Brute’s Bleat: January 22, 2014


January is taking a toll on panfish anglers, including myself, who are struggling to find enough keepers to stink up the frying pan.  Those who prefer to fish for Northerns are more successful with Pelican Lake the hot spot. Anglers there are catching nice-sized fish and it sounds like frozen smelt is the bait of choice.  One group of seven caught their limit of three each there about 10 days ago and other smaller groups have been enjoying good catches, too.  Ramsey Lake gave up three Northerns via the spear to one of Ramsey Lake Heights’ residents with the largest being a 10-pounder.    .     .     I finally got out Sunday afternoon on Ramsey Lake with Daryl Hennen for sunfish and after several hours of fishing in different spots neither one of us had to be concerned with filleting fish before the Giants – Seahawks football playoff game.  The sunfish we found were small and not in the feeding mood.  Hennen needed one large enough for his granddaughter, Emily, to dissect in a school project which he caught in the bay on the north end of that lake.  I had one substantial bite and had the fish on the way up when it decided to make a run. I started to reel it back, but it took off again and the line went limp. The line wasn’t broken, but the fish straightened out the ice jig’s hook. We ended up fishing on the south end of Ramsey and caught some small perch, but no sunfish. We found out the snow is getting to be a problem on the lakes and we got stuck when we tried to turn around.  We did a little shovelling, but Ramsey Lake resident Kevin Paumen noticed our plight from his home and towed us out of the deeper snow to a more shallow spot. We came across a fellow in a pickup having the same problem and we put our shoulders to work pushing and helping him to get moving enough to get back on track.  The warm afternoon, nearly 40 degrees, seemed to have made the snow more slick, contributing to the traction problem. Hennen suggested kitty litter, floor dry, or something else with grit would have been helpful.  It’s something anglers may want to take with them from here on out.  Maple Lake’s Fishing Contest, Feb. 1, is coming up fast and anglers who plan to use fish houses could have problems with the snow unless we have a sudden thaw which is only wishful thinking.  Anglers don’t need extensions on their augers yet, but I’m guessing there must be about 30 inches of ice.  Regardless of the snow conditions, thickness of the ice, or the weather, I’m sure there will be thousands of anglers on Maple Lake for the Lake Association’s contest.  Northern fishing has always been good at their tournaments and I hope the panfish put on the feed bag.  There are several new events planned for this year’s contest which should be entertaining. The arctic plunge will kick off the program at 10:30 a.m. 
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I wonder how many TV viewers had their eyes on 49ers coach, Jim Harbaugh’s, trousers Sunday during their playoff game with Seattle. The flack he’s been getting about wearing tan jeans reportedly purchased from Walmart is some kind of an insult considering his salary.  I made a special notice of his attire Sunday and to me his trousers looked to be a better quality than the one Wallyworld sells. They needed to be hemmed up a little, but looked comfortable.  He may not measure up to be the best-dressed in NFL coaches circle and I haven’t paid enough attention to say who that would be.  Over the years I’d give Tom Landry the nod while he coached the Dallas Cowboys, especially in the early ‘60s. He always seemed impeccably dressed in a suit and hat and that tells you I was watching more than the Dallas cheerleaders. 
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I happened to be at Ney Park Saturday when the dog teams and their handlers were giving rides to guests.  There were five teams at the park in a program that is growing each year.  Vanna may not have been impressed by the barking going on in the parking lot; but it was fun to watch the sled dogs, which are born to run, as they came down the trails.  The dogs do a lot of barking while they’re waiting, but once they start running everything gets quiet except for an occasional command from their driver.  It’s a silent run and that’s got to be one of the beauties of having sled dogs for racing or as a hobby.