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Bite Me! Jigheads

By Louie Stout

Two nice Lake Manitou yellow perch

Lake Manitou in Rochester, Ind. - once one of northern Indiana’s best bass lakes - continues to show recovery from the massive chemical treatments it received over a 10-year period.

The treatments, which began in 2006, were required after an infestation of hydrilla, a fast-spreading invasive plant, was discovered in the lake.

Manitou was the only lake in Indiana that contained the plant, so the boat ramps were closed and fish managers applied heavy doses of chemicals to eliminate the plant at its roots.

Although the chemicals used were designed to specifically eradicate the hydrilla, other plants throughout the lake were knocked back.

District fish biologist Tom Bacula said the recovery is slow, but he was encouraged when he saw multiple year bass classes while surveying the lake early last May and again in June.

The water temperature was 60 degrees in May and most of the bass turned up during four hours of electro-fishing were in the channels.

By Louie Stout

Robert Evans with a nice Diamond Lake walleye

Anyone who fishes Diamond Lake or Michiana bass tournaments knows Robert Evans is a bass guy.

But did you know he’s also an avid walleye angler and has success on some of Michiana’s most popular bass lakes?

Evans says he’s learned how to catch walleyes on Diamond and Magician lakes and has no problem telling how he does it.

Evans admits fishing for walleyes can be frustrating on those lakes that don’t appear to have huge walleye populations.

But they can be caught and even on bass presentations.

“I know there are a lot more walleyes in Diamond and Magician than most people realize,” he says. “Most of the fish I catch are keeper-size and the biggest weighed about 7 ½ pounds.”

A Michigan DNR spring survey last year backs that up. Biologists say they captured a high number of walleyes. Michigan stocks fingerlings in the lake every other year in addition to some private stockings of larger fingerlings conducted by local groups.

By Louie Stout

Conservation Officers with Poacher's Evidence

No one likes a poacher – certainly not conscientious sportsmen and definitely not conservation officers.

That’s why northern Indiana Conservation Officer Dustin Whitehead dogged a case for three years that resulted in arrest of two men, one of whom did prison time for multiple charges, including illegal taking and possession of 16 deer, illegal possession of a stolen firearm and resisting arrest.

But Whitehead didn’t stumble upon this case. He got it from a tipster who called Indiana’s Turn in a Poacher (TIP) hotline. The informant – who received a $2,000 reward from the TIP program - reported information over the phone that one of the suspects was spotlighting deer at night.

“I’ve been on the force for 11 years and gotten quite a few convictions from cases that come through our TIP program,” Whitehead said. “It’s rare that we go down a road at night and see unlawful taking of deer. The odds aren’t in our favor, and that’s why this program is so important.”

This case was unique in that it required extra patience and good police work that ultimately led to conviction of the repeat offender.

By Louie Stout

As most Michiana sportsmen know, you’re going to be paying more for an Indiana license next season.

And in some cases, a lot more.

(If you missed the announcement, click here )

Let’s be honest. The Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), stewards of hunting and fishing, needs the money. The last license fee increase came 16 years ago.

It has operated in the red for the past few years, which caused rollbacks in some programs and a hiring freeze. Several vacancies remain in northern Indiana, where many district biologists have worked without assistants for several months. That limits the amount of research one man can do and any new projects he can take on.