Shorts and Sun

Wow, what a change in just a short period of time.  The wind came up and blew out of the southwest and the lake rocked and rolled.  This is great walleye water, but there was no cloud cover and old sol put the burn on us.

Pam did not want to get out in the wind and sun.  It was not so much the wind as the sun was really bright and high even though we were on the lake by 7:30.  The temp when I got up was hitting 75, and scheduled to move into the 90s by noon.  We started it right off picking up fish using a jig and a minnow.  That is the good news, but the fish we caught were all shorts.  A short is less than 15 inches and all we were catching were the shorties.  They were acting a little more hungry this morning.  Hopes were high.

We had started the same location as the day before but the fish were of no size.  It was beyond the term as a shorty.  Some of these fish would have made great bait.  At least they hit hard and rather than calmly tightening the line and wait for a little wiggle before hook setting.

Let your electronics be your guide was once told to me by an old walleye fisherman and we had all that you could get.  All that was left was to throw out the depth charges.  South Dakota does not allow fishing with TNT. 

We moved to another location.  It looked like we were going to hunt the walleye rather than fish for them.  At a new location, we got nothing and moved again.  What is interesting we continually graphed fish in the lower depth.  We were fishing in a range of 20 to 25 feet in depth. 

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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 lieā€¦

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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Funky Scores Again

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.

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The Wolf That Got Away

Canis lupus

Canada supports the second largest gray wolf population in the world, after Russia. Wolf habitat is diverse in this large country where, historically, wolves ranged in most areas. Currently, wolves in Canada occupy approximately 90 percent of their historic range. The 10 percent of Canada without wolves is primarily near the southern border, except near Lake Superior where wolves still live.

This is the second half of the combo hunt.  I had already harvested the moose in short order and now it was the wolf hunt.  I was teamed up with a gentleman and his wife and their goal was a mule deer.  The area abounds with mule deer and the biggest whitetail deer I have ever seen.  The deer hunter was after a trophy.  The plan was for me to hunt moose early, and then ride along with the deer hunter while we looked for deer.  Later in the day toward evening, we would head back into the scrub, wooded areas, canola fields and areas where the oil people had equipment.  Then it was moose time.  This was the plan until I bagged a moose.  Then, I would be hunting wolf the rest of the time. 

On the third morning I bagged my moose and so from now on, it would be wolf time. 

Not a big moose, but the smaller ones have not had years of testosterone running through their veins.  We have already had some, and it is outstanding.  Absolutely no game taste to it at all.  Almost like eating premium beef.

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Alberta Moose Hunt

Beautiful Alberta

With my vaccination record and a Covid test prior to reaching the border, it was off to the Spirit River area in Alberta Canada.  Over 2,200 miles one way, it took a mere three days of driving.  The drive was enjoyable and seeing all the country we rarely hear about added pleasant memories to the trip.  Crossing the border at Sweetgrass/Coutts got me into Canada.  At the kiosk on first entry, my passport, proof of at least two vaccinations for Covid, and the completed test for the virus at least 72 hours before crossing was required.  Then they asked me where I was going, what I was going to do, and when I would arrive there. 

Next step was to go into the administration building where my contract with the outfitter was examined and my paperwork to bring a firearm into Canada was examined.  The final step was to pay my fee to bring in the firearm and off I went.  Total time was about 30 minutes. 

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Japanese Ambience Festival

Display in the Gardens with a Shinto Shrine on top.

For an entire weekend in October, Lauritzen  Gardens grounds was alive with merriment as guests celebrated the joys of autumn and experience the Japanese culture first-hand.   My wife is a member and we go to the gardens whenever there is a program.  This one was special since several years ago we spent three weeks in Japan on a tour. 

The Omaha Sister Cities Association helps host the Autumn and Japanese Ambience Festival, with a variety of activities to celebrate the Japanese culture. Japanese Ambience also celebrates the anniversary of the gift of the Japanese Sunpu Castle Gate at Lauritzen Gardens by Shizuoka, Japan, Omaha’s first Sister City.

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We Have Been Waiting for This Season

 

The Aspen trees are in full bloom with the coming of fall.

It is here.  The season hunters have all been waiting for, “Fall.”  It arrived September 22nd, and one of the first signs is the turning of the sumac.  Fishing is really picking up now and will be good through October, if you can put up with the cool to cold weather and the windy conditions that go with it.  I have one friend that fished South Dakota and had outstanding catches of walleye and perch.

We who live in the northern hemisphere have probably all noticed longer days and shorter nights in the summer and the opposite in winter. This phenomenon occurs because the Earth’s axis is not straight up and down at a 90 degree angle, but it is instead tilted a bit.

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It’s Never Over Till It’s Over

 

We needed one more fishing trip up to Lake Francis Case before calling it quits, and this day was day two.  The month of June was a beautiful month and the severe heat was coming that we all experience during July and up into August.  The fish keep feeding, it is just that they go deep and seem to be more spread out.  Anyway this is the feeling of the guide we have fished with for several years.  He was born, raised, and worked in the area all his life.  He is no stranger to Lake Francis Case. 

This was day one of the trip. Continue reading