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
Yes that was fun making the rounds last night as everyone was tickled pink except Casey . He made the mistake of fishing next to jake and watched him land 17 fish in a row while he only landed two. The way everyone got checked in and not going over the same routine has made it impossible to remember every ones name but I may have them down buy tomorrow. I did not wet a line last night with the group as another engagement took longer then expected. I may of missed some great fishing but I did get to visit with a bunch of guys that were giddy from all the evnings excitement. The only thing that could of made it better as if they were landing all those fish in the houses instead of around the houses. For some reason the wheel houses I set up had fantastic fishing and I have no clue why old Minnesota can not land on one of those magical spots for the hammer. The red baron is going to get another work out as I now want all the houses on fresh ice for the week ahead. I was hoping to leave them in the same places for the last week. Oh well give me more days to stay busy on the lake
Jake rolled in around two and we were off to move old Minnesota and Montana. I have high hopes for the spots I had picked out. We started to move Minnesota first then moved Montana first instead as Jenny and Gaberl were waiting in the truck to get into Montana. While Jake prepped Montana I retrieved old Minnesota and got her banked and augered for the Hammer and I. I then met Brian and Jeff on the driveway where I plowed them a spot right on the mother load. Jake checked in on them at 9pm they had caught over 20 elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies. Joel came over before dark and got two just at sunset before he packed up as he did not have any lights. Tammy and Randy rolled in around 7pm and I pointed them to a spot .When I came off the lake at 10pm they had caught 2. Jake popped a dozen holes outside and fished in the breeze tell 8pm or so and never got one. He then took Gabe and the portable over by Jeff and Brian where they caught 3 and lost 3. Shawn has caught 3 since last night. Kellie and I had a nice dinner chicken Stir fry and lost a couple fish that may have been crappies. Jakes two buddies rolled in around 1am and caught two right away out of old Minnesota. They are fishing North Carolina the rest of the weekend. Jake is on shore right now and is chomping at the bit to auger holes. We went out this morning and fired up the heater in Florida and north Carolina and augered them out. The rest of Jakes crew will be trickling in today. I have a couple spots all picked out for Jake to auger for me as we spend the rest of the day fishing outside in the elements. I think the way its looks we may end up with a sunburn or two
Well the big weekend has arrived for Jake and family. First thing Jake if your reading this we are not going to be moving Montana everyday you are here? Some how I feel that we will be moving if you find a hotter bite then where we start but you may have to twist my arm to move. I’m expecting a grand time on a grand lake with good friends and family. Kellie “the Hammer” and I will be fishing Minnesota tonight. We will have to head in around 10 as she works Friday morning. I’ll be heading out on the lake shortly to check on things before you arrive. Then I have some chores to take care of until you guys arrive. We will take our time and be patient and get Minnesota and Montana set up. If every things goes smooth it should take a bout 3 hours using the red baron. Drive safe.
I set Joel and his wife up yesterday where a 16 inch crappie was caught. Joel said they lost one right away at the hole so that was a good sign. During the day to boot. There are 4 or 5 wheel houses set up in a area that the guy said they did real well on the elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies this season. I also got to see where Frank has been fishing as him and Russle brought out a wheel house. Not sure if Chad and his buddies from Bemidji will still be out there this morning but Chad said they have caught 82 since they found that spot last week. My new 1 mile driveway goes right buy them with in 20 yards. I’m sure Jake will want to put Montana and Minnesota close to that area? I expect since there from Bemidji they will be hitting that spot a lot as the season winds down. Looking very forward to wetting a line with the honey bunny tonight. Maybe I will accidently forget the vex and she will be lost? That was I can out fish her ,maybe?
We dodged a bullet with just a trace of snow. On the other hand the winds yesterday sounded like a freight train. I had business in Bemidji and never went out on to the lake. I have seen a trace of snow make a mess so we will see later today what it looks like out there. I will be in the process of making a big move in the next couple days. The first thing is to cut a new trail to the un fished area I will be exploring, from there I will be using the red baron as a full time truck as she will be commissioned to also move houses this week, un bank houses and bank houses. The number 2 shovel will also be in play? Jake and family will be up tomorrow and he will help get all the houses set up for the weekend of chasing the mother load of the elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie. I think Jake has vision of catching a hundred crappies in 3 days and he has the passion and dedication to do it. Should be a lot of fun. The weather is looking good so that’s already a plus. I know of at least 6 wheel houses that will be coming up and I be leave Buddy Hillmen has a couple of his houses rented and a couple still open. I also have a couple guys coming up next Tuesday Wednesday and will be setting them in what ever house has the best crappie bite just like I did with Ole. I also plan on spending some more time in old Minnesota the next 12 days. I still have many naps to take and a few movies to watch. Knock on wood the weather looks like its just going to get nicer every day in the next two weeks.