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12/16/2017 @ 10:04 PM

Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season

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Des Moines – Filling out the gift list of the outdoor enthusiast this holiday season need not be difficult. Here is a list of gift ideas.

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Sight Fishing West Okoboji Gills

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Here is an article written by our own "Setter" (Ryan Hale) on sightfishing on the gin-clear waters of West Okoboji. If you are ever going to fish that water, you need to be prepared, and this article will put your on your way to being prepared.

In-Depth Angling: Sight fishing Clear-Water Gills

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Ice Fishing: Southern Style Panfish

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To many outdoor enthusiasts, winter in the Midwest means statuesque whitetail bucks and colorful ringneck pheasants. To a growing number of hard-water fishing enthusiasts, it also means panfish, and plenty of them. Get the rest here at onicetour.com

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Panfish on Floats: Spring , Summer and Fall

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By Noel Vick with Fishing the Wildside

We all grew up with 'em. Ah yes, those glistening oversized red and white bobbers. They were a better match for Orca than nearby sunfish, buoyant as a 'no-wake' marker and nearly as large. Never once did a tugging fish submerge it.

Since then, our use of floats has matured, to say the least. But let_s first clarify some verbiage 'Floats are sophisticated. Bobbers are Huck Finnish. Alright, that_s a taste over oversimplified and prudish. To clarify: Bobbers are those straightforward and old-fashioned buoyancy agents, which clip to the line and hold bait at a fixed depth. Floats are part of a greater tactic, entailing precision, finesse, and balance. They can be pegged to fish shallow, or rigged as a slip-float, enabling the user to fish deep and at specific points throughout the water column. The best floats are constructed of balsa, an exceptionally buoyant and lightweight wood.

Given the correct cir*censored*stances, there aren't any species that cannot be taken on a float system. Walleyes, panfish, pike, muskies, trout, perch, and bass are easily engaged with a float and bait. But fin to fin, panfish are the best synchronized to float-fishing. Shallow bays in the spring, summer on the weedline, wintering holes and so on floats perform splendidly on our elliptically-shaped friends.

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Spring Crappies

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Spring Crappies By Joe Wilkinson DNR Information Specialist The light tug on his line told Gene Vislisel that he had another one. Keeping the tip of his pole high, he reeled in another crappie from the shallows of Lake Macbride. "I've been throwing some of them back, and keeping some," he said, slipping this one into the white bucket beside him where another eight or nine were held. With a light jig and a minnow, Vislisel, of Cedar Rapids, was getting fairly regular bites early this week, as crappies began moving into the shallows to spawn. Walking down the bank 100 yards, I noticed a nice 9 or 10-inch crappie in Gene Goddard's wire fish basket. He had been having pretty good luck at Lake Geode, near Burlington earlier this month. A deluge the night before, though, redirected him to Macbride. Their crappies, early this week, were among the first of many for anglers this Spring. "As water temperatures get up to about 65 degrees, crappies move in close to shore," explains Don Bonneau, fisheries research supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources. "They start spawning in the rocky areas near shore and they're really accessible to most anglers. They'll bite real well when they are in close and spawning." The advantage of boat fishing is almost neutralized. Just about anyone who can hike a few steps to a rocky bank or brush pile should get some bites. Bonneau estimates that 80 percent of crappie anglers are casting from shore during the spawning period.

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Bluegill Bite on West Okoboji Hot!

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The bluegill fishing in the canals along West Okoboji Lake has been so good early this spring, that DNR fisheries experts are predicting this year may set a new record for bluegills harvested at the lake. Joe Larscheid, DNR fisheries research biologist at Spirit Lake, said the first peak bluegill bite is about over and the next is coming up in June. "It's the fastest bluegill fishing I've ever experienced. It's absolutely crazy," he said. "This fishing will start slowing down, then pick up again in June."

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Panfish on Really Small Water

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By Noel Vick Panfish, bluegills and crappies, are creatures of habit. They flock to shallow water in the spring; deeper haunts during the summer; returning to the shallows as fall approaches. For the most part, this armchair chronology holds true. But I've discovered a division of brutish and hearty panfish that dwell in shallow places year round. They lurk in residences better associated with largemouth bass and slop, thriving in only a couple of feet of water. Tight quarters. I dub such places Really Small Water. Inlets are a good example of Really Small Water. Not the inflow of a well documented throbbing creek or brook, either, because these are 'community spots', crowded venues. Rather, I search for trickling streams and purging storm sewers, both of which introduce aquatic edibles and attract baitfish. Hydrological maps don't always reveal seasonal inflows and rarely ever show manmade ones. They're exposed through careful shoreline studies and time on the water.

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Rathbun Slab Crappies

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Based on the poll from last week, many of us are itchin' to tangle with crappies once the ice gives way. Darn near every body of water in the state will produce crappies in the spring but you can ask any experience crappie angler where you can go to tangle with the bigguns and you'll get the same answer...Rathbun. If you are at all like me, you get Iowa Game & Fish each month and have seen a number of articles on Rathbun's crappie fishery. In fact, Rathbun is a top destination for crappie anglers all over the midwest and it has been documented in a number of other printed and on-line magazines. So, instead of writing another Rathubn crappie article I thought I'd share one I like from Big River Outdoors simply titled Rathbun Crappies.

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Submerging Crappie Cover

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I was travelling east through Iowa and then through Illinois last weekend on my way to Chicago for a night on the town with my wife and friends of ours. Kevin, my hunting and fishing partner for the past 7 years noticed a lot of lakes and ponds next to the interstate had a lot of old christmas trees placed at various spots throughout the lake. Upon closer look, I noticed that each pond used somewhat different trees and they were bundled a bit differently. That begged the question "What's the best cover to submerge for crappies and panfish?" I did a bit of searching and found this article on Outdoorsite.com. In that article, Don Wirth talks about how Harold Morgan, a well known fishing guide in Tennessee, sets up cover that he calls a "crappie insurance policy".

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New Record Sunfish Caught

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Knoxville resident, Ralphy Mayer, was surpised July 29th when he caught a new state record Green Sunfish! The fish, weighing 2lbs 1oz., bested the old record set in 1997 by 3 ounces!

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