Thursday, March 22, 2012

April Showers Bring May.....Oops, Make That March

So, the nice weather continues.  For the last 10 days we have had daily temperatures above 60 as the ice has all but disappeared on most of the lakes south of Brainerd, MN.   Amazingly everything is about 4 weeks early as the week of rain has transformed my brown yard into a carpet of green. I was able to prune up all but 3 of my apple and 1 pear tree, which I will have done this weekend.  This is usually a transition period where it often takes 4 to 5 weeks for the ice to clear.  My friend Mark Mayerich had his annual Lake of the Woods ice fishing trip cancel, which is extremely unusual for this time of year.  Apparently the ice has deteriorated much quicker than normal with decisions to shut down made within a few days after the onset of this weather.  I have been on this trip many times with Mark as it is usually around St. Patrick's Day.  Having stayed at both Arnesen's Rocky Reef Resort and Morris Point Resort, I can tell you that this time of the year can be very cold as well.  In 1997 we stayed at Morris Point on the southeast side of the lake.  We woke up to -10F a couple of mornings but the fishing was great.  More often than not you need an extension on your ice auger as the ice thickness is greater than you auger length, which is usually 42 inches.  I have a 12 inch extension and have needed it for most of my trips to Lake of the Woods.  The trip in 1997 was memorable in 2 ways, first the Hale-Bopp comet was clearly visible in the night sky.  I had brought my good 35mm camera and a tripod, set it up and using a 30 second exposure, the resulting picture was incredible (for an amateur).  One day I will have to see if I can find them.  The second experience was meeting a FBI agent in the lodge after a hard day's fishing.  He was from Washington DC, had never been to LOTW, and was very interesting to talk with.  Much so that after a while he offered to buy us a drink...........EJ (brandy) and Charge was our request.  He took one look at us and with a big smile said "Ah, you boys drink Easy Jesus huh!"  It was pretty funny as we had a great time.  Anyway, with the ice fishing done my friend Ryan Sterle decided to keep the cabin reservations and fish the Rainy River.  Wednesday night he sent me this picture of a 60 inch sturgeon he had caught later in the day.  Ryan is a Team Walleye member and is an avid fisherman as well as a good friend.

Everything looks like it's about 4 weeks ahead of schedule.  This could bode well for opener as the fish might be well into their post spawn period and the big females may be on the bite.  To give you an idea of how early things are here is a picture of the lilacs in my yard.  Normally they do not even start to bloom until the third week in April.  Unfortunately these early springs can mean a late season killing frosts as everything tends to even itself out.  2 y
ears ago a hard mid May frost essentially wiped out my entire apple crop as it froze all of the blossoms before they had a chance to develop.  It did result in less work for the summer, however!   Driving by Mille Lacs yesterday it was interesting the temperature change by the lake.  When I left Brainerd the outside temperature was 63 and overcast.  As I approached the lake the temperature dropped to 43 degrees as a mild east wind blew over the ice creating a layer of fog and the need for a jacket.  Reports that the ice was out almost a mile was not evident as I suspect the wind had shifted it to the west shore.  Not enough to pile the ice on the shore, I am sure it's only a matter of time before the wind will create some late ice havoc.  Either way I predict ice out on Mille Lacs will occur within the next 2 weeks as this picture shows it's breaking up fast.   Mille Lacs average ice out date is April 24, the earliest was April 2nd in 2000, and the latest was May 7th, 1965 (modern records).  I think it has a chance to beat the old record by a day or 2 as it is still forecasted to be in the upper 60's this weekend with the mild weather continuing in the foreseeable future. 

This weekend is my great aunt Florence's(Grandma Myrt's Sister) 100th birthday celebration.  She's still quite the gal at 100 and I just hope those good Fagerland genes were passed down to me!  I got my jon boat all fixed up moving the battery to the front, I have re-situated my pole shed and have put the Ranger in it's rightful place, ready to hook up.  It seems as though I should find sometime to get out and take advantage of this nice weather.


Duane said...

Hale-Bopp eh? You know, if you had got yourself a pair of Nikes and one of those neat purple blankets you could have beamed yourself up!ooces

Duane said...

That should be "up"

Dave Anderson said...


I actually did get beemed up but I stunk so bad with walleye slim they sent me right back down!