I was going to go fish old Minnesota this morning and detail Montana before I shut the heat down for the week. At minus 4 this morning and no rush to get out there I decided to stay in for a bit this morning and reflect on such a great season on such a grand lake. Plus the front tire on the prospector is flat. Blue thunders breaks are apart and the red Baron spent the night on red lake with Phil and Cory.
The last three season early ice has been crazy up here with fishermen. Mother nature has been very kind to us after last years fiasco. What a difference in a year. With 20 days left of the walleye season I will be a little sad to see it come to a end. I still plan on leaving the houses on the lake as I target perch and a elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie. Kellie and I will be having quite a few dinners out there after the season ends as she has a mission to land a elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappy. I have came up with a few improvements this year and some upgrades to keep me busy this spring and summer. I was hoping that the owner at the golf course I work at would make it down for a day of fishing, and maybe she will still call. I also made a new friend in Marty. What a great guy he sure likes to stay busy and has no time for tv or movies., Him and his wife Shelly will be coming up for a 4 night stay later this year. I have caught more walleyes this year so far then all of last year. Kellie the hammer caught more in one day then she has in two years counting the summers and that was Fun, Fun, Fun. Then to watch her struggle the next night was a good chuckle. Every one she missed I told her it was a crappie. I caught a Rock bass visiting Marty last week. It did not have red eyes though. We named him sheepie as he looks like a crappie, sheephead ,rock bass mix. To funny. It seems as a kid we would go over to the river with worms and catch all kinds of different fish. But never a walleye in the Tamarac river. None of my houses have landed a big Pike this year? That really surprises me and not sure why there not roaming around the fishy areas I have been at. I still have to sleepers open the last weekend of the season. This year most of my calls have came from people planning last minute trips. I do have my repeat customers still coming that plan a head. I have also decided not to rent houses for one day if its a Thursday as it is not fair to the ones that have planned ahead to have a house that has all ready been fished hard for 20 hours.. Working on the lake this year and visiting customers has been fun, fun, fun. Buddy Hillmens makes a road that is unbeleavable there is no one on the lake more dedicated to a road then him and I’m proud to be a part of it. Lets hope mother nature is kind to us the next 30 or 40 days as the season winds down. My plans right now is to keep having fun, fun, fun and enjoying such a grand lake as Dave told me a few years ago. Its a Grand Lake a Grand lake and “It Owes Me Nothing Nothing”!!!
3 trips to Bemidji in 4 days. Coming off the lake Saturday evening I felt a grinding in the front end of blue thunder. I limped her home where we discovered we had a break problem. My plans changed sunday morning after saying goodby to everyone and visiting a bit I was back to shore to make a parts run as Phil will be leaving in a day or two. Even though having more problems with trucks is a downer it all works out since Phill is here to work on them. Just like I love working on the
lake he enjoys working on the lake trucks and takes a lot of pride in what he does.
The fishing was really good in Montana for Dan,Mel,Amy and Rob. They caught well over 50 fish with that many misses. The co dropped in on them and everything was good. The one thing with these guys as they know how to catch fish and are very good at it. Tammy and Randy also had awesome fishing for two days. The co also stopped there Saturday. Randy had one fish just under 17. The board I have in the house is made a little short just for that occasion so that worked out good. He told him make sure you go by that board and you will be ok. He also commentted that he liked the house. I had to give there car a jump as the little vw diesel would not start at 20 below. They said they will be back and bring there kids next time.
.Adam, Ashly Willow and Justin were in old Minnesota for only one night. They also had great fishing and want to come back. Randy and Brian are in north Carolina ,Randy is from Oragen and had never caught a walleye or eaten one. They had fresh walleye for dinner last night and randy said its his new favorite fish Nice. Phil and Cory were fishing Florida last night and also doing well. Crazy fish sure are biting . I have all week to move the houses for the up and coming weekend. The plan at this time is to put them on fresh ice in the same general areas.
Boar locked his keys in his truck Friday night, he had a key problem this weekend as Saturday they ended up on the bottom of red lake. He had a magnet and was able to retrieve them. I’m planning and hoping to target some big pike again this week and want to try at the crack of dawn tomorrow. North Carolina are two man house and are cabin are open this coming up weekend. there was some traffic this weekend I do not think the lake was overwhelmed which is a good thing.
It seems every day becomes hectic and I sure do enjoy it. The first thing I had to do yesterday was track down the part Tom got for the red Baron. Then I needed gas it seems now that I’m over 6 miles out on the lake I always need gas. I had to hook up with Marty as he was going to make another trip to Bemidji for more parts. I then went to see how Chris, Scott and Greg did in there wheel houses. They caught a few fish but did not pound on them When I peeked into Chris’s house 5 guys and not one line down? I then set down and had a very exciting cribbage match with John. It came down to him losing in the stink hole and he had missed 1 point earlier in the match. It was a great game. I said my goodbys and headed out. After that I needed to auger out Montana and Florida 14 holes. Its nice having a new auger as auger #2 was just plane wore out. I still have not looked at auger #3 since it puked out on me. After finishing prepping the houses it was off to shore to meet Dan, Mel, Rob and Amy. After getting them checked in It was off to shore to say good by to the sweety as she had to make a trip down to the cities. It will be nice for her to see all the kids and grandkids and not be in a rush to get back home. I then had to escort Gary and Kay out to Old Minnesota and set them up for the evening. No sooner then I get them checked in Randy and Tammy call from Hillmens . So its back to shore to meet them and take Boar over to where we are going to fish for pike . Once I had then taken care of I went back to meet Boar. Just as I arrive he jumps out of his truck to tend to a flag up .A false flag! He resets and we start to talk. The wind is brisk as were closing in on dark so Boar says hey lets go sit in the truck. Apon arriving we are shocked to find the keys are locked in. A quick call to westwind with very little battery life left I tracked down a couple of tools to get into the truck. After getting in truck it was off to returns tools only to find out in my haste I left the wedge tool on the ice and snow. Now its pitch dark and the wedge is the size of a wallet and white to boot laying out there. I was able to find it with in minutes. I then headed out to check on everyone and say good night. It was nice to see everyone had been catching a few fish and having a grand time on a grand lake
yesterday morning mother nature decided enough is enough and gave us some bone chilling weather with a strong dash of wind for good measure. Kellie and I made a long awaited trip to Bemidji for needed supply’s and parts for the red baron and blue thunder. Phil spent the time prepping north Carolina for some repairs. He also worked on blue thunder and added a few extra lights. Thanks Phil your the man. Marty added much needed tail lights to blue thunder while Tom was on a mission to remove a front axle from the old grey goose some where near Bemidji. Taking parts off a truck in that frigid weather in a open field is no longer my cup of tea. I now have bought 2 parts off the grey goose since I sold it and Doug has made his money back that he got it from me. Ouch oh well it all works out in the end I would not have blue thunder if I did not scrap it out.
I arrived back to waskish just in time to meet Greg with his wheel house, And Scott with his. I then escorted them out to a spot where they got set up for the evening as they are passing through on there way to low. Greg told me he would give me 5 bucks if I told one of the guys to get back in the fff truck. It was way funny and I guess you had to be there.
I them met the honey bunny “The Hammer” in old Minnesota for just a bit of fishing before she had to go to work. We caught nothing while she was there but we enjoyed another upper red lake spectacular sunset. After she left I landed three nice keepers in a row 1 on the rattle wheel with a blue genze worm and the other two jigging a rainbow colored rattling flyer using the vex. The generator was sitting right in front of the fish house on the ice running? After that it was off to put a propane on florida and check in with Marty,Cory and Phil. While visiting Marty the rattle wheel took off like a pike just hit it. I set the hook and it was not fighting like any thing I have ever caught on red lake. When it comes through the hole it was a Rock bass that also looks like it has crappie and sheephead mixed in it .Its the dammest thing and I have to assume its a rock bass? All though I do not ever remember catching a rock bass on red lake in 49 years of wetting a line. Marty says its a sheeepie LOL I then swung back over to Greg who still owes me 5 bucks? They had a couple in the bucket. I walked over to Chris’s house who had slid in when I was not looking. I go in the house and there’s 9 guys standing around drinking beer with one or maybe 2 lines down. We visited for a bit and had some good yucks before I again went to collect my 5 dollars? Headed out in a bit to catch the sunrise as Ii prep all the house for the weekend.
Pike fishing was another grand time on a grand lake. We were fishing dead suckers as there are no live suckers for sale in waskish that I know of at this time. I expect Hillmens will have some before the weekend. We fished pike from 330 to 530pm with 3 flags. Cory had the first flag ,the fish made a huge run . Cory is only 13 and was very nervous about setting the hook . . He had him on for just a couple seconds but very exciting. He was bummed but we explained that’s how it goes. Marty had the second flag ,nothing there the fish dropped the bait . Phil had the third flag, He just reset the flag and we waited for it to be triggered but that fish also dropped the bait. When we pulled our lines Phil
s sucker had major damage. Oh well we will get them next time. We had a hoot enjoying the resource and that’s all that really matters. I talked to Ole he is a trophy hunter fish and big game. His words of wisdom. You got to put your time in and you are not going to catch a trophy sitting on the couch.
I had Norn fish old Minnesota from 3 tell 6pm he landed 8 walleye, got his two keepers and got two bonus perch. he said he wanted to catch a ellusive but still catchable upper red lake crappie . I told him if he did Kellie the hammer would not be a happy camper. Marty landed one yesterday morning and sent me a pic . What’s this he asked? Very funny Marty. I was so glad for him as I do not think he has ever gotten a upper red lake crappie. Phil tore apart the red baron and I will be off chasing parts today as we need a new used right front axle. The grey Goose had the part we needed but I junked it out this fall to gather money to buy blue thunder two. I also will be picking up some steal for north Carolina as at this time I can not jack it up with my railroad jack.
Had a hoot yesterday moving Montana and made a short video. It turned out kinda funny. You can see it on facebook under John Halvarson.
Marty started gutting my old Utah house and she is shot. If I want to rebuild we will have to start from the frame up as the wood is rotten. Oh well still worth rebuilding as the house is built on hydraulics and is a breeze to move and can go down the highway. It would be a good summer project. Marty has been catching a couple fish in florida but no groupers yet? he also almost has my tail lights done on blue thunder and should buttem that up today. We will be moving florida to a new spot this morning so its on fresh ice even though its not rented until Feb 6th yes Feb 6th is the next time its rented.
Phil my mechanic slammed out the work yesterday and we will be tearing into the right front wheel of the red baron today as I have a u joint ready to break. Kinda nice to fix it before it breaks. Nice having a mechanic here for a change. When I was younger I did all my own work but my body just can not do it any more. Just taking off 8 lugs nuts can be daunting at times. Phil and Cory have been catching fish and north Carolina got better the fourth day it had been fished. Kellie and I arrived to old Minnesota on its new spot about 3; 30pm. I then proceeded to put the smack down on the walleyes while Kellie the hammer missed more fish then she landed . It was funny as she kept losing them half way up. I told her every one was a slab crappie. She then got her line tangled with the phone charger line and the vexlar with a fish on. To funny. I was using a gentz worm, glow blue on the rattle wheel and must of had a bite every 5 minutes the whole time we were there. On my rod and reel I had a rattle flyer in pink . Just jigging was a riot no vexlar just sitting there jigging and they would smack it tipped with a minnow through the head. By 6;30pm we had burned through the minnows and called it a night as we were headed down to JRS for a fish fry. I have heard nothing but good reports about the fish fry and fries there’s. Every thing I have heard was true a outstanding deal and the fries were as good as mcdonalds. The fish had a lite batter and did not over whelm the fish. Very very good. I will deffintly have my fish there again if I have the time. It would of been nice to just drive across the lake to get there but we drove off the lake and took the hwy. Marty, Cory and Phil also liked the fish. Kellie the hammer had chicken strips. Minnesota is not rented until the 6th also, I refuse to turn the heat off and Kellie and I will be fishing it in the same spot until the 4th or 5th of feb If I do not rent it before then. The spot I placed it is very fishy and I still expect Kellie to land at least one elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie. I can not wait to get a pic of her holding up one of those world class fish again. Dan the crapet Man comes Friday for Montana and I will gaurentee they will catch at least 50 fish and have a grand time on a grand lake . Phil and Cory will be fishing North Carolina until Saturday. Today at 3 we are going on a adventure as we target a trophy pike. I’m excited and will be heading out at first lite to dig out the tip ups. The next 4 weeks look very bleak for rentals and the two fish limit has deffintly effected me. Oh well we will survive to fight another day. Glad I have 5 part time jobs in the summer. My plans are to look for the mother load of crappies since no one is coming to only keep two walleyes. If they want more then two they can always head down to the reservation and pick up a case of frozen upper red lake walleye and while there I would suggest buying a smoked white fish or two as they are outstanding
It just keeps getting better. This has been one of my funest season since the crappie days. Having my trucks running so well is kinda scary” Knock on wood”. I have heard a noise off and on from the red baron and it may be something in the transfer case. If I can not figure it out it will have to be driven tell it breaks . Kellie and I went and had dinner at Westwind last night the premier resort here in waskish. 8 pm and we were the only people in the bar. There was a big group having dinner in the dining area as they were headed to low and stopped for a day of fishing here on upper red lake. I have not driven the dodge prospector at all this winter .I replaced the fuel pump this fall and still could not get it running Phil shows up primes it a few times and has it running like a top. What’s with that? dam mechanics. Marty rolled in around 4 and I got him set up in florida, He brought me up so new taillights for blue thunder. How sweet is that even the taillights take a beating out there.
Last night was the first day I wore regular shoes since I hit the ice ,man was that a funny feeling. I moved old Minnesota on to its new spot and she is already to go .Kellie and I will be fishing it hard the next few days as I promised kellie she would get her elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie. Today I will hop scotch past Minnesota with Montana. They fished it hard and Dan the crapet man will be using it this weeknd. Minnesota, Florida and the cabin are all open for the weekend at this time. I may have to offer a deal so I can afford to atleast keep the heat on. Mother nature has been kind to us this year and I’am very thankful for that. With such nice weather Phil the mechanic is going to get spoiled as he has done some amazing work for me up here in the elements over the years. yesterday after going back on to the lake to help some guys out with a skid house.Ii decided I would go fish old Minnesota for a bit while Kellie was in blackduck. After the long drive I jump out of the truck and my fishing gear is in the other truck .Oh well I thought I will use the rattle wheels, wrong again one had no tippit line.One all the line got damaged and tangled and needs to be replaced. That left me with one rattle wheel. I got it set up, put in a movie and layed down on the bed and fell a sleep, never heard the rattle wheel go off or my phone when Marty arrived. Guess I’m getting a little burned out and need some more rest. With nothing rented all week it is a good time to get my second wind thank you very much
Wow taking a look at the calendar the last 4 weeks of the season are looking kinda bleak. I have at least 1 sleeper open every weekend. I have made one reservation since the announcement to a two fish limit? I also had one rented on short notice.
Saying good by to everyone yesterday was a treat lots of smiles and some great fishing as the big move was well worth it. Montana came through with 2 crappies from the house and two more from the green ice castle plus another 11 elusive yet catchable upper red lake crappies next to Montana. The walleye action was real good also. Just like I stated earlier if your catching small walleye theres a chance there ‘s a elusive upper red lake crappie near by. Fun to see them that’s for sure. I had a visitier yesterday while I was cleaning Montana as Danny from outdoor authority stopped by to say hello and see if I may be interested in a fish house on skids for sale. He has been busy and it was the first time I have saw him since the ice formed in November. Boar got a little concerned after his move Saturday as they had only caught a couple small ones. Things changed and they ended up having some fantastic fishing. Nice to see and again thanks for the help it sure makes moving house easier. yesterday was a half day off. After prepping/cleaning Florida and Montana Kellie the hammer met me at old minnnesota for a movie or two some fishing and dinner. Chicken stir fry was on the menu. I had to meet Jeff,Linda and Justin at hillmens around 3 to check them into florida. When I stopped in around 8 they had done real well with a few, yes a few cleanable perch. There son fishing in another house to the south landed two more elusive upper red lake crappies.. darn I drove right over them. Moving all the houses Saturday I bet I drove over 4 million fish too get there. Why does everyone always want to go to the end of the road? It must be the adventure. Kellie lived up to her nick name “THE HAMMER” in Minnesota and put the hammer on the walleyes. She caught a dozen fish to my 3 .On my defense I had a little nap as she said I was not fishing even though I had 2 lines in. Both had no minnow when I awoke so in a sense she is right. I can not help it as I love crawling up on the top bunk in old minnesorta and taking a cozy little nap. My mechantic rolled in around 4 and I got him set up in his house. North Carlolina. Him and Cory started catching fish right away and Phil was pumped to catch fish for the first time out of his house after it had sat brand new for 4 years. I have a long list of repairs for Phil to keep him busy during the day while he is here. Marty is also coming up today to help me out again. Even though the houses did so well they will be moved on to fresh ice for the weekend. I have nothing rented untill Friday and then only two of the 4 houses are rented. Minnesota will be put on the crappie honey hole I found and Kellie the Hammer will have her shot to land a elusive upper red lake crappie. Its been 3 or 4 years since she has landed one and is pumped to fish the new spot. the plan is to move it today. Being so far out is going to burn some gas so my plans are to only make one trip a day out there and work and eat lunch on the lake every day. The key is not forgetting anything, fat chance of that and I will have to improvise if I forget any thing for the day. I’m also going to shut down the heat On Montana for the first time since it has hit the lake. Marty will fish and stay in Florida while he helps me out during the day. Time to hit the lake as I prep Minnesota and wet a line this morning. I plan on fishing a chubby darter first thing as I just love the action and they hammer it when they come in. The rattle wheel will have a slick jig tipped with a minnow
Checking in with all the houses yesterday morning and it seemed they all got together because they all wanted to be moved on to fresh ice. After Talking to Andy in Montana the fish house not the state I decided the whole fleet needed to head to deeper waters. Boars spot did not pan out and he said he got some sleep with the rattle wheels silent. He also decided to move out deeper.
Florida was the first house to be moved. moving out to the end of the road would make each move take around two hours. I explained that to all and everyone was on the same page. I decided with out the red baron out there the fastest way to set up would be setting the houses on the roads I made. That worked out real well and saved quite a bit of time. Boar was nice enough to come help me with the first 2 moves and I gave him a grade of c+. I do not think he liked that and was striving to get his grade up. I have my own system for every thing I do out there. I’ve learned from the best my mentor cusin Pete to take my time, do not rush things. I was right and it took about two hours to get florida reset. When I arrived with the second house North Carolina florida already had caught 4 fish. Donny thought it was odd I was setting up on the road but I explained that I made the road and it was not a big deal. After getting them set up it was off to get old Minnesota she is my heaviest house and takes a little more finess to move. I picked the perfect spot for Minnesota . I also spotted another spot the I plan on putting Minnesota on this week as I gaurenteed Kellie the “hammer” will catch a elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie. Making the rounds last night felt great. All three houses had fish tales to tell. Moving all the houses in one day put a damper on my visiting and I may not have every ones names down this weekend. After having dinner with Boar and his kids at the boars nest I made the last rounds of the night and Kellie and I headed to Hillmens Tall Tail Taveren to listen to the Crappy floppers. they are a bunch of guys that get together up here once or twice a year and jam. We had a ball and even with Kellie’s bad knee we were able to dance to a couple of songs. Very entertaining and a good time was being had by all. It was nice to see the bar full. Got to spend some time with Tyler and Audry from bear paw as they were there and Tyler even danced a song with Kellie. With only one house rented this week the plan is to detail all the houses this morning and have dinner with the sweetheart in old Minnesota tonight as Kellie is on a quest to land a elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie. Did I mention Andy’s dad landed one and missed one at the hole while there buddies in the red ice castle landed two. How sweet is that. The bad news or good news if your a fishermen is old Minnesota and Florida are open this coming up weekend as I had two cancelations, They must of heard the limit is down to two?
Mother nature rules. The wind blew so hard Thursday evening it kept the roads from drifting in which was a nice bonus, less where and tear on the trucks. TYhere was some drifting but with out fresh snow it was not to bad.
Heading out to the end of buddy hillmens hwy. yesterday morning to auger out monatana and see how Alex and his buddy did it took a 1/8 of a tank of gas . So every trip out there and back eats up 4 gallons of gas in the bed baron. That 454 loves its fuel and you can watch the fuel gage plummet on those long journeys. Alex and his buddy did real well over night .Andy showed up around 10am with another friend towing a ice castle. After getting them set up I needed to go prep the houses for every ones arrival and say good by to Bob and Terry. Plowing around the houses from the drifting Thursday night, Detailing 3 houses, left no time for moving them so they all had to be fished where they were. Minnesota had only been fished one night so I felt comfortable they would catch some fish, North Carolina had one over night stay where it was and Gary and Kay fished it Thursday eve for 3 hours. Florida was on it 4th night on its same spot and it showed. They were not doing well at all and I will be moving them first thing this morning. Old Minnesota had caught 8 so far and they asked if I would move them today to fresh ice that house had not even been fished 24 hours before they arrived. Don arrived around 3 for north Carolina and they landed three with in the first 10 minutes of wetting there line and then nothing so I also will be moving them. Moving three houses is not such a big deal its prepping the new spots that’s take time and the further we move the longer it takes. Letting fishermen rent the houses on Thursdays really throws a monkey wrench in things for the customers that arrive on Friday for the weekends . I may have to change my policy and quit renting on thusdays as the customers get screwed when they arrive on Friday and I do not have the houses on fresh ice. It hard to say no when its such a short season and we need to make hay when the sun is shining.. maybe when I get out there this morning the fishing picked up? I did set jeff/boar up in a new location just around evening .It started out slow but when kellie and I were visiting them a wave came threw and 7 or 8 fish were missed with me landing a 16 incher on a rattle wheel. I did talk to Boar around 11 and they were doing much better. Andy in Montana with his dad and brother were way happy and have caught 25 fish or so .They are good fishermen. Andy’s buddy I think his name was Jim landed a 27 inch walleye on a tip up with a sucker. It was hooked pretty bad and they had no choice but to keep it as It was going to bleed to death. I also got a text from andy and one of there wheel houses landed a elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie. Andys dad also lost one in Montana at the hole and he even had his hand on it. I saw the perfect spot to move Montana tomorrow when they leave and am excited to see how the fishing pans out in that spot. The other three houses need to go out to the end of the road, taking them out there today would take a lot of time so still not sure if I will leave the fishy area we have been in or just put the houses on fresh ice in the same area for the rest of the weekend. Then the whole fleet can go out there starting Monday morning. I will have to make a decision once I check in with every one this morning. I also have a area that has been real good all winter but can not convince any one to fish there.