiting site for wild deer. The causal agent
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is a prion, an abnormal protein, which is passed from one deer to another in saliva and other bodily fluids. These prions also pass into the environment from the bodily fluids of an infected deer or from the remains of an infected deer that has died. The prions remain in the environment for a long time, which means once CWD shows up somewhere, it never goes away. Knowing this, Minnesota has moved quickly and aggressively in the few instances when a CWDinfected animal was found in the state, closing infected deer farms and greatly reducing wild deer numbers where the disease was found. While this may mean poor hunting in a local area for a few years, the aggressive action prevents the disease from getting a foothold in free-ranging deer or in the environment. Wisconsin is taking a different approach. Durkin reports that since 2010, the state Legislature and the DNR have cut scientists and funding for the CWD-monitoring program. This is an issue of leadership, not poor deer management by the DNR’s professionals. But the end result is Wisconsin simply isn’t taking CWD and the risk it presents to deer and the future of deer hunting seriously. CWD isn’t found statewide in Wisconsin, but in the places where it does occur, the
disease is increasingly prevalent in the wild deer population and is spreading to larger areas. Durkin presents some grim statistics. Consider the following: “Richland County’s disease rate climbed from 0.75 percent in 2009 to 1.5 percent in 2011, 4.4 percent in 2013, 5.1 percent in 2014, and 9.9 percent in 2015. Iowa County’s CWD rate reached 23 percent overall in 2015 (152 of 660 tested), while Sauk County’s reached 19 percent (59 of 309) and Dane County’s was 9.2 percent (34 of 369).” CWD can infect deer of all ages, but the likelihood increases with time. In Iowa County during 2015: • Buck fawns, 1 of 22 (4.5 percent) tested positive; • Bucks 1.5 years old, 15 of 101 (14.9 percent) tested positive; • Bucks 2.5 years old, 20 of 94 (21.3 percent) tested positive; • Bucks 3.5 years old, 44 of 124 (35.5 percent) tested positive; • Bucks 4 to 5 years old, 26 of 54 (48.1 percent) tested positive; • Bucks 6 to 8 years old, 2 of 4 (50 percent) tested positive. These numbers are sobering and downright scary. It would be interesting to know what Iowa County deer hunters think about the CWD sit(See Perich Page 61)
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APRIL 1, 2016
when it comes to ice-out crappie fishing. Let me cover a few. When the water is hard on the surface of a lake and winter is making way for spring, crappies still will be in the deep holes where they have been suspending and feeding during low-light periods on organisms that come out of the soft bottom and the tiny minnows that feed there as well. When the ice leaves the lakes, those crappies begin to migrate toward areas where they will eventually spawn. But those pre-spawn crappies are hungry and want to eat. Some of my favorite places are on the deep edges that lead into a shallow, dark-bottomed bay. I don’t care what side of the lake this crappie real estate is on, if there is a shallow bay on a lake near some deeper water, I’m going to be checking it out right after the ice goes out. You can easily see the crappies on the sonar if the water is 15 feet or deeper. You can see them if it’s shallower, too, but with a smaller cone you don’t always pick them up like you will when the water is deeper. You just send down a tiny jig tipped with a crappie minnow. Some anglers like vertical jigging right over the side of the boat with no bobber. I do that,
there is one thing to remember when it comes to catching fish, it is that there are no rock-solid rules that can make you a better angler. As soon as someone tells you all the walleyes are biting on mid-lake structure on a live-bait rig and leech, you will go there and they will have moved and now they are biting on a jig and minnow in the shallow weeds. Rule broken. As soon as someone tells you the bass are biting in the slop on topwater baits, they will move to the deep edges of the weedline and hit only biglipped crankbaits. Rule broken. My favorite broken rule is that ice-out crappies always head to the north sides of a lake and concentrate in the shallow bays and hit anything you set in front of them. About that time I’ll head to the south end of the lake, find a deep hole, and finesse some big slabs with tiny jigs tipped with a crappie minnow under a small slip-bobber. It’s like ice fishing, but the ice is gone and I’m fishing from a boat. There are many scenarios
but I also like to use a slip-bobber. Sometimes getting the bait a little farther from the boat helps, so the bobber is the ticket there. Sometimes the crappies won’t wait long after ice-out to move right into those shallow bays. When the crappies move in shallow, they can get real shallow. Any wood that is in the water – docks, downed trees, or stumps, for example – crappies will concentrate around it. Pinpoint casts to the cover and expect to get hung up. Moving the boat in to cut a snag loose or snapping the rod tip to pull free is going to spook those shallow fish, but they can move back in quickly if you just leave the spot alone for a few minutes. I’ve seen anglers use long poles for dipping lures around real shallow cover, but I prefer casting. Whatever works for you is the right answer when it comes to fishing shallow cover.
Sometimes, breaking the rules can help anglers catching slab crappies as soon as the ice goes out. For example, head to the southern end of a lake instead of the north end. Photo by Don Dittberner
(See Roach Page 53)
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Spring habitat conditions vary for ducks and pheasants
unusually mild winter is turning out to be a mixed blessing for pheasants and ducks in North Dakota, as the resulting conditions are creating varying habitat conditions across the state. The relatively warm and dry weather experienced during the winter of 2015-16 is looking like good news for pheasants, reports Rachel Bush, North Dakota state
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coordinator for Pheasants Forever, particularly with bird numbers on the rebound. “Our pheasant population was up last fall, so we went into winter with better overall numbers than the year before,” Bush says. “With a fairly calm winter with really no extended periods of extreme cold and heavy snow cover, our overwinter mortality should have been low. It all points to strong bird numbers heading into spring.” Bush says southwest North Dakota is a place to watch, as pheasant numbers in that area saw a huge uptick last summer and another solid nesting season this spring and summer could create phenomenal hunting next fall. The southeast corner, too, is an area where the pheasant population has seen recent improvement, Bush says, and the mild winter should help bird numbers continue to rise. The good news for the entire state, Bush says, is that North Dakota producers showed a strong interest in CRP during the recent general sign-up. “There should be grass going into the ground this year, which will certainly help nesting and brood-rearing efforts in years to come,” Bush says. “For this year, though, there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic. We have quite a bit of spring left to go, but at this point conditions are really looking good.” The same cannot be said for nesting ducks, however, as the lack of snowmelt this spring is affecting wetland conditions in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota, according to Eric Lindstrom, of Ducks Unlimited in Bismarck. A warm and dry winter is now translating into dry conditions in the region, Lindstrom says, leaving temporary and seasonal wetlands empty and levels on larger semi-permanent wetlands dropping significantly. “We saw similar conditions last spring, but we received some late moisture and saw significant re-nesting efforts,” Lindstrom says. “We still have time before the spring nesting season really starts to roll.” Much like last year, Lindstrom says the dry conditions could send many of the early migrating ducks such as mallards and pintails north into Canada, where carryover moisture from last year has wetlands in better shape. And again like last year, should Mother Nature decide to keep the weather warm in Canada this fall, hunters in North Dakota may have to wait on the big flight of ducks from the north. “We could see a similar scenario, but a lot of things can change in the next two to three months,” Lindstrom says. “What we know now is that conditions are dry in North Dakota, and that will likely impact the number of ducks that initially settle here to nest.”
APRIL 1, 2016
(From Page 11)
out by outdoor writers. Beyond his renowned angling prowess and people skills, one of Royal’s special traits is his appreciation for the sport’s real flavor. You know, those rare on-the-water experiences with fish and with people. His recall ability, humor, and story-telling style make him a first-class raconteur. The following Q&A and “disaster” stories draw Royal into fun reminiscences that reflect his immersion in Minnesota fishing. While he’s a super-skilled multi-species angler, the focus here is on Bassman Royal. He’s made quite the fishing trip, from cane-poling off grandpa’s dock in the 1940s to his 2016 induction into the Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame. Angling legends often cite their
super-strong attraction to the sport as youngsters. Kid Royal fished daily? Yep. Especially for bass. I started cane-pole fishing off the dock at age 5, and soon began rowing around in flat-bottom boats, and then motoring with round-bottoms. At one time grandfather had 17 boats at his Shirt Lake resort. He had only two resort cabins, so most of the boats were rentals. Boat customers came mainly from the Twin Cities and from Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge. Word of mouth lured lots of Ruttger’s people to fish bass. Sometimes they’d be a little apprehensive and ask, “Where do we go?” or, “What do we use?” I was usually on the scene, and Grandfather might point to me and say, “See that kid over there? Get him on the oars and he’ll
Vintage shot of guide Royal Karels, longtime multi-species angler and bassfishing legend in the greater BrainerdNisswa lakes region. Photo courtesy of Royal Karels
take you and show you.” Some paid me nothing, but others tipped me a dollar, or even two. Hey, I could go to town with my grandparents and buy another lure or two! Today we’ve got rods and reels to match all fish and presentation options – lure types and weights, terminal tackle, casting, trolling, depth, speed, etc. Your superlong fishing career has paralleled this evolution. I’ve seen it all, starting with cane poles. In 1949, at age 12, I bought a used Pflueger Supreme baitcasting reel from a Shirt Lake regular. I might have been the happiest kid in Crow Wing County that day. Those reels had level winds. The handles turned when line went out. When not casting or retrieving, the clicker option helped avoid tangles. It also signaled bites when shore-fishing or
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dock-fishing. The only drag was your thumb! Over the years, reels and rods got better and better. Better drags. More sensitive rods. These days, only the occasional angler has just one or two rods. I’ve got rods for every imaginable circumstance. Varying actions. Different lengths and styles. Bass rods, walleye rods, panfish rods, northern pike rods, muskie rods. And for each species I’ve got umpteen rods. And once in a while I still break out my baitcasting rods for heavier stuff. A favorite bass rod might be a 7-footer that’s really good for casting a jig and worm. How has your line use for bass fishing evolved? When kid-fishing in the 1940s and ‘50s, I used the popular Pflueger baitcasting reels with braided black line. Monofilament came on strong in the mid-‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, and got better and better – like smaller diameter per poundtest, and more pliability for better lure action. I still use monofilament for bass, especially 8-pound test. Naturally, I go with lighter mono for panfish. Sometimes I’m into fluorocarbon. And I favor the no-stretch and small-diameter superlines for muskies. Years ago, bass fishing was synonymous with frogs, plunker-type lures, and surface-fishing near shore amidst rushes, reeds, and weeds. You learned deeper options early on? Back when I was a kid, on Shirt Lake, I fished nearly every morning and evening. As I got older, around 15, I started prob-
(See Fellegy Page 19)
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(From Page 18)
ing the deeper water, searching for bass in midday, especially if I wasn’t catching much in the shallows. Later on, while in college, I did more fall fishing up there, also in deeper water, like 10 to 15 feet, where I caught bigger bass. And I experimented more with deeper-running lures, including jigs. Through the years I’ve seen how bass – at least the ones we catch – run bigger on some lakes than on others. And the deeper options often paid off with hefty bass. The “green box” depthfinder and the shared knowledge among outfront guides expanded your own deeper bass options. What offshore bass-holding structure lured you? On North Long and other lakes, I learned the advantages of cabbage. If you found cabbage along the deeper drops and on offshore structure, you got bass! In the early 1970s, when the Lindners got busy with their Lindy’s Tackle business and guided less, I started finding and targeting select spots, maybe off points or on particular offshore structure and weedbeds. So my halfday guide trips increasingly changed from doing long runs and gambling on finding fish to hitting a series of prime spots – boom, boom, boom, boom – and we’d tally that limit. Recall the deepest largemouth bass action you’ve ever found on a Minnesota lake. The deepest bass I ever caught was an unexpected “accident” during a walleye trip after fall
Shown in this 1970s stringer shot are Joe Gardner (left) and Gordon Benner (right), from Osage City, Kan., and guide Royal Karels (center), with Gull Lake bass and pike caught on Mr. Twister jigs in 15 feet of water. Nisswa Bait Shop photo turnover on Wilson Bay of Gull Lake. We were deeper than 50 feet, fishing jigs and minnows. I thought I had a big walleye, but it was a largemouth bass of about 21⁄2 or 3 pounds – a nice fish. On some lakes, in August and late summer, I might be fishing pretty deep, say holding the boat in 30 feet. So we’re taking bass from at least 20 feet or deeper. Water clarity from lake to lake plays a role – darker and stained water usually means shallower action than in clearer water. Pulling largemouths from the deepest weeds is not rare. Given your 70-plus years of chasing bass, recall some big discoveries that revolutionized your fishing. The Lowrance “green box” flasher-type depthfinder was big for me back in the 1960s. It was like getting a super pair of glasses when you can’t see well. Wow! You could figure out the drops, follow the breaklines, and “see” the sunken islands,
various structure, plus underwater weed beds and edges under your boat. Around my start with the Nisswa guides in the late ‘60s, Carl Lowrance himself came to town. Ron Lindner invited some of us to his house for dinner with Carl. That was great, and very educa-
tional for this young guide. Another big change, a giant step forward for me, came with spinning rods and reels, and monofilament line. When I started as a Nisswa guide I was still using 100 percent baitcasters. But with Al Lindner it was open-face spinning reels. I couldn’t believe it. I had bought a spinning outfit at King’s sport shop in downtown Brainerd back in the 1950s. I sometimes used it on the Mississippi River and at Shirt Lake, but never really got hooked. That soon changed. Spinning reels and mono line helped with casting distance. Improved and lighter mono choices allowed better lure action. Spinning rods were more sensitive and brought better all-around feel for bottom, weeds, lures, jigs, and hits. Jigs hit Minnesota in the ‘50s and ‘60s. They’ve played a big role in my bass-fishing success. That’s light, medium, and heavy jigs, depending on depth and presentation. Plastic worms were another milestone, like
dynamite for me. I used jigs with worms before getting with the Nisswa guides. Then I added the Texas rig with slip-sinker sliding right down to the hook and worm. Along the way came some good crankbaits, like Bill Norman’s Deep Ns and Shallow Ns. They’re one reason I almost abandoned plastic worms in favor of crankbaits. But I soon took on more balance as I learned the patterns, with highs and lows of various baits. If they weren’t hitting one, I’d try another. The 1970s brought big change. Like local and national bass tournaments, evolving electronics and tackle, the marketing of how-to, and more interest in Minnesota bass. Impacts on Royal’s guiding? Memorable teaching moments? I learned more about deeper structure and related methods, especially from Al and Ron Lindner in 1969 and 1970. I expanded my knowledge through hard trial-and-error
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(See Fellegy Page 20)
Fellegy PAGE 20
(From Page 19)
fishing, especially with Texasstyle weedless rigs and plastic worms. Around that time I started using Smithwick’s Water Gator (especially silver), an amazingly effective lure. Add Bill Norman’s crankbaits, and also our increased use of spinning rods and reels, especially those with smoother and lessjerky drags. Bad, inconsistent drags resulted in snapped lines and lost fish and lures – like when a bass suddenly took off near the boat! Those “teaching moments” can be humbling too. In 1969, that first year with the Nisswa guides, I had a double guide trip on Gull Lake with Ron Lindner. I made three mistakes that day. I traveled too far, went for the wrong species, and stayed on one spot where the fish weren’t biting. That sticking on one spot would have made legendary guide Harry Van Doren frown. Anyway, I take my people back to their resort, maybe Cragun’s, with just two walleyes. Ron Lindner’s already on the dock, drawing a crowd with impressive big stringers of bass, walleyes, and northerns. And a guy in my boat jumps up and says, “We should have been with him!” I elbowed the guy and said, “I should have been with him, too!”
The catch-and-release ethic has taken hold since this picture was taken in the 1970s. Now, Royal Karels tells his clients they’ll catch plenty of bass, but that he’ll take a picture and then release them. Karels says about 95 percent of his clients have no qualms about doing so. Nisswa Bait Shop photo guide? I went nuts over lures. Back in the ‘40s and early ‘50s, my favorite was the Shakespeare Mouse, especially the Tiger Mouse. The wooden Creek Chub Plunker was a close second. That lure had a gouged front. I’d toss it out, let ‘er lay, and just tap it easylike. If I got too splashy and noisy with it, I’d catch fewer bass. I really liked a greenish Plunker with a lighter color underneath. The Johnson Silver Minnow, a light one-hook topwater spoon, and the Uncle Josh Pork Frog also expanded my lure choices. They caught me lots of bass and northerns in the lily pads. Naturally back then, a serious
The crowd left. Things settled down. And I walked up to Ron. “Okay, Ron. Tell me about catching all these fish.” He’s laughing and tells me he was speedtrolling – “bombing,” or pulling Bomber lures. Some of our fishing minds wandered. How about a bigger lake like Pelican, with way more water and longer bars? Soon Royal Karels and company are flyin’ down those bars, pulling Bombers along the edges in maybe 12, 15, or even 20 feet, and scoring big on bass, northerns, and occasional walleyes. That really worked in July and August. Your favorite artificial lures when a kid-fisherman and young
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bass-fishing kid’s tackle box contained Bass-O-Reno and Babe-O-Reno wooden lures, especially the red and white and frog patterns. The Heddon Mouse ran a little deeper, like 4 to 6 feet. You could also run a Creek Chub Pikie Minnow down a bit. I Iiked the Hootenanny surface lures, which had thinner and more-tapered rears. And I used Crazy Crawlers and Jitterbugs. Early boats and motors? In the mid-1950s at Shirt Lake, a Minneapolis school teacher took me trolling with Lazy Ikes. That was revolutionary for me, as we caught bass, walleyes, and northerns. He had a small outboard. And guys from the Cities and from Ruttgers would put their motors on Grandpa’s rental boats. While in high school I acquired a 21⁄2-horse Johnson, which started on the first or second pull. I’d even put it on rental boats at Mille Lacs. When I began guiding I had a car-topper Alumacraft boat, maybe a 14-footer, and a 9.9-horse Johnson outboard. A big step up from the car-topper came in 1970, my second year with Koep’s. I got a 315 Lund boat with a 25-horse Johnson. That was safer and quicker, encouraging more and longer trips to more spots. More exploring and learning! And we could kind of backtroll for bass, moving slowly and casting. It was primitive compared to our modern boats and trolling
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motors, but a nice step forward back then. Over the decades you’ve likely hunted bass with various live baits. Frogs? Minnows? Other critters? Live bait versus artificials? Years ago “bass fishing” usually meant surface fishing in the shallows amidst reeds and weeds with live frogs and plunker-type artificials. I soon learned the bass-fishing world is much bigger than that. I got away from frogs early on. Even as a kid I thought artificials were either more fun or more productive. Sure, I’d use frogs, even really big frogs, for lunker bass. Sometimes that worked. I remember a rare trip when my grandmother went with me. I was using a huge frog out in open water over weeds, maybe 10 feet deep. All of a sudden a big bass between 4 and 5 pounds just crushed that huge frog. Live frogs never played a major role in my bass fishing. Sure, in my early guiding years out of Koep’s I’d nose-hook frogs. Hey, in the 1960s selling frogs in bait shops was a big deal. As a kid I even sold frogs to bass fishermen, like those from Ruttger’s on Bay Lake. Brown frogs caught bass, but I sold more green frogs because they were more common. Overall, medium-sized frogs – not too big and not too small – were most popular. You’ve often teamed minnows with jigs. Any other live baits? I’ve found plenty of action with jig-minnow combos, especially in deeper water. But the best live bait I ever used for bass was the salamander. In the 1970s some walleye pros pushed salamanders for a few years. That’s when my son, Sam, started guiding with me out of Koep’s. For bass we’d hook salamanders in the snout. Think sub-surface and Texas rigs with bigger-than-usual hooks – shorter shanks but wider gaps. Using baitcasting reels we’d avoid hard casts and just ease or lob the salamander out there to make a good splash. Big bass hit them better than any live bait or artificial I’ve ever seen. We’d keep our reels on free-spool, cuz when those biggies hit they’d take off like a freight train. We used salamanders only on lakes, often smaller lakes, that we knew had big bass. For some reason – maybe the bait shops that carried ‘em couldn’t get ‘em – they just faded away. Your success as a top-notch bass guide is legendary. What about bass tournaments? I did a few way back. But I couldn’t mentally transition from guiding to tournaments. The pull wasn’t there. Had the tournament era started when I was younger maybe I’d have gone that route. I’ve been successfully guiding for 48 years now. I love it. It’s central in my life. Do bass tournaments influence my guiding? Well, even if customers say they’d like to fish a lake where I know there’s gonna be a tournament, I try to steer ‘em to another lake because public accesses and certain fishing areas might be crowded. But if they insist on a lake, well, that’s OK. There likely won’t be tournament boats on every hotspot I know. Bass tournaments have their impacts but I’ve got other lakes and location options when necessary. Your guiding clients run the (See Fellegy Page 26)
APRIL 1, 2016
APRIL 1, 2016
By Jason Mitchell Contributing Writer
ishing can be frustrating, humiliating, and, most of all, humbling, regardless of how much you get to fish or how much you think you have learned. There will always come a time when you feel like you just hit a wall. I can’t tell you how many lessons I have had to learn over and over in my life, but here are a few guidelines that just might help you catch a few more walleyes this season.
Understand water clarity
One of the best things fisherman can do to catch more walleyes this year is swallow their pride. If their favored presentation or location isn’t working, they need to try something else. Photo courtesy of Jason Mitchell
One of the secrets to catching walleyes consistently is avoiding bad situations. Extremely clear water and extremely turbid water are two conditions to avoid when possible. You sometimes can find the right water by using wind. On really clear bodies of water, wind will give the wind-blown area of the lake just enough
stain. On the flip side, what we often see on windswept, prairie dishbowl lakes is wind can whip up too much turbidity in the water and we end up looking for areas that are out of the wind so the sediment can settle. Fishing is usually better in stained water – water that has some color. This stained water often gets moved or pushed around the lake with wind or current. There is a difference between stain and turbidity. Fish can still see well in stained water, but can’t see well if the water is turbid. This is why mudlines have a lifecycle. Mudlines create a window when waves crash up against a bank until a veil of turbid water protrudes from the shoreline. In the early stages of the mudline, the plume of churned up, muddy water reaches out and hangs like a veil in the top of the water column. Mudlines are typically most
productive during this stage. As the wind pounds and the veil becomes bigger and sinks down through the water column, the bite will often dissipate. So often when wind churns up sediment and clouds the water, the day after the big wind can be the best because as the sediment sinks, the visibility increases yet still offers some stain in the water. What also happens is the water will take on a green color as it warms, so you often find stained water with the temperature gauge. Colder water is often clearer and warmer water is typically more stained.
Focus on the process At times, locations will let you down, and specific spots will let you down. Tried-and-true patterns will sometimes disappoint. What never fails is an honest and thorough process of elimination. In order to be successful, you have to almost turn off emotion and start checking off possibilities from the list. If, for example, the walleyes should be shallow but they are not, the next step is to eliminate main-lake structure in depths from 20 to 40 feet. The key is to keep checking off possibilities, even if the possibilities don’t feel right at the time. Often, there are things happening that we don’t grasp until after the fact. When it comes to finding fish, the less you know going into the day is sometimes better because you can adhere to the process of elimination easier. If you give something a good effort and it isn’t happening, make a switch. A clock is an invaluable fishing tool. Use the element of time to force yourself out of ruts and also use the clock to slow down when you begin to scramble. What can also happen when in search mode is not giving any one spot enough time. Commit yourself to one-hour increments as you begin the process of elimination so that your day has some structure and you can stick to the strategy.
Worry about efficiency
I believe most anglers worry about the wrong stuff. They get hung up on matching the hatch or they outthink the fish. Focus on becoming as efficient as possible because this can greatly increase your likelihood for success. Consider this – if you can become twice as efficient, you can basically become twice as successful. Do some honest self-evaluation and try to assess how much you actually have a lure or hook in front of fish. If you can take steps to become more efficient, you will basically increase your success exponentially. If you can land a higher percentage of the fish you hook, or hook a higher percentage of bites, your success climbs. Most people want a secret formula. They want to believe if there is sunshine, they need to use bright colors, or if there are perch in the lake, they need to use a perch color. Worry about being in the right place at the right time and when you get an
(See Mitchell Page 47)
APRIL 1, 2016
Mille Lacs (From Page 1) ing and sustaining high-quality fishing opportunities on Mille Lacs Lake.” In summary, according to Bob Meier, DNR assistant commissioner, the facility will “allow us greater focus” on that lake. But Meier adds that securing those bonding dollars won’t be a breeze. “Some people up there (in the Mille Lacs area of central Minnesota) don’t feel that sort of investment is needed,” he said. Denny McNamara, chair of the House Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee, said he understands the potential need for the facility, but also sees why some might question the wisdom of that level of spending. “That’s become controversial for whatever reason,” McNamara said. The primary benefit, as he sees it, would be if walleye stocking continues past this year. DNR officials insist that eggs stripped from Mille Lacs fish be used to produce the fry that will be returned to the lake, to keep clean the genetics of the lake’s walleyes. The proposed facility eventually would be where this would occur. The DNR also is seeking from legislative decision-makers about $197,000 annually, starting in fiscal year 2017, for operations at the proposed Mille Lacs facility. “This funds a year-round resident scientist and two seasonal staff for hatchery support,” the DNR’s proposal states. “Without additional funding, we would have to permanently divert resources away from other critical work across the state.” The proposal concludes by stating that the money is requested from the state’s general fund, something McNamara said seems out of the norm. “Usually it’s dedicated funding – the Game and BOATS
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Fish Fund, or something like that,” he said. Third on the legislative platter and pertaining to Mille Lacs is an economic relief package for Mille Lacs-area businesses that have suffered losses as the lake’s fishery has struggled. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton. Erickson said the bill (HF 3458) requires Mille Lacs County to develop and operate an economic relief program; it provides grants, interest-free or forgivable loans; offers tourism promotion; and in some cases would offer property tax relief. The bill would appropriate $10 million per year to the program for three years. Erickson also notes in a press release that Dayton in his supplemental budget proposal (a total of $581 million) recommends $300,000 to market and promote Mille Lacs-area tourism.
The DNR’s plans
Even if the state Legislature approves the money needed to build a facility along the shores of Mille Lacs, it’ll be at least a couple years before it will be functional, according to
Brad Parsons, a DNR Fisheries manager in St. Paul. That means walleye-stocking protocol used this year would be repeated next year if the department goes that route. This year’s plan is to stock about 10 million walleye fry in the 130,000-acre lake, Parsons said. The eggs will be stripped from Mille Lacs fish, but will be hatched at a facility in St. Paul in an effort to protect the genetic integrity of those walleyes. Because it’s a new undertaking, and thus the DNR doesn’t know what hatch rate to expect (in other places it’s around 70 to 80 percent or so), fisheries crews will shoot for an egg take
of about 20 million, he said. About 10 million fry will be marked with oxytetracycline (OTC) for stocking in Mille Lacs. Leftovers might be stocked elsewhere, Parsons said. Some will be stocked in ponds where biologists might examine the effectiveness of the OTC marking. The process probably will repeat itself next year. “Likely we’ll want to do it next year,” Parsons said, adding that varying conditions can yield various results. “Every spring is different,” he said. Fry typically hatch in one to two weeks. Parsons said the
(From Page 4) from Upper Red. Barnard said if winter harvest is closing in on a take of 200,000 pounds, it’s possible summer regs could go the other direction, dropping to a two-fish bag. Meanwhile, fishing pressure this winter was estimated at about 1.64 million hours, which is similar to last year. The DNR estimates ice fishing constitutes about 85 to 90 percent of the total pressure applied to Upper Red by walleye fishers. The estimated “spawning stock biomass” is one key measure the DNR uses to determine fishing regulations. Before last year’s plan revision, the “optimal” SSB was considered to be between 2 and 3 pounds per acre. Now, any amount greater than 4.5 pounds
OUTDOOR NEWS PAGE 23 little fish will be stocked offshore to avoid predation to some extent, from other fish like crappies and northern pike. While in some larger walleye lakes evaluation of survival of young walleyes can begin relatively quickly after stocking, near-shore netting and trawling (too many zebra mussels and too much vegetation) aren’t viable options in Mille Lacs. Therefore, examination of stocked walleye survival won’t occur till later. “We’re really going to rely on electrofishing in the fall,” Parsons said. “We’re going to need to look at a lot of fish.”
per acre is considered “surplus.” That could lead to more restrictive regulations, but for the time being, it’s a moot point; in past years, the SSB has ranged from 6 to 8 pounds, and last fall was about 6.4 pounds per acre, according to Barnard. Thus the looser harvest regs. “We’re ramping up for harvesting-the-surplus mode,” he said. The DNR now has a “wider range to shoot at” regarding total walleye harvest, as well, Barnard said. Too many “surplus” walleyes, he said, have proved to be detrimental on the overall population in some cases. Thus the desire to harvest more fish right now. But, it’s better than the other end of the spectrum. “Things are going pretty good here,” he said.
APRIL 1, 2016
Art drawing winners from Outdoor News Deer & Turkey Show Staff Report
Plymouth, Minn. — As part of the inaugural Outdoor News Deer & Turkey Show, which was held in late February at the Warner Coliseum on the State Fairgrounds, Outdoor News gave away six wildlife art prints to attendees who entered the drawing. The winners were: • Sharon Dahlke, of Lino Lakes (Michael Sieve whitetail giclee) • Ron Alcott, of Dayton (Scot Storm gray wolf print) • Tom Zimmerman, of St. Cloud (Michael Sieve whitetail print)
Sharon Dahlke (left) and Outdoor News’ Sara Pojar • Larry McTighe, of Woodbury (Ron Nelson wild
turkey print) • Brittne Gabrielson, of Garfield (Carl Melichar wild turkey print) • Terry LaCroix, of Faribault
(Timothy Turrene wild turkey print) The second Outdoor News Deer & Turkey Show is tentatively scheduled for March 10-12, 2017, at Warner Coliseum.
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APRIL 1, 2016
By Babe Winkelman Contributing Writer
ver driven down the road during the late winter or early spring and noticed how one side of the road has a lot less snow or ice than the other? If you are an early season fisherman, this should be a big clue about where to begin the search for many of your favorite species shortly after ice-out. The side of the road with the warmer ground cover will invariably be on the north side of the road, which is the side of the road that is absorbing the warming rays of the spring sun for the longest periods of time during the day. This oftentimes can be a major clue about where to begin the search for panish. We know the north side of the lake will receive the most sunlight, but what are some other factors that will cause warmer water, which draws baitfish, stimulates insect hatches, and draws the fish we seek? Areas that are partially sheltered from the colder water of the main lake also are favorite spots to check. Long, extensive channel systems, shorter channels that are T- or L-shaped,
Pay attention to water and air temperatures during early spring. If nighttime air temperatures are higher than the water temperature, the fish likely will start biting early. If not, you’ll need to wait for the water to warm. Photo courtesy of Babe Winkelman
and harbors are my favorite places to check. And make sure you go as far back into them as possible, as long as there’s a little depth. Even 2 or 3 feet of water is sufficient. Another benefit of these spots is that they will usually have a softer bottom. Soft bottoms are dark, and dark absorbs heat. It also stimulates early season bug hatches, which attracts fish. While the logic through the years has been to not waste your time fishing mornings in early spring, there are exceptions. My basic rule of thumb that determines whether I’ll go out early or not is based on the night temperatures prior to the morning. If the night lows don’t get below the water temperature where I plan to fish, a good morning bite is possible. If the night gets too cold, then a little time is needed for the shallows to warm up. The colder it gets at night the later the bite will be. Sometimes the best action won’t be until 1 or 2 in the afternoon after a cold night. The fish should be packed in these areas. All you’ve got to do is catch them.
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Three bass-fishing disasters on Royal Karels guide trips! 1. Smackin’ the old man’s head with a Water Gator One time I was guiding on Rabbit Lake, throwing Water Gators with baitcasting reels and rods. I had a kid in the front of the boat, with his dad in the middle. Suddenly the kid starts a strong side-arm cast, really swingin’ that heavy Water Gator. I couldn’t believe it. He cracks his dad on the side of the head, and the old man falls face-first on the bottom of the boat. And he doesn’t move. Naturally, I hoped the guy’s not dead. He was really whacked, but not hooked. Finally he came to and I helped him get seated again. And the kid yelled at him, “Look what you made me do!” The lure hits his dad’s head and the kid gets a backlash. Then he blames Dad, who could have been badly injured by that careless cast! 2. Backlash Bill goes crazy On another guide trip booked through Marv’s, I’ve got this husband and wife from St. Louis, first-timers with me. We’re plastic-worm fishing on the big part of North Long Lake. They had previously gone with another guide who fished with frogs. Naturally, sooner or later we’d have to frog-fish. So toward evening I took ’em into the backside of the rushes on North Long’s east side. I’d tied Stanley Weedless hooks on both their lines. I grabbed a frog for the husband’s line, looked out into the reeds, and saw
bass jumpin’ and thrashin’ everywhere. Even the reeds were wobbling. I looked at the guy and he’s so excited he’s sweating.
a summer, Backlash Bill from St. Louis was a loyal customer.
On his first cast, whoom, he gets a backlash. He throws his rod down and he’s screamin’ and stompin’ and swearin’! Meanwhile, I had hooked a frog on his wife’s line. He spots that, rips the rod out of her hand, casts, and gets another backlash! That’s two casts and two backlashes while the bass are so thick out there. And this guy’s going berserk. Then he spots my rod and he’s comin’ over the seat for it. I grabbed my rod, held it behind me, and I stiff-armed him right in the face. I yelled, “No! No! Two backlashes are enough!”
We’re on Mission Lake tossing silver Water Gators. I’ve got a grandpa and a 9- or 10-year-old kid with their closed-face, push-button spincast reels. We’d been doing pretty good. The kid casts out and immediately he’s got something big. Boom! A big swirl! He’s crankin’ away and I saw things suddenly go slack, like the line broke or the fish got off. But then the line just sizzled and came toward the boat. I told him to reel in faster but he couldn’t catch up to this thing. And his grandpa yelled, “Hold that rod tip up!”
Then I got him somewhat calmed down. But it was getting dark and we couldn’t unsnarl those reels so, OK, get ’em back to their lodge. I headed my Lund 315 west across the main lake and over North Long’s Highway 371 end. The boat landing there was still pretty primitive and shallow. No dock. Normally we’d cruise in as far as possible, shut off and tilt the motor, then glide into shore. But this time I went too fast and too far, told the couple to hang on, and they both started screaming. Well, our landing wasn’t too hard. But I figured they’d go back to Marv’s and demand another guide. After all, I stiff-armed the guy, wouldn’t give him my rod, and then scared ’em to death. But quite the contrary. He’d always insist on going with me. So for many years, several times
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Then I stood up because he obviously had on a really huge fish. All of a sudden his arms violently shot downward, and smash! The line broke. The rod broke. Everything’s gone! The fish and that silver Water Gator went right under the boat and headed west! Then the grandpa lectured, “I told you to keep that rod tip up!” I looked at the kid and thought, “Thank goodness you’re still in the boat!” He did nothing wrong. It was a big and wild fish. In all my years of guiding and fishing I’ve witnessed lots of goofy stuff. But I have never experienced an amazing moment like that one – broken line, busted rod, and a kid’s short battle with the Mission Lake Monster, whatever it was.
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gamut from hardcore anglers to complete novices. Is it easier or tougher to teach novice anglers to fish for bass, versus walleyes, pike, etc.? Once I teach ‘em how to cast, things usually work out. Novices might include folks who fished 30 years ago with a dad, uncle, or grandpa. With a spinning rod and an open bail I can usually get ‘em on track. Very often they’re amazed that after five minutes of practice they’re throwing a bait farther and farther. I teach ‘em to be patient while their jig takes a plastic worm down. And when a fish hits, nail him right away! They learn fast because we’re regularly catching 25, 30, or 40 bass, with me not fishing. Overall that works out better for me because they’re getting the action and the learning. Then they come back as more-experienced regulars. Recall the long-gone era, especially the 1970s and before, when newspapers published impressive stringer shots featuring all species, including bass. Strong promotion for bait shops, tackle companies, and guides. Your present attitude about catch and release? You’re surely alluding to the ancient era when Marv Koep’s Nisswa Bait Shop and the Nisswa Guides League furnished stringer pictures to the Brainerd Daily Dispatch and to other publications. My customers, their strings of bass, and my mug often made those photo galleries. That was then. Ethics and attitudes have changed. These days before a guide trip I might tell clients they’ll catch quite a few bass and have loads of fun. But then I add, “I’ll take the pictures and we’re throwin’ ’em all back!” Maybe 95 percent of my clients fully agree with this approach. Walleye anglers and guides on umpteen lakes have long complained about followers and “parasites.” Nowadays, GPS, to-scale maps, improved electronics, and tons of how-to/where-to info theoretically allow anglers more independence. Yet, at least with walleyes, there’s cluster-fishing aplenty. Trends on the bass scene? On some lakes I might be the only bass-fishing boat out there. On others, like Lake Hubert, there could be eight, 10, or 15 boats. But it’s big enough so it doesn’t make that much difference. I have little trouble with “followers.” Yes, walleyes are another story! Largemouth versus smallmouth in your bassin’ world? Smallmouth don’t play major roles on the lakes where I fish. They’re present here and there, but except for several lakes they’re not significant players. I wish we had more smallies. Mille Lacs is a little far for my guide trips, but I’ve made a few smallmouth trips over there, fishing rocky areas on the west side. I did hit a couple cloudyand-calm days when the smallmouth action was spectacular. Bass fishing’s old days versus the present? With me, it seems the longer I guide for bass, the catching gets better. I now target lakes that get hit less often. Naturally, every day is different, with sun, clouds, calm, wind, and all the varied conditions. I dislike strong winds.
APRIL 1, 2016
Every body of water has a unique personality, according to Huff. Picking the right crankbait can be the difference in whether you catch the species you seek or go home emptyhanded. Photo courtesy of Tim Lesmeister By Josh Huff Contributing Writer
akes, rivers, and reservoirs all have their own set of characteristics. They can be defined by size, water clarity, depth, the amount of vegetation present,
the way they are managed by state resource agencies – and the list goes on. With that in mind, realize the success you have with the choice you make when picking a crankbait to tie to the end of your line is directly
APRIL 1, 2016
related to that body of water’s personality. You always hear that you should match the hatch. That is a good place to start, but it doesn’t always hold true. On Big Bay de Noc on Lake Michigan, walleyes love a bright red bait with a black back. On Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay, the smallmouth love a lipless lure with a silver body, and sometimes won’t hit a perch color when that is what they are eating. I have fished big pike on Lake Vermilion with big black topwater baits and that doesn’t match any hatch. But, matching the hatch is a good place to start if you haven’t done any pre-fishing intelligence. This is that one time when getting information from the local crowd is a huge benefit. Local anglers know what works on their home turf, but sometimes they like to keep the cat in the bag. Fortunately, there are always plenty of anglers who like to share their knowledge because that makes them part of the bigger fraternity.
Even when you have the trusted word from a homespun angler, there are times when fine-tuning that crankbait option will generate more success. Let me describe a typical formula that works for me. If I am on a body of water and the local information tells me to use a shad-colored and -shaped, medium-sized crankbait with a lip that will drive the bait to 12 feet, you can bet that is the first lure I tie on. But let’s say the fish have moved since the last time this lure and color pattern worked. I would realize that after an hour without a bite. Then, it’s time to start working with other lures and colors, but I am not going to stray too far from what was working earlier. I’m going to figure the fish are deeper if there was a cold front, shallower if the weather has been stable. I will switch to a crankbait that can get into the depths where the fish are. I might even stay with the color pattern I started with, but if I’m going deeper I might switch to a lure that has some ability
to reflect light to make it more visible. If I will be working shallower depths, I might work a smaller profile with a little more color like a shiner-minnow finish, which would add some black lines to the lure profile. It has always amazed me how many anglers say color doesn’t matter – that it is the least of the factors when picking lures. Size, action, and speed are more important to many who fish crankbaits. But I have discovered that you can have those three lure aspects and if you don’t get the color right you won’t get bites. So, how important is color? Very important. I was fishing bass on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage in northern Wisconsin and I tied on a shallow-diving, squat-bodied chartreuse crankbait. While the bass wouldn’t hit it, the muskies started following it. So, I tied on a chartreuse crankbait that was about four times bigger than the one I was using for bass and caught a nice muskie and had a dozen follows. Later in the afternoon I went back to bass fishing and found the smallmouths on a breakline where there was no cover. Using a deep-diver with a squat body in a chartreuse finish I caught a bunch of beauties. No matter where you are fishing and what lure you’re using, you have to get the lure into the fish. Where I find matching the hatch works most of the time is on clear bodies of water. You’ll discover on dingy lakes or muddy rivers that anglers will likely tell you to use a crankbait that is brightly colored. On clear bodies of water you will find the lure has to resemble something the fish is eating. Such was the case on a trip to Lake of the Woods. The only lure those smallmouth bass would hit was a crayfish patterned crankbait. The brighter the orange on the lure, the harder they would hit it. You could use any profile you wanted, it was the color that mattered. I tried some firetiger patterns, and some shad-colored lures, and I would catch a few, but the guy in the boat with me would outfish me five to one with his bright orange crayfish crankbait. Two more tips to fishing crankbaits on a particular body of water. I have noticed on lakes and reservoirs that have deep weedlines it’s often better to position the boat in shallower water over the vegetation and cast the lure out deep. You want the crankbait to get down to its running depth right at the base of the weeds and turn up with the retrieve. Big bass, pike, and walleyes hang on the deep edge of that vegetation and will crush the lure as it turns to come up. If you troll the crankbaits, you can use smaller lure profiles and run them deep by incorporating snap weights, lead-core line, and tadpole divers to reach depths the lip cannot get the lure down to. It’s a great way to give fish what they want when they’re in deep water. When you walk up to the crankbait display at the sportshop you notice a lot of options. There has to be because there are so many good places to fish, but only a few options that will work there. That’s why you need three of everything.
APRIL 1, 2016 By Joel Nelson Contributing Writer
ou don’t need to be able to call in a turkey to kill it, but the whole process is most certainly a lot more fun and rewarding if you do. That sums up my thoughts about sit-andwait-style hunts, similar to the way we hunt for deer here in the Upper Midwest. For those of us who like calling, and, more importantly, practice it and obsess over which call to make and when, you might be surprised that much of the talk I make each spring is actually directed at hen turkeys. True, it’s not legal to take a spring hen here in Minnesota or many of the surrounding states, but there are more than a few reasons that you should be directing your calls toward the females, especially during early seasons. Hens direct traffic through much of the breeding season, often determining everything from where toms roost, to which direction they strike off in the morning after fly-down. Early on, larger flocks of jennys will fly down together, often being quite vocal as they feed off into directions unknown. Often, toms are well in the back of the group, simply following the show wherever it goes. If you can steer the ringleaders of the group, you typically have a very good chance of contacting the gobblers at the back of the line. However, get too pushy and aggressive and you’re simply going to motivate the lead hens to take their boys elsewhere. The key to talking with hens is to start slowly. Think about any conversation you have with friends and how it kicks off. Do you ever begin by screaming at the top of your lungs, defiantly demanding them to answer your beck and call? Just as that’s alarming behavior in humans, it’s odd for turkeys, too. Start with small talk. Flock talk. Clucks and purrs, and maybe some light yelps. Feel them out and take their temperature, so to speak, just as you would with a tom. If they’re boisterous, feel free to mix in some of that as well – not so much in response to another hen’s foray, but rather as a simple statement. Your goal many times is simply to blend in. Act like one of the crew in the hope that eventually the crowd will re-join a long-lost member of the flock. You’re not there to make waves, unless you can challenge the lead hen and she’s vocal in
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response. But that’s the subject of a future article! Once you’ve got them talking, the best thing you can do is to keep them talking. The longer you cordially converse back and forth with flock hens, the better the chance you have of keeping track of the flock, and eventually getting at the toms by prying them away or having the hens lead them right past. Either way, especially in the early season with less natural foliage to hide your movements, it’s imperative that you be set up well. Have good background cover and screening cover in front, be situated in shadows, and stay absolutely as still as possible when birds are nearby. Typically, it’s the bird or birds you don’t see that raise the alarm and get the entire group off kilter. Inevitably, when working with so many birds in big groups, you’ll be spotted, but do your best to pour on some reassuring clucks and purrs to see what you can do to calm everyone down. It’s not easy, but sometimes if you weren’t fully made, you can talk them off the edge. Unless you’re in a large strut zone, the reality is that even-
(See Calling Hens Page 38)
Smallmouth (From Page 10)
eradicate them.” That mentality still exists in some circles even after the DNR conducted a diet study of the lake’s main predators, which concluded smallmouth bass ate very few walleyes. In fact, of the lake’s predators, walleyes were as responsible as any species for eating small walleyes, though a percentage of some smaller pike had walleyes in their stomachs. And that’s where the Alliance sees a big part of its mission – to educate. While continuing to move the needle on the lake’s bass regulations will remain part of its cause, members see educat-
ing the public on smallmouth bass science as just as important. And the main part of the group’s message is the lake’s smallmouth bass fishery is world-class, but it’s fragile and could be lost if too many big fish are harvested. “A lot of people don’t realize how much of a gem we have with Mille Lacs’ smallmouth fishery,” Roach said. Roach said the stricter rules were crucial this year as a catchand-release-only walleye season is likely to put even more pressure on smallmouth bass from harvest-minded anglers. “I was worried that we could have been set back eight or 10 years,” Roach said, alluding to
the time it takes to grow a trophy-sized smallie. The Alliance will hold a fund-raiser April 23 at McQuoid’s Inn in Isle. It hopes to raise funds for an advertising campaign this open-water season to encourage catch and release and educate the public on how slowly smallmouths grow and how important they can be to the resort community’s economy. That message will also be aired at the Northwest Sportshow during presentations made at the show at 6 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday, and the group will also have a booth at the show. While pike grow quickly on Mille Lacs, smallmouth bass on the lake are much slower growers, DaRosa stressed. “We know a 15-inch fish is 5 to 6 years old,” he said. “An 18-inch fish is 8 to 10 years old. A 20-inch fish is 12 to 14 years old.” The 2 inches the DNR left off the bottom end of the new protected slot is something the Alliance will push for next year. “It takes awhile for them to grow,” said Terry McQuoid, owner of McQuoid’s Inn and a longtime smallmouth advocate on the lake. “Smallmouth bass are nothing special. They are all over the state. But you can’t catch big fish like what Mille Lacs has in many places. It’s one of the top five lakes in the world.” It’s a strong statement, but one backed up by bass fishing organizations, such as B.A.S.S., which is bringing one of its top tournaments of the year to Mille Lacs this fall. The new rules will protect the top end of the fishery, those giant 5-plus-pound
smallmouth bass that Alliance members feared would disappear if the rules weren’t cranked back. There was also concern the more liberal rules would turn off all the bass anglers visiting from afar as well as all the big-time tournament anglers that will be fishing the lake this fall. That ties into the message the Alliance has been trying to send about the economic impact of these fish. While walleyes are king on Mille Lacs, McQuoid said smallmouth bass-related business now accounts for about 15 percent of his bottom line and that figure is growing. “It’s keeping the doors open,” he said. “That 15 percent makes the difference between us being able to stay in business and not being able to stay in business. If we could make another 15 percent, we would be making money. It’s a huge difference. It’s helping carry us as we go with the tough go of the walleyes here. I look for a few more people being around once they figure out how many fish are going to be around.” That figures to become an even bigger slice of the economic pie after the lake is showcased by Bassmaster. “One big difference is with a lot of smallmouth people from out of state, most of them will come for three- to seven-day trips,” McQuoid said. “That’s how they affect your business. They don’t just come for one or two days.” Businesses around the lake are beginning to get the message. The Alliance collected 10 pages of signatures for a petition as it had pushed the DNR on the regulations last month.
APRIL 1, 2016
DaRosa, who guides on the lake during the open-water season and lives the rest of the year in Illinois, said 70 percent of his business in July and August is from clients from the southern part of the country, looking for a break from the oppressive heat of the south while enjoying the lake’s trophy bass fishery. The Alliance has brought in a wide range of supporters, from big-name angling celebrities such as Al Lindner and Denny Brauer, to resorts and other businesses around the lake. Vern Wagner, a bass advocate and member of the DNR’s bass workshop, said the Alliance has an important role. He is also a member of the Alliance, though was careful to point out he is not a board member of the group and didn’t speak for it. “I think they have done an excellent job,” Wagner said. “They put it together well. They have the right people in place. They have a good honorary board. I am part of it. If we can find enough money to keep going, I think we can have a strong educational impact.” He said the bass fishery workshop, which advises the DNR, and groups such as the Minnesota B.A.S.S. Nation, also will continue to affect change for smallmouth conservation and may make pushes for legislation, if needed. “This things needs to be played on different levels simultaneously,” said Wagner, who noted he would be sitting at the Alliance booth at the Sportshow. “I am 100 percent supportive of those guys. But the bass federation and anglers for habitat also have roles to play.”
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APRIL 1, 2016
Dennis Olson is the 2016 Outdoor News Person of the Year. He received the award at the recent Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance legislative banquet. By Ron C. Hustvedt, Jr. Contributing Writer
he Outdoor News 2016 Person of the Year is a man who has long been involved in conservation as an educator, angler, hunter, property owner, and leader. Dennis Olson, of Cambridge, has spent his lifetime on the Blackhoof River near Duluth and was instrumental in leading a project to restore the river after a devastating flood in 2012. His work on that project alone is enough to merit this award, but the life he’s led over the past 70 years demonstrates a deep conservation ethic we can all strive to emulate.
“He’s so deserving of this award,” said John Lenczewski, executive director of Minnesota Trout Unlimited, who has worked with Olson on that flood restoration project the past three years. “If we had 100 more out there like him we’d change the state. Actually, there are that many out there keeping us from falling – we need 1,000 more out there if we really want to change the state.” Olson is proof that conservation leaders can be especially effective when they have more than just a passion for the outdoors. His ability to work with others, build trusting relationships, and bring a variety of people together for the common good has made all the difference.
Most Minnesotans remember the rainstorm in June 2012 that led to an epic flood in Duluth, destroying city streets, damaging the zoo, and wreaking havoc on the area. Trout anglers across the state, including Lenczewski and Olson, remember that storm as one that almost destroyed one of Minnesota’s best trout streams – the Blackhoof River, a tributary of the Nemadji River that flows into Lake Superior through the city of Superior, Wis. While the Nemadji has a reputation for running brown and muddy, the Blackhoof is completely wild, flowing cool and clear through the mixed forest before it joins the Nemadji near Highway 23 in Carlton. “It’s probably the best trout stream in northeastern Minnesota, and it’s never stocked so the healthy ratio of steelhead, brown and brook trout are all the product of natural reproduction,” Olson said. The river’s steelhead fishery is over 100 years old, he said, and has developed its own hearty genetic strain. “They travel probably 60 to 65 miles upstream from Lake Superior to get to their Blackhoof spawning grounds, but when the flood came in 2012 the river took a real hit and the trout fishery was in real danger of being permanently damaged,” Olson said. Lenczewski agrees with Olson’s assessment of the high quality of the Blackhoof fishery and the urgent need for restoration after the floods. “There was massive slope failure with entire chunks of forest (having) slid into the river and log jams everywhere,” he said. Olson counted 18 logjams on a long stretch of river, some over 150 yards
Olson has been a fisherman all his life. One of his recent projects was to restore the Blackhoof River, which was damaged during flooding in 2012.
APRIL 1, 2016
Hunting is also an important part of Olson’s life, and he’s been a firearms safety instructor for nearly 50 years. long, and the flow of the river was completely changed. The logjams caused silt to accumulate on the gravel bottom and the river began to warm as well. Both Lenczewski and Olson were working on restoring the Blackhoof before the flood occurred. Olson had numerous habitat projects over the years going along his 180 acres of land along the river. Many were done in conjunction with the Carlton County Soil and Water Conservation District. Lenczewski said Trout Unlimited had identified the Blackhoof as a high-quality river that would benefit from additional
support. The organization had secured Outdoor Heritage funding for some restoration projects just months before the flood happened. “Olson had been a steward of the river for years,” he said. “After the flood happened he was working on it with his property and the one just downstream – we joined his effort because that was what the river needed most and we couldn’t have done it without Dennis.” The removal project took most of the summers of 2013 and 2014 to clear the logjams and get the river flowing true again. “We opened a few of the logjams but I came to the conclusion that this was going to take years and years and the river couldn’t wait that long,” Olson said. The Carlton County SWCD, Trout Unlimited, and DNR were instrumental in taking on the bigger project and it was just last summer when the Conservation Corps removed the last of the logjams. “The work isn’t done,” Olson said, “But the river is running and now we just need to stabilize the sides so this hopefully doesn’t happen again.” Lenczewski said the Blackhoof River flood recovery project was successful because of the work of many, but especially the leadership of Olson. He served as an ambassador to other property owners in securing permission to work on land where there weren’t easements. Olson also worked as an educator to all those impacted by the project. “He leads by example,” he said. Olson is looking forward to fishing
Olson has done a variety of work on his own land to benefit wildlife, including white-tailed deer and grouse. Photos courtesy of Dennis Olson
the Blackhoof once the steelhead run at the river mouths gets going. Once that happens, it’s only a few days before they start showing up in his favorite stretches.
Life on the Blackhoof
Olson’s property on the Blackhoof is a mile downstream from the rural home he grew up in. Olson hunted and fished the very land he now owns. “We’d trout fish most everyday, swim in the river, and I’d walk up and down it hunting or trapping every fall. I was fortunate to have a setting like that to grow up in,” he said. His father was an avid lake trout angler who would regularly bring Olson to the Boundary Waters on fishing excursions. “I had a good mentor in my father and he got me going in all of that which is important for the future as well – introducing kids to the outdoors,” he said.
Olson graduated from Carlton High School in 1964 and headed off to Bemidji State University to pursue a career in elementary education. Even though he spent plenty of time hunting and fishing the Bemidji area, he still managed to graduate in four years and was hired in 1968 to teach fourth and fifth graders in the Cambridge-Isanti School District. His plan was to teach a year and then head back north. But he met lots of good people, became established in the community, and met his future wife, Susan. “She’s from St. Paul and didn’t want to go farther north, so we stayed here, where it’s still an easy drive to the hunting and fishing camp on the Blackhoof River,” Olson said. He found the property in 1970. It was a stretch to make it work out, but he pur-
(See Dennis Olson Page 34)
Dennis Olson (From Page 33)
chased it because land on the Blackhoof doesn’t open up very often. “It was a lot of work to swing it and now it’s a place where my kids and grandkids can enjoy along with other people as well,” he said. “It’s so gorgeous walking along the river through the pines, and when you go down the hill to the river bottom, it’s like being in another world.” His two children – David and Amy – grew up much the same way as Olson did with summers on the Blackhoof as well as in the BWCA and other outdoor excursions. Olson’s son is now a teacher in Isanti and his daughter is an assistant county attorney for McLeod County. Olson has five grandchildren as well, ranging from 9 months up to age 12.
Life of conservation
Shortly after his teaching career began, Olson started teaching firearms safety training in the area. He joined the Isanti County Sportsman’s Club and began a lifetime of working with the organization to provide outdoor opportunities to young people. The firearms safety training program was still relatively new in those days and Olson saw the importance of teaching young hunters the proper ways to be safe with firearms. In 1992, the DNR awarded him as its Firearms Instructor of the Year, and he’s still doing it every year with a fresh group of future hunters. Olson retired from teaching in 1999, but throughout his teaching career, he did a lot to foster a conservation ethic with his students. Besides fishing outings at the end of the year, he regularly brought the classroom
APRIL 1, 2016
outside to show students the natural Leading by example world instead of just teaching from Throughout all the interviews a book. for this article, this writer found a “One of my favorite projects had common thread in what everyone students research bluebirds and said: The work Olson has done bluebird houses and then we’d over his lifetime are extraordinary, build one – I think over the years I but everything he’s worked on is probably built 2,000 bluebird houses something others can do to benefit with students,” he said. conservation in Minnesota. Those efforts were recognized by “The general public, the people the Minnesota Bluebird Recovery of an area, can take the bull by Program, which awarded him as the horns and work with all those “Bluebirder of the Year” in 1996. available to help them out there to benefit the outdoors,” Olson said. With the Isanti County Sportsman’s Club, Olson began to Working with SWCDs and the understand the importance of being DNR, along with conservation involved in conservation projects. groups like Trout Unlimited and In the early 1970s there were several Pheasants Forever, is a great way to harsh winters and the club was start, he said. actively involved in projects to ben“If everyone does something efit pheasants, deer, and waterfowl. good for the land, it’s going to With his property on the benefit everyone and not just your Blackhoof, Olson has worked with piece of property,” Olson said.” the Carlton County SWCD to create That’s what it means to look at the a forest stewardship plan, and he’s big picture.” done numerous habitat improveOlson organized crews to remove Lenczewski agreed: “When there ment projects to benefit deer, logjams from the Blackhoof River. is a willingness to do it, and a lot of grouse, and other species. Photo courtesy of Dennis Olson people involved, great things can “We’ve been working with get done.” Dennis for many years and in 2015 we (gave) him our Having a vision for what could be done is a great Outstanding Conservationist Award for his many place to start, Matlatt said. Getting a plan in place and years of demonstrating a conservation ethic,” said Brad then working with different organizations and governMatlatt, district manager of the Carlton County SWCD. ment entities will lead to different funding sources to “When we pick conservationists, we are looking for that make those projects reality. That’s just what Olson has overall conservation ethic over the long-term and most done many times over the years, and Outdoor News is of the time it’s multi-generational, like it is with Dennis proud to recognize that work. and his family.”
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APRIL 1, 2016
Tips for spring river fishing
river fishing, which means an emphasis on boat control and lure presentation.
his spring is turning out to be a phenomenal time to be on rivers. We have perfect runoff and current conditions as we head into April. But no matter what the conditions are on rivers this spring, you still have to master the basics of
Boat control on a lake is totally different than on a river. The idea in the spring is to slow down your boat and match the force of the current. If, for example, there is a north wind forcing me down the river faster than I like, I use the bowmount electric motor to “slip,” or neutralize the current and north wind. If the wind is coming from the south, it counteracts the current and back-trolling with your electric or big
State DNR Imports More Elk from Kentucky
Scientists: March, April Key for Moose Survival
Madison, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin DNR has imported more elk from Kentucky in hopes of building a Jackson County herd. Gov. Scott Walker’s office announced the DNR has brought 39 elk to Black River Falls. The animals will be quarantined in a holding pen in the Black River State Forest before they’re released this summer.
Orono, Maine (AP) — Scientists say a study of Maine’s moose population shows March and April are the key months for moose to survive, especially the young. Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has put radio collars on almost 150 moose to learn about things like their reproduction and ability to survive.
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motor works well. You have to assess the conditions and make the adjustments. Keep your boat facing directly upstream and parallel with the river and you’ll be fine. Use your electrics to adjust if the wind or current makes your boat swing to either side.
Many times, especially on the Missouri River in the Dakotas, when I see their boats on the street or at the motels I check to see what most anglers are using. Quite often, I see 1⁄2-oz jigs and 10-pound line. This is most common among Nebraska, Iowa, and Wisconsin anglers.
Officials with the department say they have learned that March and April are the months when the majority of moose die. Moose calves that are about 10 or 11 months old suffer particularly high die offs in those months. The department says it is in the third year of a five-year moose study.
Boat control is one of the keys to consistently catching walleyes on rivers during the spring. Photo courtesy of Steve Carney These anglers grew up with heavy jigs and fishing vertically, which is fine for dark-water rivers such as the Rainy, Fox, and the Mississippi, but not the Missouri River. My standard jig and minnow combination for spring river fishing is basically a 1⁄8- or 1 ⁄16-ounce jig and 6-pound test line. I keep the jig at least five boat lengths away from the boat and use a sweeping and occasional lift-and-drop presentation. By letting out lots of line, you easily can feel a 1⁄8-ounce jig hit the bottom down to 20 feet. Spring walleyes are not June walleyes. Spring fish are sluggish and in water that ranges from 36 to 50 degrees through April. They are more likely to
pick up a light, neutrally buoyant jig over a large, cannonball-size jig.
Main river channel
The one common denominator in all river systems is that all fish use the main river channel as a transportation avenue. Concentrate your efforts during March and April in the channels, and with a little luck you’ll run into a large, migrating school and have a ball. Early and late in the day, these fish will leave those main channels and move around the shallows looking for prey. I hit the shoreline shallows during the morning, switch to the main-channel breaks during midday, and then return to the shallows in the evening.
APRIL 1, 2016
Time for transparency at Lake Mille Lacs
his Lake Mille Lacs spectacle, this never-ending list of DNR-inspired dos and don’ts in the name of walleye management, shows no signs of slowing down. The lake’s 2016 fishing rules recently were changed again by the brain trust of DNR Fisheries. Hard to believe, but during this fishing season in the state’s most famous walleye lake, you can catch walleyes but you can’t keep any. And you can’t use live bait, which ends more than a century of tradition. No more minnows, crawlers, and leeches. Goodbye Lindy rigs and good luck bait shops. Am I whining? Nope. (But I don’t sell shiners for a living.) I’m just amazed it’s come to this on Mille Lacs. I’m worried for the resorts and bait shops and related businesses around the lake. Yes, I know the lake has plenty to offer anglers – hefty
BY R O N SC HA R A
smallmouth bass, big pike, and bigger muskies. That’s fine and dandy, but Minnesota – besides being the State of Hockey – is also the State of Walleyes. Sadly, today around the shores of Mille Lacs it’s a Sorry State of Walleyes. Did anybody see this coming? Doubtful. We are witnessing a historic moment – the worst walleye-management crisis in Minnesota’s history. It’s
depressing. It’s ugly. It’s exasperating. I often wonder what Tony would say? Tony was a bartender friend of mine at the Little Wagon in Minneapolis decades ago. He loved Mille Lacs. Fast days or slow days of fishing mattered not to Tony. He’d always say, “Mille Lacs owes me nothing.’’ Tony has rolled over in his grave, I suspect. Should DNR heads roll over this boondoggle? I’m not going there. Were mistakes made? For sure. Was it incompetence? Probably not. Should we point fingers? We’ll need more hands. Assigning blame is exhausting. I’ve tried it. It’s time to look forward, not backward. The new Mille Lacs walleye rules will hurt the lake’s economy, but not the walleyes. That’s a good thing. Is this the first step back to walleye normal? Maybe, but nobody knows. So let’s hope. Optimism helps. Gov. Mark Dayton has called for expedited stocking of Mille Lacs. He has proposed bonding money for a new DNR hatchery and fish management offices
near Garrison. The Legislature can’t refuse that effort, can it? Is stocking the answer? Maybe, but maybe not. We know this much: Stocking revived walleye populations in Leech and Upper and Lower Red lakes. Will it help Mille Lacs? Can’t hurt. Is it worth the price? We’ve spent tax money on worse ideas. Is the DNR trying too hard? Some anglers say to leave the lake alone, that it will come back on its own. Perhaps, but when? Some question the DNR’s reliance on paper walleyes – its sampling data, surveys, and so forth. Indeed, the DNR’s paper walleyes showing “safe harvest quotas” for angling and tribal netting turned out to be very wrong. But now? The DNR’s numbers – age classes, fish mortality, lower quotas – remain the only game in town. All who love the taste of walleyes should hope the path the DNR has chosen will lead to better fishing times. Count me in. I’m convinced DNR fisheries leaders and biologists are trying to do the right thing. That said, is it fair to argue? Of course.
I will continue to argue for more openness and transparency regarding DNR and tribal decisions concerning Mille Lacs walleyes. Right or wrong, many anglers continue to blame tribal netting of walleyes for the lake’s ills. The DNR and tribal leaders refute the accusation. So why don’t we settle the issue? Angler suspicions would go away if the DNR addressed this question: Who greets every boat to count the netted walleyes and who reports the results to the DNR? A third party is the best answer, but I’m told that’s not happening. Isn’t it time for transparency when the walleye limit is zero? Meanwhile, save Mille Lacs bait shops: Buy Shad Raps.
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APRIL 1, 2016
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STEVE’S HOT FISHING TIP OF THE WEEK: We are blessed with an early ice-out here in Minnesota but that doesn’t necessarily mean the crappies are biting! Use your electronics to scan deep water and look for those schools of crappies that are staging in deep water prior to moving shallow. Most anglers hit the shallows and throw that bobber out and wait. Those crappies won’t be shallow for a couple of weeks yet. Crappie success during April is all about the water temperatures. Also fish those shallow water lakes first and save the deeper water crappies lakes for early May. It will happen.......just be patient!
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ly to lone and misplaced hens. Lastly, experiment with the wide range of calls and calling resources you have available. With the simple switch of a mouth call, or changing out a box call for a slate, you can sound like a good number of different turkeys. Generally speaking, slate calls and, especially natural slate materials, can more readily reproduce quiet flock talk of young turkeys. I have more success sounding like the old matriarchal hen with mouth calls and box calls. Depending on what kind of discussion your birds would like to have, be prepared to switch it up to suit that which they like best. Listen to live birds out in the woods, and the variations in voice pitch, cadence, and volume that they each have. Observe them out
(From Page 29)
tually you’ll lose touch with the birds if you do not kill early. Either they’ve walked off silently after the hens and toms gained visual contact, or they continue off noisily in the other direction. If it’s the latter, do your best to end-around them and get out in front of where they’re headed, remembering that it’s easiest to call them to areas they already want to go. If it’s the former, it’s still not a bad idea to look for, and respond to, other hens. There can be nothing better than a live hen decoy, calling and searching for you in the open, while you both continue to converse. In fact, as pecking order of the flock finds some subordinate and older toms unwelcome members of the larger flock, you’ll often get these gobblers to come in quiet-
in the open to see the flock dynamics associated with each type. Generally, the old barkers will be the dominant hens. They tend not only to be louder, but also more aggressive in their style. The clean and clear calling young birds have lesser standing as part of the larger flock environment, but can be very important when not with the flock as singles or doubles. Ultimately, you’re calling at the toms when trying to get them to commit and close distances, but only when they’re acting independently. In many cases they don’t, especially when part of large groups come mid-April. By simply switching your focus to hens and changing up your calling a bit, you’ve still got a fighting chance with even the most henned-up group of local toms.
R E R U T C A F U N A M S Y A D S G N I V A S TH TH H APRIL 7T , 8 , & 9
APRIL 1, 2016
This tom was taken by enticing the hens he was with, rather than calling directly to the gobbler himself. Calling to hens can help you Photo courtesy of Joel Nelson kill even the most henned-up gobblers.
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Commentary (From Page 3)
Fair enough. Reasons include global warming, wolves, bears, liver flukes, and brainworm. Let’s focus on brainworm. Just recently, the DNR announced a plan to reduce deer numbers in certain areas of the moose range in northeast Minnesota. I fully support this idea. I support it not because I don’t like deer in northeast Minnesota, but because we have deer populations across the state. There are only limited areas where moose can survive, and given the reality that moose and deer do not coexist, I say eliminate the deer in large parts of the moose range, period. Why? Sometimes tough choices are necessary. That’s life and death. An experiment is in order. If the deer elimination improves
the moose herd by 50 percent, I would call it a success. If it does not make a difference or the increase is negligible, then let the deer herd rebound. This is easy to say and it has its problems and considerations. First, how large should the area be? Should stakeholders be surveyed? Do these stakeholders include just deer hunters, or also folks who just like to watch and feed deer? Others? Should we place a greater emphasis on moose over deer? Are moose really valued that much over deer? Should we try to kill all the deer in a targeted area, or just reduce their numbers? If we just reduce the herd, as the DNR proposes, do we really get a good test? Why is the DNR proposing a reduction as opposed to trying to eliminate all deer from a targeted study
area? How and when should we be able to ascertain if a deer elimination/reduction program is successful or not? I recognize some other people and I are biased. I do not live in northeastern Minnesota, so it’s easy for me to recommend to kill all the deer in some large, designated area. It is easy to see why some folks might object to this plan, and that is the reason why I was surprised the DNR decided to implement a deer-reduction plan without going to the public first with meetings and the opportunity for public input. I find it alarming the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, via Craig Engwall, its executive director, has commented that while it may not object to the deer-reduction plan, the DNR has not taken the time to take appropriate public input before the plan was implemented. To the DNR critic, this response is that it is
more of the same criticism of the DNR. Said another way, the agency does what it wants to do and all too often forgets it’s the public it serves and it’s the public whose voice must be heard in matters like these. MDHA wants a “better process” and “transparency.” I agree. MDHA has a lot of members and is the biggest advocate organization for deer and moose that I am aware of in this state. MDHA should have been asked to come to the table to poll its members in northeast Minnesota, to attend public meetings, and to help make final decisions as to the where, what, and how many should be included in the deer-eradication or reduction program. I scratch my head as to why we have this conflict. I also wonder why we did not have this discussion more than 20 years ago, since the brainworm-moose phenomenon is not new.
Any sensible person values our wildlife and big game – they have a special place for many of us. In northeast Minnesota, the primary biggame species are deer, bears, wolves, and moose. It seems that when some of these species are in conflict, it begs for public input as to which of these species are priorities. Should the numbers of one species be a priority over others? What I want to see is the DNR ask this question in an open process, and then move forward. Should that happen, my vote, as I stated, would be to do everything reasonable to eliminate deer from some very large ranges of the moose range and then see if it works. First, the DNR needs to ask that policy question. In northeast Minnesota, what comes first – deer or moose? The author is a regular contributor to Outdoor News Publications.
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Duck Production (From Page 1)
But reports from the U.S. and Canadian prairies in early April are less than favorable – it’s plenty dry out there, with the engines that drive duck production, temporary and seasonal wetlands, largely bone-dry. While that could change in the weeks ahead, waterfowl managers are preparing hunters for the possibility of dry conditions and less-than-stellar duck production, perhaps the worst in two decades. “The prairies entered winter dry and ended winter dry,” said Matt Chouinard, waterfowl programs manager for the Delta Waterfowl Foundation in Bismarck, N.D. “That’s pretty true of the entire PPR, though there are a few wet spots. Most of prairie Canada and the eastern Dakotas had little snowfall.” With the breeding season right around the corner, moisture is needed in some of the most critical duck-production areas in the prairie duck factory. The early outlook for eastern South and North Dakota – home to some of the PPR’s highest densities of breeding ducks – isn’t good. Kurt Forman, a wildlife biolo-
gist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Brookings, S.D., said wetland conditions in the three big areas of the prairie coteau, the Missouri coteau, and the James River Valley are dry. “Runoff is well below average in those areas,” he said. “There’s no snow and it’s wide open. We’ve had one of the earliest spring migrations in recent history.” Forman said over the past two decades, duck renesting efforts were buoyed because temporary and seasonal wetland conditions in spring were favorable. “We had a lot of water, and I believe that drove the population,” he said. Forman and others say spring moisture can change wetland conditions in short order. “Last year is a good example of how things can change in a hurry,” he said. “We were dry heading into early spring and we received the largest doses of precipitation in late April.” Wetland conditions in North Dakota are largely the same, though semi-permanent wetlands are holding water. If the dry conditions continue, duck production will take a hit. “We’ll lose the duck-production benefits of temporary and seasonal
Dry wetland conditions in prime waterfowl nesting areas could Photo by Nick Ronning make 2016 a tough year for production. wetlands,” Chouinard said. “Many ducks will opt to fly over the prairie and nest in the parklands, where production tends to decrease, and in the boreal forest, where they’re much less productive.” In Canada, precipitation maps show a large swath of the prairie – a crucial band of wetlands along the southern halves of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba – received 40 to 50 percent less precipitation than normal this winter, according to Delta Waterfowl. In addition, unseasonably warm weather is evaporating what little snow remains. That
could ensure moisture won’t be present when ducks begin nesting in late April and early May. “The prairie is essentially snowless in southwest Manitoba and everywhere south of Calgary and Regina,” said Jim Fisher, director of conservation policy for Delta. “This has been the warmest, driest winter in the past 20 years, so there’s reason to be concerned about the available wetlands for nesting ducks. There are still about two months to turn things around, but the Canadian prairie desperately needs moisture.” The parklands region, which lies just north of the prairie, is in
APRIL 1, 2016 somewhat better shape, according to Delta. In general, parkland areas are composed largely of permanent and semi-permanent wetlands, which make them less susceptible to variations in precipitation. “There’s a reasonable amount of snow north of the line from Minnedosa, Manitoba, west to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and on to Edmonton, Alberta,” Fisher said. “It’s still below average – the snow around Saskatoon is so low you can see the tops of the stubble – but the parklands had a wet enough fall that most ponds should have water.” However, if Mother Nature stays on course, Fisher said, 2016 could be the worst year for duck production in recent memory. “We’ve had a good run of abundant moisture since 1994, but at some point a drought is inevitable,” he said. “This could well be it.” Curt Vacek, area wildlife supervisor for the DNR in the Appleton area, said his region is dry. He has mixed emotions because his region’s semi-permanent wetlands could use a dose of drought to improve their productivity for ducks and other migratory waterfowl. “We have quite a few wetlands that have deep water that are pretty stagnant,” he said.
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Four new lures for the New Year
APRIL 1, 2016
By Brett Carlson Contributing Writer
very summer, thousands of new fishing lures are introduced at the annual industry trade show known as ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sport Fishing Trades). In last year’s New Product
Sunfish Hollow Body
Shiver Minnow Showcase, 270 companies submitted 889 products as they vied for “Best of Show,” a distinction awarded by buyers and media representatives as they judge new products based on innovation, execution, workmanship, and practicality. Winning Best of Show is a
big deal for a lure company, as it typically leads to an initial bump in sales. While ICAST can be entertaining to view from afar, the truth is that many of these new products – even Best of Show winners – possess more style than substance. Weeding through the marketing messages to decipher a new lure’s effectiveness can be difficult. Here are four new(ish) lures that have passed the test of time, regardless of their marketing budgets.
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Tournament bass anglers have done their best to keep this one quiet, but the secret is officially out. River2Sea’s Whopper Plopper, which is sort of a hybrid among a buzzbait, a prop bait, and a walking bait, is the real deal. While the Whopper Plopper has been around for a few years, its popularity has soared in the past six months. Originally designed for muskie fishing by Larry Dahlberg, the Whopper Plopper is unique in that it performs like a buzzbait, but it also floats and can be stopped on a dime. The plastic body has two distinct sections. The front appears similar to any walking bait. But the back is unique in that it has a cupped, molded plastic tail. With a jerk or steady retrieve, the back section spins around and creates a commotion. The Whopper Plopper has versatility, too. With a fast, aggressive retrieve, more water kicks out and the bait creates a loud, violent “plop, plop, plop” sound. This distinctive sound, coupled with a trail of bubbles, makes for easy tracking. Likewise, a slower retrieve produces a quieter, more subtle commotion. While most anglers employ the steady and aggressive retrieve, the ability to stop the bait, especially when a fish blows up but misses, is an advantageous feature. While working a walking bait for hours can become arduous, the Whopper Plopper can be fished effortlessly. The bait comes in two sizes – 90 (31⁄2 inches) and 130 (5 inches). The 130 is a bit larger than the standard walking bait and weighs over an ounce. This means covering water with long casts is a breeze.
Rapala officially unveiled the Shadow Rap at the 2015 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Hartwell. Ever since, it’s been a proven producer in cold (See New Lures Page 50)
APRIL 1, 2016
(From Page 3)
and energy. No one doubts the DNR has many other issues to deal with. Maybe if poaching convictions and fines were increased then anti-poaching efforts wouldn’t be a waste of time and energy. It’s sad that this government employee has such little regard for the legal recreational hunter who buys a license and hunts hard, ethically, and in the spirit of fair chase, but is cheated from getting his game or fish by the poacher. Also troubling is the fact that he appears to view his job as simply managing commodities, devoid of any love or respect for the game and fish he is authorized to protect.
Charlie Huber Finlayson
Oppose muskiestocking legislation at state Capitol As an avid angler residing in Minnesota, I am truly appalled that Rep. Mark Anderson, R-Lake Shore, would propose legislation to eliminate the stocking of muskellunge in waters that muskies are not native to originally. Let’s discuss the facts here. I believe the only reason he has proposed this legislation is out of spite. He is a property owner on Gull Lake. He
RABBIT HAIR JIGS
was vehemently against the DNR’s proposal to stock Gull with muskies. Based on his personal emotions, he has created HF3207 to eliminate all future creations of muskie lakes in Minnesota. This misuse of political power, purely based on personal emotions, is not fair to us as citizens who enjoy fishing muskies. Minnesota has a proud history of creating exceptional muskie waters. Lakes Mille Lacs, Bemidji, Vermilion, Miltona, and others are fine examples of muskie lakes that were created by the DNR and all of them are still exceptional walleye-fishing lakes. To further my point, Lake of the Woods and Lake St. Clair are the top two muskie waters in the world, and they both are world-class fisheries for walleyes, smallmouth bass, and more. Mark’s position that
Compromise when it comes to trapping
Minnesota is still a mustfish destination for many out-of-state anglers who want to catch big muskies, which equates to tourism revenue. Why, then, would he propose legislation that would prevent our state from creating more excellent muskie-fishing lakes and more tourism revenue dollars? Vote no on this vindictive legislation.
With all the debate about trapping and accidentally catching dogs, I understand both sides. I rarely get much use out of state land during the trapping season because I don’t want to set traps in an area where I might catch somebody’s dog and I don’t bring my dog out to an area where it may get caught in a trap.
What will be left for wolves?
Instead of trying to make ridiculous restrictions on how to set a trap, why couldn’t certain pieces of state land be designated for trapping every other year? Land could be designated even or odd years
Tim Dietz Breezy Point
If we are going to keep the deer population low in the northeast to help the moose herd grow, what are the wolves going to eat?
Dave Bernstetter Sebeka
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muskies are detrimental to any given lake is biologically unsound.
so that trappers have areas to trap every year and dog owners can rest easy bringing their pets to land where they know there are no traps. I would feel much better knowing my traps will not catch somebody’s pet and I will be able to enjoy the woods with my dog knowing it won’t be hurt. Of course, people will be upset they can’t trap their favorite piece of land every single year, but I think it would be a good compromise and it may give them a chance to trap an area they’ve never trapped before. I don’t want it to get to the point where I’m climbing halfway up a tree to set a
(See Letters Page 51)
Best new bets in OUTDOOR NEWS
APRIL 1, 2016
rods-n-reels marketplace Carrot Stix Carrot Stix is growing beyond fishing rods with two, two-speed spinning reels to their product portfolio. They offer on the fly shifting ability for anglers to Carrot Stix change from 4.7:1 to 6.7:1 gear ratio in their 2000 series. Available in 5+1 and 10+1 versions, both offer stainless steel ball bearings with carbon fiber seals for better fit around the components. With a solid graphite body which resists corrosion, and the elements while offering strength and lightness, these reels will handle almost any fish. carrotstix.com
Shimano Shimano’s new Stradic is revamped with a Hagane design that focuses on cold-forging and precise gear-cutting technology for a spinning reel that best meets the demands of even professional anglers. A Hagane Gear provides Stradic FK power from a cold forged 1000HG drive gear, X-Ship provides power and smooth rotation from large precision cut gears, while the Hagane Body affords rigidity and impact resistance. The Stradic FK reels are offered in five sizes and feature six shielded AR-B bearings plus Shimano’s one-way bearing Power Roller. Each is equipped with a cold-forged aluminum spool. fish.shimano.com
Bass Pro Shops The Johnny Morris Signature Series CarbonLite spinning reel is loaded with carbon enhancements in all the right places. It starts with a radical, minimized Bass Pro design, which uses Shops strategic cutouts to minimize overall weight while maintaining core strength. Then, they pile on the carbon – meaning the entire frame, rotor, and spool are made of this rigid, uber-light material. A lengthened arbor on the long-casting spool reduces the angle of the line on the spool’s lip to minimize friction and resistance, greatly increasing casting distance. Inside, the reel features a hard brass pinion gear, with a
boasting a massive 25 pounds of max drag.
significantly increases through the ported rotor, allowing for a much shorter drying time if the reel becomes wet. A centrifugal disc bail is trouble free. Lightweight, smooth, and powerful.
Pflueger The President Limited Edition features a carbon handle with rosewood knob enhancing the accessories of a reel that is sound in terms of strength and Pflueger reliability. The alumiLimited Edition num pinion gear is 60 percent lighter than traditional brass gears and aluminum main shaft is 30 percent lighter than stainless steel, a strength-to-weight ratio popular on both sides of aisle. The high-speed larger reels have a 6.2:1 gear ratio while the size 20 and 25 reels have a gear ratio of 5.2:1. A Carbon Matrix drag system and 9+1 stainless steel ball bearing system, 6+1 on the size 20, make this reel a smooth operator. Pfluegerfishing.com
Abu Garcia The new Revo spinning lineup from Abu Garcia has advancements for 2016. Each is equipped with the Rocket Line Management System, which is a combination of bail angle, spool lip design, and slow oscillation, that gives anglers the ability to cast farther and manage line more effectively. These reels also feature a Carbon Matrix system, which provides anglers with the smoothest, most consistent drag pressure throughout the entire drag range. Abu Garcia is adding the Revo MGX to its list of finely tuned spinning reels. A new AMGearing system and X-MAG gearbox highlights a bevy of new features that set this reel apart from others. The AMGearing system is a finely tuned, machined gear that Abu Garcia has better tolerances and better performance throughout the life of the reel. Abugarcia.com
Abu Garcia The Revo Toro Beast delivers a unique platform designed to outlast hard-pulling fish into an extremely strong package. Its superior cranking power and overall line capacity gives anglers the upper hand on fresh and saltwater fish. It’s equipped with a Power Stack Carbon Matrix Drag System and an active-response drag mechanism allows for immediate drag adjustments in the heat of the battle. The reel comes with an Extended Bent Handle for increased cranking power, a Power Handle and a Casting Power Handle – all with large EVA knobs – while
Shakespeare Shakespeare’s new Amphibian and Salmander combos are designed for kids with an affordable price point and trustworthy reliability. The 5-foot, 6-inch tubular glass rods have a split grip handle that enhances the overall feel of the rod while updated graphics feature blue, orange or pink digi-camo patterns. Six models are offered with three size 30 spinning models and three size 10 spincast models. EVA grips give youth anglers Daiwa increased sensitivity when Fuego the big one tugs on the line.
Shakespeare The iconic Ugly Stik brand now gives anglers more choices with an expanded selection of species-specific rods and combos and can take anything from crappie to striper. Rods feature Ugly Tech construction with Clear Tip design, conventional reel seats and EVA grips. The Ugly Stik Species combos come in spincast, spinning and round reel options.
Daiwa’s new Fuego spinning reels have a “Hardbodyz” body design that adds strength and durability. Fuego’s Air Rotor design makes it lighter in weight and has greater sensitivity while a Digigear digital gear design is remarkably tough. A nine-bearing system ensures smooth and effortless rotation. This reel was built to last and at a very affordable price for all types of fishing. Daiwa.com
Quantum Quantum Team KVD
Available in both right and left hand models, and made of lightweight graphite construction, Quantum’s Team KVD series of rods and reels were designed in part by legendary bass angler Kevin VanDam. These affordable reels have a free floating pinion design that offers-up incredibly friction-free operation for longer casts. Each features eight bearings, and a lightweight aluminum spool. The 7.3:1 gear ratio model eats up 31 inches of line with every turn of the handle while the 6.6:1 model picks up 28 inches. An external magnetic cast control helps anglers dial in to match lure weights and wind conditions, and a carbon fiber/stainless drag system will provide smooth yet powerful pulling power. Also offered in the latest TeamKVD series are good looking graphite composite rods with split grip EVA handles. Zebcobrands.com
Inspira Spinning Reels deliver premium performance at a very modest price. Featuring Okuma’s Torsion Control Armor Design, these reels are extremely lightweight and rigid and come equipped with Okuma’s Cyclonic Flow Rotor design, which creates an airflow that
The Berkley AMP raises expectations for sensitivity in composite rods. Known as the Armadillo Hide™ finish, the non-sanded blank maximizes sensitivity and durability. When paired with the X-Posed uplocking reel seat and split grip handle Clam design, the results are unparalleled. Berkley-fishing.com
Clam The Jason Mitchell Pro Walleye Great Lakes Trolling rod was designed with input from walleye pro and guide Ross Robertson. This parabolic rod action with insert free guide train is extremely versatile for use with braid, lead core and mono. Handle is designed to maximize leverage with a magnum reel seat for large capacity counters. Clamoutdoors.com
Rods and reels are more complex than ever before. The reels have more bearings, the rods have higher modulus graphite, and both have designs that are as stylish as European sports cars. Price points vary, but a person doesn’t have to spend a fortune to purchase a rig that will get the job done for a long, long time.
smooth, eight-bearing system that includes Powerlock instant anti-reverse.
By Dan Durbin
St. Croix The all-new Legend Elite series now includes 57 models with specialized tapers for bass, walleyes, pike, muskies, salmon and steelhead – all with dramatically improved balance and unprecedented sensitivity. Legend Elite blanks are engineered with St. Croix’s exclusive Integrated Poly Curve tooling technology and their new Taper Enhancement Technology that provides unique, computer designed-and-cut patterns for improved actions and increased sensitivity. The rods offer Advanced Reinforcing Technology at strategic locations along each blank for added strength with virtually no
(See Rods-N-Reels Page 59)
APRIL 1, 2016
(From Page 1)
fisheries manager in northwest Minnesota, as he eyed weather forecasts of below-normal temperatures in the short-term outlook. That was a record early spring in 2012, and there were lakes in the northern reaches of the state that were completely ice-free in April. Drewes noted that on Lake Sallie in Detroit Lakes, the site of one of the state’s egg-takes, the average start date for the egg-take is April 14. In 2012, the work started April 3. A year later, which was the first of two long winters, the work started April 30. One of the big concerns for those who net walleyes for the state’s egg-take is this year there’s not
much snow on the ground to melt, which could keep spring flows low unless there’s some welltimed rain. The two main triggering mechanisms for the walleyes the DNR targets, Drewes said, are photoperiod, or the length of daylight, and water temperature, then water flow. “If there is no flow, they are not going to run up the rivers,” he said. Water flow isn’t much of a factor in lake-spawning walleyes, but, for the most part, the DNR’s eggtake occurs in rivers, not lakes. Even in challenging years, Drewes said, the DNR reaches its goals for egg-take. “Now, early springs can be tough on natural reproduction.
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Even in challenging years, the DNR meets its goals for walleye egg-take. But early springs can be tough on natural reproduction. Photo by Lindner Photography We tend to see better year-classes in normal to late springs,” he said. And early springs, while not ideal, are worse regarding egg production when they fluctuate back and forth between warm and cold. “When fish get going early, they are more subject to climate cooldowns,” Drewes said. “If eggs are laid, and the temps go back down, then they don’t hatch as well, and there is not as much food around for (hatched fish) to eat.” For that matter, 2012 – though not a great year for walleye production – wasn’t a terrible year, either, Drewes said.
One of the earliest egg-takes in the state is on the Pine River, where Marc Bacigalupi, Brainerd area fisheries manager, said his area appeared to be on track for a spring like 2012. “This little bit of cold snap has slowed things down,” he said, noting things were a little ahead of schedule. “We’re just a little earlier than average, but not by much.” The first nets were slated to go into the water on Monday. Water flow was good. “Maybe a little bit of rain would help keep levels going,” he said. Regardless of what happens at the tail end of what is left of winter
APRIL 1, 2016 (which ended March 19), the state’s rearing ponds, because of a relatively mild winter, did not see much winterkill this year, which is generally a bad thing. Managers want winterkill so there’s nothing left behind to eat the small fry that are reared in these ponds every year. In Bacigalupi’s area, his crews netted most of the fish in the fall. “We don’t have much time for spring harvest in our area,” he said. “Our crew is tied up with egg-take. The fish that were left over from last fall are still there. But for all local ponds, we were pretty able to fish them down.” Chris Domeier, DNR area fisheries manager in Ortonville, said “carry-over” fish can make it difficult to grow walleyes. “It takes more ponds, and more time because you are getting fewer fish from each pond,” he said. His team had nets in the water as soon as ice cleared on his ponds in western Minnesota last week, though the going has been tough. “We trap fingerlings as long as they are coming into the nets,” he said. “But as it warms up, they stop coming into the nets. Seems like we can get a good run the first couple of days, but this year it hasn’t happened. It’s been such a weird spring.”
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APRIL 1, 2016
(From Page 22)
inch, take a mile. You do all of these things right and you can use the wrong color to catch all kinds of fish in the right spot at the right time until the paint is all chipped off.
Make time to learn As a guide, it was easy to go right back to the same old well because of the familiarity. It could be as simple as going back to a good spot or sticking with a presentation that had worked
Be a chameleon
well in the past. There are times, however, when we cling to the past and that experience that works so well for catching fish can start to work against us. Spend parts of your day exploring. Make a point to try something different each day. Mix up exploring the unknown with the tried and true. Force
yourself to embrace the unknown. Experiment with new lures, new tactics, and, most of all, new locations. Try approaching old locations with a different mindset. What I have found is that learning new things keeps fishing exciting and fresh. I sometimes hear anglers complain that
there is nothing new in walleye fishing, but it is safe to say that anglers who are learning nothing new are not making an effort. By forcing yourself out of the rut, you not only expand your knowledge but also increase the amount of satisfaction from fishing.
We all have our favorite way of doing something. Sooner or later, however, there will come a time when you are simply an observer. Somebody else is catching all kinds of fish and all you can do is watch. A little humility can do an angler a lot of good. When it is your turn to watch somebody else put on a clinic, embrace the opportunity and let the experience make you a better angler. That means no excuses or overevaluation. Adjust and match; be the chameleon. Don’t get hung up on cosmetics. Monitor and break down the big picture, watch the jig stroke, the rate of retrieve, casting angle – visualize what that successful presentation is doing in relation to the structure and fish. Visualize what the lure or presentation looks like. If you are fishing below the boat, look to see what the angle is from the rod tip to the water and match it. Test location versus presentation so that you gather better information. Locational nuances to test might be pushing the boat up or out of the break. When somebody is catching fish and you are not, the best thing that can happen to you as an angler is to figure out why. This often means you will have to swallow some pride.
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APRIL 1, 2016
BIG STONE LAKE
BORDER WALLEYE OPENER — SAT. APRIL 23 Big Stone Lake on the Minnesota/South Dakota border is a very popular spring walleye fishing destination. Why?
First, because the lake is border water, so it opens to the legal taking of game fish like walleyes earlier than the traditional Minnesota inland game season. The season opens this year on April 23. Second, the lake is full of walleyes of all sizes, so not only can early spring anglers scratch their early season fishing itch, but the odds of finding some cooperative walleyes is pretty good! Opening day walleyes are often in spawning mode so fishing shoreline rocks is a popular method as these fish pull up right tight to the shorelines at this time. When staying tight to shore, that means landing your jig right at the spot where water meets rocks! Landing that jig tight to shore is key during early season in order to catch spring Big Stone walleyes. If you land the jig a couple feet out from shore, you’re often too far from the fish. Small jigs tipped with small minnows are the key at this time of the year. The always-popular 1⁄16-ounce Fire-Ball Jig tipped with a fathead get lots of play when pitching to shallow Big Stone walleyes. A few 1⁄16-ounce parakeet-colored Fire-Balls and a scoop of fatheads and you’re in business on opening day. Most Big Stone experts favor fishing mid-lake and north and tight to shore for early season Big Stone success. As the water warms, however, the bite gets better to the south and
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the fish head deeper as well. By mid-May, and maybe earlier this year, look for fish around the islands. During low light or when the wind blows, you’ll still want to get tight to the rocks, but during mid-day fishing deeper and even into the basin pulling spinners or crankbaits starts to produce big catches too. When referring to “the basin”, you’re looking at those 12- to 16foot depths – some of Big Stone’s deepest waters – out from the shore. Big Stone had an unusually early ice out this year – March 15 – so that may be a wild card. Typically that basin bite really goes mid-May, but you might see it in late April and early May this year. Big Stone’s booming walleye fishery has been noticed by the competitive angling crowd too, as the always popular Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit makes another stop in Ortonville (the lake’s headwaters) on April 29-30. In addition to several local tournaments, the AIM Weekend Walleye Series is also holding a Big Stone event, May 22, this year. Walleyes are the main Big Stone draw during spring and summer, but the lake also has a good population of big bluegills and crappies as well as an emerging largemouth bass population. During winter, Big Stone’s perch attract anglers from all across the Midwest.
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(From Page 42)
Boone Roemeling and Shawn Ettle, both of Avon, pose with the 33-inch northern pike they caught Feb. 28 while fishing an area lake. The fish hit a sucker minnow on a tip-up.
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water. With its United States headquarters based locally in Minnetonka, most Minnesota anglers identify Rapala as the leader in hardbaits. So how does this new jerkbait fit into its already established product portfolio? According to Dan Quinn, Rapala’s field promotions manager, think of the Shadow Rap as the opposite of the popular X-Rap. “We often tell people that you can’t fish the X-Rap too fast,” Quinn said. “The Shadow Rap is really the polar opposite. The more and the longer you pause it, the more fish you catch. The whole idea with the Shadow Rap is not to overwork it. On the pause, it has a slow sink that emulates a dying baitfish; it’s so effective in cold water. As the water warms, a fish’s metabolism increases and then it’s time to switch back to an X-Rap.” Quinn said thus far the bait has exceeded sales expectations. The Shadow Rap is offered in both shallow and deep-running models. The shallower version will achieve a running depth of approximately 4 feet, the deeper model can reach 8 feet or more – keeping in mind that these lures have built-in ballasts, so added depth can be achieved by slowing the retrieve. As expected, walleye anglers have typically favored the deep version. Quinn recommends carbon and ghost shiner for largemouth colors. For smallmouths, he prefers bud and yellow perch. “In Minnesota, with our
APRIL 1, 2016
new catch-and-release bass season, Shadow Raps have become a go-to bait,” he said. “But they work well in the fall, too, especially when the water is cooling.”
Critics of walleye fishing often cite a lack of innovation. The next time you hear someone complain that walleye fishing is simply dragging live bait around near the bottom, introduce him to the Moonshine Lures Shiver Minnow. The Shiver Minnow was launched as an ice-fishing lure, but Keith Kavajecz struck gold with it at a National Walleye Tour event on Bays de Noc. While the rest of the field was trolling spinners and night crawlers, Kavajecz and his good friend Gary Parsons were casting and jigging a No. 3 Shiver Minnow over isolated humps. Not coincidentally, those two finished the tournament first and second. According to Kavajecz, the Shiver Minnow is a horizontal minnow-like jigging lure, kind of like a Jigging Rap. “But when you pull the bait, it shoots or swings off to the side and then smoothly glides back down like it’s wounded,” he said. “It attracts fish, then gives them the opportunity to eat it.” While the lure looks simple, cadence is key. “You want to sweep the rod up 3 feet, almost to the point of snapping it up,” Kavajecz said. “That ensures the lure darts to one side. Then immediately drop the rod tip to give it slack and let the bait
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The LIVETARGET Sunfish Hollow Body won Best of Show at ICAST 2015 in the soft lure category. While there have been many Best of Show winners over the years that are no longer in production, the LIVETARGET Sunfish has staying power. In many ways, the bait fishes like a frog, but with a bluegill profile and appearance. For Minnesota anglers, the lure makes perfect sense as bluegills are the primary baitfish in the vast majority of our lakes. While there are many soft-bodied topwaters on the market and many bluegill lures on the market, this is the first bait that marries both. The Sunfish Hollow Body is designed for largemouth bass, northern pike, and muskies, as it replicates juvenile bluegills being pushed to the surface by predatory fish. Anglers can create an easy walking action using a twitch, pause and wind retrieve. The Sunfish Hollow Body is actually easier to walk than a typical frog. Long twitches offer a wide walk and quick twitches offer a tight walk. It’s possible to move the move bait laterally and yet barely move it forward, which is particularly effective if you identify an isolated hot spot. With no slack, the bait ramps upwards on a twitch, almost lunging out of the water – which can mimic a struggling or dying bluegill. The bait excels around sparse cover like lily pads or clumps of milfoil or coontail. As one would expect, the lure shines in areas where bluegills are actively feeding. Think of a hot summer afternoon when you can hear popping noises as bluegills suck tasty treats off the bottom of lily pads. That’s the ideal scenario for the new Sunfish Hollow Body. The Sunfish Hollow Body comes in two sizes (3 inches, 31⁄2 inches) and 12 life-like colors that perfectly match any Minnesota bluegill.
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glide as you reel. Part of the key is not hitting the bottom too much. You want it close to the bottom, but not on the bottom. The No. 3 is the biggest one they make and it allows you to catch fish in anywhere from 14 to 30 feet of water.”
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APRIL 1, 2016
are moving to the lakes for recreational values the lake provides, with sportfishing activities taking a back seat.
(From Page 43)
Conibear or a snare.
Dan Werner Moose Lake
A movement he sees more and more in Minnesota There is a trend in Minnesota that deeply concerns me. It’s not aquatic invasive species – it is lakeshore owners and associations who use their power to put forth a personal agenda based on their needs, wants, and desires for their lake. Today’s lake property owner, when compared with those 30 years ago, are dramatically different. Lake property owners of today
DNR license or enforcement problem? Former DNR attorney and legislator with 45 years experience. We’ve helped sportsmen, resorts, conservation organizations, and landowners on game & fish, lake & wetland issues. Free phone consultation. Attorney Bill Peterson 952-9215818 or Toll-Free 1-888-910-5297. www.MNwildlife.com Phone ans. 24/7. p-1653
Thirty-seven years ago when I was asked to speak to lake groups in Otter Tail County about muskies, we had an audience that listened and reviewed the data I presented. At the end of my tour of lake groups, there was a comfort level to the notion that stocking muskies would, down the road, be good for the lakes and not have detrimental impacts on the other game fish species. Today’s data from the Minnesota DNR support just how successful the muskie program is now and why it should be continued. There are no biological data to prove differently. The movement to stop muskie stocking in Otter Tail County, in my opinion, is
Private! Large 374’ lake lot, end of road, adjacent to Federal, on Itasca County’s Turtle Lake. Nice guest cabin to enjoy now with room to expand later. Top smallmouth lake with thousands of ac. of secluded Federal to hunt deer, grouse. $325k 218-832-3121. MNLakeshore Properties p-23
Four, 4 furnished cabins on Lake of the Pines in State Forest, ATV & snowmobile trails accessible. Pier & 14” aluminum boat. Cabins have a rental history & could be used for investment. Price to sell from $129k-$137k. Call Linda Dezotell, Timber Ghost Realty at 1-888-671-2825. p-15
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Hard to find Wabana Lake lot. 2.7 ac. 250’ lot. Hard sand bottom. Road and elec. are in. 15 mi. to Grand Rapids. Call Terry 218-252-5117. $225k. p-17
Beautiful log building, was bar & restaurant, could be home or offices, has multiple use capabilities. Excellent condition, ready to operate ATV & snowmobile trails to the door. State park & beach within 100 yards, located in State Forest on Connors Lake WI. Priced to sell at $450,000 call Linda Dezotell, Timber Ghost Realty at 1-888-671-2825 p-15
520 acres for sale in Lake County. 25 miles north of Two Harbors just off Hwy. 2, new road into middle of property, surrounded by public land. Great building sites overlooking creek. 218-290-8025 $379k. p-15
80+ acres hunting land. 90% high ground, food plots, river runs thru, adjoins state land. 2 story cabin w/deck & screened in porch, wood & gas heat, 800 sq. ft. shed space, many trails. 320-275-2421. p-14
Hay Lake 40 acre building lot. Wooded and private. 218-838-3041. p-16 A place with the best of both worlds. 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with 9 acres. Access to 40 acres Co. land locked to hunt. 6 1/2 acres with 178 ft. lakeshore shared access to prime walleye lake. Island Lake, Becker Co. Great deer and turkey hunting. Call Dave LeBarr, agent 218-841-3033. FRA Northland Realty Co. p-15 For sale. Fish Lake home, Mora. 2,300 sq. ft. 3bd, 2 ba, 3 decks, large pole shed. 3.9 ac. 450 ft. lake shore. $374,900. 612-390-4576 more info, pics Jchoz00@hotmail.com serious inquiries only please. p-18
Lake shore lot 2.5 acres 250 ft shore line. 10 miles from Brainerd, log sided cabin, heavily wooded, maple, oak, walnut. Great hunting, fishing, canoeing, very private $39,000 possible CD 320-279-2499. p-17
David Lusk Lino Lakes
97.14 ac. prime hunting land, CRP payments, cropland. Maple River, mature trees, prairie. Shed, sleeping area. Deer, pheasant, turkey, coyote hunting. Blue Earth County, Minnesota. $255,000. Wingert Realty 507-3455263. www.wingertrealty.com p-17
AKC. Pointing lab pups. Both parents hunt and on site. Dews removed up to date on shots and worming. Blacks and chocolates. Asking $500. Now taking deposits, call 218-631-1262 ask for Kevin. p-14 AKC vizsla pups, born 1-30. Ex. hunting & family pets $700. 320-808-9957 or 302-554-2063. p-14 German wirehair pointers for sale 2 male, 2 female. Will be ready to go first week in April. Please call 320-287-0596.p-15 AKC golden retriever pups. Hunting, performance bred. Parents productive hunters, on site, family trained, titled field and ring, health clearances, limited one time breeding. Reserve now. Home mid Apr 651-224-7990. www.facebook. com/fallflushretrievers p-15 English setter male, Blue Belton, born 2/4/16, $600. FDSB pedigree with Pine Coble, Havelock, Goodgoing ancestry. Everything done. Pics upon request. Pete Peterson, 612-720-6820, firstname.lastname@example.org p-14 For sale. English setter pups. Awesome hunters, companions, hips guaranteed. Repeat breeders. Call 608-343-2899. p-17 AKC lab pups both parents excellent hunters and onsite, pedigree loaded with MH, FC and Raven from TV, black and yellow. $500. 320-766-2814. p-16 English springer spaniel field bred pups, AKC, B/W DOB 3/4/2016. Gundogs, competition, companion. Health guarantee. Parents onsite and run field trials. 507-339-2837 www.whitewatercreekkennel p-17
Get hooked with Cook’s Guide Service for Lake Oahe and Lake Sharp in Pierre SD. Book early before May 1 and receive discount. Call Tom at 402-525-5971 for details. 28 yrs experience. p-16
LAKE VERMILLION UNDER A MILLION. 1-24 acres, 123 ft of sandy lk shore, S. facing WO rambler, sauna, stone fpl, boat house, 37x6 dock. Call Carol DeOtis 612-7237577. MLS #4632848 Edina Realty! p-14
It seems that there is no end to the “rights” bowhunters want to stake claim to. They currently have the longest season to hunt deer.
3 LINE MINIMUM
Send ad with payment to:
Captain Adam’s Bay Lake Charters Algoma, WI #1 salmon and trout port Owner operated with over 20 years experience All-Inclusive packages include lodging & licenses Packages Starting at just $160.00 per person Fish the best bite, mornings or evenings available 920-594-0910 www.baylakecharters.com p-24
A few questions about the ‘rights’ of bowhunters
$4.00 PER LINE Frequency Discount: 6 Times - 5% 13 Times - 15% 52 Times - 20%
Big Water Charters Lake MI salmon fishing, Algoma, WI www.bigwatercharters.net 1-800-236-3451
KINNS’ SPORT FISHING Lake Michigan’s Largest Sport fishing Fleet Winthrop Harbor, IL. LIMITS GUARANTEED. Algoma, WI – HUGE CHINOOK & STEELHEAD. 44 yrs. experience. 11 Large Boats 32’-38’ 1-800-446-8605 or www.kinnskatch.com p-1705
Gary Korsgaden Park Rapids
Why? I have read in past articles they need the longer season because bowhunting is so much tougher to get a turkey in close to arrow it with a bow. Isn’t this their choice? Isn’t that the sport of hunting? There are other means to take a turkey. If they choose to use a bow, why should they be granted more time than anyone else? I have no problem with bowhunting, but I think it is ridiculous that rules need to be created to accommodate this style of hunting and its protected class of hunters.
Same ad run consecutively - repeated.
BOATS FOR SALE
Action Adventure Phoenix Sport Fishing Charters port of Sheboygan Wisconsin. Lake Michigan salmon & trout fishing. Come and fish in luxury on our new 39 foot Tiara Yacht. Call Captain Steven Today. 920-207-7000 www. charterfishingsheboygan.com p-16
As a 62-year-old, lifelong sport fisherman, I recommend that the muskie stocking program continue.
They don’t want to allow crossbows to be used during “their” season. Now they get to hunt for turkeys for all of the spring seasons.
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Free waxworms & mealworms, raise thousands with our breeder kits $24.95 & wholesale, bulk waxworms 250 low as $3.75. 218-659-4202 or waxwormkit.com p-48
For a weekly outdoor column I write for the Park Rapids Enterprise, I interviewed Dave Majkrzak, of Pelican Lake, who’s leading the statewide effort against stocking muskies. Objective as I could be, I presented data from Ontario, Wisconsin, and Minnesota clearly showing that muskies do not have a detrimental impact on other game fish populations, in any body of water surveyed. What I heard from Majkrzak was his own twisted interpretations to support the Pelican Lake Association’s effort to
stop muskie stocking. I asked for further documentation of claims of muskie bites on humans and pets as posted on its website. My request also included data to support its claims of the harm to other game fish populations by muskie stocking. I never received the information for publication.
BAIT & TACKLE
1999 Skeeter Tiller boat, tilt trim, 1999 Yamaha 80 h.p. 4 stroke motor, 2 24v Minnkota trolling motor. Low hours, new lowrance Elite 7 dual imaging. Greg 952-451-0564. $11,000. p-16
fueled by mistruths and the perceptions of individuals who clearly ignore biological data, instead propelling their agenda through the public venue with scare tactics and false information. The goal is to win at any cost without regard for sound fish-management data.
Resort for sale. Excellent cash flow in this resort within 4 miles from Alexandria, MN. 6 cabins, 4 seasonal rentals, 4 br, 2 bath owner’s home, bait house, game room, playground and 245’ of beautiful level sandy beach. Contact Gloria M. Iverson, Broker Associate, Edina Realty, Inc. 320-491-1182 or email@example.com p-21
70 acres. For sale. No shortage of deer, you will see deer on this parcel during hunting season. Finally a piece of land worth the price. Record book bucks taken and on video, 2 giant bucks on video now. Deer have everything they need, food, water, cover, years of genetics and minimal hunting pressure. Hunters saw deer everyday last season including many bucks. 90% high wooded, 5+ acres tillable, planted in food plots, rolling ridges on both sides of the creek. High timber value. Over 2 miles of wide groomed trails. Snowshoe Creek runs thru to small pond. 25+ yrs of QDM. Bear, turkeys, grouse, ducks, furbearer. Only 75 miles north of the metro, 10 miles from Mille Lacs Lake, 8 miles from Knife Lake. Beautiful building sites. Absolutely beautiful piece of land. One of a kind definitely a must see. Owner just found half a shed that scores 74 3/8. Offered at $199,000. Contact owner for a showing, you will not be disappointed. 320-2376576. p-14 Crow Wing Co. Maple Grove Twp, Sec 35. Surveyed, fenced, access road, some cut trails adj to 995 ac of state land. 70% woods, 30% marsh. Bear, deer, turkey, grouse. 320-583-8604. p-39
Used aquatic plant harvester, Townsend, WI. Inland Lakes P&R District, 1999 very good cond. Hydraulic sys., 7 ft cutter head, Isuzu eng. diesel, 41 HP, stainless steel hull, WxL 10x24’ Trailer optional, Stored inside winter months. Call Dwight Ziegler 715-850-2212 or firstname.lastname@example.org p-16
Please visit Edgewaterresortmn.com to see how affordable lakeside cabin vacations can be! Sand Lake, MN. Chip Nat’l forest. 800-613-8097. p-19
Kettle Falls Hotel & Resort in Voyageurs National Park. May 1st to Oct. 1. Portage truck operators, lic boat captains, waitress, cooks, bartenders, housekeepers, board & room on premises. Must like outdoors & fishing. Drug testing may be required. Call 218-780-6600 or 218-875-2070 or send or get application to 10518 Gamma Rd KAB MN 56669. p-15
For sale. Adult bobwhite quail. $5.00 good for dog training and releasing, also bobwhite quail chicks. $1.00 Darwin Laitenberger 507-380-9580. p-18
Pheasant chicks and started birds. Hatching weekly April-July. 48 years in the gamebird industry! Forsgren’s Pheasant Farm, Pelican Rapids, MN 218-863-8803 www.forpheasants.com p-17
Clearwater Masonic gun raffle. 500 tickets $20. ea. Need not be present to win drawing. June 14, 2016. For more info call 320-558-2222 or email chiefboone@ gmail.com Prizes, Rem. 700CDL 270, 223 Wyndham M15, Springfield SE1911 45, Stevens 555 o/u 12 ga. Remington 552 BDL 22 cal, Tautas 608 SS 6.5 Barrel. Must be 21 yrs of age. p-15
Midwest Gundog Kennels has training openings. 2 red setters for sale. 1 male, 1 female. Midwestgundogkennels.com 320-294-5802. Also on FBook. p-15
Jiggin Jim’s Fishing Guide Service & Taxidermy Fishing Central Minnesota, multi-species 25% discount on skin mounted trophy fish caught during Jiggin Jim fishing trip. Call to book a date. 612-644-7657. p-14
ON-LINE RETRIEVERS. Gundog, obedience training & boarding. Where the standard of excellence provides you and your pet with the best possible care and training. Call David & Michelle at 320-272-4746 or visit us online at www.on-lineretrievers.com p-1705
Covered boat slips. So. end Mille Lacs, private secure harbor, 2 hrs from Metro, gas onsite, fish cleaning fac., showers. Sail boat slip $800., covered slips $1,100. May-Nov. 1. Frederickson Marina. 612-221-6923. p-20 Cabin for rent Rush Lake Otter Tail Co. 2 bedroom, cable, air, sandy beach, excellent fishing. $400 per wk. Openings in July, August. 218-349-6905. p15
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club site. Back in the 1940s, seeing a deer at all was a rare treat. One of my favorite newspaper clips is an invitation to an event. In order to finance the drilling of a well and the installation of a water system for the club house, the men and women members of the club sponsored a costume dance. This was not in October around
(From Page 13)
effort when the club was in its infancy. Over time, the members planted 2,400 trees, mainly jack pine but also dogwood, mountain ash, and cedar. Included in the newspaper report of the tree-planting results was a mention that five deer had been spotted on the
Halloween. It was in mid-April. I wish someone had some pictures of that event, but it’s probably well enough that I can just imagine what those festivities looked like. I also wonder if they raised enough money from a costume party to afford the well drilling and plumbing. My guess is the shindig was more of an excuse to have some fun at the end of winter and just a tiny portion of the piping costs were secured from this
costume celebration. It would seem that much of what was written about the Minnetonka Sportsmens’ Club appeared in the Pilot newspaper, which was published in Mound. The cost of an issue was 10 cents. I guess a dime went a lot farther in 1950 than it does 56 years later. But then, the local newspaper was all people had to keep them informed of everything that was going on in the communi-
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ty, and it was the Pilot newspaper that kept members of the Minnetonka Sportsmens’ Club aware that there was a chili cookout right after the sleigh rides. Today, the club is called Minnetonka Sportsmen Inc. and offers many public events throughout the year such as league trap shooting, an annual trophy trap shoot, a Youth in the Outdoors event, and firearms education. The club also hosts high school trap shooting for Mound Westonka and Benilde-St. Margaret schools. Organizations that are shooting related conduct various firearm training that’s not affiliated with Minnetonka Sportsmen Inc. These organizations use the facility only for hunter safety programs, firearms training, and permit-to-carry programs, and local law enforcement use the ranges for training purposes. There are two main events that are open to the public. One is the annual trap shoot and the other is the Youth in the Outdoors Expo. At the Youth in the Outdoors Expo, kids from ages 4 to 18 get to enjoy the outdoors with hands-on exhibits and opportunities to try archery, pellet guns, shotgun shooting at still targets and thrown targets, as well as how to tie flies and see lots of product demonstrations. There are prize drawings on the hour featuring fishing equipment and other prizes. This year the expo will be Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. It is a true family fun affair. The annual trap shoot is in its 76th year – the first one held in 1940 – and this year the event is Aug. 14. It’s always fun, and whether you can hit ‘em all or not, there are lots of prizes and raffle tickets for guns are sold. There are many shotgunners there just having a great time. This is when you get a chance to meet people who have the desire to maintain shooting traditions and realize just how much fun a day breaking clay targets can be. MSI consists of 400 regular members and 100 life members. According to Mitch Gordon, a longtime member and the grounds coordinator, there is a waiting list to join the club and you must be sponsored by a current member to apply. If you aren’t familiar with any members, you can attend one of the meetings and get to know some of the shooters there or go to one of the events open to the public, where many members are present. Meetings are held at 8 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month in the clubhouse. Membership allows you access to all six ranges, all events, and activities. For more information check out the Minnetonka Sportsmen Inc.’s website – http://minnetonkasportsmeninc.com It’s worth a visit to the website just to check out some of the great old images of activities from days gone by. There is a lot of history when it comes to the shooting sports and much of it belongs to the shooting clubs that dotted the landscapes throughout the state for many years. I can only hope they’re still around when my grandchildren’s grandchildren are looking for a place to shoot.
APRIL 1, 2016
time of day. The key is finding the fish and getting a bait in front of them. Most people also will tell you a crappie minnow on a bare hook under a small bobber is the best bait option. It is a great option, but so is a jig and twister tail, a tiny shallow diving crankbait, an ice jig tipped with a tiny plastic spike, or an ice jig tipped with some waxworms or maggots. Some lure options
(From Page 15 )
One rule that is always broken when it comes to ice-out crappies is the low-light rule. Get out in the early morning or evening and the bite is better. That’s not a hard rule for iceout fishing. Even in the middle of the day or during the black of night when those crappies are in the pre-spawn mode, they will be biting. Fish any
might even work better than others even when the fish are biting. I tend to lean toward a 1 ⁄16-ounce jig with a 2-inch twister tail when the crappies are in shallow water and spread out. You can cover a lot of ground quickly and catch twice as many fish as the angler using live bait. Now, if those fish are on a deep breakline and acting a little finicky due to a weather change, that minnow on a bare hook is my go-to choice. Another great casting option
is to take a 1⁄16-ounce hair jig and use a clip-on bobber just a couple feet above the lure. You cast this out to the crappies, let it settle, and then twitch it back to the boat. When those crappies are shallow, this is one technique they cannot resist. You don’t have to break all the rules for ice-out crappies. I always use light line – 4-pound test monofilament. The water tends to have better visibility after ice-out so the clear line works best. I always use a quiet approach
when the fish are shallow. Shallow crappies are easy to spook. Drift into spots, softly drop the anchor, keep the trolling motor on low, and never get too close to the cover. It’s a short window of opportunity to take advantage of the great fishing that ice-out crappies provide. Soon they will be heading for deep water and suspending just out of reach. So break a few rules and have some fun. The time for that is right now.
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APRIL 1, 2016
Fishing and Hunting Report to walk on. It’s between seasons here as fishermen wait for open-water options to develop. Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505 Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250
A few anglers “snuck” on the ice last weekend, but most shorelines are now open too far to allow anyone to get on the lake and the ice that remains is not good. Openwater fishing has started on the Rainy River and that’s been keeping anglers busy. Loon’s Nest (218) 286-5850
Great Eight LAKE MILLE LACS
You’ find open water along the shorelines and in some boat harbors, but ice remains quite evident on the main lake. The most open water can be found in front of any current flows and some small pockets of open water can be seen on the main lake. Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811 www.johnsonsportside.com Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430 www.terrysboatharbor.com
LAKE OF THE WOODS
The ice is deteriorating on the main lake, but there’s still a lot of it to melt away. The Rainy River is open and starting to clear up so the walleye bite seems to slowly be improving each day with a jig and minnow combination. Open water reaches into Four Mile Bay and into the main basin past the Lighthouse Gap and accesses are ice-free. Sturgeon action has been consistently good in the river and Four Mile Bay. A 3- to 5-ounce no-roll sinker and hook loaded with crawlers are turning most fish. Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau (800) 382-FISH www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com
LAKE MINNETONKA AREA
A few crappies are being found in the shallow bays and lagoons, but only if the sun is out and it warms up the water. You’ll find better numbers of crappies stacked over 20 to 24 feet of water on Lake Minnetonka. They’re still over those winter spots and that’s where they’ll stay until the water warms. Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227
Ice conditions remain decent and you could probably fish here this weekend, depending on the weather throughout the week. Fishing reports have been light due to a lack of fishermen out on the lake. Call ahead before venturing out this weekend – lake conditions may well change by then. Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430
The ice-fishing season is pretty much done at this point. With closed accesses at the resorts, very few anglers have been out, so reports have been pretty limited. Ice still covers much of the lake, although it’s tough to gauge the condition of it. Lake Winnie Resort Association www.lakewinnie.net
There’s still a lot of ice on the main lake, but the shorelines are gone and the ice that remains is no longer safe
There hasn’t been anything to report on the fishing front other than ice still covers the lake. Some of the current areas and shorelines have started to open and the ice is starting to deteriorate. Mort’s Dock (218) 647-8128
Twin Cities Metro NORTHEAST METRO
Although some anglers are looking for crappies in many of those traditional spring spots, they’ve been tough to find. Until the shallow water begins to warm, look for suspended fish over their winter spots or just outside the bays and harbors on area lakes. That’s where they should be staging before moving shallower. Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421
A handful of anglers have been fishing open water, but the bite has been slow. The water remains cool, so look to those traditional spring crappie spots as it warms up. Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022
Statewide ALEXANDRIA AREA
The ice is now off the small lakes and bays, but some floating ice remained on the main portions of the area’s bigger lakes early in the week. The small, shallow bays and lagoons will be the first to produce good numbers of crappies and look to those spots that experienced iceout first. Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle (320) 763-3255
A few crappies are being found, but they seem to be moving in and out of the shallow water. A couple days of nice weather will move them into the harbors and shallow bays and key on the afternoon and evening hours when water temperatures are highest. Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297
BATTLE LAKE AREA
Early in the week, ice was still evident on the main body of most lakes in the area. Anglers have been trying for crappies in the bays that have been open, but the bite has been slow. Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
Report from the Dock
hunting A forecast and summary of
in ts of northern Minnesota, and You’ll still find ice in some par sn’t doe e ther But this weekend. some cases, a few spots to fish g that. For the most part, ice doin in rest inte ch seem to be mu nged much since last week with and lake conditions haven’t cha the dipping below freezing. While overnight temperatures still t kep also it’s on, the ice to hang cooler weather has allowed er wat n ope re whe ch mu ming very water temperatures from war and pie reports have been light, crap ter -wa llow Sha t. does exis fish pan se water, which means tho most believe it’s due to cold nve into the bays, harbors, cha mo ely plet aren’t willing to com on ally usu , ght cau g bein some are nels, and culvert areas. But spike is out, and there is a slight sun the n whe s day the nice most the the afternoon hours. For in water temperature during e! com action is still to part, the best spring crappie
the area, such as the Brule, Cascade, and Devil Track. Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280
GRAND RAPIDS AREA
Some shorelines have started to open, but you could still get on the ice early this week. Despite decent ice conditions, very few anglers were still fishing through it and lake conditions could change by this weekend so call ahead. Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281
GREY EAGLE AREA
The lakes are now open and only a handful of anglers have been out looking for crappies. At this point, they have been tough to locate, but this will improve as the shallowwater bays warm up. Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405
HACKENSACK AREA BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA
Most small lakes in the area are now open, but some floating ice can be seen on the big lakes – it is limited though. Crappie action has been slow with anglers trying the Bar Harbor area on Gull Lake or the Highway 371 Bay on North Long Lake. S & W Bait & Guide Service/ Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
Some panfish are being caught, but a few days of warm and sunny weather would really help push these fish shallow and become active. Start looking in 3 to 8 feet of water on area lakes, with Chisago, Green, North Lindstrom, South Center, and South Lindstrom all being likely targets in the weeks ahead. Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334
The shorelines have pulled away, the big lakes had some remaining ice, and most small lakes are now open. Some anglers are starting to get their boats out, but panfish action has been slow. Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle (218) 546-6912
Ice continues to cover most lakes, but the shorelines are opening and what remains is crystallized so iceout is expected within the next couple of weeks. Kamloops fishing continues to be good along the shoreline of Lake Superior – crawlers on the bottom or Looper Bugs under a float have worked best. Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
Fish & Game
ACTIVITY T A B L E S
EAST CENTRAL MN
Consistently catching panfish remains difficult with the cool water. Blue Lake, Fremont Lake, and Little Elk Lake are worth checking since the crappies and sunfish have been moving in and out of the shallows on these lakes with the changing weather patterns. Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985
Most lakes are open around the edges and the ice has started move. Any amount of wind, warm weather, or rain should quickly eliminate the ice that remains. Redding Sports and Spirits (218) 763-2191
Jigs tipped with minnows or plastics are producing walleyes above and below the dam on Tuttle Lake along the Minnesota/Iowa border. Anglers fishing from shore were catching some crappies in 4 feet of water on Tuttle, Budd Lake, and Amber Lake. Cedar Lake is giving up perch tight to shore. Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
The Warsaw Bridge area on Cannon Lake is producing a few crappies and perch. You’ll also catch some crappies above and below the dam on the Cannon River, but no huge numbers are being caught anywhere at this point. Nagel’s Live Bait (507) 334-8341
GRAND MARAIS AREA
The ice is holding on and the shorelines have remained in good enough shape to still allow some ice-fishing options. Walleyes continue to be caught by the few anglers going at South Fowl Lake in 6 feet of water, Lake Saganaga in 25 feet, and at Seagull Lake in 20 to 25 feet of water. Steelhead are starting to stage at the mouths of the rivers in
The shorelines are open, but most lakes still had a cap of ice on them earlier this week. This area is between seasons and there’s no fishing action to report at this point. Swanson’s Bait and Tackle (218) 675-6176
The shorelines have started to pop loose and there are small pockets of open water on a few lakes. As a result, there’s too much ice to fish open water and not enough of it to safely walk on. Lucky 7 General Store (218) 254-7168
Any ice that remained went out last weekend and it hasn’t been warm enough to drive crappies into the shallows. Fishing action has been slow. Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop (320) 679-2151
The ice is gone and the water was about 41 degrees on Big Stone Lake early in the week with 12 to 16 inches of clarity. Fishing pressure has been light, but look for panfish to move shallow as soon as the water warms up. Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
The ponds, bays, and small lakes are now ice-free, but there’s still some ice on the area’s big lakes. Lake conditions have not changed much since last week and open-water fishing reports have not started being heard. Delaney’s (218) 732-4281 Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099
While some lakes in the area are open, you could still find ice on certain lakes early in the week – mainly bigger bodies of water. There hasn’t been any open-water crappie action
Photo of the Week
There’s still quite a bit of ice on area lakes, but with the shorelines now pulled away, you can no longer get on it. The ice-fishing season has ended here and anglers are waiting for open water. Taber’s Bait (218) 751-5781
SUNRISE/SUNSET Date April April April April April April April April
Rise a.m. Set p.m. 01 6:55 7:41 02 6:53 7:42 03 6:51 7:43 04 6:49 7:44 05 6:47 7:46 06 6:45 7:47 07 6:43 7:48 08 6:42 7:49
Emily Phoulom, of Eagan, caught this 321⁄2-inch, 14-pound walleye Jan. 31 while fishing Lake of the Woods.
APRIL 1, 2016
Despite plenty of water, fishing reports have been light at this point, and it will likely take a string of warm days before that begins. Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355
RED WING AREA
There’s been a pretty even split between walleyes and sauger (and good numbers of both) being caught on the Mississippi River. Blade baits or plastics are working best in 16 to 20 feet of water during the day or less than 10 feet of water during the evening hours from Lake Pepin to the dam. Water temperatures were about 42 degrees as of earlier in the week. Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
ST. CLOUD/ EDEN VALLEY AREA
Anglers are starting to look for crappies in many of the traditional spring spots such as bays, culverts, bridges, and boat harbors. But there hasn’t been a big push of panfish into these shallow areas due to cold water. That could change fast with just a few days of bright, warm weather. Mike’s Bait and Tackle (320) 453-2248
STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA
The ice is pretty much gone, but crappies have been tough to find in shallow water. A few anglers are catching suckers and catfish on the Mississippi River and some keeping-sized perch from shore at Little Rock Lake. Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056
Crappies continue to be found over 5 to 6 feet of water in Fish Hatchery Bay on the Glenwood end of Lake Minnewaska – you need a boat here. Anglers fishing from shore on the north end of Pocket Lake have caught a few crappies as well. Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239
A few sunfish have been caught in the lagoons on Lake Tetonka,
Pro Tip of the Week Call aggressively until that turkey commits Shane Simpson
Years of hunting experience: 28. Favorite wild turkey sub-species: Eastern. This year’s mild winter has turkey hunters antsy to get out and scout. That’s not a bad idea if you’re going to Shane Simpson be hunting a new White Bear Lake property. If you already know the property and the patterns of the turkeys on it, there’s no need to do anything more than just listening for gobbling to get a head count. Your best bet, right now, is to focus on your calling. The hunter who calls the best has a better chance of bagging gobblers. Don’t worry about perfecting every call, only the important ones – excited yelps and aggressive cutting but also realistic yelps and cutts. Gobblers respond better to aggressive calling than the more subdued calls such as clucks and purrs. Don’t be afraid to call aggressively often and for long, continuous periods. Call to that gobbler still on the limb, to that gobbler just out of sight, or to that gobbler with a hen across the field – and don’t stop calling until the gobbler commits to you. Simpson, originally from South Carolina, is the 2015 Minnesota State Turkey Calling Champion. His website – www.CallingAllTurkeys.com – is dedicated to contest calling and turkey hunting.
but other panfish bites have been slow to develop. It’s going to take an extended stretch of nice weather to warm the water and really get the crappies and sunfish going. Axel’s Tackle Box (507) 362-4444
The ice is gone, but with the upand-down water temperatures, anglers are having a tough time locating crappies on any lake. Look for a better bite once the water warms. B o r c h ’ s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880
South Dakota WEBSTER AREA
Fishing reports have been limited to some anglers fishing from shore with limited success. Some lakes are ice-free and others had minimal ice left, so the entire area should be wide open within the next several days. Sportsman’s Cove (605) 345-2468
Walleyes and sauger are being caught with a jig and minnow or leadcore and crankbaits in 7 to 20 feet on Lake Francis Case. Lake water temperature was still at 41degrees early in the week so there’s plenty of good fishing still to come as well. Dakota Prairie Guide Service (605) 680-1910
North Dakota DEVIL’S LAKE
There’s still a lot of ice, not enough to fish on, but it hasn’t deteriorated a whole lot since last week with the cool weather. Look for walleyes along the shorelines and near or under bridges as the ice allows anglers to reach them. Ed’s Bait Shop (701) 662-8321
Wisconsin AMERY AREA
The majority of lakes are now open and any ice that remains is going fast. Despite the open water, fishing reports have been limited. Anglers are reporting cool water so it might take another week or so to really drive crappies into the shallow, spring areas – it all depends on the weather at this point. Lucky Baits (715) 268-6231
Panfish have been tough to find even though most of the area is now ice-free. It just hasn’t been warm enough to really spike water temperatures to the point that crappies will move shallow. It could happen fast and they could move in and out of the shallows with the changing weather, so you need to keep checking water ranging from about 3 to 6 feet deep. AAA Sports Shop (715) 635-3011
APRIL 1, 2016
have a huge following there today. Now that tenkara has been introduced here in the U.S., I suspect it’s here to stay. I’m not sure it will ever be huge, but I’m guessing there will be at least a handful of tenkara enthusiasts out there roaming the streams.” Shipp and others say tenkara is spreading across the Midwest and beyond. More and more fly shops are offering tenkara rods and other equipment. “When we started stocking tenkara rods four years ago we couldn’t keep them on the shelves, but it has tapered off some since,” said Tom Surprenant, of Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply in Grand Marais. “North Shore anglers are fishing tenkara on the many Lake Superior tributaries, while other anglers fish inland lakes for bluegills and crappies.” Surprenant said he thinks tenkara is no flash in the fishing pan. “It’s not a fad, it’s a niche,” he said, adding prospective tenkara anglers can get fully outfitted for less than $200. “I enjoy it because it’s a very simple way to fish. It’s really a lot of fun.”
Reel-free, Japanese-style fly-fishing finds fans in U.S.A. By Tori J. McCormick Contributing Writer
his home waters of western Wisconsin, Matt Shipp has, over the years, fished for stream trout with dry flies, spinnerbaits, and worms. He has, as he says, done it all. “I’m proud to say I’m a second generation fly-fisherman,” said Shipp, of River Falls. “My dad was an avid fisherman and I’ve been fishing the Kinni, Trimbelle, Rush, and the Willow since I was a boy.” In recent years, as he’s gotten older, the 39-year-old Shipp has discovered a new form of angling: tenkara, a centuries-old traditional Japanese practice that uses flies and is widely hailed for its grace, effectiveness, and simplicity. “I’ve enjoyed pursuing trout with all kinds of tackle, but I currently enjoy fishing tenkara the most,” said Shipp, who is a tenkara instructor with Kinni Creek Lodge and Outfitters in River Falls. “I fish primarily small spring-fed streams and creeks and tenkara is ideally suited for this. Part of what makes it so enjoyable for me is the simplicity. My world changed when I discovered tenkara.” Tenkara uses a rod, line, tippet, and a fly. It has been compared to traditional fly-fishing, but tenkara is “fixed-line fishing” (think of using a cane pole, where the line is tied, or fixed, to the pole) and doesn’t employ reels or traditional fly line. The telescopic light-weight rods can extend anywhere from 8 feet, 10 inches to more than 14 feet (the average is roughly 12 feet). Developed originally for small fish like trout and char, tenkara is excellent for backcountry fishing adventures because the rods (and other equipment) are easy to carry, breakdown and assemble. All the gear is specially made for the sport. “Tenkara has been referred to as ultra-light fly-fishing by some, and I suppose in a sense it is, but I think of it as something different than fly-fishing,” Shipp said. “It uses artificial flies and the cast looks similar to what people do with a fly rod, but there is enough different about it in my mind to make it something else. I
Some might consider tenkara a cross between fly-fishing and cane-poling. Bottom line, it’s simple and growing in popularity. Photos courtesy of Tenkara USA
think fly-fishing fundamentally employs a fly rod and a reel. It’s kind of like the idea of using a casting bubble to present flies with a spinning rod.” Shipp said that since tenkara is fixed-line angling, you don’t have to constantly manage your line, which allows you to focus on the river, rising fish, each cast (which is similar, some say, to the roll cast in traditional fly-fishing), and the fly’s drift. “With a fixed length of line you can really dial in your cast and it’s easier to put your fly where you want it,” he said. “In tenkara, presentation is everything. Using a long rod allows you to make incredible drag-free drifts. In fact, with a 10- to 14-foot rod you can reach out and present a drift with only the fly and a little bit of tippet on the water.”
Unlike traditional fly-fishing whose anglers carry numerous fly boxes, tenkara anglers typically only use a few fly patterns. “Traditionally, tenkara really didn’t focus on matching the hatch. In fact, there are traditional enthusiasts that use only one fly pattern,” Shipp said. “I think that makes sense in a small fast-moving mountain stream.” Shipp said tenkara anglers often use a generalist pattern that resembles several aquatic insects. “More and more I find myself gravitating toward just one pattern. It’s a pattern I like to tie and I’m discovering all the possible ways I can present it. Of course, if there
Wind Direction Current
When fishing tenkara, position yourself with the wind at your back or side. Raise the rod so the fly is out of the water and the wind catches the line. Move the rod so your fly is directly above its intended target, then lower the rod so the fly enters the water. Illustration by Don Dittberner
The start Tenkara started gaining traction in U.S. fishing circles in 2009, when Tenkara USA was founded in Boulder, Colo. The business sells tenkara rods, lines, flies, line holders, and more. “I discovered tenkara while I was researching the history and culture of fishing in Japan in 2007,” said Tenkara USA founder and longtime fly-fisher Daniel Galhardo. “What appealed to me above all else was its simplicity and effectiveness. I came back with a tenkara rod and took it on backpacking trips and eventually started the company. “I think its minimalist nature appeals to a lot of people,” he added. “When I started, a lot of people considered tenkara a fad, I think, but it has caught on and grown in the marketplace.” Indeed, fly-fishing luminary Lefty Kreh once described tenkara as a fad that wouldn’t last. However, Kreh has, Galhardo said, since recanted his original statement. “We had a good conversation about it at a trade show,” Galhardo said. “I have a lot of respect for Lefty and I appreciated talking to him about tenkara. He said he was going to try it.” Said Shipp: “Tenkara and other types of fixed-line fishing have been practiced in Japan for centuries and
is a big hatch going on and trout are dialed in on one specific insect, I’m pretty much out of luck. Then a guy with a bunch of options would do much better.” One of Shipp’s favorite presentations is to “cast quartering upstream and present a drag-free drift through a run. At the end of the run, I will let my fly hang in the current before skating it back upstream like a skittering caddis.” While tenkara is geared for smaller fish species, Shipp and others see that trend changing. “Since tenkara was introduced in the U.S., people have been developing stiffer rods capable of handling larger fish,” Shipp said. “There are tenkara anglers chasing larger trout, carp and bass, etc. Some use floating fly lines and throw streamers, nymphs, dries and any number of crazy inventions they can tie up.” Like traditional fly-fishing, tenkara is evolving. “There are, of course, those who prefer to fish tenkara in a more traditional way, just like there are fly-fisherman who prefer to fish dry flies with a bamboo rod. It ultimately comes down to personal preference.”
APRIL 1, 2016
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LIVINGSTON LURES’ HOWELLER DMC PLUS: NOT JUST BIGGER A quick look at Livingston Lures’ Howeller DMC Plus might lead an angler to believe that it’s just a slightly larger version of the original Howeller DMC crankbait that helped carry Team Livingston pro Randy Howell to a historic victory in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic. Oh, but the Howeller DMC Plus is so much more than just an oversized Howeller. The Howeller DMC Plus has the same out-of-the-package diving range (8 to 10 feet) as the original fished on 10-pound line. Yes, it has the same herring-bone belly and realistic fish-scale back, and the sound-amplifying, light-reflecting Gill Marks and Lateral Line™ “cuts” down the side of the body that make the original Howeller DMC such a wicked medium-diving crankbait. And true, the DMC Plus is noticeably bigger than the original with a broader bill. Those characteristics – along with Livingston’s proprietary Electronic Baitfish Sound (EBS) MultiTouch™ technology – make the Howeller DMC Plus unique in the realm of medium-diving crankbaits. It gets much of its attitude from the wider, flared lip, which combines with the hydrodynamics of the wider/broader body design to throw off a more aggressive vibration. That vibration is supplemented with a 6mm stainless-steel rattle strategically placed between the eyes. It is one of the most effective medium-diving cranks ever created for targeting bigger fish. Ask for Livingston Lures at your sporting goods store or visit www.livingstonlures.com for more information.
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District 1 – Baudette area CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck) reports attending waterfowl school at Whitewater State Park. CO Quittschreiber also assisted the sheriff’s office with a medical call in which a 7-year-old male had stuck himself with an EpiPen (medical injecting device). The officer was the first on the scene and was able to safely remove the needle and calm the child and child’s mother until medical personnel arrived. A call also was received regarding a driver who’d hit a raccoon. When the individual attempted to get the injured animal off the road, it attacked him. District 2 – Bemidji area CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) reports a dead moose was transported to the DNR Wildlife Section, and an autopsy indicated brainworm. CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports an illegal dumping case led to a possible welfare fraud investigation that was turned over to the Department of Human Services. CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) investigated a dead swan and discovered it had collided with a power line. District 3 – Fergus Falls area CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on ATV activity and fishermen. Fish run activity was monitored, and students were registered for an upcoming firearms safety class in Morris. Calls were fielded from the public regarding fishing licenses and public access conditions.
Cuffs & Collars
Field reports from Minnesota DNR conservation officers District 4 – Walker area
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) responded to an illegal fire and attended a meeting with local fire wardens. Enforcement action was taken for having an uncontrolled fire, allowing a smoldering fire, and burning prohibited materials.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked shore anglers. A regional training meeting was attended and equipment maintenance handled. District 9 – Brainerd area CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked fire and all-terrain vehicle enforcement. An injured owl was transported to the Garrison Animal Hospital.
District 5 – Eveleth area CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) investigated a trespass complaint, along with illegal burning and a dock dispute.
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) investigated complaints about a person dumping leaves in a lake and possible hunter harassment and trespassing.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, investigated a TIP call about a coyote being kept as a pet, and attended training in Grand Rapids.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
District 6 – Two Harbors area CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports a group of anglers were checked in the BWCA with 22 violations discovered, including possession of 123 aluminum cans in addition to angling violations such as extra lines, fishing without a license, unattended lines, and targeting fish during the closed season. Appropriate enforcement action was taken. District 7 – Grand Rapids area CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) assisted county officials with a search for a suspect. CO Fairbanks and his K9 partner also gave a K9 demonstration for the DARE class at the local elementary school. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and OHV registration issues.
Compiled by Richard Sprouse, Minnesota DNR Enforcement. For a complete Enforcement report, visit www.outdoornews.com CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) gave a law talk at an area drug and alcohol rehab center. District 8 – Duluth area CO Scott Staples (Carlton) reports a call about a DNR fishing pier breaking free and floating down an area river was passed along to the Division of Trails and Waterways. It is assumed the pier is stored at this location to avoid ice damage during breakup.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) made contact with a party who had an illegal fire that was burning prohibited material. CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) located a vehicle left partially blocking a state forest road in General Andrews State Forest for several days. The vehicle was towed, and the registered owner was cited for the violation. CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) reports an individual who turned in an incidental otter had warrants for his arrest, and he was taken into custody. District 11 - St. Cloud area CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring ATVing and angling activity. A TIP complaint is under investigation regarding possible double-trip-
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APRIL 1, 2016
REPORT OF THE WEEK District 1 – Baudette area
CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck) received a call regarding a driver who’d hit a raccoon. When the individual attempted to get the injured animal off the road it attacked him. ping and using extra lines. Follow up was also conducted on a waters violation. CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) was kept busy with spring fire activity. Several arson fires were investigated, and a person who had a permit two weeks ago had the fire rekindle and burn about 200 acres of grassland, woods, and swamp. A complaint is being investigated regarding a person who is cleaning up a property and burying appliances along with burning an old building that contained a large amount of prohibited materials. District 12 – Princeton area CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) reports a concerned citizen called about a suspicious substance floating on top of the water on Rush Lake; the MPCA was contacted for investigation and cleanup. Lab results came back showing the substance was large amount of vegetable oil, most likely left behind on the ice from anglers. District 13 – West Metro area CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) checked anglers mainly in the west metro area. He responded to a couple of complaints about invasive goldfish found in local lake and a dead duck in Minneapolis. District 14 – East Metro area CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports checking anglers, recreational vehicle operators, and patrolling WMAs. CO Arntzen also handled TIP calls and investigated a possible big-game violation.
District 15 – Marshall area CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) reports several commercial inspections were completed at a game farm and retail minnow dealer.
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CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) investigated reports of dumping in a WMA, with interviews pending.
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CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports parts of the area received 6-plus inches of fresh snow, which brought a few snowmobiles out of storage. District 16 – New Ulm area CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) handled an ATV case in which an individual drove a small SUV onto the trails of an ATV park. Enforcement action was taken. CO Dustin Miller (Windom) attended waterfowl training at Whitewater State Park along with other members of CO Academy 16. Miller also fielded complaints about fishermen taking walleyes out of season and overlimits of crappies. District 17 – Mankato area CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) fielded a call about a bald eagle that was found dead in the Glenville area. The death of the eagle was suspicious, and anyone with information on how the eagle died is asked to call TIP. CO Henke also responded to a call about an ostrich running loose in northern Freeborn County. CO Henke arrived and located an emu running loose around a farmyard. After chasing a few dogs around the yard and pecking at CO Henke’s truck windows, the emu was taken home by its owner. CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) checked anglers and ATV operators this week. Trapping activity was monitored, and calls from the public were fielded. District 18 – Rochester area CO Phil George (Rochester) spent the week checking anglers and watercraft users, assisted with the waterfowl school on the Mississippi River, taught the laws and ethics portion of two firearms safety classes, and checked a few ATV operators. CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) worked as an instructor at the 2016 waterfowl school for new COs. CO Tom Hemker (Winona) had many nuisance animal-related calls, including a tame deer in a neighborhood.
This symbol denotes reports that Outdoor News editors find of special interest.
APRIL 1, 2016
G. Loomis is bringing their award-winning E6X graphite and Multi-Taper Technology to walleye anglers. With the new E6X Walleye series – including nine spinning and three casting rods, anglers of all levels can experience what G. Loomis rods are all about, with durable models for select specific walleye fishing techniques – vertical jigging, rigging, bottom-bouncing and trolling – plus “universal” actions for all around use. All are handcrafted in Woodland, Wash., and are backed the G. Loomis’ limited lifetime warranty and Expeditor Service. Also new are IMX models that can viewed online or at a G. Loomis dealer. gloomis.com
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decrease in resin – that means a lighter rod with improved strength and sensitivity. X45 BIAS graphite blanks for virtually zero blank twist while Fuji aluminum-oxide guides are great for long casts and will stand up to even the toughest braids. A built-in lure keeper is handy and a five-year warranty is great insurance.
Neil Fruechte, of Waseca, caught and released this 28-inch walleye Feb. 29 while fishing Lake of the Woods. The fish hit a jig over 30 feet of water.
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(From Page 44)
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APRIL 1, 2016
EAGLE CAM. Here’s the address for the Minnesota DNR eagle nest cam, one of many in operation around the country: http://webcams. dnr.state.mn.us/eagle/
Watching Photo by Robert Asche
bald eagle swoops down to its nest in a tall white pine, a lifeless coot in its talons. Its mate proceeds to tear off small pieces of flesh for its several week-old downy chicks, the same story that’s played out over eons.
SPRING SCAMPER. Lewell Troast Jr. was lucky enough to be on hand as a hungry mink scampered along the nearby canal. SPRING SIGN. A handsome red-winged blackbird, a true sign of spring to many of us, claims a marsh for his territory in Rich Carlson’s photo.
FLAPS UP! A bald eagle prepares to launch itself toward a meal in Tim Hubert’s photo.
FLEDGING SOON. An adult bald eagle has just brought a food item to its juvenile nearly ready-to-fly youngster in Thomas Jacobs’s photo.
’ve just returned from leading my annual spring trip to south-central Nebraska to see the sandhill crane migration. This year, record numbers of sandhill cranes greeted us. Within minutes of arriving in the area, we started seeing thousands of cranes in the fields. The official count was 230,000 cranes during our visit. At any given moment, you could look around in the blue sky and see hundreds, even thousands, of cranes flying in large family units. Each crane called loudly.
The web cam in my area, maintained by the Minnesota DNR’s Nongame Wildlife Program, focuses on a bald eagle nest in the Twin Cities. The female began laying early in the nesting season – the first of three eggs appeared Jan. 25. The region was still in the grip of winter, but developing embryos are much less sensitive to cold than to heat. (In fact, there are records of mallard eggs cracking in the cold, but still producing healthy chicks.)
COB FEAST. Terry Werneth caught a hungry blue jay snatching corn kernels after a late-winter storm.
Parent eagles take turns sitting on their eggs to maintain an internal temperature of just under 100° F (the participation by both adults is fairly unusual in the bird world, where most incubation duties are handled by females). As chicks get older, they “peep” inside their shells to tell parents if they’re chilled.
As I tell the participants on these trips, each year is different. People tend to think that nature stays the same; however, nature is dynamic and is always changing. There are similarities from year to year but it’s never the same twice. This year, the snow geese, which we would normally see in the hundreds of thousands, already had migrated north through the region. We only found a small group of about 50 snow geese feeding in a grassy field.
By late March, the young eagles are standing in the nest under the camera’s eye, alternating bouts of begging for food with long naps. Soon they’ll begin making short flights, and those watching at home will give sighs of relief at the end of another successful nesting season. (Robert Asche captured the image atop this column of a pair of bald eagles on temporary leave from their nest, but they’re not the nest cam parents.)
Each morning, we gathered before daylight and headed to one of the viewing blinds. Under a blanket of stars we navigated a grassy path. Once at the blind, we waited in silence for the sunrise. Meanwhile, about 10,000 or 15,000 cranes nervously called while they stood in the river in front of our blind, also waiting for the sun to rise. As soon as there was enough light to see, the cranes would peel off in small family units to surrounding cornfields to feed on spilled corn left over from last fall’s harvest. It takes a couple hours for most of the cranes to leave the night roosting spot in the river. The cranes stay about two weeks in this part of Nebraska along the Platte River, gaining weight before they continue on their journey northward. Nearly a half million sandhill cranes will pass through this 60- to 90-mile stretch of the Platte during the migration. It is a critical stopover. Biologists believe the cranes have been coming to this part of the Platte River for nearly 10,000 years. Why they don’t choose a different part of the Platte River is unknown.
What’s different is that thousands of avid eagle observers are watching this drama on their computers, tablets, and smartphones. A camera wired to a tree near the massive stick nest transmits video throughout the day over the web, putting humans on the rim of birds’ nests. We can watch the eagles rear their young without bothering them.
Eagles, ospreys, red-tailed hawks, kestrels, and peregrine falcons all are raising their offspring under the watchful eyes of web cams these days. And millions of us are gaining renewed appreciation for the renewing cycles of nature and respect for hard-working parent birds.
Your photos are welcome. l images to Send prints to address below and digita ss. addre email m’s ingha Val Cunn
firstname.lastname@example.org • Stan@naturesmart.com Outdoor News: Attn: Backyard and Beyond 9850 51st Ave. N., Suite 130, Plymouth, MN 55442-3271
CRABBY SURPRISE. A late-winter snowstorm shocked a flock of migrating robins, who then dropped down to Gretchen Engel’s crabapple for a meal.
Some of these cranes will migrate to northern states such as Montana and North Dakota, but the majority spread across Canada east to Hudson Bay and westward up and into Alaska. A small percentage will make the 90-mile crossing from Nome, Alaska to Siberia. Here they will nest and raise their young. And you thought you had a long commute to work! Until next time …
NEW HOME. While Fern Harmon was sitting on her porch, she felt something watching her. It was a flying squirrel, now occupying the new birdhouse she’d recently installed.
• Sapsuckers, squirrels, and others lick tree sap for nourishment. • Eastern bluebirds and tree swallows are claiming nest boxes. • Tundra swans migrate overhead in large flocks. •
Woodcock engage in courtship flights, “peent”-ing in the dark.
• Painted turtles emerge to bask in the sun. Photo by Carol Shaffer
HEADING NORTH. A gorgeous snowy owl, just days from migrating back north, perched along the roadway as Cindy Timbs snapped some shots with her telephoto lens.
APRIL 1, 2016
Perich (From Page 14)
uation there. If CWD became that common in the county where I hunt, I’d hang up my rifle. Even though there is no evidence the disease can pass to humans, I have no desire to hunt sick deer. But I really wonder if that day is coming. Since Wisconsin’s leadership has chosen to just shrug its shoulders at its CWD problem and not get serious about eradicating the disease or controlling its spread through the state’s deer herd, it seems inevitable that eventually CWD-infected deer will reach the Minnesota border. Then Wisconsin’s problem becomes our problem. So far, CWD doesn’t seem to have dampened Wisconsin hunters’ enthusiasm for deer hunting, perhaps because most of the state remains CWD-free. But given the growth of CWD infection rates in the past decade, it
seems likely to expand ever more rapidly. Durkin reports deer hunting generates $1.5 billion in hunting-related business annually. You’d think someone in a leadership role would be concerned about the potential to upset that economic applecart. We must hope Minnesota’s leaders are paying attention to what’s happening in Wisconsin, even though there’s little they can do to change our neighbor’s inadequate response to CWD. Maybe Minnesota and Wisconsin’s other neighbors – Michigan, Illinois, and Iowa – could send a strongly worded letter to the Wisconsin governor and DNR secretary demanding they make a better effort to curb the spread of CWD. At present, Wisconsin is placing the deer herds in each of those other states at risk. It takes neighbors to make a neighborhood. All it takes is one neighbor who doesn’t take care of its place to drag the whole neighborhood down. When it comes to CWD, Wisconsin is that neighbor.
CROSSWORD PUZZLE 13 14 15 18 19
Either’s partner Drive away (2 words) Bird indentifier Not in the wind, at sea Shelter for game, like brush for example 22 Light rains 23 Pink slip give proof of it
8 Insect 10 Employ 11 ____ anemone
Across 1 Type of rifle 7 Tree specialists
Down 1 It holds the ammunition and charge 2 Catch 3 They will protect your hearing at the range 4 Carp, bass, walleye, etc 5 Prickly flowers 6 On a boat 9 Large seabirds 12 Very long time period 16 Ready to react 17 Railbird 18 Point at a target 20 ___ cap, on a boot 21 Top grades
Thomas Rousu, of Callaway, snared these wolves in December 1960 near Snowbank Lake. Photo courtesy of Bonnie Schlauderaff
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March 4, 2016
e s o t a e w s . c o m / m i n n w w w . o u t d o o r n
Big bucks at inaugural Deer & Turkey Show!
Lake of the Woods, Rainy Sturgeon Surge Deer & Turkey Show, inaugural three-day Outdoor News whitetails were the theme of the the State Fairgrounds, measurers from Minnesota Official on BIG BUCKS GALORE. Large-antlered the show, held at the Warner ColiseumPage 34 for photos and info on the largest entries. Photo by Joe Albert See which concluded Feb. 28. During sets of antlers and other trophies. Measurers scored more than 300
Scenes from the Show
w pitch MDHA members say no to crossbo By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Grand Rapids, Minn. — It’s not the first time crossbow proponent John Cumming has been met with resistance. In fact, the president of the Minnesota Crossbow
Federation more or less shrugs off a recent vote of chapter representatives of the Minnesota Deer a Hunters Association as more of temporary setback – a hurdle that eventually will be cleared. “We’d like to have them on
I board. Who wouldn’t? And on think they’ll (eventually) come board,” Cumming said following rejection last weekend of a resoof lution he created as a member the Brainerd MDHA chapter. That resolution supported allowing the
use of crossbows during the state’s archery season, without consideration of age or disability. Representatives of about 50 MDHA chapters voted against the
(See Crossbows Page 38)
DNR clarifies its proposal for moose
Folks showed up in droves to take in what the inaugural Outdoor News Deer & Turkey Show had to offer, from a a trout pond to a display of antlers, and See Page 20 wealth of seminars.
By Javier Serna Assistant Editor managSt. Paul — Minnesota DNR wildlife of deer permit ers say realignment of a handful moose areas in the northeastern Minnesota deer popularange won’t bring with it further tion reductions.
low followThe deer population is already winter, ing two harsh winters (the current of the primary notwithstanding), so for most be kept moose range, deer numbers would The boundlow, according to the proposal. increases in ary changes will allow for some were kept low deer numbers that previously
Murkowski, because of moose, said Adam DNR big-game program leader. been impliAmong many factors that have in northeast cated in the decline of moose for carrying Minnesota, deer have been blamed (See Deer & Moose Page 8)
Asian carp discovery the first for Minnesota River
By Javier Serna Assistant Editor New Ulm, Minn. — The netting of a 25-pound male bighead carp by a commercial fisherman in the Minnesota River, the first time the feared invasive carp has been found on the river, has stoked ecologi fears of potential ecologithis A commercial angler caught the cal damage. in bighead carp last week But scientists have Minnesota River near New Ulm. DNR pointed out that it’s Photo courtesy of Minnesota one fish, that there’s no evidence the invasive established in the river. the of Le Center, along with fellow species is breeding in MASSIVE ELK. Zac Reddemann, the elk that carried this rack river, and that there’s still time “I’m disappointed with the killed with barriers catch, but it’s not surprising hunter James Reddemann, river first the took It to protect 7 in Kittson County. – which scored 362 ⁄8 – last year & that might prevent bigheads and weekend’s Outdoor News Deer place in the elk category at last carp from becoming (See Minnesota River Page 35) second-largest nontypical bull taken other Asian
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It’s turning out to be a winter to be cherished by Minnesota’s pheasants. Survival should be excellent this X season, leaving spring nesting as the See Page 5 factor in reproduction.
A study of lake sturgeon along the Canadian border in 2014 showed DNR See Page 6 goals are being met.
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April 1: Blue Earth County PF Banquet, Kato Entertainment Center. www.mnpheasants.com for more info. April 1: Osakis DU Banquet, Osakis VFW. For more info call Jason Schultz, 320-491-8476. April 1: Stearns County NWTF Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Great Blue Heron, Cold Spring. For more info call Jason Stucky, 320-493-1508. April 1: West Carver DU Banquet, 5 p.m., Mayer Community Center, Mayer. For more info call Chad Wachholz, 612-518-1766. April 1: Hawley Area DU Banquet, Hawley Community Center. For more info call Andy Guck, 218-486-5122. April 2: Bemidji WTU Banquet, 5 p.m., Eagles Club, Bemidji. For more info call Aaron Humeniuk, 218-766-6892. April 2: Crow River MDHA Banquet, 3:30 p.m., McLeod County Fair Grounds. For more info call Bob Hall, 320-587-3824. April 2: LeSueur County PF #214, 5:30 p.m., American Legion Post 79, Montgomery. For more info call Ken Mader, 507-661-4841. April 2: MDHA Banquet, 5 p.m., Eagles Club, Fergus Falls. For more info call AJ Lunde, 218-7706112. April 2: Kandiyohi County PF Banquet, Holiday Inn Convention Center, Willmar. For more info call Kevin Ochsendorf, 320-212-2412. April 2: Green Isle Sportsmen’s Club Banquet, 4:30 p.m., at the Club. For more info call Bob Kauffmann, 507-326-7011. April 2: Windom, Des Moines DU Banquet, Windom Community Center. For more info call Ryan Knigge, 507-822-3283. April 2: East Medicine PF Banquet, 5 p.m., Prairie’s Edge Casino Resort, Granite Falls. For more info call Scott Santjer, 320-981-1061. April 2 :Northland Ridge Runner’s NWTF Banquet, 5 p.m., Patrick’s, Longville. For more info call Craig Johnson, 218-363-2950. April 2: Renville County PF Banquet, 4 p.m., The Island Ballroom, Bird Island. For more info call Mark Thiesse, 320-523-1409. April 2: Prairie Benson DU Banquet, Danvers City Hall. For more info call Craig Schnitzler, 320-8088194. April 2: Forest Lake DU Banquet, Vennellis. For more info call Kevin Prouty, 612-369-7093. April 2: Fishing For Life Banquet, 6 p.m., Courtyards of Andover, Andover. For more info call
APRIL 1, 2016
Tom Goodrich, 612-987-5466. April 5: Lake Louise Puddle Jumper DU Banquet, Travel Lanes, LeRoy. For more info call Edward Kellogg, 507-440-5355. April 6: Capital City NWTF Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Tinucci’s Banquet Center. For more info call Jim Peiffer, 651-459-5772. April 6: DU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Whiskey River, St. Peter. For more info call Adam Peters, 320-2261237. April 7: Vikings Sportsmen Club Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Holiday Inn, Alexandria. For more info call Roger Wittmer, 320-760-9096. April 7: Clearwater, Big River DU Banquet, Clearwater Legion. For more info call Andy Koshiol, 320-534-8892. April 8: Houston County WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Fest Building, Spring Grove. For more info call Christopher Petersen, 507-450-6256. April 8: Faribault DU Banquet, Faribault American Legion. For more info call Dustin Dienst, 507-3329884. April 9: Rum River NWTF Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Norhern Lights Banquet Ctr, Pease. For more info call David Totzke, 320-294-5782. April 9: Rich Spring DU Banquet, Blue Heron, Cold Spring. For more info call Casey Hofer, 320-2925179. April 9: Otter Tail County PF Banquet, 5 p.m., Eagles Club, Fergus Falls. For more info call Aaron Larsen, 507-430-1961. April 9: Freeborn Co., Albert Lea DU Banquet, City Arena, Albert Lea. For more info call Jason Evans, 507-402-1531. April 9: N.E.W., New Prague DU Banquet, Creeks Bend Golf Course. For more info call Tiffany Kniefel, 952-843-3598. April 9: Cannon Falls Sportsman Club Banquet, 11 a.m. For more info call Bob, 651-253-1026. April 9: South Central NWTF Banquet, Hamilton Hall, Blue Earth. For more info call Joe Dubke, 507-238-4959. April 9: Glacial Ridge NWTF Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Minnewaska House, Glenwood. For more info call Steve Pauly, 320-283-6175. April 9: Southwestern Prairie Outdoors Club, Wood Lake Community Center. For more info call Keith Mueller, 507-829-6659.
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April 9: Bluewater MDHA Banquet, 4:30 p.m., Breezy Point Resort. For more info call Brian Evenson, 218-851-4156. April 9: Madison Lake DU Banquet, Point Pleasant. For more info call Tim Austad, 507-381-8625. April 9: Wadena DU Banquet, Elks Lodge 2386. For more info call Todd Larson, 218-640-1289.’ April 9: Cuyuna Range MDHA Banquet, Hallett Community Center. For more info call Brian Blom, 218-534-4848. April 11: Crow River DU Banquet, Blue Note Ballroom. For more info call Rod Werner, 320-5433576. April 13: Mississippi Longtails PF Banquet, 6 p.m., Hastings Green Mill. For more info call Dave Benkufsky, 651-271-4939. April 14: East Metro MWA Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Moose Lodge, Maplewood. For more info call Jim Wrich, 651-497-1882. April 14: Mille Lacs, Princeton DU Banquet,
Steven’s Restaurant & Catering. For more info call Jon Conway, 763-389-1652. April 15: Lost Marsh Minnesota DU Banquet, Pemberton Community Center. For more info call Jamie Durfee, 507-456-9413. April 15: Itasca County Friends of NRA Banquet, 5 p.m., Timber Lake Lodge, Grand Rapids. For more info call Jim Kelley, 218-259-0317. April 15: Roseau DU Banquet, Gene’s Sports Bar. For more info call Dave Dirks, 218-689-0675. April 15: Lake Crystal DU Banquet, Lake Crystal American Legion. For more info call Brian Sebrand, 507-382-8439. April 15: South of the River RMEF Banquet, 5 p.m., Minnesota Horse & Hunt Club, Prior Lake. For more info call Jesse Schneider, 612-386-6490.
April 2-3: Sauk Centre Civic Ice Arena. April 23-24: Detroit Lakes, National Guard Armory.
Shooting/Archery April 8: SCI Hunting Archery Series, Part 2, A1 Archery Shop, Hudson. For more info call Linda Bylander, 218-203-4347. *** Twin City Muzzle Loading Club, Count Rd 15, Mound, MN 55364. Minnetonka Sportsmen’s Club. For more info call Bill Young, 612-879-9695. April 16: Blanket Shoot, 9-4 p.m.
April 13: Wild turkey spring season opens. April 14: MN/Canada Walleye and sauger seasons ends (border waters) April 15: Catch and release trout season closes in all streams in Houston, Fillmore, Mower, Dodge, Olmsed, Winona, Wabana and Goodhue counties.
April 4: Crappie Strategies, “Tackle Terry” Tuma, 6:30 p.m., St. James Public Library, St. James. For more info call 507-375-1278. April 4: Walleye Wisdom “Tackle Terry” Tuma, 2 p.m., American Legion, Lewisville. For more info call 507-375-1278. ***
Three Rivers Park District, 2015 Schedule of Events. For more info call 763-559-6700 or www. threeriversparkdistrict.org
Now-April 3: Northwest Sportshow, Wed. 1-9 p.m., Thurs. 1-9 p.m., Fri. 11-9 p.m., Sat. 10-8 p.m., Sun. 10-5 p.m., Minneapolis Convention Center. Stop by the Outdoor News Booth. www.northwestsportshow.com April 9: American Sporting Collectibles, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Medina Entertainment Center, Medina. For more info call Wally, 651-771-8926. April 9: Minnesota Sporting Collectors Show, 9-2 p.m., Medina Entertainment Center, Medina. For more info call Wally, 651-771-8926. April 9-10: Willmar Rifle & Pistol & Willmar Trap Club, Gun Show, Sat. 8-5 p.m., Sun. 9-3 p.m., Willmar Civic Center. For more info call Donovan Kuehl, 320-212-7460. *** Minnesota Weapons Collectors, Gun Shows. Sat. 8-5 p.m., Sun. 9-3 p.m. www.mwca.org or call 612-721-8976 for more info. April 16-17, Oct. 1-2: State Fairgrounds Education Bldg.
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*** Neigels Authentic Arms 2015 Shows. Call 218-736-2133 or email@example.com for more info or tables. Sat. shows 9-5 p.m. & Sun. 9-3 p.m. Adm. $4. Open to the public.
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To find out how affordable advertising can be, contact: Glen Schmitt at 320-253-5789 or firstname.lastname@example.org Eric Meyer at 763-537-3326 or email@example.com
April 9: Orienteering Skills Clinic, noon-3:30 p.m., French Regional Park. April 16: Bird Banding, 9-noon, Lowry Nature Center. April 16: Allina Health Trail Mix Race, 8-3 p.m., Lake Rebecca Park Reserve. *** Maplewood Nature Center Schedule of Events. For more info call Karen Wachal, 651-249-2170. April 2: Citizen Science Day, No Fooling, 10-noon. April 5: Rain Garden Rescue, 6:30-8 p.m. April 7: Frog Monitor Training, 6:30-7:45 p.m.
Outdoor Media • Minnesota Outdoor News Radio hosted by Rob Drieslein and Tim Lesmeister. Special guests and current hunting and fishing related news - airs Saturdays and Sundays on the MNN stations or www.outdoornews.com • Ron Schara’s Minnesota Bound, Saturdays at noon, Sunday at 10:30 on KARE 11, KTTC in Rochester, KBJR in Duluth, KVLY in Fargo and KEYC in Mankato. • Writeoutdoors.com, Seasonal fishing and hunting tips from Outdoor News Writer Ron Hustvedt. • Outdoornews.com, outdoor news from around the country along with local photos, fishing reports and more. • Sportsman’s Journal. Saturday at noon. Fox Sports. During Regular 13 week season. Sportsman’s Notebook WDIO TV channels 10 and 13. Sundays 10:30 p.m.
April 1: Minnesota Fishing Museum and Hall of Fame Induction, 7:30 a.m., Minneapolis Convention Center. For more info www.fishinghalloffamemn. com. April 2: Bemidji Cass Lake #46 Lure Auction, Keg & Cork, Bemidji. For more info call Brandon Halstad, 218-686-3223. April 2: North American Tournament Hunting Assoc. U.S. Open Pheasant Championship, Minnesota Horse & Hunt Club. For more info call Erik Goettl, 952-994-9027. April 14-17: MN State Taxidermy Guild Convention & Competition, Sugar Lake Lodge, Grand Rapids. For more info call Adam Zuick, 320-333-2886. April 14-17: Father/Son Adventure Weekend, Camp LuWisoMo, IL. For more info call Dylen Larsen, 815-520-1303. *** Wildlife Science Center Events. 5463 West Broadway, Columbus, MN 55025. For more info call 651-464-3993. April 8: Wine for the Wolves.
Deep Portage Programs
2016 schedule for upcoming events at Deep Portage which offers a variety of hunting, fishing and outdoor education programs for adults & youth. For more info or to register 888-280-9908 or 218-6822325. Or via on the internet at www.deep-portage. org, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org April 24: Fun Shoot, 10 a.m. June 11: Side by Side Shoot, 9 a.m.
DISCOUNT IN MAY
GREAT SPRING FISHING!
April 7: Twin Cities Walleye Club, 7 p.m., Knights of Columbus Hall, Bloomington. For more info call Dana Hansen, 651-731-3211. LeSueur County PF Chapter 214. Meets the 1st Wed. of the month, Sept.-May, 7:30 p.m., American Legion, Montgomery. For more info call Ken Mader, 507-661-4841. Wright County PF meets 1st Mon. of every month, 7:30 p.m., Buffalo Legion, Buffalo. For more info call Mellissa Sandquist, 763-354-4090. Four Points Retriever Club. Meets on 2nd Tues of each Month. 6 p.m., Latuff Pizzarea, Plymouth. For more info call Terry Strege, 763-682-5624. Lake Country Retriever Club meets the 2nd Tues. of each month, 7 p.m., Minnesota Horse & Hunt Club. For more info www.lcretrieverclub.org
PERM PERM Monthly meeting in Elk River, 1st Monday of the month, 7:30 p.m. at Cinema Professional Building, Elk River. For info call 763-441-6869.
APRIL 1, 2016
APRIL 1, 2016
M OVIL L AKE - B ELTRAMI C OUNTY
Lake Profile Movil Lake
T urtle Lake
Fish species present:
Walleye, northern pike, black crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, rock bass, yellow perch, pumpkinseed sunfish, tullibee, white sucker, bullhead, dogfish, smallmouth bass.
Beltrami Nearest town................Bemidji Surface Lake area................923 acres Maximum depth.............50 feet Water clarity..................9.0 feet
DNR area fisheries office (218) 308-2339, the DNR website http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/ lakefind305 or Taber’s Bait (218) 751-5781.
40 20 5'
Map provided courtesy of:
for visit for additional maps and information
© Sportsman's Connection. All Rights Reserved.
Access limited, but Movil still top Bemidji chain option By Tim Spielman Associate Editor
Now that ice fishing is in the rear-view mirror, anglers in the Bemidji area likely will again turn their attention to Movil Lake, one of about a dozen lakes that are part of the heralded Turtle River chain in Beltrami County. Movil isn’t fished much in the wintertime – not unless you live on the lake, anyway – because it has no public access. By boat, that’s not much of a dilemma, however, as once you launch onto Big Turtle via its access, you can reach, from Big Turtle, both Little Turtle, and the 900-acre Movil. And that’s a good thing.
Movil’s an above-average fishing lake for a great variety of fish species. “You can get panfish, bass, walleyes, northern pike – whatever you want,” says Ron Bostic, of Taber’s Bait in Bemidji. Spring crappie fishing might be the top option on Movil, but there are periods when bluegill fishing heats up and when bass become hyper-active, too, according to Bostic. Walleye fishing is good for those who have a firm grasp of the intricacies of the lake – or for those fortunate enough to pry that knowledge from someone who has such wisdom – and pike are numerous
enough to almost always be a good option. Getting from Big Turtle to Movil isn’t much of a challenge. “It’s just going under a bridge, basically,” says Gary Barnard, DNR area fisheries supervisor in Bemidji. Barnard says Movil has a good walleye fishery, enhanced more recently by the stocking of walleyes into the lake. In the past, he says, they weren’t stocked there because the department doesn’t stock lakes with no public access. Fish that were stocked in Big Turtle, he says, would typically to an extent migrate into Movil.
see; the gill-net catch was about 9.5 in that survey. But for the chain there’s been a special pike regulation in place since 2003, according to Barnard. That 24- to 36-inch protected slot (one over 36 inches allowed in possession) appears to be having some positive effects on the pike population in parts of the Turtle River chain. When last the chain lakes were investigated in 2011, he says, “Some showed pretty good improvement (in pike size), some not so much.” A desired reduction in numbers of pike might take more time, he says. Barnard says the chain’s lakes are considered good bass lakes, but special assessments to quantify the bass population are limited. Bostic suggest bass anglers target the shallow bay that’s atop the arm off the main basin of Movil. Come early crappie season, Bostic says fishermen should head to the first major “hump” out from the access. The small bay just through theInternational narrows, into the arm, is Falls another fine option.
But perhaps not as many as some would’ve liked. So Movil now is stocked with walleyes, a management action that added about half a million walleye fry to the lake in 2013 and 2015. In 2011, the last time Movil was surveyed, the walleye catch rate was about 2.5 per gill net, and the fish averaged about 16 inches, according to the survey report. Fish up to 27 inches were found during sampling. There is some natural reproduction of walleyes, too, Barnard says. Some of that is in-lake production, and a portion is occurring in the river system, as well. Walleye anglers new to Movil would likely serve themselves well by focusing their efforts on the series of humps present in the main basin of the lake. There’s also good shoreline structure in the form of steep drop-offs that occur within the “arm” that reaches to the northeast of the Roseau main basin. Baudette Northern pike numbers in 11 2011 remained at the high end of what fish managers likeBigtoFalls
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