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Freshwater Drum: Not a Trash Fish

I watched closely as the guy excitedly reeled in the fish he had hooked from a local sandpit lake in eastern Nebraska. Upon landing it, I heard him dismally say: “Oh man, it’s a damn drum, that’s a trash fish, I gotta throw this back.” At this point, I walked over to the man and casually said: “Hey, that’s a nice freshwater drum you’ve caught. Did you know those are good eating if you prepare them right?” “Are you kidding …

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Bluegill Provide the Fireworks of Fishing in Summer

It’s hot. It’s humid. Whew! Yeah, it’s summer alright. Hey, has your fishing success slowed with the conditions? Well, one fish leads the way with lots of action for anglers in the good, old summertime — bluegill. A male bluegill stands guard on its nest in a southern Nebraska pond. Underwater photo courtesy of NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Maybe it’s the kid in me, I don’t know. But, at 58 years of age (approaching 59), I still enjoy …

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No Excuse for not Wearing a Life Jacket

It bothers me to no end that people have such cavalier excuses regarding why they don’t want to wear life jackets on the water in a boat. In my 42 years at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, I have seen my share of boating tragedies. I have seen the victims of boating fatalities who were not wearing their life jackets. You never, ever forget them. Often the victims died right in front of close family members and good friends …

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A Thorough Guide for Tubing on Nebraska Rivers

Ahhh … Leisurely floating on one of Nebraska’s many scenic rivers or streams in an inflated inner tube is a cool, refreshing, relaxing, way to enjoy a hot summer day with family and friends, isn’t it? A small group of tubers take a rest break on their float trip amid the beautiful scenery of the Calamus River near Burwell in the Nebraska Sandhills. Photo courtesy of NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Oh, yeah! Summer river or stream tubing is …

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Why Wear Rubber Gloves When Handling Fish?

I continue to be called bad names for wearing them. Most recently, I was called a “super wimp” for having them on my hands. I have been labeled an “inadequate angler” since I have donned on them. I have been told that my “bravado” and “edge” have been lost when it comes to fishing because I am handling fish while wearing rubber gloves. Ah yes, THOSE GLOVES. People have also had their curiosity piqued by those of us who wear rubber …

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How to Avoid the Crowds When Going Camping

My neighbors told me the other day that they were heading out on a Friday night to camp at a popular state recreation area in order to “get away from it all” on a nice weekend. Hmmm … I wanted to tell them that most likely, they were heading an area to where it all will be happening with quite a few people there. But how do you steer clear of crowds when you’re trying to plan a summer camping …

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Reminder: Campers at Lakes McConaughy, Ogallala need reservations

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LINCOLN, Neb. – With the holiday weekend coming, campers are reminded they will need a reservation to stay overnight at Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala state recreation areas. Campers should book their reservation at the two state recreation areas before leaving home. Reservations can be made online at NebraskaStateParks.ReserveAmerica.com, via mobile app RA Camping, or by phone at 308-284-8800 during business hours. Designated campground sites can be reserved 180 days prior to arrival date, and beach camping sites can be …

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Out-of-the-(Tackle) Box Tips for Catching Channel Catfish

“Dang, I thought I had a big bass! Hey, it’s a big channel cat.” The channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), Nebraska’s official state fish, sometimes gets misunderstood, particularly it seems, by those who exclusively fish for bass and walleye. Catfish, especially the channel cats, have a reputation as bottom feeders that just lazily swim around sucking up stinky, dead stuff from the bottom. And that is not entirely true! I asked Chris Pokorny of Elkhorn, NE, who’s among Nebraska’s most avid …

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Try Tanking: A Fun Float Trip!

Want something fun, relaxing and unique to do with your family or friends this spring or summer? Well, well. I have an idea for you. How about floating a slow-moving, meandering, scenic Nebraska river downstream in a round, buoyant livestock watering tank? Tank floating on the picturesque Middle Loup River near Mullen, NE. Photo courtesy of Glidden Canoe Rental/The Sandhills Motel. I know what you’re thinking, trust me, I do. But, let me tell you that this is one of …

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Late Season Turkey Tips: Gettin’ That Gobbler

We are in the latter part of the season for spring wild turkey hunting in Nebraska. Using a baseball analogy, it is the bottom of the 9th inning, your team is behind, the bases are loaded, there two outs and you are up to bat! I don’t think there is any doubt about it, spring wild turkey hunting late in the season is challenging. However, there are still plenty of gobbles to be heard and birds to be worked plus …

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