Outdoors

Sun
06
Jun

Water cold, weather heating up

With the sun finally appearing this past week, anglers are hoping water temps will rise and give fishing activity a jump start. <BR><BR>Last Tuesday fishermen reported surface water temperatures of just 53 degrees on several area lakes, well below where lake temps usually are following Memorial Day.<BR><BR>But the thermometer was finally hitting 70 degrees on a regular basis and the flower planters were finally able to stop worrying about frost. Warmer temps should stimulate the fish as well.<BR><BR>The funny thing was there were several reports of anglers limiting out last week, proving that when the fish are hungry, they’re going to eat. <BR><BR>The trout seem to be the least affected by the cooler water. <BR><BR>Terry Gfeller of Ely brought in a 13 lb. 12 oz. laker off of Burntside Lake and registered at Skube’s Bait and Tackle.

Sun
30
May

Portage in style

Let us face it, canoe trips can be hard work! Anyone who has ever carried over the Horse Portage or the Four Mile will attest that a long portage can be the most difficult (and most dreaded!) part of a canoe trip. Portaging is not wildly vigorous activity but it requires constant exertion all the time from the entire body. <BR><BR>On a backwoods canoe adventure, hours of paddling and miles of portaging are part of the adventure. Paddling is an art of its own but it is not complicated. Portaging, on the other hand, is more than just slinging a heavy pack on your shoulders, a canoe on top, and then walking as far as humanly possible. <BR><BR>Like most physical activities, technique is more important than raw strength. With a few tips, anyone can become an effective portager. <BR><BR>When carrying a heavy pack check two things before beginning your hike.

Sun
30
May

Angling action picks up in windy weather

Fishing action in the Ely area picked up last week with windy weather and cooler days. Walleyes were being taken in 20 feet of water in many places and as deep as 40 feet in other places. <BR><BR>With stocking activities going on right now in many area lakes by the Minnesota DNR, it’s a reminder that many of the walleyes found across the area originated in Lake Vermilion.<BR><BR>Joe Geis, the DNR fisheries guy in Tower, explained that walleyes in different geographical areas have different genetics so they are kept apart.<BR><BR>“Walleyes in the Hudson Bay drainage are genetically different than the Mississippi River and St. Louis River drainage,” said Geis. “We only use the Pike River strain of walleyes which are in the Hudson Bay drainage. We’re doing that to maintain the genetic integrity of those stocks.”<BR><BR>The hatchery at Pike River produces around 100 million walleye eggs each year with 75 million hatching into walleye fry.

Sun
30
May

Hook and bullet club: Fishing and hitting 'em

An adult bald eagle was perched on a snag, watching us paddle into the wind, perhaps waiting to see if we would leave any goodies behind. <BR><BR>We were about 10 minutes into a 40-minute paddle and the wind was making itself known on a Sunday morning. The sky was overcast and the temps were in the upper 40s. <BR><BR>Roger aimed us toward a rocky shoreline and Jake grabbed hold of the ledge. Our first catch of the day would be several stones to fill our anchor bags. One Kondos-made mesh bag went in the front of the canoe and one in the back and we were on our way again.<BR><BR>There was company waiting for us as we turned the corner into the bay, a canoe with three people from Ely, also in search of a walleye dinner or two. <BR><BR>Unfortunately, they were smack dab in the spot we were hoping to fish. But in the fishing game, the advantage goes to those who get there first.

Mon
24
May

Walleyes start slow, pike hot

Water temps below 50 degrees on many area lakes kept the walleye sluggish but made for some great northern pike fishing on the first days of the season.<BR><BR>Area lakes were filled with boats on the 2004 fishing opener. The weather cooperated, although not right away.<BR><BR>At 6 a.m. it was a brisk 24 degrees and early morning anglers were lucky enough to scrape ice off car windshields before heading out. <BR><BR>But by noon the temperature had hit 50 and a nice day seemed possible. By 2 p.m. the wind kicked up, driving waves into the north and east shores of lakes. <BR><BR>As usual, the reports ranged from feast to famine. Most found fish out of the currents and in 16 to 18 feet of water. Minnows were working well for walleyes and the crappies started hitting mid-morning as well. <BR><BR>For those who couldn’t get the walleyes to get excited, pike fishing provided a great alternative.

Mon
24
May

Hook and bullet club gets skunked... or did they?

The opener. The most high pressure day of fishing most people will have all year. Bringing home your limit is the goal and enough fish for dinner is the expectation. <BR><BR>But somehow those goals and expectations don’t always work as a measurement of success.<BR><BR>We checked the thermometer early Saturday morning and decided we would take our time getting on the water. The temperature was below 30 degrees, which would be really good if we were going ice fishing. <BR><BR>So when we were walking through the grocery store at around 9 a.m. and were asked, “How many fish?” our answer was zero, since we hadn’t gone out yet. By the end of the day, our answer was very similar.<BR><BR>Oh, we got out on the water and fished up and down Birch Lake most of the day, but the stringer stayed in the tackle box. That’s right. Zippo. <BR><BR>The walleyes were apparently not impressed with what we had to offer.

Mon
17
May

Get ready, get set…FISH!

The 2004 Minnesota fishing season is finally upon us. The wait is over, it’s time to go fishing. <BR><BR>With the latest possible date for an opener, all areas (including Pipestone on Basswood) are open for fishing and the DNR fish guy in Tower expects good things for the 2004 season.<BR><BR>“Right now we have had good natural reproduction in a lot of our lakes in the mid to late 1990s and also in 2001,” said Joe Geis, the Ely area DNR fisheries supervisor. “So the walleye population in most of our lakes are high because we have had several strong year classes.”<BR><BR>Fisherman looking to have their rod bent by the shaking head of a walleye will hope to tie into the 1994 and 1995 class.<BR><BR>“Most lakes had either good 1994 or good 1995 classes and some had both,” said Geis. “Those walleyes should be up in the mid 20s by now. And 1997 was a real strong class and 1998 was pretty good in quite a few lakes.

Mon
17
May

Hook and bullet club - Sharing fishing recipe

If you’ve been lucky enough to put some fish on the stringer, you know your work is not done. Once you’ve got the fillets out, it’s time for the most important part of the process: cooking.<BR><BR>There are many ways to prepare fresh fish but we’ve found one that really works well and is as simple as it gets.<BR><BR>Walleye, pike and panfish have been prepared to mouth-watering levels using this simple but effective method.<BR><BR>Take your fillets and make sure all bones and any skin tissue have been removed. Wash off the fillets and open up a package of Bearden Farms breading mix. <BR><BR>We use a simple zip-lock bag with enough mix to do a number of fillets. With the fillets still a little damp, but not dripping wet, drop them into the bag.<BR><BR>Zip the bag shut and shake it up until the fillets are covered with the Bearden breading. Now you’re ready to cook.

Sun
09
May

Getting ready for fishing opener

Fishing opener is already upon us and we should have a great opener, weather permitting. So where you gonna go? <BR><BR>Picking the first spot to fish for the year can either be a no-brainer based on past success or a crap shoot if you’re like the rest of us and have had full and empty stringers on the openers over the years.<BR><BR>In our house we have a solid vote for Basswood Lake but as of this writing, no permit for our favorite fishing grounds. <BR><BR>So, we’re back to the local lakes. This is a tough choice as well. From Fall to Farm and Shagawa to Birch as well as the inviting Lake Vermilion, there are many spots where we could be launching the Lund Saturday morning. <BR><BR>Of course a number of things have to happen before there will be any launching. First and foremost we need to make sure the motor is ready to go for the year.

Mon
03
May

Hook and bullet club - anchoring the catch

Whenever a guy wants to tell you a fish story, you know you’re in for it. When the guy brings props (not the kind on boat motors), you’re in for trouble.<BR><BR>Frank Fifo brought a bucket of props in the other day for one of those kind of fish stories. You see other than planting trees, Frank can usually be found out fishing somewhere along the White Iron chain of lakes.<BR><BR>So it was that he was fishing last summer at Silver Rapids, using six pound test, plying for the elusive critters he loves to chase - walleyes. <BR><BR>Not too surprisingly, Frank caught a snag in the rocky bottom. Except this was one of those springy snags that seems like it wants to come up out of the water. <BR><BR>So Frank set his fishing pole down and pulled up the monofilament to see what was on the other end. Hand over hand he came upon a thick, black rope.

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