Visit to the Redlin Art Center, Watertown

We awoke on the third day of a three day trip that so far had been a total disaster.  Read over the two previous blogs.  Stepping out of the motel room there was not a breath of fresh air and the beautiful blue sky was cloudless.  Eastern South Dakota forecast showed little to no wind and clear skies with rising temperatures.  We had been totally burned to a crisp yesterday, and so it was time to grab breakfast at Perebooms and head for home.

After another excellent breakfast and fueling up the truck we headed out of town.  Pam then suggested we stop and visit the Redlin Art Center on the east side of Watertown, SD.  Every time we drive up and back on a fishing trip, we always say that we will stop the next time and visit the art gallery.  Next time had now come and we jumped off the interstate and tried to find a parking spot out of the sun.  When pulling a boat, that is not an easy task to accomplish.  The gallery did not open until 10 a.m, so we had some extra time to walk the grounds.

Terry Redlin was born in Watertown, South Dakota. He earned a degree from the St. Paul of Associated Arts in St. Paul, Minn, and spent 25 years in commercial art as a layout artist, graphic designer, illustrator, and graphic designer.  The Gallery was built in 1997, and is visible from I- 29 as you travel the interstate. Redlin’s painting “Winter Snows” appeared on the cover of The Farmer magazine in 1977. Two years later, he left his job as a commercial artist to paint full-time until his abrupt retirement in 2007.  At that time Redlin was placed in a nursing home due to complications with Alzheimer’s disease.  Terry Redlin died of complications from dementia in April of 2016.

To visit the art center on the inside and view some the outstanding pieces of art click on the following link or paste it into your browser.  https://redlinart.com/  In addition you can read an excellent writing about the artist and his life.

The Redlin Art Center

Entrance to the Art Center
Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank

Gander Mountain


 

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Bitter Lake + Waubay

Gander Mountain

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After a good nights sleep, we were ready to hit it bright and early.  This time my wife, Pam, was up before I was because she wanted to get onto Bitter and catch a plethora of walleye.  The folks at Sportsman Cove had told us we would catch a lot of fish before we caught a keeper for us.  Apparently the state of South Dakota had removed the minimum on the lake and you can keep what you catch.  That is good and bad.  Anything smaller that 15 inches in our minds is not worth keeping.  You just don’t get much meat out of fish that small.

 We were at Casey’s quick stop by 6:30 a.m. for coffee and a breakfast sandwich, the next stop was Bitter Lake.  We used the access at the southeast end of the lake which is a fine ramp and dock the state has put in. The bad news according to the people at Sportsman Cove, was the lake was low and of course the state does not mark the boulders and partially submerged reefs.  Get a good topo map if you are going to fish this lake is imperative.  I do not have one.

There are two levels parking and when we got there, the bottom level was already full by 7:30 a.m.  So after launching the boat I had to park on the upper level.  People are so excited about having to wait a little as if they will miss out on something really big.  We took the advice of Sportsman Cove and started working down the south shore in 15+ feet of water pulling spinners as we trolled along.  Getting to an area of a sunken point, there must have been 30 boats in an area about twice the size of a football field.  This must be the place.  As I glassed the area, periodically I would see someone pick up a fish that was hardly worth bringing into the boat.  I had been told the state had stocked nine million fingerling a couple of years ago.  At the rate I saw people hauling in puny little fish, it won’t take long for this lake to be fished out.  There is a certain amount of natural kill that will take place, plus the small fish are subject to bigger predators. 

I have added a couple of X’s on the map to see where we went.  A number of years a go I had fished the northeast corner of the lake and had picked up some really nice northern.  The water is really clear and if the lake doesn’t get fished out this will be a real producer.

Pam was periodically getting her wish and would score a little fish which was promptly thrown back. With the boat traffic, I basically spent most of my time watching out for other boats and never caught a fish.  This was not fun for either of us.  The next thing we knew, the lake went flat and there was not a breath of fresh air.  A sun beating down on a flat body of water is not good walleye water and we weaved our way back to the boat ramp.  We still had to wait in line to get the boat out and wait our turn to get it on the trailer.  Pam said, “Let’s go back to Waubay.  We do not have all this kind of competition on that lake.”

In northern South Dakota the sky is a brilliant blue and the fluffy clouds just look whiter.  There is very low humidity.  The lake was flatter than a pancake.  We still launched at Kanago and moved to the south end of the lake.  Along some points that stick out from the shore in years past, we have had good luck. Not today.  We boated over to the first island off of Kanago access and worked all around it.  We did pick up a small perch.  We stayed close to the area, but that must have been an orphan.  All around the island, we caught nothing and did not have a strike.  The sun was getting a little hot and I had forgotten to put sunscreen in the boat.

Moving the boat again, we headed to duck island and worked it for an hour.  Nothing happened.  Next stop was school bus point.  The bus has been gone for years, but I can remember when there would be 15 to 20 boats working the area and all catching nice size fish.  We stayed for 45 minutes, then called it quits.

The next stop was straight out of the Grenville access.  There is a U shaped area with a reserve on the south of the U.  There are usually fish inside the U between 10 to 20 feet and I have always picked up a walleye.  Sure enough, I caught two, and they were keepers.  It was 5 p.m. and we were both burned up from the sun and the flat lake.  It was time to throw it in.

Now I have fished this lake for 20 years.  Boating back to Kanago access, we went by way of duck island and Breski bay.  That would put me at the north side of the access. If you stay along the edge of the south shore you can miss all the reefs.  I should have gone south and then using the houses as landmarks on the shore turn west, then northwest to the landing.  This time I went down the north shoreline.  I thought we were deep enough.  Bang!!. I hit a sunken reef with the motor and we were in about 1 foot of water.  Taking a gaff, I pushed the boat off the reef where we could get the motor down. Fortunately, I was going somewhat slowly.  Out of the lake we could see as we spun the prop, and the prop shaft was bent and the prop was all chewed up.

Insurance will cover it, and I have an appointment with a dealer to check it all out and see the extent of the damage, and get it fixed.  My friends, there are rocks around Kanago access.  If I had been going at a good rate of speed, I could have done some real damage.  Just the same it was four numbers worth of damage.  I may have said some discouraging words, but mainly thought them to myself.  I do not have a stainless steel prop, so that saves some money.

Good hunting, good fishing and good luck.  Be sure to stay off the rocks.  Hank


 

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Back to the Glacial Lakes

We studied the weather patterns for two weeks waiting for another opportunity to travel north to Webster, SD and fish the glacial lakes.  With numerous lakes within a 30 mile radius of the town, we can always find good fishing on one of the lakes if we are patient enough and the weather cooperates.  The first item is something I have trouble with, and the second item is totally out of my control.

While we were burning up in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area, the temps in northern South Dakota were in the low 60s in the evening and middle 70s during the day.  This is good weather and it means the lakes will not be warming up too much.  Now, I just needed to pick a three day pattern that looked good with not the usual South Dakota blow that bends over the trees and whips up the lakes.

We found it the third week of June and the storm patterns had moved east.  For a three day period it looked really good.  The winds were forecast in a southerly pattern and the temperatures were stable.  With no frontal activity this would be a good time to hit it.  My wife and I hooked up the boat, loaded up with snacks and took off.

I need to touch on the motel situation.  The old Holiday Motel is now Boomers and the rooms have been totally remodeled.  In addition, they have built a new building right next to the highway, and it looks like it will be really nice.  Fish cleaning was to be done down behind Perebooms restaurant in the fish house they have there.  I would call for rates, as there is wide variance between the three place I stay.  Circle Pines is the cheapest, with Boomers (the old Holiday) next.  Then the Galley is the highest, but really nice and they have a great fish house with freezer.

Up I-29 the next morning we made the trip in the normal 5.5 hours, checked in at the motel, and then down to Sportsman Cove for some advice and bait.  Bait is also sold across the highway at the station next to the A & W.  The prices here are a little cheaper, but there is no advice given or recommendations.  We pay the extra just to get the advice.

The advice today was to go to Bitter, but also Waubay was recommended.  We decided to go to Bitter tomorrow and so it was off to Waubay and Kanago lake access.  Wind was out of the north and a good chop was on the lake.  We headed south out of the access and then east to avoid the the hidden reef.  (The next blog will have a lot more on the hidden reef.)  We headed to the first island and started fishing on the northwest side in about 10 to 15 feet pulling chartreuse spinners each tipped with a minnow or crawler.  We picked up little fish and they were promptly thrown back.  Moving out to 15 to 20 feet, a couple of keepers were landed in the 15 and 16 inch range.  The fish were not smacking like feeding fish, but all of a sudden, our lines got heavy almost like our lures had run aground.  Waiting at least 10 to 20 seconds, then doing a hook set would produce results.  Sometimes we pulled up a bunch of weed or moss.   We also picked up a large mouth bass and some small mouth bass.  I am really disappointed that South Dakota put bass of any kind in this lake.  My experience is that when the bass move in, the walleye move out and your walleye fishing diminishes.  Fishing today is not like it was 20 years ago when I first started coming up to the glacial lakes.

We fished over closer to Breski Bay and picked up a couple of walleye after about 60 minutes of working the area.  Keeping only fish that are 15 inches or greater we would catch some hungry walleye and we had to do a lot of sorting.

You will need a magnifying glass to see all the spots I have marked on the map.

A couple of weeks ago, we had worked around Duck Island and had really hammered some nice fish.  The plus side was we caught a mess of nice size white bass the eat really well when you skim off the red meat before you cook it.

These are a little small, but we caught a lot of them.  White bass seem to be plentiful on Waubay.  Skim off the red meat after filleting and you have a good tasting fish.

We started in the 10 foot to 15 foot range around the island, but caught nothing and did not even have a strike.  Moving out to the 15 to 20 foot level was really productive, and the fish seemed to be hitting the lure instead of mouthing it.  We also added either Power Bait or Bait Alive in the spray bottle.  That seemed to help and the hits were strong. Trying to stay in the depth range, we tried to stay within 50 – 75 yards from the island as we moved around it.  We went through a time period where we were picking up a fish about every 10 to 15 minutes and culling out the smaller ones.  Finally we had a limit for the day of four walleye apiece and it was only 6 p.m.  That would put us off the lake by 7 p.m., fish cleaned and packed by 8 p.m., and then dinner at the Galley Steak house.

This was really a good day, and we were looking forward to hitting Bitter Lake tomorrow.

Good fishing, good hunting, and good luck.  Hank


 

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Three Days of Walleye, Forget Day 3

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We awoke early and headed into Webster to grab some breakfast at Pereboms Restaurant.  The plan for the day was to fish till noon on Pickerel lake.  This is a beautiful lake and one of the original glacial lakes.  Clear deep water makes this body of water a real sleeper.  The people at Sportsman Cove never recommend it, but I always see a few boats working the various shoreline and points.  The lake is surrounded by upscale homes and it looks like some of the people live there year round. At the north end is a state area with excellent ramp and dock, however, you must pay a fee to the state of South Dakota.  It is only $5.00 unless you have a season pass to the state parks of South Dakota.  Sometimes I do, sometime I don’t.

The other area is at the south end of the lake.  The dock and ramp are both adequate, however, the water is very shallow in this area and a person has to be on guard to avoid hitting a submerged rock.  You do not need a state pass at this location, and the parking is limited.

The north end of the lake always produces some nice crappie.  We have also caught some decent size northern.  Taking out the Y bones produces an outstanding fillet so we will take all the decent size northern we can.   We have never caught walleye at the north end of the lake.  With a north wind, a person wants to drift down the west shoreline to catch some really fine crappie.  A plus is you get to admire some really fine looking real estate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VS_cHdKS-_A 
Here is a good link to follow to see how to take out the Y bones.

We have never fished the south end when there is a north wind.  With a strong south wind, the south dock on Pickerel is somewhat out of the wind and the bays are relatively sheltered and a fisherman should be out of the gale.

The boat ramp is at the tip of the south end of the lake.  It does not show on the map.  There are a lot of reefs and submerged rocks on the south end but once you move out to the edge of the main lake the fishing gets really good.  This is a beautiful body of water and the people at Sportsman Cove hardly ever recommend it.  Give it a try on your next trip.  Nice size northern caught at the north end.
There was no one at the south location when we put into the lake.  We motored out slowly to the lake and were met by a gale.  This was not what we had planned.  Moving into the wind we positioned ourselves somewhat out of the wind and made an attempt to fish.  Boat control was just not possible at this location.

From here we motored slowly over to the south shore and were somewhat more sheltered.  The only problem was we were in shallow water.  When I say shallow, it was ten to fifteen feet and we wanted to fish in deeper water.  It was way too windy as we moved out from the shelter of the trees on the bank into the deeper water.  Boat control was really tough, and my wife Pam was not happy with this location.  When we go fishing, she wants to fish, and not get banged around on rough water.

We tried to get closer to the shore, but had no luck, and there was no way we could handle the boat in the deeper water.  We gave up and headed back to the dock.  Crossing a section of open water, this small lake was really churned up and we were glad to be back at the dock.

We had been on the water a total of two and a half hours and that was enough for both of us.  It is South Dakota and you can always depend on the wind blowing.  The issue is from what direction and how fast.


Good Fishing, good hunting, good luck.  Hank
Gander Mountain


 


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Three Days of Walleye, Day 2

We woke early the next morning to a major disappointment.  The wind was not blowing, it was close to howling.  The direction was right where the forecast said, but it was way stronger.  Our plan was to go to Bitter Lake south of Waubay, but with this wind and my lack of knowledge of the lake, we were uncomfortable.  Still we had driven 300 miles to get up here and the plan was to fish Bitter on day two of the trip.

We drove down to Bitter to take a look and the lake was really rocking and rolling.  There must have been fifty boats in the two parking lots, and they were all in one area hoping to catch a fish.  With the wind from the southeast a 100 yards from the dock, things really got rough.  This was not for us, especially with the lake so low.

We headed back to Webster and went to visit the folks at Sportsman Cove. We told them about checking out Bitter and were now going to try to get on Waubay.  Kanago access was not recommended as the wind would be driving the waves into the dock.  Access to the lake would be really tough and it would be harder getting off.

North of Kanago access is West Bay Ranch.  There is a dock and boat ramp used by the campers.  You pay $5.00 for using the dock for the day.  It was still windy there, but somewhat protected by the banks.  The area is a small bay that leads into Breski Bay and the main part of Waubay Lake.  We paid the $5.00 and put in.  My wife Pam said that we might have trouble getting the boat on the trailer if the wind got any worse, and it did.

We headed out and positioned the boat on the north side of one of the islands but still within some wind to pick up a good drift.  Using spinners and crawlers we drifted with the wind with the spinner just turning at a good speed.  We were using chartreuse for the color as that was what we caught fish on the previous day.

Pelicans followed us all around duck island as we fished.  At times we turned and they were within 10 feet of the boat.  I think they are looking for a handout after we catch something and throw it back.

This drift produced solid hits and a couple of keeper fish.  It was a fine way to start the morning.  The wind continued to pick up and we moved up to the next series of islands and positioned the boat on the downwind side.  The area we moved into is called duck island and we started out in 10 feet drifting into 15 feet.  The temperature was cool and so was the surface water temperature.  The feeling was to start out in the shallow water and drift out to the deeper.  The game fish would feed on the bait fish that would be hanging close to shore.  We got nothing.

Why keep doing the same thing when you do not catch anything?  We moved the boat and started the drift in the 15 foot range and let the wind take us out to the 20 foot level.  The lake at this location is not much deeper than 20 feet.  Bang, bang, bang, we started hitting fish.  That was the good news, but the bad news was they were all white bass.  I have nothing against white bass, but we wanted walleye.  We will take all the white bass we can catch.  Experience has shown that after you skim off the red meat on the fillet, they taste really good.  We caught a lot of small ones and they were thrown back and now and then a really nice keeper. After we had boated a half a dozen, we moved the boat away from an island we had kept as a guide post.  My wife Pam caught the majority of the white bass.  It just seemed like every time she dropped her lure in the water she had a hit.

Pam did some damage to the white bass population.  Most of the fish caught were smaller that these, but we had some really nice bass.  They eat good.

Moving the boat over made a big difference.  In a range of about 20 yards of drift, we consistently caught some really nice walleye in the 15 to 16 inch range.  These were keepers and they went right into the live well with the white bass.  We stayed in this general area about two hours and until we were totally sunburned. It slowed for us here and we still had two more walleye to fill out our limit for the day.  Again, Pam caught the majority of the walleye.  I truly believe when it comes to fishing with live bait women have better hands and can feel the soft strikes and when they swallow the bait.

This is the typical size we kept.  Filleted out they make a great meal for two people, not unless you are so hungry you eat two.

Moving along the chain of islands and staying out of the wind, we tried some new locations that we had never fished.  There was a really good reason we had never fished here.  There were no fish.  Still we tried it out.

What was taking place was the wind had started to pick up considerably.  While fishing behind the islands we were totally unaware of what had been taking place.  Now to get to the dock.  Once inside the bay where we had put in, all would be well, but we had to cross a windy part of the lake.  Moving out from behind the islands, the swells were running two and one half feet high with a three footer now and then.  We motored slowly and got the boat into the bay. The bow of the boat would really dip down and the stern and motor at time I thought would come out of the water.  We moved very slowly.  If water had come over the bow, I would have move to the back of the boat and run the kicker to the bay.  That would keep the nose up and prevent water from coming over the bow. We made it.  Fortunately, at the dock was a person who was fishing and he helped us hold the boat while I backed in the trailer.  The forecast was for the winds to pick up even more later in the day.  It was a good thing we got off the lake.

The reason I like to bring all this up is that I have fished this lake for almost 20 years and it really pays to keep track of your conditions.  It just seems like you never know when it is going to change regardless of the forecast.  Having said all that it is still a good place to go.

We drove up to the Grenville access to see what it was like.  It was worse than the Kanago Access as the wind was driving the water right into the dock and boat ramp.  It would have been close to impossible to get your boat off the water without banging the motor on the concrete ramp or damaging the boat on the trailer or dock.

All in all, we had a good day and caught a lot of fish, and that is what it is all about.

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank

Gander Mountain

 

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Three days of Walleye, Day 1

For the last two weeks, I studied weather patterns in eastern South Dakota waiting for the right time to head north to Webster, SD and pound the lakes there for walleye and whatever else was swimming by our lures.  The windy conditions just kept prevailing and would follow with storms and torrential rains.  None of this is good for fishing.  There is one thing a person fishing the glacial lakes can depend on; the wind will always be blowing.  The velocity and the direction are the next two variables.

My wife, Pam, and I found a three day window where it looked really good.  Forecast winds were not in access of 15 mph and the skies were generally clear or partly cloudy.  High pressure was in the forecast.   With all this in mind, we called up to the motels and to my amazement two of the three were full.  The Circle Pines in Waubay was available and it is a good place to stay.  We just have to do some extra driving which is a minor inconvenience.  The good news is it is walking distance to the Purple Cow Ice Cream Parlor.

As we drove up, we had northwesterly flow and our fuel consumption was not the best pulling a boat.  In South Dakota the speed limit goes up to 80 mph on the interstate.  I drive 70 mph for fuel economy as the faster I go with the truck and boat, my fuel consumption goes way down.  The natives paid no attention to the 80 mph as they flew by me.

Eastern SD has had a lot of rain.  The corn was way up with a dark green color.  Even from the interstate as we sped along, we could tell the plants were really healthy.  Barring any unforeseen weather that would spoil it, this area should have bumper crops.  Now if the price was only decent.

 Arriving in the little town of Waubay by noon, we checked in at the Circle Pine Motel and headed to Webster 11 miles away.  After a quick bite at the local A&W, we headed over to Sportsman’s Cove to pick up some bait and get the latest news on where to go.  The first recommendation was Bitter Lake south of the town of Waubay, but there were a lot of boats fishing the lake and the water level was way down.  I do not know the lake well and with low water that made me nervous about smacking a submerged rock or reef.  The state of South Dakota on these lakes do not mark the shallow spots with buoys and every time I go up there I plan to write to the DNR and complain.  The out of state people spend a lot of money there.

Anyway, our plan was to fish Lake Waubay.  We put in at Kanago access.  Wind was out of the northwest so we launched there.  Putting the boat back on the trailer will be no problem with wind.  There is a good parking lot with good ramps and dock.  Plus there is a modern no flush toilet compliments by the state of South Dakota for your convenience.

We boated around the reefs toward Breski Bay and stopped on the northerly side of one of the islands.  At this location we drifted with the wind pulling spinners.  Pam had a minnow, and I put on a crawler.  We had a multitude of light hits and picked up some 13-14 inch walleye.  We threw them back even though you can now keep a 14 inch fish on Waubay.  It was just too small so we kept 15 inch or bigger which is still small, but we could get a decent fillet out of it. Fifteen inches two years ago was the minimum length you could take and now the state has lowered it. What does that tell you about the glacial lakes?

Working the bay produced nothing.  The fish had definitely gone deep.  We never got one hit in the 10 to 15 foot range even with all the cool air the area had enjoyed.  Moving out to the 15 to 20 foot range was where we picked up the hits.  The breeze produced just the right amount of drift to turn the spinner blade.  I changed to leeches just to see if I would pick up some hits.  After graphing fish, Pam would pick up a hit or a small walleye on a minnow or crawler.  I would get nothing, so after an hour of this lack of action, I went back to the crawler.

We were finally able to pick up one limit of fish, but not two, and this was a big disappointment.  The sky had gone totally void of clouds, and with the nice breeze we wanted to try out another location.  Straight south of the boat access was a series of points along the south shore.  In past years, fishing had at times been fast and furious.  We moved to this location and started working the points out to 20 feet of water.

We got the same action.  The hits were light and it was not a good indication of feeding fish.  Still we continued to work the areas, but it was not productive.  I have always been amazed how one day you can be on a hot spot and the next day it is like there were never any fish there to begin with.  It is called fishing, not catching.

Still, we had a really successful day and caught a lot of small fish with one limit of fish with a 15 inch minimum.  The people at Sportsman Cove said we would have to do a lot of culling.  The water on the lake was the clearest I have ever seen it and with the high sun, may have driven the fish to a deeper part of the lake.  That is probably the reason we were in 20 feet of water to catch fish.  It was a good day.


 

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank

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Beautiful Icaria

Icaria is an island in the Agean Sea 10 miles southwest of Samos.  It is also a lake four miles north of Corning, Iowa and about sixty miles from my home in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

We had tried the lake a couple of years ago, and now it was time to hit it again.  One of my friends in the hunting club I belong to told me he was given some hot tips on how to fish the lake for walleye.  Fish attractors had been placed in the lake at multiple locations and were marked on a map up by the Iowa DNR.  The state does a great job on helping sportsmen harvest game with plenty of stocking and providing good fishing locations.  The recommendation was to get on top of the fish attractors and jig up and down.

We were concerned that it might be a little late. It was the middle of June and water temps in the surrounding lakes and ponds were getting warm.  The plan was to follow the hot tip and put the boat on top of the fish attractors and jig with a chartreuse jig.  Also we would work around the attractors jigging the lake in five to fifteen feet of water.  

We had been there probably twenty years ago.  It was a deep clear lake but it was packed with people fishing.  Several years ago it was drawn down to clean out the rough fish and re-stocked with crappie, bass, catfish, and walleye. I have caught a lot of fish up at Webster, SD, but a location close to home was welcomed. 

We started out early with a big breakfast at the Council Bluffs Fish and Game Club, grabbed some crawlers, and headed over to Corning, Iowa.  Four miles north of Corning lies Lake Icaria.   We were really impressed with the campgrounds and parks the state of Iowa had completed in the area.  Several boat ramps were available, and if you own a motor home or 5th wheel camper, there are some really nice options.

A road bed extends across the lake at this location and we worked both sides.  The graph just hummed with targets and we had some hits, but they were really soft and nothing was boated.  To each side of the roadway, water depth was about fifteen to sixteen feet. 
The water was clear and the bank plunged down to fifteen to twenty foot depths.  Our only drawback was the surface temperature was 72 degrees.  We put on spinners and dropped them to the bottom, reeled them up a foot or two and back trolled against the wind and then drifted with the wind depending on where we were on the lake. The wind was starting to pick up in the 20 to 25 mph area, but in a small lake surrounded by hills, it was not a problem.   Near a submerged roadbed called Kale Road, we picked up some hits.  We could feel the light bite, but we were not getting good hook sets.
Spillway area at the dam, and looking southwesterly.  Close to the dam the water was only fifteen feet, but out 20 yards it dropped right down to 20 to 25 feet.  To the left of the picture the bank is really steep and the water depth is in the thirty foot range.
We got on top of the fish attractors and jigged up and down letting the boat drift  out to fifteen feet of water and then moved back over the top of them again.  Good drift produced a lot of hits and we would pick up a fish or two, but they were all small.  I would almost classify them as bait size.  Still catching fish is what it is all about and we were doing it.  I changed rods to ultra light for both Pam and myself and that helped feel the nibble.  Still we the fish we caught were not in the keeping range. 

Map of the lake.  The fish attractors are marked on the map and we worked all of them plus along the face of the dam. 

We had also purchased a book called “Sportsman’s Connection” for the state of Iowa and it provided an excellent drawing of the topography of the lake.  I am going to check this book out for other states that I fish, mainly South Dakota and Kansas.  You can review what they have to offer for your state at their website www.scmaps.com. 
Both graphs were humming and we showed a lot of fish with the majority below ten feet.  With the heat that had taken place, it was not surprising that the walleye had probably moved into deeper water.

Northern shoreline close to the dam. 
The wind had picked up considerably but with a smaller lake to fish on, it was not a problem.  We moved to the face of the dam.  At this location and out about 75 yards, we graphed a lot of fish suspended just off the bottom.  Toward the southwest shore the water got deeper down to thirty feet.  Out from the face of the dam at least ten yards, the water was twenty to twenty-five feet deep.  The bottom third of the graph was packed with fish.  

Southern shoreline showing a road that disappeared under the lake.
We changed from jigs to spinners and back to jigs and moved to the north shore letting the boat drift with the wind and kept the jig almost on the bottom.  Sometimes we would let it fall to the bottom and jig it up and down, but there was no action at all.   The weather turned warm and it was definitely time to go home before the sun beat us to death.

This is a beautiful lake and in July, we are going back down and fish for bass with some top water lures in the early morning. 


 

Good fishing, good hunting, and good luck.  Hank

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Hitting Manawa Hard

The early spring when the temperatures were chilly, it was rainy or windy and on many days or a little of both.  Dredging operations were scheduled on Lake Manawa to start and we did not know what the effect would be on water quality or the different method of dredging that would be used.  So, I missed a month and did not get on the water.

The dredge is to the top of the picture.  Notice the pipe coming off the back end of the unit.  This is one of the signs that is posted in the lake for the boaters.  The buoys are not visible supporting the pipeline, but you motor right over the top at a low spot between the boys.  I lifted the motor to the max and still keep the prop in the water.

Putting in at the Fish & Game Club on a beautiful June morning we made our way slowly close to the dredging operation to put the boat on the southwest side of the lake.  This is hydraulic dredging. 

The dredge floats on the water and pumps the material through a temporary pipeline to an off site location, several thousand feet away. The dredge acts like a floating vacuum removing sediment very precisely.
Hydraulic dredges use a discharge line, and a return line, which are the only disturbances to the surrounding environment. These lines can easily be run under roads or sidewalks. Other than this, the dredge, which is not much larger than a small boat, is the only machine to be seen. It is an unobtrusive method that does not require disturbing the shoreline and requires one trip in to put the dredge in the water and one trip out when the project is complete.

The pipeline comes over to this unit, and I assume this must be some form of pumping station because the next stop is the area where the sediment is collected and piled higher than the trees.  I understand this material will be used by the highway department.

 Hydraulic dredging uses the energy of pumping water at a high velocity through a pipeline to carry sediment away from the lake bottom to a distant location. Because moving water is utilized as the mode of transportation for the sediment, the water and sediment must be separated once the sediment has reached its final destination.

This is an aerial map of Lake Manawa. At the top of the map where the finger sticks out is where the dredge was located.  The finger sticking out of the water at the lower left is Boy Scout Island, and where we worked around and off the tip of the peninsula.  A lot of fisherman fish this area from the bank.
The sediment is separated from the water in a temporary settling basin. Since the slurry velocity greatly decreases once it is discharged into a settling basin, there is no longer energy to carry the solids. Therefore, the solids fall to the bottom and clear water flows over a weir to return to the lake. When the dredging is complete and ample time is given for this material to dry. The material can also be loaded out and beneficially deposited at other various sites to fill in low areas, utilized for topsoil, etc.
Driving to the south side of Lake Manawa, there are two pipelines coming out of the lake, around a picnic area and under the roadway.  Beyond the levee that surrounds the area, was a huge pile of sediment that had been taken from the lake.  We tried to find a way into the area to get a picture, but were not able to do so.  
Another warning sign.

The dredging company had put colored marker buoys over the top of the floating pipeline and warning signs were posted on where not to go.  It was slow going for about 50 yards in the general area of the barge, and the prop was just barely in the water as we crossed over the pipeline.  

Now to the fishing.  It stunk.  The water temperature was 72 degrees at the surface and I would have preferred to have it much cooler, but it was our fault we did not get over sooner.  We steered the boat to the west bank and moved out to about 5 feet of water.  The breeze was perfect for using a jig and floating it above the bottom of the lake and working it up and down.  A crawler was the bait of choice per the recommendation of the bait shop.  Also with the greenish water color, we selected chartreuse as our color.

The chute to the center of the picture leads to the south end of a housing area on the west shore of the lake.  Fish about 20 yards out and south to the next picture.  I have had luck there in really cool weather.
For the first hour, nothing happened.  As we approached the south shore, we started getting some hits.  These were small fish and probably could not get the bait in their mouths.  Covering the bait with Berkley’s Powerbait increased the hits, but nothing was taking a hold.  A couple of times I felt resistance, eased up on the pressure then set the hook on nothing.  The assumption was if it was a walleye, they were mouthing it.  One needs to be patient, and then give the rod a strong hook setting action.  That strategy was a failure.  

Start at the chute from the above picture and fish south to the dead tree.  I have had luck doing that, but today was not the day. It beats working.

 We worked around the peninsula on the south end of the lake, but had no luck.  With the sun high and pounding on us, it was lunch time and my wife and I were both hungry.  Tomorrow is another day. 


 

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.   Hank

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A Beautiful Bird Comes Again

They
have appeared again and we do not know where they came from.  A
neighbor who is really into birds told my wife to put out some grape
jelly and we would see a beautiful bird come and feed on the grape
jelly.  It is the Baltimore Oriole.  The oriole is a singer with a rich
whistling song that echoes from tree tops and parks.  Now the birds
are in our neighborhood.  We always thought this bird lived in the
eastern states, but here it is in Iowa.  The male has brilliant orange
plumage while the female appearance is much more subdued. 

 
Click on the logo to visit the website for great buys.

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank

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Exciting Turkey Hunting

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In the past week we had a total of ten inches of rain and things were really soaked.  When I previously scouted the new farm the pasture grass was only ankle deep.  You could set up anywhere you wanted and the turkeys were plentiful with plenty of sign.  How things have changed in a week.  The rain had made part of the farm not passable due to the mud across an earthen dam in the valley.  Plus, the pasture grass was now knee high.

The experience I have had with tall grass is the turkeys do not like it.  An old turkey hunter that is a friend of mine also told me the same thing.  The farm was covered in tall grass in a majority of the valleys except around the wooded areas of standing timber.  This made hunting really tough.  However, the land owner had plunked one on opening day.  I have always liked hunting Iowa’s last season because the hens are generally bred out and the toms just seem to be more receptive.  The boys are out looking for love and most of the girls have been spoken for.

HEVI-Shot Magnum Blend Turkey Load Shotshells
Get great result with this shell.  This is what I shoot for turkeys.

Another old turkey hunter told me that most big toms are harvested after 8 a.m. which is well after they have come off the roost.  I have only shot one turkey that had just come off the roost and that was on another farm and in cool weather.  He came out of the tree behind me and commenced to let his presence be known to the girls.  I gave him a couple of yelps and some clucks and purrs.  He stepped out of the woods only to be made into roast turkey.  He tasted good.

Anyway, I got to the farm around 8 a.m. and halfway through the gate two big toms walked across the road and into the woods.  There was not time to grab my gun out of the case, load up, and lay out some metal.  They were gone, but they were in no hurry.  That was a good sign as I planned to head back to the tree line and set up.  I wanted to see if they could be sweet talked into coming back to the road’s edge.

I parked the truck a couple of hundred yards from where I saw the birds.  I loaded the equipment on my back and  headed to the location to hunt.  Off to my right was a steep hill with short grass on it and trees at the top.  Then I heard a loud gobble.  It was obvious there was a love hungry tom in the woods or beyond.

I started up the hill looking for a decent place to hide and one was found up against a tree.  It was a little exposed to the front, but my leaf suit and the knee high grass would help for cover.  I would be visible from the stomach up while sitting in my chair, but I was well in the shadows.

This is where the action took place.  I am in the shadows and the tree line is 60 yards out. 

He gobbled constantly so I gave him the old “Come and see me, big boy” call and some clucks and purrs.  He never shut up but did not come to the call.  The strategy was shifted to the “Hey, big boy, are you looking for love?” call.  Still he did not come.  It was strange that he moved from the top of the hill to the lower levels.  I picked out his location just by the location of the sounds.

My question was,”What should the strategy be?”  I was not happy with my location as it was a long shot to the edge of the timber, even though Hevi-Shot was loaded into the shooting stick. It was obvious he was not coming to the call but would eventually stay close to the edge of the timber.  The overwhelming urge now was to crawl through the tall grass till I was closer to the top of the hill.  That would put me in a better position and a shorter shot.  Sometimes my distance judging skills are not very good.  My guess was the edge of the timber was 40 yards from my location.  I was getting really edgy waiting for him to appear.

The decision was made to quit calling.  He had enough invitations to come and make music with a beautiful young hen.  He kept it up.  Up and down the hill he went and then all went silent.  Just below the top of the hill in front of me a red head appeared.  It looked around, then went down.  The shooting stick was then positioned against my shoulder.  My left arm rested on my leg and the harvesting machine was in my left hand.  All I had to do was lift it up and make a short swing.

He did not make a sound.  The next thing I saw was his red head sticking up above the ridge line again.  He was just on the edge of the timber above me and he kept looking around.  I’ll bet he felt like he was just stood up by a hen or two. Haven’t we all been there.  Bathed in sunlight  he looked absolutely gorgeous.  When lit up in sunlight the birds look so colorful.  There was no way I could take a picture.  Movement had to be minimal and now was the time to harvest him.

With the butt of the gun in my shoulder, the shooting iron was moved off my knee quickly to bring him into sight.  He saw the movement and was startled.  Just as I cut loose, he was on the move and  kept moving.  I did not even roll him and his head did not droop at all.  With a lot of noise he was off into the woods.

I climbed up to the hill where the shot was taken and there was no sign of blood or feathers.  I stepped it off  back to my location and the distance was not 40 yards but 60 yards.  The most damage done to him was probably a sore butt for a couple of days.

Looking down from the top of the hill.

I climbed back to the top of the hill hoping another bird might appear, but after an hour it was lunch time and I headed home.


 

Gander Mountain

Good fishing, good hunting, Hank

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