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Outdoors: Catch a summer of family fun

A summer of family fun is just a short drive and a fishing pole away. Plan a day trip or bring along fishing gear on your next weekend or camping trip.

The best fishing is early in the morning or later in the evening and after dark. Avoid the brightest, hottest part of the day. Like anglers, fish adjust to the heat.

Outdoors: DNR creating plans to improve amenities at Gull Point State Park

MILFORD — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is in the early planning stages of a renovation plan at Gull Point State Park to repave park roads, upgrade the campground, install a new flush bathroom and improve accessibility.

The project is expected to begin in spring 2024 and be completed by spring 2025.

Outdoors: Summer weed action

The bite is on! The summer months are when most people go fishing, and the action can be fast. Most fish are constantly looking for something to eat at this time of year, and they’ll look for that something to eat in a variety of places. Their prey can be in deep water, shallow water, or suspended somewhere between the surface and the bottom. Places that an angler can count on to hold fish are weedlines and weedbeds.

Outdoors: Brenton family offers Brenton Slough to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation

Over the past decade, I’ve watched the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation work with individuals and businesses in the Iowa Great Lakes area to help purchase and protect important parcels of land that by doing so have helped protect the Iowa Great Lakes.

Tigers 14U team wins 14AA Elite Silver Bracket

DES MOINES — Spencer has been enjoying a lot of success in baseball as of late. The Varsity Tigers just ended their long state tournament drought and had a super successful season. The 14U Spencer Tigers just won the 2023 USSSA Iowa State Tournament in Des Moines, putting together a 5-1 game stretch and dominating the championship game by 12 runs to win 14-2.

U of O Junior Tennis Classic slated for July 29-30

OKOBOJI — The 2023 edition of the University of Okoboji Junior Tennis Classic will be held on Saturday and Sunday, July 29-30. Headquarters will be at Speier Park in Okoboji, though other courts, such as Riverside Park in Spencer and Spirit Lake high school courts, will also be used.

Tigges selected to 2023 IHSSA All-Star squad

SPENCER — The IHSSA All-Star Series showcases some of the best senior high school baseball players in the entire state of Iowa. Spencer will have a representative on this year’s team in slugging shortstop Reid Tigges.

68 compete at Bulls Eyes BBW Trapshoot

Many of the athletes and spectators who came to the Bulls Eyes Bully Bullhead Weekend Trapshoot commented on the perfect weather. The temperature was comfortable, the sun was shining and the wind was minimal. The proof of these conditions was in the high scores recorded by the 42 adult and 26 youth athletes. Five adults and five youth recorded 25 straights.

Clay County Fair Speedway opens Salute to Veterans Tour on July 26

SPENCER — It’s almost time for another eventful evening of racing at the Clay County Fair Speedway. On July 26, the Hunting with Heroes Salute to Veterans Tour is coming to Spencer. The event features over $125,000 in giveaways for veterans.

Tigers season ends against North Polk

IOWA CITY — The Spencer Tigers baseball team’s magical run came to an end at the state baseball tournament on Monday. The boys fell short in their hopes to advance, losing 3-1 to North Polk in a good old-fashioned pitcher's duel. The Comets used a run in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to claim a narrow victory over Spencer.

Royal Tractor Pull

Contestants gathered at Royal Memorial Park on Sunday for a tractor pull at the annual Royal Fun Days Festival. Competitors went through multiple classes to determine who could pull the sled the longest. The Northwest Iowa Tractor Pullers were in charge of the event. (Photos by Dakota Locker)

Outdoors: Celebrate a child’s first fish

Preserve the memory of your child or grandchild hooking their first fish this summer with a special certificate. Print the certificate yourself from an electronic file posted online or request a printed certificate.

Outdoors: Catfish biting across Iowa

Fishing for catfish is a fun summer tradition for many Iowa families. Invite someone new to fishing to come along to share the fun and memories.

“Catfish will bite most of the time, no matter what the water temperature,” explained Daniel Vogeler, Iowa DNR fisheries technician. “They are biting in most lakes, ponds, rivers and streams across Iowa.

Outdoors: Summer heat causes fish kill on the lower Des Moines River

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources was notified on July 10 of a fish kill on the lower Des Moines River. DNR staff from the Fisheries Bureau investigated and found an estimated 20,000 dead shovelnose sturgeon in a 60-mile river stretch from near Ottumwa to Farmington in southeast Iowa. Freshly dead fish collected on July 11 were submitted to Iowa State University for testing.

Outdoors: Pattern the fish

If we want to catch more fish, we need to figure out a couple of things about the fish. This is called establishing a pattern. You need to find an area that is holding the species of fish that you’re after, then you need to determine what bait those fish are most willing to eat.

Once you find the fish, then determine what they’re most likely to eat, you’re chances for getting bit will increase substantially. Here’s how a pattern is established.

Outdoors: The bite’s hot

I’ve known it for years, but West Lake Okoboji is a truly awesome multi-species fishery. However, I think that 2023 has been one of the best ever. First off, the largemouth bass bite has been incredible. That truly became apparent for me early this past spring when I saw the results of the Okoboji Open held in early May, where 21 teams weighed in five-fish weights of over 20 pounds, with the winning team topping the scale at 30.44 pounds. Wow! That’s averaging over 6 pounds per fish.

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