Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Fantastic Weekend

Saturday turned out to be one of those days where the stars must have been aligned just perfectly.  After shoveling snow again (the last 30 out of 40 days) I stopped by my neighbor Tom Olson to see if he was interested in heading out to fish Pelican Lake in the afternoon.  After finishing up the endless snow removal and filling all the bird feeders, I hooked up the trailer, loaded everything up and stopped by Tom's to pick him up.  Next stop was Cabela's to pick up some bait and check to see if they received in any more of there special 6 inch fillet knives, a heck of a bargain at $9.99.  Well, they did have the knives but no waxies.  A quick stop at the hardware store in St. Michael and we were ready.  I have described Pelican Lake as a prolific shallow lake about 15 miles west of my house.  The last few years have been fantastic, even as the fishing pressure seems excessive.  After the water had risen more than 6 feet, it has transformed from a rather worthless duck swamp to a popular fishing lake.  The DNR is still planning on draining it, Lord knows why.  I guess creating duck habitat for the few if any ducks that fly this far east anymore is more important than the thousands of people that enjoy this unique fishing destination.  With the lake in sight, it was the typical scenario, there must have been over 500 shacks on the lake.  These shacks seem to form little communities on the lake and I am not sure if they are really catching fish or just having fun.  I guess it probably doesn't really make that much difference.

My strategy is always the same.  Because the lake is no deeper than 12 feet, I find an area in the middle of nowhere and drill my holes.  Today would be no different, yep 10 foot of water and a hundred yards from anyone.   Although I have fished with crappie minnows, like back home, I prefer waxies.  Crappies, especially larger ones can be extremely lite biters.  The key is to keep your bait moving slowly down from about 3 feet from the bottom.  The fish will simply inhale the bait and the only indication will be the line going limp as tension is taken off.  Time is of the essence as they will spit it out just as fast.  I think too many people in Minnesota ice fish crappies with a minnow and bobber combination.  Although I am sure they catch their share of fish, I cannot believe it's as effective as waxies and line watching.   Proof is the nice 12 incher Tom is holding in the first picture.  Using 3 pound fluorescent orange line, he can easily work his bait and detect the slightest change in the feel.   On the lake by 2:30 and off by 5:30 we ended up with a couple more added to this nice pile of sunfish and crappies, all larger than hate 2 status (hate 2 keep em, hate 2 throw them back).   By 7:00 all the fish were cleaned and I was ready for the next event of the day.

The other reason to fish a local lake was to make sure I didn't miss the much anticipated Green Bay Packer vs the Atlanta Falcon game.  Being a bonafide Cheesehead, I proudly fly the Green and Gold on my flag pole, just under the Stars and Stripes.  Although my neighbor Tim and his family hates the Pack, he has a huge projected screen television, perfect for watching football.  With my neighbor Otto (another closet Cheesehead) we convinced him that Otto and I could turn his boring night into something a little more exciting.  Bringing over the Walter's Beer from last week, we settled into what would be a totally unexpected outcome, a blow out by the Pack.  Of course we knew the Packers could win however it was pleasantly shocking to see the final score go from being 3 point underdogs to a 27 point differential.  My friend Phil was at the game and the tee shirt I sent was a big hit.  It was amazing to see how empty the stadium was during the last half of the game.  By the 2 minute warning it was evident the only people left were the Packer fans.  You'd never see that at Lambeau, I don't care how bad the Pack were losing or who the opposing team was.  Everyone is talking Super Bowl and it's easy to jump on that band wagon as Aaron Rodgers is proving to be everything Brett Favre isn't, yet we still need to get by Da Bears.  Here's hoping you have sound as you will find a special song in celebration.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed as Sunday's schedule will certainly effect my fishing plans for this weekend!


Anonymous said...

Ever use a spring bobber for panfish?
I just started a few years ago and I can't believe all the fish I was missing.

I get real tired of the bandwagon Packer fans in MN. If they can tell me who Lindy Iafante is then I'll listen to what they have to say.

AK Keith

p.s. Thanks for Liffey lessons!

Dave Anderson said...



Nice to see you again, as always. Both you and your wife look fabulous. Yeah, the Liffy is a great place and it truly is the same as a typical pub in Ireland. I did take the smoked salmon over to the neighbors for the game. Mistake, as I had to quickly scarf it up before they beat it out of me! Did make 3 batches of the salsa mix I bought. Good stuff! We should meet at Mille Lacs soon, I will e-mail you later.

Anonymous said...


for those crappies I use a small jig and a big sinker on the bottom. that way if one of those soft tissued crappies try to bite my jig I just jerk up fast and knock that darn fish right off my bait.

hee hee kea

NeenahPete said...

The stories I've read today were several versions of the same theme: As impossible as it seems could ever happen, Aaron Rodgers, in a few short years has made Brett Favre an afterthought. Now it's an amazing NFC championship game between the NFL's oldest rivals. It doesn't get any beter than that! Go Pack!

NeenahPete said...

I need to proofread before I hit the publish your comment key! Meant to say "It doesn't get any better than that! Go Pack!"

NeenahPete said...

Oh, and thanks for the new choice of music. Let's hope that song of celebration stays on top of your playlist through the Superbowl :)

Dave Anderson said...


You can be assured of that!