Some days things do not click as you would expect. Old Minnesota was the last house I had to dig out. I have a system that works pretty good as long as you do not try and take short cuts. I can uu bank which ever side I’m towing from and one side of the house. In a pinch I can hook up and give it a good jerk/tug and she will break loose. The better way is to jack up the end I’m towing from dig out a small opening over half way under both sides and stand a 2×4 on its edge on both sides. For some reason I guess I got lazy and only put a 2×4 under one side. As you lower the house back down it cause a titter todder effect and the weight of the house breaks the other end loose. Then its just back up, hook up the chains and off we go. Old Minnesota is our heaviest house but with this procedure she comes out of the hole pretty easy. When I’m working alone once I pull out I stop and go retrieve the blocks and any other things that may of gotten left under the house. I walk back chip out the blocks and turn around and to my surprise the snow packed around the rack for the propane holding tank has half way torn out of the wall and also ripped the bottom 2x4s off and there are the 100 lb tanks held up off the ice by the lines. I quickly turned off the propane and evaluated the situation. I was able to stack a few 2x4s underneath the tanks to take the pressure off the lines and remove the lines and tanks. It was a little tough lifting them straight up though as they are heavy. I was then able to repair the rack with a good old hammer and re install the tanks. No its not quite over though. As I said it was one of those days. I go to grab my phone and darn if I can not find it? After spending quite a bit of time looking for it in both trucks ,kicking the snow around and I just could not find it. What a crappy feeling when you loose your phone. back to the project at hand and off I went towing old Minnesota to its new area. I would come back for the red baron later in the day. Once I arrived to the new area I had to un hook the house and prep a area with blue thunder instead of the red barons v plow. Then back to retrieve old Minnesota and pull it in to its spot. As I was blocking it up joel came over to see if I needed a hand. I said no I got it but I could use a ride back to the red baron as I had forgotten to grab the auger. I had transferred it into the red baron after I had opened up the edge of Buddy hillmens highway Tuesday. It was caked with snow when I put it in there and I had planned on bringing it in the shop to dry it off . When we arrived joel called my phone but we could not here it ringing and it did not go to voice mail so I new it had to still be somewhere warm. Once back to old Minnesota we again rang my phone, still could not here it. I then walked in to old Minnesota and there it was laying on the bed. What a relief. I prepped the house for auguring the holes and warmed up the augur and luckily I started where two holes go side by side because as I finished the first hole Number two augur kept running at full speed. Trying to handle a raging auger with a 18 inch extension can be a handful. I was able to get it back down on the ice and let it start drilling the second hole so I could turn it off. Wow what a day. I then headed home to pack up our gear for a night of relaxation fishing with the hammer and preparing a nice meal. Cornish game hens, mixed veggies and pasta. We watched a couple movies, lost a few fish that I think may of been elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies? I think I fell a sleep around 10 pm . The rattle wheels went off every couple hours all night long with a couple misses and a couple walleye landed. While making coffee Thursday morning just as the sun was coming up and the hammer landed a elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie. We had to pack it up soon after as I had some business in Bemidji. Tammy and Randy arrived out there yesterday afternoon as well as Duke last evening so I will see how they have done as I haul the rest of the fleet into the area. I’ll need both trucks out there again so I will see if Randy can give me a ride back to shore. Nothing is rented un till Monday but the hammer and I will be having dinner and movies out there every night all weekend long looking for the mother load
Well it was back to work yesterday. Buddy Hillmen’s highway is again wide open 10 miles out after a day of dragging and plowing. I talked to Buddy briefly and he plans on pulling two more of his houses to shore as just like that and the phone calls have all most came to a end. I ‘m never ready to pull the plug when those beautiful elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies are starting to put on there feed bags. The best report I have heard so far is 22 fish landed by a group of 4. With one person landing on the honey hole and reeling in 14 of the 22. The area I just left had a little corner of around 20 acres that produced a few over the last two weeks. Remember a few? A few in fishing lingo is 12 to 16. Not the mother load by any means but just landing one of these very elusive fish you get the feeling you landed a trophy. And that my friends is a good feeling. Looking for them on the other hand can be a tremendous amount of work on such a big body of water. If you get just one there’s a reason he or she was there and as we all know crappies travel in schools? The crappie highway is still out there and still very active in my book. That’s where I’m headed.
Yesterday after plowing for two hours I was off to the area I have ruined, With the wheel houses I set up we managed to ruin at least 100 acres of 48,000. We did manage to get a 7 elusive upper red lake crappies though out the weekend. Plus numerous walleyes, perch and a couple big pike .
Buddy said he thinks some pike have moved in to the area he was working as the elusive upper red lake all of a sudden became very elusive? If anyone can find them again it would be Buddy. I tried to get a hold of Tyler from bear paw as he can also find these very elusive fish. No answer though? Glad it was not a emergency. Yesterday after taking care of the road I was off to start the manual labor of digging out the houses. Florida was only sitting on 19 inches of ice where I had it and the water had oozed out and made quite the mess of things. Montana and North Dakota were sitting on well over two feet of ice? Those three house are now staged for there next destination. I will be heading out to dig out old Minnesota later this morning. I did wet a line a couple times while I was out there yesterday. When I dropped a forage minnow tipped with a minnow a big wide red line came charging up from the depths only to hit the breaks three feet off the bottom and slowly drift back to the bottom. My first thought seeing such a wide line was here we go a elusive upper red lake crappie. I may never know what it was though as it took a couple more looks and then it was gone. I’ll drop a line when I first get out there this morning while I prep old Minnesota for its journey. Jake is pretty excited about getting up here on the 9th of march and is chomping at the bit. The passion he has for fishing is second to none , If he is not fishing he is watching fishing ,reading about fishing, talking about fishing, getting a fish tattoo, pretending he is fishing and in general wishing he was fishing. Tyler also has that passion and that’s all they do if hunt and fish. Buddy Hillmens another one, when the ice leaves the lake he will be heading to Alaska where he is going fishing. Its fishing for a living but its still fishing. Wayne is another. He is a little different though as he has caught so many fish it really does not matter its more about the relaxation it produces for him. Its just tranquil to him, it reminds him of all the time spent fishing with his dad. Now me I love the comradery of fishing, I want to fish with people and catch the biggest? Not the most just the biggest. I find it hard to fish by my self. All though once I get the line wet I’m fine . Taking out the boat by my self can be a chore ,but once I’m out there its very relaxing. Pre fishing for a guided trip ? I have been catching fish on this lake since I was 6 years old puking out the side of the boat with my dad egging me on. I still think he did it on purpose ? The greek was born to fish. If I could paint pictures one that stands out in my mind is a year I talked the greek into leaving his boat on the water un tell the last day possible. We had to pull a boat and a pontoon at the last minute as a big storm was coming with below zero temps to follow. I was standing at the end of the dock with the wind blowing 20 miles a hours out of the north east. With white caps in the back ground and that little boat bouncing off the dock the greek jumps in and was leaned over pulling the rip cord to start it. Giant snow flakes were going down his open collar with his jacket un zipped, waves splashing over the boat and he was right at home . Yes I would love to paint that picture. Where is the greek now? Spending time living on a boat in florida un tell he heads back to Alaska to do what? Time to get to work as I’m on a mission. The hammer wants to fish tonight and if any one can catch a elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie out of old minnesota it is her.
My good friend Wayne decided to stay for the final evening sunday night. After 3 nights of horrible fishing I suggested I move old Minnesota to the corner where we have found a few crappies the last 10 days. He was like for get that its to much work just leave it here. The hammer and I would be joining him for another evning of fishing, card playing, dinner,music and just having fun. With 6 lines down and the hammer working her vexlar a few fish showed off the bottom but it was again terrible fishing. I had a tip up set with a sucker for all most a day and then switched to a huge golden shiner and never had a flag. Around 10 pm it started to snow and the hammer had to work in the morning so we called it a night. I was driving the red baron while kellie was driving her trail blazer. Not a mile in to the trip off the lake and its was a full blown blizzard. With the way my plow lights are aimed and the giant snow flakes It was like driving with your high beams on in a snow storm. I could not see 2 feet in front of me. Keeping to the northern edge of hillmens highway just out my drivers window with the window down we made our way home. I tried crossing over to the southern edge thinking I could see the snow bank better? Nope with the way the snow was drifting at a angle you could not see that edge at all. After a very slow ride I called kellie and told her to come up a long side of me to see if that would help. I then tried with my lights off? Nope no good. We them finished our trip home side by side. The hammer was again a trooper. Its amazing how much comfortable she has become on the lake considering years ago she was all most petrified to even ride on a lake. The 10 mile trip took us close to a hour to get home and I’m not kidding we pulled into the drive way and the snow quit? Monday morning and there was not a stitch of snow on either vechicle. Mean while back in old Minnesota while we were driving away the crazy fish decided they were hungry. Using the golden shiners that the Goose had left us Wayne caught fish after fish for over 3 hours. Just like that he got his final 3 for the season. He also had two line snappers. He said once the snow stopped the wind came out of the nw like a freight train and the fish kept biting. Every time he tried to lay down the rattle wheel would go off. Then he could not sleep as with the high winds the window screen was banging ,the stove pipe was making all sorts of crazy sounds and the wind was that whistling sound . When he did get to sleep around 5am once the wind laid down he got a few hours of sleep. he awoke around 10am when I arrived. About two hours later he realized his fishing pole was gone? To funny. He thinks he remembers a splashing sound and he looked around and fell back a sleep.
We only got a quick 1/2 inch of snow but with them high winds there’s plenty of plowing to do the next couple of days as we re clear Hillmens highway. The one nice thing is the snow was a very light fluffy snow in stead of a warm wet type. I have 4 foot drifts around the houses but its not a huge deal as the snow is very light and moves out of the way pretty easy at this time. The plan today will be to move all the drifts away from the house’s and start getting them out of there nest as Buddy hillmen call them. Then a big move as I start my journey looking for the mother load of the elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies. At this time all the houses are wide open and un rented un tell the 10th of march. I should have them all set and ready to fish by the weekend in traditional crappie grounds. Once old Minnesota is set the hammer and I will be spending quite a bit of time out there the next 10 days as that is my vacation again this year. Yes its a working vacation but still its a vacation
This may be a little long so bear with me. Just like that and the game fish season has came to a end. One big thanks goes out to all my customers again this year. Thank you and I hope to see you again next year. Mother nature was a little kinder to us this year when it came to the weather. 13 years of doing this and every year is different. The biggest snow fall so far was maybe 5 inches. I would guess we have had a total of 15 inches for the season so far. The first year I was up here and there was no snow on the lake most of the season. Two years ago and it seemed like it was 20 below every day with 3 feet of snow.
Getting all the houses ready for the final weekend was a little hectic as Rick and Yobee pulled out Friday morning . They fished Montana for two days and did fairly well. Thursday I checked Casey and his crew into North Dakota and Tim and Bradon in to Florida. Wayne also rolled in for old Minnesota late Thursday night. Friday morning after saying good bye to Rick and Bradon Wayne detailed Montana for me while I prepped her for a short move. Chris would be arriving later in the day. Chris won a free night I gave away on Minnesota Outdoorsman MNO. They have a winter and summer fishing contest every year . Its free to sign up as long as you post 10 times in a certain amount of time. I will be signing up for there summer contest as last year I tied for biggest fish and won 40 dollars worth of cabellas gift cards. I also had a few wheel houses coming out to the area I was fishing. My hope was to find a few more elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies. The area had all ready produced a few in the last 10 days. I set up Goose, Bryce and Gary to the east of us right in line with the few that had been caught. Old Minnesota and North Dakota were also in line while florida and montana were to the south west a bit. Chuck and Kathy set up real close to where they had good fishing last weekend. Preston with his 30 foot ice castle set up just to the west of where florida had such good fishing last sunday and Monday. 3 wheel house set up just west of where we got 2 elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies last sunday and they were the big winners landing five for the weekend. Lonnie was just south of them and they also had a group of 3 wheel houses and landed 2. For some crazy reason that little area has produced every single one with none coming south or north 50 yards away.
Florida had good fishing all three days. They were fishing very small jigs tipped with fatheads a inch off the bottom. Montana with Paul, Chris, Danial and Heather just to the west of florida had so so fishing but they were having a good time. North Dakota caught walleyes the whole weekend While the hammer, Wayne and I struggled to land a fish all weekend. Wayne did have a nice run Friday afternoon when he landed a 22 and two 16s in a matter of 5 minutes.
Wayne loves small planes and Jrs corner was having there second annual fly in so we drove down there Saturday to check it out. I never new Wayne new so much about small planes but it turns out he was full of knowledge. I on the other hand. I know nothing about them. I would highly recommend checking it out next year as all those different colored planes sitting on the white back ground of the lake were quite the sight. Looking in them up close I was surprised how small the seating is. It was also cool to watch them land one after the other and taxi into position. I wished we would of stayed longer to watch then take off and I hope next year we can do that. Very cool.
Goose, Gary and Bryce did not do that well where they were at .Goose’s house did the best of the 3. I did see where Bryce landed a elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie to the area they moved to sunday for there last night on the lake.
I set Randy, Tammy and Randy’s dad up where we landed the 16 eluisive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies weeks ago Randy’s dad Rich did land one late Friday afternoon but that was it. That area is also a little fishy and I think Randy said they ended up catching 14 walleyes for the weekend. Randy said he will be back for our crappie get together on the 11th of march. As far as I know at this time Buddy Hillmens Highway will be open and he will have a few rentals out there as will I. Tyler at bear paw is also chasing the elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies this year and has some type of guiding deal going on. If you want to increase your odds of finding a few you could also give him a call. Carson, Franks nephew found 14 this past weekend. I also talked to a wheel house that landed 10. Casey on his hunt landed a total of 7 for the weekend. I will be moving all the houses this week a little closer to shore as I’m out over 9 miles at this time. I will be working on the lake every day ,but there will be quite a bit of r and r in old minnesota as its has been a long season
Crazy Fish is all I can say. When I arrived out to Florida the boys had kept 7 nice keepers over night. I had to ask Dave in Florida a favor? If he would give me a ride to shore to get the red baron. It was snowing like a banshee. I did not see that coming. Accu weather said flurries. Heading in and it was coming down so hard you could not even see the southern berm? Then just like that heading back out and the snow tapered off with a cool north breeze. I dropped a line in old Minnesota while I made my plan and darn if I did not get a nice keeper on a new pinkish rattling flyer at 10 30 am. The hammers dinner. Digging out Montana and north Dakota went real well and are now staged for the next move. After the hammer and I had dinner in old Minnesota last night I will be moving old Minnesota today. I wanted to see if the fishing could or would get better? We were set up at the bewitching hour and had a nice run of keeper perch landing 5 as the sun went down. Then one small scuffitt walleye and not another bite. The hammer did mark a couple fish but would not bite? We headed in around 8pm. A quick stop at Florida and the guys hammered the fish just after dark. They even landed two pike a 30 and 40 after the sun set. A wheel house set up to the south west of us and I heard they had 5 before dark. A very fishy area to end the game fish season. How sweet is that. I was hoping to see at least a couple more elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies in the area so I could fine tune where they may be hiding. Kimmy Joy and Tim also rolled in with there wheel house around 7pm and I set them up right in line where the two elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies were caught sunday morning and sunday evening. So far we have only caught 16 for the season out of the houses and every single one has been at the crack of dawn or just after sunset? At this time I must have 3 square miles of un fished area to try and find them. The red baron will be getting a good workout as I plow every which way I want? I guess I will be the rouge plower. Tyler was out there yesterday looking for a few fish and said he augured 140 holes and only found one elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie. He also said I was real close to where we pounded them years ago when I introduced him to Spence as his gps said Spence and cookie. I remember the first time I met him and his dad. Spencer was playing high school hockey . Now he is out of collage and a full time guide all over the Midwest. Tyler and him have become very good friends.
I have a couple wheel houses coming up this weekend and will be plowing them a few trails looking for the mother load. Casey in North Dakota is going to pound the ice looking for the elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie and be using the house as a home base? This is not the first time I have heard this and once they check in its like you know its kinda cold out and were awful comfortable right here so we will see. Maybe if I pay them as scouts? I’m going to set up Tammy and Randy where we got the 14 elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies earlier this year. There is a wheel house in the area and he came back after taking his grandson home. I did talk to him and he is having action with quite a few small scuffit walleyes? Again a very fishy area. Florida had such good fishing I would like to leave it where its at but I can not have it set up the way I like if its not on fresh ice so it will be moved today once the boys leave. Rick King is coming up today and I’m still not sure what house I want him in. Even though it will just be him I will more then likely have to move it Friday morning . I can tell him not to fish it hard but that does not make a whole lot of sense lol. I want all the houses on fresh ice for the final game fish season so that will be the plan.
All the house will be moved after sunday even though none are rented un tell our crappie get together on the 11th and 12th of march. I will be vacationing out there looking for the mother load enjoying all the comforts of home in our favorite house old Minnesota. Any fishermen out there looking for a little more fishing time give me a shout. Who knows,last year we had some magical moments after the game fish season ended. I would love to see that happen again
The hammer, the trooper. Yesterday morning needing the red baron and blue thunder on the lake I recruited the sweet hart to drive blue thunder out. She could relax in old Minnesota and watch a movie and do a little fishing while I moved Florida for Dave and his crew arriving later in the day. Dave rolled In around 2 and I checked them in and we headed off the lake as we had to be in Bemidji before 4 30. I forgot to hit the toggle switch for the heat on blue thunder and the hammer got a little cold driving in. The same thing happened to Andrew earlier this year when I had him bring blue thunder out on the ice. OOPS! I have to remember that when I let some one drive her. We arrived home fairly late and I was not able to go out and Check on Dave . I did shoot him a text and he said 2 perch and 2 scuffit walleyes. I just do not get it. Chuck and Kathy got there limit sunday a couple hours after dark and headed home. I moved florida just a bit beyond where randy did well friday and Saturday, and Chuck and Kathy did well the first night and the third night. Just like that and the area is fished out? Oh well the hammer did mark a couple of fish while I was working but did not land anything. Old minnesota had good fishing the first night and slower the second with fishing it during the day the third time not producing anything. Will see how Dave and the boys did this morning and maybe I will have to move even further with the houses for the up and coming final weekend of game fish. If the weather man is right it should be a glorious day on such a grand lake that as the old timer Dave said” It owes me nothing! nothing! The plans are to take my time and dig all 3 houses out of there icy tombs and stage them for the next big move. Florida will have to be moved again after Dave leaves tomorrow. Montana will be set up today then be moved after Rick leaves Friday morning. The hammer and I will be fishing old Minnesota off and on all week and will be moved on fresh ice before Friday, but I want to see what happens if its fished a couple more nights on the same spot. All them fish are becoming very elusive?
The old adage time flies by when your having fun could not be any truer. Just 7 days of the game fish season left. Wow where did it go? Man did the fishing flip flop from Friday to Saturday. North Dakota only landed the one 19 incher when I checked on them saturday morning. old Minnesota and florida had there keepers. Mike, Neil and Kayla had 7 .Mikes plan was to eat them all so they could try for a limit to take home. Randy and his crew in there wheel house did really well. It sounds like Randy is going to come up this summer and let me take him and his wife fishing in” Imagine That” our 20 foot tyee. The greek named the boat . Grandma use to say uuu EEEmadgen dat in that strong Swedish accent.
Lee and his crew in there wheel house did not do that great and moved down a little closer to where we were. They only had a little better fishing Saturday in to the evening . I plowed a spot for Matt, Jeromy and Matts dad and they did not do well at all Saturday night? Randy just 100 yards away did well all day into the evening. That’s twice this year that Randy as done real well and I’m thinking he may be one of them blessed fishermen that just has a nact for catching fish. I set up Chuck and Kathy to the east of us and they had there 6 by 8;30 pm and went to bed. Chucks son came up with his portable Saturday and they only scratched out 5 more fish un tell the called it a day. Chuck and Kathy got 2 yesterday morning and I will see how they did last night later today. That will be the third night on the same spot as he did not want to do a cookie shuffle and move 25 yards on to fresh ice. Lonnie and family with there wheel house went to where we had gotten a total of 14 elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies earlier in the year. When I talked to him they were moving as they had only landed two walleyes. I also talked to another guy that was fishing in the same area and he said they pounded the fish Friday but Saturday was not very good, No elusive upper red lake crappies. I did ask him if he caught any small walleye scufitts and he said they sure did? Adam landed on 5 keepers Friday night into Saturday morning and packed up to move out by us where they did real well just east of us with Justin landing a elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie sunday morning. Lonnie called sunday morning to say where they moved to was not that good and they only landed two keepers. He did say that quite a few elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies were caught in the area with a portable landing 15 or so? Turns out they new some one in a rental and fished by them so there families could hang out. Tammy, Tanner, Taylor and Randy tried in very shallow as I had a hunch a few weeks ago that that’s where the bigger fish are hanging out. They had action all weekend missing quite a few fish. Randy said there was no night bite at all. I expected that’s when it would of been the best. Stupid fish. They did take home 7 with 4 over 17. I would love to have all my houses in that area but its so close to shore fishermen think there getting ripped off when the road goes out 10 miles. If the fishing is good then you look like the hero but if its not there like why are all those houses out there? That happen earlier this year when I was out a mile and half and we had poor fishing.
Ken, Tony boy, Chris and Leah also moved down by us to the north Friday. They had horrible fishing and moved to the other side of old Minnesota where they only landed 5 more fish Saturday. Mike, Neil and Kayla ate all 7 of there fish and went home with zero as they could not buy a fish Saturday night. Crazy. Dan and Adrea had good fishing all weekend in florida 200 feet away. Tony Boy helped me moved North Dakota over towards us for Mike and his crew and they were a 100 yards from Randy’s crew doing well and they hardly caught any thing. All though Mike did catch something lol. All and all not to bad of a weekend, spent some quality time with family, had a ton of fun and didn’t have to work to hard. Today its back to work as the hammer is going to drive the red baron out so I can have both trucks to move florida for Dave and his crew arriving later today. I did have four locals from blackduck fish florida yesterday into the evening where it was a little slow. Forth night on the same spot. Ron did land a elusive yet still catchable 15 inch upper red lake crappie his biggest ever and his first walleye through the ice. I was really hoping to see a few more elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies as I have shifted gears and am on the hunt for the mother load, with walleyes now the secondary fish. I have a huge area to shift all the houses to for the up and coming week. With two caught the mother load could be just a few 100 yards away. Right now my plans are to hunt them down and spend some quality time in old minneosta with the hammer. Jake and his crew will be up march 10th 11th as well as Don and his crew. They will all be bringing portables and enjoying there evenings relaxing in the house’s and who knows maybe even catching a few elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies out of the houses. It happened last year, there should be no reason we cant doing it again. I assume Buddy Hillmen will also have some houses available the next few weeks. The stores number is 218 647 8504. I’m never ready for the season to end as its so much fun and I so much enjoy working out there. As most of the resorts start pulling house off to the east,, there I am every year? towing houses to the northwest.
Another fun weekend is about to begin. With the hammers sister and two brothers coming up I will be prepping all the house’s for the weekend. Dan plays the guitar and sings will be entertaining us with some good old country music. I started a new road to the north and piled into some sheets of broken refrozen ice. I would assume its the table size sheets of ice Jon captured on his camera this last dec as it broke up and refroze. If it does not get smoother its going to be a little tougher banking the houses and I may have to use the red baron instead of blue thunder for banking. I like to bank the snow 2 to 3 feet high around the houses to keep any drafts from entering the houses. Its quite a lot more work but that’s what I like . Marty is home in the cites trying to find a new car for his wife after are car- bu- cue as wayne coined it. I guess you have to laugh and at least no one got hurt. I set up Chris and ken next to florida and the first 24 hours they only landed 5 walleyes . I talked to Ken last night and they were now over twenty fish so it has picked up a bit but they are biting very lite. a small bare hook and split shot on a dead stick has been about the only thing that has been working. I also had Gary and his wife Kay fishing in florida on the same spot for the 5th day in a row? While I was visiting during the bewitching hour Kay landed one nice keeper, missed two on the rattle wheel and Gary missed one on his bobber set up with his duck shaped jig stick. Kay had a bobber on the size of a quarter and I watched it go down two inches and it was still a swing and a miss as it seems they are just chomping down on the tail of the minnow. I mentioned to bear paw last week that I think the bigger fish are in close to shore and yesterday I had to rub my eyes as there’s 3 of his biggest houses out in front of my place and his, fishing the break line in 8 feet of water? Should be a great evening bite and early morning. Not sure about the day bite but it sure can not be any worse then 8 miles out. Wayne fished old Minnesota hard and had great action two nights in a row around midnight. Again the bite was extremely lite and if you jigged the minnow at all they were gone like a rocket. He did get to go home with three quality fish. We had a hoot as he was here 5 days and is one of my best friends. The hammer raked in a bundle of ones playing poker and yesterday morning Wayne and I had a couple great games of texas hold em. Fun Fun Fun. I was also able to put him to work as he helped detail the houses. He even washed the picture windows. We also added a couple more trinkets to the walls of old Minnesota and montana. Jeff is bringing up a new furnace for montana as after 10 solid years the Orbis went kapoot. A brand new empire 35000 btu . I think its a little over board but that’s what the gas man recommended for the square footage. Its going take up a little floor space and a shelf will have to be moved. Florida and old Minnesota will also be getting up graded in the near future. Lee will be arriving with two young guys in his wheel house and I will be plowing him a spot well off the beaten path into a completely un fished area. Randy and Tammy are also coming up. Randy talked about setting up close to shore but with the wife’s family coming up I hope they set up out by us so they can enjoy the music and company of the hammers family. My old helper and muscle Tony boy is also coming up with his wife and will be bunking with Ken. It will be good to see him as its been a while. I expect shell chick will be making French dips as she does every year and it is one of my favorite sandwiches. I also hope to do a little tip up fishing with Jeff as we target a few big pike. All the houses will be set up on fresh ice and no matter how they do I will not be moving any houses if the fishing is not good. Since north Carolina is not rented I’m going to set it up in a completely different area miles away from the other houses and see what happens there. I also have to remember to put on the extension on my augur as I measured 29 inches of ice where were at and with the houses blocked up I just made it through last time I augured. Moving onto that broken ice and it could be a lot thicker. Should be a great time this weekend and such a grand lake.
The elusive yet still catchable upper red lake walleye? Yes you read that right.The walleye fishing this year has not been any thing like I expected. I’ve pretty much done what I have done every year but for some reason this year the bite has been much tougher. No matter how bad the bite is here on upper red lake some one is always hammering them? Makes you wonder if a some of them reports are fiction? How many times I have heard we caught 50 we caught a 100 in two days. I have been doing this for 13 years, I pretty much move my house’s at least once or even twice a week all year long. Lets just say once a week. 5 houses 10 weeks. That’s 50 spots and that’s way on the low side. 13 years that’s 650 spots if I’m doing the math right. Andy and Andy had a weekend where they figured they caught 75 fish. There’s been some 50 fish weekends for sure. 100 fish in two nights on the same spot I don’t think has ever happened in one of our houses since the crappie days. As my good buddy Wayne always says if we caught them all there would not be any left. Mother nature always steps in, be it summer, winter, spring or fall. Its fishing not catching. If you think about it were catching a fish out of a 8 inch hole on how many acres. Its amazing we even catch one fish. Now for a report. Jason and his wife were in florida Sunday, Monday on a new spot . They only caught a couple fish the first day. They did eat a couple for dinner . The second night the rattle wheels went crazy around midnight and Jason got up and landed numerous fish. Wayne, Kellie the hammer and I fished old Minnesota and only caught a few fish, better then the old spot but not what I expected. The second night and the rattles wheels kept Wayne awake from midnight tell 1 30 am in old Minnesota. Last night we had dinner out there and prime time, the bewitching hour we never landed a fish? Montana on a new spot had Jim and Dave. They had limited action ,I moved then to florida yesterday and they had much better fishing and that would of been the third night on the same spot? North Dakota had Luke, Kevin, Tina and Kristy. They caught fish with a couple bigger pike on tip ups plus one of the girls landed a 36 inch pike on her rod and reel. Yesterday I spent part of the day finishing up plowing hillmens highway. I said goodbye to Kevin and his crew and Jason and his wife. I spent part of the day just hanging out with wayne and not moving any thing. I got a little rest and may of found my second wind. Today its back to the grind as I plan on again having all 5 houses on fresh ice. Shell chick and Jeff roll in tomorrow for old Minnesota and Dan and Andrea are in florida. Mike and Neil are in Montana Friday and Mike and his crew are in north Dakota. North Carolina is open but I will still be moving that house as it was fished two day last weekend. I did set up a wheel house in the area where Goose was and they caught a few with a 36 inch pike on a rod and reel at 10 o’clock pm. Crazy pike. Rodger and Rich showed up Monday night and have only caught one walleye and one pike in there personal hard house. Oh well its called fishing not catching. I will attempt to catch a few elusive yet still catchable walleyes starting tomorrow
Some highlights and some not so highlights of the weekend. First thing I’m looking for my second wind. Thursday I was out on the lake working by my self. I hit a wall about 4pm and wanted to call it a night but knowing we had some cold weather coming Friday morning I kept grinding and got north Dakota moved , blocked, banked before the sun went down. Friday morning would just leave florida to be moved before Leroy and the gangs arrival. Marty rolled back in to town with is wife and father around 11am and would help me prep florida after he got his wife Shelly and dad Les all set up. While we were moving florida Goose called and said swing over for a French dip. One of my favorite sandwiches. I told them I would be over shortly. Not only did they have a French dip but Mellisa, Bryces wife had a fresh piece of apple pie for me and man was that delicious. Thanks guys as that hit the spot. I then gave a couple guys a quick tug as they had gotten stuck with there wheel house. By then Marty had Florida buttoned up and all the houses were ready for the weekend. I forgot to mention with the temps and wind it was absolutely brutal out there and I had to where a face mask as the wind chill had to be -30.
The fishing reports that evening were not to good with only a few fish caught. A lot of fish marked but they refused to bite. Boar rolled in around 9pm and I v plowed him a spot north east of the area I was fishing then a couple guys waved me down and wanted me to cut them a trail to there house as there buddy showed up with a van. I cut them a trail and they offered me a 20. They scraped another 20 together and commented the casino took a chunk of there change on the way up. I never did see how they did as they were just south west of us. Goose and his crew did pretty good and went for a fish fry Saturday afternoon. Boar had 4 Saturday morning as well as north Dakota. Florida had only 3. Mike and his wife in north Carolina did the best of the houses and landed one small but still catchable elusive upper red lake crappie and they did go home with there nine. Old Minnesota and montana just plain stunk. Bradly and the crew in North Dakota did land a 36 inch pike and a 20 inch walleye on a sucker minnow and tip up. They also managed to catch enough fish for 6 to go to west winds for a fish fry saturday eve. Heading off the lake Saturday eve around midnight and again my new generator was not running. I think I’m going to take it to acme this week and throw it through there picture window. A trip to shore to get our back up which is so heavy I had to have wayne in old Minnesota come help me. I get back out there and even though I had it running a month ago to get familiar with it we get it unloaded and it refuses to start. Ok plan B fire up the new one again and this time it fires right up and again runs all night with no issues? Sunday morning and Marty wife’s car will not start. We set it up with a torpedo and blankets to warm the engine and unplug the power to montana as the torpedo needs power to run the blower. Marty and I are over moving Florida and North Dakota to a new area as I have not ruined but destroyed the area were fishing. Next thing you know the front clip of Shelly’s car is on fire. The generator had ran out of gas and with out the blower running on the torpedo she got hot and burst in to flames . Wayne ran over and with the fire extinguisher from Montana and was able to put it out. Her car needs to be towed off the lake this morning.
It was a very tough weekend to say the least. I do believe all things happen for a reason, I’m just not sure why sometimes. I will be heading out shortly to retrieve shell’s car and then have old Minnesota and montana will have to be moved, plus Hillmens Highway has 5 inches of powdered snow to remove. Just another busy day on such a grand lake