Outdoors

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.

Mon
18
Apr

Hook and Bullet Club

My favorite piece of clothing is an insulated shirt that has more holes than Fall Lake after the ice fishing contest. Slipping on that shirt I know I won’t win any fashion contests, but the feeling is just what I’m looking for.<BR><BR>That feeling came over me last weekend when we finally got out to the shack. Like putting on an old shirt, each of us slipped into our routines like we had just been there for deer hunting season.<BR><BR>Mike was busy cleaning out the wood stove, not because I asked or that we had talked about it beforehand. He just did it because it needed to be done. <BR><BR>I popped open the windows to air the place out and swept the pine needles off the deck as Jake hauled in our stuff from the truck. Bill showed up a short time later and the younger boys busied themselves with the wheelers. <BR><BR>We slipped out of town Saturday afternoon, not knowing if the snow in the woods had melted enough or not.

Sun
17
Apr

Birdshot and backlashes

Black ice. It showed up everywhere last week and indicated that spring was pretty much on schedule. In most years, ice goes off Shagawa Lake (where the ice-out contest is held) and most of the other shallow water lakes somewhere around the 20th of April. Ice on some of the smaller ponds and lakes is already clear. So are the streams where the trout season got underway last Saturday. That’s for brook, rainbow, brown trout and splake in streams. Not for trout on lakes. That season opens May 14 along with walleye, bass, northern pike and lake trout.<BR><BR>Nobody seems to know why it is that trout in streams become legal in April but the same fish in lakes cannot be caught until mid-May. Other freshwater fish like walleyes are spring spawners and thus there is a good reason for not opening the season too early. <BR><BR>But the stream trout in lakes don’t spawn at all. That fishery is strictly stock and catch.

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