Outdoors

Sun
29
May

Birdshot and backlashes

Peak time. Memorial Day weekend is usually one of the red hot fishing periods every summer. Walleyes are gorging after their spring spawn. Northerns are cruising around mad at the world. Bass are coming up to start making nests on reefs and bars. Sunfish are starting to gather in spawning areas, intent on eating anything nearby. And trout? Ho! Ho! Ho! It is also trout time.<BR><BR>The problem is, an angler does not know exactly which species upon which to concentrate the effort. Of course, bass, walleye and northerns are pretty much found in the same areas so it is mainly a matter of which bait and how to present it. <BR><BR>Lake trout are going down deeper but can be dredged up with big Shad Raps trolled 20 or 30 feet below the surface. Stream trout are cruising just under the surface, especially at daylight and dusk and will hit anything, particularly tiny metal lures in 1/8 oz.

Sun
29
May

The hook and bullet club

Even though the weather for the second weekend of the 2005 fishing season wasn’t perfect, Megan and I decided to try our luck out on the water. <BR><BR>We were slated to meet Mike, Mitchell and Bill in about the middle of Birch Lake. Mike had nailed a five-pound walleye the night before so he was fired up to get back out there. <BR><BR>With off-and-on showers predicted for the day, Megan and I were determined to go but we weren’t really in the fired up stage.<BR><BR>I had heard a hot tip about guys using leeches on Birch on the opener, so we added a couple dozen to our purchase at the bait shop. Then we headed down Highway 1 to put in on the north end of Birch Lake.<BR><BR>The main landing is next to the Babbitt Beach, quite a haul from Ely, so we used the landing next to the campground.

Sat
21
May

Birdshot and backlashes

Governor Tim Pawlenty’s 2005 Minnesota Fishing Opener on Lake Vermilion, May 14, was the greatest ever held. At least the greatest ever attended by anyone from the Ely Echo who regularly receive invitations to these events.<BR><BR>Here’s why it was so great: Every participant was presented with an insulated nylon jacket donated by Minnesota Power, a Polartec vest from Cabella’s, a nylon tackle box with four plastic box inserts and an assortment of tackle from XcelEnergy.

Sat
21
May

Hook and bullet club

I knew I wasn’t the only one. There were many unnamed anglers who sat out the 2005 Minnesota fishing opener. <BR><BR>Sure, we broke tradition. We ignored those innate urges to throw on all our warmest clothes, top it off with a rain suit and waddle down to the dock. Somehow we persevered.<BR><BR>For me it was actually an easy decision. First my brother-in-law called from Apple Valley to say he wasn’t coming up for opener. Silently I thanked him for this move, knowing it would be another reason not to go. <BR><BR>“Well, I was going to go out with Mike but he chickened out. You know how those Twin Cities boys are.”<BR><BR>But I refrained from using that line. Even if Mike had come up I don’t believe I would have been unloading my boat in Birch Lake Saturday morning.<BR><BR>For one, Jake had two baseball games in Duluth that day and there was a funeral at 11 a.m. I wanted to attend.

Fri
20
May

The Opener was cold and snowy but fishing heating up in Ely now

The 2005 fishing opener was typical by Minnesota standards: cold, windy, rain and some snow and sleet thrown in for good measure. <BR><BR>But that didn’t slow the Governor or thousands of anglers from taking to the lakes last Saturday. <BR><BR>Governor Tim Pawlenty and his wife Mary landed 12 walleyes on Lake Vermilion by noon. With the guv putting eight in the net, he was beat out for top honors by Lt. Governor Carol Molnau who caught nine. <BR><BR>Pawlenty announced he will be traveling a little farther north next year to International Falls and Rainy Lake for the 2006 Governor’ Fishing Opener event.<BR><BR>Reports from around the Ely varied, although the number of boats out on the water was below normal opener levels. <BR><BR>The west side of Basswood was productive, with walleyes being taken from areas where there was current.

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.

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