Thursday, April 17, 2014

Back in the Snow Again

Glaciers and the Driftless Area
I am trying to stay positive about the current state of the weather here in Dayton, MN but it's getting harder by the minute.  Of course with the snow piling up by the minute certainly doesn't help.  I try hard not to be too political as this is a blog about fishing yet those who know me understand I have some passionate views on things and one is Global Warming.  Now I actually believe that Global Warming is happening, in fact I am pretty sure it's been a positive for the last 10,000 years.  The last Ice Age was the Wisconsin Glaciation period when most of Minnesota and Wisconsin were covered by ice over 3000 feet thick except for an area called the Driftless Area.  My home town of Eleva, Wisconsin is in this area, often called the Coulee Region and consisted of a number of bluffs and valleys where we fished and hunted, a sportsman's paradise.  Most of the lakes in Minnesota as well as the Mississippi and Minnesota River valleys were formed during the current warming period we are in today.  If you dig down a couple of feet anywhere on my property you will run into sand and gravel deposits left from the last glaciers.  Well, if Global Warming is happening, I'd love it to move back to Minnesota for a couple of years.  Our 2013 Minnesota Fishing Opener was significantly delayed as the ice had not gone out of Leech Lake by May 11th.  This year has the feel of a repeat performance as the lakes like Mille Lacs and Leech have significant ice on them. Minnesota's fishing opener is on May 10th and I know a lot can happen in 3 weeks but I tell you, this is getting old! The forecast for Leech has night time temperatures in the low 20's until Saturday where it gets back into the 60's for highs.  We will have to keep our finger's crossed for sure as I would sure be disappointed to miss 2 fishing openers in a row because there was still ice on the lake.  As a note, I don't have any problem with some ice as one of the best ever openers for catching fish was when the Narrows Area between the main lake and Walker Bay had significant ice, enough so resorts on that side could not launch boats.  We nailed the walleyes and as well, one could literally scoop up the "ice cubes" out of the water and throw them in the cooler to keep the beer cold.  I guess you could say it was a perfect combination!

Saturday I attended the funeral of a friend, Mike Melleen of Onamia, Minnesota.  Mike was quite a fisherman on Mille Lacs Lake where I had met him at Lundeen's Tackle Castle a number of times before I really got to know him.  I guess you cannot be in Onamia without noticing the Meleen name.  A fixture in the area he originally built the Meleen's Holiday Sports (now the BP station across from Bills), Trophy's Sports Bar, and various business's in the area.  I got the chance to fish clients with Mike a few times and one of those days really sticks out in my mind. Check this post from 2012. We had fished the day before with 5 other guys, 2 in my boat and 3 in Mike's.  I had been doing really well off of Sherman's flat and decided to fish there first.  After getting a number of nice fish by 12:00 one of my guys had to leave so I brought him back to the landing.  In the meantime Mike headed north and by the time I got back on the water they were at the Blue Goose having lunch.  My guest suggested we meet them there, a nice 20 minute boat ride from the landing.  Once lunch was finished we headed straight east to a flat I had never fished before and we started hammering them.  By the end of the day we had caught over 50 fish for our guests before bringing them back to the landing.  The next morning was set to leave from Izaty's resort on the south side.  He still had the 3 people from the day before while I still had one.  We fished like crazy that morning but didn't catch a thing.  By 11:00 it was back to Izaty's for me to drop my guest off and pick up 2 more for the afternoon. They finally showed up around 1:00, invited me for lunch before we took off around 1:30.  My conversation went something like this..."Well, we fished the south end this morning and it was pretty slow.  I am confident the bite is still going on the flats, the waves aren't too bad and it would take about 30 minutes to get there".   Luckily they agreed that if we were going to fish, we had might as well catch some.  Off we headed back to Sherman's flat were we immediately started catching fish.  In the meantime, no Mike.  About an hour later he calls to tell me he's struck out so far.  Telling him we are hammering them on Sherman's, he shows up just as we pull one in.  As suddenly as he shows up he leaves, getting out of my way before returning 15 minutes later.  "Mike, anchor right here!" which his reply was that he did not want to horn in on my success.  Reminding him that we are working as a team, please anchor and I'd work around him,  really it was no problem.  Well once anchored it was like fishing wash tub as my first pass brought a "We got 3!".  The second added another 4 to that number, the third pass brought his total to 12.  We left 2 hours later with another 45+ fish caught between us.  At the dock Mike, who when it comes to fishing is as competitive as I've seen walks up and said to me "Dave, you saved my day, Thank you".  I know damn well I didn't save his day yet to receive a compliment from him was priceless and I'll always remember that time.  Later we worked together at Lundeen's while Bill and Kathy attended their daughters college graduation, it was a lot of fun hanging with Mike.  At the funeral I had learned many things about him I never knew but the most impressive was his sort of pragmatic attitude about things.  What ever hand you are dealt in life you have to play it.  I had heard him say his line "You gotta do what you gotta do" but he really lived it.  I was glad to have come to know Mike Meleen.

April 17, 2014 with 12 inches of Snow....Uffda
I was going to post this last night however when I got home it was snowing more significantly than when I originally wrote the post, enough so to take a picture of my plight!  By 8:00 this morning we had accumulated close to 12" of snow.  I quick took this picture of the end of my property where I have a road going back to the bee hives (something for next week's post).  My thought was to simply not do anything and wait till the weather melts the snow but as you see it got to be too much.  Unfortunately I removed the snow blower attachment and chains from my John Deere lawn tractor so I decided reattach it.  Luckily it's a quick hitch and only takes about 10 minutes to attach.   Thinking I could get by not putting on the tire chains on the tractor it only took 50 feet to get stuck so it was back into the shed to finish the job.  The weather forecast claims the rest of April will have above normal temperatures including 70 degrees for Easter Sunday, we'll see. The Ranger 620T is slowly starting to wake up from it's long winter's sleep.  I am enhancing my Sonic Hub audio system with a new input for my bluetooth receiver giving me more choices for my audio system.  Another project is trying to connect my Suzuki engine interface port to the Lowrance HDS12 so I can better track the engine functions and admittedly that's not going so good!  We have ordered our onion plants from Texas and here's hoping the garden will be dry enough to get in and rotor till.  Like I started the post, I hope it doesn't take too long!

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