Outdoors

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.

Mon
26
Apr

Hook and bullet club

A photo we ran last week of a moose that had much of its fur rubbed off sparked the interest of Travis Raida. He saw the picture as well and thought it looked very familiar. Here’s his story:<BR><BR>“Word has been passed to me that a moose photograph appeared in Monday’s edition of the Ely Echo. Having seen a moose north of Virginia on Sunday, April 11 at approximately 4:45 p.m., I wondered if my eyes gazed upon the same mighty beast. I quickly fired up the computer and logged onto elyecho.com.<BR><BR>“I scanned the website looking for a link to this ‘ghost moose.’ Clicking on the link, I was whirled across cyberspace to a picture that looked strangely familiar. It was mine. <BR><BR>“I had snapped the photograph along the side of Highway 169 about a mile and a half north of the division from Highway 53.<BR><BR>“Luck had fallen upon me as I was traveling back to the Twin Cities.

Sun
18
Apr

Hook and bullet club - Eagles and "ghost" moose mysteries solved

Okay, it appears the eagle mystery is solved. Our Hardy Boys are the DNR’s Tom Rusch and Joe Geis along with Ron Guck.<BR><BR>The bald eagles sitting on the ice on Robinson Lake for no apparent reason had a good reason to be there: dead fish.<BR><BR>Robinson is a shallow lake that experienced a winter kill this year. A winter kill is when the oxygen levels in the water drop so low that fish cannot survive.<BR><BR>The holes in the ice provide some additional oxygen for the fish to congregate to and also a spot for the dead ones to float to the surface. Easy pickings for the eagles.<BR><BR>“More fish die every day so the eagles keep coming back to enjoy the McFish restaurant buffet!” said Rusch.<BR><BR>Well I’m sure everyone can sleep better at night knowing why those eagles were out there. And this should put that alien theory to rest once and for all.

Mon
12
Apr

Taking snowmobiles for the last ride of the season - on water

When the snow melts on the trails, lakes and rivers, winter may be waning but there is still a way to extend the snowmobile season. <BR><BR>You may need to be slightly crazy and have a snowmachine with lots of horse power to do it, but with enough of both to keep those paddles spinning you can go ‘water skipping.’ <BR><BR>Once you’re out there you better keep moving because if you slow down, you’re sunk. This seems to happen quite often, but the guys are used to it. It’s not really too bad for the machine, just a hassle. <BR><BR>You fish the sled out of the water, whatever it takes. Usually there is a lot of help at hand, a 4-wheeler, a winch, a boat, or an arm-in-arm human chain will suck it up onto shore (the machine - and hopefully the driver).

Mon
12
Apr

Hook and bullet club - Eagles returning

The bald eagle is our country’s national bird and especially as of late, a common site around our neck of the woods. <BR><BR>If you’ve been driving along Highway 169 the past week or so, you probably saw the eagles perched on the ice of Robinson Lake. Local back cracker Bucky Phelps was driving home the other night and saw eight eagles out on the ice. <BR><BR>I asked local DNR wildlife guy Tom Rusch what gives. “Those are tethered there for tourists,” he said with a laugh. <BR><BR>“No, there’s got to be a food source there,” said Rusch. “There’s probably something dead nearby.” <BR><BR>A dead deer would be a likely dinner for the eagles, who are great hunters as well but can scavenge with the best of them.

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