Brute's Bleat June 29, 2016

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 haven’t had my waders on yet this year, but I’m giving it my best effort this week up in Ottertail County which sometimes is great, but not always. . .
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When it comes to releasing fish the DNR Question of the Week (June 13) suggests:
“A: The most important thing to remember about how to release fish without injuring them is to be prepared. Have the necessary equipment readily available: needle-nose pliers, forceps, line clipper, a soft mesh or coated landing net – and oh yes, your camera.
It is critically important to minimize the time the fish is out of the water. If possible, unhook the fish while it is in the water. If taking a picture, hold larger fish horizontally with the head and body supported. Do not hold large fish vertically or by the gills or eyes.
Play and land the fish as quickly as possible and moisten your hands with water to protect the fish’s slime layer and prevent post-release infections. If the fish is deeply hooked, cut the line inside the fish’s mouth. If it is deeply hooked and bleeding, consider keeping the fish to eat as long as it is of legal size in the open angling season for that species.
With the state record fish program now accepting applications for catch-and-release muskie, flathead catfish and lake sturgeon, anglers with a potentially record-setting catch are encouraged to quickly measure and take a picture of the fish before releasing it. Allowing state records to be set via catch-and-release presents an opportunity to recognize Minnesota’s outstanding fishing opportunities for these species while also formally honoring the skill of anglers who catch-and-release a trophy muskie, flathead or sturgeon. For guidelines, visit www.mndnr.gov/recordfish.”
Henry Drewes, DNR regional fisheries manager
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I’m in the process of painting the exterior of our house which has cut into my fishing time, but I’m about at the half-way mark and figure three more half-days should take care of that project. It seems like the prep time is about as long as the actual painting which makes me think metal siding may have been a better solution. There’s been a little grumbling about mowing lawn which I’ll admit seemed to come around too frequently when it was raining just about every other day, plus being humid. The flip side is lush-looking farm crops and the vivid shades of green the warm and humid weather has had on the landscape. Minnesota’s a pretty remarkable place to live even though we are subject to storms in the summer and blizzards in the winter. Fortunately they don’t seem to hit as often as the tornadoes south of us or the fires that New Mexico and California contend with when the Santa Ana winds raise havoc each year. I can’t imagine fighting a grass and forest fire in temperatures near the 100-degree mark!

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