decorah envirothon - fishing for iowa's finest gamefish

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Fishing for Iowa’s Finest Game Fish Fishing for Iowa’s Finest Fish

Author: john-kraus

Post on 22-Jan-2018




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  1. 1. Fishing for Iowas Finest Game Fish Fishing for Iowas Finest Fish
  2. 2. Bluegills are the most common and one of the tastiest gamefish in Iowa. They fall into the panfish category. Note the dark blue gill flap.
  3. 3. Bluegills thrive in small weedy lakes and farm ponds around the state.
  4. 4. Bluegills hide in the weeds and wait for food to crawl or swim by.
  5. 5. This water boatman bug would be a real bluegill treat.
  6. 6. Bloodworms living on the bottom in the mud are also favorite bluegill food. Bloodworms living on the bottom in the mud are also favorite bluegill food.
  7. 7. Bloodworms have skinny red bodies. Iron-rich hemoglobin helps them breathe in oxygen even when buried in the mud.
  8. 8. Believe it or not, but bloodworms turn into midges, or stingless mosquitoes when they get mature.
  9. 9. These little grub baits for bluegills look a lot like bloodworms, don they? Dynamite when tipped on a teardrop jig.
  10. 10. Mealworms are another good bluegill bait option.
  11. 11. Hard to beat a plain old garden worm for bluegill bait.
  12. 12. The best thing about bluegills - you dont need fancy tackle to fool them.
  13. 13. Suspend baits down where the bluegills wait near the bottom.
  14. 14. A feisty bluegill fooled by an angleworm.
  15. 15. Bluegills are great fun to catch at any age!
  16. 16. Bluegills can also be caught by brave ice anglers in winter.
  17. 17. Bluegills are great eating any time of year.
  18. 18. Bluegill fillets floured with cornmeal & ready for frying.
  19. 19. Fresh deep- fried bluegill fillets.
  20. 20. Bluegills are often confused with other sunfish. Bluegills are often confused with other sunfish.
  21. 21. This pumpkinseed is another colorful sunfish.
  22. 22. Pumpkinseeds have a red dot on their dark gill spot.
  23. 23. Green sunfish have that red dot on their operculum too. The state record weighed 2# 1oz.
  24. 24. Green sunfish thrive in weedy farm ponds.
  25. 25. Find a clear place to cast and start catching.
  26. 26. When that bobber starts to bounce, set the hook.
  27. 27. Put the green sunfish on a stringer and try for another.
  28. 28. Black crappies are another prolific & popular panfish. They have speckled blackish bodies and round profiles. The state record black crappie weighed 2# 12oz.
  29. 29. Black crappies often school in lakes near shoreline rock jetties or sunken structures like brush piles.
  30. 30. Mississippi River backwaters are another good place to fish for black crappies.
  31. 31. Black crappies concentrate near drowned wood in backwater habitats, as thats where the food hides. Black crappies concentrate near drowned wood in backwater habitats, as thats where the food hides.
  32. 32. This flashy spotfin shiner is a favorite black crappie food.
  33. 33. Black crappies gulp small minnows in with gusto.
  34. 34. Small jigs that imitate injured minnows are great crappie baits.
  35. 35. Be careful when catching black crappies as their mouth is paper thin and tender.
  36. 36. Look for lots of black crappies to be congregated around flooded weeds and brush when they spawn in May.
  37. 37. Black crappies grow bigger than bluegills and sometimes weigh two to three pounds.
  38. 38. Feeding crappies can be caught on floating poppers on warm calm summer evenings.
  39. 39. Time to cast that popper out and catch a black crappie.
  40. 40. Black crappies bite in winter too, often right at dusk.
  41. 41. Check out that black crappies dorsal fin for an ID check. There should be 7 or 8 separated spines
  42. 42. White crappies are close cousins. They have 6 dorsal spines compared to the black crappies 7-8.
  43. 43. White crappies thrive in Mississippi backwater sloughs in southern Iowa.
  44. 44. That submerged stump is sure to attract a school of white crappies in southern Iowa farm ponds and lakes.
  45. 45. White crappies have dark vertical bars splitting down their sides. State record 4# 9 oz
  46. 46. White bass are silvery with faint black longitudinal stripes along their sides. They hunt in packs for minnows and shad.
  47. 47. Threadfin and gizzard shad are fatty fish full of protein for white bass. Theyre common in the Mississippi River
  48. 48. Tailwater dams along larger rivers concentrate scrappy white bass searching for shad.
  49. 49. Gizzard shad flee in panic when attacked by white bass.
  50. 50. Crappie minnows or shiners, like this emerald shiner, can be fished below a bobber.
  51. 51. White bass can be fooled with a variety of different shiny baits. State record 3# 14oz.
  52. 52. Jigs can be yo- yod back with or without a minnow trailer.
  53. 53. Small heavy spinners, like a Kastmaster, are fantastic white bass baits.
  54. 54. Fly rod streamers fool white bass too
  55. 55. White bass can fill the stringer in a jiffy if youre fortunate enough to find a feeding school. White bass can fill the cooler in a jiffy if youre fortunate enough to find a feeding school.
  56. 56. White bass fish & chips.
  57. 57. Yellow bass are a colorful white bass cousin. Whereas white bass can grow two or three pounds, yellow bass seldom exceed eight inches in length. Yellow bass are a colorful white bass cousin.
  58. 58. Yellow bass are only found in a few Iowa lakes, and are uncommon in the Mississippi River. Clear Lake is a top spot to catch the novel yellow bass. State record 1# 9oz
  59. 59. Whereas white bass often grow over a foot long, yellow bass seldom exceed eight inches. Still a fine catch!
  60. 60. Yellow bass and all Iowa panfish can be caught in winter as well as summer
  61. 61. Yellow perch are another colorful yellow fish that can be caught through the ice in winter.
  62. 62. Yellow perch are cigar-shaped compared to a yellow bass and have dark vertical bars streaking their sides.
  63. 63. Yellow perch travel in large schools, hunting for minnows like this blacknose dace
  64. 64. Live minnows or small shiny jigs that imitate minnows will tempt a hungry yellow perch. Live minnows or small shiny jigs that imitate minnows will tempt a hungry yellow perch.
  65. 65. Boat marinas around lakes or on the Mississippi River often attract baitfish and yellow perch. Ten-inch perch are jumbos. State record 2# 7oz
  66. 66. Yellow perch are an excellent eating fish!
  67. 67. Yellow perch make perfect panfish.
  68. 68. Walleyes are the largest members of the perch family. topping out at about 12 pounds.
  69. 69. Yellow perch are one of the walleyes favorite foods.
  70. 70. Walleyes hunt for sleeping perch at night with eyes especially adapted for seeing after dark.
  71. 71. Note that unusual eye that helps walleyes spot snoozing perch.
  72. 72. Perch-colored crankbaits are good walleye lures. Watch out for sharp those fish-gripping teeth.
  73. 73. Jigs, either in natural minnow or perch colors, or fancy fluorescents, fool many finicky walleyes.
  74. 74. Tipping your jig with a tasty minnow will make the bait doubly delectable.
  75. 75. Wing dams along the Mississippi River and larger rivers are home to walleyes in Iowa. A good spot to cast crankbaits or jigs.
  76. 76. Watch out for those bigger boats when casting jigs for walleyes off wing dams in the Mississippi River!
  77. 77. Many eager anglers travel to large windswept lakes here in the Midwest where walleyes also thrive.
  78. 78. In lakes, spinner rigs can be drifted or trolled behind a boat to tease a walleye into biting. Bait the hook with one of several live trailers.
  79. 79. Spot-tail shiners make a great spinner trailer, especially early in the season. Note that round black spot at the tail base.
  80. 80. Nightcrawlers are a standard spinner trailer in the summer season.
  81. 81. Leeches, otherwise known as bloodsuckers, will sometimes trigger walleyes when nightcrawlers wont.
  82. 82. Spinner rigs are dragged along behind the boat, letting the motor do the work.
  83. 83. Rowing is the old-fashioned way of working a spinner rig for walleyes out in the lake.
  84. 84. Iowas reservoirs and some lakes also host walleyes. State record 14# 8oz Iowas reservoirs and some lakes also host big walleyes. State record 14# 8oz
  85. 85. Many anglers wait until sunset to start walleye fishing.
  86. 86. Walleyes are most active at night, which is the best time to catch them. Note the white tail tip.
  87. 87. Saugers are a smaller cousin of the walleye, with a spotted dorsal fin and no white tail tip. Saugers are a smaller cousin of the walleye, with a spotted dorsal fin and no white tail tip. State record 6# 8oz
  88. 88. Saugers have blotchy, grayer bodies than walleyes
  89. 89. Saugers are more of a river fish compared to walleyes, preferring faster moving water. Two-pounders are big.
  90. 90. This sauger is ready to be dressed for dinner.
  91. 91. Fresh sauger fillets before the frying. Theyre boneless.
  92. 92. Walleyes and sauger are the best tasting fish fillets, especially when prepared fresh for lunch along shore.
  93. 93. Smallmouth bass are Iowas darling gamefish.
  94. 94. Cool clear rocky streams in northeastern Iowa is where most smallmouth bass live, though some lakes have them too.
  95. 95. Smallmouth bass are associated with rocky bottoms since their favorite food, crayfish, live there.
  96. 96. Crayfish are better than chocolate-covered cherries to smallmouth bass . Crayfish are chocolate-covered cherries to smallmouth bass .
  97. 97. This Rebel Crayfish will catch smallmouth bass!
  98. 98. Smallmouth bass have relatively small mouths.
  99. 99. Besides crayfish, another tried and true smallmouth bass bait is the devilish looking dobsonfly larvae called a hellgrammite.
  100. 100. Adult dobsonflies arent natures cutest creatures either.
  101. 101. Jigs that imitate crayfish, hellgrammites, leeches or minnows will all take their share of smallmouth bass.
  102. 102. Toss a realistic jig down amongst the rocks and twitch it so that waiting bass will come over and swallow it.
  103. 103. Smallmouth bass are suckers for leggy-looking jigs.
  104. 104. This northern redbelly dace would also be relished by a famished (or even full) smallmouth bass.
  105. 105. This minnow-imitating Mepps Spinner is a go-to lure for catching smallmouth bass.
  106. 106. Smallmouth bass fishing is at its best in Iowa when September starts trees turning color and nights cool down some.
  107. 107. Smallmouth bass are strong fighting fish and put up a real battle as they often leap out of the water several times during the struggle. A twenty-inch smallmouth bass is a great trophy. State record is 7# 12oz.
  108. 108. Most anglers in the modern age release all the smallmouth bass they catch to protect the resource.
  109. 109. Besides wading, fishing from a canoe is another good way to angle for smallmouth bass.
  110. 110. Fishing kayaks are an option for adventuresome fishers.
  111. 111. The smallmouth bass is also known as the bronzeback with a brownish-olive body and darker vertical stripes on its sides.
  112. 112. Largemouth bass are much more common than smallmouth bass in Iowa. They have a mossy green back, a white belly, and a wide dark stripe running lengthwise down their body.
  113. 113. Largemouth bass are most common in farm ponds and small lakes, but live in almost any water body.
  114. 114. Largemouth bass like to hide in the underwater weeds where they can ambush their prey.
  115. 115. This bullfrog would be breakfast toast for a bigmouth bass.
  116. 116. Baits that resemble frogs will catch largemouth bass.
  117. 117. Golden shiners are a natural largemouth bass food, so a live golden shiner for bait will certainly catch fish.
  118. 118. Largemouth bass latch onto and swallow heedless shiners head- first.
  119. 119. Spinnerbaits that pretend to be golden shiners are great largemouth bass triggers.
  120. 120. Dawn is the best time to try and catch a largemouth bass.
  121. 121. Sneak into a largemouth bass lair and see what happens
  122. 122. What if the largemouth bass is laying under that mess?
  123. 123. A weedless-rigged plastic worm is probably the best bait day in and day out for fooling largemouth bass into biting. Cross their eyes on the hook-set!
  124. 124. Largemouth bass have big but very hard bony mouths
  125. 125. Largemouth bass fishers prefer heavy-duty rods and reels for tackling those strapping trophy fish.
  126. 126. Purple plastic worms work best, for whatever reason
  127. 127. Largemouth bass are aptly named, and will gulp down whatever they can grab.
  128. 128. Most largemouth bass weigh a couple pounds, but five- pounders can be caught and a ten- pounder is possible
  129. 129. Most anglers release largemouth bass too, so they can fan out nests in May and make more fish-catching fun. State record 10# 12oz.
  130. 130. Northern pike are extremely aggressive predators and truly a trophy fish, sometimes called water tigers.
  131. 131. Gator fish is a good way to describe a northern pike.
  132. 132. Northern pike are long and thin and can grow to 40 long and 25 lbs. Their mouths are filled with sharp teeth
  133. 133. Many northern pike lurk in quiet Mississippi River backwaters.
  134. 134. Northern pike also roam in Iowas larger lakes and reservoirs
  135. 135. Long thin fleshy suckers, shiners or chubs, like this common shiner, are key natural foods for northern pike.
  136. 136. A live shiner suspended below a bobber is a good northern pike bait
  137. 137. Tip-ups take the place of bobbers in winter.
  138. 138. When the flag pops up, pull in your pike.
  139. 139. Northern pike have razor-sharp teeth so be careful.
  140. 140. Daredevil Spoons, especially in a red and white striped candycane pattern, have taken countless northern pike over the years.
  141. 141. Any big showy red and white lure that looks and acts like an injured sucker will attract a northern pike.
  142. 142. Cast those Daredevils toward waiting weedbeds.
  143. 143. Northern pike are top-notch fighting fish.
  144. 144. Northern pike taste great, but theyre full of problematic Y-bones, so release these toothy fighters and eat panfish. Northern pike taste great, but theyre full of problematic Y-bones, so release these toothy fighters and eat panfish. State record 25# 5oz.
  145. 145. Iowas most elusive gamefish is the muskellunge (the fish of a thousand casts).
  146. 146. Muskellunge can only be caught in a few Iowa lakes
  147. 147. Muskellunge like to lay in camouflaging cabbage beds while waiting for their meals to swim by.
  148. 148. Creek chubs, suckers and even walleyes are eaten.
  149. 149. Big minnow crankbaits will interest a resident muskellunge. Dark stormy days and fishing at night is the best way to get a muskie on your line.
  150. 150. Muskies are said to be the fish of a thousand casts!
  151. 151. Six-inch spinners are favorite muskie Baits. Cast with a pool cue for a pole and use non-stretch braided line.
  152. 152. This proud angler is about to release a nice muskellunge to fight another fine day. State record 50# 6oz.
  153. 153. Good fishing!