Outdoors

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.

Sat
23
Apr

Conservation officers report

Conservation Officer Marty Stage (Babbitt) worked ATV enforcement and steel head fishermen on the North Shore. Ice went out on Birch Lake a couple days ago and a few boats were out immediately. Several new garbage piles have been reported and fire danger is increasing daily. Keep watching for the loads of garbage heading the wrong way out of town and remember that the water is still extremely cold, so make sure to get your safety equipment inspected and in the boats.<BR><BR>CO John Velsvaag (Ely) attended first aid training this past week. He also received some complaints on possible waters violations. Most of the area lakes are ice free as of Sunday night, and the walleyes and suckers are running. He observed numerous people out looking at the fish run over the weekend. Velsvaag also received a call on an injured moose south of Ely.<BR><BR>CO Mike Lekatz (Ely) attended a meeting in Eveleth on work related issues.

Sat
23
Apr

Hook and Bullet Club

You can judge when spring arrives however you want. Some use a calendar, others look for leaves on the trees and some say it’s when the ice goes out. <BR><BR>My spring arrives when the boats and motors start piling up at Joe’s Marine in Ely. When you hear outboards running in the alley behind the shop, you know spring is here.<BR><BR>Outdoorsmen are a procrastinating bunch and they’ll wait until the last minute to get their boat and motors ready for spring. That’s when it gets busy at Joe’s Marine.<BR><BR>There’s usually a lull between when the last snowmobiles are serviced and the first boats are dropped off.

Sat
23
Apr

Hook and Bullet Club

You can judge when spring arrives however you want. Some use a calendar, others look for leaves on the trees and some say it’s when the ice goes out. <BR><BR>My spring arrives when the boats and motors start piling up at Joe’s Marine in Ely. When you hear outboards running in the alley behind the shop, you know spring is here.<BR><BR>Outdoorsmen are a procrastinating bunch and they’ll wait until the last minute to get their boat and motors ready for spring. That’s when it gets busy at Joe’s Marine.<BR><BR>There’s usually a lull between when the last snowmobiles are serviced and the first boats are dropped off.

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