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Tying Fishing Knots

Do you want to keep that big fish on the line? These three knots will help. Practice before you go so you are familiar with them. By Larry Pape, Fisheries Education Specialist The Improved Cinch Knot This is the most commonly taught fishing knot and can be used on monofilament line to attach a hook, lure, or swivel. The knot is simple to remember and the line retains nearly all of its strength. 1. Thread the loose end of the …

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Bird Photography: The First 99

One shutter-button press at a time, the bird photos add up. What the Nebraska Panhandle may lack in diversity of bird life when compared to eastern Nebraska it more than makes up for in its varied landscape. That variation, from the towering sandstone buttes through the pine forests, sandhill lakes, riparian woodlands, grasslands, croplands and even residential areas, is home to a diversity of birds, and some bird-watching gems found nowhere else in the state. Joel Jorgensen, nongame bird program …

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Bowfishing 101

Nebraska’s public waters have enthralled me for more than 30 years. I first picked up a bow in 1988, and very quickly, bowfishing became a lifelong passion. Stalking a fish, unleashing an arrow and hoping for the best – the thrill is similar to hunting. I will always choose fishing with a bow over a rod and reel. Another reason why I love bowfishing so much – bowfishers still account for a small percentage of anglers in Nebraska, which means …

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Wild Turkey Fried Tacos

This recipe is an homage to all the cheap Burger King and Jack-in-the-Box fried tacos I ate as a teenager, except my version will actually taste good. You’ll get all the crunchy, greasy goodness your heart desires, along with a spicy, real-meat turkey filling hunted by you – nothing like the gray “meat” paste the King and Jack used in theirs. These tacos will be so tasty your family and friends will gobble them up as fast as you can …

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Sod Houses on Glass Plates

Solomon Butcher came to Nebraska in a covered wagon, but quickly found himself poorly suited to the hard life of a pioneer. He failed at homesteading, taught school, briefly attended medical school, served as a rural postmaster, and opened – and closed – the first photography studio in Custer County. Desperate to avoid going back to farm work, Butcher had a bold idea. He would produce a photographic history of Custer County. Starting in 1886, he hitched up a wagon …

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Saddling Up Out West

For exploring the rugged and spacious public lands of the Panhandle, it is tough to beat a mode of transportation that has been around a while. The Panhandle of western Nebraska’s rugged buttes, sweeping grasslands, rolling hills and ponderosa pine forests spur an urge of exploration for countless visitors each year. For many a seasoned cowpoke on down to the greenest of greenhorns, their most memorable experiences while visiting this region have been atop a mode of transportation that has …

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Retiring Lures

Whether they be worn-out, abused, busted, or simply evoke fond memories, some of your favorite fishing lures sit on a desk, a shelf, or a fireplace mantle – a place of honor for retired lures. A Mangled Fly – Ryan Sparks Who you are fishing with is often more important than what you catch. From channel catfish in the Platte River to panfishing from a dock, some of my fondest memories are of fishing with my grandfather, or as I …

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That’s Water-clover

Not a lucky four-leaf clover. Every now and then, I get a familiar call: “I found a huge patch of four-leaf clovers in a wetland. What’s going on?” I respond: “Those are water-clover leaves, not those of the lucky four-leaf clover. So cancel the trip to Vegas.” Once, a perplexed biologist studying waterfowl food habits in playa wetlands called: “I found this big, dark brown seed in a duck’s crop and can’t figure out what plant it is from.” To …

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Do-It-Yourself Dried Arrangements

Native flowers and plants aren’t just great gardening choices; they also make stunning dried arrangements that are both fun and easy to create. Mary Jane Frogge, a horticulture expert with Nebraska Extension, sat down with me to share the process. The following are her words, edited for length and clarity. – Renae Blum The Process It’s good to collect flowers when they’re at their peak of bloom, so you have nice color. With grasses, the main thing is to pick …

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The RV Lady

If you’ve ever contacted the Reservation Call Center for Nebraska State Parks, you know who CJ Zajicek is. She’s the one who’s always nice to you – the one whose positive, personable attitude and interest in you makes you feel like you were her only phone call of the day – just the way great customer service should be. CJ has been working for the call center since it opened in 2004, taking calls for the 26 Nebraska state parks …

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