I hate it when a plan falls apart. She can be a fickle lake. Jim, Jimbo and Mike arrived for montana around 2. I was working on the lake and told Jim to come on out about a mile and I would meet them on the main road? It must be the excitement of arriving as 5 minutes later they called to say they were at the orange cones. 3 miles out? I try and meet my customers at hillmens or the landing as for some reason is all they hear when you give them directions is come out on the lake. To funny. I remembered Jim as soon as I saw him just like Josh said I would. The rest of there crew Bob, Geno, Mike, Ken and Josh arrived a bit later and they gave them directions out to the houses. Sitting on 14 1/2 inches of ice the houses were flooding just like we expected after we drilled the holes. It wasn’t long and Mike landed a 32 inch pike on Jims rod. Of course it tangled up half there lines but it was good excitement to start and it seemed we are in a fishy area. With a small walleye and a couple of perch also caught while Marty and I were buttoning up florida and old Minnesota things looked promising. I came off the lake just before dark and in preparing dinner I cut my self washing a couple dishes. Right in between my pinky finger and finger on the webbing. After cleaning it up a trip to baudett was in order as it did need a couple stiches. Marty and I rolled back on to the lake around 11pm to check on the guys and top off the generators. The guys in montana had 5 in the bucket and 200 feet away in North Dakota they had not caught a fish. They were all having fun none the less. I do not mind moving houses when needed but it is very tough to move a house when it has not been fished for at least 24 hours. Saturday with the predicted cold it may not be a option. I do not move houses when its 10 below or colder unless its a emergency. I made a call to Marlo and his other buddy in there wheel houses as I had pointed then to a area to fish. Each house only had one fish so that was not very good news. Lets hope we have some of that action from 1am to 4 am like we had 2 weeks ago. We will get the holes augured in old Minnesota and Florida this morning for Pat and his crew and Barry and his buddy respectively. The generators have been running for the last 24 hours and seem to be fine. Lets hope with the cold temps again we have no problems. I do have a couple of back ups in case but would rather not deal with the problem again but only time will tell.
Gotta love when a plan comes together. Yesterday Marty and I worked our buts off as all 5 houses are now to the north of hillmens highway. $ of the 5 are blocked and banked to the hilt for the up and coming cold snap. If every thing goes as plan it should be a easier day today as we knock out all the hard labor yesterday. 16 holes will be augured making the count around 125 for the season. We have a little cleaning and vacuuming to do this morning and I still get a kick when I’m vacuuming a fish house it never get old. We had a few things come loose on the move a mini blind came down , a light bulb fell from a ceiling fan, a couple pics from the walls and a couple trinkets fell.
The red baron was used to cut a new trail and performed like it did when I first got it . Best 1000.00 we could of spent and was way over due. If you need some type of repair up here Barney does some outstanding work and has a shop in kellier and also has a mobile unit for emergency repairs. You can find his card at North Country Food and Fuel here in waskish.
The area we set up has 14 1/2 inches of ice. The houses will again flood a bit but should not cause us any issues. Still not sure what Budddy Hillmen will be allowing for traffic at this time but should know by tomorrow morning. Jim and his crew will be arriving later today for north Dakota and montana turns out they use to come up here in the crappie days. Josh said I would remember Jim when I see him. Looks like another awesome day working on such a grand lake.
Yesterday was a bit nippy as Marty and I dug all 5 houses out of there spots and got them on the road. We have a very nice system and things went real well considering all the flooding under the house’s. I be leave old Minnesota is still our heaviest house as it had the worst flooding and had only been augured last Thursday. We will scouting out our new area today and again need at least 14 inches of ice. There is something that I can not figure out and has been on my mind. How can reports of 17 inches of ice in one place and under 10 in others? I personally have only measured 15 and that is where my house’s were last week. Weird to say the least? Every year is different and again this year is different then last year and way different then the year before . I spent 2 hours yesterday after we got the houses moved helping clear buddy Hillmens road. Again what a pleasure helping out on such a outstanding road. It’s probably been said before but you could land a 747 on it. 5 miles long and straight as a arrow. Very impressive. Marty and I will be auguring a few test holes today and I will report what we find tomorrow. Call the resort your going out of or check out there facebook pages or web sites for the latest ice conditions and what there allowing out
Where to begin today? I’m feeling excited about getting the houses all pre staged for the big move in the next day or two. With these cold nights were making some ice. A little late but there’s still plenty of the season to go. So far just like every other year I have a hard time sleeping in as I plan for the up and coming day. With the temp at minus 17. Marty and I will be holding off a bit this morning before we hit the lake . All 5 houses will be lined up for the big move today. When I tow the houses I like to go nice and slow and take my time. I’m sure I could go faster but its just so much harder on the houses and vehicle’s.
Yesterday I was off to Bemidji to deal with my generator issues. What a fiasco that was. They do not want to give me a new unit and are blaming the wind and cold as the culprits of my problems last weekend. I tried to explain it has never been a issue before, with them sitting in the boxes, and have seen far worse conditions out there then last weekend. I also explained that I had changed the oil on the older unit Friday and had to add oil by sunday. They said there is no oil leaking but changed the oil because it was milky which is a sign of moisture? There was no snow to speak of in the boxes ? The new unit is under warrantee but only to repair and not replace and there is nothing wrong with it other then it set in the elements last weekend and may be shutting down due to cold air creating moisture in the air filter? Aaron the salemens told me once there oiled and gassed up there policy is no refunds. He did say he will replace it if needed but is a last option. I left both units there so they could run them through out the day and see if they quit.. My plan is to pick them up later today and run them straight for the next 72 hours to see if any problems occur.
I also picked up two new injectors for the red baron and was told this should clear up the red baron from bogging out so I’m very wishful that is the problem as it will not be long before the red baron starts getting her work out for the year. No luck finding a heater core for the prospector so have a little more research to do for that.
I’ll be leaving the area we started the season as it looks like I have ruined another area. Starting Thursday we have a nice little run of rentals into Tuesday
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Well the weekend did not go as well as I would of liked. All the houses did catch some fish, but it was slow for sure.
Andy, Andy, Sam and Elvin were in North Dakota our newest house. They were impressed with the house so that was good. Andy has been coming for quite a few years and has had some outstanding fishing over the years and a couple not so good fishing trip. Andy ask if they could be off by them self if they brought there own generator so I headed west as far as the ice would allow. They only landed 4 fish the first night so after Andy did some scouting a little further west I moved them about a 1/4 mile Saturday. Sam augured the holes so that was 8 less I have to do this year. I’m closing in on a 100 for the season so far. The fishing did not get better and they only landed 2 more keepers.
Florida had Aaron, Dave and Jim. They seemed to enjoy the house and had some action . I think they landed 12 to 14 so not that good.
Montana had Ken, Carl, Sarha and Terry. They were from Iowa and have used a couple different outfits up here over the years. They liked how the house was equipped and plan on coming back next year. They also had some action but again not that great . I think they went home two short of there limit of 12. They did catch 4 pike through out the weekend. Nothing to big but one did manage to tangle up a few lines for some good laughs.
North Carolina was a no show with out even a phone call?
Derik, Dan the man and Scott checked into old Minnesota Saturday. Derik rented old Minnesota last year and was the first house to pound the crappies and landed 12. They also had some action and landed enough for a big fish fry yesterday. When I stopped in last night Scott landed a nice keeper and I hope they had good fishing last night.
I also set up Ken with his brother and buddy in his new wheel house. They landed there 9 the first night so they had the best fishing of my group.
Jake, Tom and Derik were in the cabin 3 nights .Due to the cold weather they found a house to rent Saturday from Scott Wakefield. They spent the night in a sleeper and managed to catch 25. So the fish were biting and again it boils down to location, location, location.
Now for some of the low lights of the weekend. For some reason I’m having issues with the generators this year. The brand new Honda 2000 quit a couple of times over the weekend for no apparent reason. I may of got a lemon and plan on making the 60 mile trip to Bemidji to demand a new one . My older 2000 also acted up and may be worn out and using to much oil. I have changed the oil on my units on a regular basis over the years and run them in a 3 sided box to keep them out of the elements the 2500 hundreds lasted 10 years. The old 2000 is 7 years old. The cold snap also played a little havoc on the fleet. The red baron needed to be jumped, the dodge prospector also needed to be jumped and blew the heater core while warming up.. Blue thunder fired right up but had a horrible bearing noise from the power steering pump so I will have to keep a eye on that. All the houses have some flooding issues and have 3 inches of water under them. I do not expect any problems digging them out but time will tell. The next couple of days will be spent scouting a new area to the north of Buddy Hillmens road. I crack did cross the road yesterday morning about 3 miles out and was over a foot wide. I would expect hillmens highway will be fully open for vehicles by next weekend
This crazy lake? Don, Nate and forgot the other guys name just headed home and they did not do well at all. I guess I landed on a fishless spot. Marty again had great action the night before so I saw no reason to think it could shut down that quick. Being a guide has its draw backs some times. I guess its fishing and thats the way it is. Tom and his crew in the cabin headed out 4 miles on there wheelers and too the north. The fishing was not fast and furious as they came in short spurts though out the day. They did manage to get there 9 plus 4 yes 4 elusive upper red lake crappies. Gotta love that north shore, being mobil also helps alot.
Stopped to check in on Kevin, Jake and Alex in old minnesota and they had just finished a freash walleye dinner. Kevin asked if I wanted to play a game of cribbage 4 handed. We played cut throat and 19. I had never heard of 19, if you get a zero hand you go back 19 pegs. Lets just say Alex and I did not do well and that zero did not help. While sitting there I did miss one fish on a chubby darter on Kevins line. I then had two follows while playing cards. Don and his crew were at westwind so I stopped to check in on Marty before calling it a night. I was only there a few minutes and landed a nice 16 on Marty’s rattle wheelset up. Plain red hook with a small buckshot is all he has been fishing since he arrived tuesday morning. He does not use a vexlar.
Its just about time to hit the lake. Renting a house on wednesday thursday has its drawbacks as now Marty and I have to move florida . Its no big deal as we have a great system and takes us less then a hour, not including prepping the trail and area we move to.
Yesterday was a beautiful day to work on the lake. Brian and his crew were all ready gone when I left so I did not get to say goodbye. I know they did go home with there 12 so that was sweet. Marty had his 3 for the trip home on Friday. Sounds like the best bite has ben 1am tell 4 am. Good there in sleepers to be there for the action. Marty and I moved Florida for Don and his crew that were rolling in around 6 30 pm. We then got Old Minnesota out of its perch and moved to its new location. North Carolina was also put on a new location ready for Friday. Dennis and Shelly in the cabin, with the wilcraft went home skunked. I was way surprised. They never fished much after dark and never landed on them during the day. I still have not been able to hook up with Buddy Hillmen from Hillmens. Marty and I headed out his road to measure some ice thickness a mile out where I had good fishing last year. The first hole we augured north of the main road measured just a tad over 11 inches. Rats as I am looking for 14 for the houses. The second place we augured gave us 12 a little closer to shore. The third was just over 12. I guess that pretty much tells me where I’m not going at this time. Westwind has opened there road to some traffic but you will have to check there web site to see what there allowing at this time. Today Marty and I have to find a spot for North Dakota on at least 14 inches of ice for Andy and his crew. I’m sure he is pumped as he always is. He is a big time musky fishermen and will be interesting to see what his biggest was this last year. He has always liked the charm and lighting of Montana and will see if North Dakota lives up to his approval . I think he is going to like it.
yesterday was a very productive day for Marty and I. We started off getting a few little things done around here before we hit the lake. Brian and his crew had 8 fish laying on the ice and looked like they were sleeping in. Sounds like another night of rattle wheels keeping them up. Are first move was to dig North dakota out of its perch, I had turned the heat off and was not quite sure how it would move as it is our newest and biggest edition. Every thing went well and she sitting on the ice wating to be moved to its next location. I then was able tocheck in with Brian and his crew and just as expected the rattle wheels were the culprits of every one sleeping in. The next move was montana and that went smooth also ,following that north carolina our two man day house/sleeper was pulled out of its perch and is also waiting for its new spot. Marty spent the night in montana so we will see how he did over night as well as Brian and his crew. Old minnesota will be moved today as well as florida. If the weather men are right it should be a beautiful couple days working on the lake with snow flurries and light winds before the big cold snap hits saturday
Its been interesting to see how each resort and outfitter has been able to improvise a solution to the ice conditions this year to get customers and houses onto the lake. I would guess and this is a guess that were average 11 inches of ice. Marty and I will be scouting some new areas and measuring ice thickness at each hole we augur . I have a board with a lip on the bottom that catches the bottom of the ice and has a tape attached to it so its dead on. No guessing. I like to see at least 14 inch for my houses. I have had them on 12 but prefer 14.
Yesterday I did get too say good bye to Rick, Matt and Mike . They had planned to leave early but the rattle wheels kept them up half the night. That’s a good thing to here.
Moving florida went real well and I had her moved, banked and augured in less then a hour. Brian and his crew Patty Josh and Jake rolled in around noon and I was able to escort them out to the house and get them set up. Then it was off to Bemidji to purchase a new addition to the operation. No more lugging them 2500 generators around. Thinking back, wow did they see some harsh condition out there over the last 10 years. Money well spent. I did have a little surprise last night when I went to the station to gas the new 2000 up. For some goofy reason the have a bigger cap and a smaller filler tube, Ridicules, I will get a better look at it today to see if it can be modified a bit . Marty was rolling in late and would be using when he arrived.
Checked On Brian and the crew ,they went to westwind for dinner and were playing some cribbage. They had a few on the ice ,Brian said they started biting around 4. They had also missed some fish so that’s some more good news.
Dennis and his wife were out in the wilcraft and did not fair to well. They did go out quite a ways out and Dennis said the ice was about this thick and held up his hands. I had ask him if he would measure the ice where ever he augured, too funny. Marty and I will be shuffling all the houses today and making our plans for the up and coming weekend. Thanks to all that have came up so far this year. Its been a great start to the season in my book on such a grand lake.
Got a great pic of Cory and his family yesterday with there 13 walleye and one eel pout. They enjoyed them self and Cory said maybe he will come back in march and chase a few crappies with us. Pat and Mike spent the night in North Carolina after fishing outside all day. They did have some action and went home with there 6. Travis and Christy spent one night in montana and had a few in the bucket.. When I stopped last night to check on Rick, Matt and Mike in Minnesota they were doing up some fish and had 3 in the bucket so they were getting more action the third night. They were taking off early this morning so I will never know how they did over night. Rick comes back in a few weeks for a couple more nights. I prepped all the houses yesterday for there next move which looks like will be more of the cookie shuffle at this time with the ice conditions the way they are. I’m in a fishy area for now with a solid 14 inches of ice under each house. I put off moving Florida un tell this morning so will be heading out in a bit to get that done before Brian and his crew arrive. I thought it would be fun to try and keep track of how many holes I punch this year and after today I will be up to 53 after I prep florida. All the houses were blocked up before we augured them as with only 14 inches office they do flood. The water seeps out from underneath the house and slowly freezes making it a little nasty for walking and working around the house. It also absorbs into the banking and there will be some ice chipping going on this morning. I should be able to have florida moved in less then a hour depending on how much chipping there is. I’m hoping its not to much as we have 4 more houses to move this week.
As of now Hillmens road is still closed to vehicle’s. wheelers, side by side and sleds towing wheel houses are allowed. If you saw vehicles running his road this weekend they were accessing the lake some where else then jumping onto buddies road