Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Lake Fork Here we Come!

Lake Fork Largemouth Bass
Time sure seems to fly these days!  This Friday is when I head to Dallas to be picked up by my friends Matt Davis and Joe Stanfield.  We are headed for the Mustang Resort (no, not the Mustang Ranch!) for a day of hopefully trophy largemouth bass fishing.  Here is an excerpt from their website: Lake Fork is the number one trophy bass lake in the United States. The spectacular fishery has produced bass up to and including the Texas State Record of 18lbs., 3oz.  I checked what Minnesota's State record largemouth bass weighed in at.....8 lbs 6 oz, wow that's almost a 10# difference.  My goal would be beating the Minnesota State Record, we'll see!  Lake Fork is a reservoir just northeast of Dallas.  It is stocked with the Florida Strain of Largemouth Bass which are famous for growing to large proportions, especially in Texas and California.  We are in the prespawn period, just before the fish spawn and the big females are especially heavy from the eggs developing inside them.  The research says that the water is still too cool for spawn but the fish are feeding nonetheless.  We have a guide for Saturday and I am looking forward to learning a few things about fishing down south.  Our original plans were to go further south and fish the Gulf area for saltwater fish but the hurricanes of this past summer has put a damper on fishing, fishing areas, and places to stay.  I suspect in a few years things will get back to normal in those areas however I am really looking to experience fishing Lake Fork Reservoir, it will be a new experience for sure, something that I love to do!

Winning perch, 2.05 pounds 
Last weekend was the Annual Johnson's Portside Perch Extravaganza held at Hunter's Point Resort on the east side of Mille Lacs.  This is one of the biggest events on the lake in the winter, it is not a fundraiser but rather a for profit event by one of the owners of Johnson's Portside in Isle, MN, Steve Johnson.  The event consists of  3 parts, the perch fishing contest, the hat competition, and the general drawing.  I suspect that over 8,000 tickets are sold each year and the prizes for the drawing are pretty substantial like 2 Ice Castle wheel houses and 2-4 wheel drive UTV's, powered ice augers, and many nice prize packages.  The drawing is of course the main event with the Biggest perch being next with the hat contest being 3rd.  Every year for the last few years one has to wonder about the perch contest.  This year's winner weighed 2.05 pounds, an awfully big perch for Mille Lacs.  Not being smart enough to say anything other than in the 35 years I have been ice fishing Mille Lacs, I have never caught a perch over 1.50 pounds, ever.  An observation, we used to head out to the Sliver Flat, drill a couple of holes just off the 25 foot edge and catch 15 nice 12" - 14" perch all the time. Today it's a lot different and you'd be lucky to find a couple.  We know the adult population of perch is down but just maybe the ones that are left are huge, like this one!  Oh well, one can make their own conclusions, and maybe I am missing it but what the heck, not much of the prizes are for the biggest fish anyway so in the grand scheme of things, it may not make anything difference either way.  Because of the pending storm that predicted for Saturday night, I chose to simply drive up, see my friend Bill, buy a couple of tickets and meet my friends out on the ice for the traditional BBQ Ribs.  It wasn't hard to find them and ribs we had.  Mark, Russ, and Randy had their houses together so I decided to fish Mark's house until we headed to the drawing at 2:00.  After all of this, there were no numbers called that had any meaning to me so I headed back to Bills around 5:00, and of course, just when the heavy snow started to fall.  After making it to Bills, dropping off some equipment, and picking up some Maple Syrup for this weekend, I was on the road at 8:30, what a mess.  It had snowed at least 6 inches in a broad band stretching my entire journey, got home in time to shovel and get the truck put away, the rest could wait until the morning

So the rest of the week is for packing and getting ready to go.  We have caught up with the snow totals for the year and by the end of the week much of it will be gone with temperatures climbing to the 50's next Sunday.  That's fine with me as I have much to do in the pole shed to get it cleaned up.  The electronics need to be reinstalled back in the boat as the boat is at Bruce's enjoying the warm winter storage.  He is heading south on his self piloted airplane vacation so it will be sometime in the next 3 weeks and she'll be ready to go!  Getting back from Texas late next Wednesday here's hoping to have a good report.  It's looking like my next trip will be an ice fishing one with my wife's uncle Andrew and his crew somewhere near Rice Lake, Wisconsin.  

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