Short Shots & Small Catches

February can be tough getting fish to bite under the ice. One item you might want to try is some glow paint applied to a few of your ice jigs. Red, chartreuse and green colors are popular.

While some anglers shy away from using these creatures for bait, the types of leeches sold in bait shops are not the blood- sucking types as these feed mostly on worms and other small organisms. When they attach to your hand, it is only that they are looking for security, not blood. And they do not like water temperatures below 50 degrees.

Ice safety
In February, many bodies of water in the northern states are usually safe enough to ice fish. Even though we’ve had very cold temperatures here in the Midwest this winter, it’s best not to get lazy when it comes to safety on the ice. Many waters, including underwater springs, can produce dangerously thin ice.

Tides will turn
In the southeastern parts of Canada, the highest tides in the world are experienced.

Tag along
It’s not unusual to see a bald eagle soaring with turkey vultures. Bald eagles enjoy catching and eating fish, but that is harder on their energy levels compared to sitting down for a quiet dinner of carrion. Obviously, carcasses are the food of choice for vultures. You will see this “joint venture” mostly in the winter months.

Feeding wildlife
Good thing or bad thing? Well, it depends on the animal. Black bears—not smart. You see a bear near your home and then it leaves. So, you put out food in the hopes of seeing it again. Pretty soon Mr. Bear relies on that food. And if no food is in that same spot day after day, your garage or home may be next for it trying to find tasty morsels. Whether it’s bear, deer, raccoon or other wild animals, it’s best to leave them alone to forage for themselves. In many states it is against the law to feed such wild animals. Birds can be helped through tough winters when there’s lots of snow on the ground. Of course, the birdseed that drops from the feeder to the ground can possibly invite the wild, aforementioned animals.

This species includes the quillback, redhorse and buffalo. If you are after these rough fish, it’s best to fish the shallows in early spring when they make their spawning run. All three have small mouths, so there’s no need to use larger-sized hooks. One of the best baits to use on these are nightcrawlers.

Soybeans are grown in the Midwest. India, though, has had a tough going the past five years supplying soybean animal feed because of drought. This helps the soybean market for our farmers. Another key customer to the soybean U.S. market is China. Other good prospects for the sale of soybeans are Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. Over the past four years exports of U.S. soybeans has averaged 60 percent.  Hopefully, as demand grows both here and abroad, U.S. farmers will get a better price for their soybeans.

Today, most wetlands have been turned into roads, shopping malls and farms. Unfortunately, this is not a good thing for both wildlife and water. Wetlands act as filters and buffers as they absorb floodwaters and protect farmland from inundation. Many species of animals rely heavily on wetlands for spawning and nesting.