Brute’s Bleat: September 3, 2014


     Labor Day is over and, with that, summer turns into autumn and, with that, comes cool evenings, a few hot days, but, for the most part, moderate temperatures. It’s also that time for high school, college and pro football with ML already having defeated Mora on Aug. 28. The girls volleyball team and the cross-country teams have also been involved as was reported in last week’s Messenger. Best wishes for successful seasons to all of you. 
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I gave Clearwater Lake another shot at sunfish angling last Wednesday and I’m starting to like that lake. The loons can be kind of pests at times but tolerable and they seem to entertain Vanna with their unique calls. There seems to be an abundance of Northerns in that lake and, on one occasion, a Northern followed my sunfish  in an apparent attempt at an easy meal nearly to the top of the water as I was reeling it. The clarity of Clearwater rivals that of Lake Sylvia, which make the weeds more visible, too. I fished Wednesday on Maple Lake with Mike Muller and his grandson, Mike, whose father is Michael Jr., so I suspect that makes the Buffalo third grader Michael III. Anyway, he’s a competitive angler and likes to keep track of who is in the lead. Mike III led most of the three hours we fished until I edged him by one sunfish (8) when Mike I put me on a temporary hot spot. Those two also caught a couple of crappies with Mike III taking honors in that species. I fished on Friday with my brother, Lloyd, who lives in Elk River. We went to Clearwater Lake’s public access and sat out one dandy thunderstorm, headed for South Haven for an early lunch hoping the weather would straighten out. Neither of us had a smart phone to check the radar, but you’d think two guys, both in our eighties, would have enough sense to see the storms weren’t over. Consequently both of us got caught in the next shower before we decided to call it a day. We had a good time visiting so the day wasn’t a total bust! Daryl Hennen and I tried the same lake on Labor Day. I figured it was the tail end of the three-day weekend and the lake would be relatively quiet. I was wrong again and we had to park our vehicle in the overflow lot. The lake was equally as crowded as lake residents were taking pontoon tours. Our biggest sunfish was a 9.5 incher and I’d rather not talk about our total catch. Suffice to say it was a catch and release day!
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Minnesota’s Walk-In program has 21,100 acres of private land at 181 sites in the state that are open for public hunting Sept. 1-May 31. Hunters who use these acres need a $3.00 Walk-in Access Validation which are available from license vendors. The DNR has atlases available at their wildlife offices, the SWCD offices and local commerce-tourist information outlets in the 35-county WIA area. They’re also available for printing at the WIA website, www.mndnrgov/walkin. Last fall, we found some pheasants on several of those we hunted in western Minnesota and I hope the program will continue to be funded for hunters.  
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Still smarting from ML’s baseball loss to Sobieski in the Class C State Tournament, Hennen and I went back to Jordan Saturday morning to watch Howard Lake in their game with Jordan. Unfortunately for the Orphans, they dug themselves too deep a hole in the opening inning, eight runs. The final score was 10-2 and eliminated all North Star League teams. Next, we headed for Belle Plaine and watched Winsted come from behind to defeat Fort Ripley 6-2 in an exciting game. Unfortunately, Winsted was mauled by New Ulm on Sunday 13-1 to end their run. Sobieski defeated New Ulm in the finals on Sunday 2-0, but there is little consolation in knowing ML was beat by the same team. Their ace pitcher, Tyler Jendro, who pitched against ML, was apparently equally as effective against the Brewer sluggers in the finale.
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This area, and my backyard in particular, received a strong 4 inches of rain over the Labor Day weekend with the largest single amount in the late Sunday evening thunderstorm when my gauge registered nearly 2 inches. Now it’s back to mowing lawn at least once a week!