Thursday, February 7, 2013

Superbowl Weekend, Winter's Half Over

 Mark's feisty northern
With my neighbor Tim's annual Superbowl Party on Sunday along with snow predicted, I decided to head out on Saturday to retry Pelican Lake near my home.  My last trip was somewhat uneventful although I did catch a meal of sunfish that my buddy Kevin calls Hatta's...........Hatta keep'em, Hatta throw them back.  This time I decided to fish the east basin which has the largest expanse of 12 foot water and is seldom fished.   While plowing snow Saturday morning with my tractor, my friend Mark Applen drove up to check out what was going on and 5 minutes later he agreed to tag along to see if we could get some crappies.  Hoping the afternoon would warm up somewhat, we took our shelters while thinking maybe could get by without them.  A quick stop at the hardware store in St. Michael and we were off to the east side of the lake driving on where the lake meets the road.  With the ice over 22 inches thick we could drive wherever we wanted.  A tip from the guy who gave us the minnows gave us our starting point along the south shoreline in 12 feet of water.  I drilled about 10 holes, 30 feet apart, in a straight line towards shore with the last hole in 8 feet.  This is a great strategy to try different depths to determine where the fish might be.  Mark caught this 2 foot northern and other than a 4 inch sunfish I caught, that was about it for our first spot.  I did mark a few on my Vexilar but nothing that would cooperate.  Suggesting a move, we headed west towards a group of houses before veering towards a spot that looked promising.  Fishing till dark we only caught 3 crappies that would have been better served as bait for a tipup.  I suspect that with the water as cloudy as it is this year, the weedline might be less than 10 feet causing the fish to be shallower than in the past years.  Because it's so close and there have been a few good reports, it might just be a matter of time.

Hunting for mice
While heading to my pole shed to get the tractor ready for plowing there was a beautiful red fox hunting mice in the field behind the house.  He must have been hungry as I was simply a minor distraction for him.  It was fun to watch as the fox would listen, watch, then finally take a leap with all fours off the ground coming down on dinner.  He did get a mouse before deciding that having someone watch him hunt was a violation of his privacy.  Heading towards the neighbors, I snapped this picture as he started his trot east.  His coat was thick and full and looked good.   It's pretty neat to have them around although they do have a fairly strong odor that I could sense from my car.   The other advantage is they tend to keep the population of rabbits in check as they were getting way out of hand.   Checking my previous posts on my fox sightings they seem to start around the first week in February as I have made mention a couple of my sighting in both 2010 and 2011.  I wonder if this is the same guy?  Along with coyotes, deer, raccoons, and muskrats, the back yard is pretty tame as I don't have to deal with 1000 pound brown bears as my friends in Alaska do!

With a Saturday temperature predicted to be 35 and my neighbor Pete hinting he'd like to get out, I think we're going to try a couple of lakes I haven't fished in a while, maybe Lake John, west of Annandale, MN.  In the late 1980's my friends Mark and Jack Taylor had a crude ice house on Lake John.  We did pretty well however late in the year the heavy snows had caused water to flood the floor with a depth of 4 inches.  Having to remove off the ice by February 28th we filled the inside with rock salt.  The following week the water had disappear yet it was still frozen into the lake.  A guy came by offering the solution to our problems and after following his instructions to go into town and buy a box of 30-06 shells, he proceeded to shoot the whole box of bullets through the floor and into the ice.  The theory was that the slugs would hit the ice and fracture it enough to loosen the lake's grip on the bottom of our ice shack.  I thought the guy was crazy but what the heck.  It didn't work and we were left with simply tearing it apart for firewood, never to see the ice again.  Although a pain, it was fun fishing in our own special castle.

1 comment:

Duane said...

I used to fish Mink Lake which is (was) attached to Buffalo lake by a channel. Only fished it in the summer but used to do quite well on crappies. Ever try it?