Brute’s Bleat by Harold Brutlag

The snow on Sunday and Monday a week ago put a damper on fishing for me, mostly because I’m reluctant to drive on the lakes now. Hoofing it and pulling a portable is an option and that may be good exercise, but I’m content to wait for the sun to shrink the snow down to something I can manage. I had to get the snowblower out two days in succession to keep my driveway open. People are still driving vehicles on Maple Lake, but I’m not advising it. I noticed an orange pylon Saturday on the lake left and out from the swimming beach along the snowy trail. I suspect that’s a spot to avoid and I’m not to eager to investigate it. The only fishing tip I can give, and this one hasn’t been substantiated by me, is Sugar lake for sunfish, and I don’t know where on the lake. . .

Mike Muller, who’s back from Boca Raton, FL. for a few days said fishing Lake Okeechobee for crappies has tapered off and the Shellcrackers haven’t begun biting. It sounded like bass fishing there is a better bet. Muller and I took in the 33rd Wright County Pheasants Forever banquet in Monticello Saturday night. That used to be an annual event for me, but I haven’t been to one since it was held in Annandale a number of years ago. What used to be attended by mostly men is now more of a family event with more emphasis on youths and also something for the ladies. I think the change is good and the banquet was a sellout. Pheasants Forever puts an emphasis on habitat and land management policies and programs. Since 1985 they have raised and spent over $6 million, completed 1,171 habitat projects, and completed 11 land acquisition projects involving 1,290 acres. Two of the more recent are the Wildlife Management Areas off Hwy. 24 south of Clearwater and one northwest of Maple Lake off Twp. road 85th St. NW. We ran into some of the former active committee members which included Gary Hoffmeister and Bob Peterson. Seated at our table was Nyren (his first name escapes me) from Lake John and his twin boys. Both boys are on the Annandale High School trap team. One recently went 25 straight, and his twin broke 23. We gave them a thumbs up! While taking in his roll-in dock last fall, the senior Nyren said he grabbed into handfuls of Zebra Mussels which did a number to his hands. Lake John is one of the lakes where anglers have to wash their boats before launching. One of the more popular fundraising events is the general raffle which includes donated items from Wright County businesses as well as purchased items. Some Maple Lake general raffle winners were Denny Decker, who won twice; Mark Decker, Gillan Decker, and Joe Hofman who was a three time winner. Also in that group was Dale Decker who won a table of valuable hunting dog items including a portable kennel, electronic collar, etc. on a match the playing cards game. Oh by the way, yours truly won a Yeti cooler in the general raffle and I was elated! That made it a great night and I wouldn’t have been there except for some persistence from Muller.

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Janis, Anna, and I were in St. Louis Park one day last week and stopped at the Knollwood Shopping Center for them to shop at one of their favorite stores, T/J Max and Home something. Those stores and others in the shopping center seem to attract an abundance of shoppers whenever we are there. Parking is always at a premium and this time I paid special attention to those looking to find a parking spot. The shoppers, 99% ladies, would drive the lanes of parking spaces several times to find something close to their favorite store, much like they do at Cub or Walmart stores. This was on Friday and the ladies would see someone’s backup lights go on, which apparently means stop and wait for the space to clear in their vocabularly of proper parking. Sometimes it would require the shopper to back up so the parked car could get out. Other times shoppers were coming from both directions and one had to give way. None of the shoppers seemed to get upset when they were aced out of a parking spot and there weren’t any collisions which was good. Not being a very patient shopper I would have parked further away and walked, but that’s a man-thing.

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The cold weather apparently did a number on the ice of Lake of the Woods this year where it’s advisable to bring along two extensions for your power ice auger. I’ve got reservations for fishing on that lake starting June 2. While I’m sure the lake will be ice free by then I’m wondering if the Walleye spawn will have been over long enough for the females to have gotten over the stress to be feeding again. On the plus side, the Mayflies shouldn’t be hatching yet. Northern Minnesota lakes will probably still have some ice by May 12 unless we get some timely thunderstorms and warm weather. . . The Minnesota Twins are off to a great start and presently are leading the league. They were wise to post-pone Sunday’s game to the middle of May, both for the players and for the fans. . . It’s going to be a while yet before the high schools can start to participate in outdoor events which is going to pile up a lot of spring ball games and track meets. I don’t think I’d like to be an athletic director in Minnesota where the weather plays such an important part.

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