Outdoors

Sun
25
Jul

Birdshot and backlashes - Catch and release

Next to the creation of electronic fish locators or depth sounders, the most important development in sport fishing over the last few decades has been “Catch & Release.” <BR><BR>The idea of letting fish go unharmed goes back to the 1930s. Back then, one of the most popular outdoor magazines was “Hunting and Fishing” which originated an organization called “The Square Circle,” a national club of anglers who pledged to adhere to the fishing laws and to promote sportsmanship. In those days, being “square” meant being honest and trustworthy. <BR><BR>One of the practices they began was the concept of letting gamefish go after they were brought to net. In the early 1930s, I was about 12 years old and learning flyfishing from a skilled river man named B.J. Skaggs.

Sun
25
Jul

Hook and bullet club - Tired bad luck

Trailer tires and I just do not have a good working relationship right now. <BR><BR>After leaving deer camp last season and shredding a tire before we were out of the driveway, I decided to rectify the problem over the summer.<BR><BR>I replaced the smaller tires that came with the trailer with a 12 inch tire that would last longer. Well, it didn’t last too long. <BR><BR>Evan and I had loaded the wheeler on the trailer and filled up the truck with boxes to go out to the shack one night last week.<BR><BR>With the dog riding in the back, we were just about to the end of the blacktop when an all too familiar noise could be heard. Flop. Flop. Flop.<BR><BR>Sure enough when I looked at the rear right tire on the trailer, it was deja vu all over again. Another flat tire. <BR><BR>But it didn’t look that bad. And I had a portable air compressor in back of the truck. So, maybe this time things would go better.

Sun
25
Jul

Big walleyes gobbling bait

When you hear a fisherman complaining because all he’s catching is five pound walleyes and he couldn’t catch any “eaters,” you know something is going on.<BR><BR>But when you hear several people tell you the same story, fishing on different lakes on different days, you wonder if you can cut out of work early, just to see for yourself. <BR><BR>We had 10 walleyes registered this week that went over six pounds, definitely beyond the eater size. Nice fish. <BR><BR>Top walleye of the week was caught by Dave Rajamaki of Park City, UT with a 10 lb. 10 oz., 30.5-inch fish caught in Burntside Lake on a leech. Rajamaki was guided by Mike Pelto and weighed his walleye in at The Great Outdoors. <BR><BR>Bob Hahn of Bolivar, MD fished Basswood Lake and using a pink jig nailed a 9 lb. 15 oz. walleye that he registered at Timber Wolf Lodge. <BR><BR>A 9 lb. 10 oz.

Mon
19
Jul

Birdshot and backlashes - Turtles

It is turtle time.<BR><BR>They are loafing in the sun on logs, rocks and beaches. Mostly, we see the various dark-shelled sun turtles, sometimes as they slide off their perch and plop into the lake.<BR><BR>A couple of weeks ago, they were laying their eggs, a rather tedious process. Preferred spots are fine gravel or sand strips, preferences which often attract them to gravel roads and put them at risk.<BR><BR>When a turtle has selected the site for her egg laying, she digs a hole with her back legs and deposits the round white eggs from her rear end, one at a time. <BR><BR>Once, traveling up to Prairie Portage, to see if Canadian Rangers Mike and Priscilla O’Brien had arrived, right after ice-out, we spotted a huge snapper on the north side of Newfound Lake. We ran the boat up on the beach and jumped out, camera in hand, to record the scene.

Mon
19
Jul

Hook and bullet club - A family day at the lake

The winds were calm, the temperature was up and the sky was blue. Fishing? Nah. How about lounging on the dock and taking a dip in the lake? <BR><BR>We could have thrown the rods in the truck and tried our luck but throwing on a swimsuit and diving into Burntside Lake sounded like a lot more fun. <BR><BR>It was a Sunday afternoon and there were people all over the lake enjoying the day. Pontoon boats puttered along, jet skis zipped by and there were even a few big Lunds filled with fisherfolk looking for the elusive trout.<BR><BR>We took the dog and the kids and threw them all in the water. A paddle boat provided enough entertainment for all three kids, from the youngest who piloted the craft all on his own to the oldest two doing their best to flip it over. <BR><BR>It has been a chilly summer in the North Country so far. Air conditioners had seen light usage up until last weekend and then suddenly, summer arrived.

Mon
19
Jul

Fishing red hot in Ely area

Pick a species and we’ve got some whoppers entered in the North Country Angler this week. Walleye, bass and pike are hitting at a rapid rate, with trout now heading for deeper water as summer finally arrives in the Ely area.<BR><BR>Two 10 lb. walleyes, two 4 lb. smallmouth and two northerns over 20 pounds give you an idea of how the fishing has been the past week. Great!<BR><BR>First, the walleyes. Chad Schmidt of Forest Lake, MN tops the list with a 10 lb. 2.5 oz., 31-inch walleye that took a leech from Skube’s Bait in Shagawa Lake.<BR><BR>Ted Mitschulis of Champlin, MN was using a jig and a minnow when he landed a 10 lb. walleye, also 31 inches long, while fishing in Burntside Lake. He checked the fish in at Voyageur North Outfitters.<BR><BR>Burntside was also the lucky lake for Jameel Ramon Zeno of Burnsville as a 9 lb. 8 oz. walleye, again 31 inches long, hit a leech. The fish was weighed in at Skube’s Bait.

Sun
11
Jul

Birdshot and backlashes: Pocketing a couple books

Not everything involved with cold, windy and wet weather is bad. Certainly folks up here on a fishing vacation may curse those days when it becomes a real rain suit endeavor to venture onto the lakes as an icy torrent is beating down and the wind is churning up four-foot combers. But, then, there is cabin time.<BR><BR>Probably there is nothing more soul satisfying on a miserable day than curling up by the fireplace or wood stove in a cabin and having some fine, readable books at hand. Those of us who have lived year around in cabins are well aware that the romance quickly wears off when the temperature plunges to 40 below and snow piles up against the door. <BR><BR>But for a week or two vacation, or even a summer furlough from civilization, a cabin is a perfect place to hang out, especially on those days when the outside world is decidedly inclement.<BR><BR>Ah, but what to read?

Sun
11
Jul

Hook and bullet club: Choosing the big buck

Busted. Troy saw my column on the trail cameras and sent me his response. Not only does he get to test the cameras for the company he works for in west central Wisconsin, he’s also part of the QDM movement. <BR><BR>According to the QDMA web site, “Quality Deer Management is a management philosophy/practice that unites landowners, hunters, and managers in a common goal of producing biologically and socially balanced deer herds within existing environmental, social, and legal constraints.”<BR><BR>What does that mean? Well basically it means deer hunters need to be more selective if they want to be able to shoot quality deer. You let the young bucks and spikes go and take a doe now and then instead of shooting anything with antlers. <BR><BR>QDM has a lot of merit and works well in areas where landowners and land managers agree on how the area should be managed for deer.

Sun
11
Jul

Big walleyes on the hook

The weather has been a mystery for fishermen, from bright and sunny one day to cold and cloudy the next. But we’re seeing some nice entries come in, despite the changing conditions.<BR><BR>Burntside Lake is known more for its lake trout fishing, but when you’re able to tear into the walleyes, you better get ready to set the hook.<BR><BR>Teresa Wagner of Washburn, WI found the right spot and using a leech caught a 9 lb. 12 oz. walleye on Burntside, entering the contest at Skube’s. <BR><BR>William Nelson of Elbow Lake, MN was right behind with a 9 lb. 8 oz. walleye caught in Burntside on a leech and checked in at Skube’s. <BR><BR>Fishing Birch Lake, Elyite Bill Deyak landed the biggest walleye of the week. Caught on a Rapala, the fish was 10 lb. 4 oz. and checked in at The Great Outdoors.<BR><BR> Eagles Nest One was the spot to send out a Rapala and reel in an 8 lb. 11 oz. walleye for Sarah Sawyer of Kansas City, MO.

Sun
04
Jul

Trout decide it's time to eat

Brett Porthan said it was so windy on Basswood last weekend that he could only backtroll over a reef three times before stopping to bail out the boat.<BR><BR>For fisherfolk who dared to brave the wind, the results were worth the effort. Brett reported catching over 100 walleyes with a handful over five pounds. And all in 10 feet of water. <BR><BR>The windy weather stacked fish up on the reefs but a number of parties reported they resorted to fishing from shore rather than risk the wavy waters. <BR><BR>Warmer temperatures may have helped turn on the trout as well. <BR><BR>Top fish of the week was a 16 lb. 2 oz. lake trout caught in Snowbank Lake by Randy Mattson of Aurora. He weighed the lunker in at Vermilion Fuel and Food.<BR><BR>Some nice trout are being taken out of Miners Lake right in Ely. Jerod Gheen was fishing with worms and caught two rainbows, one 19 inches, 2 lb. 13 oz. and one 20 inches, 3 lb. 3 oz.

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