Outdoors

Sat
14
May

Birdshot and backlashes

It is probably too early in the season for invertebrates. Vertebrates are usually much more effective this time of year. For bait, that is. Vertebrates are what the scientific folk call creatures like minnows with bones. <BR><BR>Nightcrawlers are invertebrates, because they have no bones. Which may be why fish love ’em. They are easy for fish to chew up and scarf down. Even sunfish and perch can handle worms. <BR><BR>Walleyes and bass take to crawlers like candy; but usually only when it warms up. We just thought you ought to know all that if you don’t already. Want some fun? When you go fishing this summer ask your fishing buddy to pass the can of invertebrates. <BR><BR>There are people who will argue about this, but you can bet your best spinning reel that most of the serious fisherfolk out this week will be seeking their fortune with live minnows.

Sat
14
May

Hook and bullet club

As many of us head out onto the water to try our luck at bringing home a walleye dinner, many of us will be joined by young anglers. And as of May 6, if a child is under age 10, they must wear a life jacket while they are in a boat on Minnesota waters.<BR><BR>This law was signed into law by our soon-to-be-fishing-on-Lake Vermilion governor, Tim Pawlenty. The law is known as the “Grant Allen Law” after a child who drowned after falling out of his father’s boat in 2003. <BR><BR>This is one of those common sense laws that you look at and think of course kids should wear life jackets. So why do we need a law?<BR><BR>Well, unless you have kids or have had kids in a boat, you might not realize that wearing a life jacket is not always high on the list of priorities.<BR><BR>Plus, it can be difficult to find life jackets that properly fit kids.

Fri
13
May

Ely area primed for opener

The governor will be down the road in Tower, trying his luck in Lake Vermilion. The DNR is predicting a healthy walleye population. The opener is here.<BR><BR>Life is good for fishermen and fisher-women as the 2005 season will officially kick off on Saturday, May 14. <BR><BR>Tower area fisheries expert Joe Geis will be working on the opener but expects good reports depending on how the weather turns out.<BR><BR>“Walleyes should have completed spawning and started to disperse from the spawning areas,” said Geis.

Mon
09
May

Birdshot and backlashes

Next Saturday, when the walleye season opens and all you readers are out on the local lakes, this columnist will be over on Lake Vermilion sampling what has become officially known as the “Governor’s Fishing Opener.” That is, a bunch of writers and TV people will be hanging out at Fortune Bay to participate in what the Minnesota Office of Tourism hopes will be some nifty publicity for the upper part of the state.<BR><BR>This is a public relations thing for Governor Tim Pawlenty, who will be expected to catch at least one fish for photo purposes. Sometimes, the fishing is tough and there are not many, if any fish caught, but the Governor is expected to put in his time in spite of wind, rain, snow or whatever. <BR><BR>Headquarters for the event will be Fortune Bay Resort and Casino where the scribes and announcers will have the opportunity to sample golfing at the Wilderness Links and also spread some cash around via slot machines, blackjack, poker and bingo.

Sun
08
May

Hook and bullet club

Ahh, the fishing opener is finally upon us. So many choices of where to go or maybe you fall under the tradition flag and every year the same body of water awaits you.<BR><BR>We usually head over to Birch Lake and hit our familiar spots. Pulling your boat into the same bay you sat in nine months ago can be like slipping into comfortable shoes.<BR><BR>That’s why a lot of guys will go to the same lake every year on opener. They know what to expect and how to go after the fish. <BR><BR>Most are expecting the fish to be deep when the calendar strikes May 14. Don’t be surprised to hear of guys pulling walleyes while fishing in 30 feet of water. <BR><BR>To me the opener is about current. Fishing in moving water is where I like to be when the season starts.

Sat
07
May

Logging top issue in Echo Trail field visit

The U. S. Forest Service conducted a field visit to several Echo Trail sites that fall under their proposed vegetation and transportation management plan on the La Croix and Kawishiwi Ranger Districts. <BR><BR>The field visit began with a gathering at the La Croix District office in Cook. There was representation from Ainsworth (formerly Potlatch), Hestrom/Elliott, Boise, Voyaguer Log Homes, Conservationists with Common Sense, Friends of the Boundary Waters, Sierra Club and several private landowners.<BR><BR>The recent court ruling on the Big Grass Environmental Assessment (EA) has led the Forest Service to re-analyze the Big Grass vegetation and transportation systems as part of the Echo Trail Area Forest Management Project analysis. Rather than documenting the Echo Trail Area analysis in an EA to determine whether an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is needed, the Forest Service decided to proceed directly to an EIS.

Mon
02
May

Hook and Bullet Club

We started off talking business but it didn’t take long before we switched to shack talk. This is a common problem for those who go 10 months thinking mainly about what they’ll be doing from grouse opener to the end of deer season.<BR><BR>John showed me photos of the remodel job he did on the front porch on his shack, turning it into living space from the breezy, nearly falling down area that only housed coolers.<BR><BR>There was another reason for the improvements, something many shack dwellers can relate to: a lack of space. <BR><BR>Many start off with a few family members and a buddy or two. Everybody has their own space to sleep and enough room for packs and extra clothing.

Sat
30
Apr

Birdshot and backlashes

The calendar people have it all screwed up. They tell us that the first of the year is January 1. That’s when the New Year begins. <BR><BR>Not so. If you live in the woods you know that January 1 is no different than December 31 or January 2. At least you can’t tell any difference. But spring is different. Tuesday, April 19, was a warm day but the woods looked just as brown as they did on the 18th. But April 20 was something else. On April 20, with the temperature soaring, there was a sudden greenery emerging all over. The tops of the aspen trees on the ridges assumed a yellow-green cast as the first leaves of spring appeared across the forest.<BR><BR>We were unquestionably into the New Year. We could see it.<BR><BR>Eagles were soaring from the lakeshore to their nests in tall white pines. Herring gulls on translucent wings were scouting out rocky islands where they would lay their speckled eggs.

Fri
29
Apr

Conservation officers report

Conservation Officer Kipp Duncan (Two Harbors) spent the majority of the week working the North Shore tributaries. Steelhead trout anglers have been thick along the North Shore this spring with many having very good success. Colder water temperatures and low water levels have slowed the fishing during the last couple of days. Some complaints were received and people were watched during the week with compliance with fishing laws being pretty good. Other enforcement activity included burning regulations, and dogs chasing deer. The Two Harbors firearm safety class also started during the week. <BR><BR>CO Brad Johnson (Silver Bay) checked anglers on the streams and rivers along the North Shore. Some anglers were reporting success. He met with the Lake County Attorney to sign a complaint for an illegal trapping case. He responded to a call of a car-killed wolf near Murphy City.

Sun
24
Apr

Birdshot and backlashes

“Urrk!”<BR><BR>That’s all the little frog could manage in the cold water. “Urrk!”<BR><BR>The night before, the temperature had dropped to 29 degrees and by 10 a.m. it was only 34 degrees. The water must have been downright chilly. The pond above the beaver dam usually had a whole army of spring peepers busy croaking right after ice-out. This solo singer sounded like the first one of the year. Only his teeth would have been rattling if he had any teeth. “Urrk!”<BR><BR>But by three o’clock in the afternoon, the temperature had shot up to 60 and there was a whole chorus of peepers making their welcome spring sound. “Ruk-ruk, ruk-ruk! Ruk-ruk-ruk-ruk!!” Dozens of them. They were sprawled out on the surface of the pond, their white air sacs readily apparent even from 25 feet away. They were yelling their cheery song of spring, just another indication that winter was gone until next November.

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