Monday, October 26, 2009

A Two Gloved Day

I have traded the cold weather for a little reprive and am writing from Los Angeles, California. It has been interesting as it is a balmy 65 degrees and everyone here is complaining about the cold. These people have no idea what cold our trip to Mille Lacs on Saturday afternoon. The weather was predicted to be 48 for a high, perfect for that last fling before the ice freezes. This last time outing also gives me a chance to make sure everything works before I put the boat away, dump a can of Seafoam into the gas for storage, and maybe catch a few fish as a bonus.

Arriving on the lake I was surprised to see the surface temperature at the Cove Landing at a blustery 39.3 degrees, burrrrrrrrr. Water is an interesting substance. It is at its greatest density at this temperature, meaning that is sinks to the bottom. This causes the phenomenon called turnover as the denser water displaces the warmer water on the bottom, stirring the lake up. At around 39 degrees the water is pretty even from top to bottom. As water cools below 39 it starts getting less dense and stays on the surface. When water reaches 32 degrees it freezes, expands and floats. Ice is a very good insulator, protecting the water on the bottom which will essentially stay at 39 degrees all winter long. This allows life in the lake to enjoy an environment that is quite a bit warmer than freezing.

One nice thing that occurs in the fall when the water temperature in higher than the air temperature, the time on the lake can be warmer than that on the water. When it is colder than the air temp, it will feel much colder on the lake. Well Saturday my partner Tom proclaimed it a Two Gloved Day and offered the above pose. Our plan was to start in Wakon Bay for perch before heading to Anderson's Reef to pull some cranks for walleye. There were a few guys fishing perch and actually catching a few. They were all pretty small. Tom had the most unique method of catching these perch. We were in 4 feet of water, he had his bobber stop at 5 feet allowing his jig to sit on the bottom. Pulling it gently off the bottom he could actually sit and hold a fish on his minnow for minutes at a time as they played tug of war with Tom watching his bobber sit suspended 2 feet under the surface. This technique rewarded him with 3 nice perch including this nice 12 incher. Although we didn't kill them, tom was able to go home with a nice meal. About 15 minutes before sunset we headed to Anderson's. The water on the lake was a little warmer, 41 degrees. At this temperature the tullibees should be spawning on the reef. When tullibees spawn they essentially chase all the fish off the reef. It must have been the case as we did not get a single walleye. Based on the current water temp this did not surprise me. It was a so so year but I have a feeling that ice fishing could be excellent this year. At 39 degrees in cove my prediction of ice by mid November may be right on.

Finally I decided to model a favorite hat of mine, the Stormy Kromer. I sort of collect hats and this is my favorite cold weather hat. Previous post of me ice fishing will almost always feature this hat. So what is a Stormy Kromer? Well Stormy was a ball player in the early 1900's before he became a railroad engineer. Apparently he would wear his baseball hat while running the locomotive and it would often blow off his head by wind gusts through the cab. He became frustrated with this so he asked his wife, a pretty good seamstress, to modify his hat so it would stay on. The idea worked so good that it became a legend. You can tell a Stormy Kromer by the string tie in the front. Although most people think that the pull down flaps are for your ears, the real reason is to give extra grip to your head. It really works well and for a hat, it's pretty warm. They are still made in the good old USA in Ironwood Michigan. You can check out their website at . And of course, my friends state that I look good in a it covers up more of my face! Off to make more cider this weekend (we made over 17 gallons last Sunday) and I really do need to get my deer stand up.

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