Brute’s Bleat March 23, 2016

Hey, folks, we finally had a meal of delicious panfish at our house last week after a “fishing winter of discontent”. When commenting about having gone fishing last Tuesday most people gave me kind of a quizzical look like I might be losing it, considering the lakes in Wright County were, for all practical purposes, void of ice. What happened was I got a hot tip from a friend where the sunnies were biting on one of Ottertail County’s 1,000 lakes. So, with jiggle sticks in hand, Daryl Hennen and I left that Tuesday morning planning to meet my brother, Charles, en-route to this secret spot. Hennen was a bit apprehensive about us finding safe ice considering the warm weather, commenting he wasn’t going out on any ice that wasn’t white looking. Black ice, being a no-no, for both of us, I was pleased to see anglers and a couple of ATVs out on the ice when we got to the access. There was a slight northwest wind that morning, but most of the anglers were fishing out in the open with the temps getting up to roughly 50 degrees by mid-afternoon. The three of us kind of spread out trying to find the hot spot in the 7-8 feet of water we were told to fish. Hennen found one spot where he caught roughly 25 sunnies one right after another, all too small to keep. He decided there just weren’t any keepers in that spot and started scouting. I had my best luck hole-hopping, finding one or two before the hole dried up. A local fellow used my auger to drill holes where he had caught fish in previous years, but without a bite. He didn’t stick around long. Charles was fishing shallow, about 5 ft. of water, and said it was mostly catch-and-release, but he seemed to have the most fish when we decided to call it a day. Later in the afternoon we were all fishing shallow water and Hennen found one spot where he pulled out nine keepers using a plastic lure he recently purchased at H & H Sport Shop. There were anglers coming out at different times most of the day, but around 4 p.m. the local troops came out in force immediately fishing shallow. We stuck around until 5 p.m. when we decided to call it quits. One, because we had roughly 36 fish to fillet, and two, Charles wife, Jean, had a kettle of chili waiting for us. In retrospect we probably should have stayed longer because when we were packing up it seemed like the late afternoon anglers were all catching fish! For the day Charles had the largest, a black 3/4 pounder caught just before we quit. It’s a lake I’ve put in my memory bank for a late ice possibility another year. I’ll have to remember to pick up some plastic!
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Our walks in a couple of Wright County Parks haven’t produced much wild life, except the wood ticks we’ve been finding on Vanna. That’s a reminder for us to purchase some Front Line which we apply religiously to help keep her as safe as possible from Lyme disease. We haven’t come across any early season flowers yet, but a few days of sunshine would help. . .
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It’s too early for morel mushrooms, but I’m wondering if a dog could be trained to find those tasty fungi that I’m not having much luck finding each spring. After all, dogs are trained to sniff out drugs and are used extensively on the American/Mexican border. Bob St. Pierre had a story in the Mar. 16 issue of Outdoor News about teaching bird dogs to find morels. He alluded to dog trainer, Tom Dokken, who has taught his retrievers to find antler sheds. It was kind of a tongue and cheek story with some bantering going on between St. Pierre’s pointer and Dokken’s retrievers. With morels coming in at $33 per pound, St. Pierre pointed out your pointer could earn an extra bag of kibble during the bird-finding “off season”. He continued, “Add the value of no one has successfully produced a morel finding dog yet and you could dominate the morel mushroom canine category similar to Tom Dokken’s virtual monopoly of training of bird dogs to find antler sheds.”
After mulling that story over I got to thinking I’d have a difficult time coming up with enough fresh morels for training purposes for Vanna after I’d eaten my fill, or for that matter, even before eating any! If you have any luck with your dog, let me know, 963-3813.