Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Back To Reality

Last weekend was spent repainting my family room.  It was about time as it's been the same color for 19 years and provided the incentive to look at replacing the carpet as well.  This and the fact that my Green Bay Packers were playing on Sunday afternoon gave me cause to finish up a few things around the house and relax during the game.  I can report that the room turned out great and is ready for a new carpet.  I cannot say that the game on Sunday turned out as well.  Although my beloved Packers finished the season at 15-1, they looked like a team that hadn't played in a few weeks.  Between the miss tackles and passes it was almost embarrassing.  Oh well, the good news is that it will free up the next 2 Sunday's to hit the ice hard.  With the below zero temperatures of this week it will be makin' ice like crazy.  I am really looking forward to those open water areas on Mille Lacs to heal up so we can fish the deeper offshore areas.  The fishing reports have been spotty with some guys doing well while others struggling.  Of course a number of my friends have been getting out and the first picture is of my deer hunting partner, Jack Taylor.  Jack has a cabin on Platte Lake, just west of Mille Lacs, a shallow lake full of small northerns, and occasional walleye, and some really nice crappies.  Here Jack is posing with a couple of crappies over 11 inches that he caught a few weeks ago.    Platte Lake is shallow enough to be in danger of freezing out every few years so the lake association has put in a few aerators when the oxygen levels get low.  Nice crappies like this are the result of successfully preventing the lake from having depleted oxygen levels when the snow blocks the light to the natural weed growth.  With the total lack of snow this year, they might not even need to install the aerators this year.

This next picture is my friend Pete, back from Alaska for a month.  Pete is good friends with Dave Genz of ice fishing fame and they wasted no time getting in some great ice fishing before Pete heads back to Fairbanks to start work this week.  Having drove to Alaska last March, he got assigned to the oil fields in Prudhoe Bay where it is now dark 24 hours a day.   Working 6 weeks on and 2 weeks off, there is little time to spend money and his intent is to work another year then come back and retire.  He is the master of the Mississippi River and I look forward to fishing with him in the future.  Here Pete is holding 2 bull bluegills that measure right at 11 inches.  Those are huge bluegills for anywhere in the country.  Of course fishing with Dave doesn't hurt as he is one of the best pan-fisherman on ice around and has all those great secret spots to nail fish like this.  Dave also has the latest and greatest equipment as he is sponsored by Vexilar, Clam Corp, Strikemaster, and a number of other ice fishing specialty companies.   Pete is driving back via the Alaskan Highway and I wish him safe travels, he'll need it this time of year.
The warm weather has made this years ice fishing season some what odd as I am already seeing some stores start closing out their inventory in preparation for open water fishing.  This will take a month or so but the change is happening.  The warm weather has given me an opportunity to work on my boat, cleaning up a few of the wiring items, and rethink how my electronics are mounted.   Certainly it's better than staring at my snowmobiles that just sit there and complain of no snow.  We are truly in a drought as there has been no significant rain or snowfall since August, almost 6 months now.  I knew when I bought that new snow blower we'd skip a year of snow.  You are welcome!  As stated, the Pack is out, Mille Lacs is in and I will make sure I have a ready camera next time.