Missouri isn't called the "Trail State" for nothing. Trails abound all across the Show Me State, but especially in the Ozarks of southern Missouri. Trails may be found in the region's state parks, Missouri Department of Conservation areas, U.S. Forest Service lands, Corps of Engineer properties and the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. If you're looking for a short, easy trail in the Ozarks with breathtaking views, the Blue Spring Trail should be one of your options. Here's what you need to know about it. How to Get There Blue Spring Trail, which parallels the Current River east of Eminence, is…
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To all you waterfowl hunters out there, if you haven't seen the Ducks Unlimited field reports for 2014 you'll be happy to know the waterfowl should find good spring wetland conditions on many important breeding areas this year. Ducks Unlimited field report for 2014 Spring habitat conditions. Image by Ducks Unlimited. These helpful maps pin-point the habitat areas and conditions rating them from excellent to poor giving you a great visual to see what's happening as well as detail into the conditions of various areas such as Western U.S., the Great Lakes and Northeastern U.S., Ontario and more.    …
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The subtle look of a soft stick bait like the Yamamoto Senko seems to be particularly appealing during springtime, when bass are in the pre-spawn and post-spawn activity phases. On natural, free-flowing river systems, smallmouth bass are particularly fond of stick baits once the water approaches the upper 50-degree range. At this time the fish begin moving into the areas where they will eventually spawn: protected backchannels around islands; gravel shallows on inside river bends; and rocky creek mouths. I like to start off with a wacky-rigged stick bait, usually a 4-incher. The presentation is about as close to soaking…
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After a long winter, it sure felt great to get out this past weekend and jig-up some walleye. With cool water, post-spawn tactics on my mind, here are a few things to consider for the initial weeks of the season if you plan on tossing a jig around. Winter and spring are the times when I use live bait the most for walleye. When the water's cold and fish are sluggish, serving the Real McCoy using a jig and minnow can really make a difference in the number of bites you get in a day. Ball jigs are a great…
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Stoneflies can produce some fantastic nymph fishing, especially in the cold flows associated with the spring months. These big tantalizing insects are prolific in most cold, clean streams found throughout the greater U.S. making them a staple in the diets of large trout. For most inexperienced fly anglers, using a tiny nymph pattern does not seem like it could strike up interest from trophy class fish; but out of all the lunkers caught every year, a large majority of these fish are taken by nymph patterns.       Stonefly nymphs live on the river or stream bottom, crawling on…
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Fishing in spring is a good time for big bass. Early spring bass fishing is the time for big bass, but where are you going to catch them? I've listed five of my top places to catch bass in early spring. 1. A warm spring rain can raise water temperatures, and bass moving from their winter haunts to spawning beds are looking for warmer water. 2. Fish sometimes move quickly to coves where warm water is entering. If water rises quickly after a rain, find newly flooded log jams that draw fish in the backs of coves and creeks. 3.…
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In its simplest form all you need to grow a good food plot is some dirt and some seed. But nothing is ever that simple. Dirt has to be suitable enough to support growth and that typically requires some work. Still, food plotting is not all that tough, as millions of hunters have discovered. Plus, it's fun and you'll be glad you did it come fall. Following these steps will generally get the job done. Step 1: Test Your Soil This is the most important step but it is also the easiest. Unfortunately it's also the one step rookies like…
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Smelt Fishing Tackle and Techniques

Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:00 am - for General Fishing
If you've ever traveled around the shores of Lake Michigan or Lake Superior during late April or early May, you may have seen a dazzling array of beach fires and individuals seining the ice-cold waters. Smelt, like many of the other Great Lakes species, instinctively swim towards gravel shores or spring-fed tributaries to continue their lifecycle during this time of year, bringing them close enough for anglers to catch a few. This annual event is one of the largest migratory runs of freshwater fish anywhere in the world.   Smelt swim toward gravel shores or spring-fed tributaries in early spring.…
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If you've already bagged a tom this spring, congratulations. Harvesting a gobbler is one of the most difficult challenges in hunting and far more sportsmen go home empty-handed than those who succeed. One of the best ways to improve your chances is to avoid making costly errors in your hunting technique and decision making. Last week we examined a few of the most common turkey hunting mistakes. Here are a more that you should try to avoid. Hiding too well. This is a mistake more common among novices than veteran hunters. After we do it once, maybe twice, we tend…
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Trekking a shoreline and casting for crappie and yellow perch is a springtime ritual for many. The simplicity of this style of fishing can't be beat. Having certain equipment and gear can make for a more enjoyable experience and lots of landed panfish. Here are a handful of my spring shore fishing must-haves. A pair of 16- or 17-inch insulated rubber boots or waterproof hunting boots will keep your feet dry when tramping through flooded paths common around lakes and rivers in spring. It also makes landing fish easier from shore. Waders are another option. A waist or a chest…
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