Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

April 3, 2006

Overwhelmed and overloaded


Abbi and I cut through a line of people, turned a corner, and there it was, a wall of LCD screens, everything from global positioning systems, fish locators, depth finders, and new underwater camera products.

All in the same moment I was amazed, intrigued, confused, and completely overwhelmed.

A step closer brought thousands of tiny buttons on the array of electronic equipment into view, with a turn of my head I saw a row of at least 100 different fishing rods, that’s when I became overloaded.

Within a moment and after years of experience, I felt like I knew absolutely nothing about fishing.

How could I catch a fish without knowing how to program the latest in GPS technology, using a new $300 plus fishing rod, or installing a new combined graph and underwater camera system on my boat that included a 14” screen?

First I wouldn’t be able to find a good spot on the lake without the GPS, then I wouldn’t be able to cast my hook tipped with an angle worm because I didn’t have the right rod, and none of that would make a difference because I wouldn’t be able to locate fish without the camera and graph system.

After an hour of looking at new boats, water toys, kid-sized life jackets and, of course, the hundreds of displays on resorts from Africa to South Dakota and the latest and greatest of recreational vehicles, that is how our experience at this year’s Northwest Sport Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center went.

The better parts of the show experience included trying to nab a trout in the fishing pond where it felt like fishing was still simple, although it was in an indoor pond in the middle of a big city. Abbi shooting at a bunch of targets in the DNR sponsored kids laser shooting range, learning how to do a better job of connecting my leader to my fly line, and then holding a live starfish.

At the end of our show experience we listened to a sales pitch from a neat guy who was trying to sell a new fishing lure he had developed.

The lure was a spoon where the hooks slid up into the lure and were then attached to a small spring making the lure weedless.

When a fish hit the lure the spring would release the hooks. New, but at least not as confusing as a combined fish locator, sonar and GPS unit with a few hundred buttons on it.

On the way home, I told eight year old Abbi about my Grandma Ida who loved to catch bullheads on the Crow River with a cane pole.

She had a great time fishing and never spent a minute looking at the screen of a fish locator or even untangling the line in a fishing reel.

I remember her biggest advancement in fishing technology being the switch from an old bamboo pole to a collapsing fiberglass cane pole.

The year she switched to the fiberglass pole a big carp snapped it in half, and I had to run back up to the farm and get her old cane pole.

Oddly enough, when it came to fishing she never seemed overwhelmed or overloaded, except for that big carp.

Trapshooting at Lester Prairie Sportsmen club

Practice rounds for the upcoming 2006 trapshooting season begins Wed., April 19 from 6:15 p.m. to 9 .m.

League competition begins Wed., April 26 from 6:15 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

For additional information contact Ed Mlynar at (320) 395-2258.

Winsted Sportsmen’s Club hog roast April 8

The Winsted Sportsmen’s Club will have a hog roast Saturday, April 8 at the Winsted Legion from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Besides the hog roast, there will also be a meat raffle and a membership drive.

Tickets are $7 in advance, or $8 at the door.

Advance tickets can be purchased at the Winsted Co-op, Winsted Floral, Kegs, Tommy’s Corner Bar, or from sportsmen’s club members.

DU banquet set for April 11

The Crow River Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will host its 26th annual banquet Tuesday, April 11 at the Blue Note in Winsted.

Social hour begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

For more information, contact Ken Durdahl at (320) 543-3372 or Howard Barth at (320) 543-3526.

PF offers landowners tips for bidding wisely during the limited-time general CRP sign-up

Pheasants Forever (PF) is encouraging Minnesotans to consider enrolling in the current Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) sign-up running through April 14th.

CRP is the nation’s single most effective conservation program for improving wildlife habitat, protecting water quality, and preventing soil erosion.

In Minnesota, CRP has been the most important tool for increasing pheasant numbers throughout the land of 10,000 lakes.

Hunters and wildlife enthusiasts agree the past three years have been good for pheasants in Minnesota.

In fact, last year’s pheasant counts showed a 75 percent increase over 2004 and a 68 percent increase over the 10-year mean.

As a result of the combination of CRP acres, PF habitat projects, and favorable weather conditions, Minnesota has experienced the best bird numbers in decades.

“For those who ventured into Minnesota’s pheasant country this past winter, an oft-heard refrain has been, ‘Gosh! Isn’t it great to see so many pheasants around the countryside again?’ Agricultural landowners throughout Minnesota, and especially those in the historical pheasant range have a rare opportunity to do something positive to keep those numbers on the upswing,” explained Matt Holland, PF’s director of conservation programs for Minnesota.

The opportunity Holland is talking about is the current CRP General Sign-Up #33 that kicked off on March 27th at local county USDA Farm Service Agency offices and continues through April 14th.

The primary limiting factor for pheasant populations in Minnesota is nesting cover - upright grassland that is safe and undisturbed during the nesting season - generally running from May 15th to August 1st.

USDA’s general CRP sign-up allows landowners to bid eligible environmentally sensitive lands that establish those larger blocks of grassland habitat needed by nesting pheasant hens for contract periods of 10-15 years.

Interested landowners should contact their local USDA Service Center http://www.fsa.usda.gov/mn or Farm Bill Technician http://www.minnesotapf.org/crp.

PF’s farm bill biologist Jason Selvog provides the following tips for landowners bidding land into CRP.

Selvog urges landowners to consider these items to give your bid the best chance at competing in this national sign-up.

1) Sign up for the CRP Practice that will give you the highest score, generally this is CP25 (rare and declining habitat- native prairie).

2) Ideally bid a CP25 with a wetland restoration practice.

3) Select parcel to bid in wisely; to score competitively (see EBI factors at http://www.minnesotapf.org/crp).

4) Consider bidding your annual rental rate at up to $15 below maximum Soil Rental Rate.

5) Consider refusing cost share.

“There are several strategies that landowners can use to score a few extra points, and hopefully gain a successful bid,” stated Selvog from his office at the Stearns County Soil & Water Conservation District. “General sign-ups are competitive, so a person has to weigh options. However by bidding the right practice on the right parcel of land, and by refusing a buck or two an acre, your chances improve dramatically.”
In the last general sign-up, 84 percent of Minnesotans bidding land into CRP were successful.

“Habitat acres enrolled through private land conservation programs like CRP are the meat of the Minnesota pheasant plan,” stated Aaron Kuehl, PF’s regional wildlife biologist for Minnesota’s southern pheasant range. “Our goal is to work with landowners and natural resource partners to increase the quality and quantity of CRP bids.

Ultimately, more CRP in Minnesota will equal more pheasants in the state and more roosters in your vest.”

DNR recognizes five new state-record fish
From the DNR

Reginald “Mark” Raveling’s record-breaking largemouth bass will be among five state record fish the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will recognize in an awards ceremony at the Northwest Sports Show in Minneapolis April 1.

Raveling caught the eight-pound, 15-ounce largemouth Oct. 3, 2005 using a Rapala lure and 40-pound line while fishing Auburn Lake in Carver County, near the town of Victoria.

State record holders will receive a plaque and certificate acknowledging their accomplishment from DNR Commissioner Merriam at the awards ceremony.

Other anglers to be honored include:

Neil McKay - Topeka, Kansas, May 19, caught a three-pound, 10.6-ounce longnose sucker, using a worm/hook on six-pound line. The fish was taken from Brule River, near Grand Marais, in Cook County.

Lyle A. Mortenson - Hinckley: May 23, caught a 12-pound, nine-ounce river redhorse, using a worm and 12-pound line. The fish was taken from the Kettle River, near Hinckley, in Pine County.

Corey L. Thompson - Maple Grove: June 14, caught a one-pound, 4.8-ounce Green Sunfish, using a 1/8 ounce Northland Jig/Lindy grub and eight-pound line. The fish was taken from Arbor Lakes in Hennepin County near Maple Grove.

Daniel Volkmann - Minneapolis: May 20, caught a 12-pound, 10-ounce River Redhorse using a worm and 10-pound line. The fish was taken from the Kettle River, in Pine County.

To qualify for a state record, anglers must have their fish weighed on a certified scale witnessed by two observers, have the fish positively identified at a DNR Fisheries office and complete a notarized application with a photo of the fish.

A complete list of Minnesota’s state record fish can be found on page 76 of the 2006 Minnesota Fishing Regulations handbook.

Outdoor notes

• Take the time to watch spring happen. Before you know it the grass will be green and the trees will be full of leaves.

• It’s time to get your open water fishing gear ready for another season.

• Ice out on most of the lakes in our area should occur sometime within the next two weeks, and please remember that no ice, especially ice at this time of year, is ever completely safe.

• Watch for bald eagles on our area lakes. Eagles like to follow the ice out line on their way to nesting grounds farther north.

• The peak of the spring waterfowl migration should take place this week.

• Look for dandelions to start blooming next week.

• The 2006 Minnesota fishing opener is set for Sat., May 13. That’s 41 days from now.

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