Brute’s Bleat by Harold Brutlag

My plans for delayed walleye fishing opener hit a snag for my brother Charles who gave me a call Thursday. He suggested fishing Sunday afternoon and Monday because of other commitments later that week. So we were out on Ottertail Lake about 2:30 p.m. armed with a couple dozen shiner minnows and hopes of finding the walleyes hungry. The water temp was about 53 degrees (surface) and a pair of anglers were coming off the lake and one commented they hadn’t boated any fish. We found some perch next and in the weeds, but no walleyes. Chuck was using a jig and a minnow and I had a slick stick and an eight foot snell with a green hook and a single green bead. In the early evening I landed one of two walleyes that were both too small to stink up the frying pan. This was kind of a shakedown cruise for my brother who invested in a new remote controlled MinnKota trolling motor that had all the bells and whistles, including the up and down feature. It’s a great piece of equipment!

Tuesday morning we were back on Ottertail by 7:30 a.m. and again found bites difficult to come by. Chuck nailed a walleye in about 13-14 ft. of water alongside a weed bed with his jig. I switched to a jig, but neither of us got any bites fishing shallow or deeper after that. We talked with another angler who lived on the lake after being in business in Fergus Falls. He commented how difficult it had been to find any fish on the opening weekend.

We took a lunch break about noon and decided to try Rush Lake in the afternoon after hearing that lake had produced walleyes in shallow water and some jumbo crappies and sunfish on the north side on Sunday. We weren’t as fortunate with either species. I caught a couple of hammer handle northerns and we both caught some small perch. That’s sums up the story of my opener which can only get better as the lakes warm up! Chuck suggested maybe it’s time for us to take some lessons on walleye angling on the opener. . . I’m always amazed at what anglers wear on the opening weekend. While most were outfitted for the cold weather, one guy had on his short pants and didn’t seem to mind the cold. Tuesday morning I had on lined trousers and a warm jacket. While waiting for Chuck to park the trailer a husband and wife team came out for the first time this year. Neither were dressed for cool weather and I didn’t think her hoody and shorts were adequate. She passed it off as being warm blooded. Being local people like they were, who am I to argue!

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There were three fishing rigs in the parking lot of Maple Lake at 7:30 a.m. when I checked out the activity on the opening day of fishing. It was a cool morning with the thermometer reading 43 degrees at our house.

If you’re missing a totally white guinea hen or rooster, one has been seen north of town and the resident who spotted the bird a week ago Monday said it hung around for a day. That was long enough for them to get this photo of the guinea fowl. So if you’re missing the bird, stop by the Messenger and we’ll help you get in touch with the photographer.

My recollection of the guinea hens was seeing them around neighboring farms in the late 40’s, but we didn’t have any at my dad’s farm. Those that had the odd looking bird said they helped control rats and mice, probably because of the noise they made. The ones I saw in my youth were always grey and not the most attractive bird in the world, but they squawked a lot. The internet had this paragraph: “Loud, goofy-looking, flocking birds might not sound like the best backyard companion. Perched high in tree-tops, guinea fowl aren’t the classically handsome of the bird family, appearing more like mutated vultures than a downy chicken. With their featherless head and polka-dotted feathers, these fowl once roamed the central African plains and resent captivity to this day. But if you’re concerned with improving our food system’s addiction to pesticides and looking for an alternative ‘jack of all trades’ barnyard animal, consider the often-overlooked guinea fowl.
Baby guineas, called keets, are about as adorable as they sound and easy to tend. But once they grow older they are worthy watchdogs, fighting off trespassers both human and animal alike.”

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Anna, Vanna and I saw a turkey vulture in the ditch on the new portion of Ney Park (west side off Twp. road 3rd St. NW and Endicott Ave. NW) last Thursday. This is the second year in a row that ugly looking bird has shown up in almost the same place I don’t have a clue why!

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