Brute’s Bleat: October 1, 2014

 

From the hammering that was going on at day-break Saturday I assume the duck hunters that were in the right place at the right time shot their limits or had a lot of fun trying. Local banker Andy Wahlquist and his 11-year-old son, Myles, hunted out of the family duck camp in western Minnesota where they had great shooting. Andy said they used layout blinds between a marsh and late planting of soybeans. On Saturday they harvested mallards and red heads and Sunday it was more mallards, gadwells, and pintails. He said his son is the fourth generation at their duck hunting camp this year and I suspect the evening was filled with story telling from past hunts over a span of many years. Myles had a double on wood ducks during the special youth hunt earlier this fall. I remember those typical blue-bird mornings, great for sitting in a blind, but not the best weather for duck hunting.  After the first few volleys the ducks wise up pretty fast and that gives them an advantage when the sky is high and blue.  Be that as it may, duck hunters will have to put their hunting skills to the task to get good shooting until some frigid weather forces some of the northern flocks this way. Andy commented the mosquitoes were terrible Saturday when the wind went down on the humid prairie. I’m waiting for some cooler weather, which seemed to come Monday, and better visibility before going after ruffed grouse again. In the meantime, Janis keeps reminding me there is yard work that needs to be done as well as installing the storm windows on our porch.  At the same time she suggested I should be fishing more.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out which avenue I’ll follow!  I did manage to get out to that secret lake I referred to in last week’s column on Friday.  I was accompanied by my brother, Lloyd, from Elk River, who is a determined walleye angler.  We were on the lake by 2:30 p.m. after stopping at a bait shop for bait and a few hints inasmuch as neither of us had fished the lake before.  We used nightcrawlers and rattling rapalas.  We had a fairly strong south-southeastern breeze that was good for drift fishing, but the two walleyes I caught were on nightys.  We each caught a northern which added to the excitement of the trip, some small perch and Lloyd caught a rock bass, but no more walleyes.  I lost about $7.00 worth of tackle when a northern, I think, hit my slick stick and cut the line off above the swivel.  I was using a reel with monofilament which obviously was a mistake, but I’m not sure a Pro-Tem or Fire Line would have survived the attack. The afternoon also included a visit with two DNR officials who checked us for licenses and took a look in the livewell.  I asked them about the proper depth and whether evening or morning fishing was better. They said 8-10 feet and the morning has been better for walleyes.  I suspect that means another trip before lawn work and storm windows become a necessity!
 
Fishing out of Seward, Alaska in August was productive for Jim Goelz, a retired Maple Lake farmer, who fished with three cousins and two of their friends, all living in Alaska. They limited out on Halibut (12) while ocean fishing which are shown above.  He said they used frozen Herring for bait and fished from 195-200 feet down. Their largest was 15 lbs. although Halibut grow much larger.  He wasn’t sure of the proper name for the smaller fish in the photo, Rock something, but said they were good eating fish.  Because the Halibut can be huge and deep the boat was equipped with power reels. The anglers still needed to raise the rod in a pumping motion, but the power units did some of the work. Goelz used one once when he called out “fish one” but not very loud before he took the chair. 
Goelz said they had rain for four days and the water was rough the last two days of fishing. He enjoyed the glaciers which seemed to be all around their 40-foot boat and commented it was a two-hour ride out and back to the harbor in Seward which is about three hours from Anchorage. 
They also fished Silver Salmon which would fight like a Northern. The limit on salmon is six and the ones they caught ranged from 8 to 13 lbs. he said. They also caught some rough fish that included a small shark. 
Jeff Erickson, Kayla’s husband, who worked on the fishing boats in Alaska and now is an assistant principal in the Buffalo Middle School system, said the unidentified fish were either Rock fish or Yellow-Eyed Rock fish.