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Thieves and Tasters

This where it begins.  Off the point straight ahead and to the left is a line of rocks reaching out into the main body of the lake.  What is the one thing that walleye fishermen do not like?  The lake is calm, and we like ripple.

 

Today we fished an area we had never been to.  South of Platte is a bay off the main body of the lake surrounded by points and smaller bays with a lot of rock surrounding the lake.  On the edge of the main body is a point of rock pointing onto the main lake.  This is where the slaughter took place.  The day before the guide took his two grandsons to this area and was limited out in less than three hours.

The boat ramps and parking facilities in South Dakota are excellent.  The state really does a nice job of providing good access to the lakes.  They also maintain one of those no flush toilets near the parking ramp.

We headed out of the bay to a point that stuck out into the main body of the lake.  Beautiful day is not a good walleye day and I would rather have clouds, some wind, and even a little rain.  What amazed Pam and I were the size of the boats.  They were all expensive, big, and had a lot of horsepower for the main motor plus a kicker on the back.  Fancy electric trolling motors on the front and everyone we saw was well stacked with electronics to locate fish and structures.  Our guide’s boat was one of those.  You still have to find and catch them.

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Wind And The Walleyes

The second day on Frances Case  was a bit breezy.  Pam nailed the first fish a white bass that had the nerve to put up a struggle.  It was promptly returned to the lake, but she had a good time.

Coming off the ramp we met a fisherman coming back in and it was only 8 AM.  Our guide was friends with the fisherman and the people in the boat  and he hollered, “A fisherman’s luck is a wet butt and a hungry gut.”  Obviously their luck was poor.

Wind was a bit of a problem and boat control got really  difficult.  Even with the equipment the guide has, fishing was tough.  We were still using lead core line with the two outer rods that were teamed with the planer boards.  We fished under the bridge down the lake to a location that held trees standing in 50 feet of water.  Right above the trees 30 feet deep was where the fish were hanging out. 

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A Great Day on Frances Case

 

This is one day last year, and this is the goal for the first day of this year.
How sweet it is.

Fisherman’s Prayer

Lord help me to catch a fish so large that even I in the tell of it never need to lie…

Lake Francis Case is the large, gently winding reservoir behind Fort Randall Dam on the Missouri River in south-central South Dakota. The Fort Randall Dam is the earth embankment dam forming Lake Francis Case in south-central South Dakota.

The dam was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1944. The Corps of Engineers began construction of Fort Randall Dam in 1946. President Dwight D. Eisenhower threw the switch that started the first power generating unit in 1954. The entire project was completed in 1956 with a maximum depth of 140 feet. Lake Francis Case covers just over 100 miles and has a shoreline of 540 miles.

I have quit counting the number of times we have fished this reservoir.  The goal is walleye and while not big, they are in abundance with sizes in the 16 to 17 inch range.  That size of fish produces an excellent fillet, and meat is what it is ultimately all about.

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Pam and I after a gator harvest.
The Jackson YuPIK Fishing Kayak - 2022 builds upon its prior form with a 1x YakAttack Omega Rod Holder, a stand assist strap, a long load flag for the road, and a 5 in. JK decal as part of the standard features. YuPIK, named for the Alaskan peoples who coined the term kayak (qayaq), supplies loads of fishing accessories. Made in the USA.
An Evolution Outdoor Drift Series Topless Horizontal 3600 Tackle Bag allows for durable, roomy, and easy transport and/or storage of your fishing tackle! This Drift Series Tackle Bag measures 15 3/4 x 8 1/4 x 11 inches and features an open top with a Y-Strap to secure the five included tackle trays within the large-mouth top opening.
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 One of the most productive trolling baits, the Berkley Flicker Shad Crankbait perfectly mimics a walleye's favorite meal. The Flicker Shad features a familiar profile with an internal rattle to attract hungry fish to your area. Individually tank tested by Berkley to run true.

 

The second day on Frances Case  was a bit breezy.  Pam nailed the first fish a white bass that had the nerve to put up a struggle.  It was promptly returned to the lake, but she had a good time. Coming off the ramp we met a fisherman coming back in and it was only 8 AM.  Our guide was friends with the fisherman and the people in the boat  and he hollered, "A fisherman's luck is a wet butt and a hungry gut."  Obviously their luck was poor. Wind was a bit of a problem and boat control got really  difficult.  Even with the equipment the guide has, fishing was tough.  We were still using lead core line with the two outer rods that were teamed with the planer boards.  We fished under the bridge down the lake to a location that held trees standing in 50 feet of water.  Right above the trees 30 feet deep was where the fish were hanging out.  We started working just north of the bridge and then motored south into the wind.  It was rough and the picture does not do the swells justice. We were working those six rods with two over the back and two out each side.  The far outside was using a planer board.  The trees that we fished over are about twenty feet above the bottom and the tops are thirty feet above the bottom.  The goal is to keep the plugs just above the tree tops.  The fish are lying in that zone to about five feet above.  The wind continued to pick up and it would spit a little rain.  The weather forecast was way off and we had brought our rain suits.  Pam put on her rain jacket and pulled up the hood on both her jackets.  As long as she is warm and comfortable, all is well.  If she gets cold and wet the day is done.  It is important that she is along, because, when Pam is catching fish, the guide and I catch fish. Pam in Nepal with two Holy Men.  For ten bucks they will give you perpetual good luck and good health.  I think it is working because whether I am hunting or fishing, she is along and the good luck is with me. We motored down underneath the bridge and went about two miles.  The guide's boat was on auto pilot and it followed the old river bank fifty below us.  Generally it is total hands off fishing, but with the wind the guide was earning his money managing the boat.  We were not getting strike one but graphing fish.  The problem with the fish finders is they locate fish without telling you what is it.  (How is that for baloney) We turned and headed north with the wind. Boat control was much better with the wind.  All we did was graph fish with no strikes.  Halfway to the bridge Pam's side rod bent over and she started cranking in a fish.  It was a nice catch about 17" which is a good fish for Francis Case.  What was interesting the fish did not hit it, but as she noticed, the rod just bent over.  Giving it a few seconds she tightened up the line and reeled slowly.  Close to the boat we could see it and the fish was netted.  This lifted our spirits and we continued on to the bridge. We are moving with the wind, and it is more pleasant, but we are not catching a thing and the waves are getting bigger. Rod with a planer board.  We used lead core line.  Just look straight up from the bottom of the picture and you can see the planer board. We got to the bridge and the guide said, "We are out of here.  Only one fish and they are just not biting at this location."  The plan was to motor up the lake ten miles or so, get out of the wind, and work a location he knew of that held fish on the flats about 50 feet from shore.  Sounds good to me. Up north we swung into a bend in the river and were out of the wind.  The water held just a light ripple.  We put out the six rods with a planer board on each side, another rod one each side and two over the back.  This is fishing with all this ammunition out and we should should have some good luck. This is one of my favorite spots on Frances Case and we started to graph fish.  We started picking up fish in the 15 to 17 inch range.  A few 14 inchers were promptly returned to get bigger, and in an hour we were done and had limited
  This is one day last year, and this is the goal for the first day of this year. How sweet it is. Fisherman's Prayer Lord help me to catch a fish so large that even I in the tell of it never need to lie… Lake Francis Case is the large, gently winding reservoir behind Fort Randall Dam on the Missouri River in south-central South Dakota. The Fort Randall Dam is the earth embankment dam forming Lake Francis Case in south-central South Dakota. The dam was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1944. The Corps of Engineers began construction of Fort Randall Dam in 1946. President Dwight D. Eisenhower threw the switch that started the first power generating unit in 1954. The entire project was completed in 1956 with a maximum depth of 140 feet. Lake Francis Case covers just over 100 miles and has a shoreline of 540 miles. I have quit counting the number of times we have fished this reservoir.  The goal is walleye and while not big, they are in abundance with sizes in the 16 to 17 inch range.  That size of fish produces an excellent fillet, and meat is what it is ultimately all about. Five years ago Pam and I were in Nepal and this Holy Man blessed me and said I would have good luck for the next 10 years.  It cost me 5 bucks, but fishing and hunting have been great and I never caught the Covid, but I have never won a lottery.  The first week of June Pam and I headed up to Platte S.D. to stay at Platte Creek Lodge and meet up with our favorite guide.  This is outstanding gentleman fishing, as the guide supplies all the equipment, a boat packed with electronics, and the knowledge of a lifetime of fishing the reservoir.  Plus he fillets all the fish and the fillets are vacuum sealed. We met up at 7:00 AM and headed to the lake.  Rain was in the forecast with heavy showers in the afternoon.  After putting in, we headed south a couple of miles and were in 50 feet of water.  The graph was showing trees that stood up about 20 feet and right above the trees were fish, lots of fish. Now, the graph does not tell you what kind of fish, but maybe someday that will happen.   In South Dakota you can fish two rods per person. We put out six lines using a planer board on each side, another line along side of the boat and a line over the back on each side.  The guide knew exactly how much line to let out and added a weight to the two inside lines.  I do not care for planer boards.  When you get a fish on you have to bring in the side line to avoid tangles.  The guide used lead core line and we let out a lot.  Hauling it in was a chore.  Once the planer board comes to the side of the boat, the guide removes it from the line.  Then you have to make sure your line is tight or you lose the fish.  Pam and I both lost a lot of fish with the planer boards.  Fortunately, the majority were caught with the side rod and reel and the lines out the back.  The bait of choice was the Berkley Flicker Shad.  I have caught more fish with this lure than any thing I have ever fished with.  A Berkley Limited Edition Flicker Shad Jointed Crankbait turns on walleye with its chrome color available for a short time only! The chrome edition delivers the same jointed Berkley Flicker Shad exaggerated side flash and roll. The jointed tail sends extra shiny sparkle to grab the attention of walleyes in your trolling area. It started off quickly.  Bang!  We would hit a fish and sometime we had multiple lines in action.  What is interesting to catch a keeper you go through a lot of shorts.  A short is a fish under the minimum which is 15 inches.  All the keepers we landed were in the 16 to 17 inch range with a couple close to 18 inches.  Over the years of fishing this reservoir we have always caught a lot of shorts and this is a good sign of fertility in the lake as the shorts get big.  Some of the shorts were so small it looked they still had milk on their lips.  (A little humor.  We all know fish do not nurse.) We were two short of our total limit, and it just shut down.  The wind came up and shifted from a northerly direction to the south.  On that big reservoir when it gets really windy, it rocks and rolls and fishing
Opening day of the 2022 turkey season in Iowa, I confidently purchased the initial season.  This is a risk as it only lasts three days, but my confidence was high.  I am the only hunter allowed on this ground other than the land owner and it is a general meat market. There is my man "Funky."  He is doing his thing standing like a statue waiting for some big tom to come and beat him up.  He has a defender, however sitting back to the one side of the tree, and if a tom gets close, he goes to the oven. An old turkey hunter told me that most big toms are harvested between and 8 AM and 1 PM.  Over the years, I have found this to be true and no longer get up before it is daylight to be on a spot before they come off the roost.  On the farm just before 8 AM, I was set up by 08:30.  It is mid April in SW Iowa and there is little cover as the cold has lasted later than normal.  What is really interesting is we only had one snow storm, otherwise there was no moisture.  If  you are farming this is not good. Letting the woods settle down, some calls were made just to let the resident toms know there were hens in the area.  There was no reply, and that is not good.  However after about 10 minutes, there was a gobble off in the distance.  Waiting about 15 minutes some yelps and clucks were sent out to the boys, but there was no answer.  Now this bothers me as if turkeys are being heard, and the toms shooting off their mouths, it is a good sign and signals success will happen.  The farmer had run a chisel over the ground and it was slightly chewed up.  At first this bothered me, but then a pair of Canada geese flew in, and started scratching and digging up seeds and shoots.  Then another pair came in and landed and started feeding also.  I then said to myself, "self says I," this is a good thing turkeys will see this. I did not expect to see this.  Two Canada geese flew in and started what geese do, eat. Another pair flew in off to my left. Having the two pair there is a good thing for security. It wasn't long and to the north of me just entering the field was about 10 big black blobs slowly moving toward my hiding place doing their turkey thing.  Scratch and peck at the ground as they turn up something to eat.  I glassed them, and it was a mixture of hens and jakes and they were moving my way.  Now when it comes to feeding, a jake tastes just as good as a big tom, which means I am not too particular.  Generally I see a big tom or two running with the jakes and hens, but a big boy was not there.  Still, meat is meat if they come within range.  A big tom would come straight towards Funky immediately when he spotted him. Not moving but keeping a focus on the movement as the birds made their way toward me.  This is where hunting with Funky is most important.  I am not well hidden, and in fact I was a little exposed.  However, I wear a leaf suit and every piece of flesh is covered.  I sit in a folding chair with my stick across my lap.  Within a 100 yards a head came up and stared straight at Funky. Three big jakes then came straight toward Funky.  I got ready as meat is meat. All of a sudden they pulled off to my right and started to move away just as I was getting ready to harvest a turkey. They did not run, but were definitely spooked.  Then off to my left here came a nice big fat tom coming up from behind me on my left.  I did not see him as I was focused on the birds right in front of me. He came to do battle with Funky, and lost. Behind me there is a road that leads down to a pond.  He cam sneaking up the road to my left and as he came around the corner, I was already to harvest a jake.  My good luck and his bad luck.  Not a big bird, but he will eat well. Click on the book and go to Amazon.  Quick read and entertaining. Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck, Hank.