Brute’s Bleat by Harold Brutlag

A week ago on Monday afternoon I fished Maple Lake and caught some panfish which could have been keepers (six of them), but when I dumped them out of a pail and spread them out on the ice they didn’t look nearly as large. Another day of catch and release! George Palmer, back from a vacation trip to Texas, fished Wednesday on Rock and outfished me again. We ended up filleting seven and found them in about 10 feet of water. They weren’t huge, but as the late Ed Raiche used to say, “if they’re running small, you just have to keep a few more.” George and I walked out and were fishing north of the access which was showing signs of breaking up. While I was walking Vanna back to the truck a fellow drove off the lake in his ATV splashing his way through the last 20 feet. Anglers were driving onto Maple Lake from the access last week, but on Easter Sunday I noticed someone had attempted to use a vehicle, but backed out of the lake and elected to hoof it. There’s still lots of ice out there and near shore, but anglers will need to use some discretion on how to get to their hot spots, if there are any! You don’t need a plank yet and with the snow and cool weather predicted there might be three-four weeks of hard water fishing left, but I hope not; I’m ready for spring! Considering this is going to be questionable late opener, May 12, I suggested to my brother Charles that we rework the opener to at least a week later. Nothing was written in stone and we’ll let the weather dictate when we’ll put those shiners in Ottertail Lake!

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It may have been an April fools joke on Facebook when someone posted a comment that after a year off, Maple Lake Lakers first baseman is coming back for the 2018 season. But then again, the baseball bug bite can be severe, so what’s your guess? Their first game in the 2018 season is May 6, 2-p.m. at Laker Stadium when they play Montrose/Waverly. On May 11, also at Maple Lake, they play the Cokato team in a 7:30 p.m. game. The Lakers finished the 2017 season 23-11 and were state champions in 2012. The 2018 roster of Lakers includes these baseball players according to their web site: Matt Bergstrom, Catcher; Graham Brown, C/3B; Riley Decker, OF; Brock Fobbe, IF; Lucas Fobbe, 2B; Luke Fobbe, SS; Greg Giebenhain, U; Brian Goedker, P/IF; McRae Haney, IF; Nate Mass, IF; Hunter Malacheck, P/OF; Donnie Mavencamp, IF/P; Grant Mergen, P/1B; Logan Orazem, OF/P; Casey Pack, MGR.; Nick Preisinger, P/1B; Derek Rachel, C; Brian Redemske, OF; Mitch Wurm, P/IF. I can hardly wait for the umpire to holler, “Play Ball”, and remember the State Amateur Baseball Tournament will be in Maple Lake/Delano in 2019. I for one am pleased WCCO radio will be carrying the Minnesota Twins games on 830 after too long of a lapse on their radio waves.

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It is that time of year when a person normally thinks about getting the rakes and shovels ready for spring lawn work. I don’t mind putting that off at all, but I did see a fellow in Monticello doing some lawn raking last week before the Friday night snow. I’d rather take a look at my fishing tackle box and figure what I can put in storage so I can shop for some new stuff. All I really need for the walleye opener on Ottertail is a slick stick, a leader with a bare hook tipped with a shiner, and a few jigs. I leave finding the fish up to my brothers, Charles and Marlin, who have the GPS and the right equipment to locate them. Considering that a whole lot of fishing tackle isn’t really necessary I could downsize my tackle and tackle box, or at least throw out some of that stuff that only takes up space or gathers dust. But a variety of colors make the tackle box look kind of pretty and where would the outfitters like Maple Lake’s Rassat Outdoors Group be if it wasn’t for the support they get from the anglers and hunters in Minnesota and the other states they work? That said, I think I’ll see what’s new at H & H Sport Shop while I wait for the tulips to poke through the soil on the south side of our house.

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The Veterans groups that marched in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Maple Lake made quite a splash as they took their spots at the beginning of the parade, which was great. They showed lots of American Legion and VFW patriotism for the United States and now is a good time for me to put in a plug for new members to join either or both of these organizations. The numbers in the ranks of both groups has fallen over the years as the members get older, and there is a need for the younger veterans to follow in the footsteps of their elders and help keep both groups strong and viable. The Legion and VFW are important to the comminities they represent and a few of the things they do is providing support locally and at a national level for hundreds of youth prgrams including more than 3,000 Scouting units, nearly 4,000 American Legion baseball teams, dozens of junior shooting sports clubs, junior ROTC and junior law cadet programs. They help fulfill the needs and provide first hand support for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury through a variety of therapeutic programs that are not dependent on prescription drugs. They award college scholarships to high school graduates; they also provide cash assistance to needy veterans. There’s a lot more like forming Color Guards for veterans’ funerals and programs on Memorial and Veterans Days.

In Maple Lake, the American Legion Post 131 meet each at 7:30 p.m. second Tuesday of the month at their post. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7664 meet the third Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. at The V. Both groups need new members, so if you’re a veteran be sure to join.

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