Monday’s cool weather was a welcomed relief from the hot and windy weekend which raised havoc up north, but spared Wright County even though there was a tornado watch Saturday. We had a smidgen of rain late Saturday afternoon, but hardly enough to settle the dust. I managed to get out angling a couple of times last week for sunfish on Maple Lake and it took a fair amount of sorting to bring home a couple of meals. Lake Francis has been a hot lake for panfish as is Indian, but both require lots of sorting, or as one angler commented, “catch 10 and maybe keep one”. I’m hoping the larger male sunfish will put on the feed bag soon. I noticed some of the female sunfish we caught on Maple still hadn’t spawned which leaves me kind of bewildered. After talking with some fly-fishing friends it sounded like that sport was kind of a hit-and-miss affair during the normal panfish spawn.
I like to fish. My older brother, Wayne, really likes to fish. My oldest brother, Ken, likes to fish more than Wayne and I put together. We spent the week starting June 19th together, along with Wayne’s grandson, Micah, and Ken’s son, Justin, fishing the Winnipeg River system north of Kenora, Ontario. The fishing was great, the food delicious, the weather nearly perfect, and the company congenial. Old stories were revived and new tales created as the week sped by.
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Thinking back on my fishing trip to Lake of the Woods I neglected to mention my brother’s latest inventions, a vertical fishing rod rack in the back of his boat; and even more important were the two removable fish filleting tables, also in the back of his boat. They made filleting walleyes for our shore lunches much simpler than finding a flat rock for a filleting board. Chuck’s in-boat tables were suspended on PVC pipes attached to floor anchors with the opposite end resting on the boat to give it solid support. We both sat on the boat’s swivel seats to make the chore comfortable and something of a breeze compared to kneeling on a rock! He also wired in a 12-volt receptacle so he could use his electric knife!
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Setting up for our last shore lunch on June 5 on what we call Lunch Island at Lake Of The Woods are Wayne Rustad and George Palmer. The other three in this year’s group were Mike Muller, Charles Brutlag and your’s truly. We left for the Northwest Angle on May 31, driving in showers most of the way and enjoying breakfast in Perham. We had alot of rain showers to contend with at the Angle, but we managed to have a Walleye shore lunch five days running and believe me they were delicious. In our boat Muller had two first fish days, myself two, and Palmer one which paid $1.00 each day. We had a 13-inch minimum to qualify and I had one Walleye that measured 13 1/4 which both Muller and Palmer protested, claiming I hadn’t let them watch while I measured the fish. They lost! In Chuck’s boat Wayne edged Chuck with four largest and two firsts compared to Chuck’s three firsts and one largest.
Located in Sauk Centre, The Palmer Hotel was once voted as the nation’s most haunted hotel.
(Photo courtesy of MN Historical Society)
As some people may have already assumed, I am filling in for Harold this week due to him heading north to Lake Of The Woods to try his hand at fishing. Hopefully he comes back with some large tales and even larger fish. Good luck, Harold, and have fun! This week has been a rainy one, but good to see, especially for farmers just starting up their crops. The rain is welcomed. We have now moved into summer, and it feels great! I have been keeping an eye on the Stanley Cup playoffs, and since my two first choices have been knocked out (the Wild and the Capitals), I am rooting for the San Jose Sharks to take it all. The bearded Brent Burns, formerly from the Wild, has been one to watch this year. Either way, playoff hockey is some of the best hockey to watch! This week will be a continuation of talking about a selection of Minnesota towns I have spent time in and have a rich history that some may not know.
Vanna usually makes our walks exciting, especially in the spring when everything seems to come alive after a long winter. In the instance above, her nose, like most dogs, is a thousand times more sensitive than humans, when she sniffed out a small mud turtle that was making its way through the grass in Ney Park. She was content to smell the turtle before we went on our way. I thought it might have been a June bug which has happened before, apparently turtles are new to her. Janis commented that each dog’s, (besides having outstanding noses) is unique, much like the fingerprints of humans, with none having identical nose prints. So much for dog lore!
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These three boat trailers were parked in the Maple Lake public acccess off Hwy. 55 at about 7 a.m. and the anglers were toughing it out on the lake for what I think was the most foul weather fishing opener in my lifetime. I’ve put up with cold weather before, but nothing that matched the conditions Saturday morning when the wind howled all Friday night and most of Saturday. I haven’t a clue if any of the anglers on Maple Lake caught anything Saturday, but if they did they certainly paid the price. One boat was tied up to the dock and the anglers were out shopping for a fuel line according to the boat checker at the access who was inspecting boats for aquatic invasive species. The DNR hires a crew of seasonal watercraft inspectors each year to inspect watercraft for aquatic invasive species and
watercraft when necessary, identifying potential invasive species, predicting their spread, and developing and implementing solutions.
After a couple of comments about seeing families of Canada geese with newly-hatched goslings, I paid special attention to a pair in the pond just west of Varner Lake Sunday and spotted their offsprings following them. There are numerous species, both domestic and wild, and I gave the internet a quick look and learned they are more than numerous. I also learned that “Geese are bred mainly for their meat, which is particularly popular in Germanic language countries around Christmas. Of lesser commercial importance is goose breeding for eggs, schmaltz, or for the fattened liver (foie gras). A few specialized breeds have been created for the main purpose of weed control (e.g. the Cotton Patch Goose), or as guard animals and (in former times) for goose fights (e.g., the Steinbach Fighting Goose and Tula Fighting Goose).” Both of my parents came from German backgrounds and a goose dinner on Christmas seemed to be a tradition with them.
About 10 a.m. Tuesday I was on the street in front of the VA Clinic in Minneapolis when I couldn’t help but see 8 to 10 turkeys. Safe from the turkey hunters, they were opposite the light rail line and scrounging for something to eat and didn’t seem to mind the vehicles zipping by. From my quick glimpse they looked fat and sassy, so apparently someone is putting out some food for them. . .
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Illegal commercial fishing was costly for an Ontario man, Albert Fortier, Thunder Bay, who was fined $1,000 for fishing without a license and another $1,000 for unlawfully possessing a commercial fish net. In addition, he is prohibited from obtaining or possessing a fishing license of any kind and from engaging in any fish-related activities for a period of ten years. Conservation officers on a routine marine patrol of Chipman Lake observed a boat with four men from a distance and saw Fortier set and retrieve several gill nets. He had three sturgeons in the boat which were seized and forfeited to the Crown. Fortier pled guilty in an Ontario Court at Thunder Bay Feb. 3, 2016. From that I’ll assume Ontario thinks quite highly of the sturgeons they have in their lakes and rivers. So now is as good a time as any to remind anglers in Minnesota to make sure they have a current fishing license for this spring and summer.