Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Ready to Go

Northland 1/4 oz Fireball Jig
Ready or not, Leech Lake here I come!  To be honest I am not as excited as about opener as in previous years. Time seems to march so fast that what we planned back in January is almost like it was yesterday and last year's opener was like it was a month ago.  Oh well, the joys of getting old. The 2014 opener was almost like 2013 with a very late spring and the predicted bite on Leech was nothing to brag about, still we did catch fish.  This year it's totally different as the ice went out 3 weeks earlier and we have had a spell of nice warm weather, the spawn should be well over with and the fish in a hungry mood.  This should help our success tremendously.  One downside might be that with the current conditions and regulations on Lake Mille Lacs there will probably be a big crowd on Leech with the hot spots having a lot of pressure.  It's okay if most people are simply drift fishing while pulling a jig as this is pretty effective on opener.  If they decide to try and troll or God forbid, anchor (I've seen before) it can be a zoo.  On the other hand using a 1/4 ounce Northland Tackle Fireball Jig, a nice green or chartreuse color seems to work the best, paired up with a 3 inch shiner minnow and voila, a walleye smorgasbord at it's finest.  Speaking of shiner minnows, the last couple of years the supply of these morsels have been tight and in fact 2 years ago the ice wasn't even off Leech so luckily we didn't need minnows for bait.  With the early spring this year we should be in really good shape.  Team Walleye orders about 4 gallons of shiners, we used to bring fatheads but nobody really liked using them. The problem with shiners is they are more fragile than fatheads so if the boats don't take care of them, they go to waste and they are much too expensive to throw out.  It's a lecture I give every Friday night to the guys.  The other thing that the early spring will do is help the shad rap bite.  It was the winning strategy last opener as my boat pulled in 12 walleyes from 8:00 - 10:00 on Monday night to clinch highest point award for most fish caught.  The conditions will be very favorable for hitting some of those deeper spots like Grandville Flats as the bigger females tend to migrate from the shallower spawning areas after they've rested for a week or so.  Once there those big females tend to put on the feedbag and it can be very productive.  Either way, boat or no boat, I have a number of strategies that will definitely be in play this weekend.

New Fish Frying Device
Usually Saturday night at fishing camp is steak night with Sunday night marking our usual walleye feed.  Years ago I bought a special Cajun Cooker for frying all sorts of things and it tends to do a very good job.  Unfortunately it takes almost 4 gallons of cooking oil and about an hour to heat up to the correct temperature.  I does an excellent job by keeping the oil on the bottom of the cooker cool therefore the stuff that sinks doesn't burn and ruin the rest of the oil but I have to admit, it can be a pain to setup, get hot, then clean after one's done with it. This year I got an open kettle type cooker with a stainless steel frying basket.  I am sure that we will have to change out the oil a few times but in the end it will be faster and easier to clean up.  This year I bought some liquid shortening from Costco instead of soybean oil.  The word is the liquid shortening withstands heat better and will last longer than regular oil, we'll see. We started having a walleye fry at fish camp as the joy's of eating fresh walleye out weighed taking home frozen fish.  The hats need to be picked up and we'll buy the bait on the way up on Friday morning, other than that everything seems to be a go. Hopefully I'll have a good report next week of record sized walleyes and numbers just jumping in the boat.  So until Friday, I am still organizing Mark's boat, learning the best places to store stuff, deciding what to bring and what not to bring as sometimes I am worse than a woman, want to be prepared for everything.

The weather has let me get way ahead of planting the garden as the first rows of sweet corn went in Tuesday night.  This is at least 3.5 weeks ahead of last year and should get me some great eating towards the end of July into August.  The weather has been much drier than last year allowing me to really go to town, which is nice as my fishing schedule is pretty busy until the May 20th.  Heck, last year I didn't even start planting till after June 1st and everything didn't start ripening till after Labor Day.  My boat should be here in exactly 2 weeks, I sure wish it was here now but you know what they say, patience is a virtue!  Wish me luck.


David Grant said...

I'm so excited about the opener. Wish my family was doing something. Can't wait to see the totals hopefully they will be big. The new fish frying device sounds cool (you always have to love Costco) wish the new boat was in but hey at least you've gotta boat. Good luck with the opener!

Dave Anderson said...


You and your dad could certainly come up and fish with us, there are empty cabins!