Thursday, September 1, 2011

Back to Mille Lacs

With the promise of getting back fishing on Mille Lacs each week I finally got the opportunity to go on Sunday.  The guy that has been helping me the last month or so had a special request, one I could hardly turn down.  Lory's father-in-law, John Mindermann of New York Mills was coming by on Sunday and he asked me if I would take him fishing.  With the wind forecast for Mille Lacs being calm, it would be a perfect place to try lead line trolling as there has been a few fish going on this technique.  Mille Lacs Windcast is the site I go for the wind forecast as it is a great way to plan your trip, where to launch, and how uncomfortable you are going to be.  Having not been in the Ranger for at least 6 weeks I decided that she needed a good cleaning.  Just having completed my new HDS installs and the 2 month old fish slime still on the carpet I decided a trip to car wash was in line.  The nice thing about today's self serve car washes is the pressure generated is not as high as they once were, and is perfect for getting the carpets clean.  The problem is there is a lot of water left to drain out and it was still somewhat wet and fish smelling by the time we left.  Of course it is a boat!  After loading up on refreshments and launching the boat we headed to a deep gravel bar a few miles out.  With three in the boat the strategy was to run 2 lead line rods with #5 Shad Raps plus a side planer board with a #11 Tail Dancer 150 feet back from the board.  My bets were on the #5 Shad Raps doing all the hard work however that was not the case.  The first hit came off the planer board as the Tattle Tail flag was completely down.  Handing the pole to John he reeled in to the line attached planer board, I removed it and let him fight the fish.  At first he claimed it didn't feel like a fish but as the end got closer to the boat it was obvious this was not the case!  2 minutes later we landed a nice 23 inch walleye.   As we trolled around the gravel bar the HDS marked individual fish, schools of fish, large swarms of bait fish, fish here, fish there, fish everywhere.  Obviously the fish were there but not very hungry.  After 2 hours of trolling we moved to the next gravel bar 5 miles out.  Although we marked another mother load of fish the only fish we got was on the planer board again, this time a nice 25 inch walleye that we gave to John.   Here is a picture of John with that walleye.   We did get a keeper walleye on a lead lined Rouge as well when we pulled in our lines to move we had a couple of small perch that didn't even register as a hit.  Finishing the day we trolled Indian Point with Shad Raps and hooked a nice smallmouth for John to reel in.

Last night I went to the Minnesota State Fair with a few goals in mind.  I have a great and a not so great pear tree in my orchard but for the life of me, I forgot which tree was which.   I originally purchased a Parker Pear and a Patton Pear variety.  I grabbed my best and largest pear and brought it with with the plan to talk to the University Horticulture Department.  Well after being passed around everyone exclaimed it was a beautiful pear but didn't know the type.  Frustrated I went by the fruit judging area and voila, there were a few trays of pears that looked exactly like what I had in my hand, a Patton Pear.  That only took me 15 years to figure out!  Next was a visit to the John Deere display to discuss which snow blower attachment to buy.  Getting that out of the way it was back to the Horticultural building for a little Minnesota made wine.  Although Minnesota is not the best place in the world to grow wine grapes, the local vineyards do a pretty good job with the fruits that are available.  For $10 you can get a sample of 3 different types so we had a semi sweet raspberry, a local made dry red wine, and a lighter red similar to a Pinot Noir.   They were all pretty delicious, enough to buy a bottle or two next time I have the chance.  Next stop was the DNR building.  They have a huge outdoor cement pond full of fish from huge sturgeon, muskellunge, northern pike, buffalo fish, gar, trout, and almost every species found in Minnesota.  As a fisherman and amateur naturalist it was fun to stand next to people and hear them try to identify the different fish swimming by.  It's a fabulous display and I could stand there for hours if time allotted.  Taking a tour through the main building I ran across a young intern manning evasive species booth.  This is a pet peeve of mine and although I understand at the high level the laws, I liken driving away from the boat landing with my drain plug still in and getting a ticket is like giving me a speeding ticket before I even get in the car.  Although I have never got a ticket for any of this I like to argue on principle.   While there I had my friend Tom take a special picture for my friend Dewey Ness.  He loves these kinds of pictures so me looking like a Forest Ranger was the perfect gift for him!  Labor Day weekend is here and I have a motorcycle trip planned with my brother with the potential of getting out on the water on Monday, either the River or Mille Lacs again.  Fall is in the air as the Sunday night forecast is supposed to be in the low 40's. 


Duane said...

OMG!!! Maybe I could get an 8 x 10 in the next month or so?? I need to sight in my 30.06! UFFDA!!

Dave Anderson said...

Sorry, I could not help myself!

Laura said...

looking forward to my patten tree getting big enough to put out pears then!