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Recent weather conditions conducive to Cyanobacteria

I visited with fisheries biologist Mike Hawkins last week, and he said he has been getting lots of calls about really bad looking water on Big Spirit, East Okoboji and Lake Minnewashta along with some of the other area lakes. Often called blue-green algae, the correct name for this organism is cyanobacteria.

Do what it takes to catch ‘em

The summer months can provide very good fishing, and when the fall months arrive, fishing can be even better. In the warm water of summer, fish eat often. The cooling water in the fall is Mother Nature’s way of telling the fish they need to fatten up for winter, so they eat often then also. Fish that are eating are easier to catch.  

Iowa pheasant population survey begins Aug. 1

Pheasant hunters in the northern half of Iowa had an excellent season last year, and many are looking forward to what 2023 has in store. The fall forecast will be based on the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) annual roadside pheasant counts, that begins Aug. 1.

Diverse and unique, Dugout Creek-Yager Slough wildlife area packs a lot into 1,600 acres

Dugout Creek-Yager Slough wildlife areas south of Lake Park, in western Dickinson County, is home to an array of marshes plus two unique and rare habitat types in the state - one of the largest and highest quality wetland fen complexes in Iowa and high-quality remnant prairie.

REVIEW: Pioneers improve under first-year head coach

Okoboji’s baseball team saw success in its first year under the direction of coach Andy Wolf. The Pioneers went 14-13 overall and 8-8 in the Siouxland Conference. It was the program’s highest win total since 2017.

For their efforts, the Pioneers had three players earn postseason recognition in the Siouxland Conference.



Landon Duvall, a sophomore, earned First Team All-Siouxland Conference honors.

REVIEW: Okoboji softball duo earns conference honors

In 2023, Okoboji’s softball team matched its win total from the previous season, but improved its conference win total by a game. The Pioneers went 5-18 overall and 4-12 in the Siouxland Conference in their second season under coach Kate Perrin.

For their efforts, two Okoboji athletes earned postseason honors in the conference.



Brenton family offers Brenton Slough to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation

Over the past decade, I’ve watched the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) 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.

Summer weed action

DNR creating plans to improve amenities at Gull Point State Park

The Iowa DNR is in the early planning stages of a renovation plan at Gull Point State Park to re-pave 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.

Jacob Schaben, Northwest Iowa District Supervisor for the DNR’s State Parks, Forests and Preserves Bureau, said they’re in the design stage so there’s still a lot of moving parts.

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.

REVIEW: Wolves baseball trio earns conference honors


Harris-Lake Park’s baseball team went 7-17 overall and 4-7 in War Eagle Conference contests this past season.

REVIEW: H-LP softball players earn postseason recognition

Harris-Lake Park’s softball team went 3-20 overall and 2-8 in War Eagle Conference contests this past season. The Wolves earned wins over Trinity Christian, George-Little Rock and South O’Brien to secure their highest win total since the 2019 season. For their efforts, three Wolves earned postseason recognition.



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

The 2023 University of Okoboji Junior Tennis Classic will be held on Saturday and Sunday, July 29-30. Headquarters will be Speier Park in Okoboji, though courts at Riverside Park in Spencer and the Spirit Lake High School will also be used.

The bite’s hot

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.

Summer heat causes fish kill on the lower Des Moines River

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) 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.

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