Iowa’s unseasonably cold and snowy winter and wet spring is not likely to boost its pheasant population.
Pheasants typically show population increases following mild winters with spring that are warmer and dryer than normal. Based on that weather model, the western third of Iowa has the best chance to see an uptick in pheasants due to below average snowfall and less than eight inches of spring rain.
The weather model predicts the rest of the state to see either no population increase or fewer birds than last year. The nesting forecast will be updated by the August roadside survey, which is the best gauge of what pheasant hunters can expect to find in the fall.
Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said while the weather is not what upland bird hunters had hoped for, there is some progress on pheasant habitat. Landowners began enrolling in continuous CRP on Monday.
“This is great news for Iowa’s new pheasant recovery continuous CRP practice designed specifically to help recover pheasant numbers,” Bogenschutz said. Iowa has 45,000 acres available on a first come, first served basis.
“There will not be a general CRP signup this year so this is an option that landowners with expiring general CRP should consider,” he said.
Information on Iowa’s pheasant recovery continuous CRP is available online at www.iowadnr.gov/habitat.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources relaxed fishing regulations at Q Pond in Osceola on June 6, to allow anglers to more freely harvest and utilize fish ahead of the anticipated loss of Q Pond’s water level.
The lake’s water level is lowering do to a leak in the drain pipe. The amount of water the lake will lose is not known, but if the level of the lake reaches the location of the leak, 10 feet or more of water depth could be lost. A water level loss to this extent will decrease the number of fish able to survive in the lake and increase the chances for a winter kill.
The lake’s water level will be allowed to stabilize. Once the lake level is stabilized, an evaluation of the outlet structure will be done, and a plan will be developed to address the leak. User s should expect limited access to the lake.
Anglers with a valid fishing license will be allowed to harvest any size or number of largemouth bass, channel catfish, and all other fish species from Q Pond. Any number of fishing poles or jug fishing will be allowed. Anglers must remain in sight of these lines at all times, and follow all other fishing regulations and area rules. Trot lines will be allowed (name and address must be attached), however lines may not be set across entire water body. It is illegal to sell fish or stock captured fish into public waters. All navigation rules still apply.
Liberalized fishing regulations for Q Pond will be in effect from June 6 through March 1, 2015. Specific regulation changes include:
• Removal of bag and length limit restrictions on largemouth bass
• Removal of bag limit on channel catfish
• Removal of bag limit on crappie and bluegill
• Removal of the two line/two hook fishing restriction, however anglers must still adhere to the being within visual sight of the lines
For more information contact the Iowa DNR Fisheries Biologist Andy Jansen at 641-464-3108 or Iowa DNR Conservation Officer Michael Miller at 641-414-2174.