Jake just stopped by on his way to the rainy river going after sturgeon his favorite
fishing trip of the year? I thought his trips up here were his favorite. Oh well! Marty and I repaired our dock on the tamarac river Thursday and part of Friday. Lon arrived around 2 to try and find the mother load one last time. I was in a hurry and was not able to remember the boys name Sorry guys. I talked to Lon later just after dark and they were looking forward to catching a elusive upper red lake crappie or two. When I talked to Lon Saturday they had managed to land 18 for there one night trip. Well done. I have no clue where they were fishing as I never found there holes from last week. I know they were in the area but not the spot on the spot. I was out of town and have no idea what the ice is like at this time. I have some nice projects to work on here at the house and cabins so I will keep busy with that for now. I expect there will also be some farming in the next few days.

As it quiets down around here my reports are sure to get shorter and shorter. My big plans for fishing yesterday changed a bit. I dilly dallied all morning enjoying watching the snow come straight down in giant flakes . Did a little spring cleaning and listened too a radio interview of David Shankle out of Chicago. My brother warren is the lead singer and they just cut a new cd. DSG is the name of the group . Its heavy metal?
Around 10 pm I noticed the snow had quit, rats it would of been very relaxing wetting a line out there . I stepped out of the house around noon to feel the rush of a 30 degree day with the winds howling 30 miles a hour out of the north a should of been out there 6 hours earlier. Foiled by mother nature. Oh well with the snow cover I was still determined to wet a line . I thought great I will not see any liter and can focus on fishing. Buddy Hillmens landing was still in great shape and its very cold here this morning with snow flurries. As I drove out on the lake with blue thunder darn if I did not find some more crap oh well no big deal better picked up now then later. I zigged and zagged all the way out to the two spots I had marked. With the north wind and a little blowing snow I thought it sure would be nice to have some out here with me for safety reason. Oh well on I went .Number one auger fired right up and that happens when you do not have bad gas in it. I punched two holes with ease and could tell the ice is a changing. I took a pic of the auger over half way down but I can take off the extension if a want. I dropped a bobber set up down one hole and a small rattling flyer on the other with 3 waxies. It was brutal out there to say the least .After jigging around 15 minutes with out a mark it was time to move. The next spot was the same. Nothing not even a mark. The second spot I got rid of the waxies and went with a minnow. Very bad timing on my part and I headed home skunked. Oh well it was not a good day weather wise to be out there. I’m hoping Marty and I will wet a line tonight as this will most likely be the last trip on the ice with blue thunder for the season. working on the dock this morning ,Hauling manure this afternoon and fishing with my good friend Marty. I’m sure he will also enjoy getting out on the ice one more time

After spending the morning policing the lake monday afternoon I was off to the farm to haul manure. I see a pattern here. yesterday again I headed out on the lake with blue thunder to check the crack that had crossed Buddy Hillmens road. All was good and it looks like it locked up and has had no movement. I then headed west and again had to stop for a couple pieces of trash. Please if your going to fish red lake in the winter take your time to check the area before you leave, its a little ridicules . I total under stand that some things get lost or accidently frozen in the lake. A christmas tree? With 3 6 foot 2x4s? Ohh well sorry about the rant.
I only had a little time on the lake and never made it more then 3 miles out before I had to come home and go to the dreaded tax man. Well at least that’s done. Today I plan on checking the ice by augering a few holes to see how soft or hard the ice is. I be leave it also decays from the bottom up. I all ready know where I want to start and plan on not forgetting the vex this time. Buddy Hillmen’s access has re frozen up nice with the colder weather. There was a pick up parked on the ice yesterday and must of went out with a wheeler. Who ever he was he had 48,000 acres all to him self. I wonder if he is fishing where I was going to go? Not sure if I want to get any minnows or just use waxie’s. Jake says just use waxie’s, I’m going to pick up a scoop of minnows as the fish are hungry. Waiting to here from Marty as we have to repair my dock before the ice goes off the river, not sure how were going to get the 24 feet of dock back down the bank but with a little ingenuty it can be done. Been staring at the boat and looking forward to prepping it for the up and coming fishing season. I have a little research to do on the prop set up. Its cloudy today with a slight breeze and snow fluuries should be a awesome day to wet a line. The biggest problem I’m having is the liter I can not just drive by it. Oh well maybe I will fish at each spot I stop to pick something up. that sound like a good plan. Sorry if it sound like I’m being a dink about the trash but thats the way the cookie crumbles. Have a grand day. I know I will on a grand lake looking for the elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie

Sounds like the cities got pounded with snow. Here on the shores of upper red lake it could not of been a more picture perfect. The sun was shining with just the slightest of a breeze out of the se. Its was nice meeting you Borch. Got a kick of your statement about the crowds? Not sure what you meant. The guys in the white vechicel struck out in the hot spot last week. I spent a couple hours on the lake policing the lake for liter as its much easier to get it now then when its floating in the water. I reminisced as I drove to each area I had worked over and ruined. I was pretty satisfied with what I found, just a 2×4 or two and a plastic water bottle and a wheel house’s trash that must of been fishing in the area. I checked the last place that Rodger fished and was not to happy to find a pair of jeans, 3 tee shirts, a pair of sweat pants and two sweat shirts. Did he leave his laundry? I will ask him next time I talk to or see him. There was also a few other pieces of liter. I also was a little nosey and checked where a couple locals fished this year. Wow what a difference. One you would of never known he was there? The other both spots were well marked lets say. I picked the areas up and will bite my tongue for now. Its was a enjoyable ride on the lake as I tooled around. The area I took Steave too Saturday was well punched with 20 holes at least. They either left the area or the guys did not stay late enough. Jakes magic moment ,mine and Kellies all happen at 5 am to 6 30 am. Ole’s happened in a wind storm/white out at 8 pm. I again did not find where Lon and his two boys landed on the mother load but that was from sunset to 8 30 pm. Fins and feathers spot produced the whole time they were here and that area was peppered with Steave’s holes. Leaving that area I found numeruse places to wet a line if there headed in the line I picked . I also found a couple real fishy looking areas and plan on augering a couple holes there today as I again tool around the lake. This is the time of year you should be able to catch them all day long. Coming off the lake it looked like the dump trucks driving on the lake to haul the sand from the channel may of caused a couple cracks to come from the mouth of the river right across Buddy Hillmens road? We will have to keep a eye on them as the ice starts to melt and shift with the winds and temps. I have had no calls since I took Steave out there Saturday so it looks like she is winding down. Buddy Hillmen got the rentals he had on the lake this weekend back to shore. Frank and Jana at North Country food and fuel added a new set of tanks for bait as he is gearing up for opener. I would assume with 4 tanks he will have a bigger variety this summer of live bait. Got a email from the Herbeck’s and they canceled there reservation for the cabins for the second weekend after opener as Steave said it was not worth coming up for two fish. Frank and his crew are all still coming up as they just want to be able to have a fish fry and hardly ever take fish home with them. Its sounds like my brother Warren from Chicago will be up for opener and maybe my cusin Stanly plus I mentioned it to Bob.

I made the decision not to take old Minnesota out. I did escort Steve and his two buddies out to where we fished last week. Steve called last night to tell me they got a big fat zero as the elusive upper red lake crappies proved again how elusive they can be. I talked to Buddy Hillmen for a bit as he was fishing in one of his skid houses. There were a couple fishermen on the lake but not many. I also talked to Paul and Todd they live around Shotly area and were brothers of Mike that use too own dr. tackle. They caught a few the night before. I said I just need to know how many is a few? They whoed and they hawwed and said 12. The next truck, also with them said they got a few also. I again asked how many and they reluctantly said 13. So nothing has changed. A couple is more then two and a few is more then 3 and some is more then one and pretty good is limited out. I also picked up enough logs and wood to have a nice fire in our fire pit today as I clean up the yard. I wish I could find every piece of wood out there as I would hate to hit any thing with the boat this spring. I checked the area I worked hard earlier this winter and found one 2×4. Some ones bag of crap that must of been fishing by me. I’ll be taking a cruise out there again today looking for more liter to pick up plus maybe I will get lucky and find my spud bar I lost early in the season.
She is a bit nippy out there this morning at 18 degrees,11 degrees warmer then yesterday morning. I expect Gary the farmer I work for will ask me if I want to work this week when were at church. I know there’s a small window to get rid of manure before every thing gets to soft. The ditches were really flowing last week but have now turned into a trickle compared to last week. Kellie and I played a few games of cribbage last night as it was the first Saturday since sometime in Dec. that I was not on the lake Saturday evening making the rounds. I wanted to play scrabble but she got her way again. I have not decided yet but I may go hunt for the mother load towards evening tonight as I expect I may have all 48 thousand acres all to my self? I ran into Borch and they had also not done very well. The first hole he augered Friday produced a elusive upper red lake crappie and then that was that. I never met him before but he had plenty of holes drilled and was outside fishing in the cold in a lumber jack flannel and no gloves. Wow it was cold out there, a true diehard of a fishermen. It was nice putting a face and body to his name. I also looked for the holes that Lon, Dylan and Derek did so well in Friday night. I had given them directions and then had them go a bit more west Friday as they only got 5 Thursday night. I never found there holes. Its like looking for a needle in a hay stack. yesterday morning they were talking some snow tonight so I will have to check the weather. Maybe the bite will be on with some kind of storm approaching?

well I hope everyone is enjoying some of the pictures of such a magical season on as Dave said” A GRAND LAKE! A GRAND LAKE! THAT OWES HIM NOTHING! NOTHING” It was full of emotion as he set there in in old Minnesota that evening jigging not being able to see as he had lost his vision from a stroke. He had a small resort on the other side of the river and use to have Viking players up from the Bud Grant days as he was a security guard for the team and tried to keep them out of trouble as he traveled with the team.
Ole, Marty and I spent Wednesday and part of Thursday fishing lake of the woods for pike out of warrod. We did see a 42 caught but we did not do well at all. We could of fished a lot harder but it was more about spending time together in the outdoors with good friends. Ole has a 20 pounder on his wall from low and a 25 pounder from red lake. He is now looking for a 30 pounder and knows that may never happen. He did have some bad news while we were fishing. Someone broke into his building in Alaska and stold his custom boat that he built that took him 3 summers. It had two Honda motors on it and was over 20 feet long. They also stold another Honda motor. They had some other stuff but it looked like they may of planned on coming back for it. They had to have a big truck and had to move a car, a wheeler and a 3 wheeler plus brake open two giant sliding doors. He hopes they find it as its a known boat in the area. He has such a great attitude. He is up set but is very thankful for his health and all the adventures he has lived and all the trophy’s he has taken fishing and hunting. He loves the big woods of northen Minnesota and will be back next fall to spend some time chasing his favorite critter the white tail deer.
Now for the fishing report here on the shore of upper red lake. Buddy hillmen was not letting wheel house off his access this weekend. The access is open but no wheel houses. marty and I escorted Ole out to the fish eye where we punch 4 holes for ole to fish. He fished out of his truck and threw in the towel at 7 30 or so with no elusive upper red lake crappies. Lon and his two boys stayed here on shore in the comfort of our 1 bedroom cabin. I gave them direction to the honey hole and they managed five elusive upper red lake crappies Thursday evening. From talking to him yesterday it sounded like they needed to go west just a bit. They enjoyed a late dinner Thursday night in the cabin, showered up and rested before heading out yesterday around 4 pm. Lon followed direction very well and took my advice and went a little further west where they landed on the mother load at dusk. It reminded Lon of the hey days as you could not run two lines at a time. They ended up pulling the plug at 8 30 pm with there limit of 30 fish to take home. The cabin is wide open if any fishermen want to make a last trip up. We were making ice last night as its 7 degrees this morning. The shore line should be in excellent condition. You can travel almost anywhere on the north shoe as long as you stay away from the pressure ridges. The mother load is out there and I have no problem at all pointing fishermen in the right direction. It would be nice if you play more catch and release but its not the end of the world if you take a few fish home as there are more then enough to share in my eyes. Kellie the hammer and I talked last night about taking old Minnesota back out for one more night? I’m thinking about it but its such a nice feeling having the houses just out from our property waiting for some warmer weather to melt all the snow so I can get them to shore. Plus I need to check the weather as the last thing I need is to be 8 miles out and deal with a march snow storm. We have caught enough fish for one season and had that magical moment less then a week ago. Next year, same time, same location the fish will be a little bit bigger and a little bit more educated.
Marty and I spent a better part of yesterday repairing the runner on florida as the welds failed and I lost a runner when I made the final turn towards our property. My welds lasted 10 years. When we built Florida and Montana we tried to build them to last at least 20 years. I expect they will last 30 with a little adjustments on the runners as my welding skills were not that good when I made the frames 10 years ago. We also have the materials ordered for our new addition next season North Dakota. Jake will be up mid April to start building it. Life is good and I thank god every day for such a wonderful wife and friends

Good morning the story continues. Jacob my grandson caught his first upper red lake crappie as well as my daughter missy. Old Minnesota was on a new spot but never turned on like I had hoped. Jakes move over by Joel paid off big time and they all caught the elusive yet catchable upper red lake crappies into the evening until they went to bed. Jake had his magical moment at 5 30 am when he started catching them as fast as he could get his minnow down. I think he said he caught 17 in a row, since he was releasing them all it well could of been the same fish over and over? Sunday afternoon I moved old Minnesota one more time so Marty,Kellie and I could spend the night out there for the final night. We had a great toco dinner, caught just a couple elusive upper red lake crappies and had a couple of drinks as we reminisced about such a great season on such a grand lake. We stayed up way to late waiting for the mother load and Marty headed over to florida around 3 am. Marty started catching fish as soon as he walked into the house and never went to bed. I set up my bobber line and my dangler with the line going through a can it would fall into the hole and wake me up. I woke up at 5 am 2 hours later and both cans were floating in the holes. I grabbed the cans re lized my bobber was gone and started reeling it in and had a fish on. I bounced the fish off the bottom of the ice and snagged the lure a small rattle flyer on the bottom of the ice. I set that rod down and reeled in the other line with no minnow. I put on a minnow dropped it down and a fish came charging up. Yes it was a elusive upper red lake crappie. As I was removing the hook there was another big red line down there. I re baited and sent it down and Bam here came another. 2 in a row and another red line on the vex at the bottom. Now I was excited and ran my minnow down and wham again another as that fish was clearing the hole another would fill in the void. I said honey wake up and caught another, and another and another, I was not even counting as it was one after the other as fast as I could get the line down . Then I lost a fish with my blue phelps jig. The vex was still showing fish down there so I grabbed the hammers rod and reel with a blood line demon put on a minnow and ran it down and wham another fish. The next one was my big one and when I landed it I said honey wake up dangling my trophy in front of her. She set up, rubbed her eyes and turned on her vex and said where’s my rod there’s one down there. I handed her rod all baited up and she dropped it down, now I had no rod and reel set up. I started to try and un hook my flyer with my back to her when she said Crappie. I grabbed the fish threw it in the cooler as we wanted to take a couple home for dinner Tuesday night. I re baited her line and thought oh the rattle wheel it has waxies on it . I rolled it up, peeled off the waxies and put on a minnow as I ran the line down the hammer again said crappie. I dropped the line went to land her fish and the rattle wheel just kept ringing as a crappie hit it on the way down. I landed that crappie threw it in the cooler. By then the hammer had re baited and had another fish on. I grabbed her fish re baited the rattle wheel and ran it down while my sweetheart caught another and another. I landed another one on the rattle wheel as she kept catching fish . Then just like that they were gone. She caught atleast 7 in a row and I have no idea how many I caught. All I can say is Wow what a treat, Truly amazing ,all that hard work looking for the mother load for the houses and it happens the last morning old Minnesota and Florida would be on the lake.. It was bitter sweet as we packed up as I had to go do chores at the farm. Marty stayed out on the lake and cleaned up florida for the move home then went and fished in old Minnesota where he landed 5 more elusive upper red lake crappie’s during the day while I was gone. We ended up keeping 11 fish for a fish fry last night for Ole, Marty, the hammer and I. I cooked up 6 fish 12 fillets ,kept my trophy and Marty is taking two home and I have 3 fish in the freezer for another dinner for Kellie and I

Well all I can really say is amazing just amazing. Labs and his son Hunter managed to catch a few elusive upper red lake crappies. Old Minnesota also produced a couple more elusive upper red lake crappies for The Hammer and I. Jake has some outstanding fishing and landed 17 out of florida. After Jake landed 17 in Florida he wanted me to move the house. It took me about a minute if that to decide to move all three deluxe houses one more time so even the grand kids and daughter would have a fresh spot to fish. The last couple days have been a blur so I may not have all this is the right order. We got jake reset up in his new spot and with out a plow each house had to be hand banked for the end of the season just like the beginning of the season. While Jake was at shore getting propane Nicole and Joel showed up and I pointed them in the right direction with help from Jake over the phone. Jake came back and got settled in and I headed home as I had afternoon chores for Gary the farmer I work for. I ecpected the kids to arrive around 10 pm Friday night but they got a late start and would not be arriving tell after midnight so Montana and old Minnesota would be unfished Friday night. Joel and Nicole landed on the mother load and were tickled pink as they land many many fish Friday night. Todd arrived with his custom house and what a house it was they landed 11 the first night. Duke also arrived Thursday and had some good action. Shawn arrived friday for north Carolina and had slow fishing .Jake was doing a lot of bouncing around out in the area we were fishing .Looking for the mother load I guess? He had great fishing in my book Friday night but ask if I could move florida one more time as they wanted to hang with Joel and Nicole , fish and have a couple beers together saturday night. Jake made a outstanding move and sent the girls out hole hopping around the houses where they proccedded to put the hammer down and catch a few fish outside while the guys watched the kids. They bonded and now have become good fishing buddies as both there husbands live there life’s around fishing. How cool is that. Its very cool. Wayne came up Saturday afternoon to help me weld the v-plow back on the red baron. I got the daughter Missy, Eric, Matty my grand son and Jacob another of my grandsons set up in old Minnesota. Kellie the hammer and I would be joining them later in the day. What a beautiful day it was Saturday ,Unbeleavble would be the best way to describe it.. To be continued

The last hurrah for the year has arrived. Its been close to 100 days I have had the houses on the lake. Looking for the mother load of crappies has been a blast. Its been a long week since I set the houses up with Marty and Wayne’s help last Sunday. The farmer I work for Gary went out of town and I have been doing the morning and afternoon chores in between my time spent on the lake. Wednesday I was escorting Charlie out on the lake with the red baron when I hit a soft spot on the white ice. I was not going that fast but hit it just right to cause the v-plow to go up in the air and with a whiplash effect I broke the v-plow basically right off the red baron. I snapped it clean as a whistle and it came crashing down onto the ice. Bummer not a good deal at all. After studying the situation I determined as long as I had it down I could still drive her so off we went to get Charlie set up for the evening bite. I had punched 8 holes earlier in the day and pre fished them. I caught a couple small walleyes which I liked to see and lost a couple of fish. I also marked fish in all the holes. I expected we were going to do very well after dark. Limping the red baron off the lake to go do evening chores I had to improvise away to raise the plow and hold it in place to go up Hillmens driveway and down the road. With two chains and my block and tackle I was able to run the chain from the tip of the plow over the hood and windshield, over the roof and all the way back to the tow bar where I was able to hoist her up just enough to get it off the ground. Just like that and my plowing for the season has came to a end.
Monday night I set Jason up in Montana where he landed a few elusive upper red lake crappies. He kept 6 for a meal for his family and released at least that many more. The bite was excellent but did not start tell well after dark? Wednesday eve when I got back out there Charlie had a big fat zero where I had set him up. I fished outside with him for a bit and never marked a fish in all 8 holes I had drilled earlier in the day really weird. Charlie packed it up and headed home while I went over to check on Jake, Jenny, Gabrial and Lakken. Yes Jake could not stand it and came back Wednesday afternoon. Kellie the hammer and I had dinner on the ice in old Minnesota the last couple of nights . We have landed a few elusive upper red lake crappies but have not had that magical mother load. Kellie did loose what she figured may have been her biggest crappie while I was outside. She had it by the lips for a second and it squirmed out of her hand and gave her a tail splash as it headed back down the hole. Even I yes I have landed a couple elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies. Lonnie and Craig moved after I talked to them Tuesday and went from zero to 12 in one night with many more lost. I met Randy Ermin out on the lake and they packed it in with only one Wednesday night. I set up Al ,Rick and Dan in there portables Wednesday and they were happy Thursday morning with a few fish. Diehards for sure as they fished all night. Sounds like Al and I will be doing a little summer fishing as he lives in Hibbing and has that true passion for fishing. Jake has been bouncing around all over the lake like a pinball looking for the mother load. He has landed a few fish and sounded like last night at 10pm he may of had a magical moment. When I talked to him all he said was I live for this and Jenny was enjoying watching him catch fish. .I will know more today after chores. Todd rolled in yesterday with a custom fish house and I’m looking forward to stopping in when I get back and checking it out as its a monster of a fish house. He took good direction and I truly expect that they had good fishing. Labs and Hunter were spending the night in Montana and I sure hope they landed a couple at least. The daughter is coming up with all the grand kids this weekend and we will be closing out the season with family and great friends on as Dave said “A Grand Lake and I could not agree more

Well I said my good buys to a bunch of nice people/fishermen yesterday. With Jakes crew all spread out all had great success and built some outstanding memories of what a grand lake red lake can be. Talking to them all everyone wants to come back same time next year and do it all over again. We all decided Saturday while we were having lunch at westwind that all the crappies caught Saturday night would be released to fight another day un less it was a true wall hanger. A guess would be COUPLE HUNDRED CRAPPIES WERE LANDED JUST BY jAKES CREW. Another guess would be there were about 75 to 100 fishermen or more in the little village I created. There must of been 15 to 20 wheel houses set up for the weekend. Most of them stayed in there shacks and I assume they had some decent fishing. Chris and his two buddies only took home 8 as they are planning on a fish fry with a small group of guys. I talk to another gentlemen Chuck him and his wife ended up with 9 or 10 and they were tickled pink. Mike traveled over 700 miles one way to land a true trophy and has a 15 1/2 for his man cave. Tammy and Randy took home 4 and released two big ones the first night and never saw another elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie. They were set up the furthest from our group to the north west. They had a great time and Kellie the hammer and I spent some time visiting with them Saturday eve. Most of the guys headed back to the houses by 10pm with memories that will last a life time. I talked to Jake this morning and him Gabe, Jenny and Lakken all want to come back again this weekend. Yesterday as all the wheel houses were slowly packing up portables starting showing up. I counted 10 last night all set up to the north east of where I moved the houses to. Most were set up from 20 yards to 75 yards from old minnesota. Quite a few of them were milling around all day fishing all the holes that had been augered saturday evening as Jakes crew spread out to find the mother load. I did talk to a gentlemen from low .Him and his buddy pulled out at 2pm with two limits. The hammers friend Nancy and her husband Pete stopped to wet a line last night in Montana. They were treated to 10 . Wayne and Marty helped me move all 4 houses yesterday. They fished Minnesota last night with the goal of getting two for Marty to take home and a plan to release the rest. Kellie and I fished with them and played some cards after Pete and Nancy left. We missed a couple on the rattle wheels and The hammer landed a nice one with help from her vex. I lost count of how many were landed but it was a few.. Kellie made us spaghetti dinner that turned out perfect. There is something special about sharing a meal with friends the never gets old. Hillmens road is in great shape and the fishing should just get better as the sun changes the environment under the ice. My plan as of now is to wet a line every night the rest of the week leading up to the 16th of march when the houses will be towed to shore. Red lake was grand to me this week and as the old timer Dave told me she is a grand lake and owes me nothing