Thursday, January 23, 2014

Back in the Deep Freeze

Iowan Pro on Mille Lacs!
So I woke up on Tuesday morning to a now "this is getting old" temperature of -20F.  You would think that this weather should be making ice like crazy on Mille Lacs yet there is only a few resorts with roads yet and if one wants to fish the flats such as 7 Mile, 9 Mile, Sliver, you need a snowmobile to get around.  As cold as it has been there are still areas with only 10 inches of ice and 4 inches of slush.  For sure it's been tough on the business's around the lake as 2013-2014 ice fishing on Mille Lacs is heading for a bust.  On the other hand my new friend Terry, previous owner of my new Salem Ice Cabin has taken the time to send me some pictures of the walleyes he has been catching on Mille Lacs.  Using a snowmobile, he has been able to get out to the offshore areas and by his pictures, hasn't done too bad.   Terry is from Iowa and has a place near Garrison, MN.  He and his family fished both Saturday and Sunday and although wouldn't say that they killed them but considering the reports, it's nice to see someone is getting fish.  Although I never asked, I assume that this is his boy and you have to be impressed with the photo, the next Al Lindner for sure.  Just when I'm planning trips for the next 2 weekends, I have to admit that a few days on Mille Lacs would be nice by the looks of things.  On the other hand Lake of the Woods is going and Red Lake is still putting out fish.  Having committed to the next couple of weeks, I guess Mille Lacs will have to wait.  February is looking good and hopefully the weather will be better, at least Terry has inspired me to get my snowmobile running and ready to go if  needed.  It sure would be great to get into some of those big walleyes that are swimming around in the lake these days.  Rumor also has it there are a few jumbo perch being caught as well as some nice tullibees, which make great pickled fish.  It amazing, every year is different on Mille Lacs, 2 years ago we had large patches of open water into January, last year was great, this year is proving to be challenging. 

Sunset on Pelican
I did get out this weekend deciding to fish Pelican Lake which is close to home.  Friday night saw 6 inches of snow so all day Saturday was spent cleaning up the mess.  Sunday's temperature was pretty nice for a January, in the 30's so I decided to fish outside.  Having waxies from my last trip I simply drove out to the east side of the lake and used the access right off the road.  The snow was a little deeper than I figured but staying on the trail, it wasn't a big issue.  I've installed a Navionics App on my cell phone, it cost about $14 but it's pretty cool. The amount of lakes and information is pretty incredible, especially having it right on your phone.  Running off the GPS, I have all of their lake maps at my disposal, including a huge number of ones that feature 1 foot contours, including Pelican Lake.  With my phone its easy to simply drive to the underwater structure you are looking for as I simply picked an area that looked productive.  And productive it was.  After drilling a hole to check the depth, put in the transducer and was marking fish right away.   The first one came withing 20 seconds of the lure getting down to 9 feet, a nice sunfish around 7 3/4".  Pelican has some big sunnies in it but if you want to take some home it pays to be less fussy.  Sorting through about 1 fish per minute I ended the day with 12 big enough to fillet.  Staying after dark to see if the crappies would bite wasn't as productive as expected although I did get a few little ones.  The plan was to pack up and head back in time to catch the last half of the San Francisco/Seattle game at my neighbor Tim's.  With everything loaded, put the truck in drive and didn't move an inch.  A half mile out, nobody around and the truck just spins.  Something seemed different but that wasn't my first concern, heck getting out there wasn't hard, I should have been able to walk right out of my spot.  Having a shovel with I cleaned about 2 feet behind each wheel, backed up and got back on top of the snow however success was short lived.  After jacking around for 15 minutes I finally broke free and was able to get off the ice.  What a pain.  Looking back it was as though my 4 wheel drive wasn't even working.  Well, it wasn't!  Apparently the new computer controlled trucks get confused easily and the remedy is to shut the truck off for about a minute, let everything reset itself, then restart and go.  My neighbor Pete has the same truck and he confirmed this happens to him when he plows snow.  I guess your never too old to learn something new, its just remembering it all that's a problem. Off to Lake of the Woods and hopefully the reports are true.

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