Brute’s Bleat January 13, 2016

Winter fishing on local lakes leaves a lot to be desired this year and I suspect the late freeze-up had something to do with it. I made a couple of trips to Rock Lake last week and visited with other anglers who weren’t having much success either. One fellow commented Rock was the third lake he’d tried that morning and didn’t have anything to show for his efforts. He had been to Little Cedar (nothing) and East Maple Lake (a few too-small crappies). I tried various depths north of the public access without any fish showing on the Vexillar and then took a hike across the lake and drilled lots of holes, but not finding any fish again. I tried bumping the bottom which sometimes works, and after nothing from 7 to 13 feet, I decided to take a break from drilling and concentrate on jigging. I was about to give up on that when the red started to move on the Vexillar indicating fish. I dropped my wax worm and when I moved it up a little a keeper sunfish hit it with authority. I caught one more just as aggressive as soon as I could get the bait down, but not a keeper. They were gone just as suddenly as they had arrived. I kept fishing for another half-hour without finding where they went and called it a day with thoughts of coming back on Wednesday a little earlier. I did and all I could get to bite were some small perch regardless of what depth I fished. I again had to bow to defeat and head home fishless, but Janis’ spaghetti was tasty. After talking to a couple of fellows who spear for Northerns it sounds like they haven’t been setting the world on fire either. Norb Schauffler has pronged a few on Ramsey and I’ve been reminded a few times that we’re fishing in the slow part of the winter. That is as good of an excuse I can think of for not catching any. Being somewhat of an eternal optimist I’m thinking of not getting too excited between now and March, but hitting it hard then. The only problem I can see about waiting will be the condition of the ice. After the cold weekend we probably have 6 inches now instead of the 4-4 1/2 as of last Thursday. So unless we have some more substantially cold weather the ice won’t last long as we head into March’s late ice season. I’m wondering if there will be sufficient ice for the Feb. 6th ML Ice Fishing Derby. Time will only tell! The only good tip I’ve come across is the walleyes were biting on large shiner minnows on Lake Minnewaska.
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I was banking on the Vikings winning Sunday for more football entertainment this winter. It looked like they had the game in the bag against Seattle, but that didn’t happen when a game-winning field goal in the closing seconds was shanked in the sub-zero weather. Good defensive game, but too many missed opportunities in the first half. Now I’ll see how far Green Bay goes after defeating Washington. I’m picking Arizona.
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I’m seeing some wood piles and it’s great that someone takes the initiative to “make wood for the winter” as the saying goes. As for harvesting wood the DNR has this to say: “Q: Can I harvest firewood from state forests to heat my home?
A: Yes. To harvest firewood from a state forest for personal use to heat your home, you can get a fuelwood permit from your local DNR forestry office. Firewood harvesting is generally limited to cutting only dead wood that is already lying on the ground in designated areas of the forest. Fuelwood permits can be issued for up to 12 cords of wood each year per household for personal use only, and range in cost from $25 to $45.
Availability of fuelwood permits can vary depending on demand and location, so it’s a good idea to check with a forestry office ahead of time to see what opportunities there are. Office locations are available on the DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/areas/forestry/ index.html.”
Jeff Busse, DNR timber sales program coordinator

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