Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fast Week!

Ben's Devils Lake Perch
If last week was a slow week, this one went by at super sonic speed.  With driving down to see my mom on Sunday to the parade of guest at work this week, I had little time to think about anything, especially this weeks blog!  Well, luckily my friend Ben Aiona has come through to save the day.  Ben had planned to go to Devils Lake, North Dakota on Tuesday however a tragic snowmobile accident left one of Eleva's outstanding young citizen, Brandon Semingson's funeral on Wednesday.  Ben is part of the Eleva Fire Department as was Brandon and Ben delayed his trip to pay his respects.  Eleva is a close knit town and Brandon was the grandson of a good friend, Sidney Semingson.  It's a terrible thing when a town loses one of it's own and unfortunately these things happen regardless.  My condolences to the Semingson family.  I am assuming Ben left after the services and arrived on Wednesday night, in time for his guided trip with the Perch Patrol on Thursday.  The Perch Patrol is a guide service out of Devils Lake, North Dakota specializing in catching the big perch that roam the lake.  My friend Bill Lundeen know the guy that started this, Steve Dahl, a former guide from the Mille Lacs area. It's interesting to read their site (click the link), their claim to fame was having fisherman hop on the Empire Builder, the Amtrak train that runs from Chicago to Seattle, stopping at Devils Lake, ND at 6:00 AM.  They would pick you up upon your arrival and take you fishing for 2 days then load you back on the eastbound train to complete your trip.  It look pretty nice however lately with the amount of oil trains coming out of North Dakota, they are no longer recommending on taking the Empire Builder as Amtrak is secondary to the freight traffic and is often delayed up to 8 hours.  On the same topic, we visited my wife's cousin Carol, who lives in Fountain City, Wisconsin and works at La Crosse Milling in Cochran, Wisconsin. La Crosse Milling makes oatmeal from prepared oats that originate in Winnipeg, Canada.  She has seen her work hours cut because they cannot get their oats delivered and she stated they were 32 train cars short, waiting for delivery.  The oil trains have taken over most of the traffic on the rails.  As a side note, driving up highway 35 on Sunday night, I saw not less than 8 trains parked on the rails, waiting for the traffic to clear, something in the 40 years of traveling those roads, have never seen.
2 Limits of 14" Perch

Ben took over the Heating and Air Conditioning business from Mike Wenaas, his long time employer.  With this winters weather he has been plenty busy and after stopping by on Sunday, he was ready to get out of town.  He sent these pictures via text messaging of his wife and his successful day on Devils Lake.  These perch are in the 14 inch class and one has to be impress for sure.  Apparently they each got a limit of walleyes as well but I didn't get a picture of them.  Knowing Ben, he'll be out tomorrow fishing again before returning for the weekend.  With a little luck I'll be invited to the fish fry.  These pictures remind me of the time Ben's dad Kevin, Paul Wenaas, my brother Steve, and I went to Devils Lake to fish walleyes an perch in the winter.  I remember bringing my secret bait, freshwater shrimp, a sure bet for perch.  Well the locals pretty much laughed at me as the lake is full of them, to the point where they float up to the top of your hole, oh well.  Not having any luck on Devils Lake, we got a tip about a lake east of there, Stump Lake, where the water was once too salty to support fish but the overflow from the rising waters at Devils Lake had brought the level in Stump Lake up 32 feet.  Enough water entered the lake to again support fish so the North Dakota DNR planted over 2 million perch in the lake and we arrived at the perfect time.  Driving to a spot where the trees extended out of the ice and we could look into the old blue heron nests, we started catching perch, all in the 10 - 11 inch range, and hundreds of them.  It was probably the best perch fishing ever yet it looks as though I need to reschedule a trip back out to take advantage of these beautiful looking perch.  Thanks Ben!

Tomorrow morning I head for Houston to meet up with my brother Steve, dear friend Joe Stanfield, Jim Cox, Matt Davis, The Professor (long story), Mike Schubert, and Dick of Lighthouse Charities for a weekend of fishing the coastal waters of central Louisiana.  I had done this with Joe a few years earlier in Rockport, Texas and it was an absolute blast.  We are headed for a private fish camp near Cameron, LA and I'm looking forward to showing those Cajun boys a thing or two about fishing.  We have a few surprises in store and interesting, Dick asked if I could bring down some walleye fillets for them to try.  Not one to skimp on who we are, Steve is bringing some Wisconsin Cheese, I have the walleyes as well I'm bringing some real hand harvested wild rice from my friend Bill.  I'm not sure what they will think but you can bet this Yankee will give em hell regardless!  I have the APEC show in Fort Worth on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday so it will be a busy weekend for sure.

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