Brute’s Bleat: March 5, 2014


With daylight savings effective Sunday morning, we must be heading in the right direction for some warmer weather. Actually, the meteorologists are promising some plus 30-degree weather by the weekend, which has been a long time coming. I was at least three weeks off when I said we had turned the corner on winter. I think I may have been ahead of time, too, commenting the bald eagles should be in the egg-laying mood. I’m saying that because on Sunday, while Vanna and I were heading for Ney Park and our daily walks, I spotted a bald eagle coming out of the swamp below Jerry Carlson’s residence with a forked branch in its feet. So I’m assuming the eagles are still building their nest in preparation for laying eggs.     .      .      The cottontail rabbits are starting to bug Vanna in our neighborhood with their late evening romps and I suspect that will get to be more of a problem with warmer weather coming.  But, hey, it’s another sign of spring!  
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There have been some stories about fishermen having difficulty removing their fish houses by Monday’s deadline and apparently the DNR doesn’t feel it’s a large enough problem to extend the date.  There were three on Maple Lake out from the beach Sunday afternoon, but getting them off the ice didn’t look like a problem unless the floors were frozen in. That happened to me one time and, believe me, it wasn’t any fun chopping it out.  I wasn’t brave enough to take the 30-06 rifle and shoot into one of the corners, a method I’m told works, but never tried by me. Wright County’s Pelican Lake has been put on the list of lakes that are freezing out as of Feb. 28. Liberalized fishing on that lake, which has been one of the better producing lakes all winter, will continue through March 9, according to the DNR. According to the DNR, winterkill conditions are created when sunlight is unable to penetrate the ice and oxygen levels in the water drop. Fish are often unable to survive in these low-oxygen conditions. Such lakes are opened so the public can make use of these fish, which are otherwise likely to die. Tests conducted on Friday, Feb. 28, showed oxygen levels less than 1 part per million throughout the lake.    .    .   Remember, you still have to have a valid fishing license. The one you’ve been carrying around in your wallet for the last year expired March 1. I made a run over to Lake Constance Sunday afternoon to see what the snow conditions were there. There were a couple of anglers out from the access and several trails had been plowed on the lake. I stopped to chat with one angler who happened to be Mitch Gagnon, who was angling for sunnies. He was optimistic and said they were in about 12 feet of water and were just getting started. We put that lake on our to-do list for later in the week. What impressed us the most were the plowed trails. While we’re inundated with lots of snow this winter, it isn’t that way all over the state.  The organizers of a snowmobile radar run in Cottonwood had to haul in snow to create a track for that event recently. Spring snow goose hunters will have to cool their heels until the spring migration starts and that won’t happen until the snow line moves further north. It sounds like the geese are staying in Missouri and Nebraska, biding their time before they head north.     .       .
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I’m not predicting a heat wave for Maple Lake’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival March 15, but anything can happen. There’s no way that all of the snow will have melted by then and that will create a parking problem as well as viewing spots for watching the Grand Day Parade. We’ve had some inclement weather before and the worst was the year we had a snow storm the night before.  We wouldn’t like to see that happen again, but there was a lot of cooperation to get the parade underway as scheduled. The city street crew plowed snow off the parade route as well as the other streets, and, while the spectator crowd was down that year, those that braved the elements had a good time. Considering the long winter we’ve had and the cabin fever that accompanies couped-up days, I don’t think a few snow banks will stop anyone from joining in on the fun events planned for this year’s March 15 festival.