Brute’s Bleat by Harold Brutlag

For me it was a matter of using the snowblower both on Sunday and Monday to compete with the snow storms that were accompanied by strong winds. This area wasn’t hit like the southern and western parts of the state, but considering it’s the middle of April I would have hoped we’d be singing April showers songs. My tulips were about five inches high late last week on the south side of the house and I didn’t check them Monday, but the snow will slow them up. . .

This unusual weather is pushing everything back a couple of weeks and the early season Turkey hunters shouldn’t have to worry about mosquitoes on April 18 when it opens, more likely frost-bite if they go out at all! One of the problems with a late spring like this is that a person will suddenly find themselves with lots to do and not much time to do it. My back yard shows signs of the pruning the wind has done on the trees, and that means some sore backs before all the branches and twigs have been picked up. By this time of the year I usually have my boat out of the backyard, but that’s going to have to wait until the snow is gone and the ground has firmed up. Late ice angling should pick up whenever we get some 60 degree days and that should happen whenever the jet stream moves north. There were two vehicles on Maple Lake Thursday and I watched them splash a lot of water when they drove off the lake that evening. The shoreline apparently was still solid and they came ashore on the east side of the public access apron. I’m not advising driving on any of the local lakes with pickups, but those anglers with ATV’s or snowmobiles probably have a week of two left. . .

George Palmer and I fished on Rock Lake Thursday and we caught enough to clean, something that hasn’t happened a lot this winter. Brian Guimond was fishing shallow and caught some nice sized sunnies as well as one keeper Northern which he put back after tiring it out on his light line. There were five of us fishing including a fellow from Blaine who fished first on the north end and then pulled his two person clam back past the access and fished in the same area as us. It was quite a walk in the slushy ice for him and he was down to his shirt sleeves and admitted it was a struggle. Fortunate for us it was a warm day, but not quite 50 degrees as forecasted. Palmer and I decided to pull a plastic sled with our pails, the vexilar and a chisel figuring there would be plenty of holes available. There weren’t, but enough for the five of us. George and I started shallow, at eight feet, but then moved to 12 feet and started catching fish several feet off the bottom. We were using Euro Lavre which seemed the bait of choice although George also caught some on wax worms. He outfished me again, but I found a hot spot about a half hour before we quit when the sunfish were biting at most any depth. We did a lot of sorting and after about 2 1/2 hours we decided to call it quits. Earlier that day I shared some of Janis’ peanut butter cookies with the anglers. Brian and his buddy retaliated by giving us their fish before they left. Considering I was attempting to get enough fish for a couple of meals for my brother Lloyd and his wife Myrt, who live in Elk River in addition to George and myself I was pleased. We ended up with 29 keepers which was sufficient and we were happy. The day before I was fishing on Rock and another angler outfished me using Euro Lavre. He was more adept with his equipment and knew Sonny Bryant, commenting he took a meal of fish to him just recently. That was enough to convince me. I’m sure we will get out again before the ice goes out and that will be after the snow settles. There’s still two feet of solid ice left. Maple Lake might be our next destination!

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One of the pluses about the 5-6 in. snow storm is I don’t have to wipe mud off Vanna’s feet after she’s been out of the house. On my trip out to Rock Lake on Wednesday I spotted a raccoon perched on the shoulder of County Road 8 enjoying a meal of something, oblivious to the traffic. Finding food must be difficult for the early migrating birds like robins who like to pull angle worms out of the lawns. I wonder where they went over the weekend!

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Minnesota Outdoor News had a good report for Lake of the Woods when they reported, “Ice fishing on the lake continues to go well. The reefs near Arnesen’s and Long Point are producing some nice keepers, and some big walleyes are being caught along Pine Island. Ice roads are all different with some open to trucks, some only ATV/snowmobiles, and some closed. Call ahead and work through a resort or outfitter. Big pike are being caught in pre-spawn areas on live suckers and big smelt. On the Rainy River, fishing was difficult last weekend as overnight temperatures were in single digits. Birchdale and Frontier landings are open to all boats and nice walleyes are being caught.” Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau (800) 382-FISH

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There’s lots of pros and cons about not having a roof for the Twins this year. I’m for the open sky, but I bet the Twins were glad to “get out of Dodge” and head for Puerto Rico to bask in the sun for several games.

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