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.

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