Brute’s Bleat by Harold Brutlag

Those non-Minnesotans who will be attending Super Bowl week, which has already begun, and the game on Feb. 4th will get a taste of why the natives head for the southern climates. The predicted temperatures for Sunday will be great in the temperature controlled U.S. Bank stadium, but when the fans step outside they will be hit by a below average single digit cold snap. There’s been a lot of excitement in Minneapolis and St. Paul the past week as both cities are putting their best foot forward to make a good impression on the out-of-town fans. It’s nice to have the Super Bowl in Minnesota and it would have been wonderful for local fans if the Vikings were playing; but if I was a football fan from Miami I would think twice before heading for this neck of the woods. It looks to us like the cold snap will set a record for Super Bowl temperatures (4 degree high Feb. 4th). Former Viking coach Bud Grant commented, “This is Minnesota, “We don’t ask how cold it is outside. We just go outside.” He didn’t allow heaters on his side of the football field back in the days when they played outdoors in the Met in Bloomington. Incidentally I’m watching from the couch!

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Let’s back up a day and think about the Maple Lake Fishing Derby on Feb. 3rd. I checked the lake Monday and there has been an influx of anglers who have moved their shelters in over the weekend. Most of them were located west of where the derby headquarters is located. The 43rd annual derby is an hour longer this year running noon to 3 p.m. and is being billed as “Minnesota’s largest fishing derby and one of the oldest!” Activities begin at 9 a.m. with a Vintage Snowmobile show, and at 10 a.m. the Arctic Plunge is scheduled. At 3:30 p.m. is the awards ceremony. Derby anglers know how to dress for this year’s frigid weather which is one of the coldest on record.

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Fishing reports from anglers on local lakes hasn’t changed much since last week, but if it’s crappie action you like Dog Lake south of Waverly might be one to consider. It’s been kicking out limits of crappies, not huge, but lots of action. I tried Rock Lake again Saturday morning and was greeted at the access road by a large rooster pheasant with tail about 3.5 feet long. I found a hole with just a skim of ice and put the Vexillar down in my search for fish. It looked good and immediately had action. The bite was again very light and most of the fish were a year or two short of being keepers. I had two in my pail which I gave to a father-son duo who had three and were fishing for a meal. Tom, the same guy who had a muskrat damage his fishing equipment last week, fishes Ramsey and caught a 13-inch crappie over the weekend. Bill Tuffs and three buddies made a trip to North Dakota recently. Rather than fish Devils lake which their guide said had gone dormant, he took them to Stump lake where they caught limits of Perch. Bill said they weren’t huge, their largest was 13 1/2, but they gave them a lot of action on the special plastic bait they used . . . Minnesota’s Outdoor News has good reports in a recent issue. “LAKE OF THE WOODS Walleyes and sauger are hitting on the south shore in 24 to 32 feet. In addition to the traditional daytime bite, some anglers are catching fish after dark on structure, which is not typical. During the morning and evening hours, walleyes are being caught in 15 to 17 feet as well. A one/two punch of jigging spoons and dead stick are both producing fish. The Rainy River is kicking out some walleyes with an occasional sturgeon early and late each day. At the Northwest Angle, walleyes are biting in 18 to 28 feet, and you’ll find sauger and perch in deeper water. Resorts guiding for crappies on the Ontario side have done well in 30 feet or more.” So, If you don’t mind the drive, that would be a good lake to fish. And if you like fishing the metro area they have this to say: “Walleyes are being caught at night in 25 feet on Lake Minnetonka and 30 feet on Lake Independence. Carson’s Bay, Phelp’s Bay, and North Arm of Minnetonka are safe bets for sunfish and crappies in 10 to 18 feet. Medicine Lake is producing sunfish in 10 feet and sucker minnows are turning northern pike on the 15-foot weedlines of most lakes. This area received 8 to 12 inches of snow earlier this week so call ahead for travel options on local lakes.”

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Congratulations to Don Dittberner, who won second place in Newspaper Advertising Excellence in the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s contest, which is part of the association’s annual convention. Here’s my pat on the back for the creativity he put into composing weekly advertising.

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David Borrell commented Sunday when I mentioned seeing a rooster pheasant that he’s seeing more roosters after the season closed on Dec. 1st than he saw during the season. I’d say that’s a good sign that they might be rebounding. It’s been a mild winter with not much snow to cover the available food for the hens and roosters.