Brute’s Bleat by Harold Brutlag

My efforts to find any sizeable sunfish didn’t pan out the past week. There seemed to be an abundance of small ones, but few that were wor- thy of putting in the livewell. George Palmer was out Wednesday and we fished Maple Lake from one end to the other over a matter of about four hours. We found a few keeper crappies and one sunfish in the east- ern portion of the lake, but they were nothing to write home about either. I’m thinking the sunfish are in some kind of a transition period moving from shallow to deeper water. I tried Mink & Sommers for several hours Sunday afternoon and found lots of spawning beds, but the larger sunfish were no longer on the beds which kind of reinforces my thoughts about them moving into deeper water. Janis’ step-father, Parnell Sanford, lived on Big Detroit Lake’s south side and was a firm believer that the sunfish in that lake didn’t start biting in deeper water (12-14 ft.) until the 4th of July. He had a favorite weed-bed out from his lake home which provided great fishing for a good month before the sunfish changed location. Based on his experience and this year’s unusual spring I’m guessing the panfish in local lakes should turn on any day now. Fly fishing for me was a total bust this year during the sunfish spawn, maybe next year! . . . Daryl Hennen, his son Adam; Jim and David Goelz, another fa- ther-son duo; and Tim Risbrudt fished a small, but productive lake about 11 hours driving time into upper Ontario two weeks ago, plus a good hour of fly-in time. Hennen said it was fantastic Walleye and Northern fishing. Rick Benson, normally a regular with that group, was unable to go this year because of the death of a brother of his. Hennen said they had a flat of night crawlers, 24 boxes (300) frozen minnows, and some bait leeches left at their cabin from the previous week’s anglers and they still ran out of bait. That means it was about as good as it gets. He said the weather was warm and rain free, but they had to contend with wind most every day. Using the plankton theory they had there best luck where the wind was blowing into the shoreline where the bait fish congregated. . . According to the Sunday Tribune there may be changes made in the walleye limits on the Minnesota side of Lake of the Woods in a year or so. If I read the story right winter anglers may have limits of walleyes and saugers cut, and spring fishing on the Rainy river may be affected too. It’s something walleye anglers will want to hone in on and offer their opinions on Lake of the Woods fishing to the DNR.

Walking in Ney Park’s eastern park has been interesting as the blue

birds and swallows seem to think Vanna and I are invading there territory and tend to buzz us when we get close to their bird houses. It gives us a chance to see them close up. One day we had a doe cross our path and I

hoped there would be a fawn or two with her, but that didn’t happen. There is something new on the park’s landscape each week as different wild flowers start blooming to add color along the trails. The period rains are keeping everything green and the paths soft to our feet.


Coming back from Monticello Sunday we saw a huge flock of Cor- morants fly acrosss County Road 37 flying toward Maple Lake. It was the largest flock of those fish eaters we’ve seen this year and they’re not good news for local anglers, but like the different variety of invasive weeds and lake scum they seem to be something we have to live with. Maybe Mother Nature has something in store to keep their numbers from becoming too much of a nuisance besides the 12 gauge shells that have been known to scare them off.

The timely rains Wright County is enjoying, along with the warm and sometimes hot day, has turned everything green as we have started to lose daylight after June 21, officially known as the summer solstice in Northern Hemisphere. A solstice is an event occurring when the sun ap- pears to reach its most northerly or southerly excursion relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere. Two solstices occur annually, around June 21 and December 21. ….. The solstices always occur be- tween June 20 and 22 and between December 20 and 23. . . I noticed baling hay was going on big time last week and over the weekend. Round bales seem to be the choice, but the hobby farmers seemed to prefer the square type. Thinking back to my youth my Dad used a team of horses with a five foot mower to start the haying process. Then he used a side delivery rake to put the alfalfa hay in rows as it was dryng. The third part of the system was to use two horses to pull the wagon (hay rack) and a hay loader that would pick up the hay in the windrow and load it up into the back end of the rack. One or two people would move the hay toward to the front of the wagon until it filled the hay rack. The fourth part of the process was to get it into the barn or a hay stack. In our case we used a hay fork that consisted of four tines that were poked into the hay on the hay rack and lifted off the hay rack with a sys- tem of rope and pulleys transfering it to the hay mow or second story of the barn for winter feeding. Horses were used for power on the rope, and a trip line was attached to the hay fork to drop the hay at various spots in the haymow. Another person was in the haymow to move the hay to each side of the barn. I started out as a driver which was relatively easy as the horses seemed to know they each walked adjacent sides of the row. The other jobs were more physically demanding and working in the haymow was by far the toughest because of the intense heat and sometimes dust. Hay balers were a welcomed machine which speeded up the process. In the fledging years the bales were dropped on the ground and had to be picked up one by one, or a chute was used to trans- fer them to the front of the bale wagon. By then I was out of high school and had decided I didn’t want to be a farmer. I’m sure haying and har- vesting with bundle wagons and threshing machines had something to do with it, but milking cows seven days a week was the biggest deciding point back then.

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