Sunday, January 7, 2018

Fishing in the Deep Freeze

Nice 22 inch walleye
My last post discussed the passing of my cousin Julie and the funeral was on December 28th.  My original plan was to head up to Red on the 27th and fish till Saturday however we changed our plans and headed up right after the funeral.  It wasn't a very good travel day however my brother Steve was at the funeral with us so he drove up to the house afterwards, I met him at the pole shed then we went and picked up my neighbor Lory and we headed up about 6:00.  It's a 4 1/2 hour drive from the house to JR' and we got there about 10:30, right on schedule.  The temperature was a constant -10 F all they way up with the forecast of -25 for red the next few days.  Russ and Mark were already on the lake so we paid Adam, hooked up the house and headed out on the lake, 3 miles straight out then left a half mile.  Unfortunately everyone hear left which was right, assuming at the 3 mile mark however they were on the right side (after turning left) so a quick phone call to mark and Russ and we found where they were parked.  It takes about an hour to set up and the temperature had fallen close to -20 but by 12:30 we were snug in the house with the heat making it comfortable.  I didn't want to hook up the DirecTV but we did get the generator going fine in the Generator box I had bought from JR last year.  Even though I have a cold weather kit on the generator, it still doesn't like running in the sub zero temperatures.  In the box it was nice and cozy and ran all weekend, in fact I never shut it down.  Along with the extended run auxiliary tank, it was perfect. We were pretty wound up at that time so we put in a movie in the builtin DVD player in the TV.  "What About Bob" a great choice and one of the movies that we decided in Alaska was one of each of our favorite movies, which also includes The Big White, with Robin Williams, Second Hand Lions, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.  Even though the movie lasted until 2:30 we sat back and enjoyed ourselves actually catching 2 fish before officially retiring to bed.  With the outside temperature at -22, we slept comfortable in the Salem.  Friday morning we got up and the boys made breakfast while I got the DirectTV hooked up.  There were some bowl games scheduled and they always make the day go better.  A good helping of bacon and eggs, some orange juice and we were set for the day.  We ended up with enough fish to have a nice walleye dinner at JR's that night but not without me catching a nice 22 inch fish, which I decided to let go.  These bigger fish are females and when you clean them they are just full of eggs.  The fish are fat and healthy and we had enough for that night, away she swam.

Steve's nice 14 inch crappie
On Friday we had 8 nice fish and we did eat them all returning to the house ready to keep the action
going.  Unfortunately the skies cleared and we were in for another cold night.  Steve had caught this nice 14 inch crappie, what Red Lake was known for and we usually get one or two a season.  Along with a northern, the fish bite really slowed down for us.  Mark had his son in law, Brandon and his son Beckett, Russ had a few of his guests and they had been there since Wednesday so both of them headed out on Saturday morning.  We decided to stick it out till Sunday and wow, the bottom dropped out of the temperature on Saturday night.  Under clear skies I am sure we hit -30 as it was -28 when we got up Sunday.  Saturday was a bust for fishing and we only caught 1 walleye for the last 24 hour period.  Luckily Lory brought some sausages and a jar of his homemade sauerkraut, it was still pretty good.  Sunday morning we got up and started to get ready to leave.  It was damn cold I can assure you that, thank the Lord my truck started just fine.  The morning before, Russ's truck needed to be plugged into the generator in order to start but then again he has a Ford........Ok just kidding!  We did have 1 walleye so we parked the house in the parking lot, cleaned the fish and took off.  Red Lake is in the low land area just north of Bemidji, what is left of the ancient Lake Agassiz, a very large lake that was formed by the melting of the glaciers during the last Ice Age.   You can actually see the edge of the lake as you drive north of Kelihor (the last town before Red Lake) on Highway 72 and drive down into the lake bottom, the entire plane life changes, it is even more dramatic when you go west of Bemidji through a town called Gully.  Being it's old lake bottom the cold air really settles into this low spot and it's awfully cold for sure!   The cold weather really shut down the walleye bite however it has definitely made for good ice on the lake.  Unfortunately when the warm temperatures return the ice will expand and start heaving up, therefore bridges will have to be dragged on the lake to get across these tough spots.

This weekend was family time with a gathering in Arcadia Wisconsin.  Next weekend I plan on getting back up to Red and fish one more time before I drag the house back at the end of the month.  It is suppose to warm up this week into the mid 30's.  As well the St. Paul Sports show is coming in a couple of weeks.  Word has it they are catching walleyes on Mille Lacs so that will be my focus for February, we'll see how that goes.  There is still some crappies to be had somewhere and after the Superbowl the neighbors and I are planning on making venison bologna.  February is the MD and M Show for work in Anaheim, CA...that will be a nice break.Lot's of stuff going on, that is for sure!

1 comment:

Mike Worms said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time on Red. Maybe I'll see you this weekend up at Mille Lacs. If you go where do you normally take out your wheelhouse?