june 22nd 2017

I have the boat out of the water for some maintenance so I have not been on the lake. Ken and his daughters arrived last Saturday and the bite has gotten a little better everyday as the water slowly clears up. Saw Mearl at the gas station and he said he always catches fish so sounds like he is getting some action.
The access was pretty busy Tuesday so there’s still fishermen showing up on the nicer days. I’ll try and say hi and talk to a few today at the access while I’m mowing the park.
The plan is to try and get out and do a little fishing with the hammer this weekend if the stupid water cooperates as I’m craving a fresh walleye dinner.

To me it seems like it been a cool summer so far.
I’m going to check some blueberry patches this morning as my goal is to jar at least 12 pints if not more this year.
Saw a bear coming home for golf Tuesday and that’s always cool.
The upper red lake association is looking for new members. Businesses are 50 a year. You get your business on there web site listed and a news letter.

june 21rst 2017

With much needed rain and talking to a few fishermen the word was slow. The lake looks like chocolate milk. She is howling out of the west right now and I expect it will take a couple days for the bite to get better when the winds lye down.
I did talk to a gentlemen at the gas station that said it has been tough . I also talked to 3 guys fishing the river peer and they said they had picked up a couple small ones.
I spent the morning changing the oil in the boat getting it ready for fathers day weekend.
I shot a 44 in golf league Tuesday and a 51 last night, Stupid game. The hammer is reading a golfing book and is planning on taking up the game with me. She lives up to her name she may be beating me in no time

june 14th 2017

Talk to a few fishermen yesterday that came into the store North Country food and Fuel where the hammer works. They were all getting minnows as a otter has raided every ones minnow buckets at the state park. Sounded like the fishing was a little slow as one guy said the 4 of them only got 6.
Ed the farmer I golf with got out yesterday morning and they got there 8 in less then 3 hours and were able to get off the lake before the much needed rain hit. I got to see a huge snapper turtle crossing number 16 fairway at castle highlands golf course in turtle river yesterday. So cool. I did try turtle once and I remember it being kinda tough?

June 13th 2017

Not a whole lot to report today. Earl and his crew canceled due to the weather. Ken and his family will be up for father day weekend.
Paul and Pete were up last weekend and did real well Thursday and Friday, Saturday the wind picked up and pushed them off the lake. They grabbed there lawn chairs and went down to the lake where they relaxed, soaking up the sun and enjoying the breeze off the lake. Paul is heading to New Zealand next week but said he wants to come up again this summer. Saturday night they enjoyed a small camp fire and fish fry before heading home sunday

june 19th 2017

I’ve decided to try and write a little more through out the summer with a few fishing reports.
Earl, Joe, Terry and Leon came up Tuesday and Wednesday and stayed in our little green cabin. I suggested running spinners? They came back Tuesday evening with 12 and had a fish fry. Purple was the hot color? Joe had a few spinners he had painted purple and they were hot ticket.
Wednesday they also fished and were able to all go home with there four fish. Real nice guys and they want to come back up and camp down by the lake.
Ken and his daughter Makenzie were here from Saturday un tell Thursday of this week in the grey cabin. Ken likes trolling cranks and had plenty of action. They also went home with 8 fish. Ken said they ate 15 throught out the week.
Paul and Pete arrived Thursday eve, and did real well. Paul said yesterday was a little bit slower.
My brother Warren buys a 1/4 beef and half a hog from the farmer Gary I help off and on. We got out last Friday eve, after I got home from work at the golf course.
Running spinners a I had 4 fish in the box and it was to funny as all Warren had was a dozen misses. Once he switched to a stiffer fishing rod he caught up real quick.
Saturday morning we decided to get out early as the winds were going to pick up. Going right to the area we fished the night before. It did not take long to start catching fish again. Its always a treat taking Warren fishing.
He does not care for my music selection though? He is a hevey metal singer in three bands out of Chicago. Heven and Hell,, David Spankle group and Dameon thorn. He is pumpped as this summer they are opening in front of 50,000 in Milwaukie.
We ended up only keeping two over 17 and got off the lake just as the winds started to pick up. I treated him to a fish fry for lunch as the hammer had went down to her sisters for the weekend..

june 1rst

Been a while since I put a fishing report on here, We have had a few guest over the last few weeks. Frank and his crew did well and were able to have there two traditional fish fry and fish boil both weekends. I had the family up last weekend and the fishing was outstanding for us. The access has been a busy place on the nicer days.
From everyone I have talked to all aspects of fishing have been working Trolling spinners, bobber s jigging and pulling cranks all have produced fish in 5 to 7 feet of water.
Its been a cool spring but today there thinking 8o degrees.

March 9th 2017

Well again plan A turned into plan B.
After a disappointing weekend looking for the mother load of the elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies the plan was to move the fleet to the south east for Jake and his crew. Two days of 50 degree weather with winds had melted quite a bit of the snow and Sunday caused the pressure ridge to expand taking out the bridge in the process. 
I had scouted out a plan B escape route just incase of this situation. All the wheel houses had gotten over the bridge but one so I escorted him on a long journey to the south only to discover that the area I had been crossing was broken on both side with open water 30 yards wide 6 feet deep. Zoiks!!!
We headed back to the bridge while Jimbo followed the pressure ridge to the north looking for a place we could safely cross. I was defiantly a little worried having all the houses still out there.
Jim ended up driving all the way to the north shore where he found a place to drive across. We headed that way to take a look. After getting the last wheel house safely across we took a good look at what was happening and I felt that this area was not going to move and we would be all right keeping the houses out . I then headed out  and talked to a couple trucks that were still on the ice to let them know how to get off the lake.
As you followed the pressure ridge to the north it was quite the sight to see but it slowly fizzled out to just a crack with a little bump real close to the north shore where it fed into another ice heave that had expanded and runs along the north shore east and west. That also was very active..
Every where around the pressure ridges there was open water. Some areas the water was 8 feet deep with open water 20 feet from the pressure ridge. Now with the crazy winds and snow, plus the cold temps these areas may refreeze. I would say these spots are very dangerous to say the least.
Monday morning seeing the predicted weather forecast I made the decision we needed to come home.
Man that was the right call as the warm weather and winds sunday eve had melted and pushed gallons and gallons of water across the lake to the south east into the pressure ridge.All of the old roads were completely filled with standing water. I would say some areas the water had to be 14 to 16 inches deep. There were also areas that had to be 40 acers of water if not more.
We grinded away and slowly made our way back home with each house. There was one spot where a small stream of water was flowing under the ice heave.
The last trip out  I wanted to pull  Buddy hillmens bridge out of the water so it would not freeze. There was also another  bridge that needed to be pulled home so we would have to make the long journey around to retrieve that one. We decided we would go get Jimbo’s house then come back on Hillmens road where we could collect stakes ,orange cones, liter etc.
Well again plan A turned into plan B. Here comes a Toyota truck with two guys. They want to know how to get to there wheel house  still on the lake.  The only option they had was to follows us. I could then escort them to the corner at 4 miles where they could drive up that old road . When we arrived at that corner it was a lake on a lake. I stayed there while they went to retrieve the house. After a bit I could tell they were having trouble and I headed over to help them. I quick jerk with blue thunder and we were on our way . Once we got back on Hillmen’s road where it was running east and west there was not much water on the road as the berm to the south was holding it back.. Once we crossed the crack for the last time it was a huge relief as who knows what that wind and snow may have done out there.
As we were traveling towards shore the sky to the west was the most spectacular grey/ blue I have ever seen. Mother nature at her finest  My phone was dead so I could not try and capture it but Jimbo also noticed it. It only lasted a couple of minutes but I will always hold a vivid image of that in my mind. Again a spectacular sight on such a grand lake.
Monday evening and man did things change. The winds picked up, the temps dropped and it was a full blown blizzard out there all day Tuesday right into the evening and right into yesterday for a better part of the day. The 3 to 6 inches of snow never happened but what snow we did get is piled into the shore lines. There were a few locals  that live on the lake and had to be plowed out. Jana’s daughter cars is completely buried as the snow came around there house and made the perfect drift. Marks wheeler was also buried. Our lake shore has some impressive drifts going through the woods.
Last weekends fishing report? There were a few elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies caught. My Two houses florida  with old friends Joe and Brian and montana  with Rick and Bobby were not so lucky. All though Bobby did loose one at the hole.
I heard of 30 caught but that was a group of 8 guys for 3 days, Randy and Tammy  had the kids up. Travis, Taylor and Heather. They managed to get 7 for 3 days  with one move. Another guy got two . A local set up about 50 yards from me to the north east and they got 4 Saturday night. His name was Bruce. Very nice guy. He has a cabin up here and plans on retiring here in a couple more years’
Well that’s about it for now. I expect I will be taking a look around the next week or two but have no plans of chasing the elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie unless I’m very confident that its safe.
 I know one thing as you do not want to get even any where close to any of those pressure ridges that rest of the year. There was also areas of standing water. The temps have glazed them over and when you break though them you are hung up with no way of digging out of ice chunks and knee deep water with out a tow.

March 5th 2017

6 days later and I have lost the mother load?
Stupid fish, I guess that why I coined them the elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie.
Monday we went and got the red baron and got her safely back home. Tuesday was spent cleaning all the houses.
Wednesday was the big moving day for old Minnesota as I prepaired it for the 7 mile journey back out with the rest of the fleet. The hammer wanted to bring here life long friend fishing  Nancy fishing so my goal was to just get old Minnesota prepped. Crossing the crack/pressure ridge went well. The plan was to be fishing bye 5pm and I would cook dinner for the girls. Once we got out there with jimbo bringing a house out also we picked our spots. Jimbo was heading back to shore so I caught a ride with him to grab blue thunder. After fueling up I was heading out and darn if something did not break on blue thunder ? The right front wheel binded up and then broke loose, then binded up again and again broke loose. I really needed her too bank the house so I limped it out there and babied it as I banked the house.
The girls arrived right on time and we proceeded to get skunked. Oh oh I thought.
Thursday was a much needed trip to Bemidji for the day. With no pressure to race back home we were able to focus on a little shopping and having a nice lunch.
Friday morning and I was back to the grind, Jimbo had his mom Stef and here friend Marcy in one of his houses and they also struck out catching a elusive  yet still catchable upper red lake crappie.
Old friends Joe and Brian would be trying out montana on the same spot the gang hammered on them last weekend.
Rick and Bob would be arriving for florida late Friday night so Friday I moved florida to a new spot quite always from where we had found them as they have defiantly moved.
Marty and shell had also  arrived late Thursday night so Marty helped me hook up north Dakota and bring the last house back out 7 miles.
Our plan was to have dinner in old Minnesota and maybe find a elusive upper red lake crappie. We stuck out again.
Saturday  morning with a few fishermen out there I made some rounds collecting access fees and getting a few fishing reports. The best I herd were 3.
Tyler from bear paw was also out and about as for the second year he is doing crappie guiding trips and he  managed to find a small school and told me he /they caught 18.
Rick and Bobbie  got a couple bites and did manage to loose one elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie at the hole.
With Joe and Brians help we dug out montana and I also moved them to a new spot. At this time I have to use blue thunder with only 2 wheel drive as something is broken in the front end. I did get my new tire chains so moving the houses is still possible. I’m not sure if I can move old Minnesota or North Dakota that way but we shall find out this week as I  make one final move for the up and coming weekend.
What’s nice about the crew coming up next weekend as they will spend all day Friday  and Saturday searching for the mother load and the houses will be used for relaxing, eating and sleeping. I’ll do my best to find a new  fishy area before they arrive. Coming off the lake last night and I did talk to a gentleman named Bruce that had set up about 75 yards north east of old Minnesota and he said they got 4 last night? Stupid fish.
The road is still in great shape, last night the wind really started to howl out of the south and there was some impressive drifting out there considering there not much snow out there.
The last thing. I did make it to the fish meeting Thursday eve, I was quite impressed with the presentation on the health of the lake. they will be having a announcement on the open water season once it gets approved from headquarters.
They said they have a very unique citation as they have a lot of data collected over the years since recovery and can see trends with all there grafts and pie charts? They also pointed out how fast the fish grow with a good forage base and feel the lake is in great shape.

feb 28th 2017

day 2.
75 days on the lake and I’m still not ready to throw in the towel.
Jake and his crew will be coming again this year and he is pumped to chase the elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie.
Yesterday the hammer and I picked up the red baron so she/he is safely at home. I will attempt to put the v plow back on but since Barny redesigned it I have had trouble in the past putting it back on by my self.
Now for the last 6 days fishing report.
Mike and his crew rolled in Wednesday for there third trip of the season. I never got a g harmonica and Mike forgot his. Oh well always next year.  They managed to get a few fish with most being caught early morning and evening.
Thursday I spent a good part of the day prepping Montana, Florida ,and north Carolina for my son Johnny boy and the people he works with . I was hoping they would arrive before dark. as its a long drive out where they would be fishing.
I also had some issues at home as Our pressure pump had rusted out. David was kind enough to come over and help as I had called around and they charge 98 dollars a hour plus 50 cents a mile to come from Bemidji.
I came off the lake around 4 pm and jumped in helping David. un tell the crew arrived.
They started to trickle in and by 6 30 pm as it was  getting dark. 9 of them had arrived so we headed out for there fishing adventure. Driving blue thunder they followed me as it is close to a 30 minute drive. No sooner then I had them all checked in and Charlie and his family had arrived. There was no way I could give them directions so I headed home to escort them out. 1 hour later give or take a few minutes and I arrive back out there. There all ready having a grand time on a grand lake Joe, John and Sarha were in montana and had all ready caught a couple, 4 elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies. Joe ran over to florida to give the guys a couple tips and now they had some, 2. I checked Charlie into north Carolina ,walked back over to montana and Johnny says Dana and Dan our here and also want to come out.
 Back to shore I go but this time I’m done with blue thunder and take honey bunny/the hammers truck backout. I arrive out there and there still catching when Charlie comes over and says there up to a few, 7 with his 5 year old daughter getting 5 in a row.
Then Randy comes over. Him and Tammy are up to 9 catching them on plastics.
Man were they all having a blast. So again the magic of upper red lake happens and a dozen people get to see and  have the best fishing of there lives. I can see why David said it is a grand lake .
I said good night and rolled into bed just after midnight. Wow was that ever a long day.
Friday morning it was off to say good bye to Mike and his crew and move north Dakota on to fresh Ice for Don and his crews arrival. I also had to move old Minnesota and set up as Wayne ,The hammer and I had reserved it for the final weekend of game fish season. It took quite a bit of time trying to gather snow and in hindsight I should of just came to shore and piled some into the truck.
When Wayne is here boy to we have the yuks. He will sometimes give me some kind of advise and I will come back with hey this is not my first rodeo? Now he has commented that I may want a stool so I can see what’s going on looking out of the barrel . So funny
Don and his crew arrived and had some lunch at westwind before met them on the ice. I got them checked in and headed home again to help our good friend david with the pressure tank. Wayne rolled in just about the time we got her buttoned up. Wayne and I headed out to fish in old Minnesota and have some more yuks. The hammer decided to stay home as it was all ready getting late. We managed to get two nice keepers while playing cards ,watching movies, etc..
Saturday morning I arranged to take a small wheel house out so I could let Don and his crew have a chance at a elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie. I also hooked up with the wife cousin Rob to point him in the right direction.
Rob took directions well and landed on the mother load. Him and Corey said they were like school boys as the laughed and giggled and caught and released one after the other of these world class trophy fish. Rob said they kept 11 with a couple for the wall.
Saturday eve the hammer and I headed out to visit and fish with our son. Johnny boy said it was much slower and no more then 3 minutes there the hammer had a 14 incher with my fishing rod, custom built from my good friend Jake when he worked at thorn brothers.
While the hammer fished and visited I made the rounds. North Carolina was still catching fish with Maddison the 5 year old landing two trophies back to back right before I walked in.
Don,Troy and Travis? had caught a couple, 4 with  a couple more lost at the hole.
We them headed back to Old Minnesota with Wayne to have steaks on the grill and more cards, fishing and again plenty of yuks.
Sunday morning I got out early as Wayne and I landed two more keeper walleyes and missed two fish working rattling raps dead sticking slick jigs.
Don and his crew headed home with 5 elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies and a few walleyes.
Johnnny boy, Joe and Sarha took home 9 crappies and a couple walleyes.
Not sure how many Zak and Riely, Eric and Steph kept,
Charlie had a pale full and also had a couple his daughter caught that are going on the wall.
Randy and tammy did well,
Dana and Dan were staying in the cabin. I think Dana and Dan did get to catch at least one.
So wow what a ending to the game fish season. I warned you this would be a long one as this year I have been so crazy busy I have not been able to stay on top of my reports.

Funny story when we got back yesterday I went out on the lake towards evening .I planned on just taWell another game fish season has came to a end. The dnr will be having a meeting this week in Kellier to discuss the up and coming open water season.. I be leave our cabins are wide open with narly a date penciled in this summer including opener?
Grab a cup of java because this is going to be a long blog.
The first thing is what a great ending to another game fish season .
The biggest thing and this come from my heart is” Thank you” to all my new and repeat customers . With out all of you I would not be able to enjoy working on such a grand lake. When that old timer Dave shared that with me I was in Awe. “Its a grand lake and it owes me nothing, nothing was his quote and boy did that stick.
The walleye fishing this year could of been better. I’m all most to the point of calling them the elusive upper red lake walleye?
Just like every season for 14 years now we have had great fishing, good fishing and poor fishing. I guess its the luck of the draw when you come up. We caught a couple,, we caught some and we caught a few over the season. The fishermen have become a little more tight lip about there walleye catches over the last couple years. Its so funny when You ask a fishermen how they did. The ponder and say oh we got a few? I’ve always been like how many is a few? Its always well we got 18? To me a few is 3, a couple is two and some can be 1 or more.
The dnr will be releasing a summery of what’s happening on the lake in the next upper red lake association news letter. If your interested in joining and becoming a member its 25 dollars a year or 50 if you want your business listed on there web site.
I have a few gripes I want to share also. Some you will have to read between the lines.
The first thing is Saturday night I was coming off of the lake on Hillmens highway. Buddy Hillmen is so dedicated to his road and there is no one prouder when it comes to maintaining a ice road.
As I was coming on to the landing a big wheel house turned off the highway. I new right away they did not pay 10 dollars and there’s a sign right there that says 10 dollars. I rolled down my window and he was like wow I did not know where to pay. Where do you pay? He had no problem finding the access but did not see the lights on in the bar with a few vehicles there? Give me a break.
Kelly, Buddy Hillmens mechanic got 3 Thursday night pulling in. If you can not afford 10 dollars a day for your wheel house ? I personally think wheel houses should have to pay more?
I also had a few customers that tried to slide by this year and its very frustrating . The deal I have with buddy hillmen is I can use his access and in turn my customers have to pay 10 dollars a day. I’m on call 24 hours a day for any ice road work ,plowing, bridging, etc.
Over the years I have been accused of fishing where some one was going to go? fishing on some ones way points? Cutting someone off. Every year its something and again this year was no exception?
Any side roads I personally plow to my houses are always open. Do I want fishermen by my houses? Nope. My customers pay good money and I do not want them looking out the picture windows and seeing a wheel house 30 yards away. There is always plenty of room where I plow as I’m the rouge plower. I have no problem plowing out a driveway for a wheel house as it helps pay for my equipment as it takes a beating out there.
Its been a crazy season and its not over for me as I again chase the elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie. to be continuedking a quick look see . I ended up helping Buddy Hillmen as he wanted to move  the bridge a couple feet forward. As we worked my toes got colder and colder as I was out there in tennis shoes and as wayne says. this ain’t your first rodeo, you might want to get a stool so you can see out of that barrel
.

feb 27th 2017

Well another game fish season has came to a end. The dnr will be having a meeting this week in Kellier to discuss the up and coming open water season.. I be leave our cabins are wide open with narly a date penciled in this summer including opener?
Grab a cup of java because this is going to be a long blog.
The first thing is what a great ending to another game fish season .
The biggest thing and this come from my heart is” Thank you” to all my new and repeat customers . With out all of you I would not be able to enjoy working on such a grand lake. When that old timer Dave shared that with me I was in Awe. “Its a grand lake and it owes me nothing, nothing was his quote and boy did that stick.
The walleye fishing this year could of been better. I’m all most to the point of calling them the elusive upper red lake walleye?
Just like every season for 14 years now we have had great fishing, good fishing and poor fishing. I guess its the luck of the draw when you come up. We caught a couple,, we caught some and we caught a few over the season. The fishermen have become a little more tight lip about there walleye catches over the last couple years. Its so funny when You ask a fishermen how they did. The ponder and say oh we got a few? I’ve always been like how many is a few? Its always well we got 18? To me a few is 3, a couple is two and some can be 1 or more.
The dnr will be releasing a summery of what’s happening on the lake in the next upper red lake association news letter. If your interested in joining and becoming a member its 25 dollars a year or 50 if you want your business listed on there web site.
I have a few gripes I want to share also. Some you will have to read between the lines.
The first thing is Saturday night I was coming off of the lake on Hillmens highway. Buddy Hillmen is so dedicated to his road and there is no one prouder when it comes to maintaining a ice road.
As I was coming on to the landing a big wheel house turned off the highway. I new right away they did not pay 10 dollars and there’s a sign right there that says 10 dollars. I rolled down my window and he was like wow I did not know where to pay. Where do you pay? He had no problem finding the access but did not see the lights on in the bar with a few vehicles there? Give me a break.
Kelly, Buddy Hillmens mechanic got 3 Thursday night pulling in. If you can not afford 10 dollars a day for your wheel house ? I personally think wheel houses should have to pay more?
I also had a few customers that tried to slide by this year and its very frustrating . The deal I have with buddy hillmen is I can use his access and in turn my customers have to pay 10 dollars a day. I’m on call 24 hours a day for any ice road work ,plowing, bridging, etc.
Over the years I have been accused of fishing where some one was going to go? fishing on some ones way points? Cutting someone off. Every year its something and again this year was no exception?
Any side roads I personally plow to my houses are always open. Do I want fishermen by my houses? Nope. My customers pay good money and I do not want them looking out the picture windows and seeing a wheel house 30 yards away. There is always plenty of room where I plow as I’m the rouge plower. I have no problem plowing out a driveway for a wheel house as it helps pay for my equipment as it takes a beating out there.
Its been a crazy season and its not over for me as I again chase the elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie. to be continued