Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ok, One More Time

Last 23" walleye for the 2012 Mille Lacs season

At the last minute Mark Applen asked if I was interested in joining him to fish the Mille Lacs Perch Extravaganza at Hunters Point on Saturday, fishing Saturday night and heading home on Sunday morning.  As things worked out I took him up on the offer deciding to drive up on Saturday afternoon and fish the evening and morning bite.  What the heck, I really enjoy fishing with Mark in his wheel house, and his deer hunting friends Russ, Randy, Roger, Scott, Mike and Judy.  The Mille Lacs Perch Extravaganza is one of the largest ice fishing tournaments on the lake.  Focused specifically on perch, the winner is usually a nice 14.5 inch fish, weighing at least 1.5 pounds.  With the current perch situation on Mille Lacs, it was going to be a tough contest to win.  Driving up on Saturday afternoon I decided to meet up with Mark after the tourney was done, 4:00 would be about right.  Wrong!!!  By the time I arrived at Hunter's Point the line up of cars force me to sit for over an hour to finally get on the ice.  In the meantime I had been trying to call Mark to get his exact location of where he parked his wheel house so I could meet him.  
Big walleye in Isle

Luckily Mike called as I just got on the ice, they were at The Whitecap Inn.  Nice, I crossed the bridge at Hunter's and headed across the ice to meet them.  After having a brandy we headed back to their village they had set up, and settled in for some homemade chili, Farkle, and a lively political discussion.  I figured I was about 6 hours behind in the beer department as everyone was in bed by 9:30 but me!  Fishing till 11:30, I marked a few fish but could not get them to hit so I set the rattle wheels and hit the sack.  An hour later I was awaken by that familiar sound of the rattles going off.  Being in the bottom bunk I got up as the reel was definitely peeling line off.  A quick jerk and I pulled in this nice 23 inch walleye, the last of the season.  Mark had gotten up so I had him snap a picture from the top bunk, a great view from his perspective.  The rest of the night was uneventful as was the morning.  At least I caught something. We packed up, pulled his wheel house to his friend Russ's place and parted ways.   Bill had asked if he could use my equipment for a large group guide trip this week so I headed across the south end of the lake, passing through the town of Isle.  Minnesota is famous for it large statues depicting the importance of a certain theme for an area.  In Isle as in Garrison they have this huge fiberglass walleye by the visitor's center. 

Loren's skid loader
 Thinking about driving home, grabbing my crappie equipment and trying a nearby lake I decided to see if my friend Jack and his son Ben were at there cabin, 15 miles from Mille Lacs.  To my surprise his wife Janet answered......yes, they are out on the lake, come on over.  Arriving 20 minutes later Ben became my chauffeur as he picked me up with the snowmobile and brought me out to their ice house.  Deciding to try for the large crappies on the lake Jack drilled a few holes for me.  The first hole had fish and one hit my waxie with vengeance but I missed it. The rest of the day was no better as I fished for a few hours with nothing more than marks on my Vexilar.  Ben tried his best to help me but like every other day this year, it wasn't in the cards.  At midnight on March 4th all fish houses south of US Highway 2 have to be off the lake.  Because Jack would not have time to get up next week we decided to pull his shack back to the cabin.  With 2 foot drifts covering the lake and the only road available was the guy down the lake, we had no choice but to use it.  Along with Jack's house was his neighbor Dan's house, Chad Tomala's house, and a few other neighbors.  After getting Jacks house loosened from the ice we bought my pickup truck out to pull it off.  Hooking it up we got about 25 yards before a drift stopped us in our tracks.  At the same time Loren and Chad Tomala were heading to their shack, right next to Jack's when his truck got stuck.  While we were digging our way out Loren went back to get his little skid loader to clear a path.  A master at operating, I told him he must have been a drummer in his past life as you need to use both feet and arms to be proficient in moving snow.  Getting all of the houses off the lake became much easier and for Jack and his great neighbors it was good to get the end of the season done with.  For me, I just enjoyed the exercise and of course Jack's friends at the lake are super!

With the weather warming up and my desire to at least get one limit of crappies, this is my goal for the next couple of weeks.  The daily temperatures are now in the low 30's and you'd be surprised how fast 30 inches of ice can disappear.  Wednesday was the last day to comment on the Mille Lacs situation and I will post my letter to the DNR later.


Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

Do you sleep with your Stormy Kromer hat on? Classic.


Dave Anderson said...

I'm laughing pretty good as I had to crop out my BVD's yet I did put on my hat for the picture!

Duane said...

Thank god for small favors......