Monday, June 10, 2019

Uffda, What Just Happened the Last Week!

An appropriate Farewell
The last few weeks have been crazy busy.  The largest challenge was that on Friday, May 31st, I officially retired.  After 43 1/2 years in the business it finally came to an end.  It is sort of bittersweet but as we all know life marches on regardless what we think. one thing that is for certain, I was blessed with some of the greatest employee and they insisted on holding a retirement party for me in the lunch room with fishing as the main theme.  Apparently after all this time it is pretty hard to hide your passion, I suppose having all those mounted fish on the walls was a dead give away!  It was great, I walked into work and immediately noticed everyone was wearing black mustaches!  In my younger days my mustache was quite dark so they did a tribute to me by imitation, which is said is the best tribute.  They catered Famous Dave's for lunch and had made this huge card, a caricature of myself on the front a with everyone signing inside.  Of course I had to make a speech and usually I am pretty good at this however it was hard not to break down.  Some of these people have been with me for well over 25 years, work did become my second family.  Know this day would come about a year ago, I prepared myself for the inevitable.  Convincing myself that it is just like graduating from High School, you can't stay there forever, time to move on, all those people, well one may never see them again, that's just part of life. Of course everyone thinks that I am retired, there is something missing in my life now..........quite contraire!!! Because of the cold spring I finished the last of planting the garden this weekend.  Friday was our 17th Annual (and last) ENA Charity golf tournament, which I was fortunate enough to purchase a half day guided bass fishing trip on Lake Minnetonka, something I bought for Mark Applen and myself to enjoy.  The house needs a good power wash, the weeds are thick this year, the shed needs to be cleaned out, hopefully just in time to see my boat fully repaired!  Speaking of the boat, there was a week delay in the handling of the paper work but it finally got done.  Last Thursday was the day to get the oil changed on my truck.  Dropping it off at Pete's, I called Bruce to see if I could buy him lunch.  He agreed if he could
Goher trap
pick the place and without any transportation there wasn't much choice.  He picked me up, drove to his hanger at Crystal Airport then we took off and had lunch at the restaurant at the Eau Claire Airport, Hanger 54.  It was quite good and as well an interesting 3 hours.  Wednesday was spent in New York Mills at the funeral of my friend Lory Brasel's brother Lyle.  It was very nice and we had a great time after at Lory's homestead where he grew up.  New York Mills reminds me a lot like Eleva, a small town, farming community that sticks together.   While walking through the barn there was about 50 of these wire type pocket gopher traps which reminded me of of over 50 years ago when I trapped gophers with these traps.  Apparently Lyle, Lory's brother did a lot of trapping for his fellow farmer friends.  Seeing all the old equipment and tractors put a smile on my face.  He even had a Massey Ferguson 35, the tractor that is almost just like mine, it is the same thing except the name reflects the evolution from Massey Harris, Massey Harris Ferguson, to Massey Ferguson.  I promised Lory I'd give him some operating instructions!

Steve's Friend with a 49" Muskie
So my brother Steve ended up going to Lac Seul last week with some guys from LaCrosse.  They did a fly in to one of Anderson's outpost camps just northeast of where we stay, in Pickerel Narrows.  This is probably 8 miles from Lac Seul Outposts and because it was a fly in they used the camp boats.  The discussion about lower units came up and the camp doesn't provide depth finders but does tell you that if you ruin a lower unit it's $2200.  He sent me this picture of a nice 49 inch muskie as well stated they caught a 51 and Steve had one clamp onto his walleye for about a minute.  Often north of camp is noted for their muskie fishing but honestly in 6 years of going and fishing that area myself or anyone else I know has caught one of these.  Asking "Were you fishing for them then?" the answer was nope, all caught while fishing for walleyes.  Interesting for sure.  Oh well, it was definitely a nice addition to the trip.  Speaking of Lac Seul I got invited to go this Friday back up for a few days.  Last week the insurance information for my lower unit was resolved so we will see if it will be done by Thursday.  It would be nice but not having it, we'll just get a boat from the resort.  All my tackle is in the boat so the plan is to drive up and get an idea of when it will be done...........just one more thing to do!  Hopefully it works out well as it could be a good report for next week!  Another note, I did arrange for my Friend Paul Wenaas to get my Lorwance HDS Carbon for his houseboat trip that he is on right now, he is parked just south of Chamberlain Narrows.  Our conversation was mostly around where I hit the rock so I gave him all the details.  Maybe I will get to see him on his way home!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Back From Lac Seul Outposts

When you hit a Rock at 34 mph!
It has taken me over a week to recover from last weeks Lac Seul experience but with everything coming to a head this Friday, it's just been crazy.  So the recap of what was a pretty exciting week at Lac Seul Outpost starting last Tuesday.  After meeting in Sioux Lookout on Monday night, the plan was to stay overnight at the Best Western then head into Chamberlain Narrows on Tuesday morning, fish the afternoon, Wednesday, and Thursday before heading back home on Friday.  Our first order of business on Monday night was to find a place to eat.  Monday was Victoria Day in Canada and is similar to Memorial Day in the United States except almost everything is closed, especially places to eat.  We finally found a Chinese place, New Kowloon open and for the most part it was pretty good as they served beer.  After a decent meal we headed back to the hotel only to get up by 6:00 with the goal to be at the landing in Deception Bay by 7:00, to beat the rush.  We had met a guy at the hotel that had a Range like mine, and was also going in the morning but had planned on following the camp boats.  Stating we knew the way in, he decided to follow us as I took the lead.  Well about a mile up from the Bear Narrows Red Buoy Corner, I was off a little to the left however the green buoy was still on my left as in this part of the lake one should stay to the left of the Red Buoys and the right of the Green Buoys.  Well even though off course a little I still had plenty of room between me and that green buoy.  All of a sudden a loud crashing sound, my outboard hit the bottom with vengeance as the motor suddenly stopped.  Obviously the green buoy was to far on the reef to be trusted.  The force of impact left 2 rather large holes in the front of the lower unit, quickly draining out the gear grease, therefore triggering a sensor that prevents the motor from starting when the crankcase was low.  As you see the prop didn't turn out too bad as most of the damage was to the housing.  Anyway the guy that decided to follow up must have damn near had a heart attack as this wasn't pretty.  RJ said that if I'd been over by less than 10 feet I would have been OK.  We were only 5 miles from camp so RJ decided to pull me in to less than a hero's welcome.  Well we were in camp and had 2.5 days to fish, we decided that the kicker motor would have to do as the fish were going in the Narrows and one didn't have to go very far.  We come to learn that the guy following us did the exact same thing at the same spot 2 years earlier.

26 inch walleye on
As far as fishing, it was pretty good close to the camp Admittedly it looked pretty funny with a 20.5 foot Ranger being pushed by a 9.8 hp Kicker motor but it performed very well.  Having a remote control steering on the kicker, it was interesting trying to get somewhere  as it was easy to overcompensate as we zig zagged up Chamberlain Narrows.   Later we found that if one just pointed the kicker straight, dropped the big motor into the water then steer with the big motor, it would work pretty good, at least we went straight!  There were a lot of fish in the channel and for 2 in the boat we ended up with 160 fish for the 2 1/2 days, not bad.   Also the big females were starting to make their way back to the big lake so we did catch quite a few over the 22 inch mark.  We ate good both Tuesday night and Wednesday as fresh walleye and northern pike were on the menu.  It was one of the softest bites that I have ever experience.  The fish just came in and either inhaled the minnow or took it's merry old time, often holding the minnow up to 30 seconds.  This took a lot of patience and understanding of how the fish were reacting, Yet we did miss only a few as the bite was good if you had the patience   Also a few weeks ago I mentioned the new long shank Fireball Jigs from Northland Tackle worked very good. they are perfectly set up for minnow fishing on Lac Seul  as most of my fish on Sunday morning were dead minnows and the long shank jig.     We did try plastics for some success yet I because of the weather, we stayed under the Bimini Top most of the time making it difficult to cast.  Also I was excited to try the new Genesis Live software upgrades that I installed but that never happened either.  The real excitement happened on Friday on our way out!

Bruce had arranged for my boat to be towed out by the barge, a large boat with twin 150's on the back.  The schedule was to be at the dock at 5:00 AM and we'd get hooked up and pulled back to Deception Bay Landing (35 miles).  Tying a long ( about 80 feet) rope to my boat, I was requested to trim up my motors and away we went.  Having my GPS on, we quickly got to 30 mph when my boat started to swing back and forth wildly.  I was attaching my life vest when the first swing threw me on the floor.  Desperately grabbing the steering wheel I struggled to stay in the boat.  The boat continued to sway violently until it was perpendicular to the tow boat, just ready to be jerked in the opposite direction and during that process the tow rope ( a 1 inch twisted rope) broke.  It was the best thing to happen as the extreme swaying stopped.  Quickly fastening my lifevest, the barge came back and checked on my condition, he said he was going back to camp to get another rope.  After getting reset, I put the main motor down to act as a keel, and we took off.  This time the tow rope was quite a bit shorter and the boat ran right up the first wake, although tracking better it also wanted to sway as well I was getting pretty wet from the prop spray.  Stopping we added about 20 feet more of rope and things settled down nicely.  It did take about 5 miles for me to settle down but the rest of the trip was thankfully uneventful.  Finally making it back to the landing we headed south and was able to drop the boat off at Frankies before 6:00.  I made the claim earlier this week and we'll see how it shakes out.  So far I am 2 for 2 this year with the motor, on opener the power steering goes out and the very next trip I take out the lower unit!  Oh well, just remember the Serenity Prayer, God grant me to accept the things I can not change, change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference.  So all in all it was a successful trip!                                                                                                 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

2019 Fishing Opener is Now in the Books

Nice 27 Inch Walleye for Saturday
Time sure does fly as last weekend was the official 2019 Minnesota Fishing Opener, which we celebrate at Brindley's Harbor Resort on beautiful Leech Lake.  As always we had a full house with 22 guys for what we call Team Walleye.  This was our 46th annual Fishing Opener on Leech Lake, we have 2 of the original guys that started this back in 1973.  A Lot has changed since then as I have been going since 1990 so this was my 30th year spending opener at Leech.  Prior to this it was spent on Mille Lacs Lake, and even though I was pressured to join Team Walleye, I still like hanging with my friends at Scenic Bay Resort in Isle Minnesota.  Unfortunately that group which consisted of Gary and Dennis Barneson, Brent Enos, Kevin Aiona, Barry Kolden, Dale Larson, and I believe Paul Wenaas had basically disbanded after 9 years so it was pretty easy to switch groups.  Thinking about the early years on Mille Lacs with a simple Lund S14 Deluxe and a 25 hp Evinrude, we had no electronics and the strategy was simple, hold your anchor about 5 feet under your boat then drive towards the reef until the anchor hit the bottom, then you knew you were on the reef!  The strategy at that time was to fish with lighted bobbers and leech's, we did pretty well.  Leech Lake was completely different as the accepted way to fish was dragging an 1/8 ounce jig and a shiner minnow, it proved to be quite effective.  With the wind on Leech usually present, one could drift across a point and always get fish.  Today with modern electronics and a better understanding of the lake, we employ a lot of techniques that 20 years ago would have never even been considered.  And so that theory applied this weekend, it took a while but in the end we not onl found the fish but actually caught a few as well!  For our fishing weekend, we fish 3 days, breaking each day into 2 sessions for a total of 6 session, organized by boat.  Saturday morning was windy and somewhat cool, so my guests and I headed for Pine Point to start everything.  The first drift produced a walleye however 3 drifts later and nothing more.  The water was cold, maybe 49 so it was decided to look for warmer water and Steamboat bay might be the perfect spot.  We headed there and fished a couple of areas as it was definitely warmer water but not much for a bit.  The next strategy was to find shallower water where the wind was blowing into the shore like Hardwoods Point, yet as wee got out of the Narrows area, the first point was solid boats.  To me, shallow water and boats tend to scatter fish so we headed further up the shoreline until there were few boats and the wind would work in our favor.  This was about noon and by 3:00 we had 13 walleyes in the livewell with 4 of us in the boat.  Prime rib was on the menu for the evening so we headed in to compare notes.  Actually my boat did pretty well considering the rest of the guys.  We all decided to head back to the same area for the evening fishing which turned out to be basically the same program, we would drift into the shallow areas near shore, from 6 - 7 feet then any shallower we used the trolling motor to zig zag up the shoreline.  One of the fish that I hooked was a very nice 27 inch fish.  By dark we had 7 walleyes in the boat.  Thinking this might be a good spot to troll shad raps, over the skeptical partners in the boat, I hooked up a #5 Crawfish Shad and started to troll.  Interesting, my remote controlled steering was working when I checked it out before opener however it would not work this weekend.  Suspecting that the battery in the remote was bad, brother Steve volunteered to go into town to get one.  Unfortunately on Sunday everything was closed by the time he got there.  This forced me to try and troll with the big 250 hp motor, which was a little fast but we hammered them on Saturday night as I simply let everyone take a turn at reeling in a walleye, we ended up with 6 more and the bite was fast and furious, probably caught them all in a span of 30 minutes.  Sensing the guys wanted to go, we headed in at 10:00 with another 13 fish caught, for a total of 26 walleyes in the Ranger Boat.  Along with the 27 incher, Team Dave lead 3 out of the 5 categories, Largest fish, Most Individual Points, and Most Team Points. 

Steve's 1st Place Walleye, a 28 Incher!
On Sunday the bite really shut down on the main lake.  heading back to the hot spot the day before
found that the population of boats quadrupled.  Although we did get a walleye, the wind had all but stopped blowing,  the water temp was still about 50, we headed up the shoreline to see if we could identify any new spots. I also used that time to experiment with a better trolling technique which turned out to be back trolling.  4 bladed props do not back up very well and we could keep it at about 1.8 mph, better than the 2.5 mph in forward.  After trying a number of different places we ended up trolling at night with crankbaits on Ottertail Point, a favorite of mine.  While trolling something happened to my power steering, it wasn't there any more.  One could still steer but it was difficult. We caught 5 more walleyes which extended the lead even more as the bite was tough for the rest of the guys.  Monday was nice as we spent a lot of time looking for fish again.  Adam had done well at Little Stoney Point, another trolling area I like.  Having a chance to get back to town, the hardware store was open and was able to secure a new A23 battery, which worked perfect.  Little Stoney is quite rocky so we fished till almost dark and landed one fish but because of the amount of boats around it was decided to head back to Ottertail Point and try the kicker.  It worked perfect and we proceeded to catch another 6 walleyes.  Steve, his son Kevin, and Tom were also on Ottertail, I am sure that Kevin, who was with me the night before had given out my hotspot.  Bringing our score sheet in to be tallied it was soon revealed that Steve had caught a 28 inch walleye on a jig just before dark.  In the end it was OK, he did well and winning 2nd place plus maintaining the top Individual and top Boat award was still pretty good. 

It certainly wasn't our best opener but it also wasn't too bad either.  We were right in the peak post spawn time and it was hard to get them to bite.  The good news is we each got to take home our 4 fish limit of walleye.  The weather wasn't bad at all but admittedly getting older is taking a toll on our durability.  Monday we head to Sioux Lookout, Ontario to fish Lac Seul on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, returning on Friday.  All indications are that it should be a great year there, it always is.  As of now the boat is at Frankies' Marines as they got me right in and have the steering fixed for Monday's trip.  Things are getting crazy as there is a lot to do before heading out.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Finally Here!!!!

Spottail Shiner Minnow
Friday we head up to Brindley's to participate in the Minnesota Fishing Opener.  This morning was the final step in getting everything organized for this year's trip.  Most who know me understand that I am not much of a Global Warming, the sky is falling guy and the last 10 years seem to back me up.  These late spring's has really put a damper on the minnow supply for fishing opener, especially the spottail and golden shiner situation.  Late ice tends to keep the shiners from entering shallow waters early, therefore changes the spawning times and the ability to trap bait.  As well the heavy snows of February has put the levels of those ponds which raise various bait very high making trapping difficult at best.  In addition the traditional lakes where spottail shiners are usually harvested for bait are mostly infested with zebra mussels, that along with a ban on bait imported from other states makes it very difficult to secure our bait for this year.  Spottail shiners are the preferred like bait for Leech Lake and of course golden shiners, rainbows, and fatheads will work but the confidence factor is much higher when using spottails.  With my connection at Lundeen's no longer available we are on plan C right now as the situation changes almost hourly! I have secured some for my boat based on previous conversations because I like making decisions and moving ahead.  Two days before opener is cutting it close but we have had this situation at least 7 out of the last 10 years.

Fell Marine Wireless MOB System
Hanging around my good friend Bruce Wiley and his airplane, a Cessna 182 RG, then observing his safety equipment has prompted my ordering a wireless MOB (Man Over Board) switch for my Ranger.  Not that I think about it much as these days but I do wear my Onyx A/M24 Inflatable lift vest 100% of the time in the boat.  I am getting too old and God forbid I have another seizure while in the boat I definitely want to be safe.  The biggest issue that engine cutoff's prevent is the infamous Circle of Death, it occurs when one gets thrown out of the boat for any reason and if the motor is running and in gear, the torque of the motor forces it to start making circles and it really places the guy in the water in harms way. a terrible way to go, watching the boat make circled and coming towards you....No Thanks!  Everytime I start my outboard I TRY to connect the engine shutoff lanyard to my life vest which shuts off the motor in the event the guy at the wheel is thrown out of the boat or for that matter, displaced off the seat.  Truth be told I never connect it when making short runs, which in reality is the most dangerous.  This device is wireless and get's hooked in parallel with the existing cutoff switch in your boat.  Simple easy to hook up, now as long as you keep it in your life vest, around your neck, or clipped to yourself, anytime the red FOB gets 50 feet away from the base unit the engine will shut off.  After 6 seconds of being off the unit resets itself and someone can restart the engine and come back to pick you up.  It seems like a great idea as I am not getting any younger.  Because I actually do wear my inflatable life vest 100% of the time in the boat, I'll figure out a way to keep it there which should not be to difficult.  Interesting, I have these inflatables for each passenger in my boat, I also have regular life vests in the boat to stay legal if they don't wear one.  I let them decide however I make sure they know that I'm not jumping in to save them if they don't wear it.  It reminds me of a great story but that is for another time.

Left to right, top Dave, Brothers Jon and, Steve
 Left to right bottom, brother Blake and Sister Beth,
Good Job Mom!!!
Fishing opener in Minnesota is traditionally on the second Saturday of May and usually coincides with Mother's Day, which is on the second Sunday in May, which causes a few issues with some guys.  Well every 7 years May 1st is on a Sunday so the next Sunday is Mother's Day and opener isn't for another week yet.  My Mother died on her birthday, April 18, 2017 and although living in Minnesota and celebrating fishing opener, she never really gave me any problems with missing Mom's Day.  We would eventually get there and give her some flowers but she knew my love for fishing and like a great mom, never made a big deal about it.  Mom was quite a looker in her younger years however that era of the 50's and 60's it was popular and fashionable to smoke cigarettes, which didn't do her any favors in her later years. Not having any ready available pictures of her, I stole this picture from my sister's Facebook page and am posting it for a couple of reasons.  First it represents what my mother had to put up with so Happy Mother's Day mom.  The second reason is that this is the second year without our brother Jon, at the Team Walleye Opener.  Jon had a congenital affliction that ultimately took his life.  Before the disease claimed him, Steve and I would treat him to a weekend away from everything at Leech Lake.  Although Jon's issue had left him with a number of deformities on his face, he always appreciated the chance to get away.  On the last year of his life, on opener he stayed in the cabin all weekend because the pain was enough to make it difficult to be in the boat.  I told him that if he didn't want to go fishing that it was OK, and if he didn't want to come up again, that was OK as well.  His answer was pretty to the point, Dave, I love coming here as your friends treat me like a normal person and I would never want to not come.  Just sitting on the porch watching the lake was exciting and a welcome change to his normal routine!  Not bragging but the Anderson's have done quite well at Leech, I hold the record for most years winning the Largest Walleye of the opener award and Jon has won the most DCS (Didn't Catch Sh#T) awards.  Not bad as those are the 2 plaques we give out!  If you go to the left side of the blog and check out "See Team Walleye on Minnesota Bound" or simply click here  you can watch our story and learn more about the DCS award as well, maybe you can catch Jon walking by as he has the black patch over his eye.

Hopefully there will be a great report next week.

Friday, May 3, 2019

One Week And Counting

HDS Carbon 12"
Well we are down to the final countdown.  The Okuma Coldwater 350 reel came in on Monday but not before a trip to Cabela's this weekend to use some points and find a nice matching rod to create a effective combo.  Got the reel loaded with my favorite line, P-Line CX, which tends to be one diameter less than most mono's so 12 pound test is about the same diameter as standard 10 pound test which has an effect on both the amount of line one can put on the reel as well.  In addition most trolling depth charts that give you the depth a lure will run vs the amount of line you have to let out is based on 10 pound diameter Trilene XL so the charts will be pretty accurate.  This will come in real handy when we eventually get to fish Lake Erie or do some long line trolling on Mille Lacs.  Admittedly it is pretty slick setup and I am anxious to try it next weekend.  It's getting harder to get all the things done that one needs to and luckily I can peck away at it an hour at a time.  Doing my usual horse trading with my friend, I have just got done reinstalling my depth finders in my boat before upgrading all of the software.  This takes alot of time as the entire system is networked together with either ethernet cables or via the NMEA 2000 network.  Basically I have 3 GPS/Sonar units in the boat and they are all interconnected.  This means that everything can be controlled from each unit provided they are talking to each other.  One of the issues is that it's been a year since these were last done and try to remember how it goes can be a real challenge.  Not to mention the new software upgrades have changed the menus as well as other subtle changes.  After getting everything installed, updated, connected, it was time to try and see if it all works.  Plugged my Ipod into the audio inputs and nothing.  Doing a network check it showed nothing was networked in.  Now what!?!?!?!   Well after you upgrade the software one should go into the network menu and refresh everything.  After doing that still nothing and the though was I guess I know what I am doing this weekend.  It took about 10 minutes but all of a sudden everything showed up that was networked in to my relief.  The music started to play, I sighed a sigh of relief!  Interesting conversation I had with a friend of mine's son, David Grant.  Letting him use my FL28 for a lake trout ice fishing trip to Canada about a month ago, he brought it back.  It was stupid but he commented why I just don't use my phone for the music.....Well, I don't want to use up all the memory...........which he grabs my phone and showed me where to add a high capacity microSD card for more memory.  Dang kids anyway!!  Ordering a 256gb microSD card, it's next on the list of things to learn and do.

Trapline Gopher Traps are Very Effective
Our guy did a great job on Team Walleye's hat's this year, they look fabulous.  The goal this weekend is to get the entire yard fertilized as it is supposed to rain on Sunday.  As well the outboard motors on the boat need to be started, I will probably simply use earmuffs around the water intakes and start them in the driveway.  That should work OK.  Besides spring being the time for fishing opener, it is also time for pocket gophers to be on the move.  Those pesky animals tend to move out of their winter hibernating areas to look for new ground.  You can easily tell where they are because in their process of making tunnels they create these rather large mounds of dirt on the surface.  Back home the farmers hated them because when mowing hay the hay sickle would hit those mounds and dull the cutting blades.  When I was you I used to get $0.50 a gopher from the farmer and another $0.50 from the county as there was a bounty on pocket gophers.  Back where the honeybees are there were a number of new mounds.  Digging my traps out it was time to take action while they are still active.  The Trapline style of traps has been my favorite method as if I say so myself, I am pretty good at this.  The process is to find a fresh mound, find the plugged hole and using a spade dig down till you find the main tunnel.  These traps fit perfectly in the tunnel and I usually put one into each hole, 2 per set.  The final nail in the coffin is to put some peanut butter on a piece of cardboard between the traps then cover the hole with something that keeps the light out.  The gophers smell the bait and being almost blind they walk right into the trap!  After work yesterday I checked the set and to my surprise I had one in each trap, I don't recall ever getting a double.  Thinking maybe of starting my own local Pocket Gopher trapping service, $5.00 a gopher....cash!  Oh well, I'll bet last fall I got over 10 of them on the property.  We'll see.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Two Weeks and Counting

Being at a conference in Nashville since Monday, I finally got to post something.  Lot's of things are happening fast, the ice is slowly melting and by the looks of the Modis current satellite picture Mille Lacs is about 70% ice free while it looks like Leech is still struggling but it should be off by opener.  I have to admit that it seems as though the later the ice our, the better the fishing on Leech.  We will have to see how that goes but for the most part the walleyes will be quite shallow, which is nice.  Had the chance to get the Ranger 620FS out of storage last Friday.  Although she was in good shape, after getting her settled in the pole shed it was time to take a first look inside, and trust me, it wasn't pretty.  Apparently some mice had decided to shred up the paper towelling I had in the rear starboard storage area as well as the front port storage.  First opening the rear storage, what a mess as a whole roll of toweling was made into a mouse condo with a partial roll serving as it's toilet.  Other than the mess, it appears to be just cosmetic and got most of it cleaned.  Opening the left front compartment, the first thing I see is a mouse staring at me.  In a frantic attempt to make him pay for the mess that was in that compartment, it slipped away.  Frantically throwing stuff out to get an attempt at his life, no such luck as it was obvious it went down the drain hole in the corner.  Not even cleaning, a mouse trap baited with peanut butter was set and the compartment door closed, a look the next morning was successful as the score was now evened!  After 7 days of continual trapping opportunities it has appeared as though any resident mouse has been eliminated!  Now it's a matter of disinfecting everything, vacuuming, organizing my tackle and putting everything in it's place.  The Lowrance's have been installed and the latest and greatest software updates are loaded into each unit.  The electronics looks good but there is still a lot of cleaning and getting everything in order.

Okuma LOw Profile Line Counter Reel
Previous posts dealt with 2019 as a year to try out new strategies.  On our Leech Lake Fishing Opener one of my new strategies is to troll crankbaits along the shallow and rocky shorelines.  The usual procedure is to put on a #5 shad rap then put the lure in the water and put out about 8 passes of line out, hopefully about 100 feet or so.  What appeared this week in the mail box was a new Scheels sales flyer featuring a cool looking low profile line counter casting reel for trolling.   Usually line counter reels tend to be larger and more bulky however this reel looked like it would work pretty good.  There was a nice price on it in the flyer however it meant that a trip to St. Cloud, the closest Scheels store, would be needed.  Deciding to look online instead, and already sites reacting to the sale, I found it for $2.00 less and free delivery to the house.  It isn't that I would not enjoy a trip to Scheels, but the practical guy in me thinks, that would have cost at least $18 in gas so what the heck.  It will be delivered on Monday and I'll just take my favorite walleye trolling rig, throw on some 10 or 12 pound test monofilament line just in time for opener.  This way if one can establish a pattern, it will be a lot easier than guessing how much line one has behind the boat.  This should be a great rig for fall trolling on Mille Lacs or even getting those deeper diving lures down further than one can by casting.  Also I have the trolling app on my phone, you can easily look up a lure, with 10 pound test and 2 mph, it will tell you the depth the lure is running based on how much line one lets out.  It's a real nice app called the Precision Trolling.  Basically you buy the app and it updates the data when a new lure comes out.  Although the app is not free, the updates are. Now I just need to practice using my kicker motor more precisely!

Spring is definitely here with a lot of yard work to get caught up on.  Asparagus should be sprouting soon and our Texas ordered onions will show up next week.  It's supposed to snow tomorrow, if so it will not last for sure.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Easter Weekend

Beautiful Stream Caught Brown Trout
Time continues to fly like crazy, here it's another weekend coming up....Easter Weekend.  Today is Thursday, April 18 and it marks the 2 year anniversary of the passing of my mother, Betty Anderson.  It has changed our visiting habits as Easter was always a tradition we spent with my wife's uncle, we will still do that this weekend, however we will not drive down home to see mom.  It just makes you think about things.........oh well.  So in the fishing side of things, not much is happening except a lot of lakes around Minneapolis are ice free.  With only 3 weeks till opener, lets hope that old mother nature can put the ice melt on high and Leech will be ice free by May 10th.  We've had it really close a few time where we had to fish only certain spots as the ice was still filling up certain bays.  And who could not remember 2013's Team Walleye Leech Lake Opener when the ice never did go out and we ended up spreading Ron Edberg's ashes on the ice instead of fishing.  The forecast looks great for the next couple of weeks and with the warm sun and rain, I am sure things will be okay.  Actually the mid winter's heavy snow prevented as much ice as there could have been so it might not take too long.  I also think that a late ice out produces more fish as the male walleyes are quite shallow and the females may still be waiting to spawn. So earlier this week my good friend Mark Applen went with a friend of his down near Whitewater State Park, northeast of Rochester, MN to do some stream trout fishing with light tackle and spinners.  Telling Mark I needed a good picture for the blog, on Monday I got this text with a note that the fishing was fabulous.  I am glad that someone is at least getting out and wetting a line.  Embarrassingly I haven't been out since January 23rd of this year.  The heavy snows of February and March as well as my birthday put a damper on any practical fishing outings the last 3 months.  Of course this has left me posting my friends adventures but hey....at least someone is fishing!

Panther Remote Controlled Steering
So with Team Walleye's 46th Annual Leech Lake fishing opener in 3 weeks, it's probably a good idea to head up to Bill's and get my boat out of his pole shed.  That in itself is a long story but it definitely needs to happen this weekend.  There is a lot of things to do before taking her out on the water as she's been hibernating since October.  There are new software updates for all of the electronics on the boat, engines need to be started, especially the kicker as it hasn't been run for at least 9 months.  One of strategies that has proven to be successful is trolling #5 shad raps however it's taken a few years to get the hang of slow forward trolling with the 9.8hp kicker motor, especially now that I have the iTroll system for adjusting speed and the remote Panther T5 steering system, it is actually pretty nice.  My goal is to get more proficient with it and head to Lake Erie.  Putting in a plug for In Depth Outdoors, they had a great show on last week regarding fishing Lake Erie.  Actually one of their techniques was to use the front trolling motor running in the opposite direction of the kicker motor to help maintain a more constant speed.   I was on the forum, and actually asked the host, James Holst a question regarding this technique and he actually answered, that was pretty cool.  I recommend looking at all their recent shows, one of their recent ones was Lake Trout fishing in the fall on Lake Nipigon.  What was interesting is it was in the same area that I fished with back in the early 1970's with my friends the Tollefson's and the Semingson's.  That went back on the bucket list as well!

On Tuesday I pulled off my 54" front mounted snowblower attachment off the John Deere X734 lawn tractor.  The real purpose is to assure that the amount of accumulating snow is finished for the spring.  Now comes the hard part of cleaning the lower deck, sharpening the blades and getting everything properly greased then mounting it on the tractor.  It is on of these new...."simply drive on" attachment but after looking at the YouTube video, it doesn't look that easy.  Oh well it has to be done!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Another Storm

Snow Report Map From This Week's Storm
Well I warned my neighbor Todd.......don't take your curb markers out yet, we usually get dumped on in April but he didn't listen to me.  Starting on Wednesday and going to this morning, we definitely got dumped on!  Luckily everything is warm so the snow we did get was wet, slushy, and a lot of it melted.  They did get more to the north as there was colder weather just 50 miles away and it should bring the river back up again, we'll have to see.  Either way I did not remove my snow blower from the lawn tractor and that was a good thing as this snow is very heavy.  The blower attachment to my John Deere 728 does a fantastic job of clearing and what it didn't remove the sun will as we are predicting 60's by next Tuesday so this stuff won't last long.  I will need to head on up to Bill's place on Lake Mille Lacs and get my boat out of storage as opener is only 4 weeks away and there is a lot of work to be done to get everything ready.  Luckily we finally got our Team Walleye hats ordered and getting our signage done.  The lakes are still froze pretty tight up north but it won't take too much to clear them out as we are predicting rain next week.  In the meantime there has been a lot of thought about trying new things this year as well as utilizing the electronics a bit more intensively.  That is always a challenge but as they say, practice makes perfect.

Top Jig is Our Go To jig, Bottom is New Long Shanked Jig
There is a just released product that admittedly I am pretty excited about for this year.  In the past few weeks there has been a glimpse of some new strategies for walleye fishing in Canada this year, especially in the plastics, deep driving crank baits, and northern pike fishing areas.  Not to be outdone  Northland Tackle located in Bemidji, MN has introduced their new Long Shanked Fireball jig head.  The shank on the jig hook is at least 1/2 inch longer than the standard jig hooks we use and should work out much better for the jig and minnow combination that we normally fish.  While fishing Leech Lake for opener, we normally just take a standard short shafted jighead and hook the minnow through the lips then drift, dragging the jig along the bottom as we move.  The long shafted jig head is more suited for what is referred to as the "Canadian" style of hooking a minnow, basically one takes the hook and runs it through the mouth and out the gill.  Then you take the hook and embed it just by the dorsal fin of the minnow.  The problem is with larger minnows and the shorter shanked hooks, sometimes you can only get as far back as the back of the head.  One reason that is nice about having the hook back farther on the minnow is often a walleye will just grab half the minnow so with the hook back further one has a better chance of hooking the fish more quickly.  With that technique it isn't too unusual to catch 3 - 4 walleye on a single minnow which is nice as you spend more time catching and less time baiting your hook!  They had a 20% off sale earlier this week so I ordered enough for everyone, that is of course if they cough up some cash!  Bruce and Pete like gold so I got 25 of that color plus I like a chartreuse color so I ordered 25 of them plus as stated earlier, plastics might be the hot ticket this year so I bought 3 standup style jigs to try.  I can guarantee if it turns out to be the hot bait, I'll guarantee the price will reflect the success!

I have been looking at a jet boat for the River however will probably just get a new 25 hp outboard for my Jon Boat and be done with it.  There is some definite advantages as well as disadvantages with a standard propeller driven motor verses a Jet yet 95% of my river fishing will be just fine with the standard outboard.  Four weeks till the Minnesota Fishing Opener, I'm getting restless!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Signs of Spring

Galloway Park on the Mississippi River
Well, after a pretty hard winter, the month of March has brought what it normally does, warmer weather and snow melt.  This year saw an snowpack on the ground that was equivalent to the spring prior to the devastating floods of 1965.  There were some concerning flooding predictions this year as the first part of March saw a fairly rapid snow melt along with some local heavy rains.  Things settled down a bit with drier weather and freezing temperatures at night, it really slowed down the runoff.  The rivers have crested slightly above their flood stages and even though there are areas of concern, for the most part things are looking good as the rivers are starting to recede.   Behind the house the Mississippi has peaked and is going down.  Every 10 years or so it overflows into the neighbors pasture and into Galloway Park, just on the border of Champlin and Dayton, MN.  Stopping by this morning to snap this picture, although the water is still running across the road, if the projected rains forecasted for this weekend stay on the light side, it should still be headed back to normal.  With Temperatures scheduled to be in the 60's and  the below normal amount of ice on the lakes this year, ice out should be pretty much normal this year, no one was talking about this at the end of February, the predictions were a late ice out.  It is amazing how fast things can change this time of year as it looks like our Team Walleye 46th Annual Minnesota Fishing Opener will be just perfect.  Mark Mayerich has been working especially hard on this as we have lot's of things to do, organize the meals, bait, signs, new hats, it's not that easy, but it'll get done!

Picture Perfect Fish
A dream trip of mine is to try and schedule a trip to fish the Port Clinton Ohio area of Lake Erie in early April.  My friends Kevin and Ben Aiona headed there last Sunday as I was supposed to drop off some lures for him.  Unfortunately I never made it which was OK anyway, they had left by noon and when I did call them they were in Chicago already.  Ben has an 18 foot Ranger 618T with a 90 hp Mercury Tiller.  Maybe somewhat of a small boat but they managed.  On Monday night Ben sent me a picture of this beautiful and fat 27 inch walleye.  I sent this to my friends and we all agreed that the measuring stick they used must be wrong as that looks bigger than 27.  Apparently they got there, figured out a system however it took them almost all day to find clear water and when they did, they were able to catch 4 nice walleyes.  According to Ben the walleyes were in 40 feet of water suspended up around 20 feet deep.  Using well known trolling apps and line counter reels one can easily calculate how much line one needs out, at what speed to make a certain bait run in the strike zone of 20 feet.  His report yesterday was a little better as Kevin tested this at about the same time they caught the big on pictured at 4:00:  We are at 34 so far today.  All on Bandits, 75 to 100 feet back, 1.0 - 1.7 mph.  I would say 24 is our biggest and 20 is the smallest in the box.  It was a better bite his morning.  He sent me another picture and it looks like it was a little more rougher seas, as well the fish was smaller...maybe something for next week.

Walleye caught by the Wolf River Cam, Shiocton 2 Site
One of the things that is going are the Wolf River Camera's, underwater camera's on the Wolf River, northwest of Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin.  The cameras record the fish migration up the river to spawn and although many of the fish are suckers, there are quite a few walleyes and there was even a sturgeon that swam by today.  To the left is a screen shot of a nice walleye swimming by.  There has been some larger females however for the most part the majority of the walleyes have been the smaller males.  It's cool looking at these as one never knows what will swim by.  As well they often travel in small groups so if one swims by, chances are a couple more will follow.  The have 5 different areas along the river however it seems as though only Shiocton 1, Shiocton 2, and New London are operating.  Someone put a sinker in front of the New London camera as well I think the Shiocton 1 and 2 cameras are more active these days.  As the water gets warmer, more toward next week the migration will definitely pick up.  Maybe you will get to see that massive sturgeon swim by!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Successful Sportshow

Well, Thursday's excursion with my friend Lory Brasel was extremely successful as measured by the fact that we stayed to just before closing time, about 4 1/2 hours.  Basically I bribed Lory to go to the show with free admission tickets, he drives, and I'll buy the first beers!  Arriving at the show around 4:30 the three goals we to first see Frankies, my boat dealer and discuss the need for a replacement motor on my jon boat.  Deb and Frankie were in Texas for the last month and they really take care of me well.  Second was to try and spend some quality time with the Lowrance people.  Usually at most shows the majority of the guys are field guys, basically we'll give you a great price but you need to work XX amount of hours at our sponsored events, however the Northwest Sportshow often has factor guys in the booth, a big upgrade.  The third thing I was looking for included possible northern Saskatchewan or the Northwest Territories to possibly fish large northern pike and pig lake trout.  Of course I would definitely include my friend Bruce as he has the transportation to get there!  The first stop was Frankies as I had a nice talk with both Frankie and Deb.  They are an amazing couple and after a few minutes we got down to business......I need a new 25 hp short shaft tiller for my boat.  We sort of decided that an Evinrude might be the best choice, I actually have a line on a Riverpro Jet boat, we'll have to see.  My next stop was the Lowrance booth as I had about 6 major issues to discuss.  My arrival at the booth found myself listening to a field guy try and help out a customer that wanted to connect both his regular transducer and this Minnkota trolling motor transducer to his main Lowrance unit.  After listening to the field guy search for adaptor cables and the like, I could not stand it anymore and told the guy that there was a much easier fix, simply buy a used HDS Gen 3 and mount it to the console then network to your "Main" unit in the front.  What they were discussing was complicated and starting to add the dollars up.  I told the guy in the end, he'd have a better system and the same amount of money invested without having to relay on a "cute" solution that isn't very versatile.  Well a real factory guy came by and heard my discussion and agreed with me which allowed me to quickly transition to my first issue which was the application of Genesis Live, a new program for the new depth finders like my HDS Carbons, that will actually draw a detailed map of the bottom contour as you travel across the water.  I have talked with some knowledgeable field guys in the past but this guy was amazing.  I can actually create maps as long as my transducer is reading the bottom,  Although the best speed is 20 mph max, at my cruising speed of 35 mph on Lac Seul I should have no issue!  Also it is recommended to just leave it on as I fish and move around with the trolling motor, it will record the bottom contours very accurately.  Great news and I cannot wait to try this in Canada.  My next question was my sonichub is a 2.0 and the new one is 2.1, what's the difference.  Apparently nobody knows! We talked about the release of their new trolling motor, I suspect I will have one as soon as they become available.

3.5 inch Swim Minnow in Reel Shad Color
One of the more interesting booths was the Pro Tour Baits, a guy from Rice Lake, Wisconsin who pours his own plastic baits. They remind me of the plastic baits I bought in Texas last year from  Lake Fork Tackle, they have a distinctive garlic based scent to the plastic however they have a more a focused selection for walleye fishing.  His display has a lot of bass type plastics and they are usually packaged in large quantities of 30 - 50 lures.  I discussed my strategies for fishing more plastics this year, especially at Lac Seul and asked what his recommendations were.  First on the topic of a lure, he had a 3.5 inch Swim Minnow that looked pretty good and as well this style of bait has been productive on our trips.  Secondly was the question of color.  The water is coffee colored so I always picked a highly visible color like chartreuse, yellow, or glow in the dark, however his suggestion was to go with dark or more natural colors.  Our go to live bait is the standard Rainbow Shiner which have a distinctive red, yellow, or blueish strip on their lateral line.  I ended up
Ned Rig With Flat to Sit on Bottom
with their Reel Shad color a standard dark top, whitish bottom with a gold strip, maybe it caught me more easily however I am excited to try this both on Leech as well as Lac Seul. The combination of color and scent might just be the ticket for the walleyes this year!  Another thing we looked at was the Ned Rig.  admittedly new to this term, they had a special jig head just for Ned Rigging.  So a Ned Rig is simply a lighter weight mushroom shaped jig head, usually 1/8 ounce or lighter, with a smaller piece of plastic threaded onto the jig head.  It really doesn't look like much yet the reports state it is a deadly combination for catching both bass and walleye.   Pro Tour had a standard mushroom jig head with a flat spot added to the bottom of the jig head at a 45 degree angle to the hook.  Basically the rig simply sits on the bottom with the plastic sitting up from the bottom and the fish simply swim by and smash it.  Well, we'll see about that!  Anyway after buying a nice bag of Swim Minnows he brought out the heavy artillery, his special molded jig heads and a special plastic to use in a "special" color.  Well nobody in their right mind could refuse that offer and we parted with another $9.00.  I am thinking that the points we fish on Lac Seul might be perfect for this type of rig, but I guess I am saying that for the new plastics and colors as well as the drop shotting strategy as well, oh, so many new things to try, so little time!

The third thing that was researched was lakes in northern Manitoba, Saskatchewan, or the Northwest Territories that one could fly to on your own and still fish.  Most of the resorts claim trophy Northern Pike, trophy Lake Trout and grayling fishing.  Because I would have to count on my friend Bruce to agree to fly to one of these places, there was a need to research the airstrip and  aviation gas (100 Octane) availability as well as access to the resorts.  Most were very helpful yet often warned that their runways were gravel based and the plane had to be set up for this.  Asking Bruce what this meant, basically gravel get's sucked into the prop doing damage to the leading edge.  There is a prop edge protector that is used in these situations that protects the prop from damage by the gravel, apparently Bruce doesn't have this.  Not that I am running this show, just a bystander gathering information but it is one of the destinations on my bucket list so we'll just have to see!  It was kind of fun, when you start throwing around terms that I have learned from Bruce, these guys treat you differently, that in itself is a lot of fun.  Last but not least, besides buying so new plastic lures the Sportshow is the time to renew the Outdoors News, a weekly publication of Minnesota related fishing and hunting news.  Also towards the end I was able to discuss the state of the flagpole that I have had in my yard for at least 20 years.  Uncommon USA, in Wilmar, MN made the telescoping flagpole and after the years mine was getting wore out.  I asked the guy about a slot that had developed in the bottom hole and he asked which direction it was, up or down.  After we discussed he offered a very good price to replace it, the pole was beefed up more since my original purchase as well it included both and American Flag as well as a Green Bay Packer flag.  I got it replaced last weekend and it looks great!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Northwest Sportshow

Sportshow from above
It's that time of year again to attend the Northwest Sportshow here at the Convention Center in Minneapolis.  It is one of the largest sportshow's in the Midwest and it is always a great time to get caught up on the latest and greatest as well, to get some of those year long nagging questions answered.  Almost everyone who is in the industry is there including the boat and motor manufacturers, bait and tackle manufacturers, resorts, vacation destinations, and pretty much anything you would be wanting for upcoming fishing season.  Frankie and Deb from Frankie's Bait and Marine are back from their late winter getaway in south Texas and I am anxious to talk about motor options for my river boat.  Lowrance electronic will be there and in fact one of the things they offer is Lowrance University, an hour long course specifically about their products and how to use them.....I have a ton of questions for them, especially after their recent announcement of the Lowrance trolling motor.  There has been a lot of changes in the industry lately, especially in consolidations of brands.  Alumacraft boats has been bought by BRP, of course Ranger Boats was purchased a few years ago by Johnny Morris's group, Bass Pro Shops, who last year has purchased Cabela's and continues to make changes.  All of these things contributes to new sets of paradigms the change the way the fishing industry presents itself.  Specifically I had a great conversation with a Lowrance guy at Cabela's a couple of weeks ago, which has me thinking about looking at the next level.  Garmin has really stepped up to the plate and it is exciting to see some of the new things they are offering and whether everyone else will follow suit. 

Shimano Calcutta Casting Reel
With it looking like I will have a lot more time this year to fish, one of the things on the agenda is to look for new adventures, maybe Canada, Central America, I don't know, something that I haven't tried yet.  The last couple of months found a couple of nice Berkley Lightning Spinning rods find a home in the shed.  One was for my friend Joe in Texas, one for catfishing on the river, as well a new crappie rod.  Unfortunately while in the shed I found a couple of older but still very functional Shimano Calcutta bait casting reels.  These are premium reels that were popular when the old Garcia Ambassadors and higher end casting reels became available.  Instead of a magnetic spool breaking system they have centrifugal weights that you slide in and out based on how much spool braking you prefer.  Today most casting reels tend to be low profile with magnet braking,  however these are still quite functional yet the problem is they are not mounted to anything.  Those Lightning Rods had some in the casting category and at $29 each would have been perfect.  Feeling guilty that they are simply sitting there without a home forces me to look at the show to see if there are any deals for  maybe a 6 1/2 foot medium heavy casting rod, something that can be kept pre rigged for catfishing on the river, dang that sounds like a great idea!  I continue to be in awe of the convenience of the whole thing. 

Our snow is finally leaving us and the threat of flooding continues to be in the forecast.  Luckily it's been pretty dry and although it melts during the day, we have seen below freezing temperatures at night, mitigating the flooding risk somewhat.  Either way the sunshine and warmth really feel nice.  I am looking forward to maybe a last ice fishing outing before the ice finally goes out, that could easily take 6 weeks or more.  Here's hoping it will be out by May 10th, fishing opener in Minnesota.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Looking Forward to Soft Water

Leech Lake, Minnesota Fishing Opener
Last weeks post dealt with the boredom of the dang weather we have been having, the current fishing sales that were going on, and the strategies for the upcoming fishing season, which leads into the next discussion of when and where to use these new strategies.  Unfortunately this weeks post was to be about a bass fishing adventure with my friend Bruce Wiley.  He was going to pick me up in Dallas but that ended up getting cancelled.  The weather has been quite unsettled from Texas all the way to Minnesota so reality is we might still be there!  So what does the landscape for fishing trips look this year?  Of course our 46th Annual Leech Lake Opener starts on May 10th and we fish for 3 days before heading back home on Tuesday the 14th.  At last count we have a full house with 22 guys going again.  Leech Lake will have a new regulation this year, one can keep 4 fish which only 1 walleye can be over 20 inches.  Last years regulation was 4 fish however everything between 20 and 26 had to be released but you could keep 1 over 26 if so desired. That's a entirely different topic in itself and will be reserved for a future post!  This year I am going to try more plastics as well look for new areas to troll #5 shad raps in the 5 - 7 feet of water, as I am getting more proficient with my kicker motor. 
Right after that is usually our trip to the Canadian Fishing Opener at Lac Seul with Bruce and the crew of 6 guys.  I have sort of assumed I am going to be invited however admittedly I tend to have more anal planning needs than most people so truth be told, the invitation hasn't been formally announced.  Focusing on some newer locations as well as yet to be tried techniques, the only thing that would be of any concern is if the ice is off the lake by that time.  The forecast is looking more normal these days so it remains optimistic.  Another optimistic sign is the desire to catch and eat some northerns while at the camp at Lac Seul Outposts.  When the subject was breached regarding looking for a specific Northern Pike bite on Lac Seul, it was met with a stern "I'm not putting up with those bones!".  Assuring him of my filleting abilities and the fact that IMHO northern pike have more texture and flavor than walleyes, that pursuit is looking more possible.   Another thing that was found is a website hosted by Ontario, which has a general map of the province then the ability to zoom in to specific lakes or areas within a large lake, like Lac Seul.  In the final steps of zooming in the view turns to a satellite overlay of  the area.  What's nice about this is you can actually see any rapids that is associated with any rivers that dump into the lake, which by the way, are great areas to fish.  Also you can get a feel for whether area's are able to allow a boat to get through, potential weed and stump areas, which are all great pike habitat.  You can view that link  here.

Lac Seul NE Section
The third week in June has also been a weekend to spend at Lac Seul with the boys.  The fish are more scattered and deeper which might make some of those  strategies discussed last week, very deadly!  July has been a quiet month however this year he thought is to try and get out to Devil's Lake, North Dakota.  My friend Kevin Aiona and his son Ben are very good at fishing this lake and maybe they will let me join them.  The first week in August, at least for the last 2 years has been spent at the Fisherman's Cove on the opposite side of Lac Seul in the northwest corner.  That's been a fun place to fish yet there hasn't been any indication of a trip this year.  My I'm being over anxious so something might develop in the next week or so.  If not, August is prime time on the Mississippi River behind the house.  There is some work to do to get ready but it will be done by the August time frame!  The third week in September is usually our last trip for the year to Lac Seul Outpost.  By that time the new strategies should be ironed out and deemed successful or not.  This year it is rumored that our good friend Ricky Shermer is going with us.  That will be a blast for sure, that is if we can keep both of his feet on the ground!  Of course October would not be complete without trout fishing with Bill, although it's getting harder each year because of the non typical launch access, we'll figure it out.

There are a number of things on the bucket list for fishing.  My brother Steve and I have been talking about going to Portland, Oregon to visit his son, and maybe go halibut fishing off the coast.  Although not as big as in Alaska, it would still be worth trying it, along with maybe some other saltwater species.  The topic of fishing the big walleyes on Lake Erie is often mentioned.  The 620 Ranger would be a perfect boat for this and the thought of a stringer of ten pounders sounds pretty exciting.  It really isn't that far to drive and Kevin has been out there before, maybe he could come along and help guide us.  Green Bay is also becoming a destination for big walleye.  There is still a commitment to get to Dallas and fish bass with both Joe and Matt, we'll have to see how that develops this year.  The topic of one more trip to Alaska has come up and as well I might like to horn in on Gary Barneson's deal at Cobb Bay Resort on Sturgeon Lake, just east of Lac Seul. Oh, So many things so little time!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Time to Think About This Year's Strategies

Bass Pro Shop Logo
Bass Pro Shops bought Cabela's in September of 2017.  Bass Pro Shops always had a special place for a lot of us in the Midwest, probably because the closest store was either in Omaha or Chicago so it wasn't someplace you'd just hop in the car and go, yet their catalog was huge and was really catered to the southern fisherman.  However the catalog always had a good offering to us Midwest guys.  Admittedly it was a lot of fun when you had the chance to stop at a Bass Pro Shop store as they are generally quite large and have a huge selection of everything.  For some reason I felt that Cabela's had better clothing and as well I am not a big fan of logo's plastered all over their clothing as to me it looked cheap.  Usually the opportunity to visit a store came at the end of business trips, as stated the Denver, Colorado store, the Gurney Mills, Illinois store, or the one in Grapevine Texas, through the years I've become more open to their stuff and really like their socks and Redhead casual pants.  Well the Cabela's store, 6 miles from the house, has turned into a smaller Bass Pro Shop and most of the stuff that I enjoy are now available very close.  They have a real nice fishing sale that just ended on March 3 and it was definitely taken advantage of.  In the last couple of posts you can see that my collection of spinning rods increased by a couple.  Sunday was the last day and I had been thinking about plastics as most
A few of the Powerbait colors
were on sale.  Besides using plastic to break up the routines on Lac Seul, there has been a nagging thought about trying either power grubs or crayfish shaped plastics on the river for smallmouth bass.  The river runs pretty fast so it may prove to be a challenge however it might be alot of fun.  So with that in mind I added to my collection a few more colors of Berkley's PowerBait Pro Grubs.  Of course they do work pretty well on Lac Seul anyway but it will be interesting to see how well they perform on the Mississippi River this summer.  At Lac Seul, these 3 inch grubs are inserted on a 1/4 ounce jig with a wire keeper and worked along the bottom.  For the smallmouth it is recommended that you pair them with a lighter mushroom head jig, maybe 1/16 - 1/8 ounce weighted head.  Although that seems light, it just might be the thing to keep the jig out of the rocks along the bottom of the areas we fish.  Unfortunately you will have to wait at least 5 months before there will be any results of this strategy!  Admittedly it is fun shopping for this stuff.

Drop Shotting
One of the other things that has me thinking is a technique call "Drop Shotting".  Usually done for bass, it is reported that people catch a lot of walleyes on these rigs.  Often classified as a finesse rig, a strategic way to catch pressured fish, it may have some practicality on Lac Seul for walleyes when you are marking them on the graph yet they refuse to bite.  If one thinks about it when you fish a 1/4 ounce jig with a minnow it's usually on the bottom and fish either have to notice the jig movement or be looking down.  With the drop shot rig the hook is above the bottom, often 9 - 15 inches above the sinker, therefore any walleye cruising the bottom will see the bait at their level or slightly above, and we all know a walleye's eyes are basically on the top of their head, so it only makes sense.  The bait used in with this rig can be plastic, a live minnow, a leech, or crawler.  Hence forth the secondary reason to get some more PowerBait!   One can also buy special drop shot sinkers that will easily disengage when they get snagged up.  Dang it, I was just forced to stock up on these components as well, for no other reason other than to find out if this strategy will prove to be productive, I will even try it on Leech Lake for opener this year.  Here again open water is about 60 days away with opener in just 66 days.  Something tells me that my boat partners will be begging me to rig them up this year so I had better have enough for everyone.....dang it, looks like I will be waiting for the next sale to start.

Speaking of open water in 60 days, although it seems impossible looking out the window these days, a lot can change quickly this time of year.  This weekend weather report is that broken record we discussed last week.  A huge low pressure system will meet up with the colder air and even though we will be in the low 30's it is projected that it could dump up to 15 inches of wet snow on Saturday alone.  That would easily double the amount of water laying on the ground so it's apparent what the events of this weekend will be.  Gas up the John Deere and start moving that white stuff around!


Thursday, February 28, 2019

Broken Record

Dire situation on Mille Lacs, Sunday Morning
Thinking about this weeks post forces me to look backwards at the one last week and decide what was the big event as this is Fishin' With Dave, not What the Heck is Dave Doing,  yet the current weather situation here in Minnesota has forced this to become exactly that.  Getting older doesn't help either yet much of my time has been spent removing snow or helping people.  As posted last week, normally this would be about our Perch Extravaganza experience but the heavy snows of the last month really put a damper on this and in fact although they had a record crowd  yet for this year hindsight is definitely 20/20.  Mille Lacs Lake has about 18 inches of snow on it, much of the snow is light and fluffy, the type that can really get blown around easily.  Saturday night was the backside of the storm and for Minnesota that usually means the counter clockwise rotation of the low pressure as it moves east, the winds roars out of the northwest as it is squeezed between the outgoing low and the incoming high pressure system that rotates clockwise, and blow it did.  We had winds Saturday night and into Sunday afternoon of over 45 mph, essentially blizzard conditions.  With the light snow it really drifted and if you were on Mille Lacs with a wheel house and didn't get off the lake before the big blow, you were stuck.  Apparently hundreds of wheel houses got drifted in and had to wait for the resort plows to get them out.  Check out this link for the story.  I guess 10 years ago we would have toughed it out as it would just be another story in our minds.  Today, Russ, Mark and myself look pretty dang smart for staying away.  I still missed the event but there will be next year!

Down the Road to the Pole Shed
So the title, Broken Record.  Many of you know exactly what that means yet others recognize the
phase but are not sure of it's origin.  In the 60's us kids used to play records, 45's (so named as they rotated at 45 RPM) and LP's (so named as they were Long Play albums with 10 - 15 songs).  Records had grooves with the music profile etched into those groves then a fine needle, usually made out of sapphire would travel in those grooves turning the mechanical bumps and valleys into music. Often times a record would get a scratch on it causing the needle to jump back to the previous groove and it would simply sit there and keep repeating itself until you bumped the needle to the next groove.  Well this weather is like a broken record!  Snow then cold, snow then cold.  As last week stated, and today being the last day of February, we have set the modern day record for the amount of snow and it shows.  Waking up yesterday there was another 2 inches of the fluffy stuff.  I decided to stop and take a picture, it was sort of pretty if one wasn't sick of dealing with this.  If you notice on the left side, which with a strong Northwest wind, would be the side where it drifts, the tops of the snow banks have been pushed back further into my yard to accommodate the next snow fall.  Interesting but March is usually our snowiest month.  The National Weather Service is already issuing it's flood predictions for this spring and depending on how fast it melts or how much snow and rain we get in the next 6 weeks will be a big determining factor.   One can usually figure on about the equivalent of an inch of rain in each 10 inches of snow.  With February's 30+ inches of snow there is a lot of water stored up in the Mississippi drainage area, it will definitely be interesting.  Floods tend to change the river quite a bit...some for the good, some for the bad.  At least it gives me a good reason to get in the boat and go exploring!

So I did do something fishing related this week, Cabela's is now owned by Bass Pro Shops and everything I like about Bass PRo is now at the Cabela's store just 6 miles form the house.  Two weeks ago the discussion was about a Berkley Lightning Rod, a very nice fishing rod on Sale for $29.95.  Although we are not going to Dallas, I still consider the rod/reel combination that was bought is still Joe's.  Thinking about maybe a heavier rig for catfishing, I did buy the 6'6" Medium Heavy 1 piece spinning rod with an appropriate matching reel to handle 12 pound test line, perfect for heavy sinker, cat fishing on the river.  It will also be a nice crankbait rod and my neighbor Todd will do a lot better with it.  Also it was time to renew my Navionic's chip that is in the GPS on the Ranger, it does an excellent job mapping Lac Seul.  The offer is the same as last year's....$100.00 to renew the yearly update subscription or $49.00 for a new chip with 1 year's updates included.........duh!  I already have buyers for the old chip if needed and if push comes to shove, it will be a good spare for the Jon Boat.  Either way you can't go wrong!  I did get to help my friend Bruce in Garrison and see Bill and his mother, both were a nice way to spend a Saturday.