Monday, December 18, 2017

Ice Fishing 2017

The winter hard water expeditions were fun and productive without a huge amount of impressive fish, but there were a few highlights of note. A three pound brookie was icing on the cake on one trip. 

As our group walked towards the bright orange flag pointed to the sky the spool made several promising turns signaling the bait thief was still present. My brother Tony carefully lifted the trap free and set it off to the side of the hole.  The started to make a run and his hand quickly set the hook starting an epic tug of war.  Finally after a minute of so playing the fish he was able to get the fish headed up the hole and with a quick swing he intended to fling the fish free of the watery hole that was it's retreat.  As he did our stomachs sank as the line came free from the fish and it flopped back into the hole.  Tony tried a frantic grab, but it was futile as the fish was quickly headed down.  Completely dejected he sank back and I leaned forward to peer down the hole.  There to my surprise lay the tired fish in the 6 inches of water below the two feet of ice.  Without thinking I shot my arm into the hole and about the time I had my whole arm under water my fingers felt a different texture and I worked to pin the fish against the ice.  Keeping pressure on the fish I slid him up the side of the hole and flung him through the air to put distance between him and the hole.  After a minute it sunk in that the last ditch effort had actually worked and we went to admire the fish.  All 19 inches and 3 pounds of brookie was absolutely beautiful and stunning.  The colors were truly awe inspiring and it dwarfed the rest of fish we had been fortunate enough to land.  It was the perfect cap to a great day!

Here's hoping that 2018 will be filled with big fish!  I have talked to some guys who have shacks out on a couple of the smaller lakes and the smelt are already hitting, so stay tuned, but please use caution as no fish is worth risking your life on thin ice!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Trapping Season 2016

I am working to get the blog caught up and there are lots of exciting stories on tap, as we had a very busy 2017, so check back often!

Aside from the beaver trapping that we undertook, we also tried our hand at some of the lynx exlusion devices as well and while frustrating, it did give us some excitement and experiences. 

One experience that really stood out was a male fisher that I caught in a foothold trap.  At first glance, I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary and was just pleased to see the black blur bouncing around.  As I got closer though something seemed odd and then I noticed he was adorned with jewelry as I saw two bright shiny tags in his ears.  After a quick check of the regulations that I could indeed harvest the animal I quickly dispatched it and investigated.  After getting the information, I excitedly contacted the biologist for some information.  After some double checking we finally deduced that it had been tagged about a month before by some federal biologists doing some rabies testing work.  That wasn't that shocking, but when we double checked the locations, my jaw hit the floor as it had been tagged almost 80 miles away.  It was 33 days from the day he was tagged to the day I caught him and 76 miles as the crow flies!  Unbelievable movement for him!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Beaver Trapping...A First

Beaver trapping has long been a favorite pastime of mine for quite a while now and even though the fur market is in the tank and there is no money in it, I thought it would be a perfect time to get my son  involved.  We started with the open water season as it is a bit easier for a young fellow and I didn't want to discourage him.  A couple of sets of dry clothes after falling in, after all a four year old has to see how close he can get to the slippery mud that Dad warned him of, and a couple of nights of the traps soaking and we had our first beaver in a run that Drake had personally approved of.  He was so happy he bounced all the way back to the truck.  He made an honest effort to drag it, and while it was a small beaver, those suckers are still heavy, so a team lift was in order to get it the rest of the way out.  I couldn't be happier to be spending quality time with my son passing on a time honored tradition and one that I thoroughly enjoy!  Let's hope he is hooked from here on in!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Bear Trapping 2016

Frustrating is not a strong enough word to describe my bear trapping experiences, but all we have to show for 2016 season is a few nice trail cam pictures.  Maybe 2017 will be the year!  After all 4th times the charm right!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Muskie for Holland

We had a special visitor from Holland who had never caught a muskie.  On his last trip we made an honest effort, but it was not to be.  Fast forward a year and we try again.  The water was a washout and I didn't have much hope, but lo and behold a small muskie was willing to cooperate!  A couple quick pictures and back to grow a little more!  Good work Butch!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Muskie Derby 2016

I haven't been posting frequently, but hopefully we can change that and keep everyone up to date.  Stay tuned, I have lots of stories to get everyone caught up on and fall is right around the corner!  There should be a new story popping up every week for a bit.  I had a little time to put a few posts together.

Muskie Derby is a time of year that evokes almost every emotion there is.  We fished hard and succeeded in putting fish on the board which was our goal.  I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Muskie Mania!!

The rod doubles over and it is that split second where your heart stops…Is it bottom or will you feel the head shake of a fish that hits so hard the drag starts screaming.  Fortunately for me, there have been head shakes a fair number of times this summer.  The summer started right after spawning with some smaller fish in the mid 30 inch range.  Fun to catch, they weren't quite the 40"fish we were attempting to connect with, but they were soon to come!  The best day we had started early one morning as we took off from the launch, we wasted little time on hooking onto our first fish.  I hooked it on a bass lure with no leader and the 40 inch class fish was only one for 30 seconds before severing the line with its' teeth.  Excited, we continued our quest and a few minutes later we were rewarded with a 38" fish which was a beauty and I already considered the day a success.  Sliding the speckle bellied, finned beauty back into the water we readied our rods again.  A short time later I felt the lure stop solid and with a yank I felt the unmistakable head shake of another fish.  As this one came under the boat I could tell we were close to our magic 40" number.  Sure enough after a brief battle we slipped it into the cradle and confirmed the tail was just past the 42" mark!  Ecstatic we took several pictures and measurements in case we decided on a fiberglass reproduction to remember this fish by.  With a nod of approval and a grin on my face, I released my grip on the its' thick tail and the revived fish disappeared into the current with a few flicks of its' tail.  Almost ready to pack it up thinking we couldn't catch more fish we decided to keep fishing anyway.  A few minutes later I shook my head in disbelief as my forearm tensed to control the flexing rod with another fish.  This one, once boated, measured in at 41". Then as we turned to head back I couldn't resist fishing on our way back and yet one more time the rod came to life and I landed a 40" fish.  That was the best day of fishing I personnaly have ever had for muskies, landing 4 muskies in one morning with 3 fish over 40 inches.  We have caught more fish before, but not of that size class.  Brent was a phenomenal net man and as painful as it was for him to watch me catch those, he has had a pretty good run of big fish, it just wasn't his day!