If it’s big fish you want and dream about, one of the answers is to go to a big lake like Lake of the Woods like Rick Heberling and a group of six other anglers have been doing for a number of years. John Erger of South Haven and formerly from Maple Lake (right) nailed this 18 lb. Northern for the groups largest while Tom Lauer (below) was a close second with one that tipped the scales at 15 lbs. Rick Heberling caught a 38 in. Northern, which weighed 13 1/2 lbs.
As a group they caught 21 Northerns and 21 Walleyes over the four days. They fished out of a Warroad resort. Heberling said they were on the lake by 7 a.m. and fished until about 8 p.m. each day. He said the window of opportunity for walleys was about 45 minutes in the morning and from 5 to 6 p.m. in the evening. Tom Lauer was fishing for walleyes when a large Northern hit his walleye rig. It didn’t break his 8 lb. test line, but it got tangled up with some other lines before they got it headed up the hole. He also caught a Tulibee.
Included in the group were Rick’s daughter Kate Heberling, who caught a 13 lb. Northeran; and son Jason, John Freeze, and two other anglers (Jordan and Dominic Lauer) who were each there part of the time. Everyone caught fish and Rick said they had four great meals. Rick added they threw back some of the smaller walleyes in their efforts to get up to 19 1/2 inch legal limit. Their largest was 20 inches which also went back into the lake. He felt the Northerns were more aggressive this trip and they had great weather, but they had to use extensions on their augers to get through the 40 inches of ice. . .
Walleye anglers should be enjoying good fishing soon on the Rainy River. I’ve never been there the during the pre-spawn ice out time on the river, but it sounds like the local people use front end loaders to push the ice out of the way at the public accesses. I also understand the river gets very crowded for the early walleye anglers. . .
On the other hand Carl Bruns, a fishing guest of Mike Muller, and angler Jesse Allen caught 40 crappies two weeks ago in Florida. They had planned to fish sunfish, but another angler said he had 10 crappies so they decided to go for crappies instead of sunfish. Some were 13-15 inches long and Bruns caught his share. Farmer Muller said he’d have to come back to ML once the snow is gone to do some measuring at the pond he established last summer on his South Haven property and decide what would be grass and what would be crop. It sounded like it would be a quick trip so he could get back to fishing!
I tried sunfish fishing two weeks ago Tuesday on Maple Lake and had a tough time finding any large enough to keep. I pawned the two keepers off to a fellow who was sight fishing. He said he had caught some that way, but the larger sunnies would come in, look at his bait, and then back off. Incidentially the access at Rock Lake has been extremely rough on the ice and is filled with ruts which has been causing anglers problems. If I can’t find any keeper sunfish locally I’m thinking about making a quick trip up to Ottertail County and try Rush Lake or one of the other lakes up that-a-way. Sometimes it can be good and other times not.
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Maple Lake’s Chamber put on a great St. Patrick’s Day parade Saturday for a huge crowd of green spectators (I’m guessing over 6,000) who came early and judging from the trash at the watering holes, stayed late. There was a lot of variety in the 116 unit parade including many veterans groups from our neighboring towns, politicans, visiting royalty, clowns, Maple Lake’s Ambassadors and this year’s Ambassador candidates, as well as bag-pipers, Irish dancers, Osmond Shrine T-birds, several clans, and of course the Irish Washer-Women who seem to be attracting new members each year.
The weather couldn’t have been better, 50+ degrees at parade time and only a whisper of wind, which was great for encouraging people to enjoy the parade, Wright County’s first of the new year.
A tip of my green derby to the Chamber and the city for an entertaining day in ML. . . While helping clean up the fenced in lot at The V, owner Harney said he collared one of two fellows trying to make off with his beverage cooler when they were unable to get it over the temporary fence. He said one of the Wright County deputies almost collared him before he convinced him he was one of the good guys. Both thieves were caught.
The only other incident that came my way was City council member Deb Geyen, who was headed toward the finish line of the Irish Scamper on her bicycle to photograh the winners, hit a rough spot on First Street and went for a tumble. She had a banged up arm in a sling Monday morning and was headed for a clinic for x-rays of an ankle. That may have slowed her up, but it didn’ stop her from being one of the people announcing the parade. Ben Youngs commented the Scamper attracted roughly 600 participants.