Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Snow is gone and so am I!!

Carter Hayes and some beautiful ducks they shot
Tomorrow I leave for Naples, Florida to attend our annual TTA (The Transformer Association) meeting, an association for members of companies who make electrical transformers and coils as well as companies who supply that industry.  I was previously on the board of directors and eventually served as its President for 8 years.  It is a great organization and I have met many good people at the meetings, guys that have experienced the same issues I have for the last 40 years (On January 26th I will be celebrating my 41st year with my company).  Over the years this as well as our spring APEC conference has been a good excuse for us guys to go fishing as we have been to Key West, San Diego, Charleston, Cameron Louisiana, and now Naples.  It's not hard to find a few guys interested in going and especially now that there is no ice here in Minnesota, it's a double pleasure.  I will miss the St. Paul Ice Fishing Show on Sunday however what would one rather be doing, walking a show, dreaming about fishing, or fishing.........not a difficult question at all!  Unfortunately my fishing drought continues as it always does this year however my friend Eric sent me a picture of his son holding what he says are some Bull Canvasback ducks along with a drake Mallard.  Those are some really big ducks and Eric is certainly bringing his son Carter up correctly.  I am not sure how many Carter actually shot but either way he has a handful for sure!!  I have to thank Eric for sharing this and giving me at least a picture to open this weeks post with.  Great job boys!!!

So the plan is to arrive in Naples on Wednesday afternoon then head to our conference hotel.  We will have a day and a half of business then on Saturday we have 8 guys and 2 boats rented to go out in the gulf and do some grouper fishing.  I have never caught a grouper however I have been told that they are fight like crazy and are excellent table fare.  We have a full 8 hour charter and with a little luck we will have enough to bring home so I am taking a soft sided cooler with me and be ready for anything.  I checked the weather for Naples and it is forecasted to be in the low 80's during the day and mid 60's at night, uffda, that will be hard to take!  It looks like next week it will start getting real cold up north and hopefully we will have enough ice to get out on Red Lake by December 17th.  Mille Lacs has opened up to a very limited harvest, 1 fish between 19" and 21", I guess it's something but I'm not holding my breath.  The lake is full of 14 - 15 inch walleyes, I remember when we used to call the lake the home of the quarter pounder, the more things change the more they stay the same!  Hopefully I will have a better report for next week.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow..............

New blanket of the White Stuff this morning
Oh the weather outside's delightful, or so it goes!  Winter arrived in full fashion this week with about 2 inches last week and now another 3 inches before Thanksgiving.  I barely got my potatoes dug before the cold came but I am pretty well set.  The only thing I have to do in the next week is get the mower deck off of my lawn tractor and mount the snowblower attachment and put the cab on, which is no easy task. Unfortunately last year at this time I suffered a stroke while working on these things, admittedly I'm not very motivated to get these things done however life goes on and it's not going to get any warmer, fortunately!  This weather means that the ice should be forming on the lakes and my friend Keith Holtan sent me a picture from the Brainerd MN, newspaper of a guy out on the ice............UFFDA!
I am anxious for ice fishing to start but not that anxious! With the cold weather scheduled for next week, maybe with a little luck we will be able to make it out on Red pretty soon.  I have checked the webcams around Mille Lacs Lake and there is no ice that has formed yet but I suppose this is not surprising as it was 60 out a week ago.   The Accuweather forecast shows that after December 1st the bottom falls out of the low temperatures and maybe December 17th is the more practical date Mark Applen and I can pull up our Salem Ice Cabins for a fishing weekend.  We are anxious to get up and see what JR did to the place as he called me in October to tell us he's remodeled the bar somewhat.  I have check some of the webcams from up north and the big body of waters are still wide open however some of the smaller lakes appear to have froze over.  Either way it will be what is is as going through the ice is not a desirable situation.  Last year we pulled our wheel houses up but had to fish our portables as one could only walk out on the ice.  I suppose it was good exercise!

Heather's nice 8 pointer
Deer hunting is in full swing back home in Eleva, Wisconsin.  My friend Kevin Aiona sent me a picture of his daughter-in-law, Heather, who bagged a beautiful 8 point buck on opening day.  It's nice to see someone get a nice deer, lord knows I never have and probably never will these days!  I still like to deer hunt and it would be nice to get a trophy before I leave this earth however, the chances are getting less as I am less inclined to chase them any more.  It is still fun to see others bag some nice deer. My cousin Greg Nelson's son-in-law is Joe Thomas, a famous Offensive Left Tackle for the Cleveland Browns. Greg is deer hunting his land down in Southeastern Wisconsin and on his land, Joe doe not allow anyone to shoot anything smaller than a 10 pointer, wow, that's a big deer.  Greg claims they really take some nice deer off that land but one could understand why!  Anyway, here's a shout to Heather, nice deer!  I getting ready for Thanksgiving and we are not sure where we will end up these days.  With everything sort of goofed up, mom's not doing too well, the weather is supposed to be ugly, it might just be that we stay close to home this year.  With all the things I have to do yet, it might be the best thing for getting caught up. At least the pins that one has to remove to drop my wheel house to the ice are loose and I am ready to pull it up.  The inside needs a good cleaning as well but for the most part she's ready to go.  One other thing that should be done is to hook up my satellite DirecTV antenna just to make sure it works.  A few weeks ago I did put in a new battery and the furnace has been run, so that's good.

Next week is our annual Fall TTA (The Transformer Association) meeting in Naples, Florida.  I was on the board of directors, including serving as it's President for 2 years.  In that time, instead of giving a feel god speech I started telling Ole and Lena jokes, something to highlight my Wisconsin up bringing.  Well it's been pretty successful and even though I am no longer on the board, the group expects a few Norwegian jokes to be told like this one:  Ole went into the Lumber yard to get some boards.  Sven was working so Ole looked at him and said " I need to buy some boards there, Sven"  "How long do you want'em Ole?"  "Vell Sven, a long time, see I'm building a house ya know!"
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Moving Right Along!

Mr. Schubert and I with a nice Sea Trout
Deer hunting is done for me, at least this year as I hunt Zone 2 which runs through 2 weekends.  I have to admit that this years hunt was quite unusual as I really never had the need to dress warm as the temperatures were well into the 50's all 4 days I hunted.  I never saw a deer, lots of deer tracks, however as my buddy Kevin Aiona would say (I think he got this from either his grandpa Ed or Milo Whipple) "you can't make track soup!"  I am Ok with this, as I did get some venison from Deer Camp as we help cut one up.  I did make a bunch of what has turned out to be a fabulous combination, Bacon infused Venison Burger.  Simply grind a pound of good bacon with 2 pounds of venison trimmings.  It's pretty damn good if you ask me!  Last weekend I headed up to Jack's cabin on Saturday afternoon and hunted Saturday evening out of a stand at Brett's and Sunday morning on Loren's land.  I removed my stand on Sunday then headed over to Bill Lundeens and did some minor electrical work in his garage, a simple task that allows me to help repay his friendship.  Besides, I am not bad at rewiring!  Before leaving our hunting spot we drove over to Loren Tomala's farm to thank him.  He just had prostrate surgery the week before and looked pretty good.  Loren has a wonderful family and it's fun to stop in.  He had all his direct family showing up for there traditional Sunday morning breakfast so we headed out.  Of course 90% of deer hunting is hanging around your friends and through Jack I have met a lot of them. This weeks opening picture is of Mike Schubert, a long time friend and colleague, and I posing with his nice Sea Trout he caught a few years back when we were in Louisiana.  Mike just sent me these last week and it is "Fishin' With Dave" so  what the heck, it's a nice reminder of the great time we had fishing down there.  It also is a great come in to our up and coming Grouper fishing trip in Naples Florida on December 3rd, something I am really looking forward to as it's been a fishing drought as the last time I was out was October 22nd.

To be honest the weather has been extremely nice for this time of year.  Although we have had a killing frost, it has been relatively warm with nothing in the low 20's yet.  It looks like that's about to change with blizzard warnings for Central Minnesota and predictions of up to a foot of snow.  Of course the lakes are still wide open but a little snow on the ground tends to reflect the heat and make it colder out.  The map to the right shows a pretty good band of snow through central Minnesota which should get the ice making machine going in the next couple of weeks!  My Salem Ice Cabin is pretty ready to go, however I do need to let it down to make sure nothing is rusted tight and plan on having this done by the weekend.  The floor needs to be cleaned and everything put away for it's maiden voyage to Red Lake, hopefully by time I get back from Florida, maybe the week of December10th. This year's regulations for Red Lake is the same as last year, 3 walleyes with only 1 over 17 inches.  This is enough so  at JR's Corner Access we can have a nice walleye dinner and take a couple home.  Reports on Red state that the lake is full of 14 - 21 inch fish!  It's interesting as I was talking to my friends about the changing Ice fishing methods.  For years I loved pulling an ATV and my portable, unloading, driving out (sometimes 5 or more miles) then driving in at dark.  Today I really like the camping aspect of ice fishing, pull out the wheel house, fire up the furnace, get the DirecTV hooked up, pour a cocktail and fish from basically my living room. Am I getting more lazy.......you bet!!!  In February I will be 62 so no use pushing it!  Next week is Thanksgiving and in the last few years it is not been consistent what we do, oh well.  This weekend it is planned to go down to my wife's cousin's house in Fountain City so maybe I'll get to visit some of the local wineries or maybe even get to see my brother Steve who probably will do a lot of ice fishing with me this winter.

I would be remiss without mentioning that today is my dear Friend, Tom Emmon's 68th birthday. Even though he is not with us, he lives on through his memories.  Check the labels below and you can find enough pictures of the great times we had together.  I really miss this guy!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Deer Hunting, Good or Bad?

2 smaller 4 point bucks
Well, last weekend was Minnesota's Deer Firearms opening weekend.  I usually hunt with my friend Jack Taylor and his son Ben, we stay at his cabin on Platte Lake, west of Onamia, MN.  There is a lot of deer around the area as it's a good mixture of farm fields, woods, and swamps.  This year we had plenty of rain so the swamps were overflowing with water.  Years back we used to hunt our friend Rich Allen's land but unfortunately his 160 acres is 85% swamp and this year was no exception.  We found ourselves on Jack's cabin neighbor's land, Loren and admittedly it a lot drier  hunting but honestly, doesn't have the deer of our old friend Rich's place has.  Rich died a few years back and his nephew Brett Saatzer has the land now and we still keep his place our focal point for the hunt, actually have used the stands closer in where it's not so wet.  Jack, Ben and I didn't see anything opening morning however Brett's crew ended up with 3 deer, to smaller bucks and a doe.  Brett was bemoaning about the lack of big deer so I suggested that he institute a selective harvest limit on his land, maybe 16" spread minimum or 8 point minimum except if you are under 18, it might help because these buck would have been nice 8 pointers next year.  Oh well, if it's venison you want.........  This years weather was crazy.  In years past I remember breaking ice, trudging through snow, not 2016 as it was 72 degrees on Saturday, short sleeve weather.  I only remember it being this warm back in the 80" when we hunted up in the Roseau area near the Canadian border, it was 65 up there.  Although it go to the mid 30's at night she quickly warmed up in the morning.  I am not complaining however the deer needed to be taken care of.  Jack and I headed to Loren's land on Sunday morning before heading back to Brett's where we helped butcher the deer. With no wind blowing on Saturday, I called my friend Bill Lundeen and suggested we go crappie fishing, it would have been a perfect day for it.

View from my stand
Sunday was a repeat of Saturday, temperatures in the low 70's a pleasure to hunt if you got cold easy yet the deer weren't moving much during the day.  Minnesota's deer hunting coincides with the rut and often the bucks are running all over the place.  I think that most of their running was at night because I did not see a deer either day.  Oh well, all that really was important was to get together with the guys and enjoy what success we had. My recent Outdoor News claims the deer harvest is down 7.5% from last year and the DNR has been trying to catch up on which way it want's to go with the deer harvest.  The last 5 years of liberal doe tags have taken it's toll on the deer population and of course the warm weather doesn't help at all, as the DNR says the population is up.  Oh well, with the relatively mild winters we have and the desire to increase the population, who knows what next year will bring?  I do know that our traditional Steak dinner at Brett's on Friday night will hopefully never change!

Well, the Mille Lacs harvest saga continues with the DNR releasing the winter regulations for walleye fishing on Mille Lacs.  It will be 1 fish and it has to fit within the 19 - 21" slot.  Personally I think it's simply a repeat of the same regulations that got us in trouble in the first place.  At Lac Seul the Canadian DNR has figured that these fish are the most prolific spawners and all fish from 18 - 21 inches have to be released.  Here we allow the Indian's and the anglers to take all of the good fish with the intent of leaving the correct amount of poundage in the lake regardless if they are big and eat the lake out of house and home, or small enough to be caught in the nets prior to spawning.  Uffda is all I can say.  Red Lake should be good this year however this warm weather does not bode well for early ice.  Never the less I am ready to go!  The countdown to my Florida Grouper fishing trip is happening and in 3 weeks I will be on a flight heading south.  Until then the warm weather is allowing me to get some of my procrastination taken care of!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Getting ready for Deer Hunting

Matt's 23" Seatrout
Admittedly it's getting harder and harder to get ready for the deer hunting season.  It's not that I don't like to get out and it is a good filler for the time between open water fishing and ice fishing however crawling up a tree and sitting there all day hoping a deer walks by, well at least it's supposed to be in the upper 50's this weekend.  Last weekend I did use the winterizing function on my big outboard however I forgot to start my kicker motor and run some of the treated gas through that.  My concern is that the last time I ran it was with ethanol blended gas, not good on carbureted engines.  The kicker is a bitch of a motor to start anyway but I was determined to run some treated gas through it, well not much has changed as although I did get it started it was only through pouring gas in the spark plug holes, not good for a new motor.  I may have to bring it back to Frankie's and have them look at it because something is not right.  So I didn't go out this week however my good friend Matt Davis from the Dallas, Texas area sent me a picture of his largest sea trout he's caught, a beautiful 23 incher.  Sea trout are excellent table fare and Matt is quite proficient at fishing them and redfish out of a kayak.  It seems like this would definitely be the way to fish rainbows instead of a canoe, like we did a couple of weeks ago, but I suspect it's just another thing to learn!  I met Matt through the Transformer Association and he is a good friend of my good friend Joe Stanfield.  Back a few years back we were having a conference in Fort Worth, Texas in March and Joe arranged a fishing trip in the brackish waters of Western Louisiana.  Matt was there and we had a heck of a good time.  Matt is joining us next month in Naples, Florida for our fishing trip for Grouper, it should be a blast.  Anyway this is a very nice fish and you have to admit, not a bad picture either!!

How true, How true!!

So, I can't wait till this political season is over!  I don't like to make my blog political at all, half of you guys would probably leave. On the other hand a little poke at my fellow fisherman would probably be tolerated so here goes. The picture to the right says it all for us diehard walleye guys.  Not that bass are easy to catch but certainly they don't seem as finicky as the almighty walleye. Like anything else it's down to a matter of opinion however as I tell my Facebook friends, anything you post is the same as saying it yourself so be careful!  After last weeks adventure to Wisconsin's Walleye Capital, ok, we got 4 walleyes total, they were tough to get. Even fishing walleyes through the ice on Red Lake can be challenging yet it is enduring for sure. Speaking of ice fishing, even though the weather for the rest of the week is supposed to be in the 60's, by Tuesday the bottom is about ready to drop out.  I looked at the monthly forecast for Red Lake and towards the end of November they are predicting below zero weather, enough to make ice fast.  Hopefully it will not be on Dec 3 when they open the access for wheel houses yet in 2014 we drove out of JR's Corner Access on Red Lake the Friday after Thanksgiving so one never knows.  Either way I am looking forward to this year's hard water season as I got my Salem pretty much ready to go.  New tires, new battery, I still need to make a dry run and fully let it down and that should happen next week.  Unfortunately I will be gone the weekend of the St. Paul Ice Fishing Show, it's a bittersweet situation.  I do enjoy going to the show however I would not give up my Florida Grouper fishing trip for it.........so many things to do, so little time.

Anyway, good luck to all you deer hunters out there, be safe and if you get a dandy, send me a picture as I need some interesting stuff this month to write about.