Fishing Journal Entry 16 - James A Reed - Coot Lake


After what felt like an extremely long week at work I was able to sneak away for a few relaxing hours of fishing with my dad at James A Reed Memorial Wildlife Area located in west-central Missouri.  
James A Reed Wildlife Area, Fishing, Weather
Today's Weather Stats
The weather for today was very pleasant as you can see from the snapshot above.  I may begin adding the weather details for the fishing and hunting journal entries this way as it is a very simple way to record and share all of the important data that I usually include in these posts.

Sunfish, Fishing, James A Reed Wildlife Area
Dad looking impressed with a small bluegill
This little bullhead was one of three bullheads caught during our outing.
Catfishing, Catfish, James A Reed Wildlife Area
One tiny bullhead
This channel catfish was the biggest of the day measuring about seventeen inches long.  He was released unharmed at the end of the evening.
Catfish, Catfishing, James A Reed Wildlife Area
Decent little channel catfish
This little bass was hungry as anything you've ever seen and did its best to put up a good fight.
Tiny Bass, bass fishing, James A Reed Wildlife Area
A little bass
In all we caught only six fish, but we still had a great time relaxing while waiting on the fish to bite.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Fishing Journal Entry 15 - Lake of the Ozarks Truman Dam Public Access


Today I took the family fishing at one of my favorite places - Lake of the Ozarks public access area below the Truman Dam.  The weather was extremely hot with a temperature of 98 degrees.
Crappie Fishing, Fishing in Missouri, fishing
Emilee with a crappie
The wind was blowing off and on at about eight miles per hour.  The skies were clear to partly cloudy throughout the day.  Unfortunately I forgot to record the barometric pressure on this trip.
bluegill, small fish, fishing
Cody with a sunfish
Having spent the entire day from noon until 11:30 at night fishing from a dock I achieved sunburned status.  We fished with all types of bait including minnows, gizzards, shrimp, night crawlers, and cut bait.
catfish, tiny catfish, catfishing
Even the baby catfish were hungry!
We managed to catch fish on everything except the chicken gizzards.  Although the fish were biting fairly steadily we didn't catch any giants.  
fishing, catfish, crappie
Some of the fish caught below the Truman Dam
The crappie were biting like crazy at a depth of about 12 feet with the biggest crappie of the day measuring eleven inches long.  
Crappie Fishing, Truman Lake Crappie Fishing, Lake of the Ozarks
Some of the crappie caught throughout the day
We caught several catfish throughout the day. Although many were small, they were still fun to catch.
Catfishing, fishing, Fishing in Missouri
Another small catfish
I was unable to keep track of the total fish count on this trip, but we caught a lot of them!
Fishing, Lake of the Ozarks, Truman Dam
Cody with another fish
Although we didn't catch any big fish on this trip the whole family had a blast.  In my book that's what makes any outdoor experience a successful one!

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Fishing Journal Entry 14 - The Turtles Win


Today I took my son along with a friend and his son to a small fishing pond to enjoy some fishing and relaxing.  We had a great time talking and catching fish.
Pond Fishing, Bass Fishing, Fishing In Ponds
A view of the pond
Having fished in many other places recently, I decided it was time to return to this beautiful pond to see how the fishing would be in the middle of the summer.
Catfishing, Fishing in ponds, Pond Fishing
2nd view of the pond
There was an enormous amount of aquatic vegetation growing in the pond which brought with it some fishing challenges, but we were able to cope with the situation.
Crappie Fishing, Fishing In Ponds, Pond Fishing
Another view of the pond
The weather was extremely hot with a temperature approaching 100 degrees.  The barometric pressure was 30.00 with a UV index of 9!
Catfishing, Pond Fishing, Fishing in ponds
The wind was blowing at twelve to fifteen miles per hour.
Bass Fishing, Fishing in ponds, pond fishing
Largemouth Bass
We caught three decent bass.  They were just shy of being keepers.

Crappie Fishing, Fishing In Ponds, Pond Fishing
First Crappie
We caught three crappie.
Catfishing, Fishing In Ponds, Pond Fishing
Channel Catfish
We caught six catfish.  Most were big enough to filet, but we released them all so they could get bigger.
Catfishing, Fishing in ponds, pond fishing
We used minnows, night crawlers and even some stink bait to catch these fish.
A couple of the catfish were rather small, but a fish is a fish.....right?

Catfish, Catfishing, Fishing In Ponds
As the crappie started biting I began placing them on a stringer.  Upon catching the third crappie I pulled the stringer from the water to find that the first two had been mutilated by turtles.  One was completely gone except for its lips and some of the skin around its facial area.  The other had about one half of one side destroyed.  Once I saw this, I decided we wouldn't be attempting to keep any more fish.  It is better to catch and release than to feed the turtles. 
Turtle, Pond Fishing, Fishing In Ponds
One of many turtles
In all we caught twelve fish and two turtles, but in the end.....the turtles won.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day (even when the turtles are stealing your fish)

Build A Compact Fishing Kit

If you have ever been somewhere and found yourself wishing you had a way to fish, one solution is to build a compact fishing kit that can be stored in your vehicle and will take up very little room.  For this project you will need a sharp knife, scissors, two sports drink bottles,  an expired credit/debit/gift card, super glue and of course hooks, fishing line and sinkers.

The video below shows the process to build a compact fishing kit.

The steps involved are quite simple.
  • Cut the tops off of both bottles just underneath the rim that sticks out below the cap and ring.
  • Cut the ring off one of the bottle tops.
  • Trace around one of the tops onto the old gift/credit/debit card.
  • Cut a circle out of the card following the line that was traced.
  • Glue both bottle tops to the plastic circle that was cut from the card (one on each side)
  • Place hooks in one side and replace the cap.
  • Place sinkers in the opposite side and replace the cap. (Placing the sinkers in the side that the ring was removed from in step two works out best.)
  • Wrap fishing line around the open space where the ring was removed.  (Wrap the line in a clockwise direction.)
  • Attach a sinker to the end of the fishing line, remove the cap and place the sinker and the end of the line inside.
  • Screw the cap back on. (The sinker on the end of the line will prevent the fishing line from escaping and unraveling.)
  • Your compact fishing kit is complete.

Please feel free to leave your questions and remarks in the comments section below.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Achieve Pinpoint Accuracy With Your Compound Bow

Any links to merchants in this post are affiliate links.  If you click on a link and purchase a product mentioned in this post I may earn a commission.  This will not add to the price you pay for that product.

With all of the gizmos and gadgets available for today's bow hunters hitting your target has become almost inevitable.  However, there is always room for improvement.  There are some items you can add to your bow to improve your accuracy.  Combine these with the proper practice sessions and you will achieve pinpoint accuracy with your compound bow.

One of my favorite additions to the bow I shoot is the Trophy Ridge React Pin Sight. This sight allows the hunter to make micro adjustments at the range or in the field without the use of any tools.  It has definitely helped to improve my shooting accuracy. Aside from allowing tiny adjustments without the need for any special tools, this pin sight automatically sets your 40, 50 and 60 yard pins for you..... You think it's too good to be true?  Think again.....This thing really does work!  Although it is a bit on the pricey side, I decided to live by the rule "only the best for my baby!"

Trophy Ridge React Compound Bow Sight

Trophy Ridge React Compound 
Bow Sight
The Trophy Ridge React Bow Sight Smart Pin 
Technology is a tool-less sight system that 
simultaneously puts you on target at 40, 50 
and 60 yards when first calibrated to 20 and 
30 yard ranges. The Ballistix CoPolymer system
means it's light weight!     

Once you have chosen the best pin sight for your situation, there is another simple step you can take to achieve pinpoint accuracy with your compound bow.  What is it you ask?  Simply begin practicing from greater distances.  That's right..... Practice honing in your shooting skills at 50 and 60 yard range and you will automatically improve your close up shooting skills.  If your shot is off by just one inch at 20 yards, there's a good possibility that you will completely miss your target when shooting from 60 yards; however, if you can hit a bullseye at 60 yards, you will be pinpoint accurate at 20 and 30 yards which is right in the range where the majority of kills occurs.

If you consistently practice from 20 yards, and don't worry about taking longer shots you are not only handicapping your shooting skills, you are missing out on the fun and satisfaction of successfully taking those longer shots. Don't rip yourself off, get out there and practice regularly from the 50 and 60 yard range and see for yourself how much more accurate you become when taking shots in the "normal" 20 to 30 yard range!

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Fishing Journal Entry 13 - Lone Jack Lake


After working late all week I finally managed to sneak in a little fishing time today.  My son and I decided to try fishing at a Lone Jack Lake.  Having never fished at this lake before, we weren't sure what to expect.  

While out fishing, the skies were partly cloudy and the sun was blazing down.  It was partly cloudy and hot with a temperature of 90 degrees (the weather monitor on my phone said it felt like 96 degrees).  The barometric pressure of 29.90 and holding steady with a UV index of 3.

Partly Cloudy Skies, Clouds, Mostly Sunny Skies
A View Of The Sky
This lake is in a beautiful area surrounded by trees and some cropland.  The lake itself is not overly large, but it is big enough that several people can fish there without feeling crowded.

Lone Jack Conservation Area, Small Lake, Lake Fishing
A View Of The Lake
Here are a couple of pictures of Lone Jack Lake from the area where we were fishing.

Lone Jack Lake Conservation Area, Lake Fishing, Small Lake
Another View Of Lone Jack Lake
We fished with minnows about three feet below our bobbers.  We also fished with shrimp on the bottom in an attempt to catch some catfish.  Cody was having a good time, but the fish refused to bite for him.
Father Son Fishing, Lake Fishing, Summertime Fishing
My Son Enjoying This Little Fishing Trip
About half an hour before we packed it up to head home, I managed to catch a tiny bass.  I was almost surprised that he could even get the minnow in his mouth; however, bass do have big appetites.

Baby Bass, Bass Fishing, Bass
The First Catch Of The Day
Not long after reeling in the baby fish I managed to hook into a decent one.  I had a blast reeling this one in!

Bass Fishing, Lake Fishing, Fishing For Bass
The Second Fish Of The Day
I released both fish after photographing them.  Perhaps they will get bigger and I'll have a chance to hook into them again (especially the bigger one).

At least I was able to catch a couple of fish today, for a while I thought I was going to get skunked for the first time this year.  I know it's bound to happen sooner or later, but it ended up not happening today.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Weather & Work Delays

As much as I would like to be out there fishing and/or hunting right now I have been experiencing both weather and work delays.  Working long days in combination with more nasty weather has really put a damper on what was turning out to be a great year so far.  Oh well, I guess this too shall pass.  When these things happen you just have to catch yourself before you become too disappointed by the circumstances and regain control of your mindset.  This situation can't possibly last forever, and believe me when it finally lets up I will be right back at it.  Up to this point it has been a really great year for filling the freezer.

Fireworks Pictures, Fireworks, Fireworks Display
The Family Fireworks Display

We did have a fish fry with the family on the 4th of July shooting clays and blowing off fireworks.  I must say I was a bit surprised with myself having shot about 100 shells through my Mossberg 500 12 gauge without experiencing any soreness whatsoever. My wife on the other hand did bruise her arm where it meets with her shoulder and asked me "you think I held my gun in the wrong spot a couple of times?"  She then laughed the matter off and said "guess I learned my lesson.  Keep the butt of the gun in the pocket where it belongs."

Shooting Clays, Target Practice, Shooting Shotguns
Shooting Clays With The Family

Over all we had a really good time visiting with family and friends although mom and dad weren't able to be there this year as mom wasn't feeling well.  I'm pretty sure she has been pushing herself too hard since the cancer surgery.  She just doesn't know how to take it easy when she needs to.  I guess some people may never learn that lesson.

I hope you all had a fun, safe and exciting Independence day too.  Until next time, remember......

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Wisconsin's Amnicon Falls State Park

The Amnicon Falls State Park is an 828 acre gem in that is located seven miles to the east of Superior City.  This park offers many outdoor activities for its visitors including camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, swimming and trapping.

  • Camping - There are 36 campsites including one that is handicap accessible and two walk-in sites.  
  • Fishing - Although it is possible to fish in the fast flowing river in the park, there is a slower moving part of the river below the park offering a variety of species to catch.  All anglers must have the appropriate fishing permit(s).
  • Hiking - The Amnicon Falls State Park offers 1.8 miles of trails with  several small trails on either side of the river.
  • Hunting/Trapping - Hunting and trapping are permitted with the proper permits within designated open areas during the appropriate seasons.
  • Swimming - Swimming is allowed in the park; however, caution must be used as water levels and speeds can change from day to day.  No jumping or diving from rocks is allowed.
This State park offers the outdoor enthusiast the opportunity to enjoy nature and learn about the Douglas Fault.  Anyone interested in the results of past volcanic activity would enjoy the views around the park.

For more information on this State Park check out the Wisconsin DNR Website.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

South Dakota's Bear Butte State Park

Six miles north-east of Sturgis is South Dakota's Bear Butte State Park.  Activities available in this park include boating, camping, fishing, hiking and horseback riding. This State Park is considered a sacred ground for many American Indians.   While visiting Bear Butte State Park you are likely to see prayer cloths and tobacco ties that have been offered as prayers by the American Indians during their time of worship.  

  • Boating/Canoeing - The Bear Butte Lake offers opportunities for boating and canoeing
  • Camping - There are 15 non-electric campsites available on a first come first serve basis in the main campground.  There are non-electric campsites in the middle camp ground and there are  four additional horse camping sites in the Bear Butte State Park.
  • Fishing - Bear Butte Lake offers a fishing dock giving anglers the opportunity to catch bullheads, crappie and northern pike.
  • Hiking - The Bear Butte State Park offers hikers two trails to enjoy the majestic views.  The Summit Trail is 1.85 miles long while the Lake Trail is 2.5 miles long.  This park also allows access to the northernmost point of the 111 mile long Centennial Trail.
  • Horseback Riding - The campsites for equestrian use are located on the west side of highway 79.
This South Dakota State park has a lot to offer for those outdoor enthusiasts who love to learn about the ways of the Native American Indian.

For more information on this State Park check out the South Dakota GFP Website.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Ohio's A.W. Marion State Park

Located in Pickaway county the 309 acre A.W. Marion State Park offers a variety of activities for its visitors.  Included in these activities are boating, fishing, hiking, hunting, swimming and with the right conditions even sledding, ice skating and ice fishing.  

  • Boating - The 145 acre Hargus Creek Lake has one boat ramp that allows access for canoes, kayaks and boats with electric motors.  There are also boat rentals available at the park.
  • Fishing - Fishing in the Hargus Creek Lake is open to individuals who possess an Ohio state fishing permit and offers anglers the chance to catch largemouth bass, channel catfish, crappie and bluegill.  During the winter months anglers can enjoy ice fishing when conditions allow.
  • Hiking - The Hargus Lake Trail is a total of five miles long and runs along the lakes shoreline.  The Squawroot Trail offers a one mile hike through the scenic terrain of the area.  The parks two trails are available for use all year long.
  • Hunting - During squirrel season designated areas of the A.W. Marion State Park are open for squirrel hunting.
  • Swimming - Although there is no swim beach, swimming from you boat is allowed in designated areas on the lake.
  • Ice Skating - When conditions permit during the winter months ice skating is allowed on the Hargus Creek Lake.
Whether you want to go boating, fishing, swimming and hiking or you just want to sit back and relax while enjoying the peaceful surroundings the A.W. Marion State Park offers something for everyone.

For more information on this park check out the ODNR Division of State Parks Website.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

North Dakota's Beaver Lake State Park

The Beaver Lake State Park in North Dakota is comprised of 283 acres on the west shore of the Beaver Lake.  During the summer months of mid-May through the end of September this lake attracts visitors who enjoy boating, canoeing, fishing and water skiing.  The park remains staffed year round for camping and picnicking.  Hiking is another activity that can be enjoyed in this park.

  • Camping - There are 31 campsites as well as three rentable cabins.
  • Boating/Water Skiing - Beaver Lake allows access for boating and water skiing
  • Fishing - This lake is approximately 964 acres.  While fishing this lake you may catch Black Crappie, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike and Yellow Perch.
  • Hiking - There are numerous hiking trails in the Beaver Lake State Park covering 5.3 miles.
    1. The Nature Trail is a .32 mile interpretive loop winding through woodlands, through prairie land as well as bringing its hikers near the lake.
    2. The Old Settlers Trail is a .49 mile trail that passes by the campground, cabins and lake shore.
    3. The Woodland Trail is a .67 mile that makes its way in and out of woodlands and prairie lands offering the opportunity to see an abundance of wildlife.
    4. The Moraine Loop Trail is a 2.28 mile trail that passes through the rocky moraine offering excellent views of the Beaver Lake.
    5.  The Lake View Loop is a .36 mile loop that is accessed via the Moraine Loop Trail.  Hikers on this trail may encounter birds, beavers, raccoons, squirrels and even deer.
    6. The Rolling Prairie Loop is a 1.02 mile trail through the most secluded sections of the Beaver Lake State Park.  This trail features many native grasses as well as prairie wildflowers. 

For more information on the Beaver Lake State Park or to make reservations, check out the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Website.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Nebraska's Smith Falls State Park

Home to the tallest waterfall in Nebraska, Smith Falls State Park offers outdoor enthusiasts the opportunities to go camping, canoeing, fishing, hiking, kayaking and even tubing.

  • Camping - Enjoy your stay at Smith Falls State Park while camping at one of the primitive campsites.
  • Canoeing/Kayaking/Tubing - A 76 mile stretch of a nationally designated scenic river to the east of Valentine gives you every opportunity to relax while floating and taking in some of Nebraska's most impressive views.
  • Fishing - The river allows ample fishing possibilities for those who prefer fishing over floating.
  • Hiking - Take advantage of the beautiful hiking opportunities while making your way to view the falls for which the park was named.
The Smith Falls State Park allows campers to reserve their site up to one year prior to their trip.  To reserve your site call the park office at (402) 376 - 1306.

For more information on the Smith Falls State Park in Nebraska check out their website here.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Missouri's Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park

The Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park in Missouri is the perfect destination for those outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy bicycling, camping, hiking and horseback riding.

  • Bicycling - Enjoy the challenges of the 1.75 mile paved bicycle trail with some steep grades and inclines of more than 10 percent.  This trail also features a Civilian Conservation Corps tunnel that was built in the 1930's.
  • Camping - This park has 75 campsites with access to water, restrooms, shower houses, vaulted toilets and dump stations.
  • Hiking - The two mile long hiking trail leads you over and through some water crossings  as well as down some inclines that are at times steeper than a 10 percent grade.  One spur on the hiking trail will even lead you to a small cave!
  • Horseback Riding - The equestrian trail is a total of six miles long and leads over steep grades of more than 10 percent as well as over bridges and natural surfaces.
The Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park in Missouri is a great place for bicycling, hiking, horseback riding or just to kick back, relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.  For more information on this State Park check  it out on the Missouri State Parks Website

If you like this post you may enjoy Truman State Park - Missouri

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day