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Heartland Outdoors

Spence Petros offers fishing classes

Fri, January 07, 2011

Chicago-area fishing legend Spence Petros is once again offering fishing classes.

Click here to learn more.

Petros is teaching a bass and panfish class on Tuesdays from March 8 through April 5.

He also has a class on walleye, pike and muskies on Wednesdays March 9 through April 6.




AIM walleye circuit coming to Dubuque

Fri, January 07, 2011

PLYMOUTH, Wisc. – Anglers Insight Marketing, LLC (AIM) once again brings the walleye world an exciting season of tournament fishing action through the 2011 AIM Pro Walleye Series.  The 2011 season will feature four tournaments. The schedule, announced officially today, is as follows:

• Winnebago Chain (Winneconne, WI), April 20-22 – sponsored by the Winneconne Chamber of Commerce, Wolf River Resorts and Critter’s Sports

• AIM Bay Mills Invitational Walleye Tournament™ (Brimley, MI), June 2-4 – sponsored by Bay Mills Resort & Casino

• Mississippi River (Dubuque, IA), June 22-24 – sponsored by the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce and the Dubuque Regional Sports Commission.

• AIM International Walleye Championship - Lake Oahe (Akaska, SD), September 15-17

The Winnebago, Bay Mills and Dubuque events will all be qualifiers for the AIM International Walleye Championship™ and results will also count towards 2011 Angler of the Year points. 

Each AIM Pro Walleye Series tournament will feature the exclusive AIM Catch-Record-Release™ (CRR) format that uses digital photos to verify each fish as it is recorded on the Official Scorecard. Each fish is then immediately released – where it was caught – and NOT transported to the landing. This means the Pro Anglers can continually upgrade their catch all day, every day regardless of any local “slot” limits. CRR also means that NO “dead fish” penalties will be assessed at the weigh-in and assures that each tournament has no negative impacts on the fishery.

The payouts for each 2011 tournament will be not less than 100% of the Pro Angler entry fees. This remains a policy of the AIM Pro Walleye Series tournaments, but with the provision that several events will feature payouts in excess of 100%, including additional incentives. For 2011, payouts will now extend to the top 30% of the field in each tournament.

A sample payout schedule is viewable at  Final, official payouts are based on total entrants and will be announced after the close of registrations one week prior to each tournament.

Other benefits and additions to the 2011 AIM Pro Walleye Series include:

• AIM FishMore Program – An incentive for Pros who are not AIM Owners or Lifetime Members to fish additional tournaments in 2011. This offer makes the $250 Membership fee a one-time expense per year.  The $250 fee will be applied to ONLY the first tournament fished by a Non-Member in 2011.  The $250 Membership fee will be waived for all subsequent tournaments that a Non-Member enters in 2011. 

• New Interactive AIM Website – will feature an enhanced experience in 2011 for Pro Anglers, Co-anglers and fishing enthusiasts. New features include exclusive pages for many Marketing Partners, individual Bio Pages for the AIM Pro Anglers, a new Message Board for comments, photos and videos – including sections for AIM’s Marketing Partners and Sanctioned Series affiliates. The AIM website will also include an expanded video capability that allows all AIM Pro Anglers to easily upload product tips and technique videos.

• The AIM International Walleye Championship in Akaska will also include a “tournament within the tournament”. Teams of entrants from the AIM Sanctioned Series will have the opportunity to match their skills against each other in the special AIM Team Championship. This team event will run alongside the Pro-Am AIM International Walleye Championship.

“AIM is squarely focused on giving walleye anglers around the world the opportunity to share real, timely information about hot bites, baits, techniques, and equipment,” said Scott Matheson, President/CEO of AIM.  “The Pro Anglers that fish the AIM Pro Walleye Series events will not only have the opportunity to compete for significant prize money, they will be able to showcase their expertise to anglers across the world through our unique tournament format and expanded multi-media marketing assets.  Our goal is to provide our participating anglers, their sponsors and the AIM Marketing Partners with unmatched opportunities that benefit both the world of competitive angling and the sport of fishing in general.”

Registrations for both Pro Anglers and Co-anglers will accepted beginning January 11, 2011. Entries are accepted online, or by calling the AIM office at 920-526-3399. The Pro Angler entry fee is $1,500 per event. The Co-angler entry fee is $250 for two days of fishing, each with a different AIM Pro Angler. After Day Two the number of Pro Anglers is reduced to the top 50% of the field. Half of the Co-angler field will also be selected to fish an additional day for free! 

Constantly-updated information about AIM tournaments, activities and developments can be found at

Anglers Insight Marketing, LLC is a unique tournament organization which is owned by stockholders, the majority of which are Professional walleye anglers. AIM Professionals are among the “All Stars” of professional fishing, with cumulative HUNDREDS of years of tournament experience, including countless tournament victories, series championships, and Angler of the Year titles. This insight and knowledge is now being employed to provide the finest tournament experience for the participants, and the maximum exposure for the host tournament sites and corporate partners.



Iowa nabs coon, swan poachers

Thu, January 06, 2011

AUDUBON, Iowa - Three Audubon men pleaded guilty on Dec. 30, for their roles in poaching at least 72 raccoons after a caller to the Turn in Poachers hotline alerted conservation officers to the illegal activity.  A fourth individual connected to the case has requested a jury trial.

Jeremy King, state conservation officer with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said the men were using spotlights to find the raccoons then shot and sold them for their hides.  Raccoon pelts sell for $5 up to $17, depending on the quality.

A number of people came forward with information on the case that King and fellow officers Dave Tierney and Dan Pauley used to observe the men in action in early November.  The poaching took place primarily in Audubon County, but also in Harrison, Shelby and Guthrie counties.

“This is a good example of how a call to the TIP line helps to catch poachers. We actually witnessed the individuals in the act, which makes for a better case,” King said.  During the investigation, King said they found receipts from fur buyers totaling more than $500.

Ben Petersen, 18, of Audubon, pleaded guilty to not having a furharvester license, using artificial light to hunt, illegal method of take and failure to pay the habitat fee. Petersen’s civil damages totaled $1,400 and his hunting privileges will be suspended for three years.

Scott Downer, 19, of Audubon, pleaded guilty to illegal method of take. Downer’s civil damages totaled $2,250 and his hunting privileges will be suspended for two years.

Chris Groninga, 20, of Audubon, pleaded guilty of two counts of illegal method of take. Groninga’s civil damages totaled $1,400 and his hunting privileges were suspended for two years.

The fourth suspect, Michael Sonntag, 19, of Audubon, will go on trial in late January to face charges of illegal method of take in addition to charges for allegedly shooting a buck deer without the proper licenses in 2009, and allegedly shooting a doe with a rifle and leaving it to waste in 2010. Sonntag faces fines and damages totaling nearly $83,000 and the loss of hunting privileges.

The DNR seized a number of items including guns, spotlights, traps and deer antlers.

In other news…

Burlington man faces charges for allegedly shooting swans

BURLINGTON – A Burlington man faces numerous charges after allegedly shooting a pair of swans.

Ryan Standard, 39, was charged for allegedly killing the Trumpeter swans at the Green Bay Bottoms area in northern Lee County in late December. The charges resulted from a call through the Turn In Poachers (TIP) hotline.

Standard faces two counts of unlawful taking of wildlife, one count of not having a hunting license, one count of not having a habitat stamp, one charge of not having a federal migratory bird stamp and one count of not having a state migratory bird stamp. The case is still under investigation and additional charges may be filed.


Lake Michigan tribs still open

Thu, January 06, 2011

Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report: January 4, 2010

Kenosha Co.
No report.

Racine Co.
Fishing effort over this past New Year’s Eve day was considerably higher than the last few weeks. The warmer weather and recent rains, in combination with a holiday, really pulled a lot of anglers outside. Fishing pressure was evenly spread out from the dam downstream through the upper half of Lincoln Park. The water temperature was still holding around 33-34 degrees Fahrenheit, and water clarity had significantly decreased compared from earlier in the week. Many anglers were fishing Lincoln Park for the early morning bite. Anglers were focusing downstream from weir’s refuge all the way down to the walking bridges. Most anglers were drifting spawn sacs or artificial baits on a bobber, while a few others were using wet flies. Catches of brown trout were limited to only a couple of harvested fish. The browns caught ranged from 2-6 pounds. A few anglers in Colonial Park had a slow day of fishing. They covered a lot of area in the park but were unsuccessful in landing any trout. They reported spooking a few browns out of the holes while working their way downstream. The Horlick dam and downstream through Quarry Lake Park felt steady fishing pressure all day. One fly fishermen concentrating tight to the dam mid-afternoon landed a nice spawning female brown trout that weighed 6.5 pounds. Another angler that covered a lot of water between Quarry Lake Park and downstream through the Racine Country Club caught a big steelhead that weighed 8 pounds. It was caught on a small tube jig tipped with a wax worm.

Milwaukee Co.
Milwaukee area tributaries are freezing over, but open water fishing can be found in the lower stretches of the Menomonee River and canals. The mouth of the Milwaukee River has some ice cover, but conditions have been changing daily. Riverfront Ramp has been usable at times.

Ozaukee Co.
In Port Washington, the area near the power plant discharge provides good winter open water fishing opportunities. Brown trout and steelhead can usually be found there this time of year.

Sheboygan Co.
No report.

Green Bay Fishing Report: January 6, 2010

Brown Co.
Voyageur Park is reporting some success with walleye fishing in about 10 feet of water using jig and minnow. A few small perch are also being caught in shallow water using wax worms. Ice thickness, according to the fishermen, is in the half foot range close to shore; use caution when ever venturing out on the ice. Fishing at Sunset Beach was slow, with only a few small perch being reported.

East Shore
Sturgeon Bay: Ice conditions are very poor because of the warmer weather last week and overall wind conditions. Prior to this weekend, a few walleye and some whitefish were being caught. Some yellow perch have been caught around the state park as well. Little Sturgeon Bay: The wind played havoc on some of the permanent ice shelters during the last few days, with some being ripped apart or blown across the bay. Anglers, however, have been finding some perch in the weed beds, and most have been using wax worms and minnows. Anglers have been finding good numbers of whitefish from Lime Kiln Road to Sand Bay. Use extreme caution though when venturing out in these areas due to poor ice conditions. Anglers have been fishing with small jigs or jigging spoons with a wax warm or a small piece of Berkley gulp for bait. Bayshore Park/Dyckesville: Anglers have been fishing for yellow perch and whitefish. Most anglers have been fishing in 15-25 feet of water and have been using jigging spoons tipped with minnow heads or wax worms. Most of the Lower Bay seems to have good ice on it; however, it would be prudent to use caution there as well.

Oconto Co.
Geano Beach had no activity.


Male mountain lion shot in Missouri

Thu, January 06, 2011

COLUMBIA – Conservation officials say a mountain lion killed by a cattleman in Ray County was a young male that showed no sign of having been held in captivity.

Conservation Agent Tammy Pierson said Bob Littleton went to one of his pastures Sunday night after coon hounds treed a mountain lion where his cattle were grazing. He killed the mountain lion with a shot to the head from a .22-cal. rifle.

Littleton reported the incident as required by law. Pierson collected the mountain lion this morning and sent it to the Missouri Department of Conservation Resource Science Center in Columbia, where resource scientists examined it this afternoon.

Conservation Department furbearer biologist Jeff Beringer said the mountain lion weighed 115.2 pounds and measured a little over 6.5 feet from nose to tip of tail.  The sharp edges of the cat’s teeth and faint barring on the insides of its legs indicate it was a young male, probably three years or younger. Beringer said laboratory tests will provide more detailed information about the cat’s age and genetic makeup.

“We removed a small premolar tooth that will be sectioned so we can count the annual growth rings,” said Beringer. “That will tell us exactly how old it was. DNA testing will tell us whether it was related to native mountain lions in states to the west of Missouri, or if it is more closely related to mountain lions from somewhere else – possibly captive animals.”

Northwest Nebraska is the area nearest Missouri with an established mountain lion population.

Genetic testing also will determine whether the mountain lion killed in Ray County is the same one photographed by a landowner in Platte County in November.

Beringer said nothing in his examination of the Ray County mountain lion led him to believe it had been held in captivity. It had no tattoos or electronic identification tags – customary ways of marking captive cats. Its skin and paws showed no sign of having lived in a concrete-floored enclosure, and it still had its dewclaws, which often are surgically removed in captive animals to prevent injury.

The Ray County cat is Missouri’s 12th confirmed mountain lion sighting since 1994. Most of the mountain lions whose bodies have been recovered have been young males. Young males are the most mobile mountain lions, because they typically leave their birth areas to establish territories not already occupied by adult males. This is consistent with biologists’ theory that the cats are coming into Missouri from other states. Beringer said there is no evidence of reproduction for mountain lions in Missouri to date. This indicates that Missouri does not have a self-sustaining mountain lion population.
Because of evidence that Missouri no longer had an established population of mountain lions (Felis concolor), the Missouri Conservation Commission reclassified the species from “endangered” to “extirpated” in 2006. This means the species no longer exists as a self-sustaining population.

Also in 2006, the Conservation Commission adopted a policy that re-establishment of a sustainable mountain lion population in Missouri is not desirable, due to the potential for conflict with human activities.

Missouri’s Wildlife Code does protect mountain lions, but the Wildlife Code also allows the killing of any mountain lion that attacks or kills livestock or domestic animals or threatens human safety. People who kill mountain lions must report the incident to MDC immediately and turn over the intact carcass, including the pelt, within 24 hours.”

More information about reporting mountain lion sightings and how to deal with mountain lions is available at


Iowa stocking trout in cities

Wed, January 05, 2011

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will be stocking trout in urban areas across Iowa in January, beginning Jan. 8 when 1,800 trout are released in North Prairie Lake, in Cedar Falls, and 1,600 are released in Bacon Creek Lake in Sioux City. 

On Jan. 15, 900 trout will be stocked in West Lake in Big Lake Park at Council Bluffs, and 1,800 in Heritage Pond, in Dubuque.  On Jan. 22, 1,400 trout will be stocked in Scharnberg Pond near Spencer and on Jan. 29, 1,400 trout will be stocked in Blue Pit, in Mason City.

All stockings are based on favorable weather conditions. 

Anglers who want to fish for the trout are required to pay the trout fee in addition to an Iowa fishing license.  The 2010 Iowa fishing licenses and stamps expire on Jan. 10. 

The daily bag limit for trout is five and the possession limit is 10. 

Kids under 16 may fish without a trout fee, as long as each is supervised by a properly licensed adult who has paid the trout fee.  Their combined catch, however, cannot exceed a single daily limit. Those younger anglers may also pay their own trout fee and fish for their own daily limit.


Indiana DNR proposes deer rule changes

Tue, January 04, 2011


The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has unveiled a new package of recommended changes to deer hunting rules that will be presented to the Natural Resources Commission at its Jan. 11 meeting at Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis.

The recommendations were developed after the NRC withdrew its preliminary approval of an earlier plan because overwhelming public comment opposed shortening some segments of the deer hunting seasons. DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife staff biologists believe the proposed multiple shorter seasons in the earlier plan, some for antlerless deer only, would have contributed to the goal of reducing deer numbers by placing greater emphasis on hunting of antlerless deer.

“The new proposal has the same objective – to focus deer herd reduction in a strategically-targeted manner to more adequately balance ecological, recreational and economic needs of the citizens of Indiana,” said Mark Reiter, director of the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife. “Our responsibility is to manage wildlife for all Hoosiers. Some pointed to the previous proposal as an effort to manage the herd for trophy animals or increase license revenue. That was not the case.”

The new recommendations maintain the focus but leave the firearms and muzzleloader seasons at their traditional 16-day lengths and drop a proposed two-day October season.

“This new proposal was created by staff within the DNR, using historic data gathered for deer management in Indiana, feedback from comments received during the initial proposal, and data from surrounding states,” said Mitch Marcus, wildlife section chief for the Division of Fish and Wildlife. “We can’t emphasize enough that the goal is to reduce deer numbers in a strategic manner; not everywhere, but certainly in areas of the state where it’s needed to address the balance we’re trying to achieve.”

Three key points of the new recommendation are carryovers from the previous proposal:

—Adding a special antlerless only firearms season from Dec. 26 through the first Sunday in January of the following year in counties with a bonus antlerless quota of four or more deer;

—Extending the urban zone season through Jan. 31 of the following year;

—Requiring hunters hunting in an urban zone during the urban zone season to take at least one antlerless deer before taking an antlered deer.
New components include:

—Changing the current split archery season to a single season from Oct. 1 through the first Sunday in January;

—Allowing a crossbow to be used by any hunter during the archery season and establishes a special crossbow license;

—Adding two new licenses (a crossbow license for use in the archery season, and an urban zone license) and offering a license bundle at a reduced price that would allow one antlered deer and two antlerless deer to be taken during the special youth, archery, firearms, muzzleloader and special antlerless seasons combined.

The full text of the recommended rules package can be found in the January meeting agenda on the NRC website ( Additional information from the DNR is available on the Division of Fish and Wildlife web pages at (click on the “Rule/Regulation Changes” link in the left column).

“The Division of Fish and Wildlife recognizes that modifying regulations is only part of a larger effort that must be addressed,” said Gary Langell, private lands program manager for the Division of Fish and Wildlife. “Simply changing regulations will not achieve our objective. 

“Although we continue to depend on deer hunters to help us manage our deer herd, we also believe that landowners will need to be more actively involved in providing hunter access and encouraging more intensive antlerless harvest on their properties. Likewise, urban communities will need to recognize the importance of balanced, regulated deer management.”

If the NRC grants preliminary adoption at its Jan. 11 meeting, it would be only the fifth step in a 34-step checklist that can take as much as a year to complete.

A vote for preliminary adoption would be followed by a public comment period overseen by the NRC Division of Hearings. The recommended rule changes and a convenient online comment link would be posted at ( The NRC also would accept written comments mailed to Division of Hearings, Indiana Government Center North, 100 North Senate Avenue, Room N501, Indianapolis, IN, 46204-2200.

State law sets a minimum period for receiving public comments, and the period may be extended by the NRC hearing officer assigned to the topic. The hearing officer also presides over at least one public hearing and prepares a report for the NRC to use in its consideration of final adoption of the proposed rule changes.


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