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.

Not a good way to have the season coming to a end. When we hit the lake Friday to move Montana and north Carolina I noticed the plow seemed to be acting kinda different. It seemed the plow was scraping away the banks from the house but it just seemed like it was not turning or going up and down the same. I asked Marty to see if he noticed anything when I crept along the house but he got side tracked with the number two shovel and I was trying to get done and basically made a bone head move and did not get out to see if any thing was up? After moving both houses and getting them set up I parked blue thunder next to montana for the weekend and went to meet Stacy and Brian as they would be celebrating there anniversary in Florida. After checking them in I set up a couple wheel houses to the west of me and settled down in Minnesota to kick back rest and wait for the hammer to come out and fish with me. We had a frozen pizza for dinner and came off the lake around 9pm with not a single elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie. Darn the luck. Saturday was just a take it easy day enjoy mother nature and good company Marty and Shelly and checking in on Stacy and Bryan. They did not catch a elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie and neither did the three wheel houses I set up. I counted 25 trucks on the lake Saturday with a mixture of portables and wheel houses on the lake. After coming in for dinner Saturday eve, Kellie and I headed out to old Minnesota where we would be spending the night hoping to tie into the mother load. Marty and Shelly joined us as we had a couple cocktails ,visited and fished for the very very elusive upper red lake crappie. Sunday morning I awoke to a beautiful upper red lake sunrise and not a crappie to be had. I had a call from a gentlemen from Bemidji that was up Saturday and they landed 22 elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies. Darn the luck. I guess its like throwing dice out there as I lost them .They must of went east, south, or north. After a harty breakfast of eggs and bacon we packed things up and I warmed up blue thunder as she had spent the last two nights sleeping on the ice. Driving in I heard a bang sound like something was bottoming out I stopped got out of the truck, walked around to the front and to my disbelief half the frame work on the plow was broken and destroyed, bent into a mangled mess. The left ram was dripping fluid and I may of also damaged that. Wow what a bone head mistake I have made. I guess that happens when the season stretches out and you get a little worn out. At this time I’m not even sure if it can be repaired. I’m 85 percent sure that it will not be in operation the rest of the season and the red baron will have to carry me through . My plans are to move all 4 houses one more time before Friday to a completely different area . Jake will be up Thursday to help bank the houses as there will be a lot of work with a number two spade shovel with out blue thunders straight blade. Jake is pumped to get up here and has all ready packed all his gear 4 days in advance. He has new auger blades and a extension . His passion for fishing is incredible, if its for upper red lake crappies, walleyes or sheep head. Sturgeon on the rainy or musky in the fall. If it swims in the water he wants to catch it. I on the other hand. I like fishing with friends and enjoying the comradery . I love seeing people’s eyes light up when they have a big fish on the line and the excitement in there voices. Kellie the hammer is so funny. When she has a fish on she never says I got one! She just reels it in and says crappie, perch, walleye or big northen. Its to funny. This coming up weekend should be a gas as we spend two and half days searching for the mother load with good friends and new friends

My guess would be Montana is burned out after Ole nabbed a limit of elusive upper red lake crappies from underneath her. Marty and Rick did not have much action . They did lose a couple fish that may of been crappies. I had to run to Kellier yesterday morning and Marty met me at the town and country around 11am where we gassed up and made our plans for the day. We also had to get 3 propane’s as I still have a issue turning the heat off the houses. Kellie the hammer would be coming out later to fish old Minnesota with me and have dinner with Marty and Rick. I saw in the distance Buddy and his mechanic were also fishing last night. Buddy Hillmen had set up 4 or 5 wheel houses for the day that were here filming a show for national geograpfhic. That is going to air some time in the future. Last night episode featured Hiem’s Log Homes out of Kellier. Kinda cool. The hammer showed up around 4 after we had moved Minnesota and Florida. We got our lines down and there is something about Old Minnesota as we put in a movie and I was asleep in minutes lying on the bed. The hammer was marking fish right from the get go . After dinner another movie a full stomch and I again fell asleep on the bed. Opps sorry honey. I was awakened a bit later with the hammer dangling a elusive upper red lake in front of me. She was using the vex and may have lost a couple in the next couple hours. I had two rattle wheels down and missed a couple fish on them. One had a small jig with waxie’s. When it went off I thought for sure I had a elusive upper red lake crappie but instead caught a nice walleye. The hammer out fished me again and I may have to take away her vexlar to give the fish a chance and maybe I can use it. My plans right now are to enjoy old Minnesota and keep looking for the mother load. Thnaks for letting me nap sweety. Today I have a couple wheel houses I’m going to point in the right direction . We will move Montana and north Carolina and then be spending another evening fishing old Minnesota and who know maybe I will be able to stay awake and fish

Mart took the auger to Northolm and it turned out auger # 1 had bad gas and were thinking Number 2 also has bad gas. OOps 30 bucks for that. Blue thunder went to work around 930 plowing Buddy Hillmens road. Tom brought over the red baron with a expensive tune up of 473.00 Ouch. Marty headed out and arrived around 12 30 to help with the road. by 230 we were done with 10 miles of road. and We then cut a new trail to the fish houses. Just as I figured plenty of snow drifted in the road system and around the houses. I open up the road and cleared the snow away from the houses while Marty prepped old Minnesota for its move. Everything went smooth as silk and we had her blocked and banked by 430 and I was headed off the lake when I noticed one of my chains on the rear tire was gone. Darn the luck. I had no luck finding it and maybe just maybe I will find it when the snow melts.
Marty and Rick spent the night in Montana and were hoping to land 2 elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies so Marty can make his fish soup. Coming off the lake there were three guys setting up a portable, Then half way home I met a truck towing a wheel house. From my count there were three people fishing last night.
Today we will get Florida moved for Stacy and her husband arrival tomorrow. Depending how Marty did we may be also move Montana on to some fresh ice fro the next couple nights.
I also noticed my right front wheel bearing is squeaking really bad on blue thunder 2 . I will have to limp it through the rest of the season, as I sure do not want to take it apart and take a used one off of blue thunder 1 in this weather. Kellie the hammer and I will be having dinner on the lake tonight with Marty and Rick as Marty is making a beef roast. We also plan on fishing old Minnesota in her new spot. Lets hope for a nice relaxing evening fishing and having dinner with a new friends. Life is good on such a grand lake. 8 days and counting jake

Plenty to plow that’s for sure. I Imagine we will be helping re opening Buddy Hillmen’s road today. Yesterday would of been futiel as mother nature was running the show yesterday. All the outfitters that made the mad rush to shore paid off for them as blue thunder and the red baron are prepped today for a work out. The red baron is still with Tom the mechanic but I need to pick her up and use it the way it is. Marty is going to run to Northome, as yesterday I took the carb. off of auger number 1 three times and still can not get it to run properly. After seeing Ole’s 10 elusive upper red lake crappies he was chomping at the bit to spend the night out there with his son Rick. All the drifted snow on our trails we felt it was a bad idea, so they stayed here on shore in the cabin. Once I get back to the house’s there will be a ton of snow to move with a couple spots that I may have to go around. Mother nature has changed my plans to keep the houses going up and down on the road system and I have to make at least one final new road system for the house’s for this last 12 days I plan on keeping the houses out. It does feel good to not have to rush out the door in the morning as every thing slowly whines down. We will get Marty set up in Montana tonight and the hammer is going to make us dinner. Not sure if any houses will be moved today. I’m looking forward to spending some time in old Minnesota with the Kellie my sweetheart “The hammer” But I have to steal a nap when were not fishing together