Brute’s Bleat August 2, 2017

A whole week without fishing is neither good for the body or the soul. The dermatologist said to stay out of the sun for several days. That took care of fishing and makes me realize I should have been wearing a hat when I was on the golf course playing with the likes of the late Les Nel- son, Russ Baker, David Manuel, Bob James and Ken Falk; and a host of Howard Lake golfers, most of whom are also shooting pars and bogeys in the here-after. Off-hand the only Maple Lake golfer still alive besides me who played regularly in the weekend four-somes is Gene Loch whom I’ve lost track of, but I think he lives in Becker. He was a diligent golfer and put a ton of effort into his game which showed up when it was time to divie up the dimes in our scotch four-some games. . . The respite from the sun gave me a chance to take care of some printing at the Mes- senger, namely St. Tim’s raffle tickets for their fall festival which will be Sunday, Sept. 24th. That will be a big day in ML and features a whole lot of events and entertainment, great food, visiting with friends and neighbors, and a chance to win some cash!
Each morning after a cup of coffee at Cenex I’m seeing a huge flock
of cormorants heading for their daily breakfast at Maple Lake. They ap- parently stay for a noon lunch and an evening meal, or maybe hunt and eat all day, because they head west before the sun goes down. I noticed one flock doing just that Sunday night while I was at the music concert at Holy Cross and they were visible from the north window.
The internet refers to them as follows: “A large and conspicuous wa- terbird, the cormorant has an almost primitive appearance with its long neck making it appear almost reptilian. It is often seen standing with its wings held out to dry. Regarded by some as black, sinister and greedy,
cormorants are supreme fishers which can bring them into conflict with anglers and they have been persecuted in the past. The UK holds inter- nationally important wintering numbers.”
The Minnesota DNR’s research says, “In 2010, a statewide count of cormorant nesting colonies revealed 15,425 nesting pairs, a total of 30,850 nesting birds. The statewide population, including non-breeding cormorants, is estimated at about 40,000 birds. Non-breeding cormorants may be present at colony sites until they reach breeding age at 3 to 4 years of age. Though cormorants were documented nesting at 42 sites in 2010, 76% of the state’s population occurred on just ten lakes.
“In addition to nesting cormorants, there are also large numbers of cor- morants that migrate through Minnesota to Canadian nesting grounds in the spring and again through the state as they migrate south in the fall.”
It’s been my observation that cormorants seem to feed on the lakes where they find the most fish. This year it seems to be Maple Lake in our immediate area. Last year it was Cedar Lake, before that Ramsey and Rock and a few years back it was Buffalo Lake. They became a problem in some of Minnesota’s walleye lakes where measures were taken to control their numbers which was a success and brought back good walleye fishing (Leech Lake), much to the delight of anglers. Maybe I’m making too much of their intrusion on Maple Lake, but con- sidering they can eat 1 to 1.5 pounds of mostly fish per bird per day, I think they’re getting more than their share. I realize they eat mostly smaller fish they can herd into shallow water, but they’re still taking a lot of fish out of the lakes they target.
Last week Friday Green Isle’s baseball team came to town and appar-
ently were still smarting from their loss to Maple Lake a few weeks ago. They were hitting the cover off the baseball and ended winning via the 10-run rule in the seventh inning. It looked like batting practice for the visiting Irish while the Lakers couldn’t buy a hit. Green Isle is one of the hosting communities, along with Hamburg and Norwood-Young Amer- ica, for this year’s State Tournament. Maple Lake plays Loretto at Dassel Thursday night in a North Star League playoff game at 7:30 p.m. All playoff region games will be at Dassel, which incidentially has a great ball park.

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