Brute’s Bleat: January 15, 2014


Maple Lake seemed to attract a lot of anglers over the weekend which might be because of the forthcoming fishing contest Feb. 1, but more likely because we were enjoying a very brief January warm-up. On Friday George Palmer and I fished both Maple Lake and Ramsey and we found the action better on Ramsey, but even that wasn’t anything to brag about. We ended up with 12 keepers, 10 off of Ramsey and two off of Maple, which Palmer insisted I keep inasmuch as he still has several packages in the freezer from previous summer trips. We’re thinking about making a road trip to Big Stone Lake for perch fishing which is supposed to be good on that border water lake. It would be a change of pace for both of us. It’s just a matter of picking a good weekday when Highway 12 would be ice free. I wouldn’t call the weekend a January thaw, but regardless, it was welcomed.  It was pleasant enough for anglers to fish without a shelter during the warmest parts of the days and of the three lakes I was on, Ramsey seemed to be the most active. Steve Mooney and a former Maple Laker, Bill Mooney, Little Falls, were fishing on Maple Lake for panfish Saturday.  Steve wasn’t excited about the size or the activity, but they were looking for a meal and they were well on their way to accomplishing that.  I decided to try Rock Lake, mostly because I hadn’t been there for several weeks. I caught a lot of sunfish, but nearly all of them were released even though I moved around trying to find some keepers.  There was a fair amount of traffic on that lake, but I wasn’t in the snooping mood so I didn’t bother any of the other anglers to see if they were catching larger fish.  On Sunday after I gave Vanna a walk in Ney Park and a shower (Janis insisted her allergies were from dog hair), I tried Ramsey Lake when it seemed most of the anglers didn’t come back after fishing there Saturday.  The sunfish hadn’t gotten any larger over two nights, but they were biting fairly aggressively until the sun came out, but you can anticipate a more subtle bite this time of the year. They showed up well on the Vexilar with a path of red from the bottom of the lake up a couple of feet.  I’m thinking about getting out on the ice earlier to see if the larger sunfish are more active during the low light time. 
As often as I’ve mentioned Vanna in this column I figured I should let my reading public know what our English Setter looks like. She has a lot more color than Blue (our former Setter) and her ticks are a burgundy shade.  She is eight years old and well-mannered, a credit to her training at the Setter Hills Kennel. We enjoy having her as a house dog and she’s picked out several spots where she spends most of her time.  My wish is for both of us to see more pheasants and grouse next fall. She has that hunting instinct which is born into hunting dogs and additional exposure will help turn her into a top-notch hunter.  And speaking of hunting, Steve Loch commented his group of winter campers saw numerous ruffed grouse this past week while they were enjoying the elements in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area north of Ely. That was music to my ears, they may be coming back!