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Answers to spring fever

Find open water fishing

February 28, 2009
By Steve Weisman - Outdoor Editor

March is the time of year when we really begin to look for open water, buds on trees and migrations of waterfowl and other birds back from their wintering grounds. It's also the time when the Sport Shows begin to wind down.

One of the ones that I have enjoyed going to over the years is the Sioux Empire Sportsmen's Show at the Sioux Falls Arena and Convention Center.

This year's show runs from March 12-15 with the doors opening at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 12. Friday runs from noon to 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Article Photos

The Stilling Basin at Ft. Thompson can be hot right after ice out.
(Photo by Steve Weisman)

It's billed as five shows in one: boat show, camping and RV show, hunting and fishing show, travel show and an education show. I guess it's so close to spring that seeing all of the boats, RVs, resort destinations from across the upper Midwest and Canada just seems like the pre-spring thing to do.

Three of the main seminar speakers this year include Gary Roach, Todd Amenrud and Ted Takasaki. Roach has his seminars on Thursday and Friday and will feature sessions on fishing river walleye and riggin' and jiggin' for walleye.

Both Amenrud and Takasaki will take the stage on Saturday and Sunday. Amenrud will concentrate on keys to consistently harvesting mature bucks and managing property for trophy bucks, while Takasaki will share jigging secrets for big walleye.

The show puts together special activities for youngsters, too, including Kids Fishing School at 11 a.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. There's also a live trout pond that always goes over big for both kids and adults.

For more information, go to

Around here, we think of late ice fishing and dream of open water, but head to the Missouri River to the west and now can be a great time to sample some great open water walleye fishing. For one thing, it seems that when the temperatures around here are in the upper 30s, they often are pushing the 50s at Pierre and Chamberlain.

Below the dams at Pierre and Ft. Thompson are a couple of key places to head, especially when the Corps of Engineers is discharging water.

The discharge acts as a magnet and just seems to pull the fish toward the dam. With the discharge, water can open up several miles below the dams, so you don't have to be boat-to-boat right below the dam areas.

However, the bite can be hit and miss depending on the need for releasing water downstream.

The Corps of Engineers will many times quit releasing water for the weekend, and that often kills the walleye bite. So, it's a good idea to call ahead to the Corp or one of the bait shops.

One of the most used presentations is jig and minnow or Berkley Gulp!



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