Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What The Heck

Chamberlain Narrows just a sunrise.
It's been a strange fishing season to say the least.   Starting in May our annual Leech Lake Fishing Opener was essentially cancelled because the lake was still frozen over.  Taking a few weeks for Lake Mille Lacs to start firing up, I returned to Canada in June for the first time in almost 40 years for 4 days of non-stop fishing.  Back to Mille Lacs, the fishing remained good up to my trip to Lake Oahe for 4 days.  By the time I returned the bite slowed significantly.  Most of August and September was either on the river and cumulated with a 5 day trip to Lac Seul.  Leaving at 6:00 in the morning, I took this memorable picture of the Chamberlain Narrows looking north as the sun was about to rise.  I love the way the fog rises from the water as the air temperatures was about 28 and the water temp was still in the high 50's.  Usually fishing once a week from Minnesota Opener to the middle of October, this year has seen as many trips yet 11 of those days were concentrated in 3 separate trips with the time in between filled with other activities.  All I can say is thank God for those 3 trips!  I am almost embarrassed to say that the last time the Ranger has been in the water was August 7th.   For me that's pretty bad yet looking back I do have a pretty good excuse however my Suzuki is getting pretty lonely.  So, am I feeling guilty........after all this is called "Fishin' With Dave", admittedly yes it's been a year of highs and lows.  Yet with Mille Lacs fishing collapsing on itself and the destinations I have experienced this year being exceptional, I'm not complaining.  The next few weeks don't look any better with a Chicago trip planned and a few family weekend events, I am hoping to try the fall trolling bite on Mille Lacs at least a couple of times before deer hunting.  With the water temps still in the 60's, I got a feeling it will be prefect in a week or so.

Jeff King
The moon must be lined up just right for October as my two great friends that I have made over the years from Alaska have contacted me.  The first is Jeff King, Kenai River Guide extraordinaire and owner of Jeff King's Budget Charters originally from Montana, his son Max lives in Minneapolis so Jeff and his wife MP are planning on visiting him this weekend.  I am really hoping to get together with them on Monday, just before I head out to Chicago.  We did get to see Jeff last year during our Alaskan trip but with both of us being busy, sometimes it's just hard to coordinate times.  Let's hope this weekend will be different.  As a side note, if you look down on the left side of this blog under "My Blog List" you will see Mile 14,  a great reflection of Jeff's salmon on the Kenai in the summer, fishing rooster fish in Mexico in the winter.  One of these days maybe I can meet him in Mazatlan, we'll see.  The other event is the return of Keith Holtan, the guide Jeff had us with in 2002, fishing silvers.  Now with his own place called Beaver Creek Cabins just off the Kenai,  Keith spends his winters north of Brainerd and we are going to try and hook up for a evening of trolling on Mille Lacs.  Whether I can deliver on the big walleyes will be one thing yet I'm thinking it would be worth it to take a day off from work and see if I can reverse rolls and guide the guide!  An interesting note, last week I reported my trip to Lac Seul and Keith had the opportunity to fish there a few years ago.  He asked me to say hi to Ken, the outpost owner, I mentioned it and Ken replied..........oh yes, the guy with the Alaskan Salmon.  Obviously he made the right impression.  One meets a lot of people in their lives and both hold a special place for me.  I look forward to seeing both in the same month and I don't even have to travel 2500 miles to arrange it!

Keith and Jane Holtan
Fall is running a few weeks behind and the good news is it's finally raining.  So far in September I have made at least 27 quarts of Salsa from my home grown tomatoes, peppers, and onions.  Having finally figured out that last years salsa was pretty good (of course to my standards) the 2013 vintage is living up to the expectations.  Potatoes are still in the ground and my apple crop is simply fabulous.  Saturday I harvested the apples off my Macintosh tree with 4 bushels of fabulous tasting apples and 2 bushels being almost perfect, no blems and huge.  The spring fertilization, thinning of the apples after blossom drop, and a pretty good spraying routine, I'm pretty impressed.   With the Wolf River's apples  hanging to the ground, my Honeygolds are breaking branches on the trees, the Haralson's are exquisite, the Firesides getting larger every day, it's a great year for apples.  With my new cider press, we should be awash in fresh apple cider for quite some time.  I like to blend the apples, just like the big boys, and it really turns out good.   With a record crop, my neighbor Lory and I have already made plans for our next batch of apple wine with the hope of doing better at the 2014 Minnesota State Fair wine competition.  I don't know about you but it sure seems like time just flies by these days.

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