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Tag Archives: Fish

Release Big Catfish Unharmed

Why do some people get perplexed when they see someone release a massive, master angler-sized catfish? After all, catfish, even the larger ones, sure taste good, don’t they? So why is it every time we see an angler report or a social media post mention or show a picture of a large catfish they have put back in the water, a spirited discussion most likely ensues over what should or should have not been done with that whopper? So how …

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Get on Top with Top Water Lures for Your Summer Fishing

Chug bug. Jitterbug. Hula popper. Creek chub knuckle-head. Zara spook. They all have very creative names and designs by the companies that manufacture them. They imitate every conceivable critter that could be on, around or just under the surface of the water in a wild environment from baitfish or bugs to mice or lizards to frogs, toads or even small flying mammals. They are the “go-to” fishing lures of mid to late-summer. They are top water lures or surface lures, …

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Going fishing? Don’t let the big one get away!

All of us who love to fish have a story or two about the one that got away, don’t we? Invariably, the tale involves hooking the fish of a lifetime and losing it to unforeseen circumstances or mistakes. Trust me, I have made my share of mistakes when it comes to large, prized game fish. Your blogger mishandling a nice-sized channel catfish. Photo by Rich Berggren/Conservation Officer with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Without question, these stories, however embellished, …

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Early Spring, Ice-Out Fishing Tips

The sandhill crane migration is well underway in Nebraska’s central Platte River valley. Flocks of snow geese have been heard and seen already flying high above my house. Wild turkeys have entered their breeding phase on our family farm in southeast Nebraska. Oh, and what about the fish that swim where I fish? Hmmm … Emma Wagner-Nichols, your blogger’s daughter, caught this crappie in chilly, sunny weather in a private sandpit lake in Dodge County, NE. Photo courtesy of Emma …

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Ice Fishing: 10 Tips I Learned

Ice fishing. Tis’ the season for it. I sure enjoy ice fishing but admittedly I don’t do much of it. I don’t quite have all the equipment needed for it. So, I guess you would consider me an amateur ice angler. Nevertheless, when there’s an invitation to go with seasoned veterans of the hard water fishing lifestyle for a day, you can bet that I will jump at the opportunity. Such was the case a couple years ago in January …

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Trout Stream Gem in Northeast Nebraska

A classic case of misrepresentation keeps occurring. Folks continue to express their disbelief  to me that a crystal clear, cold, spring-fed trout fishing stream exists in northeast Nebraska. “No way,” they’ll say. “Impossible in farm country,” they’ll say. “You’re drinking, can’t be,” they’ll say.  “I’ve driven through there and never seen it,” they’ll say. These are just some of the phrases people have uttered to me about the East Branch of the Verdigre (actual name is Verdigris) Creek flowing through …

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Cause of Lake McConaughy white-bass die-off still inconclusive

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LINCOLN, Neb. – The cause of a fish die-off at Lake McConaughy, Nebraska’s largest reservoir, remains inconclusive. Fisheries biologists from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission are investigating a die-off, in which approximately 1,000 dead fish were discovered on the west half of the reservoir. Adult white bass comprised 99% of those fish. Point-source pollution – any single source from which pollutants are discharged, such as a pipe – does not appear to be a factor, and water quality parameters …

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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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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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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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