Brute’s Bleat by Harold Brutlag- October 3, 2018

There’s a lot to be said about late season fishing and I’d say the most important part is to dress appropriately. I thought I had last Thursday when George Palmer and I headed for Rock Lake about 10:30 a.m. in hopes of finding some hungry sunfish. The wind was out of the west, not strong, but with enough velocity to warrant a warmer jacket than the fall one I was wearing. We were armed with artificial power bait, which has been good this summer. We tried some former spots which had produced fish, but came up with only a few keepers before we finally hit a hot spot on the north end of Rock. We fished until about 3:30 p.m., thoroughly chilled, but with 19 keepers, the largest 9 1/4 inches. After we had them filleted out Palmer reminded me to let the Messenger readers know I had caught the lion’s share. Luck seemed to be with me, or it might have been the Northern Tackle mud bug jig I was using. Letting it fall to the bottom of the lake and lifting it off about three inches seemed to be the secret to getting bites. Now we’re waiting for some nice October weather to wind up the season. . . * * * Sunday afternoon I took a break from watching football to begin the fall task of taking off the window screens and replacing them with storm windows. In the process my mind began to wonder why we haven’t replaced them with something more modern. It also reminded me of the morning cups of coffee at the Maple Lake Cafe when the deceased Jack Borell and I asked each other if we had started that chore. He was living on Ramsey lake at the time and we each had houses that were built before the advent of all-weather windows. Borell died last week and, as I was putting on the storms Sunday, I got to wondering if he was looking down on me with his familiar grin wondering when I’d upgrade! He added a lot to those early morning coffee hours, both in conversation and shaking dice. . . * * * I’m hearing scattered reports on the ruffed grouse population in Minnesota and hunters seem to be seeing or hearing a few, but not in any concentration. Most seem to be waiting for the leaves to fall and give them a better chance for a shot. It getting close to the fall migration of Woodcock and time for Vanna and I to take a walk down some of the groomed trails the ATV’s are supposed to stay off of. There’s one plus thing about hunting grouse when you’re my age. You are supposed to walk at a slower pace and stop often with hopes of spooking grouse or timber doodle. I won’t have any problem with the slower pace and stopping that seems to come natural with old-age, but I’m wondering if I’ll be able to get the shotgun on my shoulder while still being able to see the birds! I’ll let you know how that works when and if I get out in the woods. . . I had a call from Mike Muller Friday when he and his entourage of himself, son Kenneth and Pete Flatland were enroute to Canada for duck and goose hunting. His farming friends there let him know there were upwards of 2,000 Canada geese in one field they hunt and urged him to hurry. * * * Phyllis Mattson commented Sunday after services at Holy Cross Lutheran Church she had narrowly missed a turkey while coming from her Granite Lake home. It was one of a flock of 10-12 birds on the highway that morning. She admitted of running late and being in a hurry. As the saying goes, “All is well that ends well.” I don’t think she was speeding! Another species to be watching for, especially in the evening hours, are Minnesota’s whitetail deer. I’m seeing some road kills and as they go into rut they will be moving more often. One highway patrol man, after stopping me for speeding, said driving over 55 mph at night can mean you’re out-driving your headlights and you’ll be unable to stop in time to avoid a collisions. That was back in the 50’s and headlights didn’t light up the roadside like they do today. He didn’t give me a ticket, but so far I’ve had two deer collisions and I apparently didn’t take heed of his warning! I’ve been toying with the idea of hunting deer this fall, but after a few cold mornings my enthusiasm for the rifle season is starting to dwindle. That puts me in the whimp class, but I can remember some windy cold mornings and how that makes sitting or standing downright miserable. The modern day deer blinds allow for a heater which would make the early morning hours more tolerable, but I never could sit still for long. I think I’m telling you I’m not going! My dad was a good deer hunter in his day and back then the deer were much less plentiful. One day seasons with slug barrels were common in Ottertail County and then we had to head north across Hwy. 10. I can remember some extremely cold hunts when the temp. was near zero. He always said if you get cold, build a fire. Besides warming up he said deer are curious and will head for the smoke. It never worked for me, but maybe my fires weren’t big enough!

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