Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Merry Christmas....

From Matt, my friend and fishing buddy!
With Christmas falling on a Friday and the ice conditions still iffy in northern Minnesota, I decided to go to my Mom's Christmas Eve and our niece wanted to get together on Saturday to see her as it's been a while and she has 2 beautiful kids, Kaylee and Zack, it gave us a chance to run back down to Eleva and see Kevin who like clockwork had Lefse for Lyn and I, his Christmas gift to us (The best ever).  We did watch the Packer/Arizona game at his house, not a very good game but it's tough to lose any sleep over it.  In the meantime my friend Mark went back up to Red Lake on Saturday and is expected to come home on Wednesday night, in time for New Years.  I have been coughing terribly and  maybe will wait to Friday to go back up to Red, we will have to see who wants to go with me. I did call Mark on Tuesday morning and he claims that they are making ice fast with at least 11 inches and the fishing has been good.   Certainly am getting anxious to go!  I did decide to come into work today (Tuesday Dec 29th) and to my surprise my friend and fishing buddy Matt Davis sent me a Christmas Present, a commemorative bottle of my favorite whiskey in the world TX number 2713,  along with some glasses for my ice house, a hat, T Shirt that says basically Texas Made.  WOW do I have good friends or what!!! first Lefsa and now TX.  I am not sure a guy could ask for anything more for Christmas, that's for sure!!!  Just having friends like Matt Davis, or Joe Stanfield is more than anyone could wish for or want! I am going to get them both up ice fishing some day, as I know they'll never experience this kind of fishing in Texas.  Although I enjoyed Red fishing in March much better in Louisiana than sitting on the cold ice, you have to play the cards your dealt and having the Salem Ice Cabin stocked with TX is almost as good!

Ezee Steps on a Ranger
This week I ordered my Ezee steps for my Ranger Boat.  This new boat I have is quite a bit larger than my old 620T and takes more finesse to get it properly loaded onto the trailer.   It is too heavy to simply pull up that last 4 inches and you have to make sure you drive it on until it hits the front bow support.  Then it takes some acrobatics to get off the bow and onto the trailer to hook the winch rope and snugg it up while there is still some floating going on.  Well Last July I loaded the boat then went over the bow onto the step that is on the winch post but somehow slipped and fell back first onto the ramp.  Luckily I fell towards the water side and hit a foot of water to break my fall instead of breaking my back.  It spooked me and made me much more careful however I ran across these Ezee steps and after looking at the videos and testimonials I decided that I'm not gettting any younger and ordered a set.  It was quite the ordeal for sure as the owner of Ezee Steps, Mark actually called me to make sure I got all the right dimensions needed for a proper fit.  He was really thorough and impressed me. Because of the fact that the water will be hard for at least 3 more months I told him I wasn't in any particular hurry but he insisted that I would have them by February.  Getting old isn't so bad if you have the right stuff!  These should really help getting in and out of the boat safely.

My friend Mark is at Red Lake and claims he has been doing really good.  Today he decided to go trout fishing on the Red Lake Reservation on a guided trip.  I am anxious to see how that goes as he wants the trout for pickling.  Mark makes by far the best home made pickled fish I have ever had and I gave him some trout that Bill and I had gotten this fall to pickle and boy, did they turn out fabulous!!  Anyway he said that he might be willing to go with me to Red Lake on Friday, which sounded great.  He will be home on Wednesday and we should have everything resolved by then as I am getting anxious to get out.  Apparently you still can't drive on Red Lake but JR claims to be ready to take care of us!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

First trip to Red

View from my Chair in my portable 1 man
Working with my friend Mark who along with Russ brought their houses up to Red Lake last weekend and stored them at JR's while walking out to their fishing spots, we decided to head up on Friday, I'd drag my Salem up there, called my friend from Chippewa Falls, WI, Paul Wenaas and brother Steve from the La Crosse, Paul brought his ATV, we arrived at JR's about noon.  Russ was a champ and he and his dog Shadow rode up with me as I have had some medical issues a few weeks ago and my wife wanted someone to be with me, while Mark drove up himself.  Arriving at JR's I got my Salem house parked and got ready to head out pulling our portable fish shacks.  It was interesting as a large crack of about 50 feet opened up about 1/2 mile from shore and we were forced to fish in 8.5 feet of water whereas it would have been preferred to be in around 11 - 12 feet yet fishing till dark it was too dangerous to be wondering around in the dark. Mark and Russ was fishing close to me however I didn't have much luck, not even a perch!  Because JR'a or any resort for that matter was not allowing ATV traffic until the hazards were marked and the bridges over the cracks were in place, we walked out.  In the meantime Mark and Russ had caught some fish, while I was skunked. Between them and Steve and Paul we had enough fish to fry them up at JR's and a pizza filled us up pretty well.

 It was interesting as you can see in the picture, the ice was about 7 inches thick on Saturday and it might be ready to pull the houses out in another week.  In the meantime it was pretty cozy however I did go through 3 1#bottles of propane it wasn't too bad.  Also my Skinny Dipper I bought at the Blaine Ice Show got burnt so I had to order another one as they are pretty nice to have.  Saturday was nicer than Friday as the wind had switched from out of the west on Friday to out of the south on Saturday.  Saturday we were allowed to drive our ATV out and 7 inches of ice was plenty for that provided we drove slow still it was a slow weekend for me regarding fishing.  I think I had one bite, that was it! and it was on the rattle reel to the left (you can only see the line going down into the hole).  I marked plenty of fish but they didn't seem to like what I presented them with, who knows.  It still was fun!!!

JR's Corner Access (That's russ in the lower right corner!)
JR's Corrner Access is a great place to ice fish.  This year he redid the back cleaning area to accomodate more bench space for cleaning fish, took out the pool table and added a couple of new tables to seat more people.  It's simply a heated pole shed, I feel just like home there!  He just sells beer and Set ups so you can BYOB (Bring your own bottle) of whatever and buy a glass of ice or they cook our fish up for $5.00 a guy, served with a heaping pile of french fries what more can on ask! JR is from St. Joseph, MN just west of St. Cloud and is a great guy.  He treats both Mark and I like special guest everytime we arrive.  He loves my friend Bill Lundeen's wild rice so we brought him up 10 pounds of it this weekend, along with a quart of my fresh homemade salsa and I gave him a salmon fillet from my friend Kieth Holtan.  I was a nic wild run sockeye salmon fillet and Keith has met JR before and I am sure he wouldn't mind.  As well my friend Paul is going up to Alaska next year and I suggested he get in touch with Kieth for a great time.  JR really watches what he eats and is always appreciative of home grown food and naturally harvested stuff.  There are a lot of great people in JR's, met the guy I bought a custom crappie rod at the Blaine Ice Show, so that was nice.   Actually one of the bartenders up there is the grandson of one of our Team ENA members so we had a great time with him.  Mark and Russ are huge in playing FARKLE so on Saturday night after a hard day of fishing we had JR cook our fish and sat down for a couple of games of Farkle before hitting the sack which was good after a long walk and a good day of fishing.  A longwalk because we didn't leave the ice till after dark and Paul was driving the ATV and was naturally nervous about where he was going! Either way I can't wait to get back up to Red with my brother Steve and my friends from Sconnie and am looking forward to maybe heading up next Monday.  I am anxious to catch my first walleye of the season.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

This waiting for ice is Killing me!

Mark's Red Lake catch
Well my friend Mark made it to Red Lake last friday and it turned out to be quite an adventure.  I would have gone with him however I had some tests scheduled, I get to that later.  Mark left Thursday night an ended up staying in Deer River in his wheel house because of the weather and arrived at JR's Friday morning.  The first thing he did was bury his wheel house in the mud, enough to have to be pulled out by a cat.  Uffda, that didn't sound like fun.  He did do pretty well although they were relegated to walking out on the ice as it wasn't safe enough to drive.  They walked out about a mile and really got into them, here is Mark, Russ, and Randy's supper for Saturday night.  Apparently the ice was 6 inches thick and where they drilled they caught fish. Back at JR's they had them for supper and came home on Sunday.  Both Mark, I, my brother Steve and a friend from Chippewa Falls are heading up on Friday, I talked to JR and they should be allowing ATV's to run on the ice, much nicer traveling although we still need to stay on shore.  I am looking forward to getting out on the ice, normally by December 1 Red Lake is frozen enough to drive on but not this year.  Oh well haven't shovelled any snow yet either so it isn't all bad.  Mark was using his Electric Auger with a quick coupler I had got him unfortunately the coupler came uncoupled and the entire auger drill when right down the hole to the bottom.  I rigged a powerful magnet to see if we can find and retrieve it, that would be real sweet if it happens.  I am looking forward to a fresh walleye dinner at JR's soon as he really does fish nice.  Go catch them and bring them into his bar/restaurant to clean them, give them to him and for $5 a person he will deep fry them for you.  With a boxful of french fries, you can't go wrong! Hopefully I'll have better stories about me fishing next week than having to rely on my other experiences or someone else's fishing adventures!

An 8 inch needle into my spinal cord
As stated Friday was test day for me and I had a TEE (trans esophageal echo) which is an echo cardiogram taken from down your throat and then at 2:00 I had a Lumbar puncture which they use to refer it as a spinal tap.  Either way neither was too much fun although they put you under before the shove this huge probe down your throat, and the spinal tap...........well just say that I'm no looking forward to any more of those!  Uffda!  The worse thing was the novacaine that they injected into my spine before the put the 8 inch needle in. As my title indicates, waiting for fishable ice is still more painful but this came close!  I got the test results and they don't look too bad. Admittedly my doctors have been pretty good although one made a referral for me and they called me notifying me of an appointment they set up for me, Oct 18th.  I asked what year? They didn't think that was too funny however I didn't think the earliest one could get in was in 10 months, too funny either!  I would like to thank everyone who has sent their well wishes and of course all of the prayer's that my friends have said for me, it's truly appreciated.  I am doing really well and I have great care between my wife, doctors, and friends plus I have a  lot of fishing to do yet, two months of ice fishing,  I just got the invitation to Leech Lake for Minnesota opener and we are already talking about Canadian opener at Lac Suel as well a trip next December fishing grouper in Naples Florida. Geez, I am just learning how to fish out of my new boat!  Oh well, I am lucky to have such a great support system.  Here's hoping we get some fish.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Patience is a Virtue!!

Himilayan salt lamp
Well our latest El Nino is doing exactly what it was predicted to do, give the upper midwest a mild winter.  They weren't kidding, with daily high temperatures for Red Lake predicted in the 30's and lows in the upper teens, that's hardly enough to make ice very fast.  It's suppose to cool down next week so it may be possible to bring my house up next Friday and walk from shore, we'll see.  My friend Mark Applen is bringing his house up to JR's this friday and it will be good to get a report from him.  So as time ticks away I have a couple of things that I have been doing, one is improving the little things in the Salem Ice Cabin, like taking off the pads off the axle jacks and having them redone, sand blasted and re-powder coated as they were pretty rustyfrom the road salt.  I added mudflaps to my fenders this year to help reduce the salt that flies up off the road.  Will this help the fish bite better? no, but stuff like that drives me crazy.  Another thing I bought for the Ice Cabin is a himalayan salt lamp  if you click on the link it will tell you all the benefits that these lamps are suppose to do.  hopefully it will help our fishing somewhat and if nothing else it's a good s conversation piece.   it's interesting I got it from Amazon and I thought I would buy one for my friend Mark Applen who has the same Salem Ice Cabin that I have. Can you imagine if and when we have our houses close together, you'll never stop us from hauling in the walleyes!!! next thing you know I'll be giving yoga lessons on the ice........NOT!!!

HDS 9 and 12 on my dash
So my other project is to add a third depth finder to my new boat.  My previous boat had a Lowrance HDS 7 Gen 2 touch on the front deck mounted with a RAM mount so I could easily move it from my Ranger to my Jon Boat for fishing the river.  This year I sold the HDS 7 to Bruce and my front depthfinder on my new Ranger is built in and not easily removeable.  Therefore after selling it to Bruce I didn't have anything for the river.  Last month I upgraded with my friend Bill and got a newer HDS 12 Gen 3 which is for the back, and a HDS 9 Gen 3 which I already thought about running a second one on the console, one that can be removed and moved over to the jon boat.  I got a Johnny Ray mount which works great, is low profile and it is easily transferred with a simple push of a button.  After talking to the Lowrance guy at Cabela's on Black Friday he help me with the possible configurations and iit was as I planned, the HDS 9 will used primarily for GPS and charting including the interface with my Mototguide trolling motor and the HDS 12 will be used to run both standard sonar plus downscan/sidescan.  We talked a lot about searching for fish and I am going to spend alot of time this year learning this skill!  The big plus is I'll have my unit back for my Jon Boat.  My single biggest fear is that Bruce who is now really used to using my old HDS 7 will now what to upgrade to the 9!!  Oh well, the nice thing is that all of these units are networked together and work in unison to really give almost too much options for me to learn, yet when I do, watch out the BS will be simply a flowing!  I am very lucky to understand all of the connection requirements, how to hook up the NEMA 200 networks and how to connect the ethernet cables between the units.  It can been fairly complicated for sure.

This picture says it all
Maybe this week I can head up to the Alexandria area and find a lake I can walk out to get crappies.
Something to scratch this itch that has been bugging me since Thanksgiving.  First ice is always good for big crappies and sunfish and maybe I can fnd some!  my friend Keith sent me a picture of the state of ice fishing in Minnesota about now.  Those who ice fish will understand!  If you don't that's OK.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

In Orlando

Sunrise on a 737
I am in Orlando at out fall TTA meeting at  the Hard Rock Hotel at Univesal Studios.  I flew in on Wednesday morning, had to get up at 4:00AM and  catch a 7:00 flight and fortunately I got my first class  upgrade and picked a seat on the left side of the airplane knowing I have to fly down the Mississippi River near my home town of Eleva, therefore I love being able to visualize this area from the air.  Unfortunately it was cloudy right away, once we hit 10,00 feet and all I got to see was the cloud cover and did get an opening around fountain City, otherwise the only interesting thing wa to watch the sunrise over a cloud covered Wisconsin.  I arrive in Orlando at about 11;30 Easten Stanmdard time and headed to the Hard Rock hotel at Universal Studio's.  Coming into Orlando Airport there is a considerable amount of small lakes and canals we have already made interconnecting those lakes and I noticed a lot of boats traveling between these lakes , I am sure most are fishing bass.  Normally when I am in an area like this I try to arrange a fishing trip and my friends who have vacation homes in the area are going however I need to be back for the weekend, to attend the ice fishing show in St. Paul and I have a Taylor family event on Sunday that I need to attend. One friend, Tim Smith has a house and a boat in Naples Florida and I am invited to join them for Grouper fishing this weekend, we have decided to come back to this area for our meeting next year and have already made significant commitments for fishing next year.  Besides I am getting anxious to go ice fishing and trying to take it easy after my situation of 3 weeks ago.  The forecast for ice hasn't been very good but it's bound to get colder!  the highlight of my trip was to see everyone in my industry as well we did catch a preformance of the Blue Man Group which was very good.

Heather and Jared with her nice 10 pointer
My wife and I did get back to Wisconsin to see her Uncle Bernie and my At Bernie and Nellie's we had a nice meal including Bearmeat from the bear Bernie shot with his bow a few weeks ago near his farm South of Eleva.  It was excellent as I don't recall having bear perpared like this. What we had was ground bear mixd with mustard seed, it was amazingly good.  Thank goodness They shared some and we brought home a few pounds of ground bear meat.  We also stopped at Ben Aiona's house to visit with him and hopefully see my friend Kevin.  I suspect they were out deer hunting but Ben and his wife, Heather was there, they were canning venison.  Ben had sent me a picture of his wife's 10 point Buck she shot on Saturday, Wisconsin deer opener.  It was very nice. Ben shared some venison with us, I cetainly had enough for the coming year with the nice doe we tagged 4 weeks ago, the bear meat we got from Bernie and the extra meat from Ben.  A stop up to Lyn's uncle Andrew resulted in a few more packages of venison and we should be set.

My friend Rick
One of the things we got to do while at mom's was to visit with a old friend and classmate of mine Rick Semingson. Rick went to college and onto working for the National Forest Service in North Carolina and settled in a town called Mycaysville, Georgia.  Rick's dad Dunk and my dad were best of friends so it was natural that we hung together in school.  Rick and I graduated in the top ten of our class and we both agree that he was probably number 6 or 7 and I was number 7 or 8.  We definitely have different hobbies however when we were in high school definitely drinking Walter's Beer was something we both enjoyed.  Beyond that we stay good friends even though we don't get to see each other very often.  One time, maybe 15 years ago I had a conference in Charlotte North Carolina and Rick picked me up at the Atlanta airport and we spent the weekend together, it was nice traveling through the area, up around his house, up over the blue ridge mountains and down into Charlotte.  It was a trip I'll never forget and one I'd love to return and visit again. I went to the St. Paul Ice fishing show on Saturday with Mark Applen and Lory Brasel and met a few other friends down there, I did buy a few things and had an opportunity to talk to the resorts on both Mille Lacs and Lake of the Woods, and Red Lake an it probably will no be until after  Christmas before we get out with the wheel house and maybe next week we can find a smaller lake to try for some crappies.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Better Weekend

Shotgun Red and Steve Hall
Well, anything would be better than last Sunday's outcome so i am happy to report a pretty calm weekend which included going to the Ice Fishing Show at the National Sportscenter in Blaine on Saturday with my neighbor Lory Brasel, he is really helping to take care of me!  The show was pretty good, I bought 4 things there, the most interesting thing was a Skinny Dipper for my Ice house, and new Crappie ice rod from a real nice guy that was making them himself, a new knife and a LED flashlight, I am a sucker for those things.    The guy selling the Skinney Dipper was Steve Hall, a name from the past for sure.  Steve is the creator of Shotgun Red a well know puppet on the Nashville scene and was a star on TNN, The Nashville Network and appeared on Ralph Emery's show often. It was interesting to see him selling his invention, the Skinny Dipper at the show and we quickly talked about our connection back in the early 1980's when I hunted the Skime Minnesota area with my friends Ron Edberg, Mark Mayerich, Gary Ullom, Mark and Jack Taylor. We hunted public land as well Ron had secured permission to hunt an additional 3000 acres of land adjoining the public land, it was quite interesting.  Steve Hall used to hunt the same land and would stay at a local farm, Marvin Olsen, who like a lot of locals believed he controlled the land next to his as we had a few run in's with him.  Steve ended up buying 1000 acres of our prime hunting area, even though we hunted the south side of his land and he gave us permission the first year, Marvin didn't see it that way and when he burst into out cabin in Skime and threatened to shoot us if he saw us on Steve's land again. we decided it was best to stop hunting that area.  At the show Steve and I talked about the good ol'days, and it was interesting to compare notes.  He has long since sold that land and I often wondered what happened. He continues to sell the Skinny Dipper and a bought a Green Bay Packer colored one but he did have Viking colored ones here is a link to getting them skinny Dipper It looks pretty handy and i have already put it in my ice house, it looks really good and should be a great addition to my ice house. I also bought a custom made ice rod for crappies.  Last year a bought a TURC (Tuned Up Custom Rods) and it broke right away.  This one looks alot better and I got a Black Betty 6061 reel to go with it.

Steve's nice 8 pointer
Sunday was the first Packer Viking game of the season and it comes after Green Bay  had suffered 3 consecutive losses including 1 to Detroit last weekend..uffda.  Well I didn't know if my heart and brain could take another loss but the Pack came out okay with a 30-13 win over the hapless Vikings!During the game my brother Steve texted me this picture of a nice 8 point buck that he shot his last weekend, Saturday was the start of Wisconsin deer hunting season.  I call him yesterday to see if he needed any help but in true Anderson Fashion he said no, he was doing just fine! I told him what he told me, take 3#'s of bacon and grind it with 10#'s of venison however he gave credit where that recipe came from. our dad!  Makes sense now and I am glad he told me There are a lot of deer hunting stories around and I can use them for fillers in the coming weeks seeing that ice fishing could be a little behind.  Way to go Steve!!!  Speaking of ice fishing it's time this weekend to get out my portables and get my equipment ready. Lory and I rigged a couple of nice crappie rods, the one I bought at the show, and this year I went with 2# test line, I really like how you can see the line react to a light bit, it takes some gettintg used to, like my buddy Kevin Aiona, he really has that knack.  Since last Sunday I have been taking it easy and no getting too much done around the house. That is going to have to change soon as my schedule get's pretty hectic the next few weeks, with Thanksgiving coming up, doctors appointment on the 1st,  a trip to Orlando on the 2nd, Ice fishing show on the 5th, Christmas party on the 6th with the rest for the wicked that's for sure!
oh well, I did get some what they call 303 aerospace vinyl protectant for my Ranger Boat cover, they are expensive and it really pays to put it onthe boat when I travel, I get at least 2mpg better so I found something that would help to perserve it better.

Thanksgiving is this week and I wish everyone of my followers a wonderful thansgiving, I personally have a lot to be thankful, my friends who take care of me, my family, my wife, my health (it's still pretty good!) qg=hich wasn't much affected by my stroke from last week,  my fishing partners Keith, Jeff, Bruce, Mark, Pete, and Bill. Please take some time to look around and appreciate that which you should be thankful for!!! Ok, enough, let hope next week we will be thankful for some cold weather and some good old fashion ice making we need about 3 inches for me to be comfortable!  I need to try out that new rod!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Tough Weekend

Pay Attention
Last weekend was sort of a tough one, however unlike the well deserved hard time Jeff gave me, no I didn't have a stroke to generate a topic this week because the ice fishing hasn't come through yet! That's correct, I suffered a stroke on Sunday, was in the hospital until Wednesday and I am just getting things back to normal!  Strkes scare the crap out of me, my grandpa Roy had a sroke at my age and it completeley disabled him, enough to know that IT'S SOMETHING I had dreaded.  Now 50 years later I am faced with the same.  I noticed something was wrong when I was cleaning out the pole shed to put the boat away for the winter and get out my ice fishing stuff.  I sat down to take a small rest then got up and promptly feel tight down on the floor.  No being able to get up I crawled around back to my chair and was able to get up and sit back down.  resting a bit I got on my lawmn mower to head to Tim's house to catch the rest of the game, he finally brought me home in his van when my wife took on look at me and we both verified i had not been drinking on bit, she got me in the car and we headed to the nearest emergency room at Mercy hospital where they promptly and wisely started treating me as a stroke victim and there's where I stayed until Wednesday night.  It could have been a lot worse and I certainly am high risk for a repeat performance even with the different blood thinners and anti clotting drugs I am now on.  Everyone says take it easy but often that's easier said than done. What I really need to do is drop a few pounds  and get some exercise.  That's the same thing I did in 2010 when I had my open heart surgery, I actually got down to 200 pounds, I looked as good as my brother Steve.   Anyway I have a lot of work to do.

Ice fishing Show coupon
It's been pretty slim on the ice fishing side, there is no hard water yet in the state.  I still need to get my ice fishing gear out and maybe with the help of my neighbors they can assist me in at least getting it out in the open so I can start to get rigged up.  The St. Paul Ice fishing show is December 4,5 and 6yh and is one of my favorites.  there is always something to look at and buy at the show and I am sure I can find something this year.  I have included a coupon that you should be able to print and use if your cheap like me and want to save a buck!  i have most everything I need and tend to look for the latest and greatest gadgets especially for my Salem Ice Cabin, maybe look at new panfish poles, or hopefully there might be some new reels coming out that are a little better than the existing ones out there today, we'll see.

Anyway thanks to everyone who offered well wishes to me in the last few days.  Hopefully things work out well and the hard water is upon us soon!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Deer Hunting and Stuff

Sunrise on the Stand
Last weekend was the 2015 Minnesota Deer Hunting opener.  Since 1979 I have been deer hunting with my friend Jack Taylor and the last 12 years we have hunted around his cabin on Platte Lake, which there are a few posts if you go back in the history.  Although it gets more difficult every year to get oneself out to hunt, I enjoy the comradery of getting together at  Rich's old place and hanging with the boys and this year was no different.  Brett now owns the property and there is no one that makes us feel any more welcome than he does, excluding Rich of course. As it has been for all the years I have hunted, the swamp you have to maneuver across isn't any drier now that is ever has been. Unfortunately my ability to trudge across isn't any better.  The last few years Jack and I have hunted his neighbor at the lake Loren's land, 80 acres about 10 miles down the road. It's not a bad place to hunt however it is quite surrounded by hunters, especially the neighbors that post right on his property lines to take advantage of  his open fields.  Last year he found a gut pile in his field, not that it was much of a problem but the slob left his cleaning gloves and other garbage that the coyotes don't eat on the pile.  Some people are pretty stupid.  This year I set up a tree stand on one of the corners of the field looking east.  In years past I would go up anywhere from 16 to 18 feet however I have gotten wiser in my old age and only put up 12 feet of ladder and reduced my height by half, although I am not sure falling 8 feet would be any less painful these days.  Part of the lure of
Deer Camp Deer
deer hunting is actually experiencing the outdoors at it's finest.  Looking east I could watch the sunrise each morning from my stand and it was quite a show.  If you click on the picture it should enlarge and you can see the beautiful alignment of the Moon, Venus, with Mars and Jupiter (not visible on the picture)  all in a straight line at a 45 degrees.  Except for the occasional mufflerless pickup truck roaring by the show was well worth getting up at 5:00 for.  Jack and his son Ben were in his ground blind about 200 yards from me and for both Saturday and Sunday neither one of us seen a deer.  It was really windy on Sunday morning and although the rut had began, nothing was moving around us.  That story repeated itself with the conversations that we had with some of the other hunting parties around except for Brett.  Back in the swamp he was seeing deer all over the place and both him and his son Trenton bagged a nice smaller buck and a doe on Saturday.  On Sunday afternoon I was near Brett's stand when he texted me that he had a nice doe in range and was I interested in it.  Of course....bang, it was down and I had a deer.  Brett was gracious enough to get his ATV and pull it out for me, I gutted it out and hung it up to cool (the one on the left).  With success defined as the chance to have some fresh venison this year, Jack and I left deer camp and headed home.  With the temperatures in the upper 50's we scrambled to get the deer skinned, boned and package on Monday.  I talked to my brother Steve on Tuesday and he mentioned an idea that's worth trying.  When making venison burger instead of adding pork or beef fat simply grind 3 pounds of bacon to 10 pounds of venison meat.  Man that sounds delicious and I report my findings next week.

Uncle Loren Nelson
On Friday my dear uncle Loren Nelson died at the ripe age of 87 at his home in Eau Claire.  My wife and I attended the funeral on Tuesday and it really became a true celebration of his life.  Loren and Lavonne (my dad's sister) were my Godparents and for years I was alway wondering why they were my only aunt and uncle that gave me a birthday present. One year when I was about 8 they gave me a book on pirates and for sure it was the first book anyone gave me except the bible my grandmother did.  I was fascinated by it's content about Blackbeard, Black Bart, Captain Kid and a host of others that made a definite impression on my young mind.  The best part of being related to Loren was having his children as my cousins.  Back when we were kids the big events were getting the families together and just hanging around. This is were we got very close to our cousin's that were around the same age and there was no shortage.  Loren's son's that I had the most interaction was Greg and Tom Nelson. Although Tom had left the area after college Greg settled down in Hudson, WI and it was pretty easy to find an excuse to get together.  From ice fishing to Alaska, we always found time to stay up to date on the family.  After a few years we finally got Tom up to Alaska and now he's wondering when we are going again! A few years ago Loren was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Although we had seen him a number of times at "Booger Hollar" it was difficult to stay in touch. Time flies so fast and when we got the news of his passing two things come to mind. First was wow, 87 years old, I didn't realize he was that old.  The second is the guilt associated with the fact that one hadn't seen him in the last couple of years, something we should have done.  In the end there is little one can do other than try to be better with those valuable relationships while you still have a chance.  Loren was a great guy, a fantastic uncle, and we always enjoyed each others company when we had the chance, and I'll never forget what he called be all the time..........Hey Anderson!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Weather and Procrastination

November's Temperature Forecast for Red Lake
To say that this Fall's weather has been fabulous certainly depends on your point of view.  It's the first of November and we are still in the 70's forcing a huge amount of procrastination in getting things done for the winter. Although we've had a killing frost about 3 weeks ago, the area has not seen a "hard" frost, lows down in the lower 20's yet which has left many of the leaves still on the trees.  The month of September and October were fairly dry however the last couple weeks have been quite wet with a good inch of so of rain each week.  The nice weather begs to be spent fishing on the river or maybe some crappies on the nearby lakes but unfortunately each year it seems more difficult to get everything done before winter sets in.  The sprinkler system still needs to be blown out, the potatoes are still in the ground, the boat needs a final cleaning and tucked in unless of course this weather continues to hold out.  I know I've mentioned it before but the latest we have open water fished on Lake Mille Lacs was December 6th and it looks like we are heading towards a very late freeze up this year as well.  Contrast that to last year when we were able to drive on Red Lake ice the day after Thanksgiving, November 28th,  it will be a delayed start for sure.  The long term forecast for Red Lake shows 10 degree above average temperatures meaning my early December travel schedule will probably not make any difference in my ice fishing plans. Hopefully by the second week in December it will be cold enough to get out for the weekend but that might be pushing it for sure as a few years ago we didn't get out until New Years. Looking at the forecast above shows Thanksgiving week to have highs about 40, and that's 250 miles north of the Twin Cities! The weather might be the bad news for the season but the good news is that they decided to open up Mille Lacs to ice fishing this year with a limited harvest of 1 walleye between 18 and 20 inches or 1 walleye over 28 inches.  This is more of a token effort to assist the area businesses and is welcome yet for all practical purposes the limit could be 6 walleyes in the same slot values simply because there are so little fish of this size in the lake. The good news is the lake is full of 12 - 14 inch fish and the catch and release action is promising to be fantastic.  As well it is reported that Red Lake will be changing it's current limit of 2 walleyes under 17 inches to 3 fish of which 2 must be under 17 inches and the third can be under 20 inches. The late ice will help the fish populations so we will see how the season shakes out as these regulations go into effect on December 1st.

From My Talented Uncle Jerry
So my Uncle Jerry has been at it again and shipped a special package to me this week.  I immediately know it's from him however the anticipation of what's inside the box is always special.  Upon opening the box there were 3 items that both figuratively and literally had my names on them.  The first is what looked like a hand carved statue of me after a successful day of fishing. Along with the blue eyes and my gray mustache, Uncle Jerry really captures the essence of who I am by posing me with a large fish in my left hand. The other added touches to a beautiful sculpture is the fact that my name is on the hat and if you look really close you can see my shirt is one of the Green Bay Packers and even has a GB engraved.  WOW!!!  The second thing of interest was a hand carved mouse lure packaged in a box especially made for it, complete with a sliding lid.  I know for a fact that I had one of these in that tackle box he gave me almost 50 years ago (I still have some of those baits) and it was one of his favorites when fishing down at Alma.  It's absolutely perfect and even has a leather tail.  My heart tells me to display it but my logic tells me to try and catch a fish on it as this would be the best of two worlds.  Hard water is coming soon so if I do it will have to be next year.  For sure I'd have to use braided line to make sure I didn't loose it. The third item was a nice wooden spoon and I have the perfect place for it, in my Salem Ice Cabin.  I know Jerry would scoff at the thought of putting it in the kitchen when it could much better to use while fishing, and it will be! I am extremely lucky to have an uncle that thinks so much of me, I love him dearly as he always has a special place in my heart!

Well, it's off to deer hunting and the weather is looking pretty good.  I put up a tree stand this year, not too far off the ground but high enough to get a better view of things. It will be Steak ala Kienitz on Friday night as usual and back home on Sunday night.  With the weather predictions of in the 50's again for next week it might be tempting to take the boat out one day, we'll see.  Good luck to all you Minnesota hunters!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Time For Trout

Absolutely Gorgeous 23" Rainbow
During the last couple of years mid October has been the time where I take a day of vacation, drive up to my friend Bill Lundeen's and head up to our secret lake to go trout fishing.  There are actually a lot of lakes within 2 hours that the DNR stocks with rainbow and brown trout, especially the old iron ore pits north of Aitkin, MN.  These lakes are usually spring fed, clear, and deep and are perfect for sustaining trout.  This Monday was my third trout fishing trip with Bill and I have to admit that it is a unique experience to say the least.  Bill had everything loaded up in his truck so all I needed to do was pack my fishing rod, a few lures that I thought might be useful, and a camera.  The lake that we fish does not have a boat landing and is only accessible to the public via a canoe.  It's quite a trek downhill to the small canoe landing and I can attest that going down is a lot easier than going up. The morning started out literally on the wrong foot as I opened the back door of the truck to get the trolling motor battery out, it had shifted and upon opening the door it fell out directly on my right foot. The same foot that got crunched when I tipped my motorcycle, the same foot that has some arthritis in it, there were a few choice words with an accompanying dance to express my pleasure. We used to have a saying "It'll feel better when it stops hurting" so we loaded the canoe up onto a nice wheeled bracket and in 10 minutes we were ready to fish.  I used a simple spinning rod rigged up with a small spinner rig with a single hook, a 3/8 ounce bell sinker, and a half a worm.  Bill had the same rig however he was using a bubble gum colored Gulp trout worm.  It was a gorgeous day as the lake was like a mirror, much different than the 20 mph winds predicted.  Within 2 minutes I had the first fish, a nice 12 inch rainbow trout and by the first hour we had 6 of our total limit of 10.  The next fish was a monster as Bill hooked what he thought was a nice largemouth bass however it definitely felt different.  As it came to the surface he had hooked the largest trout he had ever had so now the pressure was on me to make sure I would land it successfully with the net.  Fishing in a canoe is quite interesting as I was sitting in the front and can't turn around other than twist my body.  My feet are stuck facing forward with the fish bucket between them and the net in my left hand.  This fish wasn't too interested in getting into the net and I wanted to make sure and scoop it head first.  After a few tries I finally was able to get the fish in the net after about a 5 minute battle.  This was too good a fish to simply put it in the bucket and I was concerned that it could flop out of my grip so it stayed in the net.  Luckily we were close to the landing and decided to head back and get a few pictures to savor the moment and recover from all the excitement.   After settling down we headed back out in the lake to see if we could get 3 more trout to fill out our limit. Up to this point Bill had the hot fishing pole however I tend to be the late bloomer and actually caught the last 3 fish including a nice one of my own. We headed back to the bait shop with a nice mess of trout and the plan was to clean them, get something to eat before heading out back again to catch some crappies.

9.25 - 10.25 inch Crappies
Back at the shop we measured the 2 biggest trout,  Bill's went 23 inches and weighed 3 pounds 13 ounces, not bad.  I put my largest on the scale and announce 21 inches!  Bill looked at me and said "Dave, you have to start at the 0 inches end, not the 36 inch end!"..............damn, only 15 inches.  Still a nice fish. After a hot bowl of soup we loaded up his 16 foot Lund and headed to a small lake west of Mille Lacs Lake to try for suspended crappies.  In the fall when the water cools down the crappies tend to suspend over the deep water.  On lakes were the deepest part is 30 - 35 feet, its fairly easy to motor around until you mark them on the depth finder and mark them we did.  Hovering 10 to 15 feet about above the bottom it seemed as though wherever you went in the basin, crappies were there.  It did take a while to find the larger ones as we did catch a number of small fish in that 5 - 7 inch range.  Using the trolling motor to hover on a position we were able to drop our jigs as we watched them fall to the correct depth on the depth finder then work the magic till we get a hit.  Bill had us pull those fish up very slowly as if you bring them to the surface too fast and you release them, their air bladder will keep the fish floating and most tend to die.  Although the eagles like this, we were careful making sure our fish survived the release.  The other thing that I learned is Gulp minnows work very well for this, unfortunately it was somewhat too late as Bill out fished me 3:1.  By the time I figured it out it was time to leave with our 11 fish in ranging from 9.25 to 10.25 inches.  Not monsters by any means but they are nice fish.

Mirror image!
Saturday was spent picking apples and in the afternoon I decided to take the boat out and see if the trolling motor still works.  Because I hit the rocks the week before it would also be a good time to check for any vibrations cause by a possible bend prop shaft.  I decided to try Lake John, just southwest of Annandale, maybe a little far but it has a nice landing and I know the lake pretty well. I will admit that the new boat is taking a while to get used to as it's quite a bit bigger than my old 620T and can be a hand full by myself.  Arriving at the lake it was as I expected, empty landing with the dock still in, perfect for a one man show.  Coming off the trailer nice, I secured the boat, parked the truck, and was ready to go.  Earlier I had set the shallow water alarm on the Evinrude display to 3 feet thinking that would be a great idea yet it's sort of a pain in the butt as I motored out of the landing area into the main lake.  Although it was plenty deep enough the weed tops kept sounding the alarm, I finally shut it off.  With the lake calm and about a mile long I decided to open it up and see what it would do.  With the colder and dense air the motors tend to run faster and I hit a new high in RPM's, 6050 with the fastest MPH at about 60.5.  In the warmer weather and with 2 guys it falls back to about 5850 RPM's and 58 mph.  I suspect that the reports of 62 MPH with one guy and a half tank of fuel (200 pounds lighter) is more than possible.  Like we did on Monday I searched the deeper basin's for crappies but did not have much luck. On the other hand the trolling motor worked perfectly AGAIN!  This time the water was calm and with no wind to set the direction of travel needed to stay in one spot, nevertheless it's performance was fabulous.  No twisting of the cords as the motor only traveled about 300 degrees before reversing itself to change directions.  Previous issues would have the motor just keep rotating until the cords were completely wrapped around the main shaft.  Working different areas, different heading lock modes, and trying the jog functions, everything seemed to be perfect let's hope all of the problems have been solved.

Time is running out as I need to start putting things away for the winter.  The boat heads back to Frankie's on Monday to fix a few things left that need to be addressed.  I've started pressing apple cider and am thinking about trying to make hard cider this year, we'll see.  The mid term weather forecast shows above normal temperatures thru the middle of November, I might just keep the boat available for one more crappie fishing trip yet deer hunting is right around the corner and I need to get ready for that.  For the most part I have finished the work on my Salem Ice Cabin, replaced all the screws with Stainless Steel and finally installed my wheel skirts which should keep things warmer when on the ice.  So much to do, so little time!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Perching, Twice the Fun?!?!

Mississippi River Perch
Hopefully this post keeps me back on schedule but unfortunately the older I get the busier I seem to be, especially this year.  The last 2 weekends have been focused on perch fishing, the first time on October 3rd on Mille Lacs and the second trip was last Sunday with my friend Kevin.  My reasons for going to Mille Lacs were two fold, obviously catching some fish would be nice and I needed to try my reprogramming that I discussed last week.  The unfortunate part of that trip was at the end of the day we were in Vineland Bay and with 4 foot rollers coming in I hit a small rock reef that is tucked back in the bay which did a number on my stainless steel prop and did some minor damage to the edge of my skeg.  I'm really careful but this time I was concentrating on my trolling motor accuracy and had left the GPS scale zoomed in way too much and was on the reef before I even realized it.  It never helps that I was in the tough of the wave as well.  We limped back to the landing and I dropped the prop off at the repair shop to be fixed.  All of this and we didn't catch a single fish.  Looking back at this year, Mille Lacs has been a total disaster in regards to fishing.  I never caught a keeper walleye in fact I never caught a respectable walleye for that matter.  Usually it isn't too hard to find perch in the fall, even if they are in the 6 to 7 inch range, they are still there.  We are waiting for the DNR to determine what the fishing regulations for ice fishing will be for this winter.  The official fishing season for the sake of walleye harvest quotas starts on December 1st and rumors are indicating that there could be a limited harvest for ice fishing, one can only hope. Red lake has turned into my go to walleye spot but it sure would be nice to not drive so far to fish! My next opportunity was last Sunday with my great friend Kevin Aiona.  My wife had a girl's event in Eau Claire and when talking to Kevin about it he suggested I meet him in the morning and we head to Alma to fish above the dam.

Back Channel of the Mississippi Above Alma, WI
That is an offer I simply couldn't refuse and although it would be difficult to launch the boat early in the morning, he accommodated my schedule and by noon we were trolling shad raps on the first wing dam.  It is interesting as it's been about 6 years since I have been fishing in the river above the dam and the river has definitely changed over the years yet there was no doubt I was in good hands.  Our plan was to work our way up to the perch hole by fishing the wing dams along the river.  It was almost like fishing Mille Lacs in the old days, there was a plan and we simply continued to fish spots until we found active fish.  After catching a number of smaller walleyes under 12 inches and losing a couple nicer ones we headed into the calmer water to try for perch.  If you've read my previous report you can see a picture of Kevin with a 14 inch perch, respectable for anywhere and we were ready to catch a few.  The perch were definitely biting however the average size was about 7 inches and there was a lot of them.  A simple small jig under a slip bobber set about 5 feet and it was nonstop action. We did manage to get 4 very nice perch in the 11 - 13 inch range but it took a lot of sorting.  I estimate we probably caught well over 200, along with one mooneye and a number of 5 inch largemouth bass.  Getting tired of the constant action of small fish we headed back out to the wing dams to see if the walleyes were going again. The wind was blowing pretty good up river and Kevin claims this isn't the best for walleyes which proved to be correct.  Surprisingly Kevin caught 2 nice sunfish trolling one of the wing dams with a #4 Salmo crankbait, go figure.  I did take a few pictures of some of the channels that we boated through, it's simply beautiful.

Loaded with Apples
It's definitely apple picking time and I am having a bumper crop of fruit this year.  The McIntosh apples were done a month ago but the Firesides, Harrelson's, and Honeygolds are in their prime right now. Saturday was spent trying to get everything harvested before we get our first hard frost, which looks to be this weekend. The Harrelson tree has always been the most prolific of the 10 or so that I have and there had to be over 8 bushels of nice apples that were picked.  Considering that I probably threw away another 2 bushels that had dropped to the ground over the last month, it's pretty incredible.  They are nice and crisp with few blemishes or worms to worry about.  My plans are to press some fresh cider this weekend while it's still nice out as the apple press is out and ready to go. My neighbor Lory pressed cider last week with it as we have made a few adjustments to the press to make it easier and faster.  He makes wine out of the cider, I simply like drinking it straight however it would be fun to try and make some hard cider out of it, hopefully it doesn't turn to vinegar.  We'll see how much time is left before deer hunting.  I need to get the boat out one more time to test the trolling motor and having added Sea Foam to the gas for storage, it would be good to get it distributed through the system.  My other issue is getting the boat into the dealer and have the few things left that needs to be fixed before storing it for the winter.  As well, I have been putting the finishing touches on the Salem Ice Cabin anticipating another great winter of ice fishing.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Lac Seul, Part 2.

Beautiful Walleye
OK, so I need to get back into my standard routine however being out during the week of fishing on Lac Seul and the fact that I really seem crazy busy these days, It's hard to find any time.  Oh well it doesn't pay to whine does it!  I am still winding down from our trip of 2 weeks ago as it seems like not too long ago the time would never come.  One thing that I love about Lac Seul is the dark stained water produces some really nice looking fish ranging from a bright golden color to dark brown to having a teal colored hue to them. Depending on where you catch them the fish in Wapesi are different than the fish in Tuk Bay verses the ones coming out of the main channel in front of the resort.  Some say that the genetics are different for each area, this might be true and as well I am sure the bottom structures have something to do with it as well.  Bruce claims that the walleyes in Wapesi never leave that bay which is an interesting thought.  Speaking of Wapesi, we did spend the last 2 days fishing Bruce's favorite bay which is about a 15 mile run from the cabin.  So the second real day of fishing was different than the first day as the wind had calmed down somewhat.  There are a couple of spots way back in the bay that we tried and for the most part caught fish however we had to go looking for them.  Now the original plan was to eat fish on Tuesday night, which we did, have steak on Wednesday night then have walleye again on Thursday before we left.  I was somewhat concerned that because we could only have a limit (4 walleyes) each in possession, eating fish on Thursday would leave us short of fillets to bring home as we couldn't have our limit + dinner.  Luckily they saw my Norwegian logic and agreed to have fish on Wednesday then steak on Thursday which left us the need to get 19 walleyes for Thursday.  Fishing was tough but Pete had the secret hole which allowed us to get our limit and the other guys only had to pony up 7 fish, which they did!

Another great Sunset on Thursday night
With a freezer full of fresh walleyes I made Steak ala Kienitz, the same way I did this spring however I used ribeye's instead which are much better.  Leaving Friday morning meant trying to pack up everything early so we could get back to the boat landing and home at a reasonable time.  One of the interesting features on my new Evinrude Etec G2 is the trip computer and because of the distances, gas usage, and price of gas at the resort, it would be really nice to accurately understand your situation.  It actually has 2 separate trip recording modes so I reset the one on Monday prior to leaving the boat landing and heading to camp. On Thursday night it said we had gone 142 total miles and used 39.9 gallons of gas.  The tank holds 51 gallons and not being sure how full it gets plus not knowing the accuracy of the trip computer I decided to put in enough gas (10.5 gallons) to get back to the landing with at worse case about 6 gallons minimum to spare if the fuel usage is +/- 10%.  Arriving at the landing the computer said 177 miles, 49.9 gallons used.  When we finally got back to Pete's I filled up the boat and it took 39.5 gallons which means if you consider the 10.5 gallons in the tank proves that the computer is extremely accurate.  This will help with future trips to better manage my fuel consumption and with high dollar gas purchase it is nice to have the confidence that you know exactly what's in the gas tank.  One other thing it tells me is we sure travel a lot during the trip as it's 35 miles in, 35 out, and interesting that we averaged about 35 miles each day heading to and from our fishing destinations.

Precise anchor control
I have been having issues with my Motorguide front trolling motor and it's ability to successfully hold a position in the anchor mode. Sometimes it works great then the next day it acts as though it loses where it at and goes totally stupid and damn near twisting off all the cords. The picture to the left is a screen shot of our anchoring positions on Lac Seul on Tuesday afternoon on Dan's Hole.  The trolling motor has a jog feature that allows you to move over in 5 foot increments and each spot represents a 15 - 20 foot moves to the right or left, up or back.  By the way, we really did well moving around the point and catching fish, what a great feature. The next day the trolling motor went crazy in anchor mode and started spinning the shaft looking for a position to the point of wrapping the cords up so tight it pulled one out of its exit location. It was very frustrating especially considering how well it worked the day before. Upon returning I called Motorguide to discuss the issue of losing it's place and twisting to the point where a cable had pulled out of the plastic housing.  They suggested I do an upgrade on the software and Ok'd me messing with the cable to reinstall.  Lucky I had to take the brackets apart as the main pivot shaft was missing it's end clips and had come out one side which caused all sorts of issues as well. Actually I am pretty good with all of this and actually fixed the trolling motor better than when it came from the factory.  After upgrading the software with the dongle MG sent me earlier in the week, Lory and I went to Mille Lacs to try it out on Saturday.  Once we calibrated the position and compass functions the motor worked beautifully. Unfortunately it's history has been to work great the first day and not so hot the next so we'll have to try it again next Saturday.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Back From The Big Lake, part 1.

Monday Night Sunset
We finally made it back from a very successful trip to Lac Seul, my fifth one in 2 years now.  Our fall trip usually consists of our fearless leader Bruce, his friend Wayne, my neighbor Pete, Dan the Landscape guy, myself, and a sixth guy who this year happened to be my brother Steve Anderson.  After what proved to be an interesting Sunday night Steve and I got up at 3:15 AM on Monday morning, hooked up the boat and was at Pete's by 3:45.  Picking Dan up at 4:00 we finally saw sunlight about Cloquet, MN.  Meeting the rest of our crew in Orr, MN we crossed the border about 10:00 and sailed right through.  A stop in Dryden to buy groceries and a final stop in Sioux Lookout to get our parking pass for the boat landing (which they ran out again), we were in the water by 2:00 and at camp around 3:15.  The ride into camp is about 35 miles by water and depending on how much gas you want to burn, takes about an hour to 75 minutes.  It's always interesting coming into camp as Bruce pretty much knows the way by heart yet this year I helped him decide to upgrade his 15 year old technology with a Lowrance HDS7 Gen 2 touch and a map chip that shows Lac Seul.  These things look interesting while working in the garage but they really shine when you are using them for real.  Lac Seul can be very tricky to navigate and the GPS with the base maps are pretty nice. Once we arrived it took about an hour to unpack and clean the place, we were able to get out for a few hours of fishing on the point that is just north of camp.  It has a great view to the west which makes for a great place to be as the sun goes down. Getting back into camp we were just in time for burgers on the grill as there was not enough time to do anything with walleyes, besides there was plenty of time in the next 3 days for fish dinners.  The weather was quite warm however a cold front was due thru the area and just after dark the lightening and thunder moved in, not a very long storm but enough to change the weather significantly. After a couple of cocktails to celebrate a safe trip in, everyone was pretty exhausted and by 10:00 we were out!

Pete's 25 inch Walleye
Tuesday was our day in Tuktegweik Bay, an area that we did well last year.  Unfortunately the prior day's 78 degrees was now in the 50's with the wind blowing like crazy. We have some nice fishing spots marked on the GPS however the cold front that came through really put a damper on what I would call a normal day of fishing yet it was still pretty good.  I'm the guy that believes you need to see the fish on your depth finder to make sure that you're not wasting any time fishing an area where there is no fish.  There were plenty of marks on the screen yet most were tight to the bottom, a sign of inactive fish for sure.  We did manage to catch quite a few fish however, including this nice 25 inch walleye that Pete caught. Last year we caught quite a few walleyes that had a blue hue to them, quite pretty and unusual.  We did get a couple that had this coloration but nothing like before.  It was interesting as I really rely on my electronics to help locate and catch fish however both Pete and Bruce, who have many more years of experience, rely on past successes as it relates to where we would fish.  With the cold front quite established, the walleyes had lockjaw and took a lot of patience to get them to bite, but they were there.  Back on our favorite point we exercised my new trolling motor with pin point accuracy to move around in 15 - 10 foot increments which proved to be quite successful.  The walleye size limit is anything 18 - 21 inches must be released and of 4 fish, they all can be under 18 but only 1 can be over 21 inches.  As a rule we like to try and keep only fish in the 16 - 17.75 inch range and releasing everything else.  Although we did catch a lot of fish in that 15 inch range, keeping these would have to wait when we get more desperate!   I suppose we got a total of 60 - 70 walleyes with a few northerns scattered in between, not a bad day, especially after a significant cold front moved through.  Because fried walleye was on the menu that evening we kept 8 walleyes while Bruce's boat turned in 6.  My brother Steve is pretty good at filleting fish so we had those 14 walleyes cleaned in no time and were deep frying them within the hour.  There is nothing like fresh fried walleye to end the day.

36" Northern Pike
I always seem to get a nice northern pike in the 34 - 36 inch range and this year was no exception. I did bring some gear to specifically fish for pike but in the end, one never does as the walleyes take center stage, which is OK.  They are pretty voracious and will slam your jic/minnow combination with vengeance however one only get's lucky about 50% of the time where they hook themselves in the corner of the mouth and your line is fairly safe from being cut off by their sharp teeth and knife like gill plates.  They are fun to fight on light tackle for sure.  The only real problem with northern pike is that they are very slimy and it gets all over the boat, enough that we try to keep it in the net while unhooking then you can wash the net before putting it back on the floor.  Sometimes you simply have no choice and there is white slime all over the place.  Oh well, it does wash off nice!  Actually I replaced the main carpet in the passenger seat side of the boat with a heavy duty outdoor floor mat type material custom cut to fit right in.  This was the best thing I have done to the boat as it certainly takes the abuse of sand, slime, stepped on minnows and garbage that gets dropped while fishing and quite honestly it still looks like new. With two days gone and 3 days to go time was really flying.  I will report on the last 3 days later this week.  Thanks and sorry for being late!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Posting from Cleveland

14" perch, WOW!
I guess maybe I need to stop complaining how crazy it's been, maybe I could get some fishing in sometime.  Actually I am hoping to get a months worth of fishing in next week with 3 1/2 days at Lac Seul, the clock is ticking down.  Writing from the Airspace Lounge in Cleveland-Hopkins Airport with 3.5 hours to kill, it's giving me time to write this weeks post.  As stated, not much fishing has gone on as I was thinking about going last Sunday but it was pretty windy and everyone was busy. On Saturday my wife and I attending a family reunion in Independence Wisconsin and after 5 hours we headed to Eleva to stop at my friend Kevin's place to discuss the upcoming wedding of his son Ben, which we are attending. Of course it doesn't take very long for the conversation to evolve into fishing and Kevin showed me a beautiful perch that he had caught in the Mississippi River earlier in the week.  This thing is huge!  I definitely needed some material for this week and he reluctantly agreed if I promised never to give up his secret, something I wouldn't do anyway.  He has promised to take me there someday and maybe when I get back from Canada, we can make that happen.  In the meantime I am looking forward to a pretty good evening of fish talk with the boys on Saturday.  Our good friend John Felix will be there as well as most of the good old boys from Eleva, it will be a fun time for sure.  The wedding is at a the Barn Again Lodge just Southeast of Mondovi, Wisconsin and it's a pretty cool place.  The reception is in the machine shed, the barn is remodeled and features sleeping quarters, it's nice and self contained for an event like this.  

All Hooked up!
I do not lack in people who claim that I should have my head examined!  Well on Monday I did just that and had an EEG, electroencephalogram at the University of Minnesota Hospital.  I have had some issues with short spells of dizziness and they are trying to pinpoint a possible problem.  The EEG takes about an hour however at least 40 minutes of it is dedicated to attaching 38 different electrodes to your head by first measuring everything then marking the locations with a crayon.  Next they scrub those areas with something that to be honest, my head still hurts where it feels like they used sandpaper.  Next they apply some adhesive before attaching the electrodes.  It was interesting and the good news is they did find some brain activity. One of the tests involve shining a strobe light into my eyes to see how I react, both with your eyes closed then open. Apparently that did nothing for me.  Before they unhooked everything I asked if I could take a selfie as I was sure it looked pretty stupid. I was right.  I won't know the results for a few weeks but the good news is they let me leave. Next on the testing plan is to hook me up to a heart monitor and leave it attached for 2 weeks to see if I have any issues with my heart stopping which could affect the blood flow to my head.  I decided to wait until mid October to do that as I didn't want to be tethered to anything while I was fishing.  Something tells me that won't show anything either but one never knows as I am not getting any younger.  I suspect losing about 20 pounds would hurt either. It's about 3 days before we leave for Lac Seul and the weather is looking very good with no snow predicted like there was this spring. Normally we bring our blue Clam ice fishing suits but I don't think it's going to be necessary this time as it looks like the mid to high 60's are predicted.  The boat is pretty well packed as I have removed all of the unnecessary tackle boxes, packed my boat fenders, updated my electronics including downloading all of my friend Bruce's information on the lake, changed out which fishing rods I would like to bring with, and made room for everyone else's stuff.  The oil reservoir is filled, my spare prop put away, and all of the safety equipment double checked and ready to go.  I certainly don't need any run in's with the the conservation officers.  

Because I will be in  Canada all week, returning Friday, next weeks post may not happen, we'll see. There is extremely slow internet at the cabin and I am sure it will not like pictures but we'll see.  If not, I'll post as soon as I can with hopefully another great report. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Labor Day Labor

My 1 pound Pear
September is looking more like one big blur these days.  With the sun setting earlier each day there seems little time to get anything done, maybe getting older doesn't help either.  The other issue is the amount of rain we've had this summer.  Usually parts of my property gets pretty dry this time of year and requires little mowing but not this summer as we have had frequent and adequate soakings to keep all of the grass nice and green and growing.  The wet weather has taken a toll on a number of trees that are succumbing to fungus and blight and the outcome doesn't look to good.  My favorite apple is the Firesides I have and last year the wet spring killed one of the two I had and now the remaining one is full of fungus.  My Honeycrisp apple trees don't look any better and I have a rather large Sugar Maple that is dying as well so it looks like I have some work to do this winter with the chainsaw.  On the positive side it's been a wonderful year for my pears.  The trees weren't too loaded with fruit so it helps to create fabulous sizes on the pears that were on the tree.  I have included a picture of one of the largest off my Patton Pear tree, it weighs in at about 1 pound and is big as a softball.  Admittedly it's the largest pear I have ever seen come off my tree.  They are actually very good to eat as the fruit is crisp and sweet.  With the help of our neighbors and friends Lory and Lynn Brasel, we got the entire tree picked before they start rotting on the tree, which some have already started.  Later this week her and my wife plan on canning a bunch, something I have never done.  They canned the fruit from my SummerCrisp Pear tree by simply using apple juice instead of a syrup and it's pretty amazing how well they turned out.  Because those pears were smaller they used pint sized jars but these will definitely require quarts.

Flooding as the pond overflows in Eleva
Last week it was very hot, humid, with a strong south wind.  Sunday was no different as we drove down to Fountain City, Wisconsin to visit my wife's cousin and to attend Farm Fest, a small event on the top of the ridge just north of town.  It was pretty interesting to see all the old tractors and engines however I think that the hot weather kept a lot of people away.  Never the less it was nice to spend time with the guys, John, Greg, Bob, and John Charles solving all the worlds problems.  Sunday night had torrential rains forecasted so we headed back only to run into those rains around Alma and drove through some pretty heavy downpours for the next hour.  In my home town of Eleva it was a completely different story as they had severe flooding both from the north coming into the Eleva Pond and from the east when the dam in Strum breached and sent a wall of water down the Buffalo River heading right for Eleva.  Although the water is high in this picture, the damage happened after it had carved a channel through the dike surrounding the old Chicken Plant (now Family Farms) and completely flooded the lower part of the building.  Bud Tollefson use to live in the house below the bridge and definitely in the flood plain however it's been since 1978 when Eleva had the last incident.  Apparently that house had a foot of water on the first floor which meant the basement was completely full.  I called my friend Kevin and his son Ben and got the story, particularly the rush to sandbag critical areas before the wall of water arrived from Strum.  With over 100 volunteers helping, they averted most of the issues but it's still going to be a few weeks before things get back to normal.  They did tell me that it was necessary to pull the planks on the Eleva Dam and at this point the pond is empty.  I am going through on Saturday and see how everyone is doing.

Salsa cooking down
So it obvious that I didn't get out fishing this weekend.  Labor Day means one thing and for me it's not a rest from Labor but a day off from work to labor around the house more. There is still a lot of issues in getting ready for Lac Seul and to be honest, I'll get a month's worth of fishing in a week and with the harvest in peak mode, there's little time to get anything done (Sound like a broken record, uh!).  I did start working on getting the Salem Ice Cabin ready for the winter.  It's amazing that something you pull down a salty road in the winter uses standard steel screw to hold everything in place.  I have been changing them out with Stainless Steel and with some it's simply too late as the heads simply break off or in some cases are already corroded off. Everything is greased up and I like to repaint the frame areas that tend to rust easily, it simply makes it look nicer, that's all.  With the last of the tomatoes ripening I made the last batch of salsa on Monday night.  I've probably said this before but I do think my salsa is pretty good for homemade.  Not as good as fresh but certainly as good as any store bought I've had.  It does take a lot of work and time, about 4 hours to make 7 quarts. This year ended up around 33 quarts, enough for the football season at Tim's, my ice fishing trips at Red Lake, and maybe enough to take for opening fishing next spring.  It's really thick and tomatoey but I am always surprised that once cooked the heat of the peppers seems to wane.  Oh well, it's really easy to spice up and this year I'm going to try a trick that my friend Ricky Shermer does, adds freash cut onions to his salsa that he opens up and serves.  Seems like a great idea. Hopefully I can get out this weekend and make sure everything is working in the boat.  I have had some issues with glueing a panel to the underside of my console that I have bolted my ethernet hub to.  Originally I used Silicon adhesive but that didn't work very well and it fell off.  I've tried GOOP and liquid nails with little luck and believe my initial instinct of using 3M 5200 Marine adhesive will work.  It's hard to find but I need to do something before the following weekend.