Brute’s Bleat September 23, 2015

George Palmer and I tried fishing in the strong south wind on Indian Lake last week Tuesday afternoon and the biggest problem we had was holding the boat on a spot we wanted to fish. We got out about 2:30 p.m. and fished the south shore when the wind gusts were just too strong on the west end of the lake. We caught sunnies there, but mostly small ones in the shallow water. About 4:30 the wind seemed to have gone down a little and we headed for the west end and anchored in about 15 feet of water. It took several more anchoring attempts to find some weeds to help keep us from blowing off the spot. The bite wasn’t fast, but we had 15 between us when we started discussing whether we wanted to fillet them or release them for another day. We both have fish in our freezers and releasing them won out! That wasn’t the first time we have released our catch, but it makes sense if you don’t really need them. It’s something bass and muskie anglers do all the time, so why not panfish fisherpeople? I visited with a friend, Richard Cloeter, an ardent panfish guy from my home town (Henning), on Friday and he said he hasn’t been able to find any decent sunfish for a month even though he fishes often. I suggested 14-17 feet which he was going to try. He and his wife (Kathy) and another classmate (Harlan Syverson) from Eden Prairie and I were attending the funeral of a good friend (Lenora “Nory” Johnson), a high school classmate in South St. Paul. Fortunately for me, Ed Pawlenty gave me some directions on how to get there, a place I hadn’t visited since Nory and her husband, Frank (also deceased), observed their 50th wedding anniversary about 13 years ago. Anyway, the four of us took time to plan a 65th high school class reunion to keep alive a tradition to have one every five years. There were 40 in our class and 19 are still alive. We plan to meet in Wadena Oct. 6 at noon which suited me just fine. I can take Vanna with and do some ruffed grouse hunting later that afternoon. On Saturday morning I attended the funeral of a cousin, Ken Brutlag, who was a grocer for most of his life in Henning. He didn’t let the grocery business keep him from fishing and hunting, and his boys said they had him out fishing about two years ago for the last time. One son, Gerald, lives in Grand Rapids, MN and when our conversation turned to hunting he commented he’s seeing some ruffed grouse, but not very many. Locally Bill Pilger exchanged verbal notes at H & H Sport Shop and said he planned to take his dog out over the weekend north of Duluth where he has been hearing some drumming. That season opened last Saturday and I don’t have anything to report whether it was a good opener or not. Another friend, Frank Johnson, was at the Saturday funeral and he let me in on the local fishing scuttlebutt. He’s an ardent walleye angler and commented fall fishing is getting better on Ottertail Lake, one of the premier walleye lakes in that county. He caught his limit (6) in the evening earlier that week and figures catching larger fish will only get better in the next several weeks. That more or less tells me it’s time to head up to Koronis and give that lake a try. I didn’t see much for wildlife on the trip to Henning, but there was one adult eagle feeding on a raccoon road kill near Ottertail. It apparently was pretty hungry and moved onto the shoulder when we drove by. There were about eight turkeys out feeding near Wadena, but that was about it! I noticed the soybeans looked more mature and the Ottertail County farmers were already combining soybeans. Edible beans is another crop raised in that area and they are also being harvested.
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This weekend kicks off the duck hunting season which I usually reserve as a time to think about taking off the screens and putting on the storm windows. I’m wondering if there are any other residents in Maple Lake who go through the same age-old ritual twice a year. I know Jack Borell on Ramsey Lake does the same thing. Fortunately our house is a one-story rambler.