Brute’s Bleat by Harold Brutlag

Charles, one of my younger brothers, let me know they got about 10 inches of snow a week ago Monday in case I was thinking about fishing on Rush Lake where the fishing grapevine said the sunfish were biting. He commented there weren’t any anglers on that lake Tuesday because of the additional snow. A contingent of anglers from ML, including Tom Neu, Tim Callahan, and Joe Rassat had fished on Rush Lake two weekends ago and did well filling out panfish limits. Neu commented they were moving to a different spot on the lake when they noticed an angler was stuck in the deep snow. In the process of heading toward the stranded angler they got stuck themselves and the guy they were going to help, helped them. Neu said the wind on that Saturday was extremely strong and it was tough to use his two person shelter so he tried fishing on the leeward side of his truck. Callahan had a one person clam which worked as long as he was sitting down and Rassat fished out the door from inside his vehicle to keep out of the wind. They didn’t have to do much sorting and the fish were cooperating so their time in the elements wasn’t very long. . .

There were anglers on Maple Lake, out from the swimming beach, on Friday, more than I’ve seen since the fishing derby. That doesn’t mean they are biting, but as we get closer to late ice, they should start feeding there. I gave that lake a try over the weekend, first on Saturday morning when I caught a nice crappie and three keeper sunfish before I threw in the towel and pawned my catch to Gary Bonk who figured our combined catch was about all he wanted. I had a Northern hit my wax worm which gave me a few seconds of action before he or she spit it out. I also caught a large bass which couldn’t seem to get himself turned around in the eight inch hole. I used my ice skimmer to give it an assist. I went back in the evening and had four sunfish which I poured on the ice. Apparently they had shrunk and down the hole they went. An angler told me Rock Lake has been good from 5-6 p.m., but the window for catching crappies there closes rapidly. I gave Maple another try Sunday afternoon along with about 20 other anglers. None of us were doing well, but I had a Lab dog take all the line off my reel while I was cleaning out a hole. A nearby angler notice what had happened and commented “You caught a dog fish as he laughed.” I quit after answering a phone call from Mike Muller who said the crappie bite in Florida on Lake Okeechobee has slowed up. The last time out he and Jesse caught seventeen. They both figured it was time to go after sunfish and shellcrackers! Muller also kept me posted on the Timberwolves- Golden State basketball game which he, a big NBA fan, was watching. He called me back elated with the Wolves win over last year’s NBA champions.

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In the pheasant department Bob Polsfuss said he saw a group of seven hens and one rooster which is about the right ratio as that species heads into the spring breeding season. The warm-up should uncover some food after the recent snowfall. It was great to hear about that many pheasants in one group.

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This is the final week running up to the St. Patrick’s Day festival in Maple Lake and on my way to work Monday I noticed the city crew was removing snow adjacent to the sidewalks. That’s for spectators who like to park their vehicles behind the sidewalks to view the parade in inclement weather. The extended weather forecast for the 17th is temps about 50 degrees with periods of light precipitation. I hope they’re right about the temperature and wrong about the rain. We usually have a westnorthwest wind, which I hope will be on the lighter side. Regardless it will be a fun day in ML and for those who participate in the events which include the craft sale at the school, the scamper which attracts most of the runners in the area, and of course the Grande Day Parade and the naming of new Irish Ambassadors at the high school following the parade. You can check the times for the events in this newspaper. It’ll be a day for wearing of the green! In the fledging years of the celebration it was always on March 17th which created a problems when that day didn’t fall on Saturday. The students at Maple Lake’s schools were let out early for the parade and that allowed the high school band to participate. After several years the Maple Lake Commercial Club, a forerunner of the present Maple Lake Chamber of Commerce, recognized that was a mistake and voted to change the celebration to the present Saturday (on or before March 17th). That has made a huge difference in participation in the parade as well as attracting many more spectators on Saturday which now reaches well over 5,000 on a day when the weather cooperates. With 50 degree weather in the forecast, bring your chairs and a blanket so you can be ready to once again enjoy the parade. The parade usually lasts about an hour as a sea of Irish green moves down the parade route. Come and have great time!

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While in Fridley last week I had some spare time while the better half (Janis) was shopping at a used book store. This was about 6 p.m. and our last stop for the day. I was content to listen to the car radio when the Mallard ducks that apparently winter in that area came back from feeding. They would come in singles, doubles and flocks of up to 30-40 birds. They didn’t seem to be bothered by the traffic on Hwy. 47, the shopping center or anything else in their way, but were intent on dropping into their night spots (there were two). Some would come in low across the highway while others were higher and seemed to put on their brakes when they wanted to loose altitude fast and drop into the open water. They were fun to watch for a good half hour as they twisted and turned their way down. A few would make one circle before setting their wings, but most of them came straight in.

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