Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Mille Lacs Ice, as far as one can see!
Another Thanksgiving is upon us, this year arrived much quicker than the last one.  I guess having spent a Saturday afternoon in the emergency room give one a lot of time to think about the things that we are thankful for.  Good health is right on the top of that list!  It's been interesting since the neurologist gave me a clean bill of health with the simple suggestion to take a full aspirin each day, my bouts of short lived dizziness have all but disappeared.  Lasting between 10 seconds and a minute, it was a common once a day occurrence but now it's been over a week.  Maybe it's just all in my head!  The other thing to be thankful for is early ice.  Every year we are subjected to different conditions, the earliest I have been safely ice fishing was November 17th while in the late 1990's we were still fishing from the boat on Mille Lacs, all the way to December 6th.  I still remember how we hammered the walleyes on the north end of the lake fishing the sand drop off with nightcrawlers, quite the experience.  On Saturday my wife and I drove to the Onamia VFW to help celebrate a friends 50th wedding anniversary and spend time with our friends Bill and Kathy.  On the way home, just past Chico's Place the car thermometer hit -1 below zero and it's been cold every night since.  Even this morning I had 2 degrees above with one exception, the wind was calm.  With the last 4 days of big winds, even with the low temperatures the wave action delays the freeze, especially on a big body of water like Mille Lacs.  Well, last night she tightened up as the picture shows ice as far as one can see.  I have heard of 4 inches in the bays were the water has been calmer the last few days but fully expect that by Sunday there should be walkable ice on the pond.  The weekend plans are to head up to the deer hunting camp and remove my ladder stand.  With this cold weather the swamp will be frozen making it much easier to drive the ATV back into the woods to haul it out as it's quite heavy and bulky.  That should leave some room to hit a local lake on Sunday with the hopes of getting some panfish.  I have all the gear ready, it's just a matter of getting out.  I did buy a Thorne Brothers custom panfish rod at the Ice Fishing Expo a few weeks ago, coupled with the new Clam inline reel and 3# Sufix orange Ice Line it looks like it should work very well.  Hopefully I'll have a report early next week.

They just can't leave them alone!
So what's not to be thankful, well how about the assault on my trees by the local whitetail bucks needing to scratch their horns.  Our house is situated on 5 acres of land, just a lot off the Mississippi River.  Ever since the day we moved in the deer find the garden, the apples, and the trees are fair game in there quest to be deer.  Over the years I have lost a number of trees to these antler rubs, enough to think that I would know better than to leave the bark uncovered.  The problem seemed to go away during the last few years so one forgets.  Hopefully this tree will make it as the scrape is only on one side and does not encircle the entire tree.  Either way it will show some damage and maybe 10 years from now that damage will have weakened it enough to blow down in a good storm.  Wherever the outcome, I'd still would have liked to see the deer that did this and maybe need to find my trail cam and take some pictures.  When I first moved in we saw big bucks all the time however they seem to be more nocturnal these days.  With the ground frozen and a wetter than normal fall, the garden cleanup will just have to wait till spring.  Most of the leaves are finally off the tree yet it's too cold to chop them up with the mower, that will have to wait for spring as well.  I finally removed the mower deck from the John Deere and installed my snow blower, hopefully we won't have to use it for a while.  The chains and back blade are on the Ferguson as that's ready to go for the winter season.  With a few odds and ends to wrap up, I think we are set for the winter.  I'd still like to make some vension sausage with the trimmings from the early November deer hunting success, maybe a good snowstorm project.  I am also planning on trying to fish more with my friend Kevin and brother Steve.  They seem to always do well with the big sunfish as one has to travel a couple of hours anyway to find them, I might as well join them.

Mark Applen and I are already planning the annual "go somewhere and ice fish" trip that happens between Christmas and New Years.  With the success we experienced at Upper Red Lake, it's on the top of the list for this year.  Last year's trip was hampered by late ice as we were one of the first houses out to the offshore hump a number of miles from shore.  I think this contributed to our fantastic fishing we had however this year with the early cold weather, I'm sure the fish patterns will be well established before we get there.  The nice thing about fishing Upper Red Lake is if in fact the fishing isn't that good you are only an hour from Lake of the Woods or Winnibigoshish, which can also be fabulous fishing.  I am in San Antonio next week and hope to have something written by the time I leave.  The Packers play on Thanksgiving and let's hope they do better than their performance against the Vikings last Sunday, it was pretty pitiful from a Cheesehead's perspective.  Have a great Thanksgiving and if your ice fishing, be safe as that water is pretty cold.



Duane said...

I'm heading up to Red Lake in early January. Will be interested in how you do.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

Just did the math and in Brainerd we had open water for 6 months. Short boating season, long ice fishing season. Since I'm not around in the summer this is perfect. See you on the ice.


Dave Anderson said...


We stayed at JR's and for $5.00 they cook your fish and give you a big helping of French Fries...damn good.


No kidding but I don't think I could take another May ice out!

Duane said...

I guess that's where we're staying as well.