Thursday, October 27, 2011

Indian Summer

Here in the Upper Midwest we often experience a nice warm spell after we have had a killing frost.  This fabulous weather is known as Indian Summer and can be some of the nicest of the year.  This is also the last push for the fish to fatten up for the long winter ahead, with the spawning season just after ice out.  Some of the walleyes I have been catching have already started developing eggs.  Although I have tons of stuff to do before the snow files, the temptation to take advantage of the Indian Summer day that last Saturday turned out to be was too much.  I decided to meet my friend Jack at his cabin on Platte Lake and check out our new deer hunting land for this year.  Just south of our old spot on Rich's land, the 80 acres proved to be significantly less wet as it was getting tough tromping through a 1/4 mile of swamp in the dark, with your hip boots, never sure that the next step wasn't going to fill those boots.   The new land is about 70% fields with the rest a mixture of popple, oak, and some minor muskegs.  It looks pretty good as we scouted the best spots, met the neighbors, and walked the parameter.  Once that was done our plan was to head to Mille Lacs to take advantage of the late afternoon perch bite mixed with some shallow water reef trolling just as the sun would disappear from view.   Jack's 7 year old son Ben wanted to go with and figuring I wasn't going to stay out late, it would be fun.  We picked up a bag of crappie minnows at the bait shop before heading to the lake and took off.   Once on the lake we headed for a relatively shallow bay to fish perch in 4 feet of water.  This time of year you can often catch your limit quite quickly with the bonus aspect of seeing the fish hit your lure, something I thought Ben would enjoy.  It was very surprising to watch Ben work his spinning rod and reel.  Most children start out with a spin cast outfit, something that is easier to handle and somewhat cheaper to replace if it happens to go overboard.  Not Ben!  From casting to setting the hook on the first perch of the day I was pretty impressed by this young man's fishing demeanor.   I remember catching sight of his bobber sailing out 60 feet or more thinking it was nice of Jack to help his son.  Looking back towards them, Jack was still baiting his hook while Ben was setting the bail on his reel.  He can only get better. 

Just as the sun set on the horizon we headed to Indian Point to troll shad raps for an hour or so.  Ben was a little chilled so just Jack and I put out rods.  About 15 minutes into the run something slammed my shad rap hard.  It felt like a very nice fish yet when I got it close to the boat it seemed to have shrunk by 8 inches or so and lost 4 pounds.  Ben wanted to net the fish so we gave him the net and he scooped up the walleye better than a lot of guys I have had in the boat.  Jack took a picture of me holding the "monster" 19 3/4" walleye and another of Ben working his net magic.  The return trip down the long reef produced another walleye for Jack.  With the temperature dropping, Ben was getting cold so we called it a day.  All told we had 8 nice perch and kept both walleyes.  It looks like this might be my last soft water trip for the old Ranger for the year.  This weekend will see Jack and I setting up our tree stands and doing some more  scouting of the land we are hunting on.  Deer season opens on Saturday, November 5th, hopefully the new location brings us luck.  Indian Summer is suppose to return next week, probably the last 60 degree day we will see until next March.


Duane said...

Good luck this weekend and be safe.
With all your free time, you ought to take up bow hunting...

Dave Anderson said...

Very funny!