Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Winter's Back

Today I woke up to the grim reminder that even though we have officially passed the Spring Equinox, winter still rears it's ugly head and has it's option of returning for another 30 days.  With 7 inches on the ground and a low temperature of 0 predicted for the morning, the wonderful weather I experienced in Texas is simply a fond memory!  We are entering the time of year I call no man's land.  The ice will be on the lakes till at least the 3rd week in April, yet too unstable to ice fish unless you go 300 miles north.  It usually takes a few weeks for the water to warm up but I am guessing it will be May before the boat will come out.  Along with the snow we got a pretty good rain, totally around 2.5 inches of total precipitation.  Of course this has raised the latest media hype regarding the flood warnings around Minnesota.  I don't recall it being at this level however based on the snow and rain, it doesn't look good.  Roads are closing and unfortunately a state road worker was killed when his excavator was trying to clear an ice dam when the water's current sweep his machine into the raging flood.  My good friend Kevin sent me an e-mail today with the current Mississippi River conditions at Alma, Wisconsin.  Fishing below the dam, he caught a real nice 28 inch walleye (Kevin, you need to take pictures!).  Kevin reports that the river flow is over 3 times the normal rate for this time of year and the fishing below the dam is pretty well over until the levels crest then settle down.  It's seems pretty early for these levels as I recall the middle of April was usually the peak of the high water.  As I have comment in a past post when I was young and living back home in Eleva, this would be about the time Kevin and I would start sucker fishing the Buffalo River.  It was an annual event that seems as though it was only yesterday we were fishing places like Bud's, the Culvert, Trix's, and Carp Sough.  A gob of worms and we were in sucker heaven!

Last week we did get a hint of things to come with a few days hitting the mid 50's, it temporarily melted a lot of our snow.  One of the things I have been working on has been my winter motorcycle project.  Last spring I bought a Honda 600 Shadow and after 3 months sold it for a Victory Kingpin.  A larger bike, I have been spending some time upgrading the looks and comfort by changing out the rear license plate holder, changing out the seat, adding a luggage rack and switching a few items with chrome versions.  Having put the bike back together it was nice enough Saturday to go for the first ride of the year.  I decided to check out the "flood stage" of the Crow River and put 45 miles on before discovering there was little evidence of what was to come but never the less it was a great excuse to get out.  My ride occurred between spending most of the day trimming my fruit trees.  March is the perfect time for this activity and I will elaborate on this later.  All I know is I must have cut at least a million branches!  The highlight of the day was seeing a flock of 35 Sandhill Cranes flying overhead.  Normally we see them in small groups seldom over 6 birds so this was a quite the sight.

Sunday proved to be somewhat cooler, a perfect excuse to ice fish for what might be the last time of the year.  Although the ice is still plenty thick the warm weather had deteriorated the access points enough to prevent one from driving onto the lake.  Loading up my auger, tackle, Vexilar, and bait into a pull sled, I headed for the north end of Pelican Lake where a short 1/4 mile walk put you on fishable waters.  The first thing I noticed were most of the holes were wide open.  Water form the snow melt tends to drain into these holes and keeps them open.  Walking from hole to hole I spent the first hour trying to figure out where the fish were.  After about an hour and 30 holes fished, I finally hit upon a couple of fish and parked myself in 10 feet of water.  Catching a fair amount of fish I only ended up with 1 nice crappie and 1 nice sunny as the rest were pretty small.  The weather made the area around the lake extremely foggy yet the geese and swans were making their presence well known.  With no wind, it was a very peaceful afternoon.  With temperatures falling for the next couple of days, I might be able to sneak out on more time, maybe looking for those Jumbo Perch on Mille Lacs that have eluded me the last few years.


Anonymous said...

With all this new snow I really doubt that Rainy River will be fishable this year. One way or another the window will be real small but I'm keeping my fingers crossed to get up there once again.

By the way....nice ride!

AK Keith

Jeff King said...

That bike is flat sexy. When we were at the Grand Canyon we spotted the coolest bike. It had an integrated fairing set-up and metal flake paint and all the bells and whistles...I told MP if I were into bikes thats what I'd was a Victory.

Dave Anderson said...


One of my goals would be to ride it up and fish with you. We'll see how far that goes!