Outdoors

Sun
26
Jun

Hook and bullet club

Catching big fish is something every angler hopes for at least once in a lifetime. <BR><BR>Each of us has our own “big fish” standards we like to adhere to. Most common would be the 10 pound walleye, a 20 pound northern and a 20-inch bass. <BR><BR>For the Meier family of Winton, the standards for lake trout will likely have to be set a bit higher. <BR><BR>Jill and her brother Philip along with their dad Dwayne, have been known to land some monster fish over the years.<BR><BR>They also get off the beaten path, paddling the BWCA and Quetico in search of lakes holding big fish. <BR><BR>There’s the catching part as well and the Meiers seem to have an angle on that as well.<BR><BR>Mother Donna was nice enough to send us some pictures from a recent trip to Robinson Lake. <BR><BR>Jill was the lucky one of the group on this Canadian trip.

Sat
25
Jun

Birdshot and backlashes

There is not a whole lot better eating than a hot dish of Calvatia gigantea. Like a few slices browned in either olive oil or butter and served up with maybe a vegetable side dish, bread and butter. OK, so I am being cute. Mushroom hunters know the subject is the giant puffball, and giant it is. Some of them began to pop up in the woods last week, probably a combination of bountiful rain and warm weather.<BR><BR>The ones we picked were about the size of basketballs, huge whitish spheres growing on the remains of some old timber. That’s what mushrooms do around here. They reduce old timber to humus. All kinds of mushrooms. Hundreds.<BR><BR>The giant puffball is unique, however, and easy to identify, which is a blessing because there are some mushrooms which are not good for human consumption. Scientific people tell us that none of the various puffballs are poisonous, although some species may not be particularly tasty. Some are, in fact, lousy.

Fri
24
Jun

Walleyes get back on track as summer heats up fishing action

Hello sun and goodbye slow fishing.<BR><BR>Ely area lakes heated up temperature-wise and action-wise as summer burned its way into town last week. <BR><BR>Some very nice fish were entered into the North Country Angler fishing contest, both in the Catch and Release section and the catch and put in the frying pan section.<BR><BR>Leading the way for walleye fisherfolk was an 8 lb. 2 oz. walleye caught in Bear-head Lake on a Rapala by nine year-old Hailey DeMars of Stillwater, MN. The 30-inch fish was entered at Vermilion Fuel and Food. <BR><BR>A crawler and a jig did the trick for Sharon Hartshorn of Babbitt who was fishing on Basswood Lake. She landed an 8 lb. walleye that also hit the 30-inch mark. The entry came in at Voyageur North Outfitters. <BR><BR>Fishing out of Timber Trail Resort, Joe Gregorich, Duluth, MN took his bride-to-be fishing for the first time on Basswood and landed a memborable 7 lb. 2 oz. walleye.

Sun
19
Jun

Birdshot and backlashes

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.

Sun
19
Jun

Birdshot & backlashes -strawberries

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.

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.

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