Brute's Bleat October 19, 2016

I made a brief trip to Rock Lake early last week and when I was called off the lake for a non-emergency I released the six keeper sunfish that ranged from 9 1/2 inches down to eight. I may live to regret it, but from the way they were biting I have a hunch there will be another day! Another Rock Lake angler caught one keeper walleye (18 inches) out of two, along with a smattering of Northerns, bass, crappies and sunfish the same day. I’m getting close to calling it a season with hunting now in full bloom, but another day on the lakes would suit me fine. . . I’m also waiting for that perfect fall day when the leaves turn to dust when hit by the lawnmower blade.
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Pheasant season opened last Saturday and it sounds like the southwestern part of the state is the place to go. I hunted locally during Saturday’s golden hour. Vanna and I put up one hen and she had a point staring intently in the grass and weeds. I moved up to her and she held her ground while I stomped around trying to dislodge the bird. Apparently the pheasant rooster ran out of her point because it flushed ahead of us out of range. It was great to see her point, but she needs some more exposure to birds and, hopefully, we won’t get fooled too often. On Sunday Daryl Hennen and I headed out to Donnelly along with Vanna and Bella, his grandson, Evans’ springer. We didn’t find a whole lot of birds, but Daryl got some shooting and he bagged one rooster from the edge of a walk-in area. The rooster landed in an adjacent plowed field and Bella made an attempt to retrieve it. The springer must have a soft mouth and Daryl said the bird would roll around in her mouth and then she’d drop it. It’s just another example of a dog needing more exposure. Vanna had a solid point again, but the rooster, this time a young bird, ran out of the point. I was stomping in the grass when Daryl said the bird flushed about 25 yards ahead of me. It was fairly windy and I didn’t hear the bird which he said didn’t have much color, but definitely was a rooster. We chose a Waterfowl Production Area for our final hunt of the day, mostly because it was bordered with standing corn. Hennen had one more opportunity when Bella put up a rooster which he knocked down with his 20 gauge. He said Bella went right to the spot, but the bird was gone. We figured he had only winged the bird and it took off running when it hit the ground. Bella made a good effort of trying to find the bird in the reeds and cattails, but came up empty. Vanna couldn’t seem to find any scent either, which didn’t help! I saw one bird get up between the corn field and a spruce grove and fly back into the middle of the corn field. We were across the road from the corn and it was too far away to see any color and shooting across a road is a no-no. At days end we figured we saw more roosters, six; than hens, three; which isn’t a good sign for next year’s numbers. Two of the roosters were on private property on the edge of corn and one was flying from corn deep into a Wildlife Management Area, too far for us to chase! We both found out hunting for a half-day is about as much as we can handle, or maybe it’s because we’re not in peak physical condition.
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Jackson Erickson had a go at angling with his parents, Kayla and Jeff Erickson, recently on Lake Itasca.
After fishing bass on Lake Mary, also in the state park, and catching just tiny ones, they switched to Lake Itasca fishing from the pier by the Douglas Lodge at the advice of a park ranger. It was a great move and three year old Jackson nailed this 12-inch crappie on his Cars rod and reel, which Kayla felt was kind of wimpy for the large crappie, but Jackson and his dad, Jeff, got the job done. A great way to wind up the 2016 summer angling season.

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