Brute’s Bleat: July 15, 2015


Mother Nature provided an outstanding light show Sunday night as a thunderstorm passed through the area. Fortunately the winds didn’t reach the predicted high velocities of 60-70 mph so there was little damage in ML. I noticed one tree limb took out an electrical service on Linden Ave. N., but for the most part it was twigs, small branches, and black walnuts lying on the lawn. The gardens seemed to take the brunt of the storm, flattening sweet corn and raising havoc with the tomatoes. Fortunately there wasn’t any hail in Sunday’s storm, at least in town!
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I neglected to mention in last week’s column that we saw two buck deer with their horns in the velvet stage when we drove down to the Mink and Somers Lake public access on the 4th of July. Later that morning a deer came down to the lake for a drink, but we were too far away to see if it was one of the bucks.     .     .     I’m getting a few scattered reports of people seeing coveys of young pheasants, the most recent a hen with six chicks.     .      .      back to angling, I gave Cedar Lake my best shot Tuesday morning of last week, not expecting a lot because of the cold front the night before. I didn’t catch any keeper sunfish and not many of the small fry, but I did catch a walleye while I was drifting for sunnies. You won’t see a photo of it in the Messenger. It was a whole 6 1/2 inches long! There weren’t a whole lot of anglers on Cedar, but the Cormorants were there and I’d guess they numbered from 150 to 200 and they were on the hunt along with a few pelicans and some seagulls. The internet says, “Cormorants are not wading birds like great blue herons, but are swimmers that can dive and swim for long distances under water to catch their prey. They are so efficient that centuries ago the Chinese figured out that they could capture a cormorant, tie a long string around one of its legs and place a collar around the bird’s throat. They would then go out in a boat, hold the string while the bird dove down and swallowed a fish. They would then pull the bird back to the boat and squeeze the neck above the collar and plop the fish into the boat.” I think I’ll stick with a rod and reel! The internet also said, “Large flocks of cormorants, sometimes numbering more than a thousand, can descend on lakes, rivers or fish farms with devastating results. Studies have confirmed that these birds can eat 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of fish per bird per day.”  They’re protected in Minnesota, but I don’t know why!    .      .      .    Mike Miller and I fished Maple Lake Wednesday morning and we had to move around a lot to find anything to put in the livewell. I thought we had hit the honey hole on our second stop, but that fizzled out about as quickly as it started. We also found out a July wind out of the south, southeast can be downright cold, especially when the sun is behind a cloud. We were on the lake for about 3 1/2 hours and had only 16 keepers to show for our efforts. Miller brought along some venison sticks from a doe he harvested last fall which were delicious. He said he’s concentrating on a buck this year, which will be his third year of hunting. 
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Jack Treadwell was all smiles Sunday morning when we traded fish stories. He and Mary had been fishing on Ottertail Lake where they had some great walleye fishing. He said they fished in 19-20 feet of water with a guide who had an extremely sensitive piece of electronics that showed each walleye. He figured that was paramount in them catching nearly 30 walleyes that day. Needless to say, I was a wee bit jealous!   .    .     .    Evan Hennen kept me entertained Friday morning when we tried Maple Lake for sunfish. We didn’t have any problem finding sunfish, but finding some large enough to keep is another story. We had our best luck in about 17 feet of water just off the tall weeds. We used pieces of leeches, power bait, and Hennen has some artificial secrets in his tackle box which worked, too. He likes to experiment with different lures which often worked on the hungry sunnies. The largest of the 14 we kept was nine inches. The Hennens have a young Springer Spaniel, Bella. Evan and his dad, Brad, are looking forward to doing some bird hunting again this fall with the pup who was introduced to pheasants a year ago. The seventh grader is also looking forward to the deer hunting season after bagging a buck last fall. 
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My compliments to Tricia Manuel for the move she’s making with The Costume Shoppe. The former flower shop and Dircks Bros. Grocery Store on Division Street has been gutted, and when the refurbishing is done, it will provide a lot more space for Manuel for display, etc. I also like the green awning!