CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. -- When is prime time for South Dakota walleye action? Now!
Anglers on the Missouri River are plainly visible from thousands of passers-by on Interstate I-90. Launch ramp parking lots are full of trucks from Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota and Nebraska, plus hundreds of in-state anglers. The walleyes are moving up Lake Francis Case towards traditional river spawning areas from Chamberlain to Big Bend Dam.
Despite higher spring-time flows the fish are biting. When Professional Walleye Trail pros and amateurs begin competing in the Midwest Pro-Am on Wednesday the fish should be done spawning and be feeding heavily. The key for contestants in pursuit of nearly $250,000 in prize money will be locating the highly-mobile females. Male walleyes usually remain in shallower, warmer water after spawning and make up the bulk of the catch.
PWT contestants will pre-fish for several days to determine the best tactics, then each will put the best game plan into action. A morning start is followed by weigh-in from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. each afternoon at Cedar Shore Resort in Chamberlain. Track the weigh-ins live by logging on to real-time scoring at www.in-fisherman.com. Select your favorite pros and play the Fantasy Walleye Challenge at www.fbc2000.com.
Bowfin club season about to begin
The Minnesota Bowfin Club (MBC), started in 1999, is dedicated to fishermen who enjoy the challenge of catching one of Minnesota's most aggressive roughfish on artificial lures. The tournament season takes place each spring and results are reported on an honor system. The individual reporting the largest fish is Grand Champion for the year. The current state record is 10 pounds, 15 ounces.
The Bowfin, commonly known as dogfish, is a roughfish with no possession limit or closed season. However, MBC promotes catch and release. Tournament rules state that all bowfin must be returned to the water alive and unharmed. Membership in the club is limited. Lifetime memberships are available. Phone (218) 828-6154 for tournament rules or more information.
Practice these tips for safe turkey hunting
Statistically, a golfer is about 50 times more likely to take a trip to the emergency room than a spring turkey hunter, according to the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF). Spring turkey hunting incidents have dropped nationally from a high of 8.1 per 100,000 in 1991 to a low of 2.95 per 100,000 last spring. Minnesota has never had a fatal turkey hunting accident. Only six shooting injuries have been reported since turkey hunting resumed in Minnesota in 1978.
The National Wild Turkey Federation offers the following tips for those who plan to hunt during one of Minnesota's six wild turkey hunting seasons, which open April 18 and close May 27.
-- Select the largest stump, blow-down, tree trunk or rock that is wider than your shoulders and higher than your head to place your back against when calling; a hunter is more likely to spot another hunter when moving to the front or side than from behind;
-- Eliminate the colors white, red, black and blue from your hunting outfit; this includes handkerchiefs, socks, underwear, etc. These are the colors of a turkey gobbler's head and could be mistaken as such;
-- Select your calling spot in open timber rather than thick brush. Eliminating movement is a key to success, not concealment;
-- Be discreet when imitating the sound of a gobbling turkey;
-- A good hunter can always detect movement in the forest by watching other game or listening for the alarm cries of bluejays, crows, squirrels or woodpeckers. Stay alert;
-- When songbirds, crows or your turkey becomes quiet, look out; there's a good chance another hunter is moving in on your bird;
-- Never move, wave or make turkey sounds to alert another hunter of your presence. Remain still and speak in a loud, clear voice to announce your presence. These tactics are safer than quick movements.
Walleye Alliance to meet May 2
The monthly meeting of the Brainerd Chapter of the Minnesota Walleye Alliance will take place at 7 p.m. on May 2 at the Elk's Club in Brainerd. The guest speaker will be Marv Koep, former owner of Koep's Pro Shop, Nisswa. Koep owned the shop, headquarters for Nisswa Guides, for 31 years. Al Lindner, Ron Linder and Gary Roach were original members. Koep sold the store in 1991 and has guided full time for the past nine years. He was inducted as a "Legendary Guide" into the National Freshwater Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame in 2000.
Rainy River success was mixed this spring
The Rainy River border fishing season closed April 14 after beginning about March 22. Anglers began by launching boats over ice shelves. Then the river re-froze and was inaccessible until about March 29. For the next week the weather remained stable, the river progressively opened each day and fishing was good to excellent. This lasted for only a week.
Beginning April 6, heavy rain and strong wind hit the area. Another midweek storm brought more rain. This raised water levels and reduced clarity. Angling success was poor in the mid-stretches of the river. Activity shifted to International Falls, above the Big Fork and Little Fork Rivers. Ramps were congested and angling success was only fair.
During the open water period on the river DNR conservation officers took enforcement action for various boat registration and safety equipment violations, over limit violations, walleye length limit violations and angling license violations.
The fishing season on the river re-opens May 12.
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