It wasn’t the 43rd Northern caught, but Jessica Woodworth, St. Paul, registered her fish with a smile and a big thumbs up sign around 2:45 p.m. at the Maple Lake Fishing Derby on Maple Lake. She was among the largest ever group of anglers who swarmed to the lake on Saturday to fish and hopefully win a new Ice Castle Fish House which was won by Charlie Hanson, Monticello who had the 43 Northern.
This year’s derby followed two years of cancellations due to thin ice. The popularity of the derby was evident already on Thursday when fish houses were already moving unto the lake to find a favorite spot. I drove by the lake about 7:30 p.m. on Friday and the lake looked like a sub-division of the city with all the lighted fish houses and signs. I made a call to Klatt’s Electric Saturday morning for a repair part for the Heidelberg printing press and got an apology from the clerk for not answering more promptly. “We’ve been so busy selling minnows for the fishing contest in Maple Lake,” she said. H & H Sport Shop proprietor Jim Churchill commented Friday that they had 11 Ice Castle fish houses lined up at the Sport Shop picking up bait, fuel, propane, snacks etc. for the weekend.
A brief period of fluffy snow began falling about noon for a couple of hours. I chose to wear ice creepers, but it still was slippery.
There was a lone walleye, 4th from the left, among the fish caught, most of which were Northerns which numbered over 300. There were two nice bass on display too. I thought the Northerns on the leader board were more mature than in past years. David Fuller, one of the many volunteers registering the fish had a pail about half full of small Northerns at the end of the table. I asked if those were for pickling and he commented, “You got that right”. I ran into postman Ed Trager who was socializing and said he had caught his limit earlier in the morning on Pelican Lake. That lake is in the process of being drawn down and is probably the hottest lake in Wright County. The fish are big and fat, but few have any food in their gullets. It’s not open to liberalized fishing so the DNR limits still apply.
I haven’t been fishing since last week Tuesday, but I found an hour and a half to fish on Rock Lake where the action seems to have taken an up swing. I had one 8-1/2 inches long and two slightly smaller, plus the usual run of babies.
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Super Bowl fans were treated to a mostly offensive battle between favored New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles, with the Eagles who won 41-33. I watched it from start to finish and from my view point it looked like Eagles coach Doug Pederson called a better game and dethroned Bill Balichick from the get-go. It was almost as if Pederson and Balichick would wind up their team when they got the ball and let them go. The commercials left me about as cold as the weather and the only one that stuck in my mind Monday morning was the KIA car advertisement that showed an over-the-hill race car driver arrive at the race track with his Stinger and race it backward at breakneck speeds. It might sell a car to a kid who may have a need for speed.