Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Fishing in the Deep Freeze

Sunday morning Temperature -25.3F  Brrrrr.
Well, I went to Red lake last weekend for my third trip of the year and definitely the coldest trip I had been on and certainly it wasn't without it's problems.  My guests were my brother Steve and good friend Keith Holtan.  Steve drove up from LaCrosse, WI and we had to pick Keith up at his winter home in Brainerd.  Leaving about 9:30 we headed up and stopped at Bills to pick up some wild rice for JR and some minnows, plus I always like to stop and say hi.  The plan was to call Keith from Garrison however my cell phone decided to quit working about then and I got 1 last call in as we approached Brainerd. Luckily Keith was ready and it didn't take but 5 minutes and we were off to JR's.  Heading up highway 371 we went through Walker and stopped at Reeds where Keith's friend worked.  I found a nice shirt, we headed out towards Cass lake and the shortcut to Blackduck.  From there we headed up Hwy 72 and arrived at JR's about 2:00.  Hooking up the Salem we pulled it up to the access and had them fill our empty 30# propane tank.   With below zero weather scheduled we didn't want to run out of heat.   The other problem is that as stated earlier, my phone wasn't working and Russ was already set up and I had planned on fishing by him.  Luckily my brother Steve's phone worked and although I didn't have Russ's number, I had forwarded him a text from Russ and we were able to call him. He was out about 4 miles so we headed out.  We got about 3 miles out when we heard a big clunk as I looked back and saw the wheels on the Salem locked up.  Here the receiver hitch had completely pulled out of the hitch, apparently when I had Keith insert the hitch pin the hitch was not inserted all the way and the pin sat behind instead of through the hitch.   I was surprised that it lasted this far and thought that it would have pulled out right away.  The fact that it has quite a bit of tongue weight probably answers that but eventually we got everything hooked up and back on the ice road towards Russ's.  Also my friend Andy Achmann and his brother Pete were coming up so I remember my friend Jack's phone number and we left a message from Steve's phone to text us Andy's number, which he did.

My first Walleye of the Trip!
That worked perfect as Any and Pete came up on Saturday however had to replace a leaf spring on Andy's Ice Castle and that took about 5 hours in -6F weather.   When we got to where we wanted to set up out little incident a mile ago was evident as there was stuff scattered all over the inside as the inside doors opened up and spilled the contents. As I drilled the holes, Steve and Keith started jacking up the house to pull the pins on the axles.  With 3 guys, setup works pretty good and fast as I barked orders!  Once set up we touched base with Russ and Mike who was set up in the morning, the bite was going pretty good for them.  The plan was to see if we could get enough fish for us and go in and have a fish dinner.  The fish cooperated as we got 4 pretty fast including the nice on pictured here.  This fish basically inhaled my spoon tipped with a minnow head.  It was about 17 inches, perfect for eating.  We definitely got enough fish to eat as we only needed about 2 walleyes per guy and headed in at around 6:30, cleaned the fish and turned them in.  Along with Russ's infamous horseradish flavored tarter sauce, it's all we needed and ate fresh walleye on Friday night.  Getting a good nights sleep we got up to a good bite and by 1;30 in the afternoon we were ready to go in so we could eat and get back for the sundown bite and watch the Packer game.   Andy and Pete got their spring fixed and ended up setting up about 75 yards from me, which was good.  They came over to watch the game and have a few and talk about their struggles with the spring.  I know that year ice castles had spring issues and I'm glad they got it fixed.  The problem is that Saturday night thru Sunday morning was supposed to be cold, REAL cold, in fact at 7:30 game time the temperature outside the ice house was -15F.  As you see in the first picture, it got down to -24.3 F and my Honda Generator didn't like it.  It kept stopping after about 30 minutes of running in the cold, I'm sure the carb was icing up.  I wasn't sure what to do other than go out and restart it.  almost everything runs off my 12 volt battery and we were safe inside but it made me nervous not having backup power.  It stayed warm in the house but I still didn't sleep very well and got up at 4:00 AM and went outside and started my truck.   Steve got up about 6:00 and shut it off and by 8:00 it would turn over but not start, I had to get Andy to jump me.  I am sure that the battery voltage was too low and it was probably a little flooded.  We finally got it started, put the Salem back at JR's and headed south to drop Keith off and of course Steve had another 4 hours of driving.

Upon arriving at home I started researching how to keep the generator running in cold weather and found a couple of things, a cold weather kit that heats up the breather tube to prevent icing, also it was suggested that I cover it with a blanket to do the same thing.  I do plan on heading up the last weekend in January to fish and will probably pull the Salem home.  I would like to fish more on Red however it is 250 miles from Dayton and one almost has to take a day off to fully experience everything.


Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

It was a great weekend. Thanks for everything....and especially for your kind description of my screw up with the pin.

I'm back in warmer temperatures now. That would be Alaska. Go figure.


Dave Anderson said...

Don't worry about the pin. Little harm done!!