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.
Sad to say I haven’t been out fishing for about three weeks, something I’m changing this week. The fishing grapevine tells me small sunfish are biting on Maple Lake, but check the shoreline for a safe place to get on the ice. Steve Loch says there’s an open hole out from the access that’s about 3 feet deep. Anglers were still driving on the lake over the weekend and there’s about 18 inches of ice, but with sunshine and warm temps the shore ice is the first to go. . . There were several anglers on Pelican Lake Sunday and two motorcyclists were out for a spin Saturday east of Buffalo. Another lake, Moose, in the Lake Sylvia area has been producing suspended crappies (23-24 feet) in about 40 feet of water.
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I was an Atlanta fan Sunday evening and figured they had the game in the bag after three quarters, but I was proved wrong once again when the Patriots pulled off an overtime win. As for the game commercials, which get a lot of hype, for me it was a toss-up between Mr. Clean and Skittles with Skittles winning that contest. There was lots of glitz and glamour in Lady Gaga’s halftime show, but this year’s Super Bowl will be remembered for being the first overtime game in its history, and for the way veteran quarterback Tom Brady rallied his team.
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My thanks to Nick Pawlenty for pinch-hitting for me and his OnStar practical joke was a good example of what can happen when a group puts their heads together for some fun. In this case getting OnStar travel directions in the dead of winter on a Minnesota lake from a representative answering from down south who probably had never seen a frozen lake!
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Laramie Carlson, head chef of Burrito Union in Duluth, MN, snapped this amazing photo of a perfect imprint of an owl attack. It even shapes the ears, feathers, and wing beats.
(Photo by Laramie Carlson)
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
- Martin Luther King Jr.
Hello, all, I am taking over for Harold once again as he will be missing for the first part of the week and he asked me to take over. Of course, it is no Brute's Bleat, but I will try my best! I will not be writing a "Tales From a City" as I have not been anywhere too interesting to talk about or any place that I haven't already talked about, so this will be a good time to talk community, hockey, food and an ice fishing practical joke.
Last week’s column about a practical joke involving four lady anglers got a fair amount of reaction from our readers. Now we’re looking for other practical jokes that we could use in this column. The late Leo Dircks, proprietor of Dircks Fairway with his brother, Al, seemed to come up to some type of nonsense in his spare time and if you were a recipient of a practical joke manufactured by Leo, or someone else, we’d like to hear about it. Send it our way, Maple Lake Messenger, Box 817, Maple Lake, MN 55358.
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Last week’s cold snap is not much more than a memory now, but when I stepped outside last Wednesday with Vanna into a -20 windchill I immediately looked down to see if I had my trousers on. I did, and hopefully, that will be our coldest week of the new year. Temperatures moderated by the weekend and brought out a horde of anglers who, like me, had been hibernating. Each winter Minnesota’s baseball fans go through a period called “The Hot Stove League” where predictions are made, trade talk increases, and stories of past incidents and practical jokes surface. The same can be said for anglers who have participated in their share of practical jokes, or have been the butt of one. One such incident came to light last week that happened a decade or two ago and involved four Maple Lake ladies who were winter angling on Lake Mary. As the story goes, three of them decided to play a trick on the fourth angler.
Daryl Hennen convinced me to make a pheasant run on Wednesday (it didn’t take much convincing) and we headed for the pheasant mecca west of Cottonwood. We didn’t find a whole lot of birds, but I did get a shot through the brush at one in the afternoon. It was an extremely windy day and it wasn’t until the last hour of hunting that we started to see a few birds. Most of them were hens, but one rooster crossed the road ahead of us and we figured we best leave that one for romancing in the spring. We were feeding the dogs in a WMA approach when another hunter pulled over. He said five roosters and four hens just crossed the road ahead of him (and behind us) and were leaving the WMA for some corn stubble. He wasn’t going after them and it was quitting time and we’ve never had much luck chasing birds. I figured that would be my last pheasant outing for the season which ended at sunset Jan.
"Thank you to all who contributed to 2016’s Giving Tree Program. Twenty-one families in Maple Lake received assistance in making their Christmas a bit brighter. Thank you to the businesses who hosted a collection box for toys; Irish Blessing’s Coffeehouse, Star Bank, The Costume Shoppe, Maple Lake Floral and the Dollar General. Financial donations from the American Legion Club, Maple Lake Lions and Maple Lake Knights of Columbus, and from individuals were put toward the purchase of winter items; coats, boots, hats/mittens. Thank you for the generosity shown by those who purchased a specific item to be given as a gift and because of those who donated food items. This year, students from the Jane Goodall Environmental Sciences Academy made and donated baskets of household and cleaning products to our Giving Tree families. Those baskets made a nice addition to their Christmas gifts!
I’ve been keeping an eye on the creek that runs out of Lake Mary into Ney Park which is still wide open. Shortly before Christmas the County Park Service installed a bridge over the water on the park path to accommodate hikers, skiers, etc. Vanna and I tend to use the woodsy trail in the winter, mostly to get out of the wind, so we really appreciate the county’s efforts. (Photo by Harold Brutlag)
Last Thursday was too nice a day to not give late season pheasant hunting a try, so when I finished up some work I loaded up Vanna and the two of us headed west around 11 a.m. I didn’t have a destination in mind, but by the time I got to Willmar I thought Montevideo might be far enough. Our first stop was west of Gluek, a WMA I hadn’t hunted this year, but it had held birds in previous years. It looked good from a distance, but there was too much evidence of someone having hunted it that morning for us to trudge through the snow. We zeroed in on another WMA west of Montevideo that contained a corn food plot. Vanna got a solid point and the bird didn’t want to move even though I kicked around in the weeds and brush. Vanna didn’t give up, but she did move ahead which apparently was too much for the pheasant and a hen busted out. It would have been a great video! We hunted our way around the cattails which were pretty much filled with snow, so I stayed on the field edge.