Brute’s Bleat February 22, 2017

I finally got back on Maple Lake Feb. 13 when George Palmer and I gave that lake one of our better efforts. It wasn’t a fast bite for either of us but Palmer out-fished me six to two. The small northerns seemed to be feeding, and in some cases just swimming around and stopping sometimes to take a look at the wax worm. I was sight fishing in about six feet of water and had one stop dead center. It was reluctant to move, even though I dropped my jig on its nose several times. I finally moved to a different hole. The eight were enough for a meal for George and we quit about 4 p.m. . . I was back on the lake Wednesday for a couple of hours and sorted out two keepers before releasing them. The sunfish liked to swim up to the bait, bump it sometimes, but more often would just swim off. Two other anglers had been out the day before fishing in Tuesday’s wind. Both said sight fishing had been much better. In fact, one fellow had a nice catch in his pail, went to talk to his friend in another clam when the wind caught his house and tipped the pail over, freeing most of his fish. He was fishing out of a spearing hole and fortunately, didn’t lose his bucket. It was a good example of catch-and-release, something anglers should keep in mind for the summer season if they don’t want to see the panfish population diminish which the DNR says is possible. Visiting with other anglers most agree dropping the panfish limit to 10 from the present limit of 20 would be a good start for keeping a healthy population in Minnesota’s lakes. . . Anyway Palmer and I got out one more time last week, but nothing had changed much. The larger sunnies tended to hang off to the edge whether in five feet of water or eight. Palmer outfished me again catching six keepers to my three. Coming right out of the water Friday and into the frying pan on Sunday made for a tasty meal. With the warm days and sunshine the ice won’t be around much longer. So anglers should use caution when going out for late-ice fishing from here on out. This is the final week for keeping Northerns and Walleyes. Ice shacks have to be off the lakes by March 6 below the magical east-west line formed by U.S. Hwy. 10, east along Hwy. 34 to Minnesota Hwy. 200, east along Hwy. 200 to U.S. Hwy. 2, and east along Hwy. 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, and March 20 north of that line. . . This weekend’s snow and cold weather may prolong angling in this area, but it soon will be time to get the summer equipment ready for some early open water fishing.
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I’m trying to get some of my “honey-do” items off Janis’ list and I think we’re making some progress. Shopping never has been my cup of tea, but it’s something Janis seems to relish. The metro shopping centers seem to attract her like bears are attracted to honey. And like bears that go back for more, she tends to return to those that continue to have bargains, sales and promotions that are difficult to resist. When I see something I would like, I tend to shell out the cash. Apparently, women have developed a knack for purchasing something at the least expense even though it might take driving “hither and yon” to get the best deal. That’s a good attribute to have and is easier on the charge card, but it will never take the place of night baseball in my book. . . Things I’ve noticed while piloting Janis to the metro area were the many motorcycles that were out over the weekend even though the sand won’t be washed off the highways until it rains. A veteran rider told me once sand and cycles don’t go well together and make corners treacherous. We also saw two young ladies riding horses on Saturday and the lakes seem to have lots of anglers on them. That made me a little jealous, but I hope to get out a few more times if the ice lasts. I noticed one fellow with a rake working in his yard which didn’t make me jealous, but it reminded me of the branches and twigs in my back yard that were pruned in a strong wind earlier this winter. . . Apparently the Canada geese have already started to migrate and Andy Wahlquist at Star Bank commented last week about seeing a gaggle last week that weren’t local. . . Our setter, Vanna, got her first early haircut of the season (belly hair and her chest) Sunday which I hope will help slow down the shedding we’ve noticed recently. And just a reminder, the St. Patrick’s Day festival is just around the corner, March 11, along with all the Chamber’s Irish party on the 4th.