Senior Administration Officials and Recreation Industry Leaders Discuss Recreation Expansion and Improvements

Alexandria, VA – April 24, 2017 – Senior officials from the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and U.S. Forest Service met with more than 30 representatives of the outdoor recreation industry at Shenandoah National Park April 24 to discuss improving visitor experiences on America’s public lands and waters. The meeting was hosted by the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable (ORIR) at Skyland Resort – operated by National Park concessioner Delaware North.

Outdoor recreation is big business, generating $646 billion in direct economic spending and supporting more than six million jobs across all 50 states. At Skyland Resort, ORIR members, key recreation company CEOs and senior administration officials discussed how improved infrastructure and increased opportunities for innovation and public-private partnerships will give more people the chance to enjoy healthy, active fun on their public lands and waters, while helping outdoor recreation continue to grow as a powerful and positive force in America.

DOI Senior White House Advisor Doug Domenech outlined key goals and challenges, and emphasized the need to expand access on public lands and waters, saying, “the Roosevelt Arch says ‘For the benefit and enjoyment of the people,’ and bringing people back to the equation is clearly an important issue.”

“Reimagining what the outdoor recreation experience could be is a very exciting process,” said American Sportfishing Association President and CEO Mike Nussman. “Whatever it takes, we must do our best to ensure that all Americans are welcome in our great outdoors. For far too long, we’ve been working with a Mayberry model in an Uber world and that just doesn’t cut it anymore.”

Meeting participants identified access as a crucial area where the private sector can help federal partners improve visitor experiences in the great outdoors. They discussed the negative impact of access restrictions and the value of adopting practices to help enhance access to public lands and waters, including a “yes first” mentality, the streamlining of permitting processes and closer management partnerships with state fish and wildlife agencies and the recreation industry.

Participants also discussed the importance of providing visitors with world-class experiences in these world-class places, and the role private industry can play in upgrading facilities, increasing connectivity, implementing electronic passes, modernizing campsites and more.

Industry members offered their ideas on reducing the multi-billion-dollar maintenance backlog plaguing the public lands. Among their suggestions were longer concessions contracts, increased service hours, restructured fee retention, reduced barriers to private investment and a reassessment of backlog needs.

The recreation industry representatives emphasized their commitment to helping DOI overcome its current challenges. Providing support for DOI funding in the FY 2018 budget, encouraging a Recreation Title in upcoming infrastructure legislation and prioritizing the REC Act were just some of the ideas offered during the discussion.

They also discussed how public-private partnerships can help promote awareness and support for America’s outdoors by capitalizing on industry efforts like Go RVing, Discover Boating and Take Me Fishing to spread the word about great opportunities on public lands and waters. ORIR members noted that their trade shows – the eight largest recreation trade shows in the country – would provide a perfect opportunity to enhance communications between DOI and the nation’s recreation community.

“There is extraordinary opportunity,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, Recreation Vehicle Industry Association president and an ORIR member. “Never before has an industry coalition with all outdoor recreation sectors come together with a unified voice to offer its assistance in improving visitor experiences on America’s public land and waters. Our great outdoors are a unifying force in an era of political divisions, and the outdoor recreation industry stands ready to join forces with Secretary Zinke and the Department of the Interior in providing healthy, active outdoor fun on America’s great outdoors.”

OUTDOOR RECREATION INDUSTRY ROUNDTABLE is a coalition of America’s leading outdoor recreation trade associations working to promote the policy and legislative reforms needed to grow the outdoor recreation economy. Roundtable members represent the thousands of U.S. businesses that produce vehicles, equipment, gear, apparel and services for the millions of Americans who enjoy our nation’s parks, waterways, byways, trails and outdoor spaces. Combined, the various business sectors within the outdoor recreation industry generate $646 billion-per-year in economic activity and provide an estimated 6.1 million direct jobs. Coalition members produce the eight largest recreation tradeshows in the U.S. and their members annually contribute $40 billion in federal excise tax, sales tax and duties.

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association committed to representing the interests of the sportfishing and boating industries as well as the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry and anglers a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. ASA invests in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous, as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic, conservation and social values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America’s 46 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation’s waterways through Keep America Fishing®, our national angler advocacy campaign. America’s anglers generate more than $48 billion in retail sales with a $115 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for more than 828,000 people.

New “Modern Fish Act” is a Game Changer

 modern fish act image 4.24.17
New “Modern Fish Act” is a Game Changer

Earlier this month, a tremendous bill was introduced in the US House that, if passed, could fix many of the issues facing America’s anglers.  The bipartisan bill is known as the “Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017.” It would put an end to many of the hardships caused by the current one-size-fits-all system of fisheries management by implementing new management practices that were actually designed to manage recreational anglers!

This is our community’s opportunity to finally have a fisheries management system that will balance critical conservation objectives, angler satisfaction, and the needs of the recreational fishing industry. The Modern Fish Act will provide a structure for more consistency, more access, more conservation, and stronger economic benefits for the nation.

Send your Congressmen a letter of support for this exciting new bill through the link below!

Take Action Now

National Walleye Tour ventures into unknown territory


National Walleye Tour ventures into unknown territory

by Brett Carlson

GARRISON, N.D. – After opening the 2017 season with a traditional stop at Lake Erie, the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour is set to embark on new territory at an intriguing time. Lake Sakakawea, the third largest man-made reservoir in the United States, is set to host the world’s best walleye anglers May 11-12, right after the fish complete their annual spawn. While Sakakawea boasts a healthy population of walleyes, few anglers target them this early in the season, which means there are few, if any, preconceived notions about how the tournament will be won.

While last year’s championship was held downstream on Lake Oahe, this is the NWT’s first official visit to the 368,000-acre Missouri River impoundment.

“I think we’re all excited for a new body of water,” said Ranger pro Korey Sprengel, who finished third at the season opener. “When you don’t know what to expect, there’s this thrill of trying to put it together. Personally, that’s why I love doing this. It’s always fun uncovering new things and learning a new body of water.”

Sprengel said he has never fished Sakakawea, but he understands the ice went out only two weeks ago, which means the spawn is imminent.

“It’s going to be interesting because it’s a big body of water at a time of year we’re not used to fishing. It’s exciting, but at the same time it’s a little intimidating.”

As a resident of Mayville, N.D., fellow Ranger pro Scott Larson samples Sakakawea as often as he can. Larson believes the walleye spawn will be complete come tournament time, but the smelt spawn could be under way.

“The smelt population is almost at a record high,” he said. “There’s a lot of bait available. The timing of the smelt spawn will be the big variable. It can draw the walleyes up, but it can also make them tough to catch.”

Larson sees this as primarily a shallow-water jigging tournament.


“The fish are going to be looking for warmer water, so the back bays are going to be key. Both plastics and traditional jig-and-fathead presentations are going to work over shallow, rocky points and sandbars. If the water is high enough, pitching to flooded vegetation could work. But it’s too early for any weedlines.”

Larson thinks several anglers will take a two-pronged approach – actively pitching the shallows while keeping a deadstick out in slightly deeper water. In addition to jigs, smaller crankbaits and Lindy rigs could come into play as could Slow Death and pulling spinners.

“It will be fun. There’s a million different shallow points on the lake. There’s also some decent saugers. If the bite is real tough, you could slide out to 30 feet and target saugers.”

North Dakota is notorious for blustery weather and when the wind blows on the 178-mile Sakakawea, travel can be treacherous.

“The consensus is that the further west you go, the bigger the fish are,” added Larson. “I’m sure there will be guys making 50, 60-mile runs. Some will probably even stop at Indian Hills (Resort) to get gas, but that’s risky. If you have the right weather, guys will go to the Van Hook Arm up toParshall Bay. That’s a long haul and it can get nasty.”

Larson figures the two-day tournament will be won with approximately 40 to 45 pounds. North Dakota fishing regulations prohibit culling, which means anglers must immediately decide if they are keeping a fish. Competing as pro-am teams, anglers are permitted to keep eight fish each day and weigh their best five.

“This time of year, if you come in with 17 to 20 pounds, I think you’ll be sitting really good. I’d be super happy with high teens. Even with 15 or 16 pounds, you’re still in the game. But at the same time, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a 25-pound bag. It’s a fun deal. Not a lot of us have fished it this early, so there will be a lot of surprises.”

Anglers will take off each day at 7 a.m. Central time from Garrison Bay Marina at Fort Stevenson State Park, located at 1252A 41st Ave. NW in Garrison. The daily weigh-ins will also take place at Garrison Bay Marina, beginning at 3 p.m. The full field fishes each day with the winner in each division being determined by the heaviest cumulative weight.

The National Walleye Tour consists of three regular-season events and a year-end championship. Each regular season event is a two-day, pro-am tournament and delivers over a 100 percent payback. Pros compete against other pros, and co-anglers compete against other co-anglers.

Registration is ongoing for the Lake Sakakawea event.

The deadline for guaranteed entry (by signing up with a pro or co-angler) is TODAY. Registration can be taken over the phone at 501-794-2064 or online by visiting

For more information on rules and tournament payouts, visit


More Info on Garrison, ND:
Garrison Hunting & Fishing Information
Garrison Adventure Guide
Sakakawea Country


A Big Thank You to our Local Hosts:

Garrison Convention & Visitors Bureau



The Artificial Walleye Angler

More walleye anglers turning to artificials…but don’t think live bait is dead

Minneapolis, MN (April 11, 2017) – Target Walleye recently surveyed readers about their favorite walleye-fishing tactics. The most interesting statistic is the amount of walleye fishing now done with artificial lures.

Anglers from every corner of the walleye world were surveyed about how often they fished various tactics. Three-fourths of Target Walleye readers use lures for at least half their walleye fishing. Almost one-third chase walleyes with artificials 75-percent of the time. Another third use artificial lures half of their fishing time and live bait the other half. Seven percent of respondents use only artificial lures for walleyes. One-fourth of respondents use live bait 75 percent of the time.

BOTTOM LINE.  Walleye fishing has changed big-time over the past few decades.

“Anglers today are extremely versatile,” said Target Walleye co-owner Al Lindner. “Fishing walleyes with artificials has gained widespread acceptance, because artificial lures are extremely effective. Thanks to Target Walleye, more and more fishermen are learning about the latest walleye-fishing tactics and are incorporating them with tried-and-true techniques like bottom-bouncers.”

The survey also showed that many anglers are jigging hard-bodied baits like Rapala Jigging Raps, an open-water craze Al Lindner introduced to the walleye world less than five years ago. Jigs with soft-plastics continue to play a key role for most Target Walleye subscribers.


Super good news for anglers: the soft plastics category continues to grow in scope, creativity and efficacy. “It’s now easier than ever before to gain confidence in soft plastics for walleyes,” says Walt Matan, expert angler and lure designer for Custom Jigs & Spins. “A Custom Jigs’ AuthentX Moxi is an absolute phenom in rivers and darker water lakes. While swimbaits like the AuthentX Pulse-R shines in shallow water and vegetation.

“Best news of all, these baits are fun and easy to fish.”

Meanwhile, at the heart of walleye fishing to this day are anglers who trust, utilize and catch most of their walleyes with live bait — as evidenced by the statistics.

“Both tournament fishermen and casual anglers harbor overflowing confidence in live bait,” says walleye ace Brian “Bro” Brosdahl. “They know hitting the water with minnows, crawlers or leeches is still often the fastest, most effective way to put a limit of eaters, or even a trophy, into the boat.”

Given the current climate of fisheries relative to invasive species, VHS and other issues, Bro also notes: “It’s nice to know I can still throw a bunch of minnows into my aerated Frabill AquaLife Bait Station and keep them happy and healthy all day on the water. And at the end of the day, I can take my bait home and not have to dump it into the garbage and waste it.

“Frabill bait-care gear saves money, helps catch walleyes and keeps me 100-percent legal.”

Spry, often-hard-to-find redtail chubs aside, Bro whips artificials with a wand, too. The St. Croix Rod devotee makes this recommendation: “For jigs with plastics and twitching stickbaits, I like a 6’ 10” to 7’ medium-action rod. My favorite being a St. Croix Legend Elite. Dropping down in dollars, the 7’ medium-light and medium Eyecons are great choices as well.”

Your takeaway? Muster up the confidence to throw artificials, while never abandoning that minnow on a simple bottom-rig that fooled your very first walleye.

Last Call for Raymarine Super Gear Up® Sales Event 2017



Last Call for Raymarine Super Gear Up®

Sales Event 2017

Outfit your boat with Raymarine/FLIR electronics and save big before April 28, 2017! 

WILSONVILLE, OR (April 20, 2017) – Besides warmer weather and great spring fishing, here’s more good news for boaters and anglers! Raymarine is extending its Super Gear Up Sales Event 2017 through April 28, 2017!

Outfit your boat with a complete Raymarine system and enjoy big rebate savings! Even a basic system can earn you up to $1100 or more when you purchase a new MFD, Autopilot and Radar. Build your system from scratch, or add components to your current Raymarine system. Either way, you can save big on the technology you need!

Receive a FLIR MasterCard Prepaid Reward Card (by mail) when you purchase select Raymarine Electronics during the Super Gear Up Sales Event. The more qualifying gear you purchase, the bigger your reward will be!

The Super Gear-Up Sales ends April 28, 2017, so don’t delay! See your local Raymarine dealer and start outfitting your boat today! This offer is valid in the USA and Canada only.

To learn more, download the official rebate coupon, and pre-register online of fast processing – click here.

Walleye stamps support better fishing across Minnesota

2017 walleye stamp: Timothy Turenne

2017 Walleye Stamp Competition First Place:  Timothy Turenne
2017 Walleye Stamp Competition
First Place: Timothy Turenne

Anglers can support walleye stocking by purchasing $5 walleye stamps that help the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provide more places to fish for walleye.

“You can buy a walleye stamp any time of the year, even if you already have a fishing license,” said Neil Vanderbosch, DNR fisheries program consultant. “All the funds from walleye stamps go toward the cost of purchasing walleye from private fish farms for stocking into lakes.”

The overall walleye stocking effort ramps up each year in April when fisheries staff collect walleye eggs, fertilize them and transport the eggs to fish hatcheries around Minnesota. The eggs spend two to three weeks incubating before hatching into fry that are soon released – two thirds into lakes and one third into rearing ponds. The fish in rearing ponds grow into 4- to 6-inch fingerlings that are stocked into lakes in the fall.

In addition to raising and stocking walleye, the DNR also buys walleye fingerlings from private producers to be stocked into lakes, and walleye stamp sales help pay for these fish. Since 2009, funds from the walleye stamp have purchased over 40,000 pounds of walleye fingerlings that have been stocked in the fall, all over the state. Walleye are stocked in lakes that don’t have naturally reproducing walleye populations.

“Just about anywhere you go in Minnesota, there’s a lake fairly close by where you can fish for walleye,” Vanderbosch said. “To decide what lakes and how many fish to stock, we look at available habitat, prey and past stocking success, and make individual lake management plans that guide stocking decisions.”

Anglers catch the lion’s share of walleye from waters where the fish reproduce naturally – about 260 larger walleye lakes and in large rivers. Because of stocking, walleye can be found in an additional 1,300 Minnesota lakes spread throughout the state.

More information about habitat stamps can be found at

Ten days left to save $30 on Platinum and HotMaps Platinum!


Boat safer and fish smarter by taking advantage of all the added viewing options provided with Platinum+ and HotMaps Platinum charts.

In addition to having the most accurate navigational data, an exclusive 1 ft HD bathymetry map, and unique local content found on Navionics+, you can also utilize these Platinum features and head out with confidence:

3D View – Exaggerate the map to highlight subtle depth changes, adjust pitch, and pan, rotate or zoom in for the best situational awareness.

Satellite overlay – Adjust transparency and view crisp aerial imagery over land, water or both to find hidden features such as backwater channels.

Panoramic photos – Head into the marina with a better understanding of the layout that only a picture can provide.





Now is a great time to buy a new Platinum+ or HotMaps Platinum card. Save $30 and get the most out of compatible chartplotters from B&G, Humminbird, Lowrance, Raymarine and Simrad. Daily updates and new advanced features are included for one year.

Phantom Lures Appoints JRC Sales


Phantom Lures Appoints JRC Sales

Ramsey, MN (April 20, 2017) – Phantom Lures has recently named Jack Rosenswie Company (JRC) as the company’s professional sales representative group for the Northeast region of the U.S. For Phantom, this announcement is a great step in the continued growth of the company.

“We look forward to seeing the Phantom brand expand throughout the country with the help of JRC.” stated Phantom Lures Co-Owner, Roger Neilson, Jr. “Being able to introduce our baits to new markets will be crucial to our success.”

JRC is focused on providing high quality hunting and fishing sales representation, targeting the Great Lakes, Finger Lakes and Inland Waters of the New England area. JRC sells directly to dealers and distributors and will do everything possible to meet client expectations. They represent outdoor product lines for all seasons of the year.

Phantom Lures has greatly expanded its product offering in the past year with its entry into the bass, trout, salmon, and walleye world. On top of that, 2017 is setting up to be an exciting year for the company’s famous muskie lure lineup as well.

For more information about the full product lines from Phantom Lures, visit the Phantom Lures website or contact Jack Gavin at:

About Phantom Lures:

Since 1996, Phantom Lures has built a strong and loyal reputation in the muskie fishing industry by making excellent, custom, quality baits that are used by first time fishermen, guides and tournament anglers. Our tournament –winning baits produce actions that put trophy fish on your line, leaving you with great pictures and lifelong memories. For more information about Phantom Lures, visit or call 763.951.2902.


Inside The WildSide – By Chip Leer Don’t Get Stuck Without Sticks

Inside The WildSide – By Chip Leer

Don’t Get Stuck Without Sticks

Jigs are popular springtime walleye lures, but don’t overlook versatile, slim-profile stickbaits in your quest for early season success.

Also commonly called minnowbaits or jerkbaits, these baitfish-imitating hardbaits are deadly weapons when schools of spring-run walleyes flood into tributaries and bottlenecks between lakes.

So many fish gathered in a small area creates opportunities for fast action. Your odds of landing a lunker also improve astronomically compared to your chances when fish are scattered on the main lake.

You can tap the spring run from a boat or the bank. Afoot or afloat, I like casting to prime near-shore shallows. Top spots include 2- to 8-foot depths over a firm sand, gravel or rocky bottom.


Current breaks, eddies, seams between slick and slack water, and other disruptions in the main current are magnets to migrating walleyes. Running your lure through such areas is key to getting bit.

Cast slightly above the target area and retrieve the bait through the strike zone as the current gently sweeps it downstream. Keep the lure close to bottom, without dredging. Ideally, the stickbait should lightly touch bottom every 4 to 6 feet.

Experiment with the retrieve.  Most often a pull-pause cadence is best, but other times the fish prefer a steady swimming motion.


For maximum lure action, I use a 6½- or 7-foot, fast- to medium-action fast-tipped 13 Fishing Muse Gold rod. I spool up with 8-pound-test BionicWalleye Braid mainline then add a 4-foot leader of Bionic Fluorosilk, followed by a Loop Snap to allow the lure to work its magic, unencumbered by a knot.

Small stickbaits tend to perform best right now. My favorites are the 2¾- to 4½-inch baits in LIVETARGET’s Yearling BaitBall and Rainbow Smelt Series. These lifelike lures allow you to perfectly match the local forage, suspend on the pause, and produce a variety of strike-triggering actions with different speeds and rodtip movements. (Note: To check out LIVETARGET’s entire selection of walleye lures, visit


The spring stickbait casting program heats up when walleyes move into the tributaries and channels. It extends into the early post-spawn, but you can catch fish casting these versatile minnow-imitators in current sweet spots and along windswept lakeshores all season long. So don’t get stuck without sticks the next time you head for the water.

Based in Walker, Minnesota, noted fishing authority and outdoor communicator Chip Leer operates Fishing the WildSide, which offers a full suite of promotional, product development and consultation services. For more information, call (218) 547-4714 or email

Yamaha Marine Group announces personnel moves

190114_10150442440805405_4687702_nYamaha Marine Group announces personnel moves

Yamaha Marine Group announced several employee promotions and organizational changes in the marine marketing division, including the promotion of Martin Peters to senior manager of marine communications and government relations.

“One of our top priorities at Yamaha is to continue to strengthen our brand, and I believe these structural changes will help us in that regard,” Yamaha Marine Group president Ben Speciale said in a statement. “I am confident each of these professionals will continue to enrich the Yamaha team in their new positions.”

Peters joined the group in 2006 and leads teams that create communication, government relations, education and sponsorship strategies to support the group’s brand, goals and objectives.

He serves on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Sanctuary Business Advisory Council and the Natural Resources Policy Committee for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and he is a member of the board of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, the Government Relations Committee of the Center for Sportfishing Policy and the Government Relations Committee of the American Sportfishing Association.

He also is chairman of the Boat PAC at the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

Separately David Ittner, formerly marine tournament and sponsorship manager, has been promoted to manager II for tournaments and sponsorships. A Yamaha employee since 2008, Ittner is a 20-plus-year marine industry veteran and is responsible for overseeing all tournament and Yamaha Pro Angler sponsorship initiatives.

Austin Roebuck, formerly government relations coordinator, was promoted to manager I for communications and dealer education.

Roebuck joined Yamaha in 2014 after working as a political staff member at the federal and state levels, and he is now responsible for communications and dealer education initiatives. He will also continue to support government relations efforts.

Yamaha Marine products are marketed throughout the United States and around the world. Yamaha Marine Group, based in Kennesaw, Ga., supports its 2,000 U.S. dealers and boat builders with marketing, training and parts for Yamaha’s full line of products and strives to be the industry leader in reliability, technology and customer service. Yamaha Marine is the only outboard brand to have earned NMMA®’s C.S.I. Customer Satisfaction Index award every year since its inception. Visit