Brute’s Bleat: May 14, 2014


Minnesota’s fishing opener is over and from the few rigs (2) parked in the Maple Lake access off Hwy. 55 it was apparent to me the late spring had an adverse effect on local anglers like myself. Lake Mary was void of anglers and the report was a meager turnout on Buffalo Lake, which is normally crowded. I managed to get out for a couple of hours on Maple Lake Saturday after it had warmed up from the overnight 40 degrees. This was also kind of a shake-down cruise, as I hadn’t had the boat out in the water. I popped for a new live-well pump after the original wouldn’t budge when I threw the switch. Everything else seemed to have weathered the backyard harbor well over the winter. I made an effort to find some crappies or sunfish in a couple of spots that had produced in previous years but, on Saturday, they didn’t cooperate at  all. Apparently our governor was outfished on Gull Lake Saturday by the Lt. Governor who caught some Walleyes. Local reports give Grass Lake and Cedar Lake an A+ for crappies on the opener, and I suspect walleye and northern fishing will only get better in the next several weeks. Anna and I tried Maple on Sunday afternoon after we took a round-about way to get to the lake because of the traffic accident on Hwy. 55 and the Cenex east access. We found a few sunnies in a protected spot, but not enough for a meal, so it was a catch-and-release effort. The two we had in the livewell were definitely keepers, but we figured we’d need four that size for a meal. I stuck my hand in the live well to grab them and found out just how cold the lake water is. I’m guessing it hasn’t hit 50 degrees yet, which reminds me I’ll have to put a lake thermometer on my wish list. Don Heimbecker came out on the lake about the time we were leaving and our grapevine tells us he didn’t boat any fish, but had one tremendous bite.    .    .     It’s a good thing Minnesota has a long fishing season or I could get depressed! Anglers fishing in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters (like Vicky’s husband, Don) found their opportunities limited when they ran into iced-over conditions and had to make some adjustments to their schedule.     .      .       John Anderson and Bob Polsfuss gave me a quick recap of the Lions-sponsored trip for veterans to Camp Ripley Saturday. They felt it was great and called the army’s new tank demonstration the high point of a day, which was filled with trips to various parts of the camp, including the museum. The accuracy and firepower on the tank were displayed when it hit its target 1,500 meters away. They wore ear plugs because of the blast and were informed the tank could shoot accurately while moving, too. If there was a down-side, it was that each shell costs the Army $800. They shot two.     .      .
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The inch of rain that fell Sunday night and into Monday morning has set local farming back for another week or two if we get some drying weather. Gardening is also on hold as well as planting annuals in the flower beds. Actually that’s just small potatoes compared to the storms and tornadoes other parts of the Midwest have been experiencing this spring. We can be thankful for not being in a tornado alley, but it could happen here, so if you hear the tornado warning sirens, get to a safe place and don’t take a cavalier attitude and go outside to get a first-hand look.
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The DNR is urging anglers and boaters  to think “zero” when it comes to invasive species. They said, “With more than 500,000 people expected to take part in the walleye and northern pike season opener on Saturday, May 10, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources urges every angler to make a commitment to transport zero aquatic invasive species (AIS) this year.”
Invasive species can be easily carried from one lake to another if aquatic plants and water are left on a boat or trailer. By taking a few simple precautions anglers can minimize the risk of spreading aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil and spiny waterfleas. 
Zebra mussels pose serious ecological and economic threats to Minnesota’s lakes and streams. Heavy infestations can kill native mussels, impact fish populations and interfere with recreation. 
“If we can reach our goal of zero AIS violations this year, it’s possible we can end the season with zero new infestations caused by human activity,” said Maj. Phil Meier, DNR Enforcement operations manager.
Conservation officers wrote more than 400 AIS citations at public water accesses last year. To help bring that number to zero, the DNR plans to increase AIS prevention activities this year.
The moral of the story is to follow their instructions to help keep our lakes clean and to avoid a citation and possibly a fine!