It was four years ago that I planted a small acre and a half food plot on some CRP land I own. At that time, the pheasant numbers were still fairly strong. However, I knew it was only a matter of time before Mother Nature would send an old fashioned winter our way and the bird population would crash.
I believe there are a lot of similarities between golf and fishing and often make comparisons between the two. For instance, no matter how good a person’s game is, there is always room for improvement and we strive to become better than we are.
I arrived in Nevis, Minnesota early in the morning to begin a two day marathon fishing outing with guide and fishing expert, Kelley Cirks. Each summer, Cirks and I hit the lakes in the Park Rapids region in what has become an annual event.
I love to fish and I love to catch fish of all species. I enjoy scrappy panfish on light tackle. Watching bass squirt out of the water in an effort to throw the hook is always a treat. However, there is no question that there is something special about catching walleye.
In today’s world of big boats and powerful motors, it is easy to get caught up in the need to go really fast and have speed as a top priority. However, no matter how fast a person gets to their fishing hole, if you can’t control your rig to stay on top of the fish, speed quickly becomes a secondary issue.
It was our sixth year in a row that our group of anglers had spent a week on Rainy Lake. As we pulled into the landing at Island View Lodge, anticipation was running high. We knew that within an hour we would have the boats launched, gear packed into the cabin and be ready to head out for an evening of fishing.
The bluegill and crappie bite had been quite impressive on this Northern Minnesota lake. Although the fish weren’t record breaking in size, they were very respectable. Even though they weren’t stacked in every single hole we drilled, there were enough fish in the area that we never had to look long to find action.
During the course of a winter of chasing panfish, I like to roam. I find it difficult to return to the same lake again and again, even if there is a respectable bite taking place. New water and fresh ice just appeals to me.
There are a lot of outdoor activities I love to participate in. Hunting Canada geese is very high on my list as is sticking the walleye on Rainy Lake reefs. I never seem to mind a good pheasant flush and bass fishing a quality largemouth lake is pretty impressive.
However, as my mind roams through the volumes of outdoor adventures, it often stops for a rest at the chapter on winter crappie fishing.
There is no question the pheasant numbers have dwindled across the Midwest. This is especially true in the regions that have suffered through a combination of tough winters and loss of CRP. Still, even though the numbers are down, pheasant hunting is not a thing of the past.
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