Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Time For Mille Lacs

Marcus with a 26.5 inch walleye
With the success of my friend Ben Aiona on Mille Lacs last week, it was time to head on up and try our luck.  My friend Greg "Bone collector" Kimblom and his 17 year old son Marcus were guests on the boat last Sunday.  Meeting at Cabela's was easy, it's on the way for me and very convenient for them as they drove up from Elk Mound, Wisconsin.  Marcus fishes in his high school fishing club and had never been to Mille Lacs, so the pressure was on!  The largest walleye he had ever caught was 17 inches, a number that I assured him we could beat.  A quick drive through for coffee at McDonalds before we headed north.  On the way we stopped for gas then onto Lundeen's for bait, licenses, and time for me to fix Bill's line counter, which took alot more thinking than one should have to do on a Sunday morning.........oh well, it's fixed.  Also I picked up my 4 bladed stainless steel prop that Ben dropped off last week.  Bill has a guy that makes the rounds picking up props, repairing them, and dropping them back off at his shop.  He does an excellent job and it looks like new again.  Even though it wasn't that bad, I am not interested in saving $200 and later watching my lower unit go bad.  Picking up crawlers and leeches, we headed to the landing, loaded up everything and motored to a spot on Sherman's Flat called the cut.  We had about a 15 MPH wind right out of the southwest and to be honest, I am not a big fan of my new wheel boat on Mille Lacs as having tiller boats for the last 35 years, admittedly I had a process.  That process has really changed and part of the problem is that I haven't fish Mille Lacs very much since being spoiled by Lac Seul, which the fishing suits my boat better.  I am getting better and  I suppose it wouldn't hurt to practice more often!  Oh well.  With the southwest wind it set up the perfect drift up the edge of the flat.  Using the trolling motor, we would edge the boat just off the flat then the wind would blow us back on the top of the flat at a gradual angle.  It wasn't back trolling but close!  We managed to get 2 walleyes off the cut before heading out to 7 Mile Flat which was suppose to be the hot spot.  We did manage another fish their however it wasn't on fire like all the reports.  Next stop was 9 mile flat where the same strategy as on the cut was implemented,  let the wind push you up the east edge as one used the trolling motor to adjust the depth and drift.  Interesting, we approached the south end of  9 mile, there was a larger Skeeter boat putting up his Bimini Top, I suppose we got within 25 feet of him.  His first words were..he didn't know this was the hot spot!  I simply asked him what direction was he heading, up the east side or West side.  With a confirmation that it was the west side, I assured him our paths will never cross!  Never the less that was slow as well.

Hey Greg, Some say I look goofy!
Next stop was 5 mile gravel, maybe they are on the gravel........ ended up at 3 Mile Reef first so we casted for smallies with zero luck before we headed more south.   5 mile gravel had fish on it but nothing was very cooperative.  With 2 more places in mind so we headed directly to the Southwest corner of the lake where the water was significantly calmer then gave the boat controls to Marcus.  Without hesitation he took the wheel and we headed up the shoreline to what I call Eddy's Reef. Admittedly it was fun to let a 17 year old drive the Ranger with a 250 hp motor, something he has never experienced.  He did a fabulous job of handling the boat and getting us to our next destination both in a timely fashion as well, we survived the trip!  Setting the Motorguide I5 as an anchor, we rigged up 3 slip bobber rigs and before long Marcus was holding his largest walleye ever, a 26.5 incher as shown in the first picture.  the fish bite soon after we got settled in yet this was our only fish, uffda.  Next taking a clue from Ben Aiona's report of last week, we finished the day bobber fishing off Indian Point.  I know we were a little early so I went a little deeper yet by 6:30 we were done as these boys had to go back to Elk Mound later in the evening.  It wasn't the best trip for catching however we did have a good time and Marcus got to see how we did it on the big lake.  The fish we got were pretty nice and after stopping to see Bill, we had dinner at Chico's just south of Onamia, a nice place to unwind after a day for hard fishing.  It was hot and windy, how is that for an excuse???  It was still nice on the lake but amazingly hot on shore.  We did run across 2 large dead floating walleyes, and a real nice tullibee, the water temperature was pretty warm. 

I use only Turn Turn baitholder hooks on my crawler rigs as the walleyes tend to hook themselves rather than having to let them take the bait and often swallow it.  Greg (pictured above in the goofy hat) is an interesting guy.  He works for a company that harvests bone, veins, and various other tissues from those who have Donor designations.  Often time people don't realize how important his work is and how one in death can make a huge difference to someone who needs these "parts".  I am always amazed at his courage and dedication to his job and what he does for all of us.  I am working on getting the Jon boat out to start fishing the river soon.  My future events include a day at the EAA in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, my good friend Bruce and another pilot friend have invited me to ride along for a day as we fly there in the morning and back in the evening.  I've already got my ticket and am looking forward to it as they have a squadron of C47 aircraft there, the same airplaine my dad flew in 1948 while he was stationed in Panama as he joined the newly formed United States Air Force.  August 3rd I head back up to the Northwest side of Lac Seul and fish with my cousin Paul, Brother Steve, Mike Worms, and the Joyce clan.  This is my longest trip of the year and I am looking forward to it again!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

4th of July Rememberance

My Good Friend, The Late Tom Emmons
My apologies however this 4th of July has got me missing my good friend Tom Emmons as this was our traditional fishing day, we usually went out every 4th of July to Mille Lacs for the day and sometimes we'd stay till dark to watch the Garrison Fireworks from the boat.  I know that this is a repeat post but sometime keeping memories alive is more important!  Tom was the perfect friend, a big mass of a person that would give you his shirt off his back if he could.  He loved going to Mille Lacs with our friend Tom McAtee and myself, the 4th of July was always good for fishing the flats with crawlers and spinner rigs.  We always good some nice fish and as stated, it became a tradition anyway so the date was automatically put in our calendars.  Tom was a Viet Nam era veteran and although did not serve in Viet  Nam, he was a dog handler/guard in the Army and was in charge of guarding the USA's nerve gas stores in Okinawa.  Military life was not too bad for Tom however it did change him for the rest of his life, unfortunately.  In the end Tom was dependent and despondent, and eventually ended his time on Earth way to early.  So I sat down on Tuesday wishing something that can never be again, Tom was going to show up tomorrow and we'd head out for our annual July 4th trip to Mille Lacs.  Instead the boat sat in the pole shed, waiting to hooked up and pulled somewhere.  I guess when you get something in your head what simply cannot be, it takes some of the wind out of your sails.  One can simply be lucky to have memories as none of us can change the past.  Anyway, to you Mr. Emmons, I miss you tremendously. 

So someone did some fishing this weekend as I still am getting caught up with my chores around the
Ben and His Son Jared.
house from being gone in Canada last month.  My good friend Kevin Aiona's son, Ben called me about Mille Lacs Lake.  The fish have really been biting and he wanted to go on up to try his luck.  Last year Ben bought a Ranger 618T with a 90 hp Merc tiller and after being in aluminum all his life, I know he's enjoying the advantages that fiberglass has on bigger water.  The fish Devils Lake alot however that is quite a ways for them, so Ben, his wife Heather, and their son Jared ended up at Eddy's resort.  They stopped by my work on the way up as I gave him my detailed map chip for his Lowrance, as well my prop was a little bit dinged up from the trip to Wapesi last month, so I had him drop it off at Lundeen's to get fixed, he has a guy that picks them up and does a nice job for quite a bit less than the prop shops in the cities charge.  I gave all of my hot spots to Ben however his complaint was they were only getting smaller fish, the 15 - 20 inch walleyes (The enormous 2013 year class).  Despite my advice, they were not getting any larger fish.  Finally on Monday and after it rained, Ben Figured it out.  He is a dang good fisherman and can generally figure out where the fish are.  Not being a regular, I applaud him for finally finding some better fish up to 28 inches. 

My plans are to head to the lake on Sunday and fish with Greg and his son Marcus.  It will be my first trip to Mille Lacs this year, hardly believable yet with 3 days of fishing on Leech then another 6 at Lac Seul this year, I have gotten my normal time of fishing in however they tend to be concentrated more.  Admittedly my boat control techniques with the wheel boat still need some refining but as they say, practice makes perfect!