The weather in SW Iowa and Eastern Nebraska just does not co-operate. First there is the constant cold. Well not really icy cold, it is a damp cold that just goes right to the bone. The golf course lake we live near is frozen over one day and thawed the next. We have been getting a few snows, but nothing like the east coast, that just seems to get one blizzard after another. Then there is the constant wind. We never have this much wind that I can remember, but we are getting it now, and with the cool temperatures it makes it that much worse. This is western Iowa, not Florida, and you need to plan on it every year.
My batteries are charged up on the boat, and I keep waiting for Lake Manawa just a couple of miles from my home to come up in depth and warm up. The DNR has told me countless times this is great walleye lake, but my success has been nothing to brag about. When it gets warmer, the plan is to fish the lake early in the morning and late in the evening.
When it come to fishing, the plan is to head to Stockton, Kansas and fish Webster Reservoir. This will be my first stop when the weather turns. Kansas has some outstanding lakes developed for irrigation purposes. The state has done an outstanding job of stocking and maintaining great populations of fish. This is done by using a slot for the fish caught. Below a certain length you throw it back, and also above a certain length you throw it back. I really like this system. It provides excellent fishing for as long as the lake exists and remains healthy providing there is a good spawn.
When you come off the lake, there are people employed by the state of Kansas to inspect your catch. They are taking measurements and keeping track of what is taken out. Using a netting method, the wildlife division of the state nets the fish and determines the density and the sizes of the fish in a lake or reservoir. Pulling into the lake there is a state office there with wardens. Stopping to visit with them is really important. They know daily what has been going on, and I have never been disappointed with the advice given.
The next stop will be up to Webster, South Dakota. I am hoping I can make it up there in May and June. Right now it is a snow covered prairie, but when it warms up and the ice comes off the 30+ lakes, this area is a bonanza. I have never fished all the lakes and I learn of a new one each time I head north. Fishermen like to talk.
The lakes were all formed from the glaciers as they traveled south digging out low spots in the earth many thousands of years ago. The rains over the last few years filled up the low spots and formed amazing lakes. With the state stocking walleye and other game fish, on a good day it can be the best you have ever experienced. A few years ago a friend and I, over a 2.5 day period, caught a minimum of 150 walleye apiece each day throwing them back as fast as we caught them. Catching a possession limit of nice size fish was no problem. It hasn’t happened to me lately, but I always have good luck.
The important thing about fishing South Dakota is the weather. I highly recommend if possible to plan your trip around days with high pressures and days with modest wind and southerly flow. It does change up there frequently and you can really run into some rough days.
The turkeys in SW Iowa and eastern Nebraska are in amazing abundance. That is the good news. The bad is you still have to hunt them in the usual fashion; hiding, calling and waiting. The farmer up at Fort Calhoun, Nebraska called me to make sure I was coming up. He is seeing some really big toms, and the farm is mine to hunt. Up north of Tekamah where I shot a 28 lb tom last year, the opportunity has really expanded. This property is landlocked and full of timber and pastures and makes for excellent hunting with the abundance of birds.
In Iowa, just a few hundred yards from my home is a wooded pasture. I have permission to hunt this field and have done really well late in Iowa’s last season. Driving by the farm, the turkeys are thick.
The weather will change, the winds will move to the south and beautiful weather will prevail. I will be hunting and fishing as there are mouths to feed.
Good Hunting, good fishing, and good luck. Hank