Brute's Bleat April 27, 2016

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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Thursday afternoon George Palmer and I tried our luck fishing sunfish and crappies on Maple Lake and came away pleased, to say the least. We were fishing by 1:30 p.m. and armed with fly rods and spinning outfits, a scoop of crappie minnows, some wax worms and plastic, not knowing what would work the best. To give you an idea how aggressive the sunfish were, Palmer had four sunnies on his first four cast with his fly rod, tipped with a black gnat. I used my crappie rod with a bobber, a jig and a wax worm. We both cast toward some rushes in about a foot of water and would get strikes or fish on nearly every cast. We caught both sunnies and crappies for a good 1 1/2 hours, keeping the larger fish. I noticed the wind was moving around to the north and by 3 p.m. fishing had slowed dramatically, especially when the clouds obscured the sun. By then we had met our goals of 10 keepers apiece with fly rods being the most productive, although one sunfish caught on my crappie stick measured 9 1/2 inches. Our largest crappie was 11 inches, also by me, but on my fly rod with a yellow and black timberwolf. Palmer caught more fish than I did, but we both were impressed with Maple Lake. The water was extremely clear even after the previous day’s rain and Thursday morning’s drizzle, but I’m sure the scum on the lake will make fly fishing difficult within a week in that particular shallow bay. I tried Maple again Saturday afternoon in a different spot and caught a lot of smaller sunfish, but not any crappies. The fly rod was again the most productive and I had a lot of fun when larger pumpkin seeds would hit the fly. They put up a good fight which made the hour slip by quickly. With the sky darkening in the northwest I hauled anchor, released the eight panfish and called it a day. . .
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I checked my rain gauge Sunday morning after our first substantial thunderstorm which was quite a boomer and had one-half inch of rain. Monday morning showed another half-inch which should bring out the May flowers as well as hasten that first lawn mowing, or second if you were one of the early birds. The robins should be pleased with the rain which brought out the nightcrawlers big time. I noticed several pairs of wood ducks flying around Monday morning about 7 a.m. and I’ll assume they’re looking for nesting sites. It seems a little late for the woodies considering the early spring, but maybe they go more by the calendar. If I was a gardener I’d be thinking about getting it done, but that not being the case, I’ll concentrate on the flowers soon. Mother’s Day is a week earlier, May 8, so as not to interfere with the opening of walleye fishing which is a week later, May 14. I have some tentative plans to fish Ottertail Lake again, but I’m reserving the right to play cribbage if the 14th is a nasty day or too windy. That’s one of the perks of being retired, you don’t have go on a set day! It also could be a good day to look for Morel mushrooms.
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For the first time ever, the 69th annual Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener will be hosted by the McGregor Area Chamber of Commerce, with Big Sandy Lake Lodge & Resort as headquarters, on May 12-14.

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