Friday, December 2, 2016

 
COAST GUARD
The Coast Guard assisted four people to safety Wednesday after heavy winds and seas damaged a fishing boat about 40 miles southeast of Portland, Maine.

CONSERVATION
The American Littoral Society needs your help to bag shell for two new intertidal reefs to be built in the Delaware Bay this spring. About 5,000 shell bags are needed for the experimental reefs.
As a Wreck Pond Citizen Science Monitor, you will help us gain valuable information on the effects of the fish passage on pond water level, salinity and temperature.
Clean Way tm Fuel Fill and The Billfish Foundation have joined in an effort to keep fuel from spoiling our waters.

EVENTS
BHA's biggest and best party, our North American Rendezvous, returns to Missoula, Montana, April 7-9, 2017.

FISHERIES
The chemical rotenone has been applied at Omaha's Wehrspann Lake in order to remove gizzard shad.
The Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee will meet from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, at Appeldoorn's Sunset Bay Resort, 45401 Mille Lacs Parkway in Isle.
In a little over a month and a half, Eileen Sobeck will leave her job as the US's top fishing regulator as the Obama administration appointee leaves to make way for leadership named by incoming president Donald Trump.
State and federal officials are working together to relocate and expand a small conservation fish hatchery that has helped endangered Central California Coast (CCC) coho salmon hang on in their historic habitat south of San Francisco.

GIFTS
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has some of the best gifts for that hard-to-buy outdoors enthusiast on your list, and you'll be contributing to the state's wildlife resources at the same time.
With an 80-year history of creating memories on the water — and on the ice — few brands know what makes fishing fanatics tick quite like Rapala®, the most trusted name in fishing since 1936.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife's website offers several gift ideas, including Kentucky Afield merchandise such as hats, shirts, DVDs of past episodes of the television show and instructional DVDs.

INDUSTRY
Earlier this week, Bass Cat and Yar-Craft boats named Dave Davis as the new West Coast Regional Sales Manager for both brands.
The nifty two-bend offset of Zonelock hooks allows for greater fish retention and less fish loss.

INVASIVE SPECIES
Operators of boat repair shops and marinas can play a vital role in the fight against aquatic invasive species (AIS).

MARINE MAMMALS
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will begin work to install waterway markers for state-adopted manatee protection zones in the St. Johns River within Putnam, Lake and Volusia counties.

ORGANIZATIONS
The Center for Sportfishing Policy name accurately reflects our purpose: to organize, focus and engage recreational fishing stakeholders to shape federal marine fisheries management policies.

PADDLE SPORTS
Join the American Littoral Society Southeast Chapter for upcoming kayaking trips, marine life explorations, and eco-tours.

PODCASTS
Bass Edge Radio, presented by MegaWare KeelGuard features 2016 Bassmaster Central Open Champion Cliff Crochet in this most recent episode of their top-rated podcast.

RADIO
This week, Dan Small Outdoors Radio features Jiffy Ice Augers pro-staffer Jim O'Brien, Ice Castle Fish Houses owner Jeff Drexler, Range of Richfield president Jim Babiasz and McFarland guide Ron Barefield.

STATES
Learn the basics of ice fishing or pick up a few new tips at three free Discover Ice Fishing clinics in January.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently announced the December schedule of volunteer stewardship workdays at state parks and recreation areas in southeast and southwest Michigan.
Seasonal fisheries are underway throughout the state, waterfowl hunting is in full swing and birders are gearing up for some prime viewing opportunities.

TELEVISION
World Fishing Network viewers will learn about some of the sweetest honey holes to fish around the world during the week of December 5–11.

WASHINGTON
On November 28, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 4665, the Outdoor REC Act, which would instruct the Department of Commerce and federal land management agencies to provide statistics on how the outdoor industry, including recreational fishing and boating, contributes to the U.S. economy.

First Ice Trout

First ice is a magical time to pursue many species of gamefish, and members of the trout family are no exception. Just ask veteran trout and salmon guide Bernie Keefe, who plies the high-country lakes around Granby, Colorado.

"Rainbows, brookies and browns are all hungry right now," he says. "The spawn is over and trout are feeding up before the winter crunch settles in."

As a bonus, a lack of fishing pressure in recent months often has trout at ease. "Nobody's fished them for awhile, so they're 'dumbed down' a little bit compared to the rest of the year," he laughs.

Keefe targets skinny water in early winter, where trout pursue crayfish, baitfish and other sizeable sources of sustenance. "They eat insects, too, of course," he concedes. "But trout have big appetites this time of year and prefer larger forage when they can get it."

He focuses on depths of four to seven feet, especially where bottom transitions sweeten the pot. "Changes from rock to sand or muck can be trout magnets," he offers. "And green weeds can be a plus where available."

On the flip side, vertical inclines are out. "Forget steep drop-offs," he says. "Gentle slopes and flats in the backs of bays or alongside points are ideal."

When he finds a promising fishing area, Keefe quickly pops a trio of holes and sets up shop. "I drill two holes 30 inches apart, which allow me to fish two lines," he explains. "Then I add a third hole in between, so I can sight-fish both outer holes simultaneously."

To maximize comfort and manual dexterity while fishing, he pops a Clam portable shelter over the work zone and fires up a Mr. Heater to ward off the chill. "I like fishing without gloves for better feel, as well as the ability to quickly unhook fish, rebait hooks and retie lines," he says.

In one hole, Keefe drops a flashy attractor lure like an 1/8-ounce Clam Leech Flutter Spoon. In the other, he deploys a more subtle presentation, such as Clam's tungsten Caviar Drop Jig. Spoons are often fished without tippings, but traditional jigs are tricked out wit
h a small soft-plastic or live bait dressing. "Berkley Gulp! and Maki Plastics work very well," he says. "Mealworms and waxies are always good choices if you like live bait."

Spoons are fished with flair. "Give the spoon a 6- to 8-inch lift, then let it flutter back down," he says. "Dance it in place, pause and repeat the process. When you see a trout rush in, kill the theatrics. Most fish prefer to crush it on the pause."

Keefe cautions to keep your spoon performances well grounded. "You don't have to pound the rocks or stir the mud, but always keep the spoon within a foot of the bottom," he says.

Jigs are fished with a slower hand, tighter to bottom. "Jigs like the Caviar Drop Jig imitate fish eggs, which don't jump around a whole lot," he says. "But you have to add a little movement to get trout's attention. I favor slow, methodical, 1-inch lift-and-drops, but nervous shakes also have their moments. With either approach, keep the jig within an inch of the bottom."

Whether jigging or spooning, Keefe wields a 28-inch, medium-light Jason Mitchell Meat Stick ice rod, which he says offers a great balance between strength and sensitivity. "The high-vis tip also makes it easy to see light bites when you can't see the lure," he adds, noting that 4-pound Berkley Trilene 100 Percent Fluorocarbon is his line of choice.

Since trout are on the bite, Keefe rarely lingers in an unproductive area. "If you don't get bit within 10 minutes, move," he says.

Most days, the bulk of the action comes early in the day. "Under clear skies, it's usually over by the time the sun hits the ice," he says. "But it's a great way to spend a morning. And cloudy conditions can prolong the action until noon or later."

Keefe says the first-ice flurry usually lasts around three to four weeks, depending on fishing pressure. "When crowds move in, trout slide out to deeper haunts," he says. "They're still catchable, but the early season magic is over for another winter."



The Clam Outdoors "Caviar Drop" jig is an excellent first and last ice trout jig. Watch Bernie's video to learn more.

For more information or to book a trip with Keefe, visit: www.fishingwithbernie.com or call (970) 531-2318.

The Fishing Wire welcomes your comments and actively solicits letters and guest editorials from readers as well as fishery managers, scientists and industry experts in boating, fishing and related equipment. Please send your comments and suggestions to frank@thefishingwire.com.
Outdoors Calendar

» Got an event you'd like to see posted here? Send it to frank@thefishingwire.com.

Dec. 3: Town of Gilbert Youth Fishing Day, 8 a.m. — noon, Freestone Pond 1045 E. Juniper Ave., Gilbert, Arizona; (623) 236-7240.

Dec. 3 - Dec. 4: 2017: California B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Qualifier, Lake Nacimiento, CA, http://www.calbn.com/





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