Thursday, May 16, 2013

Iced Out!

May 12, Brindley's Harbor

As good as our intentions were, we could not change the situation at Leech Lake when we arrived at Brindley's Harbor for the 40th Annual Team Walleye fishing opener.  I guess in the back of our minds we figured that the bay we are on might be ice free by Sunday giving us some soft water to float a boat in.  No such luck.  After meeting at my place on Friday morning we headed north to Lundeens to pick up bait.  Normally our order would have been 3 gallons of spot tailed shiners and a gallon of fatheads, about $450 .  We left with only a gallon of fatheads as the shiners were not even available.  Leaving Bill's we headed north along the west side of the lake only to see that Mille Lacs was completely frozen over.  Not good, especially when we had 2 more hours of distance ahead of us. Turning off highway 200 heading to Brindley's we soon discovered that Leech was completely white.   Arriving at the resort only confirmed the situation, the harbor was froze shut, everyone but us had cancelled, and based on historical data it would probably be another 5 days before we would see open water.  Well............there were still important things to do.  One thing our group Team Walleye is proud of, we have never missed an opener.  With 40 years of history in our favor it just didn't seem right to think about redoing our traditional Minnesota Opener.  
Ryan standing on the ice
Other factors came into play such as changing 22 members schedules, something that was impossible.  The resort did not have significant room for the following week, and most important was our need to follow through with our friend Ron Edberg.  His daughter Jessica had planned to come down and spread his ashes into Leech Lake and join us in a celebration of his life exactly where Ron would have wanted to be this weekend.  Unfortunately for some like my friend's Kevin, John, and brothers Steve and Jon had come a long way from Wisconsin to simply see ice.  Making some quick decisions the Wisconsin guys stayed the night then headed out on Saturday.  The rest of us welcomed Jessica and turned our disappointment into a tribute to Ron.  I am sure he would have been proud of the group as we made the best of the situation.   On Saturday night we decided to have our traditional steak dinner and steak we had.  Adam Mayerich has earned his way to be a first class meat cutter at Cub stores and made sure we all had a 1 1/2" thick rib-eye, special cut for Team Walleye.  It was as good as it gets.  Later that night we set up the karaoke machine and let it rip.  Being the only ones at the resort, we  invited Tim and Greg (from Brindley's) over to celebrate the "still ice on the lake" opener.  It was nice as there no one to complain about our party!  Packing up on Sunday morning, we all headed back south knowing that it would probably be Wednesday before it opened up enough to get a boat out.  Tim and Greg worked a deal for us as they appreciated our loyalty as we did their's.   An opener to remember for sure.
My opening fish

So, it wasn't all bad news.  Adam and his friends discovered a crappie lake where one could fish right off the road.  With nothing else to do a few of us headed over to see what it was all about.  The water came right up to the road and if you set your bobber about 2 feet deep, a small jig and minnow did the trick.  I suppose we caught 20 crappies, some were decent sized in the 12 inch range.  Along with the crappies were a few average sunfish and a couple of smaller largemouth bass, like the one I am holding up here.  It just seemed like I needed to get a picture of me holding something I caught on opener regardless of size.  It was pretty cold out on Saturday as a substantial front came through accompanied by 40 mph winds.  Definitely cold enough to prompt one to wear a coat, at least we could fish down wind.   Leaving on Sunday Lory Brasel and I decided to take the scenic route home, east through Remer then south on Highway 6.  I was really surprised that some of the lakes still had substantial ice on them, especially with the wind as strong as it had been the day before.  Arriving at Mille Lacs, nothing seemed to have changed since Friday as it was still locked up.  With the shifting winds one would have thought there would be more open water.  It would take a few more days however I think that Leech was officially declared ice out on Wednesday the 15th and Mille Lacs will be out before today is over.  With rain in the forecast, family events to attend, work around the house to be caught up, it's going to be a stretch to get out fishing this weekend.  I am excited about checking out my new HDS 10 Gen 2 software upgrade as there is a number of improvements they have made to the system.  In addition to that, I still haven't had a chance to try my new Merten tiller control.  If it's nice, maybe I'll sneak out on Saturday for a while.  Of course, with gas hitting $4.20/gallon these days, maybe I'll be doing more river fishing this year!


Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

Making lemonade out of lemons. You'll be referencing this opener the rest of your life.


Dave Anderson said...

Well, in the end all you have are stories!