DEC. 30th 2016

Yesterday went pretty well considering?
Got a call at 7am Gordie’s keys got locked in his truck so I was off and running for the day. Putting out fires per say comes with the job. After getting into the truck we said our good byes as they hit the road. I would guess the two house old Minnesota and Montana got 20 fish. We did play a game of texas hold um Wednesday at prime time 5 pm. Out of 6 players I made it to third. Darn the luck. Ken and the girls did not fair very well in florida. Ken will be back up in a couple weeks to give it that old collage try. Pat, Ryan and the boys are here one more night in North Dakota. There new favorite house. And they loved Old Minnesota. They have went to westwind the premier resort for fish fry’s two days in a row. Why does it always taste better when someone else makes it? I met my helper Jimbo back onshore for more training and off we went to clean, move , and set up 3 of the 5 of our fleet. With the winds howling out of the nw. Jimbo is picking it up nicely , In another week we will be working on the same page like a well oiled machine. Mother nature was being cruel out there all day. Trying to cut any trail was fruitless as it basically drifts as fast as you plow. Every wheel house, truck, and skid house now have 4 foot drifts around them. Should make it real interesting when they all start pulling out the next few days. There also will be a lot of flooding in all those spots I imagine As our grandma Olga would say in that Swedish accent and what we named our boat “EWWW IMAGINE THAT” After getting old Minnesota and Montana set up I had to find my way to shore and meet Rick, Mike and Matt. They have also been coming for years and always request old Minnesota. I did not mention north Dakota as I expect they to will jump ship just like Pat, if they spend the night in there. My good friend Jake built one hell of a house. Hindsight it could of been even bigger as the runners stick out on both ends and make it tough to plow the snow away from the house. On the way back out I also met Pang as they were out there in portables. Pang brought a rookie all the way from Germany and I will have to work on his name. I then got a hold of Mathai? and his family as they were going into Florida and I explained that I would not be able to move it due to the conditions. That was fine with them so back to shore I went to escort them out to Florida. Taking them to Florida in a blizzard /white out. Once I got them taken care of I was heading home for a little break as it was one heck of a day and to think I’m going to do it all over again today? Glad I love the work or I would be in big trouble. Just a few more things. Totally sick of accu weather so if any one has a better weather site chime in. We have a big blow coming at noon today with 3 to 6 inches of snow and the temps plummeting into next week . Batten down the hatches here we go. I knew coming into this winter she/mother nature was going to rear her ugly side this year. I just did the no snow, snow dance so will see if that works. Its going to be a absolute mess out there after new years. Making the rounds last night and all 4 houses had at least a couple fish so will see how they did over night. Another big day, not sure if my helper Jimbo can help me today. I would like to move north Dakota, Florida and north Carolina. Might be a little tough on my own but we will give it a shot because that’s what I do on as the old timer Dave told me” ITS A GRAND LAKE AND IT OWES ME NOTHING,NOTHING” Wow I forgot to mention The elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie.

Dec. 29th 2016

Well it been a few crazy days. We had a great time down for Christmas but coming home sunday was a little longer trip due to the roads and weather. Our good friend Wayne held down the fort out on the lake in old minnesota doing a few chores for me and meeting some customers that were going to arrive sunday afternoon. They had to cancel as Buddy Hillmen closed his ice road do the the impending weather. My no snow dance must of worked as we did not get anywhere close to the snow they predicted , but wow with the wind. Having all the houses pretty much ready to go worked out well other then the snow drifts had to be broken up and moved. I had augured 4 holes in montana for rick and heather. There was quite a bit of snow around it with the typical flooding I felt. About the third pass with the red baron and I thought I saw a hole in the ice .Sure as sh a crack had went by the house and water was bubbling out of it due to all the snow drifted in front of it. Once I got the blunt of the snow moved away she quit bubbling.. Glen and Joe would be spending one night in there. I then wanted to put old Minnesota on fresh ice for Wayne’s last night as he had been fishing in the same spot since Friday evening. That went well and we had it moved a ready to fish in no time. He had averaged about 5 fish a day. So not so good. The wind just kept getting worse through out the day creating white out conditions off and on. I had my helper Jimbo meet me to help move north Dakota as Tammy and Scott has spent friday night in there with little action. Scott was new to ice fishing and was his first time while Tammy had a little bit of experience. The hammer and I then met wayne out in old Minnesota for some surf and turf and a little card playing. 530 on the dot and I landed a very nice walleye on the green genze worm tipped with a minnow. While I was landing that on the rattle wheel the hammer landed a 21 incher. Just a tad bigger then the 20 incher I landed. We missed a couple more fish and then they just shut down. With over 20 holes to auger tuesday morning we called it a night around 9pm. Arriving out to montana Tuesday morning and Glen and Joe had tremendous fishing and Glen said the rattle wheels were just nuts. Mean while 150 feet away Wayne had 3 or 4 bites but was able to get his 3 to take home. After auguring all the holes it was time to start helping build Buddy Hillmens highway. We had 1.5 miles of road to clear off. There is a crack at 1.5 that crossed the road and buddy decided to cone it off for now and maybe it would heal up with out having to put a bridge out. By 2 pm I had all our customers checked in for the day and spent the rest of daylight cleaning up all the snow that had blown in front of the access. I did have my first casualty with the red baron and lost all of the exhaust from the y pipe back. She louds now but that 454 can let out some of them spent gasses a little better.
I had pool league Tuesday night so everyone was on there own. Yesterday morning making the rounds and Montana has landed 10 , North Dakota had 6 and they lost one while I was checking in on them. Old minnesota only had 2, while Ken and the girls in florida never landed a walleye. I’m hoping they did much better last night so we will see. Today we will be saying good bye to Frank and his crew Shwagg ,Breck, Gordy, Bradly and Danny and ken and the girls while Pat, Ryan and the two boys are here one more night. Big plans today as I attempt to put 3 of the 4 house on fresh ice before every one arrives. Jake and his crew in the cabin found some fish in there portables but did not pound on them. Still falling behind on my fishing reports but hopefully I have it dialed in now? Still spending to much time on the facebook page Cookie’s on Upper Red Lake. I posted a pic from last night and all I could say was wozer. Check it out and feel free to leave a comment as I keep farting around with that page. And as Dave the old timer said to me “ITS A GRAND LAKE AND IT OWES ME NOTHING, NOTHiNG”

December 24rth 2016

Very quick report today as we will be gone for Christmas for 1 day. If you coming up tomorrow Christmas day you should try and check with the resort your going out of as the hub bub is some may be closing there roads if it get to bad. One of the worst thing for the roads is when traffic drive on them when the snow and wind are blowing. Every track made fills in with snow. Then the next track same thing. Every little disturbance of solid obstacle makes a drift. Then that’s gets disturb and it all keeps snow balling/ Please call before you make the drive. I have done no snow dance 1/2 dozen times. Hillmens store number is 218 647 8504 Every one have a Merry Christmas

Dec. 23rd 2016 Merry Christmas

Well sorry that its been a couple days since I have been able to blog. Still spending to much time when I get on facebook. Getting distracted I guess, plus trying to dial it in. It says I’m not getting any hits on our web page so trying to figure that out. Plus allot of plusses here .
Every thing went pretty smooth Wednesday as I prepped for Jess and his buddie, They just stayed in florida one night. Not so good though as they only landed two fish. They did cook them up so at least they got to have a fresh fish dinner. Cody and his crew arrived right on time and I escorted them out to north Dakota .After getting them taken care of is was off to old Minnesota to prep for the hammer as we were going fishing. As I was coming off the lake just at sunset I drove through a slush pocket on hillmen”s highway. I turned around to check it out and drove through another one off the road? Very weird as there was no snow drift, or rough ice? I decided to clean the slush off the road and that turned into a can of worms as the snow slush was so wet it just turned into a big rolling ball of wet snow .I spent 20 minutes cleaning it up so it would freeze down . It work perfect as it was froze down the next morning. The ice had a brownish look to it?
The hammer and I had a great first night fishing and having dinner in old Minnesota. Just as I set down to eat the rattle wheel went off. I’m now one up on her as I did land the only fish of the evening. We called her quits and I checked on the guys as we headed in. Both houses were slow but every body was comfortable. I never heard from pat so I assumed he was a no show. When we pulled in he was sitting in the driveway napping. He had called the house but did not know it was not my cell. He had a rear wheel come off on the way up and he said it went sailing / rolling off the road through the ditch across a frozen field and stopped in the woods in a bunch of thick brush. I got him out to motana and got back home well after 11 when I planned on being in bed by 10.
Jess and Zax headed home early, they said they enjoyed the house and may try and make it back again . North Dakota was also slow so I told them we would be moving the house at 1. Pat had better fishing and landed 4 or 5 with a 34 inch pike around 10 am on a rattle wheel. He said last night that made the trip. He also helped me move north Dakota for a nice discount which was great as it goes soo much quicker with help. I guess I’m out of practice a bit though as when I came out of the hole I lost my momentum and spun the tires. When hat happens it digs a hole in the ice and your done. After unhooking and moving over a foot we were off again. Stopping in last night and they were up to 6 so the move paid off. Another busy day today as Wayne will be up to hold down the fort in old minnesota while the hammer and I go down to the cities to see the kids for Christmas. I also took a few minutes to go see my old customer / friend Kirk. He jumped ship years ago and got hooked up with steve and tyler from bear paw. I always go track him down when he is here to say hi and shake his hand I always know when he is here because he reports on lake state fishings forum. He loves upper red lake and plans on spending a lot more time here when he retires in 16 months on such a grand lake. Its a busy day again here as I need to get a better lay of the lake as if we get this snow they are predicting all the rough ice will be hiding out there. Buddy Hillmen is allowing 3/4 trucks but no diesels. Please drive slow on the lake and do not go beyond the orange cones, there there for a reason Every one have a MERRY CHRISTMAS and do a no snow dance for upper red lake

dec 21rst 2016

Busy Busy Busy! It took two days but all the houses are now on the lake. The few mishaps were to be expected but I guess it is like riding a bike. Dropped the front wheel of the red baron into the ice in 6 inches of water. The thing about it was I all ready had my route. But I wanted to see if it froze where I had cleared some of the snow that had drifted there? Had to have the hammer come down with Blue thunder and drive while I pulled her /him out. After I got Florida out there and checked one lite bulb had vibrated loose and was shattered on the carpet. North Dakota could of maybe came out a little easier but it was sitting in a small depression. Blue thunder never revved over 3500 rpm so no big deal there, Some times you have to give its a little power.
I had a taker on looking for a helper. He is showed up yesterday morning. I Real nice Kid. His name is Jim but he might end up with a nick name if he stays around to long. I put him on probation and told him we would be in training all day. Things went well and we came off the lake just at sunset..” A Tid Bit” He pounded on the fish the night before.
I did have a cancelation for one of our houses. Jan 6th ,7th for old Minnesota 2 double beds.
Today we have Cody and his buddies fishing in north Dakota for 2 nights and Jess and his crew in florida. A good friend Pat may also show up to do a little fishing and give me a helping hand if need be. Nice to have good friends. I will be pre fishing old Minnesota. Its something I do not do to often but Wayne is coming and he does not care. I don’t like fishing In a house before the customers arrive. Some time it does happen but I go out of my way to not let it happen. Funny
I’ll be touching base with Buddy Hillmen and get the scoop on vehicle traffic this morning. Gotta go its time to auger 9 holes and do a final prep before the guys arrive. Itching to get out there on a grand day on a “Grand lake that owes me nothing”

Dec 19th 2016

Wow where to begin. Cold, Cold, Cold! Mother nature reared her head and cost me a little Christmas/ start up money as most of my fishermen and friends bailed at the last minute. I can’t blame them ther’e no way I would be out there 28 below with out transportation and a warm cozyhouse. Looking back though the greek and I suffered the wrath of mother nature a few times over our hunting and fishing when we were younger. Getting older either your wiser or its just to much work. I did have 3 guys show up. Gus, Joe and Dan stayed down at the lake. Younger guys and very nice. They have a buddie that has a hard house out of jrs and since it was not out they did the portable thing. Friday they did not fair well but Joe said they had a Blast and found some fish saturday eve. when it was 20 below to boot. Dan and his group were going to stay on the river lot so I got that all plowed and then they canceled. I think they were able to get there ice castle towed out on the lake. Just as I expected the fishing reports were much better, but that should be expected when there’s well over 2000 fishermen on the lake. I did hook up with ty tish and did a short video with him. If I was computer savvy I could put a link on here. T TISH Outdoors on facebook. Great guy and I get a kick out of his reports. I gave the generators a good work out and got them dialed in a both ran the houses all weekend with a load on them in the elements with no issue. I had to go back to what worked last year a blanket tucked around them, exhaust down wind and The burg system thrown in the shed for now. I went out side at 2:30 am when it was 28 below and fired up blue thunder. I left it running until 730am. The red baron must have 2 weak batteries as she did not start. I guess it should be a he since its the red baron. I put the trickle charger on it and di d not try and start it until late in the afternoon yesterday when he fired right up. So I put 2 batteries are on the Bemidji list.
The good news is all our deluxe houses are full for the weekends of januray . Our 2 man North Carolina is not rented much but will becoming out of the woods today and be the first one on the lake 3 years in a row. Then it will be florida, montana, north Dakota and following up the rear our heaviest house old Minnesota. I’m going to have to pace my self the next few days as my mentor cousin Pete taught me do not be in a hurry, be patient. My back is also bothering me and I’m looking for a helper for the season. They will be fishing a lot in the evening and morning as they have to float around in the houses through out the winter. They do get weekends off though. If any one knows a young buck that would like that give me a call and we can talk. Some of the duties. Driving the red baron ,auguring, holes, cleaning and vacuuming houses. moving the houses etc. knowing how to operate a shovel is huge lol. That’s about it other then still farting around with the new facebook page. Cookie’s on Upper Red Lake I also will be talking to Buddy Hillmen later today. I expect 3/4 tons out by this Wednesday or Thursday but we will see what he has to say. I know he has rentals out and may have some houses still open the weekdays after christmas

I have not been out that far .Buddy Hillmen measured 7 to 8 inches under the snow covered areas and 10 to 11 on clear ice. The huge wind put most of the snow on the shore line but there are areas that are snow covered out there. I expect the outfiiters /guides will start hauling skid houses sunday or monday .
Still working on the new face book page. I guess its a work in progress.
Yesterday after the bug blow for 30 or more house I spent 2 hours helping Buddy Hillmen clean up his landing. A good work out for blue thunder and the red baron. Had a little panic type attack as I was finishing with the v plow/red baron. It felt like I was over revving it and the tranny was slipping? Zoiks. I jumped out but everything looked good other then 5oo pounds of snow was stuck on the plow . I got her on the highway and everything shifted and felt fine so it must of been all that snow.
I then spent the next couple hours doing some work in old Minnesota and running my new generator from last year hooked up to the extra 5 gallon berg system? After 4 hours she stopped running? ERR. It fired right back up and I loosened the cap on the generator. I left it running and when I went down there at 8 pm it again was not running. Err again. Today I’m going to loosen the cap on the berg and again run it all day and night. If it dies again I will try raising the tank above the generator. If that does not work I may take it to acme and throw it through there window? just kidding but frustrating to say the least.
Put a new 32 inch tv in old Minnesota so that’s a nice upgrade. With this cold weather coming tonight and tomorrow the plan is to heat all the houses and make sure everything performs before there on the lake for the season. Were counting down the days and if everything goes as planned they will be coming out of the woods and onto the lake starting Monday morning. Then the real fun will begins as I come and go off this grand lake for the next 100 days or so.
I have heard of a few better fishing report from 2 very reliable friends? The first time I drop a line in, I will be in the comfort of old Minnesota if everything goes as planned.
Last night Westwind the premier resort on the shore of upper red lake had there customer appreciation. It was nice wishing a lot of locals merry Christmas and the drinks and appetizers were awesome. I have a couple friends and fishermen coming up to day brave the elements and do a little scouting for me to boot.


dec 14th 2016

Still trying to find my groove but had a pretty good day yesterday. I’m haunted with being a perfectionist so I fired up the heat in a florida and old Minnesota so I could give them another once over. Today I will do the same for the other 3 houses so there warm for tomorrows agenda. Man did the winds blow yesterday and accu weather is saying gust to 32 today. Zoiks is all I can say and happy the houses are still tuck in the woods at this time. 80 percent if not more of the snow on the lake is now on the shores of upper red lake. I expect there is some massive drifting around the stacked ice out there. sounds like a few fish are being caught but theres no way I would of wanted to be out there yesterday. Still trying to dial in our Cookie’s on upper red lake page so if you have time check it out and feel free to leave a comment so I can see if its working Thanks everyone and have a great day

Dec 13th 2016

I guess its the old adage careful want you wish for. We wanted cold and got -10 this morning. Mother nature reared her ugly side yesterday. The winds picked up out of the west and a few times it was white out conditions out there. From the looks of it winds out of the west and nw for the next 5 days at least. With the way the ice is building I expect I will be getting the houses on the lake with in the next 7 days. I guess I better put the golf clubs away. !0 below this morning and blue thunder clicked for just a sec and fired right up. The red baron also fired right up so those are good things for sure. I’ll be spending the day putting propane on all the houses, Old Minnesota, North Dakota, Florida, Montana and North Carolina. Still have openings in Jan. and Feb. has plenty of weekend dates open. I think I’m ready for all the hard work and Fun, Fun, Fun, on such a grand lake. I Know Wayne can not wait to play some poker in old Minnesota while on the lake and The hammer not only fishes well but is a darn good poker player. I’m looking forward to seeing my repeat customers and meeting new ones.
I also want to run the generators again and fire up number one and two augers.

dec 11th 2016

Just like that and we now have ice here on the shores of upper red lake. I’ve walked out on the lake Friday to look at some ice that had piled up in front of our place. It in real shallow there and I should be able to plow right through it. With the snow that drifted around it was not frozen underneath at all. There is also quite a bit of it in front of Hillmen’s we will have to smash and move that asap as it will catch snow all year and just keep making a mess. Buddy has the road started and has been dragging it since Thursday. He all ready has it staked out quite a ways. I have not talked to him but I will assume wheelers will be aloud out this week. Adam was up yesterday with a few buddies and they only went home with 7 fish. I would guess there were 20 portables out there Saturday. Sounded like there were quite a few fishermen out of jrs. I stopped in westwind yesterday to check out the new bait shop. Wow its huge they sure know how to keep upgrading there resort. I guess that’s what makes them the premier resort here on the shores of upper red lake. Chris the owner of Rodgers also keeps upgrading and have put in a restraunt. I’m pretty sure they will be frying your catch and will be looking forward to having them cook up my catch .
Two of our trucks blue thunder and the red baron are ready to go once we can drive on the lake. Of course there are a few bugs to work out. I started blue thunder and moved it a half dozen times this summer. Fired up every time. 5 below Thursday morning hit the key and click nothing. Bad/dirty connection I would assume. We rewired the plow lights yesterday and I cleaned up the battery connections so we will see if that was the problem……….
I’ll be putting fresh propane’s on all the houses this week and getting them ready to come out of the woods. We have some guys coming for the cabin Friday, Saturday. I also expect Jake to be coming up with in the next ten days . With the cold weather sticking around were looking real good here on the shores of upper red lake.
I also have tried to create another face book page so check it out. cookies on upper red lake. Maybe this time it will work