Outdoors

Sun
19
Jun

Birdshot & Backlashes - Berry time

This may be the year of years for berry picking. Wild strawberry blossoms were profuse. Billions of them. The berries themselves are just forming but will be coming on fast. The key is water and we have had plenty of it. Also, frost was kind and did not appear when many berries were in bloom. <BR><BR>But strawberries are only a lead-in to the blueberry season which is what most people think about when berries are discussed. <BR><BR>There are also Juneberries, sometimes called "saskatoons," which are fairly common but a little more difficult to find. Saskatoons are accommodating because they grow on higher bushes requiring less stooping. We like them so well, we have planted a number of bushes around the yard so we don't have to walk very far to pick a mess.<BR><BR>But back to blueberries. Not only do they grow all over the area but they are easy to locate.

Sat
18
Jun

Hook and bullet club - Trail shelters

A phone call from a family that lost a loved one brought trails back into focus last week.<BR><BR>The family wanted to know if there was a sponsorship program for shelters on snowmobile trails. I’m looking into the issue with the DNR, but on the Tomahawk Trail, we have a shelter under these conditions now.<BR><BR>Mattila’s Shelter is located at the intersection of the Tomahawk Trail and the spur that runs to Babbitt. It is a convenient mid-way rest stop for riders going between Ely and Isabella as well.<BR><BR>The shelter is nothing fancy, a three-sided structure with a plaque remembering a lost loved one, a fire pit and an outhouse. Located in a picturesque pine setting, hundreds of snowmobilers stop there each winter. <BR><BR>There are similar shelters on the Taconite Trail, including one near Purvis Lake that we often pull into when out for a family ride. The Arrowhead Trail has some very nice shelters as well.

Fri
17
Jun

Blue skies? You betcha! Anglers releasing big fish

You can stop building that ark now, it appears the rains have subsided for a while and now we can finally go out in the boat without having to put on rain gear first. <BR><BR>After a series of storms and rain showers that has area lakes at levels higher than after spring run-off, the sun reappeared and summer-like weather made it into the weather forecast.<BR><BR>Entries into the North Country Angler show the drop in people out fishing, but a number of very nice Catch and Release entries were received. <BR><BR>Leading the way was a massive 44-inch northern pike caught in Basswood Lake on a sucker minnow by Jerry Flaherty of Sebring, FL and entered at Timber Trail Lodge. <BR><BR>Mark Liebich of Joliet, IL entered a 40-inch northern caught and released in White Iron Lake on a rainbow chub. Liebich entered the release at Skube’s Bait and Tackle and reported the fish weighed in at 19 lbs. 13 oz.

Sun
12
Jun

Birdshot and backlashes

The unending continuation of the seasons is an absorbing mystery. How did everything get so arranged that there is fall, winter, spring and summer? How does it all fit together so precisely? How does each piece know to play its part?<BR><BR>The pond by the side of the road, which we pass every day, had a pair of mallards on it as soon as there was open water. Then, as the season moved into spring, they were gone. Well, the drake was gone. The hen was there but hidden away in last year’s marsh grass. Twice in early May she was visible so we knew she had to be hanging around, nesting probably.<BR><BR>Then, the last week of May, she appeared with four tiny, brown ducklings. Why four? Who knows? Usually there are nine or so, but her brood was just four. Maybe a mink or an otter picked off the rest. In any event, mama mallard and the chicks exhibited all the signs of fright.

Fri
10
Jun

Hook & bullet club - Lost and found pet

Imagine coming to northern Minnesota with your family pet and going home without it. And then 17 days later getting a phone call that your dog had been found miles away.<BR><BR>For the Nelson family in Woodbury, it was a sad story that ended up with a happy ending. <BR><BR>An eight year-old Brittany Spaniel named Cally had disappeared from Melgeorge’s on Elephant Lake near Orr. Then, somehow and some way, Cally travelled all the way to the Chainsaw Sisters Saloon on Pickett Lake. <BR><BR>Now, there is a trail/road system to get from Melgeorge’s Resort to Highway 23 that runs from Orr to Crane Lake.

Fri
10
Jun

Walleye fishing picking up, rain pushes water levels higher

So you’ve got your Rapala trailing behind your boat, hoping to hook another walleye to fill out the stringer. <BR><BR>Then, WHAM, a monster muskie grabs that lure and decides to take you for a ride around the lake. <BR><BR>This was Jerry Palmer’s tale of landing a 45-inch muskie that had an 18.5-inch girth and tore apart a small Rapala.<BR><BR>Fishing with his son on Lake Vermilion, the two were trolling along when one pole bent in a hurry. <BR><BR>“You got a big walleye,” said his son.<BR><BR>“That ain’t a walleye,” said Jerry.<BR><BR>With the motor turned off, the muskie pulled the boat around the bay, stopping to surface and look back it what it was towing around.<BR><BR>“It would surface just like an alligator and you could see its eyes sticking up,” said Palmer.<BR><BR>It would take 15 minutes before the fish tired out and could be brought up alongside the boat.

Sun
05
Jun

Birdshot and backlashes

It is sometimes amazing the stuff people pick up. Like names of things. Every now and then a visitor to the area wants know what the word “Quetico” means. They assume it has some significant Indian connotation. Like everybody else, I wondered about this, once upon time. My Canadian friends explained that it is a contraction of Quebec Timber Co. It was shortened to Que-ti-co.” I never explain it to visitors unless they insist because it kind of throws their wilderness ideas into the lake.<BR><BR>Another one, which is simply a mispronunciation, is Bois Forte, which is forever pronounced like “Boys Fort.” The facts are, it is a French term from back in the Voyageur days, meaning “Wood Fort” or place in the woods.

Sat
04
Jun

Hook and bullet club

Tauno Maki brought in a copy of a clipping from the Ely Fish Facts, a summer publication of the old Ely Miner newspaper. <BR><BR>The piece was entitled, “WARNING: FISHING POX! Very contagious to adult males. <BR><BR>“Symptoms: Continual complaint as to need for fresh air, sunshine and relaxation. Patient has blank expression, sometimes deaf to wife and kids. Has no taste for work of any kind. Frequent checking of tackle, catalogues. Hangs out in Sporting Goods Stores longer than usual. Secret night phone calls to fishing pals. Mumbles to self. Lies to everyone. NO KNOWN CURE.<BR><BR>“Treatment: Medication is useless. Disease is not fatal.

Fri
03
Jun

Fishing turns red hot in Ely area, 12 lb. 10 oz. walleye registered here

You kind of just knew it was a matter of time before the fishing turned around and anglers started swamping registration stations with big fish.<BR><BR>Well, time’s up and here come the big fish. Even with water levels higher now than they were at opener, the weather has finally started to cooperate and if you can survive the black flies at the landing, you can put some nice fish on the stringer.<BR><BR>Leading the way this week was a 12 lb. 10 oz. walleye that went 33 inches long and had a 17.5 inch girth. Caught by Brad Knope of Shawano, WI on a leech and a jig in Little Long Lake, the whopper was registered at Skube’s Bait and Tackle. The fish went home in a cooler but it had to be frozen in a U-shape in order to fit in the cooler.<BR><BR>Richard Lasch of South Bend, IN hooked a 9 lb. 10 oz. walleye in Burntside Lake using a chub and brought the 29.5-inch specimen into Skube’s Bait and Tackle for registration.

Sun
29
May

Monster Basswood Lake northern pike filling up anglers’ landing nets

Basswood Lake is still the home of the state record northern pike and this week’s entries show the lake is still producing.<BR><BR>Pike of 18, 19 and 25 pounds were taken out of Basswood Lake last week, still a ways short of the 45 lb. 12 oz. behemoth taken May 16, 1929, but some nice catches nonetheless. <BR><BR>Andy Schell of Lakewood, CO used a cisco to land the top northern pike this week. The pike went 25 lb. 12 oz. with a length of 45.5 inches and was registered at Deer Ridge Resort. <BR><BR>Jennifer Schneider of Aitkin, MN was also using a cisco when she landed a 19 lb. 8 oz. pike that went 41.5 inches on the ruler at Deer Ridge Resort. <BR><BR>Amber Lindgren, also of Aitkin, brought in a 18 lb. 2 oz. northern that measured 40.5 inches from tail to mouth at Deer Ridge Resort. <BR><BR>Doug Todd of Loretto, MN used a minnow to catch an 8 lb. 8 oz.

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