Heath Sershen

Heath Sershen has been fishing creeks in southeast Minnesota for 25 seasons.

Posts about Fishing

Winona Area Report

Posted by: Heath Sershen Updated: July 20, 2009 - 3:18 PM
Trout Creeks.

    The area trout creeks are running clear and low.  The trout are in their usual holding spots, pools and their tails, also in riffles and runs.  The Trico mayflies are starting to hatch in the early AM and tiny BWO’s are hatching on some creeks.
Anglers have been finding handling success with ants, beetles, scuds, and Adams patterns.
    A light and long tippet is crucial for hooking success.  Please take care when handing trouts as they are sensitive to being out of the water for too long on hot days.

The Mississippi River.

    The local pools are starting to weed up.  The Gar are in the backwater snags and the catfishing has begun to really pick-up, especially on warmer sunny days.
    The walleye bite is sporadic however sauger are readily caught on wing dams with minnows.
    The sunfish limit of 10 is easily reached fishing snags and weedy edges.  Largemouth bass and northern pike are active and can also be found on weedy edges.
    Gar are actively feeding near snags with weedy edges on backwater currents and sturgeon are being caught on fast current sandbars in one to ten feet of water.

Targeting Sturgeon

Posted by: Heath Sershen Updated: July 10, 2009 - 2:38 PM
    I have never caught a Sturgeon.  It has been something of my imagination for nearly 20 seasons.  Today I set out to conquer that desire.  
    We launched at Wildcat Landing and headed up river through hundreds of leisure boaters to the sand flat.  Our small boat got thrashed very nicely by the wakes of the larger faster boats cruising the channel but with Chad Wenzel's great motor boat skills we got there safe and sound.
    We fished just below a snag and in the current with three ounce egg sinkers separated from the hook eye with a split shot and #1 circle hooks in three to six feet of water.  Our hooks were tipped with two night crawlers.
    We caught a dozen Shovelnose Sturgeon between 6pm and 1am.  The Sturgeon bite was very light.  Most of our catches in the dark were actually discovered because the hooked Sturgeon would break.  We would then check our lines and find a fish on the end.  These fish are not the best fighters in the world as most of them would water ski on their shovel noses on the surface of the water on their way in.
The largest Shovelnose that we landed tonight was 32-inches and 3.35-pounds.  All of the fish were gently released and the majority of them were not even taken out of the water in respect for this 200,000,000 year old pre-historic species.

Catching fish with a hookless lure.

Posted by: Heath Sershen Updated: July 1, 2009 - 2:26 PM
    Fishing in Winona County is a multi-speices angler’s paradise.  We have the Mississippi River acting as our eastern border and hills full of spring creeks to the west.  This last week found me targeting Gar on the Mississippi with hookless lures.
    A Gar is a “rough” or underutilized species to most sport anglers however their light bites and acrobatic fights make them sporting to thousands of anglers nationally.  In Minnesota there are two types of Gar; the smaller Shortnose Gar and the larger Longnose Gar.  Both of which are typically finicky eaters much less nearly impossible to catch with a traditional hook and line method as their beaks are predominately impenetrable bone leaving even the sharpest hooks with room for improvement.  
    I have adopted the ways of the southern Gar anglers and now choose the rope lure to increase my successes in bringing Gar to hand.  A rope lure is a four to six inch piece of unfurled 3/8-inch nylon rope attached to a jig head.  The lure is fished with a jigging motion which is just enough for attention from Longnose.  The toothy fish’s teeth get tangled in the rope lure enough to fight them to bring them to hand where untangling the rope is a timely task.
    Gar can be found breaking in backwater sloughs.  Breaking is when the prehistoric fish comes to the surface of the water to gulp for air.  The warmer the day the more actively Gar will break.
    Gar can be handled by pinching them, without squeezing too hard, near their gill covers.  If you grab them in the right spot they typicaly relax and let you have your way with them.  
    Gar are not the tastiest fish in the river and are best sought for sport and not dinner.  The careful release of all Gar benefits the biodiversity that the bend in the river provides in Winona County.

Fishing - I call it recreation.

Posted by: Heath Sershen Updated: June 19, 2009 - 8:42 AM
Fishing - I call it recreation.  The dictionary defines this word as such;

The older original definition;
rec⋅re⋅a⋅tion  [rek-ree-ey-shuhn]
1.    refreshment by means of some pastime, agreeable exercise, or the like.
2.    a pastime, diversion, exercise, or other resource affording relaxation and enjoyment.
1350–1400; ME recreacioun (< MF recreation) < L recreātiōn- (s. of recreātiō) restoration, recovery, equiv. to recreāt(us) (see recreate ) + -iōn- -ion

re-cre⋅a⋅tion  [ree-kree-ey-shuhn]
1.    the act of creating anew.
2.    something created anew.
1515–25; re- + creation

The slight change in syllabic emphasis seemingly creates a disparity in the definition of the noun. I would argue that both definitions are correct however would suggest that it is unnecessary to separate the definitions. This logic is synonomous with other word's varying accents not changing their definition.

I would suggest that the noun's original definition of "refreshment by means of some pastime, agreeable exercise, or the like" affords a participant "something created anew" which is the definition of the latter noun. 

My understanding of the noun in question leaves me to understand and define it as such.

rec⋅re⋅a⋅tion  [rek-ree-ey-shuhn] or [ree-kree-ey-shuhn]

1. something created anew by means of some pastime, agreeable exercise, or the like

Of course this logic is reflective of culture.  I live in a place where recreation is everywhere.  I am surrounded by forest.  I am only hundreds of feet from the nation's greatest river.  I only regularily hit traffic when a freight train rolls through town.

Saying something like, "My soul is on a creek in the forest lined with wildflowers and poisonous plants filled with clear water and trout" is reflective of this particular dimension.

Winona area report

Posted by: Heath Sershen Updated: June 3, 2009 - 2:31 PM
     Last week I found myself catching many Walleyes on wing dams in the Mississippi.  
     I found that the Eyes have moved off the wing dams last weekend and instead caught Flatheads in scour pools below the dam with a one-ounce jig threaded with a crawler fished on the bottom.   
     Then there are the trout.  I chased the Light Hendrickson and March Brown hatches on Winona county spring creeks.  I fooled dozens of trout with my chicken feather flies.
     I happened on a Beaver dam pond in a trout creek that was chalk full of Browns.  I took many fish on size two streamers, the largest being just shy of three and a half pounds.
     The Parsnip plants are up and blooming.  They are a poisonous plant that can leave you riddled with blisters and are something to avoid.


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