The plan this morning has again changed from plan a to plan b as yesterday afternoon. The red baron broke her front drive shaft, taking out the transmission pan to boot. Darn the luck! I may of heard it clunking if I had the exhaust fixed. Hindsight I try and always look at these things as they are ment to happen for a reason and its part of the business.
Sunday night after the Vikings game when I headed back on the lake, mother nature has pretty much taken out my 1/2 mile or more side road to the houses. When I was visited Dan and mel Robbie was on the phone with there friends that were on the way up and they were going to go meet them to bring them out in a car? So funny as they had no clue the road/trail was completely drifted in? I had to plow a new trail to get the to Buddy Hillmen’s Highway which was not drifted in. When I got back to old Minnesota I was standing there visiting nad look at the rattle wheel . For some reason they did not have it down so I said, Hey I’m fishing this one and put a minnow Tail hooked on this huge big pink banana looking jig. With in 3 minutes I had the big one of the day 18 1/2. Last night Robbie beat it out with a dandy just under 20.
Last night the hammer and I went to check on snowbear Joshes customers so we took his truck out there, wow what a treat to have good heat in a truck. I’m so use to being in a cold truck I was baking in there. The family he has in his grand ice castle are having a grand time on a grand lake. Scott and Jen were playing a game with the kids. Olivia and Conner. I took a pic of the game as it looked like a fun game for our grand kids. Grama Joe was worn out from all the fish they had caught I think. Grandpa Mike was watching all the lines. really nice family.
joshes other customers called at the bewitching hour to see what the slot size was so they must of started to get some action. I’ll swing in and check on them this morning.
Jonny boy spent Monday night in florida and got his 4, crazy any other year and the house would of been burned out after 3 days. He was going to sleep in montana last night so it will be interesting to see how he does as there have been at least 20 fish caught out of that house in two nights. The guys were also doing real good in north Carolina and that little 2 man sleeper seems to have some good ju ju when it come to catching fish. Phil sure built a cozy house.
Hoping to have all our parts by some time Friday to put the red baron back on the ice, It sure is nice having Jonny boy be able to help as I can not work like that anymore. Barny from Kellier is going to braise up the pan as its a specialdeep pan due to it being a fire rescure truck before it became a lake truck.
The last thing is last nights sunset was spectacular, it just went on and on from a gorgeous pink, in to a dark orange glow. I got a couple pics I posted on our facebook page Cookies on upper red lake.
Not sure what’s going on but I’m still loosing track of days. Bouncing around in the red baron, checking on customers ,enjoying the football game at Hillmens Tall tale Tavern man was that fun, getting a few games of pool in last night to practice for my next match. Playing a round of texas hold em with the wells fargo boys in north dakota, visiting with all the customers, moving houses, plowing new roads, plowing old roads, battling mother nature, the winds were howling sunday night after another small dumping of snow.
I wrote in my note book on Wednesday the 17th CLOSED.
The fishing has been crazy good? Not sure what’s that all about but will take it as its so nice to see everyone catching more then a few.
Stevejames won my giveaway on Minnesota Outdoorsman, I have been giving a way a free night as a prize on there fishing challenge for a few years. He arrived Friday for old Minnesota with his buddy Mike and there 2 boys Nolan and Ayden. They rented one day so they were here for 2 nights and did real well. I got a great pic of there stringer of fish, It was a treat seeing the kids outside playing ,enjoying the great outdoors.
Terry, Sarha ,Carl and Kenny were in florida for 3 nights. They also had a grand time on a grand lake. This was there third year with me. They said they will be back again next year if I will have them? There such nice people, I was able to visit off and on wth them as they fed me breakfast burritos , French dips after the Viking game. Carl got 4 deer so they also brought me a care package of venison. I’m making my coleslaw for them next year and may treat them to a night of my cooking to boot. I mentioned to Sarah the first day she should tie a string to her fishing pole? OOPs darn if it did not go down a hole.
Scott the wells fargo boys have also did well, they went to Westwind for fish and the Viking game and also had a hoot. Then when they got back to the house Scott got treated to “yes a elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie” A beautiful 14 a half inch masterpiece. Another great group of guys and they got my 10 dollars last night. I played a little to loose and lost all my chips.
Mel, Dan and Dane arrived for old Minnesota sunday, I told Dan get a line down first thing. Before they were unpacked they had 2 in the bucket. Yesterday Dane was catching fish on the rattle wheel from the top bunk. They enjoyed Fish for dinner last night as Mel is a master chef, she also fed me hodgepodge for breakfast yesterday. They have been coming up here for 14 years summer and winter.
Snowbear Josh headed home for a couple days so I’m taking care of a couple of his guest and they were slaying the fish the last two days.
I just talked to Jarred and his buddie Jim they were in montana last night and got there 8.
Angie and here hubbie and there friends were in montana sunday. I think they ended up with 9 with there friends, The kids fished in one of Joshes 2 man houses and there friends went home sunday eve,.
Mother nature has been kicking my but. Yesterday I plowed off and on all day, cleaning up the drifts. Buddy Hillmens Highway is again in great shape. I expect we will be making more main roads in the next day or two.
I did here form Brandon I had set up in a secret spot and they also did real well Friday eve,
Ken and his buddies also did well where I plowed them a spot. Throwing darts and hitting bulls eyes feel good. Well its past my starting time. we start at 9, so again its time to check the fluids and hit the ice on such a Grand lake that owes us nothing! Nothing!
losing tracks of days can be grueling to say the least.
Will start with John, Bernie, Ryan and Tom the giraffe slayer first. This is there third year and I be leave staying the longest of all my guest over the years on the ice. 4 nights. Two of them left the lake after we dug out for a few supply’s other wise they just fish, play a little cribbage, eat good and enjoy each others company. Just a great group of guys that fish hard.
The first night they got 7. Wednesday when the temps kept climbing they all fished outside all day and managed to catch around 30 fish with one, yes one elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie.
While they fished Jonnny boy and I kept busy as I made moves and plans for the up and coming snow and winds. I had every thing scouted out as I had a funny feeling my main road would be gone come Thursday. Its feels good when a plan comes together and after the wind stopped and the sun came out I was able to cut in a new road/trail with no problems. The red baron is such a huge tool, I’ll never understand how I managed to just use blue thunder 1 in the old crappies days. Looking back man did that good old gal take a beating she still lives on with many parts of her on blue thunder 2. the boom, the rear end, the front diff just to name a few. More then 3.
Jonny boy and I brought California out by us, blocked and banked, we then moved montana and north Carolina to new fishing grounds as the jersey boys would be rolling in Thursday.
Then old Minnesota was also moved and prepped. Jonny boy was shocked when he went in there and said dad what th e! I have never seen your house this messy? oops I guess I have been kinda busy and had never cleaned up much after our fantastic honey crusted walleye dinner out there Monday eve. Plus its my office, lunch room. when I’m on the lake all day. To funny.
About the time we headed in the ice was melting off the trucks as the temps had hit 34 degrees, The good old jan. thaw was here for 1 and a half days. As we were coming in I called Ron / jersey boys to verify there arrival only to be told they would not be making the trip?
Plan A had just changed to plan B. .
After coming home I loaded up the red baron and back on the lake to prep and clean old Minnesota, wet a line, and chill for a bit. My plan was not to fish the house hard as Steve and his crew would be arriving Friday. I have a pet peeve and do not like my houses fished before a guest arrival but again I was not going to fish it hard? Its kinda of a running joke how do you not fish a house hard. I only drilled two of the 6 holes and never dropped a line the first half hour out there. I finally dropped a rattle wheel down with a hammer gold gemieye and fat head. About the time I climbed up on the top bunk the rattle wheel went ding ding ding. I scrambled off the bed and gave it a good hook set plus a couple more as landed a nice 16 inch walleye. I threw him outside thinking it was still warm out I guess. I then kept cleaning and at some point put another minnow on the gemieye and dropped her down again. This time I was running the vacuum and ding ding ding my second fish . After throwing him outside I again ignored getting a line down and got all the dirty dishes put away before I re baited. At some point I dropped her down and it just kept going as the third fish must have been looking for his buddies. Lets just say he found them, as just like that, not fishing hard! I had another honey crusted walleye dinner on the menu.
Josh that is running a snowbear with guided trips om Red lake stopped by to visit for a bit before I packed it in. I stepped out side and the snow has started, the temps had dropped big time and my fish were frozen cigrs?
Thursday morning with 4 to 5 inches of snow and winds howling out of the nnw just as I expected the roads were gone and the lake looked like the moon.
I found out the hard way as I got a call from a guy named Rick that was stuck out there in a snow bank. Blue thunder and I headed out and 2 hours later we had him safe to shore but it was quite the adventure. Slow and patient was the key as there was no one to pull me out if I got stuck.
By early afternoon the snow stopped, the sun came out and the winds dropped just enough to re open all the main roads. with 5 plow trucks running full steam we had 90 percent of it reopened and called her a night around 9 pm. 7 hours straight plowing. Buddy and his help Kelly headed out earlier in the white out conditions to move houses before we started plowing. Talk about experience and confidence.
Yesterday we got all our customers checked in and last night every house had a few? plus I had set up Keith and his son Andrew in there wheel house on a secret spot and they had 5. Ken in his wheeh house also had 5 and got 1 while I was visiting. I also got a spot plowed for Barndon in his wheel house as he wanted a spot away form everybody. I had been plowing and checking a spot so looking forward to see how they have done over night.
well the red baron is running and I’m off to at good bye to john and his crew and get north Dakota on a new spot for Scott and his crews arrival.
Hump day and we have a lot of prep the next 24 hrs as snow is predicted starting tonight.
Yesterday was a long day as I hit the lake at 8 am and finished up at 8 pm.
Buddy Hillman extended the main road another mile or snow and all the snow on the north edge had to be moved to the south of the road. I ‘m headed out in a bit to try and finish what I started.
Sunday we got Florida and north Dakota moved and ready just as they arrived. Mike, Irv, Pat and Tracy/Terry were in north Dakota . The first night was slow but Monday night they did much better. The hammer and I had fresh honey crusted walleye in old Minnesota Monday night and never made it over so I could practice Jam with the harp.
We got skunked in old Minnesota but as always it never gets better. We caught and missed fished in there for 2 days.
Reggie and Garmin were in Florida for just one night, she had never ice fished and was born and raised in Africa. They had a fish fry and went home Monday with there 8.
The jersey boys arrive tomorrow with John and his crew checking in yesterday just as I was putting the finishing touches on moving and prepping north Dakota.
They only had a couple when I checked in on them last night but did miss two while I was visiting.
With some snow predicted we now have over 10 miles of main road to maintain plus my side roads. I totally expect white out conditions Thursday if the weather idiot is right.
I did get our new cookie’s on upper red lake Hoodies ordered and can not wait to see them.
That was a huge chore.
last thing is Hillmen tall tale tavern have the crappie floopers playing some music on the 27th and feb 4th is there chile cook off
She is a grand lake and it owe us nothing that’s for sure. Day 33 of working on the lake and its been a blast. Its been a grind, its been a struggle. The fishing has been all over the board, from great to horse sh.
I’m a little superstitious so when I talk about all our equipment I always knock on wood. It finally got warm enough to install the new fuel filter in blue thunders carb. and just like that’s she is running much better. I’m always leery when it come to screwing that fuel line back into the carb base. I got another torpedo, the third one I decided to go a different route and went with the diesel fuel one. Nothing is ever easy in these conditions using the only fuel available in waskish for it has made the use of it a little more then aggravating. We will get her dialed in before this next cold snap. I wonder why I seem to call our equipment her? Must be the way I try and take care of it all.
The hammer and I celebrated our 40th year of marriage ,fishing ,eating ,playing poker with our good friend Wayne and our first son. Jonny boy.
I grilled behind old Minnesota in a study wind of 25 miles an hour out of the south. I got Darrin to pick us up some steaks, not sure where he purchased them but oh my they were all most unbelievable, the only thing that could of improved them would of been fresh morel mushrooms
This next spring Wayne and I our going om a mission to find the mother load of morel’s.
Wayne decided to put on a little clinic when I switched up my set up to a smaller forage minnow tipped with a fathead. I got the vex all dialed in and proceeded to prep the dinner. He set down in my chair and banged out a few fish from 7 to 8 pm. Totaling out fishing the hammer? He was setting the hook like it was a shark, driving that hook into its mouth, not loosing any of the bites he had he was in a zone for a bit. Sunday morning I cleaned up a batch of fish and fresh fish is on the menu.
Don had his crew shrunk before arrival and it opened up florida for the weekend. I bumped Mike and his sons out of north Carolina as a up grade and they did horrible. Spitting chew in the holes is a bad idea in my book. Wayne and I agree the golden rule. Nothing gets thrown down the holes. I was pretty disappointed when I went to clean and move florida yesterday.
Don and the guys managed a fish fry, they also did a outing on the snowbear of Joshes. They did not do that well but got to tour quite a big portion of the lake at night.
Mother nature was again a factor as the winds picked up enough with a snow squall to make visibility tough for part of Saturday, with drifting snow around everything sunday mornig.
The warm temp also made some pressure ridges . One Saturday night that gave the hammer/honey bunny quite the scare as it sounds like its going to explode right under the house. I would say it has to be all most like a earthquake only not lasting quite as long. She cringed and Put her hands over her face as she rumbled for a good 20 seconds before squeaking and settling down. Sunday morning she again exploded. It looks like the south berm of buddy Hillmen’s highway is now a active pressure ridge. It always quite the sight to see as it will be moving the rest of the year.
Our good friends Mel and Dan have rented the big double decker from Buddy Hillmen’s. They are pumped to fish out of the behemoth/ money pit/ and beach house as Lisa coined it. That house may set a record for nick names with many, many stories to come out of that house.
Jonny boy had a rough day yesterday and smacked his fingers pretty good plus may of lost the key to our newest edition white lightning / aka Cheyane that made it debut on the lake Saturday. What a treat to drive a warm truck with a comfortable seat to boot.
Its all most time to fire up the fleet and check the fluids. Mike and his wife Tracy and there friends were in north Dakota last night. I hoping to go jam with my harmonicas with them to night as they both play guitar with Scott bringing a 12 string.
Reggie and Garmin were in florida last night and had a couple when I came off the lake.
This warm air is a treat and I plan on enjoying working out there the next few days, I may even get a nap in ole Minnesota, maybe even a nap nap on such a grand lake.
With this cold snap never ending it has again been a bit of a grind. We checked Amanda and Tim into florida sunday afternoon. They had 2 days of Pretty good fishing in my book. They took home 8, released 6 and had fish for dinner.
Brian, Derrick and the two gals Tracy and Patty did much better after we moved montana for there last night. I then put Linda and Tracy in the same house, same spot and even though it had not been fished 24 hrs they had to grind out the fishing to get 5. Hind sight is a tough thing.
After Tim and Amanda left we moved Notrh Dakota to the south east of florida where I expected more good fishing, man was I wrong for Jack and his grandson Josh and Ben. Brand new spot and they were only up to 4 fish. Tom and John fished old Minnesota 2 days, not spending the night and only managed a couple fish per day also a new spot. I would love to blame the weather but you always here someone saying there catching double digits every day? oh well.
Today is going to be a tough day as we would like to move Monatana ,North Dakota to new locations. I had a family spending the night in montana last minute and they were comfortable when I check in on them last night.
I also had Joanne and Steave in florida last night and the fishing was not that good on another new spot. Lets hope this morning they had some action.
Jonny boy was spending the night in old Minnesota so we shall see if he had any action last night. I did catch one last night while the hammer and I had pizza and watched a movie out there.
It may be time to make a big move with old Minnesota and florida today. With the temps -30 this morning I’m not the happiest camper. I have no problem moving houses but I still have not figured out what’s going on with blue thunder as it seems to run out of gas under power?
Every day on the lake is a challenge to say the least. I ‘m not even sure how many days its been on the lake. Just like every year, its plan A turns to plan B, plan B turns to plan C. Improvising on a grand lake it quite the challenge .
Happy new year to all my family,fishing friends customers and potential customer’s. Its been so busy and with mother nature having her 2 cents I had no time to make new year resolution. Oh well maybe next year.
Rick and his brothers showed up Saturday morning, they have been coming for years so it was quite easy to check them in and keep on trucking,
The temps have been brutal and started to affect every thing as the cold snap lingers on. Jonny boy and I took our time as we moved and prepped north Dakota for Cory, Abby 2 of the 4 kids Vida and Cash. This is there 3rd year coming. They sure are a nice family. I always enjoy visiting with them.
Plus its sure is fun watchin them kids grow up, one other plus is the kids always offer me cookies.
They ended up heading home with 11 keepers and a few perch.
Bian and his crew Derrick,Tracy and Patty have not done the greatest and we moved them yesterday to a fresh area.
Andy ,Andy and Travis also ended up with 11 I think plus a few perch so we did find a new fishy area to ruin. They have always stayed in montana house but this year they ended up in florida.
Old Minnesota was kind of a dud for Rick Matt and other brother sorry . They come back in a couple weeks to redeem them self’s, When we moved the house they had forgot 2 fish laying on the ice under the house.I know they did eat a couple fish
We moved florida after Andy left and Tim and Amanda have done pretty well.
Blue thunder decided the cold was enough and I had to go to Bemidji yesterday and purchase 2 new batteries and a fuel filter. Yesterday Jonny boy and I had to move both house with the red baron it is a little tougher banking the house with a giant v plow.
The temps the last week were just brutal with many generators , heaters having problems on the lake. Plus a few diesels and other vechicles.
Buddy Hillmen looked like a proud poppa pulling that double decker out onto the lake sunday afternoon. I have nicked named it the behemoth and he also nick named it the money pit . It is quite the monster and will sleep 12 with 20 holes. I know there some opening left I believe it around 500 per night. The store number is 218 647 8504.
Lonnie and his wife ended up catching some fish the last night and its always a treat to stop in there. Lisa makes incredible soups and I think it may be campbels or she works for them or should?
Jeff broke in a new ice castle with temps 29 below . He did have some furnace issues but our friend Boar was able to walk him through it.
Lets just say the temps have been brutal its been a world wind and it feels good to catch my breath. We have a day or two to reset but mother nature is going to throw a wrench in it as I noticed the winds are picking up.
darn its been so crazy busy, plus battling the elements has made it tough for me to stay on top of my fishing reports from the shores of upper red lake.
Just keeping everything running and organized takes time, then throw in some plowing, helping out fellow fishermen, moving the houses ,checking in on the customers checking out the customers, checking emails, returning phone calls, answering the phone, checking message’s at home, checking emails. cleaning the houses, I was also trying to get some physical therapy for my shoulder, but that’s has been thrown out the window so I just need to stay focused on the exercise’s they have given me for now.
The fishing has just been so so for the houses, I found a pretty good fishy area but it may be getting to the point of ruined and the whole fleet will have to be moved to greener pasture or whither ice in this case.
If your not here you would not believe all the wheel houses on the lake. I’m hoping to see some drone pics as its just crazy out there. 1 wheel house leaves and 2 more show up ,2 leave and 3 more show up. Its lights as far as the eyes can see out there.
Trying to remember everyone names has been a little tougher then usual and I’m a little frustrated with that.
Ryan and his family stayed in north Dakota and caught some fish, they had to leave early so I did not get to say goodbye,
Jamie and his crew had 7 or 8 there first night, we had to get there truck running after the first night as they may have a weak battery.
Ryan and his family were in montana and caught some fish. They were here 3 nights so we moved them the rd day but it did not pay off as I had hoped.
Old Minnesota had a cancelation so I let Guy and his family stay one night. I think they are from chisum. They only caught a few fish , There little daughter had some cinnamon cookies, shaped like letters and I just had to have 1 then 2 and 3. Plus there may be some home made chocolate chip cookies in the future.
I then had jeff in there for one night and he had 3 before he left so not sure if he got his fourth.
Our son Jonny boy came up to help us so we were able to move 4 houses and reset them in a day,
Andy, Andy and Travis are all by them self’s and I was hoping they would have some outstanding fishing but as of yesterday it was not that good.
Pat and the kids in North Dakota had enough to go have a fish fry and it was nice seeing Pat again, he was able to hook up with my good friend the greek and spend a week in Alaska last summer. I was hoping to get in a game of cribbage with Pat but it just did not pan out as last night I was spent. Fighting this cold weather seems to ware a guy out.
I was planning on moving the houses this morning but with the temps at – 24 not sure how that’s going to pan out at this time. The sky is kicking over the trucks have been idling for over a hour and I got to go.
Lets hope we have a grand day on such a grand lake that owes us Nothing! nothing!
Wow with the major part of the season starting tomorrow, good old mother nature has decided to make things just a little tougher. -19 as I type with a high today of -14. Will be waring a face mask today as I plan on moving Montana after Pat and Long hair Mike take off. They said last night when I check on them I should leave the house there as the fishing has been outstanding? Both times I stopped there yesterday they caught a fish while I was visiting.
I’ll have to come up with a plan when I get out there as Blue thunder is down right now as I wait for the right radiator. So frustrating as The guy I had on the phone was reassuring I would be getting the right one. Measured twice ordered once and crap.
I have never liked leaving a house in the same spot very long and if the fishing is good it may only be a 30 yards move. Banking the houses with the red baron can be done but that big old v-plow makes quite a mess?
After fishing old Minnesota with the hammer one night, I am not quite sure what I plan on doing as we only drilled 3 holes. All the houses are banked to the hilt at this time. More then once mother nature decides what can be done and this may be one of those days. -20 and I do not move houses so were right on the cut offline. With this cold snap lingering right into the weekend it has to be slow and patient. Slow and Patient
I was all ready outside this morning and the Red baron is running, it may be running 16 hours a day for the next few days if not more. It started fine but needed to be restarted a few times, a true 3 times before he kept running. My trucks are not spoiled and there is no warn garage for them, all though its always been on the wish list.
White Lightning aka Cheyanne ‘s radiator will have to still wait untell I get our torpedo back.
The sky is kicking over so its time to get busy . Every one have a safe holiday and lets hope for peace and love as a grand gift.
The first thing is I say Merry Christmas. So Merry Christmas to all.
Been battling the elements here on the shores of upper red lake. The wind and snow squalls seem to never stop. Keeps a guy a little busier that’s for sure.
Ryan and his family Shannon, Leo and Jack arrived right on time for one night in north Dakota. They did well and took home 10 fish for sure. They may of caught a couple more after I said goodbye.
Rick and Dianne met us at westwinds customer appreciation Thursday eve and just like every year westwind the premier resort here in waskish did a outstanding job. Rick was edgy to get back out to florida and start there mini vacation on the ice. they to did well and went home with 8 keepers.
On the other hand the hammer and I fished old Minnesota Friday night. We spent the night on the lake, With the house on a new spot I expected we would catch a few fish. Lets just say the honey bun might want to hire a guide next time because we could not bye a fish. The rattle wheel did go off twice in the middle of the night with nothing there both times. Mean while every one else had action. I’m thinking there was something wrong with our minnows. We did enjoy the sunrise and I made eggs and hash for breakfast on the ice.
Sam and his better half were fishing a bout 200 yards away and got 6 Friday night. Pat and Long hair also arrived Friday and had 7 Saturday morning. Another wheel house just to our left got a couple? and a 34 inch pike. I was thinking that pike may of been under are house as another reason we could not by a bite as I did have a fish on twice that felt big Saturday morning before we packed up.
I also had a phone call Saturday morning as a guy lost his hand gun down a hole. We were able to retrieve it with a magnet, camera and a little ingenuity. He sure was happy to get that back.
Friday morning I stopped in to check on Rick and Dianne .I was having a cup of coffee figuring out what I had to do and why I had so much time on my hands? Once I got to work I was behind with in minutes as the vacuum quit working. I then had to install new handles on the hole covers and darn if the drill was not in the other truck. What should of taken a few minutes turned into a hour of work. Its so funny how many times during the season it will be in the other truck. Even if I have two of something they end up in the same truck.
Blue thunder is in the process of getting a new radiator before this cold snap coming. I did have a cancelation for Tuesday and Wednesday for florida. I guess it was going to be to cold, as Lance said the kids would go stir crazy.
Today Rick and Heather are spose to arrive .They had planned the same trip last year and a blizzard kept them form coming up. I guess if it works out I will move old Minnesota again for the hammer and I to fish again because where its at was horrible.
There plenty of plowing to do this morning as the winds were blowing like crazy yesterday