Thursday, April 5, 2018

Relentless Winter!

Snow depth at the pole barn!
Well the winter of 2017-2018 is really testing one's patience these days.  With a good 8 inches of snow on the ground and for the most part, it's still snowing.  We received about 9 inches the last few days and the temperatures have been almost 20 degrees colder than normal.  With the Minnesota Fishing opener about a 5 weeks away and with most lakes up north reporting up to 36 inches of ice, it's starting to look like a repeat of 2013 when we could not get out on Leech Lake as it was totally iced up.  Although we did stay at the resort, we did so to keep the tradition going as we all headed home on Sunday.  It would appear as though the Canadian Fishing Opener might be in jeopardy as well.  A lot can happen in 5 weeks however the cold looks like it will hang on till about Tax Day, April 15th before it starts to act more like normal.  It doesn't take long as the days are longer and the sun is more intense.  My experience with late ice on fishing opener has not been that bad, actually on of the best years we experienced on Leech was when the ice officially went out on the Saturday of opening fishing, I remember scooping up ice for the cooler from the edge of the ice and open water on the lake.  We did very well and caught a lot of those big female walleyes that were in the shallows and still in prespawn.  I guess we never know what Mother Nature will throw at us but I can assure you that it is getting quite old blowing heavy wet snow this time of the year!!  Oh well, there's little we can do and you can be assured that bitching about it hasn't really solved anything.  The good news is we got our Team Walleye hats and because it's our 45th Annual this year we did embroidered hooded hockey style sweatshirts, both look really good and if nothing else, we'd be styling this year!

1/4 oz Gapen Crawfish Ugly Bug
Last week was my experience meeting Dan Gapen at the Sportsman Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  It was a great experience which lead to the ordering of some of his signature baits like the pictured Ugly Bug, as well as a number of his old DVD, Classic series on fishing walleyes and smallmouth on rivers.  Well the order came in and it's pretty exciting.  After watching the DVD's it was quite interesting.  The main purpose of getting the DVD's is to better understand how to fish the Mississippi River that runs behind the house.  Although we do catch the occasional walleye, I am interested in learning more about reading the river and walleye locations within the system.  The walleye DVD was exclusively Canadian Shield area rivers, usually fast flowing, full of boulders, and fish.  Although interesting, it did not fulfill the original intent of purchasing them.  The second DVD was filmed on the Mississippi River about 20 miles north of me and was exactly what I was looking for!  Filmed with Dan in his small jon boat, similar to the one I own, the descriptions of areas to fish and the film demonstrated the exact areas that one encounters when on the river.  I am already excited to try my new found knowledge, if it ever warms up!!  Being interested in possibly more DVD's that feature the Mississippi, a quick phone call and a followup e-mail brought the appropriate response.   Ordering three more DVD's, they might simply be repeats of what I already have but they are pretty easy to watch and hopefully they will arrive soon.  The Ugly Bug jig has been around for a long time and it was never a standard in the boat however I did pick up a good number of them.  In the DVD's, Dan shows exactly the how and why's to this bait and it seems logical.  Hopefully it may help the catch rate at both the Minnesota Opener as well as the Canadian Opener. 

We spent Easter with my wife's relative's in Eau Claire, the same guys I fished with on Palm Sunday.  We got to remiss about what we should have done as fishing wasn't very good.  Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.  Hopefully the boat will start to take shape as the step on the winch tree needs to be re-welded. the depth finders need to be installed and the rest of my gear needs to be put away.  5 weeks will come in a hurry!

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