Week of September 10, 2012
|Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues|
|Other Breaking News Items|
From the pro guides of lure mfg. Bomber, Rebel, Heddon, Smithwick, YUM. Cotton Cordell, Lazy Ike, Lindy, etc
By Daniel Quade
Late summer into early autumn can be a tricky time to tackle walleyes, as wandering ‘eyes transition between their summer and fall seasonal haunts. But with the right game plan, anglers can still enjoy some of the year’s finest fishing.
Walleye sage and longtime northwoods guide Bill Rosner knows the drill. Three decades of putting clients on fish across the upper reaches of Wisconsin and Minnesota has taught him plenty about tapping into the early fall bite.
From late August into mid-September, he targets classic late-summer structure such as the fish-rich transitions from rock to sand or gravel, typically in 24 to 32 feet of water.
“Rigging nightcrawlers is the way to go right now,” he says. He nose-hooks a ’crawler on a size 4 red hook, which trails along tethered to a long snell like the 42-inch Lindy Rig X-Treme. If bait-snipping crayfish are present, he opts for the rig’s floating version to keep his ’crawlers out of harm’s way -- at least until a walleye can find them.
“With either the floating or standard rig, a 3/8-ounce walking sinker is perfect for maintaining bottom contact in these depths, at speeds of .4 to .8 mph,” he notes. “I use my electric trolling motor to idle along transition lines, watching the sonar for baitfish and walleyes.”
As water temperatures cool down, typically around the third week of September on Rosner’s home waters of Minnesota’s mighty Lake Vermilion, walleyes shift toward deeper structure. “Pinch areas, like troughs that connect sunken humps -- or saddles between the tip of a long point and a sunken island -- attract baitfish and larger predators,” he explains. Depths of 32 to 35 feet are common.
Here, too, Rosner gives rigging the nod, though he benches ’crawlers in favor of lively, beefy minnows. “I use the same rigging setup, only with a larger, size 2 hook and a half-ounce walking sinker,” he says. Redtail chubs are hot baits in autumn, attracting the attention of hungry ’eyes that are feeding heavily in the cooling water.
Rosner commonly nose-hooks his minnows, being careful to keep the bait alive, but he sometimes experiments with tail-hooking for a different presentation. Using a 7-foot, medium-light spinning combo spooled with 6- to 8-pound Silver Thread AN40, he drops the rig to bottom, then lets out about 10 feet of extra line and begins slow-trolling at the same pace he uses for ’crawlers, up to .8 mph max.
“Don’t close the reel’s bail,” he cautions. “Keep it open, holding the line with your finger. When you detect a bite, feed the fish line until you think it’s time to set the hook.” The severity of the strike—along with how much time to allow before closing the bail, reeling down and driving the hook home—depends on the walleye’s mood. “Some days the fish really nail it, and you can set almost right away,” he says. “Other times, a bite feels
like you snagged a wet towel, and you have to wait. I’ve waited as long as
a minute-and-half before setting the hook during tough bites.”
Redtails often betray imminent strikes as they get nervous and panic when eyeballed by a hungry walleye. “It’s a really good sign when your rodtip starts to shake,” he grins. “You know a walleye is moving in for the kill.”
The deep-rigging game is deadly all day, but at first and last light, Rosner fires up his kicker motor and speed-trolls crankbaits in shallower water.
“The same types of pinch areas are good, but I’m targeting depths of 12 to 18 feet, when the fish are a bit shallower during these low-light periods,” he explains.
A host-of true-tracking cranks catch fish while he trolls at a quick pace. His favorites include Lindy Shadlings and Cotton Cordell Walleye Divers in “perchy”-looking patterns, which mimic the predominant forage.
“I use a line-counter reel to long-line baits about 120 feet out, on 6- to 8-pound Silver Thread, without any extra weight,” he says. “The baits should run close to bottom -- within a foot or two of it -- without grinding the whole time.”
Rigging and trolling are two solid options for early fall walleyes, but veteran guide and tournament angler Dan Palmer adds casting crankbaits to the mix, particularly when he focuses on ’eyes patrolling windswept rocky shorelines on Lake Wisconsin in the south-central portion of the state.
“Breaklines and channel edges are good later, when the water temperature drops to about 55 degrees,” he said. “But in early fall, shallow rocks lying just off the main lake’s shores are still red hot, especially when the wind is blowing into them.”
Key depths run 3 to 5 feet. To avoid spooking skittish fish in such skinny water, Palmer fires long casts. He also fishes parallel to shore—which keeps his bait in the strike zone virtually the entire retrieve. Round-sided, shad-style cranks like the Bomber Model A, up to about 2 5/8 inches in length, are his favorites. “Crayfish patterns are killers,” he notes.
His favorite presentation is a stop-and-go cadence that imparts erratic action—what Palmer calls “erraction” -- to mimic the darting gyrations of skittering craws and fleeing baitfish. “When I feel the lure contact structure, I stop and let the bait rise, then reel down again and continue the retrieve,” he explains.
The shallow rock pattern typically holds water through September. As it fades and the water cools, Palmer begins trolling deeper-running crankbaits on lead-core line along channel edges. But that’s a story for another day.
For now, the casting, rigging and speed-trolling tactics he and Rosner outlined above offer anglers a three-pronged attack for taking walleyes on a variety of waters throughout the early days of autumn.
Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues
Chambered in .22 Winchester Magnum
Ruger is introducing the Ruger Single-Nine, a nine-shot, single-action revolver chambered in .22 Winchester Magnum.
The Single-Nine features a nine-shot cylinder and is constructed from durable satin-finished stainless steel. With a 6.5" barrel and smooth, hardwood, “Gunfighter” grips, the Single-Nine is well-balanced and points easily. Williams fiber optic sights are click-adjustable for both windage and elevation, providing a crisp sight picture that is enhanced with front and rear fiber optic inserts.
“The Single-Nine builds upon the success of the Single-Ten,” remarked Mike Fifer, Ruger President and CEO. “The higher capacity cylinder is sure to please fans of the powerful .22 Magnum cartridge, and the 6.5" barrel helps the .22 Magnum reach more of its velocity potential. The trim, “Gunfighter” grips and fiber optic sights make the Single-Nine easy to point and aim,” he continued.
For more information on the new Ruger Single-Nine, or to learn more
Model # - 8150
Stainless Steel material
Caliber; .22 WMRF
Barrel Lgth: 6.50"
Sights: Click adjustable
Overall Lgth: 12"
Weight: 39 oz
About $ 629.00
Adds Two New Reticle Options
Bushnell Outdoor Products, has introduced two new reticle options in its Elite Tactical 6-24x 50mm riflescope. Previously available with a standard or illuminated Mil-Dot reticle, the Elite Tactical 6-24x riflescope is now also available with first focal plane G2DMR and BTR-Mil reticles.
The Elite Tactical 6-24 x 50mm riflescope features fully multi-coated optics and the new anti-reflective Ultra Wide Band (UWB) Coating, a customized coating process designed to deliver the best possible light transmission from the front of the scope to the eyepiece. What that means for shooters is enhanced clarity, exceptional brightness and true color from dawn to dusk.
Developed in conjunction with GA Precision, the G2DMR reticle is a non-illuminated first focal plane reticle that provides a clean sight picture while giving shooters the capability to judge range and aim precisely at long distances. The G2DMR uses .5 mil hash marks that graduate to .1 mil hash marks at the end of the stadia. The reticle allows for accurate hold over, hold under and windage adjustments, making precision shot placement possible without ever adjusting the dials.
The BTR-MIL reticle offers shooters expanded capability over the standard Mil-Dot design. The first focal plane reticle features an illuminated 1 mil diameter circle with a .25 MOA center dot. The vertical and horizontal
stadia are marked in .5 mil hash marks and .2 mil measuring lines to allow for more precise range estimation and aiming using the mil system. The illuminated BTR-Mil reticle can help shooters quickly adjust for windage and elevation on shots at all ranges and in nearly any ambient light condition.
Hammer-forged from high-quality, rugged T6061 aluminum, the Bushnell Elite Tactical series scopes are 100 percent waterproof, fog proof and shock proof. With the scope's extended magnification range, the 30mm one-piece tube offers added windage and elevation capacity. In addition, each scope in the Bushnell Tactical line is equipped with target turrets for quick and easy adjustment and rapid target acquisition.
Bushnell takes all-weather performance a step further with its patented RainGuard HD lens coating. The permanent, water-resistant finish causes moisture from rain, snow, sleet and condensation to bead up and scatter less light, giving shooters a clear view when weather conditions present a challenge.
Backed by the Bushnell Bulletproof Guarantee, each product in the Elite Tactical series includes a 100 percent money-back guarantee. The no questions asked guarantee is valid for a full refund from Bushnell up to one year from the original date of purchase. For more information about the Elite Tactical series, visit the product section online.
For big game hunters across the globe, the Browning X-Bolt is now available in 375 H&H Magnum. It has all the same features as the popular Browning X-Bolt model and is available in two versions, Medallion and Hunter.
The Medallion model has a steel engraved receiver with a blued finish. The barrel also has a blued finish and is free floated in the stock. The stock is a gloss finished checked walnut with a rosewood fore-end cap. The Hunter model steel receiver and barrel have a low-luster blued finish. The stock is a satin finished checkered walnut.
The 375 H&H Magnum X-Bolt receiver is drilled and tapped for the X-Lock
scope mounting system. The bolt action has a 60◦ bolt lift for easy use and quick function. The Feather Trigger is easily adjustable to give the shooter a clean, crisp trigger.
The detachable rotary magazine lines up each shell in the middle of the magazine for positive, consistent feeding. To help reduce felt recoil and muzzle climb, the rifle features Browning's Inflex Technology Recoil Pad.
X-Bolt Medallion 375 H&H Mag: About $1,069.99
X-Bolt Hunter 375 H&H Mag: About $ 939.99
This past week, temperatures climbed above their seasonal averages. Most of the basin experienced some precipitation with many areas receiving up to an inch. Parts of the Lake Ontario basin received over two inches of precipitation. Heading into the weekend, there is a good chance of precipitation across the Great Lakes basin, with more significant precipitation amounts predicted in the southern extents of the basin. The wet weather is expected to leave the area by the end of the weekend, and be replaced by cooler, more seasonal temperatures.
LAKE LEVEL CONDITIONS
The water level of Lake Superior is the same as the level of one year ago, while Lake Michigan-Huron is 10 inches lower than its level of a year ago. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 14, 14, and 11 inches, respectively, lower than their levels of a year ago. Over the next month, Lake Superior is forecasted to drop 1 inch from its current level, while Lake Michigan-Huron is expected to fall 2 inches. The water levels of Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are forecasted to fall 4, 4, and 3 inches, respectively, over the next thirty days. See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.
FORECASTED MONTHLY OUTFLOWS/CHANNEL CONDITIONS
Lake Superior's outflow through the St. Marys River is projected to be below average for the month of September. Lake Huron's outflow into the St. Clair River and the outflow from Lake St. Clair into the Detroit River are
also expected to be below average throughout the month of September. Lake Erie's outflow through the Niagara River and the outflow of Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River are predicted to be below average in September.
Lake Michigan-Huron is below chart datum. Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels. Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.
The Michigan and Wisconsin DNRs will hold a public workshop designed to
provide input on the new, jointly managed Menominee River State Recreation
Area. This workshop will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 6-8 PM. (CST), in
the auditorium of the Norway Public Schools, located at 300 Section St., in
planning/development/management of a state recreation area is a unique
Michigan and Wisconsin DNR staff will be at the workshop to present
information about this new recreation area, to outline the "concept of
management" and to interact with the public to gather input on what is
significant about this property. Input from this workshop will be the first
of many opportunities for the public to share and contribute toward the
future of this exciting new park and partnership between the two states.
Since 1985, the NYSDEC has surveyed boats operating in New York waters of Lake Ontario’s main basin from April through September. The data collected from counts and interviews of fishing boats are used to manage Lake Ontario’s multi-million dollar trout and salmon fishery and provide valuable data on other fish species.
The 2012 preliminary April 15 – May results indicated that Lake Ontario anglers experienced excellent trout and salmon fishing during the first portion of the open lake fishing season. Preliminary results indicate that above average fishing quality continued through July, particularly for Chinook salmon (3rd highest June and 4th highest July catch rates) and rainbow trout (highest June and 2nd highest July catch rates).
Fig 1-Total trout and salmon catch and catch rate, and harvest and
harvest rate April 15 – July 31, 1985-2012
Boats targeting trout and salmon (salmonines) through July 2012 accounted for 25,147 boat trips (78.3% of all fishing trips), similar to estimates observed since the mid-1990s. Effort directed at salmonines during June and July was comparable to previous 10-year averages (+6.7% and +6.1%, respectively). Estimated smallmouth bass effort during the pre-season catch and release period remained low as in recent years (521 boat trips April 15-June 15).
From the start of the traditional bass season on June 16 through July 31, 2012, there were an estimated 3,828 boat trips targeting bass, the 2nd lowest on record.
Trout and Salmon Catch, Harvest & Fishing Quality
The April 15 - July 2012 salmonine catch (123,272 fish) and harvest (58,901 fish) estimates were comparable to previous 5-year averages (+8.3% and +4.8%, respectively; Figure 1). Salmonine catch consisted of Chinook salmon (36.9%), brown trout (25.2%), rainbow trout (17.2%), lake trout (15.1%), coho salmon (5.1%), and Atlantic salmon (0.5%). During both June and July, Chinook salmon dominated angler catch (10,058 and 19,825 fish, respectively) and harvest (4,858 and 10,981 fish, respectively). Rainbow trout was the 2nd most commonly caught and harvested salmonine (6,515 and 11,100 fish, respectively).
Trout and salmon fishing quality, as measured by catch rates, remained at or near record high levels during each month April through July (range: 4.4 [May] - 8.2 [April] fish per boat trip). The April 15 - July catch rate (4.9 fish per boat trip) and harvest rate (2.3 fish per boat trip) were the 2nd highest observed in the 28-year data series and are attributed to above average fishing quality for most salmonine species.
For the 10th consecutive year, Chinook salmon catch rates remained near record high levels (Figure 2). Preliminary data indicated that the April 15 - May catch rate (1.5 Chinook caught per boat trip) was the 3rd highest recorded. High catch rates continued through June (2.0
Chinook salmon caught per boat trip; 3rd highest) and July (2.1 caught per boat trip; 4th highest). Chinook salmon harvest rates (0.9 and 1.2 fish per boat for June and July, respectively) were also among the highest observed.
Fig 2-Chinook salmon catch rate and harvest rate April
15 – July 31, 1985-2012
Coho salmon fishing quality from April 15 – July decreased 33.5% from the previous 5-year average; however, was 74.1% higher than the 1985-2005 average (Figure 3). Catch rates during June and July (0.14 and 0.09 Coho salmon caught per boat trip, respectively) were 51.9% and 28.9%, respectively, lower than record high rates observed in recent years (i.e., 2006-2011).
Fig 3-Coho Salmon catch rate and harvest rate April
15 –July 31, 1985-2012
As typically occurs, the 2012 brown trout catch rate was highest during April and May (April 15 – May catch rate = 1.9 brown trout caught per boat trip) and was among the 3rd highest observed for that time period. Brown trout catch rate during June was 0.6 fish per boat trip, slightly below (- 12.8%) the long-term June average. Fishing quality improved during July to 0.8 fish per boat trip, the 6th highest recorded for that month. The April 15 – July 31 catch rate for brown trout is the 5th highest observed (Figure 4).
Fig 4-Brown trout catch rate and harvest rate April
15 – July 31, 1985-2012
The April 15 – July catch rate of rainbow trout was 0.8 per boat trip, the 2nd highest for that time period (2011 was the highest; Figure 5). This year anglers experienced the best June (1.3 caught per boat trip) and 2nd best July (1.2 caught per boat trip) rainbow trout catch rates observed.
Fig 5-Rainbow trout catch rate and harvest rate April
15 – July 31, 1985-2012
Lake trout fishing quality declined during the mid-2000s (based on seasonal April-September estimates) due to the combined effects of anglers selectively targeting other salmonines and relatively low adult lake trout abundance. In recent years, however, lake trout catch rates have improved (Figure 6). During June, lake trout catch rate was 0.7 fish per boat trip, a 98.5% increase compared to the previous 5 year average (2007-2011). Catch rate declined in July to 0.3 lake trout caught per boat trip, comparable to the previous 5- year average for July.
Fig 6-Lake trout catch rate and harvest rate April 15
– July 31, 1985-2012
Atlantic salmon have been historically rare in angler catches; however, above average catches have persisted for four consecutive years (2009-2012). Preliminary 2012 data indicate that catch rates remained similar to the relatively high levels observed during 2009-2011.
Smallmouth Bass Catch, Harvest & Fishing Quality Smallmouth bass fishing quality during the traditional open season beginning the 3rd Saturday in June has been poor in recent years (in areas outside of the Eastern Basin; Figure 7). Smallmouth bass catch rate among anglers targeting bass during June 16 - July 31, 2012 (3.4 smallmouth bass per boat trip) remained well below average; however, was 2.2 times higher than the record low observed in 2009. Bass harvest rates remained low and relatively stable, primarily due to high release rates among bass anglers (Figure 7). Many factors may affect bass fishing quality, and little is known about the current status of the bass population on the south shore of Lake Ontario.
Fig 7-Smallmouth bass catch rate and harvest rate
since the start of the traditional season (3rd Saturday in
June – July 31, 1985-2012)
SPRINGFIELD, IL – An ongoing outbreak of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) in white-tailed deer in Illinois has resulted in reports from concerned citizens of more than 700 deer mortalities in 51 counties through August, according to data compiled by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).
EHD is a viral
disease, spread by tiny biting gnats, which can cause high fever and severe
internal bleeding in deer. While often fatal in deer, EHD is not hazardous
to humans, livestock or pets. EHD is related to, but not the same as “blue
tongue,” which affects sheep and cattle. Domestic animals can be infected
but rarely develop serious illness, according to the Illinois Department of
“Problems related to EHD can become more pronounced during drought years,” said Tom Micetich, IDNR Deer Project Manager. "Exposed mudflats provide conditions that favor hatches of the disease-carrying insects. Later in the summer, deer become more concentrated around the limited water sources, and the disease may begin to spread more quickly. Mild winters may also contribute, resulting in higher gnat populations the following summer.”
Contrary to rumors, EHD kills both bucks and does. However, the timing of outbreaks occurs while deer are segregated – with doe/fawn groups and bachelor buck groups not mixing much during summer months. When one animal becomes infected, it is easier for the remaining members of the group to be exposed.
Hunters and landowners who find sick or dead deer that they suspect may be related to EHD, especially in or near water, are asked to contact their nearest IDNR field office or regional office to report them. Discoveries of EHD-related deer mortality may also be reported to Tom Micetich at 309-543-3316, ext. 231; or email: [email protected]. Anyone reporting dead deer should include their name and contact phone number, as well as the county, number of dead deer, and specific location of the deer (distance/direction from the nearest town).
There is no effective management treatment for this disease. An insect-killing frost typically ends an EHD outbreak. “That would be one more reason to hope for cooler weather, soon,” said Micetich.
Public accessible in Time for Minnesota Hunting Seasons
The Federal Premium Wildlife Conservation Area at Kings Island was recently dedicated and is now open for hunting just in time for the fall season. This piece of land sits on the banks of the storied Mississippi River and is located minutes from Federal Premium’s Anoka, Minn. factory.
Honored for Being Business Leader
At the City Council’s July 23 meeting designating the area, Anoka Mayor Phil Rice said, “Federal Premium Ammunition has been an anchor in the business community of the city of Anoka, Minnesota for many years and Federal Premium Ammunition has been one of the City’s top employers for several generations and the top employer for many of those years. The City of Anoka is proud to have Federal Premium Ammunition as an integral part
and valued member of our community.”
The City of Anoka officially dedicated the property on Friday, August 10 after the City Council recently amended their ordinance to allow bowhunting and waterfowl hunting there--within the city limits.
“For a company like ours there is no higher honor than naming a public
hunting area after us,” said Conservation Manager Ryan Bronson. “Our
employees and neighbors will be able to enjoy this jewel on the river
for generations and be reminded of the investments Federal and Anoka are
making for wildlife every day.”
Law enforcement range will add weekend public access this fall for $10 fee
MADISON -- Thanks to a pilot project agreement between the Wisconsin DNR and the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, the public will have weekend access to the Dane County Law Enforcement Training Center Range near Waunakee on weekends this fall for a $10 fee.
This trial run is an expansion of the current public access arrangement, which allows the public to sight-in firearms for the two weeks prior to the 9-day gun-deer season.
DNR Hunting and Shooting Sports Coordinator Keith Warnke and Sergeant Dave Ritter of the Dane County Sheriff’s Department called the market test good news for area hunters and shooters looking for a safe, convenient facility to prepare for the hunting seasons or simply to enjoy the sport. “Partnering with Dane County to increase access to the range in this case is more effective than trying to build a new range,” Warnke said. “However, the DNR and the Dane County Sheriff’s office will evaluate the effectiveness of this pilot and decide whether it will be continued.”
Ritter expects a positive response. “We believe that there will be strong attendance throughout the expanded period the range is open to the public. Funding for this project comes from shooters and hunters through the Pittman-Robertson (PR) Wildlife Restoration grant program. The grant revenues are taxes paid by shooters and hunters on ammunition and firearms equipment. “This is an appropriate use of these dollars,” Warnke said.
The Dane County Law Enforcement Training Center is equipped with five firearm shooting ranges. Each of the five ranges provides a different type
of shooting environment. Its primary function is to provide Law Enforcement Officers with realistic and functional training.
The range will be open the following dates and times:
Target stands will be provided at the range. Shooters should bring ear and eye protection, targets and their own ammunition.
Fees of $10 per person per day will be charged by the Dane County Sheriff’s Department. During the hunter sight-in program, November 3-16, a fee of $5 for each additional gun will be charged. Fees must be paid with cash or personal check. Credit cards are not accepted.
Minors: Minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. A minor must be at least 12 years old and present proof of enrollment or completion of the DNR Hunter Safety Program in order to shoot at the range. The Training Center is located at 5184 Hwy 19 in the Town of Westport, one mile east of the intersection of Hwy 113 and County Trunk I.
MADISON -– The 2012 Fall Hunting and Trapping Forecast [PDF, 7.1 MB, 55 pages] is now available on the Wisconsin DNR website. Hunters, trappers and wildlife enthusiasts will find information on upcoming season structures, deer research and wildlife populations, regional hunting outlooks, wildlife rules and regulation changes and more.
The forecast is broken down into sections that cover upland and small game, waterfowl, deer, bear and furbearers.
With the recently released Deer Trustee report recommending more input
from the hunting public the forecast also includes information on how
hunters and sportspeople can become more involved with deer management by participating in wildlife surveys and studies.
The forecast also includes a message from DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp encouraging people to help build the next generation of hunter and trapper conservationists by sharing their hunting and trapping experiences though youth hunts, mentored hunts, and learn to hunt programs “so that our grandchildren and great grandchildren can enjoy the outdoor pursuits we have today.”
Other Breaking News Items
(Click on title or URL to read full article)
Waukegan harbor dredging to commence this
Bait shops to be tested for Asian carp
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — The first “Judas fish” have been released. As the Biblically inspired name suggests, the fish — surgically altered lake trout, implanted last week with tiny radio transmitters on a gently rocking open boat by a team of scientists here — are intended to betray. The goal: annihilation
COMMENTARY: Great Lakes top priority for IJC
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