Daily Archives: August 12, 2012

Take Me Fishing Reminds You To Keep Calm and Hit The Water

With proof that being near water can naturally help lower anxiety, leading to a healthier and more relaxed lifestyle, Take Me Fishing urges everyone to take advantage of local outdoor spaces and bodies of water by engaging in activities like boating, fishing, biking and hiking (3).

Getting outdoors is healthy for people both young and old. In fact, 90 percent of kids who spend time outside say that being in nature helps relieve stress (4). And while 75 percent of teachers feel that students who regularly spend time outdoors are more creative and better problem solvers, only one-third of high school students get their recommended levels of physical activity (5).

If you’re one of the many Americans who desperately needs to unwind outside and decrease your stress level, boating and fishing are fun, easy and affordable ways to do it. With 3.5 million miles of rivers in the United States, 90 percent of Americans live within an hour of navigable water (6). As for the cost, a family of four can get a fishing license for approximately $115 annually, under half the cost for a family season pass to the average commercial waterpark (7).

“Boating and fishing are not only easy ways to naturally relieve the stress of daily life,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “They are enjoyable activities that allow you to spend time with your family while on a budget.”

More and more Americans are jumping in and taking advantage of these fun stress-busting activities. In fact, boating is ranked as one of the top three of all stress-relieving activities (8). Additionally, more Americans partake in fishing than play basketball and football combined (9).

If stress relief wasn’t enough, you can now help the environment while you relax. Funds from fishing license sales and boat registrations go toward the conservation of our natural aquatic areas.

“RBFF is committed to conserving our natural resources so that future generations can enjoy fishing and boating in our nation’s rivers for years to come. So, when you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, grab your life jacket or your fishing rod, keep calm and enjoy the water,” said Peterson.

2012 Quail Nesting Habitat Conditions Report

Quail hunters and biologists’ hopes were high for quail nesting conditions coming into the spring of 2012. A combination of increased population carryover from a mild 2011 winter and productive nesting conditions in early spring across the country gave quail managers hope of a more productive year. But as temperatures increased, rains decreased and now most of quail country is locked in drought. This will inevitably lead to a decrease in quality habitat due to lack of forb activity, abnormally high temperature pressures, and with emergency grazing on Wildlife Management Areas and Waterfowl Production Areas in many states, reductions of critical habitat.

Most of the quail biologists are still optimistic that the early 2012 nesting start may have given the birds a few extra weeks to gain a wing up on the summer heat. Should the heat break and rains increase through the rest of the summer, populations could even see late breeding season growth in some places.

Quail are resourceful and will make use of what they can, so the full story remains to be written for this year. Quail Forever’s complete quail hunting forecast will be released in September.

Kansas had a relatively mild winter, and it seems to have improved production last year in many areas of the northern-central and eastern regions, according to David Dahlgren, PhD, Small Game Specialist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. The exception to this would be southwest Kansas, where last year’s drought hurt populations, and the below average production in south-central Kansas.

Early nesting conditions in the Sunflower State were favorable to quail throughout much of its quail range; however, drier conditions have dominated summer which could put the quail population at a loss if there is not an increase in precipitation.

Habitat acreage has stayed the same or slightly decreased. Kansas had a “relatively good sign up for general CRP,” Dahlgren said, though it did lose acres. Of the 500,000 acres expiring in Kansas, 375,000 acres were reenrolled.

“We currently have the Bobwhite Quail Initiative that started this year in Kansas,” added Dahlgren, “We have two focus areas in eastern Kansas where we will be focusing quail habitat ‘tools’ and monitoring population response over the next few years. We look forward to seeing positive results and being able to expand the success to other areas of the state.

Anglers Tackle Fall Fishing

Lull between hunting seasons a great time to be on the water

Before long, the Kansas hunting seasons will be in full swing, but there’s still time to enjoy some excellent fishing. There’s a lull after the fast action of the opening dove, early teal, and youth deer and duck seasons, but avid outdoorsman are still itching to get out. This is a time of year when many take advantage of hungry fish, feeding continually in preparation for a long winter. Fall is a great time to be outdoors.

In the state’s larger lakes and reservoirs, gizzard shad are the preferred prey of most sport fish. In the fall, young-of-the-year shad are about 2-3 inches long, and a white or chrome, fat-bodied crankbait is the perfect imitation of a gizzard shad. Cast a deep- or medium-diving crankbait along rocky points and rip-rapped shorelines, and retrieve it quickly, so it gets near the bottom and bounces off the rocks. A deep-diving crankbait may be the best choice even when fishing relatively shallow water. The lure’s long lip deflects off rocks and other snags, and this action can trigger strikes. If the lure does hang up, give it some slack, and it will often float free. Using light monofilament or a small-diameter braided line will allow a crankbait to dive deeper.

Later in fall, when water temperatures cool to the low 50s or high 40s, it’s time to catch Kansascrappie. Reservoir crappie congregate in large schools over deep brushpiles and creek channel dropoffs at this time. Jigs or jigging spoons fished vertically in 12-25 feet of water are most effective. If too many small crappie are biting, try a larger jig with a 2- or 2 1/2-inch shad-type plastic body. The larger bait will more closely resemble shad and may discourage smaller fish. When concentrations of crappie and white bass are found, use landmarks or GPS to mark their location. If the state experiences a frigid winter and safe ice forms, you can return to the spots that held fish before freeze-up and catch them through the ice.

Even though autumn weather may be mild, always wear more layers of clothing than you think necessary when fall fishing. No matter how warm it feels on land, it will be much cooler on the water, especially if the wind blows. And don’t forget to wear a life jacket; it will keep you warm and may save your life.