***HLO 2010 Stories***
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone!
Most of the weekend was spent with family and friends celebrating the Holidays, but we found time like always to sneak out onto the ice.
We spread out on Pokegama a couple different nights in hopes of a few eye balls. The bite continued to be on the slower side with some of us icing one or 2 eaters and the others not buying a bite. The fish showed themselves at prime time, but showed no enthusiasm of being hungry and biting. This has been the case most of the year. Look for the Pokegama bite to taper down even more as we push into January, but look for the pike and panfish action to heat up all over the lake.
For more consistent walleye action and good numbers look to Winni, Red, and Lake of the Woods. These lakes have been good all year and will continued to pump out fish for the remainder of the year. Scottie and Colt will be up at L.O.W all week so I will give you a report later in the week.
Panfish action around the Grand Rapids area has been good to fair. The better lakes and higher quality fish are coming from those smaller less accessible lakes. Minnesota has plenty of these lakes so get out and explore them....
Congratulations to Dan and Holly on their engagement!
Friday consisted of all out ice fishing on Pokegama Lake. Ben Olson and I targeted walleyes at day break with absolutely no luck. Being close to one of my panfish spots, we decided to pick up, relocate, and change from walleye gear to the noodle poles.
We drilled holes along the break and used the vexilar to locate some fish. We set up the house in 20 ft right on top of where we had seen a congregation of fish. Fishing started off just as slow as it had early that morning. The fish had disappeared.
We sat and sat and fishing picked up as the morning grew and especially once the clock hit noon. Before we knew it, we had a mess of nice bluegills ranging from 8 to 10 inches, and also had a hog dogfish come swim up Ben's hole to either take a breath, laugh at Ben, or try to steal our gills. Who knows, but it was hilarious. The patience in the shallows and the noodle poles paid off as the gills were definitely on the very light bite.
We took a few pics and decided to head across the lake to fish eye balls for the evening. They had beat us that morning, but we were determined to get them that night.
Mama, Topper, and Topper's niece, Brittney, joined us that evening for eye action. We all spread out on a small hump in the middle of the lake anywhere from 20 to 35 ft. Fishing was again really slow with the five of us only icing 4 walleyes.
Saturday morning Topps, Brittney, and I jumped in the spear house. Our goal was to try to get Brittney to spear her first fish. We had no idea what the morning was to bring.
The first fish gently came sliding in from underneath Brittney and I. It took a casual swipe at the sucker and disappeared. It happened a little too fast for Topps to get Brittney lined up for the kill. It was a good fish probably around that 33 inch mark. Our second fish came exploding in from nowhere missing the sucker minnow. It was gone as quick as it came. It looked to be bigger than the first fish. The third fish flashed into the hole T- boning the sucker minnow. Topps tried to pull it back into the hole to spear, but it broke the decoy line like it was 2 pound mono.
We all looked at each other in suspense. That was the biggest fish of the morning and it got a free lunch. It was so big and so fast there was nothing we could have done to stop it. Brittney was seeing spearing first hand, but for a first timer this action was way too fast to get a spear in a fish. Topps even struggled to get a shot at the 3 fish.
We were lucky Topps picked up another sucker minnow that morning. He tied that one on and it wasn't long and the 4th fish torpedoed in also missing the sucker. There was no messing around. These pike wanted to eat.
There was a little lull before the 5th fish came screaming in, again from almost nowhere, missed the decoy, but turned around at the corner of the hole as Topps' spear met it head on. It was an unreal shot and an absolutely fat pike. Brittney was amazed at what had just taken place.
The pike measured 37 inches long. There was no doubt in our minds that one of the fish prior had to be 40 inches. What an action packed day. The fish were hungry.
We decided to head in as we were also hungry, had some errands to run, and chores to take care of, before the evening eye bite out on Pokegama.
I headed to my parents house to remove the snow from the garage and shed roofs. It turned out to be a catastrophe. I fell through a weathered skylight on the garage and plummeted 15 ft onto concrete, breaking my arm, bruising a few ribs, and battering a leg. Thank God cause it could of been a lot worse. Its my left arm so I should be able to cut my cast a little and still be able to reel those hogs up the hole.
Mama and Topps made it out that night on Pokegama and iced 3 eyes all 16 to 18 inches. They also caught 3 eyes on Sunday night in Tioga Bay along with a 12 inch crappie.
Ice conditions are good on most of the lakes even the larger lakes. Ice thickness ranges from 8 to 13 inches. Its not time to drive vehicles, though. Please use sleds or wheelers....
Walleye fishing is consistent on most lakes (Pokegs, Sugar, Trout, Wabana, etc) for that usual half hour low light bite in the morning and evening. If you are looking for all day fishing action look to your small panfish lakes and don't forget to bring your Snagger Rigs on the end of a tip-up because a Hog awaits under every piece of ice...
written by BroCk
A broken wheel bearing on Brock's truck and the 4 wheel drive malfunctioning on Godfrey's 4 wheeler Friday morning were not good starts to the weekend. A massive cold front and strong winds did not seem like they would help matters out either. It seemed as the weekend's goals were a little out of range for the Crew.
The Crew planned to put Godfrey's and Topper's spear houses out, test the houses out for a period of time, slam on some crappies during the day, fish walleyes in the evening, and chase a few last whitetails around with the last weekend of Muzz season upon them. It was a lot to ask for as wind chills dipped into the -30s.
Godfrey struggled to pull his spear house out on Friday morning with help from his brother Kevin and girlfriend. They pulled the house about a half mile to his spot, while the 4 wheeler remained sitting on the trailer. They sat a while that afternoon, but no pike crossed their paths.
Friday afternoon Brock and Godfrey headed out on Pokegama for the half hour evening bite. They decided to ruff it for the short bite and sit on the ice. They iced 5 walleyes that evening with the largest being about 20 inches.
Topper and his brother put his spear house out late Friday night in the dark. They used Topper's exact coordinates from the year before, checked depth, and cut the hole for the morning spear.
Saturday brought very strong winds and cold temps as Topper, Brock, and Scottie stepped in the spear house. Five pike were seen in a couple hours, including a 30 plus inch that was admired a few different times. No holes were poked in it in hopes a bigger one might come in later. Scottie speared his first fish ever, about a 27 inch just before they left. He was so pumped up he almost collapsed and fell into the spear hole.
The Godfrey's and Mama were also spearing on Saturday morning. They did not see any pike between the two houses, but consistent walleye and bass action kept them on point.
Saturday evening found most of the Crew huddled up next to their heaters on Pokegama waiting for that short window of walleye opportunity. Godfrey was sitting alone and pulled 8 walleyes all with no flasher. His Marcum just quit working right at prime time. Scottie and Brock sat together and Scottie caught an eater and a hog obese 27in. It was the first pic fish of hard ice. Topper and Jeremy seen a ton of fish on their flashers, but couldn't get any to eat.
Mama chased deer on Saturday and Sunday evening with very little success. What a dedicated individual. For as much time Mama has put into the woods year and the low number of deer he has seen, he still goes out and gives er..
Colt made it out to a few smaller lakes this weekend and as usual, hammered on some panfish. The fish were not huge, but numbers were easy to come by.
For as COLD as the weather blew, things worked out just fine for the Crew this weekend, some success was found once again, time together was enjoyed, and it all proved better than work....
writTen by Brock
I remained in North Dakota for the weekend. My plan was to put on the whites, grab my bow, and chase those hog whitetails once again. My luck has not necessarily been there this archery season in ND so I figured I was finally due for a break or a splatter of good luck.
That luck didn't exactly turn around for me when I glanced at the weather forecast on Friday morning and they called for snow and temps right around zero for the whole weekend. That is difficult conditions and bone shattering temperatures especially for bow hunting I thought.
I left work early on Friday anyway and went to a spot I knew had a few good bucks before rifle season had begun. I figured I would take a descent 8 pointer if it walked by as season was on the down slope and ice was evident on the lakes back in MN. As I walked down the drifted section line, the goal of a descent 8 pointer turned into a Hog real quick. The mile long walk took me a little over an hour. The road had drifts well over my waist.
My luck didn't improve especially once 4:50pm hit and one the largest bucks of my life, a 12 pt 140in, starred me down from 40 yards. The doe it was trailing had staked a huge billboard 50 yards in front of my blind that read: "A guy with a bow and arrow awaits big bucks 50 yards from here". Obviously, he could read, cause the wind was perfect and my snow camo made me invisible.
No one believes me about all these hog bucks I see out here in ND so I will leave the rest of the story out. I am like the 'Boy Who Cried Wolf'. No one will believe me until I actually kill one or someone experiences it for themselves(hint hint- I have lots of spots out here).
Well, there was still lots of success amongst the Crew in MN this weekend. Godfrey shot a doe with my muzzleloader in MN on Friday morning. He was hunting with Craig. Craig did not see a deer on stand once again. Craig, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING"? Craig has still not seen a deer with a gun in his hand all year.....
Saturday was an enormous success for the Crew as CRAIG finally shot a doe with his muzzleloader. Believe it or not, he did. Craig spilled almost 100 hours of time into the woods this year without seeing a deer, but for some reason Saturday found his hands bloody. Way to put meat on the table Craig!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Craig and Topper took their first steps on hard water with spears in hand on Sunday morning. An hour into their hunt, a 40in GATOR lay outside Craig's darkhouse. Craig was so happy with the previous day's deer kill he let Topper spear the hog pike. Not a bad first day on hard water Boys.
Colt also got out on hard water and put some nice slab crappies on the ice this weekend. His report was fishing was not fast and furious, but the quality of fish were nice....
I'm ready for hard water this coming weekend.
Be safe and test the ice before going....
written by Brock
Thanksgiving Day brought snow, full bellies, and family fun. The weekend brought Muzzle-loader opener. For the Crew this meant Godfrey and Mama could maybe follow up and finally get their bucks.
For me it meant, since I was home, I wanted to catch some fish. Well Saturday I woke up early and found no one to risk their life with me for a few crappies. I did some chores around the parents house and headed into town. About half way to town, I seen Dan Neary heading South on 169. Remember him??? I called Dan and told him to grab a fishing pole, vexilar, and his Muzz and meet me at my house.
The chisel broke through 3 inches of ice in 2 small strokes. We knew we were crazy, but we dropped our lines anyways. It was already noon and usually the bite on this little lake would be over at this time. Well, the fish showed themselves on the vexilar, but they definitely told us the main bite was over. We stayed for an hour and a half and caught 6 descent crappies. Not too bad. It got me pumped for the upcoming season.
Godfrey and his uncle did some still hunting on Saturday. Early that morning, Godfrey kicked a big buck out of his bed and didn't get a shot. Knowing where his uncle was in relation to him and the buck, he started down the ridge in hopes the buck would offer his uncle a shot. The big buck did offer him a shot, but he missed. That is hunting!!!!!!!
Craig FINALLY seen a deer on Sunday. Unfortunately, he didn't get a shot...........
Topper worked slave shifts at the plant all weekend.
The Crew had a successful meeting on Saturday evening. It looks as our first order of hoodies and shirts will be here before next weekend..
Please do not got out on the ice this week. With the snow and warm weather that we have had the last few days, THE ICE IS NOT SAFE!!!
written by Brock
We went into the 2nd week of the 2010 rifle season with a little more confidence than we had throughout the first week. Two Hog bucks had been put down on the ground by Brock and Colt towards the end of the first week. Colt's buck was a GIANT 150s class 9 pt that would be hard to beat. Out of 10 or so in our group, we had lots of work to do to fill buck tags and put more meat in the freezer.
We try to only harvest mature bucks unless we demand backstraps towards the end of the season. SHOOT A DOE IF YOU WANT MEAT. Let the little bucks grow to their potential!
Well, the week started off slow once again, especially for Topper and Mama who some days were having trouble even seeing a deer. Matter of fact, Mama had not seen one all season from stand. Topper was still giving er' hard and was jumping spots all over the county.
Monday and Tuesday were long days for the crew with limited action, but we knew if we put our time in in our spots good things would happen. With snow on the ground, sign could be read, and it made us truly believe good things were on their way.
Wednesday brought cold weather and good news to the Crew as Topper put down a very respectable 10 pt in his river spot that morning. With news and pictures, we were all so pumped up and excited for Topper as he earned that buck ever so much. He put his time in bowhunting this year, he hunted that whole week before rifle dark to dark, and again never left the woods that first week of rifle season. During that time, he grew more bald with every deer less day.. Nice buck Topps. Check out the pics in our 'hunting pics'.... It just shows... If you put your time in, you will BE rewarded.
Wednesday got even better with word of Katie putting down a 10 pt Hog right around 3pm. Two hogs in one day for the Crew. Katie was hunting with her girlfriend, Angie, up by Eveleth, MN. Nice buck Katie. Check her pics out also... 'Hunting pics'...
Well, I'm sure you are all wondering, there is time for Mama or Adam to make it 3 hogs on Wednesday... No, Mama seen a big 0 deer again and Adam was working and attending class.... Who works during rifle season?
Thursday, most of the Crew was working or not seeing a deer...
Friday, Godfrey returned to his Swamp with his girlfriend, Staci. At 8am a smaller 10 pt walked across the power line about 100 yards out. At first, he was not going to shoot it, but seconds later figured with no venison in the freezer, and it being an OK 10, he would. He shot it. Minutes later, a doe came out, and he shot that too. Figuring he had 2 deer down, he waited a half hour and then climbed down. He found the doe right away, but could not find any blood from the buck. Him and Staci searched for 4 hours doing circles and circles for miles and came up empty. CLEAN MISS.... It happens...
Saturday morning pictures popped into our phones from Randy Greniger. Randy had shot a giant 8 pt 130s class buck with his muzzleloader in Indiana. Randy moved to Indiana last year, but still provides the crew with success. Good buck Beaner. Good to see you're still hanging loose!!!!!!!
Colt and I lined up a deer drive to Dad later in the morning up on Hwy 49. We started our drive around 10am and by 10:30 Dad had put venison on the ground. He didn't even make it to his post position, when a small buck ran by him and he blasted it like a bad habit. Good going Dad... Good Eats
As for the Godfrey's on Saturday, hunting was slow, forgetful, and gun jamming. Adam pulled up to his Swamp and realized he forgot his hunting clothes in the dryer back home. Being 5 degrees, he had to drive all the way back home and didn't get in his stand till 9am. His brother, Kevin, failed to shoot an 8 pt as his gun apparently jammed. Adam's Dad, Todd, seen a few round heads a long ways away.
Mama seen 0 deer on Saturday.
Snow dumped out of the skies all day on Sunday. The Godfrey's, Topps, Mama, and Scottie were out all day given er'. Deer action was slow with the crew seeing just a few round heads before noon. A little before 2pm, Todd fired away multiple times at a few deer on the power line. With the last day upon him, venison was demanded back home. He grounded both deer he blasted at; one being a round head and the other a beautiful chocolate racked 9 pt. Check out the pics...
What a great rifle season it was for most of the Crew..
Mama ended up seeing 0 deer all season. Hopefully Muzz Season is better for you Craig. Let the SMOKE fly...
No better time for a true HOG BUCK than late season.
written by Brock
Wow, lots and lots has taken place since the opening day of the 2010 MN Rifle Season.
All of us have gone through an emotional roller coaster ride this rifle season. As always, around the Grand Rapids area, lots of factors contribute to the season's ups, downs, and all arounds. Timberwolves, hunting pressure, low deer numbers, and the very low number of mature bucks all lead to us pulling our hair out atleast once or twice a day... We hunt 99 percent public land..
In the back of our minds, we know if we put our time in and do our homework, in the end, it might just pay off. For some of us, it did, and for others it led to bald heads, but there is one more week still remaining to slam a hog and grow some hair back.
A few round heads were harvested by Topper this week. Good Eats... Brock passed up many small bucks throughout the week and finally bleated in a big 8 point on Friday. Colt slammed a HOG GIANT on Sunday evening. Check out the pictures on the homepage or in our hunting pics.
Each one of us has been hunting hard this year. We have been sitting dark to dark almost everyday. Hard work pays off so watch for more hogz to hit the ground this next week.
Good Luck and Be Safe....
I can still vision him standing in the tall open grass, his gut hanging, body erect and alert, antlers impressive held high in the cool nights air, his breath slowly escaping his nostrils, and my arrow flying right over his back.
I had already passed up 6 bucks; two were right around that 110 - 115 class. I had watched 3 pairs of bucks brawling in the cut bean field to the South (one of these bucks my arrow was on flight for). Four of the 7 bucks in bow range had come screaming in looking for a fight as my grunt must have struck them in the right kind of way. It was my craziest hunting experience to date (I’m sorry to tell you Topper, it did beat that night in Crookston down by the river).
I had hunted this particular WPA only once this year and twice the previous year. With my frustration growing high from the slow deer activity the last few weekends, my hopes and confidence found myself sleeping in on Sunday morning. As I checked the weather early that afternoon, it showed the wind being from the South, so I decided to head to the WPA.
I had no idea what I was in for that evening as my Chevy truck slid down the muddy section line to that WPA. I knew where I wanted to burry myself in the cattails so I wasted no time after my long muddy walk and got down to business.
I slowly started to nod off sitting in my tripod chair watching North Dakota's blank landscape. A half hour of mixed looks into the sun and into the back of my eye lids, I spotted a doe out in the field. I got excited as it was still very early. Minutes later after glassing around, I spotted a hog 8 pt bedded in the wood lot on the other side of the field. It sat intent looking out into the field.
After watching the buck on and off for 20 minutes, I finally lost sight of him. I glassed the field again and found the buck on his feet headed west. To my surprise, he was headed towards a heard of deer that had came into the field from the West. I glassed them. Another shooter was trailing the heard of does.
This is where the night became buck wild and crazy.... The two bucks circled each other for minutes and all of a sudden locked antlers. It seemed to be a game for a bit until the buck from the East got aggressive and slammed the buck from the West down on his side. Both bucks trotted away.
As I tried to keep my binoculars on all the action, movement out front caught my eye. A buck was working the fence line about 80 yards away on the edge of the bean field. I grunted at him twice. He hopped the fence and headed straight for me across the long native prairie grasses towards my slough where I was hunkered down. I couldn't tell how big he was until he stood at 5 yards from me. He was an 8 pointer inside the ears (good buck, 1 and half year old, but not a shooter). After minutes of him trying to figure out what I was, he leaped away, and stood at 30 yards. Behind him were another buck and several does. I had deer EVERYWHERE, now. It was like someone had just ringed the bell at deer school ending the school year and the front door of my funnel had been opened up. Deer were left, right, up, down, and all around. I couldn't move a muscle.
I found my grunt call by feeling around in the cattails. I grunted once, and held my ground. I watched the buck behind the 8 rear up and head my way. Oh my, this is nuts, I thought. A 9 pointer (2 year old 115 class) walked thru my lane of grass. I passed him up hesitantly as he had good character and was even with the ears. He would be a solid buck next year.
My memory is distorted from this point on as deer were ever so close at all times and so much activity was also taking place out in the field. I blurrily watched 2 more bucks lock antlers on the other side of the fence. It sounded like World War III as they were only about 120 yards away. Seconds later, I heard more antlers cracking and looked across to the West. Another set of what looked to be Hogzilla bucks were spraying dirt and beans everywhere. I dared not to bring my glasses up as I might spook my close deer.
I didn't know what to do. What was happening? All this activity happening all at once was mind shattering. I looked up and 10 yards away walked a 6 pointer than a few does. I picked up my can call bleat and hit it 4 times, and waited.
While I waited, I have to tell you one thing; my field of vision from the cattails which I sat is 0 to 40 yards then nothing until about 100 yards unless I stood up.
I grunted twice more. A minute later, I had two different bucks almost of top of me. A rat of an 8 pt and another 6 pt looked right thru me in the cattails. The 8 pt walked to my left and jumped in the open slough behind me and started to swim around. Don't ask me why he did this. Maybe a larger buck was behind him and I couldn't see him. Maybe the rat 8 was scared out of his hoofs and thought larger bucks didn't know how to swim. I almost died laughing as the 6 pt starred at the rat 8 and also wondered what it was doing.
As this was going on, another basket buck moved out front right around 25 yards. I couldn't move. I wanted to stand up and see what was going on because I literally had 80 plus deer within a couple hundred yards of me at this point. I wanted to jump up and start taking pictures. I forgot I was actually bow hunting until my 0 to 35 yard view had cleared of deer.
The sun set and my field of vision primarily focused on the tall grasses between my two sloughs. I was able to creep up to a standing position and look outside my cattails. There was a buck at about 40 yards (looked to be a wide fork) and the whole landscape was scattered with deer. I sat back down and did a few more grunts and a few more bleats and waited.
About 15 minutes after sunset, I glanced up and caught a hog rack as it jumped over the fence. SHOOTER! He was headed right towards me. As I quickly figured out my plan of attack and movement, I caught movement real close to me about 10 yards away. A doe was making her way right in front of me. Great, she would bust me if I moved. I figured, I only had one last resort; slowly stand up and let the doe bust me, and shoot the buck if he stays put. How far is the buck I thought? It is hard to judge how far deer are away when you have billions of blades of grass between your eyes and the animal. I decided I would stand up, judge him, then shoot.
The plan worked out perfect. I slowly stood up, the doe jumped clear to the moon, blew at me, and ran past the buck as he haulted to a stop and watched her run by. I quickly judged him at around 40 yards, put my pin on his chest, and let my arrow fly. I watched him duck to the ground as my arrow flew right over his back. Wow, I thought, anything, I would have shot low. He was alert when I shot, ears out ready for anything. He out smarted me. I missed. No excuses. That is bow hunting.
I can't complain, I witnessed the full aspect of the pre-rut all in 2 hours and the craziest night of bow hunting ever.
As for the rest of the crew's hunting: Adam sat 16 hours in MN not seeing a single deer all weekend; Mama sat a few hours with nothing; Topper worked all weekend (fun for him); and Colt harvested a big doe for vitals on Saturday evening....
Good luck to you rifle hunters this coming weekend. Respect other hunters and most of all, be safe.
written by Brock
The Hang Loose Crew was scattered throughout the Midwest this weekend. Various activities were pursued, some had luck, and others gave her' their best.
Colt bounced around amongst a few different lakes this weekend trying his luck at some fat Fall eye balls. On Friday night, he trolled Rapalas and Salmos on Sugar Lake and Pokegama and had some really good luck. He boated right around 30 walleyes between the two lakes that night. Saturday, he headed to Leech for the morning bite and also did well. Jigs and minnows in 12 feet of water put almost 20 walleyes in the net. Good Fall fishing bro!!!
Godfrey, Topper, and Mama were spread out around Northern Minnesota bow hunting. The full moon did not help the daytime deer activity. Most of the deer, especially the true hog bucks, were moving when the moon was high and bright in the sky. They did see some does and small bucks in the morning and evening hours.
As for Brock, he made the trip out to the Killdeer Mountains in Northwestern North Dakota on Thursday morning. Jeff Gemmill kindly invited him out to his cabin for 3 days of bow hunting. The full moon had the majority of the deer moving at night. Lots of deer were seen from the stand, but the giant Whitetails of the Killdeers were illusive all weekend. While admiring the beautiful landscape of the area, lots of wildlife was observed other than just the famous Whitetail; Pronghorn, Elk, Mule Deer, Pheasants, and Turkeys. Thank you so much Jeff and Debbie Gemmill. I will be returning!!
As mentioned above, the full moon kept the majority of the deer moving and feeding at night this weekend. Well, you can't kill a hog Whitetail sitting on the couch or sleeping so we try to put our time in and make things happen. The pre rut should be kicking into gear this week. Cold weather is sweeping across the Midwest so lets keep our fingers crossed. Its always nice to get a few days of the rut in the bow stand before everybody starts spraying bullets all over the woods and the prairie...
Good Luck Hunting!!
WritTen by Brock
I got pretty cold Saturday morning sitting in the bow stand as the wind howled through the prairie and swayed the tree I hunted from. I had forgot to grab my cold weather bow hunting clothes from Grand Rapids after I had washed them and put them in my scent free bag the past weekend.
I needed some bibs for Sunday morning so I left the stand about 10 am after seeing a small 8 pt and a couple does. I stopped at Wal Mart, K Mart, Home Economy, and Tractor Supply. None of these stores carried a pair of camouflage bibs. I had to commit and stop in at my most hated store ever: Guns & Reels. Last time I stopped at Jamestown's only sporting store for scent free soap, I walked out empty handed. What kind of hunting store does not have scent free soap during bow season?
Well, to make a long story short; I bought a pair of bibs at Gun and Reel. They only had one selection in a couple different sizes.
I got home, cut the tags off the bibs and checked the washing instructions: Machine wash in cold water, hang to dry, or tumble dry on low. I started the washing machine and made sure the water was cold. It was very cold. I added scent free detergent and grabbed a bite to eat before the evening hunt.
As I left for the evening hunt, I hung my bibs on the clothes line. The evening hunt turned out disappointing as I only seen one round head in one of my favorite spots.
I returned home to find my bibs still hanging on the line. I grabbed them and ran up to my apartment. As I ran up the stairs I heard my bibs making noises. It sounded like I was carrying aluminum foil up the stairs under my arm.
One leg of my bibs was 4 inches shorter than the other and the whole outer shell looked like a meteor shower had grazed the surface. They looked and sounded horrible. I laughed because I knew I had bought them at Gun & Reel.
I walked into Gun & Reel on Monday afternoon with my bibs and the receipt. I threw them on the counter and said, "I bought these Saturday, washed them in cold water like the tag said, and look at them now." The lady yelled for the manager which was on the other side of the store. The Store Manager and Co Owner walked up to the counter. I raised my voice a bit, "I bought these Saturday, washed them in cold water like the tag said, and look at them now." He looked at them for a second and said nothing. He grabbed the receipt and moments later asked me for my credit card. I handed him my credit card.
I tried to make small talk with the man. "You ever seen anything like this before", I mumbled. "No", he said under his breath. "Why do you think this happened"? "These are pretty nice bibs", I added. He paused, and looked up and these are the words that came out of the Store Manager's mouth, “MOST HUNTERS DON'T WASH THEIR HUNTING CLOTHES". I collected my thoughts, mind, and jaw, as I looked behind me to see if anyone had heard the same thing that I just heard. The only words that I had were, "Are you f*****g kidding me". Dead serious, he says again, "Yeah most people don't wash their hunting clothes". Speechless, I say, "I am bow hunting for deer". "Deer have noses and a very good sense of smell" (Imagine that!). All he did was hand me the receipt, shrug, and said, "Yeah". I yelled a few profane words at the man as I slammed the door and walked out of the store.
My dad taught me to wash and hang my hunting clothes before every deer season at the age of 12... We would wash and hang everything from our socks, hats, coats, gloves, bibs, etc at least 2 weeks before season and also wash them sometimes once a week there after.
Smell is a Whitetail Deers' main line of defense. Here are a few tips to be more successful in the woods this year.
The deer were moving for the Hang Loose Crew this weekend, but big bucks stayed invisible. I am headed to the Badlands for 3 days to chase giant Whitetails and Mule Deer. Wish me luck.
Written by Brock
The 80 degree weather put a damper on the Crew's bow hunting for the majority of the weekend. Godfrey did sit on Friday evening and seen a couple does within range. As for that, some scouting, grouse hunting, fishing, and work was accomplished. Remember, Fall offers lots of activities so plan according to the weather.
This year looks to be the peak of the 10 year grouse cycle around Northern Minnesota. There is no better time to bag those wild birds. Nothing in taste compares to that fine white meat... Look to these forest cover types next time you go out bird hunting: White Spruce 5-10" in DBH; Dense young Aspen with mixed Speckled Alder and Balsam Fir; and mixed Jack Pine, Red Pine, and Aspen..
After I winterized the Lund and parked her for the winter, Katie and I jumped on the 4 wheeler and spun to the trails for our luck at some birds. Two and a half hours of hunting yielded 5 birds in the bag and a whole lot of misses.
Dad cooked our 5 birds up on Sunday evening in his top secret creme of mushroom recipe and lets just say it was delicious. It was an 'A+' dinner along with cooked carrots, mashed potatoes, and garden salad.
Topper put his trail camera out Sunday evening across a local area lake and decided to fish for an hour. One of his catches was a heavy 28 inch walleye. Good picture fish!!!
We are looking for this weather to cool down so we can hunt some whitetails this coming week.... What a heat wave it's been......
written by Brock
Hang Loose Outdoors visited Big Falls, MN.
We arrived at our campsite in the cedars right around 10am on Saturday morning. We brought 2 12 foot boats, 2 four wheelers, and the camping essentials minus any food. We had many options for dinner and were ready to pull thru: Walleyes, grouse, or moose... On the way into camp, Mama bagged a grouse so we were already on our way.
Scottie and I set out on the river in search for some muskies and walleyes, but came up empty handed and returned to the campsite around noon as the water clarity was just as dirty as it had been in July. As Scottie walked up the bank, a grouse flushed right by the campfire. The second grouse didn't make it far from the campsite as 12 guage BBs dropped it just to the edge of his truck. When the fish aren't biting, turn to bird hunting....
Mama, Topper, and Godfrey were hunting from the time of arrival. Godfrey pulled into camp just as Scottie and I were on our way out to hunt. He had not seen a bird yet, but informed us that Topper and Mama were bagging some. We informed him that we should just hang out around camp as the birds were.
We all set out bird hunting. As the sun got higher in the sky, the birds began to look to the roads for clover and grit. That is where we found the majority of the birds we bagged..
Returning to camp around 4pm, we found the 5 of us had put the hurt on some birds. We surely had enough for dinner. Mama and Topper decided to head out and try there luck at some walleye fishing as us 3 headed back out in search of our last couple birds.
Topper and Mama pulled 2 nice walleyes right as they began fishing. Only if they had been out earlier they probably would of slammed them. This time of year, water temps can drop fast when the sun starts to fall.
As the sun fell, we bagged a few more birds. All together, we fell just a few short of everyone shooting their limits...
We cleaned all our game, gathered firewood, and began cooking and drinking. You can't beat fresh grouse and walleye over an open campfire!
Wow, what a beautiful weekend it was to be out in the woods for the MN grouse and deer bow opener. Temperatures were cool and sunny and the leaves were falling. Although, about 90% of the foliage remains in the woods, Fall is definitely in the air.
The thick foliage made it tough to see those flushing grouse and sneaky deer, but it is tradition to make it out on opening day, especially to enjoy the start of the craziest season known to the avid outdoorsmen.
Action was slow for the Hang Loose Crew this weekend.
Brock and Katie made it out on Pokegama Lake Thursday evening in hopes of some giant marble eyes. They fished 2 hours until the wind blew them off the lake at around 11pm. One 22 inch eye was all that seen the net.
Friday found us in the woods checking on rifle stands and doing some additional scouting.
Topper and Godfrey sat most of the day on Saturday bow hunting. No deer activity was observed from there stands. Brock sat on his food plot behind his parents and seen a doe and fawn just before dark.
With the moon being high and bright, Brock returned to Pokegama Lake after the deer stand on Saturday around 10pm. At midnight with no bites, he called it quits and returned home.
No deer crossed paths with Topper or Godfrey on Sunday morning.
Mama and Brad spent their weekends in golf tournaments at Quadna and Pokegama.
Dan Neary, on the other hand, spent his opening weekend garage saleing with his old lady. He found some pretty sweet deals. Deals on what, we will never know.
Water temps hung right around 60 degrees out on Pokegama Lake. The cold front must of pushed the walleyes mouths into the muck. Look for this week to gradually get better as the full moon rises on Thursday night. Look for those big walleyes crushing Salmos in the shallows this week, thru the weekend, and into next week.
For now, be safe out in the woods or on the water. Be patient, and always take in what you can for it might help you be successful on your next outing.
written by Brock
That special season is upon us once agian: Fall. There are so many things to do in the fishing and hunting world when this season approaches. Fall fishing, grouse and duck hunting, and bow hunting mingle between each one of us. How can everything be successfully accomplished? How can we make time to arrow that big buck while allowing time to slam on some fat Fall walleyes, walk the miles of logging roads in search of those tasty wild chickens, or climb into the cattails in hopes some mallards will drop by and peak at the decoys out front? The answer is very simple... Plan out your days accordingly and just try..
Don't get burnt out on sitting in the deer stand when the bucks aren't moving, grab your shotgun, and walk the trails scouting for new sign while baggin some birds. On a day the weather forecast predicts rain or wind, load up those decoys and small camo boat and go shoot some ducks and geese. When the weather takes a turn for the best and gives a day of bright sunny skies and warm temperatures, go out fishing for some fat Fall trophy walleyes or muskellunge..
Don't get discouraged when you don't find success in one activity, give it a break, and move on to another for a day or two. Return to that activity when the time feels right. You only have so much time in the Fall so spend it wise, happy, and positive.
The Fall is short, and it can have its ups and downs. Try to keep a positive attitude. At any second that hog buck could walk over the ridge, a flock of 50 geese could lock up on your decoys, or the fish could start slamming like there is no tomorrow. Fall is totally unpredictable and that is why we love it...
Remember, others love it too. When time permits, bring a kid hunting, bring a girlfriend fishing, and get that old man off the couch for day out in the field.
written by me
Fishing is consistent in the shallows on most lakes around the Grand Rapids Area. Your best bet still remains in or along the weeds in 6 to 16 ft of water depending on the wind that day and what lake you're on. Keep your speed up with that crawler and spinner and keep your move on till you find active fish. If your pole is not bent, keep moving and hitting all those spots that look appealing on your Lowrance chart till your poles start to bend.
On larger bodies of water like Winnibigoshish, Leech, Upper Red, Bowstring, Round, etc take this approach into consideration: throw on crankbaits like the Salmo hornet or Salmo sting. Troll around 2-2.5mph with a fair amount of line out (60-100ft). Troll and hit varied depths till you find one or two active walleyes. Once you find some active fish, switch to that crawler and spinner and work that area. As we push into Fall, look for that minnow bite to come back into play. You will be amazed how you can cover water and find fish with those Salmos... Put one on and it will actually find you the fish.
Those Salmos were again the ticket this weekend. The hornets outperformed the stings on Hill and Sugar Lake while the moon was high in the sky and on Winnie during the day when the waters were relatively flat. On Pokegama, the stings crushed the hornets as it’s hard for those overweight Pokegama walleyes to resist a Salmo sting as its action and looks mimic a smelt (walleyes main food source on the lake).
Speaking of overweight walleyes or just large walleyes in general; there is no better time to target hog walleyes than in the Fall. Here are some tips to catch hogz in the fall.
Fall is a great time to catch big walleyes (8-12lbs not uncommon) and even a bonus monster pike or muskie while lindy riggin' these big baits...
Fall is also a great time to catch hogz at night. If you can bundle the clothes on and troll those Salmos at night, you will be rewarded with fat marble eyes in your net. Give us a call if you want to book a September full moon trip.
And remember to take the time to thank those who introduced you to fishing, hunting and the outdoors because sometimes it might just be too late to show your appreciation. Thank your Dad, Uncle, Grandfather, Mom, friend, or mentor who once got you addicted to the sport you love. Take a kid or neighbor fishing next time and get them hooked.
Thank You Dad. Love you!
Written by Brock
Despite a wedding and some Hang Loose members having to work weekends, we managed to make it out fishing Thursday and Friday night.
Godfrey and I hit Pokegama Lake around 10pm on Thursday. Thick cloud clover found our 3/4 full moon absent the whole night. We did manage to put 7 walleyes and a 35 in pike in the boat before lightning and thunder kicked us off around 1:30pm. Our best luck came on the green bleak Salmo sting trolled around 2mph.
Lots of walleyes seemed to be hanging off the breaks near bottom. If the clouds had not fully covered the moon, maybe these fish would of pushed up the break and into feeding mode...
After wedding rehearsal on Friday evening, clouds moved out and exposed the moon. I flew home and hooked up to the Lund. Staci and Godfrey met me at the landing. As we backed the boat in, clouds drew over the moon and we never saw it again. We put 7 walleyes in the boat. Fish seemed to be holding tight to the bottom off the breaks agian so we tried to rip some deep baits thru them but had no luck. All of our fish came on stick baits including the Salmo green bleak.
Saturday, I participated in Joel and Kayla Reed's wedding as my brother Colt trolled cranks on Pokegama with a huge moon and no clouds in sight. He informed me that fishing was very slow. The fish seemed to be holding the bottom again off the breaks. I thought Saturday would have been the night.
Sunday night Colt slammed on walleyes on a north Aitkin County Lake with Salmo hornets. This report of 30 plus walleyes came to me via text message while I was getting ready for work on Monday morning... Good Fishing... This just proves when the moon is out and a certain body of water is slow, move, move move, until you find a lake that is active. When the moon is bright, walleyes are slammin somewhere.
Some good trail camera pictures of some awesome bucks were also sent to me via text message this weekend. Looks like Randy Topper, Scottie Thomas, and Brandon Anderson got some real monsters in sight....
CONGRATULATIONS TO MR AND MRS JOEL REED. HOPE YOUR MARRIAGE IS EVERYTHING YOU WANT IT TO BE AND MORE!!!
written by brock
Hang Loose was working, catching up with some odds and ends, and preparing for a new season this weekend. With Fall in the air, firewood was cut and stacked, trail cameras were deployed, and dust from the archery equipment was wiped off.
As the days continue to grow shorter, Hang Loose slowly starts to switch from fishing into hunting mode. This turnover takes place slowly at first, then increases ever so quickly once the first falling ash leaves or rain storm of acorns are observed.
For now though, the August moon still brings them visions of slamming walleyes. On Friday evening, Brock and Katie were found out on Pokegama lake watching numerous shooting stars and trolling Salmos as Godfrey and Staci were hidden amongst the Floodwood River rigging catfish.
Brock and Katie hit 4 spots on Friday before they caught their first walleye. An hour and a half later, 8 more eyes had found the net, camera, and then the water again, including an over-weight 24 inch that Katie laced into. The Salmo stings proved to be the ticket once again.
At midnight, Adam and Staci were ready to call it quits as it seemed the catfish were not going to feast. They decided to hit one more smaller hole on there way back to the landing.
A minute into there last spot, Staci's pole bounced off the boat. She quickly set the hook and battled a fat 30 inch cat into the 14 ft boat. An hour later, 6 more cats had been netted and released back into the river. Staci's first fish proved to be the big one of the night.
Saturday's storms and nearing cold front kept them off the water the rest of the weekend.
Look for the night fishing to improve greatly this week as that August moon grows brighter and brighter. During the day, keep your speed up in order to trigger hungry walleyes and don't be afraid to cast some big baits around for some giant pike and muskie...
I made the journey from North Dakota back to Hill City, MN quite quickly on Thursday afternoon. I was in a hurry to load the 12 foot boat, camping gear, and other needed supplies into my Chev and start the trek north. I was fired up to meet up with Craig and Topper who were camped somewhere up in the wilderness of the Big Fork River. Our plan was to cast for muskies, catch some walleyes for supper, and just plain hang loose in the middle of nowhere for the weekend.
I left Hill Silly right around 7pm on Thursday. I needed to stop in Grand Rapids for gas and beer and I was then ready to burn up Hwy 6 to Big Falls. I arrived in the Big Falls area around 9pm. One hour later, I found my destination where Mama’s directions had led me; about an hour down intensely curving logging roads.
At arrival, I found Topper’s truck, an empty trailer, and that’s all. No boat, 4 wheeler, tents, fire, or sign of hang loose life existed around the camp area. It was pitch dark as thoughts ran through my head of what was going on with those two. Up in the boonies with no cell phone reception, a rushing river, and a 12 foot boat with only a trolling motor, and of course Topper being along; who knew what could have happened.
I started a fire under the cedars and enjoyed a beer as I waited for the boys to arrive from wherever the hell they were. An hour later and however many beers that was; I heard a 4 wheeler coming down the hill. Topper and Mama piled off the 4 wheeler. They had been cruising around logging roads with a flashlight as view of travel as Topper's 4 wheelers’ head lights were both burnt out. They were all happy.
Topper fell asleep by the fire as Mama told me of their day’s adventures and how murky and dirty the river was. They only seen one muskie all day, but managed to catch some walleyes. A few rules of thumb with the rivers in Northern Minnesota are as follows:
When the water is high and current strong: fishing is tough.
High water and strong current usually means dirty water and bad clarity leading to very tough fishing. Think about a fish’s strike zone when it can only see 2 inches in front of its own mouth. Now, think about being locked in a dark room and trying to catch a wet noodle in your mouth on the end of a moving line.. Good Luck.
The soil up north is clay to clay loam. When it rains heavily or consistently for a long period of time, runoff is dramatically high due to the clay soils low soil saturation rate. Runoff washes clay banks and debris into the rivers instantly decreasing water clarity and decreasing all fish species strike zones.
This summer we have had some very heavy rain storms as well as consistent weekly precipitation amounts. With high river levels and discharge rates the rivers in Northern Minnesota have not had a chance to filtrate through and clear up.
My point: Plan your river trip according to low rainfall amounts over say a 2 week period, never after a large storm with heavy rainfall in a short time period, when water levels are low and flow is slow, and when water clarity is good. This statement can be used for small rivers such as the Big Fork and larger rivers such as the Rainy River.
Now let us get back to the story….. Friday we casted our arms off in hopes of maybe putting a lure in front of a hungry muskie, but after many hours and not a fish seen, we switched over to walleye fishing…
We headed up river to the rapids from where we were camped. We trolled below the rapids and fished a couple different eddies. We managed to put 4 eyes in the boat and Topper managed to lose 2: one being a hawg which he fought for 2 minutes without seeing it. Yes, it was a walleye, and yes Topper had it on. He fought it like his Cass Lake 23 inch walleye that took 15 minutes to finally reel in as he told us he had the largest muskie on ever known to date.
Friday night we had a delicious fish fry and potato dinner. We enjoyed a few beverages and a huge fire. Our full bellies found us in our tents early.
Saturday, we decided to float down river 5 miles to a different rapids and fish walleyes. We figured with 2 fully charged batteries per boat, we could make it back up river to where we landed after we had put dinner in the boats. After hours of floating down river and finding no rapid, not knowing how far we had traveled, we decided it was a flop, and we better turn around and start heading back.
As we started heading back, we looked at each other as we barely moved upstream against the current. Two bends later, we decided we better pull over and come up with a game plan because we were not going to make it back to the 4 wheeler. We had one full battery per boat remaining.
Plan one: I put the last 2 full batteries in my boat along with our only set of oars and give her all I got back to the 4 wheeler as Mama and Tops float to the rapids and wait for me to come pick them up. If I don’t make it, I float back down too, and we all walk the 23 miles of logging road back to the trucks or 4 wheeler(might be a 24 hour adventure)… Plan 2: We drain both the boats’ batteries, and see how far we make it upstream. Then we take turns rowing as the row boat pulls the 2nd boat behind it. Let me add that we experimented with this idea before plan 2 was set, and found that we could make it 20 yards every 10 minutes.
We decided to hang together because that is what hang loose is all about. We had enough cold beer to go with plan 2. We crept along little by little, drank beer, and drained what little battery juice we had left. At one point, we thought we were going to safely make it back up. We stopped at one bend where Mama had caught our only walleye of the day and fished a bit.
We continued on and came to the next bend as both boats batteries died at about the same time. Not good. I instantly started to row and pull Mama and Topper behind so we didn't lose position in the current. This was not easy at all. As we crept upstream as slow as turtles, every once in a while we would fire up the trolling motors and get a 20 yard surge out of the dead batteries.
My arms were going dead as I rowed and pulled 500 plus pounds behind me not by a rope, but by a topwater muskie lure hooked to my trolling motor which was tied to power pro fishing line, which was connected to a Fenwick HMX muskie pole and Ambassador reel, and attached to Mama’s giant hands who sat up front in the back boat. If you think this was a sight to see, just wait.
My arms went really dead. I told Mama to let line out and hold onto the shoreline so they wouldn’t lose position, and I would row to the next bend, hold on to the shoreline, and he could reel their boat up to me. I rowed much easier up to the next bend about 100 yards up from their boat as Mama let line out with that topwater still hooked to my boat. I held on to the shoreline and Mama reeled their boat towards me. This was the site to see: One small guy holding a patch of brush on shore of the Big Fork River in a boat with a muskie lure hooked to the back as two huge guys in a small boat slowly moved towards the small guys boat up stream with one holding a muskie pole pumping and reeling their way against the current with a fishing line attaching both boats while the guy in the back of the back boat laughed and drank beer (of course, Randy Topper). If a Sasquatch had only been watching this take place, he would have fell over dead from laughing at the 3 beer drinking fools on the river struggling to get back to where they had come from…
Laughs on you as Mama’s FIVE reeled in boats later; we were standing by the 4 wheeler and trailer. One problem though: we only had one beer left…..
We didn’t have enough fish for a fish fry that night so we had to settle for the rest of the pork chops in a can. We had another large fire and played target practice with the 22 the remainder of the night.
We found ourselves back in Grand Rapids around 2pm on Sunday after a delicious lunch at 671 in Big Falls.
Godfrey and Staci traveled to Floodwood, MN and caught some good catfish Saturday evening before getting kicked off the river early by intense lightning, thunder, and falling cats and dogs…
WritTeN by Brock
I was found catching walleyes on a clear Aitkin County lake with Salmo stings and hornets on Thursday night.
Katie and I went to Trout Lake Friday morning in search of some hog pike. Our plan was to pull 6-8 inch suck faces around on the bars and humps. Usually 10 to 15 pound pike can be consistently found in the rocks on the edge of the bars in 25 to 35 feet of water.
We found no pike, but did find walleyes stacked like cord wood in 35 feet of water. The walleye action was not real hot and heavy, but very consistent with crawlers and spinners pulled right around 1 mph.
Friday night's intense storms kept us off the water for the night bite.
Saturday evening found Godfrey and I casting and blasting on Deer Lake. We moved one muskie before dark which optioned to be very lazy.
We decided to fish all the walleyes that appeared on my Lowrance on the edge of the humps from dark to moon rise. Those walleyes did not want anything to do with food or eating at that time period..
The moon came out around 11:30 and we went back to casting the humps and steep drops on the lake. We moved nothing until the time we left at 2am.
Muskie action continues to be hit and miss around the area. Right time...right place.... Maybe this unstable weather has something to do with it. All one can do is keep casting away. You never know when that 50 inch will be willing to suck your lure in.
Adam Godfrey and Gordon Fothergill fished the Canadian Bass Championship Thursday thru Saturday. Their weights were very consistent on Day 1 and 2, but fell a little short on Day 3. They still finished in the top one third of the field of some of the best bass fisherman in the world. Good fishing guys'''
As for the rest of Hang Loose: We enjoyed the night bite and front end of the July full moon. Fishing was very good with each boat averaging around 20 walleyes each night in that 10pm to 2am time frame. Lots of those Pokegama Lake eaters were boated along with a fat 27" and a few in that 20 to 23" range.
The Salmo sting was the crankbait of choice for those hungry walleyes this weekend. They enjoyed the yellow dace and gold metallic orange right around 2 mph. The humps and bars gave up the most fish, but the shoreline weeds seemed to hold the larger walleyes if you were willing to fight thru the cabbage.
Trout Lake was also consistent walleye fishing with spinners and crawlers in that 30 to 35 feet of water. Look for the pike bite to really come on strong out there in that same depth. We will start to pull big suckers around for those toothy creatures this week.
Muskie action remains good around the area. It is hit or miss from one lake to the next, but if you find a lake that is on for that particular day, hold on to your pole!
Fishing remains consistent on the Grand Rapids area lakes. Pokegama and Trout Lake continue to give up big walleyes as well as some eaters during daylight hours. Look to the edge of the weeds (13 to 18 feet of water) and edges of the bars(20 to 30 feet of water), with crawlers and spinners at 1.2 - 1.6 mph.
With the moon nearing half, look to Pokegama and Trout for trolling those crankbaits at dark and well into morning hours. Look to the mid lake bars and humps for your best success. Pokegama's day bite will slow down this week and next, but Trout's will remain strong expecially in the morning and evening.
Also, look to Winnibigoshish for steady action out on the edges of the bars and humps with crawlers and spinners at that same speed, 1.2 - 1.6mph.
Muskie action is hit and miss on our area lakes. It is almost time for those monsters to come un-glued. Water temps continue to rise. Keep casting your arms off, you never know what you'll hook into....
Before Topper's Dirty Thirty Birthday Party could kick off at Wendigo on Saturday night, there was a tournament to take part in on Saturday. The Regular Guys Walleye Tournament on Pokegama Lake was set for 8am to 3pm.
Brock spent most of the Friday out on the lake prefishing. He found a few large active schools of walleyes. His approach to catching these walleyes consisted of pulling an 8 foot lindy rig with a perch spinner and a crawler weighted with an ounce bottom bouncer and moving at a speed right around 1.2 mph. This time of year, spinners along with a faster presentation is key to catching aggressive walleyes and also key to triggering reaction bites from a few lazy eye balls. Plus, moving faster means covering more water.
Spinners and crawlers would be Brock and Toppers strategy on Saturday. Colt(Brock's brother) and Ben Olson were also set to fish the tournament on Saturday. They had also found some good fish on Friday. Their approach come Saturday sounded like they would be dragging 9 foot lindy rigs with crawlers with a single bead. But, they also found on Friday that moving right around 1.1 to 1.3 mph triggered the most fish.
Seventeen boats turned loose at 8am on Saturday morning as the temperature was hot and the waters flat. Topper and Brock and Colt and Ben stayed on active fish throughout the whole day. They both had their unders right away in the morning. As they looked for those hog Pokegs eyes, they kept replacing their unders as they continued to put fish in their boats.
Topper and Brock struggled to put their second big fish in the boat as 3 pm rolled around and they pulled into weigh in. They had a 27.75", 22.5", and 4 unders right around 19 to 19.75". Colt and Ben had a 26", 23", and 4 unders right around 18 to 19.5".
Talking with the other fisherman it looked like everyone had a really good bag of fish. It was going to be very close. A few boats had 2 fish over 27 inches, but lacked one or 2 unders.
As the unders were weighed and big fish lengths changed from inches to weights off of the digital cameras, fisherman enjoyed a cold one and chatted with others about their day. Jeff Dick(tournament director) added numbers away from the crowd.
Once Jeff was done adding numbers and figuring out the top 3 places, he gathered everyone. He laughed as he spoke, "I didn't think it was going to be this close". "First place at 21.76 pounds, 'Dan Olson and Jake Olson', second place at 21.34 pounds, 'Brock Anderson and Randy Topper, and third place at 21.10 pounds, 'Aaron Murphy and Peter Miskovich'...." Yeah, now that was close...
Colt and Ben weighed in at 19.96 and captured sixth place. Not bad considering they caught more walleyes throughout the day than any other boat on the water. They put 30 plus eyes in the boat. That is pretty dang impressive. Brock and Randy put the second largest amount in the boat at 16 walleyes.
It was a great tournament. After prizes were handed out, the unders were cleaned, and a huge fish fry was carried out. All the fish were eaten and a few cold ones were consumed.
That night, Hang Loose was found at Wendigo celebrating Randy Topper's Dirty 30 Birthday Party. "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOPPS".
Sunday found Godfrey and Gordon on Rainy Lake prefishing for the International Bass Championship on July 22, 23, 24. They will be up prefishing again starting July 16 right up till tournament day.
Topps had a guided muskie trip on Sunday. They were out for 4 hours and seen 2 good fish. No takers.
We will be chasing muskies around this coming weekend....
Look to Pokegama Lake and Trout Lake right now for your most consistent walleye and small mouth bass action. Look to Leech Lake for your active muskies....
Written by me.
The weekend was all planned out. Katie was set to get off of work at 7am on Friday morning. She worked 7pm to 7am Thursday night. At 7:10am, she walked in the apartment, grabbed her things, and we were off to Hill Silly to pick up my boat, meet Scottie, and head up to Northstar Lake for the weekend to chase muskies.
We arrived to Hill Silly around noon. Katie was supposed to get some sleep, but she tossed and turned in the passenger seat of my truck the whole 5 hour drive back. I don't know if the Chev bomb was uncomfortable or she was that excited to go fishing. She does not get many weekends off so I knew she was pumped up.
After running errands in Grand Rapids for the weekend, we finally arrived to North Star Campground around 3pm. It was HOT. We were hoping the fishing would be as hot as the weather. We set up camp and landed the Lund.
We began casting and blasting around 4pm. The wind was bucking out of the South and no fish seemed a bit interested in what we were offering them. We knew in the back of our heads that 'PT' was on its way. 'PT' or Prime Time is the term we use for the period one hour or so before sunset and one hour after. Sunset influences fishes eating behaviors more than anything else on stable weather days.
Around 8pm, Katie was showing signs that her couple hours of horrible truck sleep was not holding her up. Scottie with excitement in his voice, said, "Katie just have CONFIDENCE". One second later, (and it might not had even been that long after the words slipped out of his mouth that) Katie set the hook and a huge wide open mouth full of teeth came rocketing to the surface 15 yards out. It shook its head a few times and I watched Katie as she struggled to not fall out of the boat. A couple head shakes later and her lure flew out of the muskies mouth. OH NO. First fish seen and it ate. Things might get crazy real fast we thought. PT was coming.
At 9pm the wind started to die and I figured to bring Scottie and Katie to a little secret spot of mine. Within minutes of being there, my bucktail got tackled, 'ski on'. A wild and thrashing 37 inch was netted 15 seconds later. Muskie number one for me in 2010 and also the first one in the new Lund...
We had one follow right at dark and decided to call it a night as Scottie indicated when the wind is blowing greater than 10 mph at night, muskie fishing is relatively poor. It was 10:30pm and the wind had to be 15mph still.
Saturday morning we hit the lake right around 8am. We were hoping for a great mid day bite as Northstar is known for its mid day muskies. Scottie lost a 40 inch right at the boat an hour after casting and blasting. The rest of the day went downhill from that. The weather heated up, but the fish slowed.
We returned to camp at 3pm. My parents, Rocky and Diane, met us there with some delicious food. We ate barbecue chicken, potato salad, suddenly salad, fruits, and enjoyed a cold beverage as we visited in the extreme heat. With our bellies full, my parents left and we thanked them considerably.
Scottie decided to take a nap as he had a little too much to drink on Friday night. Ahhaha. Katie and I couldn't handle the heat anymore. We went to the beach, cleaned up, and cooled off.
The wind begun to die down and the clouds rolled in as we hit the water at 6pm. Scottie and I looked at each other with that look that we both knew some good fishing was to take place this evening.
At 8:30, we moved spots to where Scottie had lost a fish that morning. Five casts on that spot, I caught a tail out of the corner of my eye. Scottie was figure 8ing a big fish in the back of the boat. Two trips around and the fish juiced his bucktail. Seconds later, Scottie was yelling, "NET IT NET IT NET IT", as I stood on my Yamaha motor and reached the net as far out the back of the boat as I could. The fish pulsed and jerked just feet away from my reach. With one kick of its tail, Scottie's drag which was set as tight as it could possible go, starting rippin like a Mack truck was pulling a bicycle. The fish peeled about 20 yards of line before he could catch up with it. He battled it to the net where I scooped it up. "45inch Northstar MossBack", Scottie yelled, as Katie sat in the front of my Lund with the video camera... A couple pictures and she was released...
We worked a few more spots with no lookers or takers. It was nearing dark and we could see some storms creeping our way. We decided to tough out one more spot before the storm hit. Knowing it was Prime Time, I decided to move to a low pressured cabbage shoreline where I heard of a 45 inch fish hanging out weeks prior.
The storms were really getting close as we started casting the shoreline. About 10 casts in, Katie quietly says, "Fish". (When Katie has a fish she is not going to yell it down your throat. She is going to concentrate on getting it to the boat. It is our job to seal the deal with the net.) I picked up the net and handed it to Scottie as 'I get freaked out of my crocks when I have to net giant skies'. I didn't want to mess this one up as it was totally dark and knew Katie would kill me if I screwed it up. I scrambled to find a flashlight as Katie was getting tugged all over the boat. Scottie couldn't see the fish as it thrashed on the surface towards the back of the boat. I needed to find my light. Scottie was struggling to see where the ski was going as Katie's pole bent over right under the bow mount trolling motor and her drag whistled. OH NO! It’s not a good thing when a fish dives for the tolling motor. I held my breath. Seconds later the fish was back on her side of the boat as Scottie squinted to see the fish. As I found my light and turned it on, I saw a giant go into the center of the net. YEAH. HOG!!!!
We were all smiles and high fives. I hugged Katie and felt her shaking like no other. SHE WAS PUMPED. I even saw some tears on her cheeks. I had to hold the fish for her as she was shaking too bad to do it herself. A couple good pictures and the 44 inch was back in the water. You deserved that one Katie. All weekend with little sleep, she kept right on our tails cast for cast.
Torrential downpours kept us off the lake on Sunday morning. It was Independence Day so we returned home to spend the day with friends and family.
We will be doing more and more muskie fishing as water temperatures pass that 70 degree mark and the fish start to eat everything. Watch out for them when you are swimming...
Godfrey has been preparing for the Bass Championship on Rainy Lake. It is a three day tournament (July 22, 23, 24) that includes some of the best bass fisherman in the world. Adam will be fishing it with his uncle Gordon Fothergill. Good Luck Guys.
Written by Brock
Godfrey called me Thursday evening in the middle of my drive back from North Dakota. His voice and emotions told me he was fired up. Something exciting had happened or was taking place. I knew he was out fishing with his cousin Jake so maybe they had landed a hog or had caught some good fish. Adam mumbled, “Beaves, what do I do? I have a 30.5 inch walleye in the net. It is not the fattest eye, but it is all of 30.” I told him, “You have two options, mount it or release it, it’s that easy.”
Adam decided he would mount this fish. This would be Adam’s first attempt at mounting a walleye. In my mind, the kid is artistically capable of mounting anything. I am pumped to see it when it is done. 30.5 inch eyeball: Way to go…..
With the AYA tournament set to kick off on Saturday at 8:30am, Colt and I headed out early Friday morning to Tioga boat landing to meet Ben Olson to do some pre-fishing. As we pulled into the landing, it started to thunder, lightning, and pour cats and dogs. We ended up sitting in Ben’s car for an hour and a half, waiting the sheets of rain out.
The rain receded around 8am and we backed the Lund in the lake. Our mission was to find some under fish (20 inches and under) as I knew where to catch big ones come Saturday. It did not take long and we found 2 really good spots that were stacked with under fish and a few real big ones also. At 3pm, it seemed we had put together a fabulous game plan for Saturday. He had caught 7 walleyes for the day while trying to stay away from a few that showed themselves on the graph for hopes of them biting Saturday. It seemed like Saturday was going to be a fishy day from the looks of Friday.
Tracy met me in Hill Silly at 6:45am on Saturday. She had hit a deer on the way up from Mille Lacs, but it didn’t stop her from delivering my two tournament fishing partners on time: Bailey and Jesse. Both Bailey and Jesse were 14 years of age and were set to put some walleyes in the boat in hopes of a trip to Canada to fish the International AYA Championship.
Before take off at 8:30am, I told the kids about our competition amongst the field of boats. I told them there were a lot of good fishermen out there today and we needed to fish our hearts out in order to do well. They agreed to what I said, I think, mainly because of the size of some of the boats….
Topps was competition, but good competition as we would surely be fishing some of the same spots. We were hoping one of us could pull a victory. I knew his first 3 spots and he knew mine as well. Everything from then on was up in the air.
Topps took off as boat 12 and us as 20. We headed to our first spot to find no walleyes and lots of perch. The eye balls were there the previous day. They had been stacked on the graph. We speeded off to spot 2 to find about the same conditions, no walleyes. Our first 2 spots were supposed to be our under spots. Where had all the fish gone? We arrived on spot 3 which was one of my big fish spots. Six fish lie on the tip right where they were supposed to be. We ran thru them a few times with no bites. On pass number 3, the fish were absent. They disappeared… Great..
Topps pulled up as we were just leaving to spot 4. He informed us that he had a 26 inch in the box. We informed him that we had gone thru 4 dozen crawlers with 0 walleye bites and 7 million perch bites. He said everyone was struggling to find fish.
With a west wind on Friday and fishing being very productive, the 180 degree switch to east must have shut the fish off. Like fisherman say ‘Wind from the East, The fish bite the least’..
We couldn’t settle for weighing zero pounds. We hit our 4th, 5th, and 6th spots with no better luck at all. I begin to struggle. What next? Knowing Pokegama Lake very well, I had a few spots up my sleeve where I knew there would be a fish or 2 hanging on. I ran through 3 spots that usually 99% of the time at least holds a fish, and seen nothing on the Lowrance HDs. Wow… Dead Sea and the clock read 1:00pm. We had a little over 2 hours of fishing left..
Bailey and Jesse were getting bored by this time. I reminded them that we had to put a walleye in the boat before the radio could come on. I also had reminded them plenty throughout the day that you fish hard and good things will happen. I couldn't complain one bit. They were fishing hard. I had to find them a fish or two.
We moved to one of my Moose Pt spots and I finally graphed 2 walleyes on the corner. We worked them twice with no luck. On the third pass, I slowed the trolling motor. I was going to sit on top of these two fish until they bit. All of a sudden one appeared on the graph and seconds later ripped the pole nearly right out of my hands. I fed him a couple feet of line and set the hook. A minute later a 25 inch eye ball was in the live well and the radio in the Lund was cranked.
A whole new life came to in our boat. I told Bailey and Jesse we needed another big one and we needed one fast. Twenty minutes later I told the kids we had 2 walleyes under us. Moments later, Jesse yelled, "I have one". I looked up front and his pole was doubled over. Whatever was on the end of his line was not moving. I told him to keep reeling as I fired up the big motor and slammed it into forward. Whatever he had on must have been wrapped up in the cabbage. As I got closer to the end of his line, I realized 'whatever' was untangled with the cabbage and was coming in hot. I shut the motor off and grabbed the net. As I looked up a huge walleye popped up right by the boat. I scooped it up as fast as I could. As I rest it on the bottom of the boat, I caught a huge smile on Jesse’s face as well as Bailey’s and mine. It was a hog. It wasn’t the fattest fish in the world, but it was all of 30 inches….
We quickly got out of that spot and returned to our two under spots (Spot 1 and 2 of the morning). To our surprise there were still millions of perch and zero walleyes there. We had a half hour left. We jumped from point to point in Tioga Bay in hopes of a couple unders. With 10 minutes of fishing remaining, I laced into a good eye. It turned out to be another 25 inch and a releaser. We already had our two overs. Would a 30 and 25 inch be enough to put us in the top 5??
It sure was. We placed a healthy 4th place. We were well satisfied with ourselves. Topps only fish even scored them 10th place. Way to go KIDS.
After the tournament, we grilled out at the Anderson household, drank a few beers, and played some yard games. There, I seen pictures of Mama’s fat 43.5 inch muskie he had caught and released on a local area lake while we were fishing the AYA. Good Fish Craig!!
What a successful WEEKEND!!!!!!!!!!
Look for the day bite on Pokegama Lake to taper down and the night bite to drastically get crazy. Colt has been slamming some eye balls out there at night all this week. Get a hold of us if you want to experience a great crankbait bite one of these nights...
Written by Brock
Thursday June 17th was filled with excitment as the work week came to an end and the weather started to show signs of severe thunderstorms and tornadic conditions all across Minnesota and North Dakota. For the Hang Loose Boys, walleye tournaments were the only thing on their minds.
Randy and Brock were set to fish the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce Pokegama Lake Walleye Classic on Saturday as Godfrey and Mama were to take to the water for the Swan Lake Classic the same day.
In order to fish these tournaments, Brock and Godfrey would have to somehow make it back to Grand Rapids. With tornadoes touching down pretty much everywhere on Thursday evening and warnings and watches in their pathes, they proceeded to stay on the gas pedal.
Missing tornadic activity by matter of minutes and passing thru some brutal winds, Brock arrived from the West and Godfrey from the South, late Thursday night.
Brock got about 3 hours of sleep on Thursday night as Topper and him hit the water on Friday morning at 7 am to finalize their game plan for the tournament. Topper had been pre fishing most of the week and had a handful of solid spots lined up.
The plan for the morning was to check out the spots and order them up as 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so on. The wind was to switch from South East to North West late Friday night.
The wind was already bucking as they cruised over their 1st spot at 7am. The Lowrance X-15 indicated that the fish were still piled up there like Topps had mentioned they had been all week. They decided not to even drop a line as this was going to be their 1st spot on tourney day. It was a spot on a spot and dropping a line could be dangerous resulting in catching potential tournament day fish..
They decided to go run down and check out another spot, and maybe drop a line in the cabbage. The wind would be pounding this spot in the morning of the tourney. Their lines weren't in the water for more than 1 minute and Topps pole was folded over. A huge 29.5" walleye was netted and spot 2 was locked down.
The wind continued to pick up more and more and by 10am Brock and Topps decided they had all their spots locked down and ready for tourney day. It would be hard to sleep that night knowing hog eye balls were eating in their spots....
Boat 9 (Hang Loose Outdoors) crossed the starting line a little after 7 am on June 19th. Their destination was spot Number 1 for the 2010 Pokegama Lake Classic.
The wind pounded into their first spot as they arrived. Within 7 minutes, Topps pole was bent over and the two starred at the water as they awaited their first fish. It was an eye ball and it didn't want to give up. After minutes of shaking and tense faces, a 26.75" eye ball found the first picture on the tournament SD card. What a start!!!
As the rain started coming down around 7:30 and continued to 8am, the boys decided to move to their 2nd spot as no more fish wanted to eat on spot number 1. Arriving at spot 2 with lots of confidence from Topps 29.5" the day before, they dropped their lines.
The first pass in 12 ft was unsuccessful. Brock slipped out to 14 ft on the second pass and Topps drilled a 17.75". Good Good. Fish were there. The Boys remained in spot number 2 till 10 am as they put 3 more fish in the boat: 26.75; 19.75; 19.75. They needed 2 more fish for their 7 fish limit.
They moved to spot 3 where Brock missed a good bite and Topps fought a feisty small mouth that they for sure thought was going to be their 6th eye ball. Topps decided to move back to spot 1 and try to catch 2 more eyes.
Moving back to spot 1 proved successful as Topper pulled a 19.75" and a while later Brock put a 24.25" in the net. They had there 7 fish by 1pm and decided to move around from spot to spot in hopes of improving their bag with larger fish.
With confidence and excitment in the boat, Topps and Beaves bounced a few more spots in the last 2 hours of the tournament. On the last spot and 15 minutes remaining, Brock replaced one of their 17.75" with a 22.25".. It was key, only if they could of caught 2 that size. Catching 8 fish for the day, they returned to Pokegama Lake Golf Course and handed in their SD card and Scoresheet.. Their 7 fish to be weighed in would read like this: 26.75, 26.75, 24.25, 22.25, 19.75, 19.75, 17.75....
They were kind of nervous as they waited at the Saw Mill Inn until the weigh in at 6pm. Beer satisfied their taste and kept them somewhat calm. But, after sitting down Sean Colter and Dave Hernesman, Hang Loose could only hope for 2nd place now as it sounded like Sean and Dave would not be weighing a fish in under 25 inches. WOW!
Brock and Randy ended up taking 4th place. Only minimal OUNCES seperated 4th place from 2nd, but Sean and Dave sat in 1st with a commanding 16lb lead. Congratulations guys......
Mama and Godfrey ended up catching a good bag of walleyes in the Swan Lake Classic, they just were not the right ones to get them a place. Guys... It always helps to pre-fish. Maybe next time. haha
If you are going to be out on Pokegama Lake this week, look for the crawler bite to be very strong in 10 to 20 feet. Play the wind if there is any and keep bouncing around from spot to spot till you find those hungry eye balls. Most fish are hanging out on the shoreline, but you can find a few out on the humps and bars. Concentrate on cabbage points and deep bending corners... GOOD LUCK...
Join us out on Pokegama Lake again this coming weekend for the AYA tournament.....
Written by Brock
The rain continued its soaking on us during pre-fishing on Thursday and Friday morning. Randy and Colt had a good weight on Thursday including a solid 26". The fish were definitley in our spots on Thursday.
On Friday, fish still showed themselves in our spots on the Lowrance, but only the little ones wanted to bite. We were a little worried, but decided to stick to our game plan come tourney day.
Sleep was non existent on Friday evening with worries hanging in our heads and complete wetness in the air.
Saturday at 4 am, we packed our campsite up, and headed to the park where the Krause Anderson Walleye Classic would kick off at 7am on Lake Bemidji.
As the boats poured into the the park, the butterflies began. Lots of good fisherman bobbed in their boats as the clock got closer to 7am.
A little after 7am, Boat 27 (Hang Loose Outdoors), crossed the starting buoys, and were off to their first spot.
Our first spot held fish, but only a few little ones fell victim to a jig and a minnow in the first hour. We proceeded to our cabbage spot which was our number one spot. We had high hopes for this one.
With a few other boats working this area, we fished and fished with no bites. We began to get worried. Finally, Brock popped a 16 inch by snap jigging a shiner.
A while later we decided we were stuck in a rut and neeeded to hunt on our third spot. Our third spot showed 0 of anything so we moved to deep water.
We went to a couple of our big fish spots in hopes of one of them to launch our confidence and our weight. Nothing...
We went back to our cabbage spot and Topper instantly rigged a 17.5" with a crawler. A few passes later, Brock missed one on a leech. With only one hour left and only 2 fish in the box, we went back to our starting spot.
A boat was right on top of our spot so we decided to fish the deep side where we had been graphing fish all week. Brock had a giant creek chub on as Topps pulled a crawler. Brock laced into a 19.75" and a while later Topps pulled in a 18". 4 fish in the box and ONE big one to go.
Knowing defeat was in the mix, Brock grabbed the largest creeker from the livewell and threw it on his rig. Minutes later, a fish smashed it, and peeeeeeled line. Brock set the hook and his pole doubled over. Our noses touched the water as Brock fought his fish. Was this the 28" that would put them in the money???
A huge slimy pike popped to the surface and our hearts stopped as our mouths echoed dirty words out into the lake. A dirty 30 inch pike was not what we were looking for. We lost our hope and lost the tournament by a huge margin.
As everyone says, you have to lose in order to learn and we definitley got taken to school in every aspect of the tournament. The things we gained and learned from this loss were priceless.
We will be bringing our learned experiences to our home waters of Pokegama Lake this weekend for the 2nd Chamber of Commerce Walleye Classic.
Watch out!!!!!!!!!!! Our goal...... Seven walleys from 24 to 30" on our camera when we roll back to Zorbaz at 3pm on Saturday..
I drove back from North Dakota on Thursday evening like usual and met Topps at his house. We hooked up the Lund for an all out weekend of surveying Lake Bemidji. We have the Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic on June 12th. Topper had never wet a line in the lake and I had little experience. We had a plan in the morning, though.
We met Scottie at Lake Bemidji State Park on Friday morning. Scottie was going to be our guide for the day. Scotie knows muskies on Lake Bemidji like Micheal Jordan knows basketball. (So we'll just he knows the lake.) We had him along to point out some spots to us, show us some weeds, and jig those shiners...An extra line in the water while pre-fishing is a big help.
We found jumbo perch right off the bat. Not far behind the jumbos were a few muskies cruising after our perch on the end of our lines. Scottie lost control of all his emotions right there so to say. With muskie opener 15 hours away, he couldn't control himself. He didn't care too much about eye balls anymore.
With 3 hours in the boat and 1 walleye to show forth, we grinned as we knew tough tournaments are what we like. Another reason for the slow start was the may fly hatch. Mats and mats of may flies lie on the water everywhere on the lake.
May flies and bug hatches were not the only contributing factors to the slow fishing for the weekend. This time of year can be called the 'transitional period' on some lakes in Minnesota. The walleyes are transitioning to there summer areas on the lake. Most are leaving the shallows and moving on to deep key structures(islands, reefs, sand bars, rock piles); deeper water; or thick weeds like cabbage. This period is usually due to increasing water temperatures and food choice.
The shiners are leaving the shallows and dispersing. It is a good time to switch from a jig and minnow to a crawler and a leech. Don't put that minnow/jig combo away, though. You might still need it as this is the 'transitional period' and you never know what those eyes will want from one day to the next. My advice, "Bring minnows, leeches, and crawlers with you for every trip the next couple weeks".
Hang Loose will be bringing the whole array of bait out onto Lake Bemidji as they start to pre-fish again on Wednesday. Finding fish and coming up with a plan is key to tournament victory.
See you on the water or at the weigh in.....
Written by Brock
Brock cruised back to Grand Rapids as fast as his Chev Bomb would go to make it in time for the night walleye bite on Thursday evening. They trolled cranks till about 12:30 in the morning. Fishing proved to be slow with Brock and Mama only boating a couple fish. Topper and the Ulsteds caught about 15 walleyes, while staying a little later.
Friday evening Colt and Brock went out to Big Splithand and ended up catching 12 walleyes on a pretty much only crawler bite on mid lake structure. They had a few 23in along with a 24 to top off the evening.
They loaded the boat and drove to the next lake for the crankbait bite. At 1 am only 4 fish had been netted, including a 27in and a few eaters. At 1:15 am the walleyes turned the light switch on. Walleyes started tackling there baits as fast as they could get them in the water. They ended up putting 50+ walleyes in the boat by 3am. It was crazy fishing for this time of year at night. Water temps held right around 64 all night.
Saturday came early and found Topper, Brock, and Katie on there way to Leech Lake. Leech Lake has been the hottest fishery in Minnesota for the last couple years now. With a strong south wind and temps blazing into the 90's, they landed out of Federal Dam and headed onto the big lake. Hitting a few spots and only catching a few fish, they made there way across the rough waters to Two Points where they found the walleyes stacked up in the rocks. They boated around 20 walleyes, keeping 4 that would cook up good in t he pan. They left well before dark as Topper had plans to get back for.
Sunday found most of the Hang Loose Crew on Wabana Lake playing yard games and enjoying a few cold ones at Grell's Cabin. Topper thought about fishing, but realized with 2 tournaments coming up he better hydrate to motivate and take his mind off of the sport for one day.
Colt and Brock were fishing on Trout Lake in the afternoon of Sunday as a cold front rolled through. Yesterday was 90 degrees as today seen a high of 60. The walleyes did not cooperate as the two only caught one 17in eye ball. They decided to pack it up early and head north to troll some more crank baits on another clear area lake.
They found themselves slamming fish as the moon started to come up around 11:30. At 2:30 am, 41 walleyes had been caught and released. It was another crazy night of trolling cranks in Northern Minnesota.
Monday was chilled back as Topper and Brock started brainstorming there plans for the Kraus Anderson Walleye Tournament on Lake Bemidji, June 12. They two will be out on the lake this coming weekend prefishing and getting mentally focused for competition.
See you on the water.... Written by Brock
As I have been talking to local fisherman, this year is off to a crazy start, as we have proved. The walleye bite is absolutely awesome right now. If there is a strong wind focus on the windy side of structures in shallower water with a jig and shiner. If it is sunny and blazing, float a crawler a little deeper over the fresh cabbage that is starting to emerge. If it has been hot and calm all day, jump over to your crystal clear hog walleye lake in the evening and pull some crank baits until you get sleepy. Good Luck.
Turkey hunting was ever so slow. Birds were not in chase mode as late season was upon us. We sat 48 plus hours waiting for one to cross our path. We had 3 misses to show for the week.
Most of the clan arrived to Hillman's Beach on Upper Red Lake by 5pm on Friday. We set up our tents and campers and instantly cracked open a cold one.
Fishing was relatively good all weekend. We had to find fish, stay on them, and work ever so slowly. Vertical jigging and slip bobbers were key to success with no wind and blue bird skies.
We have been preparing for this weekends MN fishing opener. We are going to Red Lake in hopes of putting 100 fish in the boat per boat.
Godfrey and Brock have been preparing for their turkey season in Wisconsin starting 5/19...
Work on the new video is now complete and in its final stages. Lets just say, "People Love it so far"...
Friday found Godfrey and I in a Big Swamp somewhere between here and Duluth. Our mission was to find me a potential rifle stand location where the 30 pointer would walk by come November. Godfrey and I put some miles on our feet, got sweaty wet, found 0 antler sheds, and found a few real good potential stand locations.
We arrived back to Grand Rapids around 2pm. I hopped in my car and busted straight over to Topper’s house where another mission was soon to begin.
As all you probably know, Topper and I have been in the market for new boats for a month or two now. Topper found a 2003 Lund 18’ Explorer with a 90 Yamaha 4 stroke Tiller on Craigs List on Wednesday evening in New London, MN. He called the guy and a deal was scheduled for Friday evening.
Topper and I jumped in the Dodge at 3pm and pulled into New London around 7pm. The boat was spotless and everything we had been waiting to find. After a test drive and some BS with the seller (who I must add: you probably couldn’t find a better seller) we started our long trek back to Rapids.
With a new boat behind the Dodge, we pulled back into Topper’s house right around 12:30am on Saturday. With a new boat and a tournament to take place a couple hours down the road, Topper was not going to get anymore than an hour of sleep.
Topper, Mama, and Godfrey left Grand Rapids a little before 4am on Saturday. Their destination was the Sturgeon tournament out of Sportsmens Resort on the Rainy River. Yeah, sleep is overrated when there are giant bottom feeders and money involved.
Topper called me at about 10am as I was reeling in an 11 inch crappie on a local area lake. He said, “Beaves, how tall are you?” I responded, “5’5”, Why?” He said, “Damn, I missed you by one inch.” I got pretty pumped, tossed my crappie back, and screamed, “You got Hogs?” Topper had just released a 64 inch Sturgeon. As far as he knew he was in the lead. Would 64” hold till 5pm???
A couple text messages provided me information that Godfrey and Mama had landed mid 20” fish. Those would not help out in the money. It sounded like the new Lund was moving all over the river, bouncing spots, trying to find some active hogs.
At 5:30pm my phone rang to Topper’s voice, “Yes Beaves, first time the new boat finds the water, she wins a tourney”. Topper’s 64 inch held up and brought the Hang Loose Outdoors crew a first place finish in the tournament………(Check out the pics in soft water pics) Way to go Boys!!!!!!! That won’t be the only 1st place finish of 2010…
As for me, I kept a meal of crappies. I could not find the big ones, though. The biggest one we caught was 12.5”. The water temps were anywhere from 50 to 56. I caught fish anywhere from 1.5 feet to 21 feet. I thought for sure, 21’ would give up some hogs. Nope.
The rest of the weekend I worked on the new video. One can’t imagine how much work is going into this dvd. It should be done this week and available in a couple.
Written by Brock
For all you fans, all we have is short solo stories for you this weekend so hope you enjoy...
Brock put 30 plus hours of work into the new UNTITLED Hang Loose Outdoors DVD from Friday to Sunday while sitting on his butt in front of his computer. The new DVD should be out by fishing opener. HOLD ON TO YOUR PANTS!!!!
Godfrey hit a deer at 55mph and totaled his car on Friday.
Mama, Dan, and Topper went out to Pokegs on Friday evening and got 35 gallons of smelt. NOT BAD BOYS!!!!!
Brad was hanging loose as usually and thinking about business!!!!
2nd Weekend of April
Friday morning came very early for Brock when his alarm ding danged at 12 am midnight. He packed the car and left Jamestown, ND a little before 2 am. His destination was Baudette MN, home of the big walleye migration up the Rainy River.
He enjoyed his coffee and 3 hours of sleep as he pulled into Grand Forks at around 4am. As he realized his direction of travel and Red River being somewhat flooded, he asked the gas station employee if Hwy 11 was open at Drayton. The employee said, “Oh Yeah, everything has been open for a week now”. Brock should not had trusted this meatball’s word as he drove through Drayton and straight into a large orange sign before Hwy 11 that read, ‘HWY 11 CLOSED 1 MILE AHEAD’.
Brock proceeded to get pissed and put the pedal down, back tracking all the way south down I-29, east through Oslo, up to Thief River Falls, and back north up to Hwy 11. If he had been driving the speed limit, 2 hours would’ve been lost. At 85 mph, he pulled into Baudette right around 830am.
Topper and Mama had the Crestliner landed and were tying on rigs as Brock stepped into the boat. They were finally ready to catch some giant pre spawn walleyes and try for some pole bending Sturgeon in the afternoon hours.
Shale Rock Spot gave up a few eater walleyes and a 29.75” giant to Mama in the first hour. Fishing seemed on the slower side in the morning so we moved up to the Spruces at around 11am. We arrived at the Spruces (the Spruces is a deep scary hole in the Rainy River where only hardcore female walleyes lie and eat), and were delighted to find 700 plus boats in our spot. Yes, and they were catching our fish.
We started fishing our spot. It wasn’t long before Topper laced into a 30 pluser to lose it right before the net. It was big. We managed to put a number of walleyes in the boat, including a couple 26 inchers. At noon, the eyes found a light switch and shut the main bite down.
When the walleyes on the Rainy River slow down, we don’t hesitate to throw our light tackle down and switch over to hog sturgeon. We went down a few bends from the Spruces and anchored in hopes of a few prehistoric beasts.
It was not long when Mama’s clicker on his bait caster started to buzz. Mama casually stood up and put his weight into a massive hookset. Minutes later of intense pole bending action, his bent rod flung up like he had lost the fish, and a big sturge jumped straight out of the water and over the corner of the boat like a torpedo. If Topper had been standing any closer to the back of the boat (like 6 more inches); the sturge would had probably knocked him off his feet, over the side of the boat, and into the freezing cold river. (We wished it would have happened cause we would’ve died laughing.) As we laughed, Brock’s clicker went off, ‘double’. Brock set the hook into his sturge and 2 rods were now bent.
Brock landed his 40 inch sturge within 5 minutes and released it as Mama continued to battle his. After a mess with the anchor, a few minutes more of fighting, Mama finally landed a 57 inch sturgeon. The double provided some good video footage as well as a mess with the anchor, but it was damned worth it. A few hours later with no bites, we decided it was walleye time again.
We headed back up to the Spruces where earlier in the day was packed with boats. Little did anyone know, hogs always were there and would turn the light switch on around 4pm. 5 minutes into the drift, Brock screamed out, “WE GOT HOGS”, as Mama netted a huge female eye that spewed eggs all over the inside of Topper’s coat that was laying on the bottom of the boat. We laughed, as Brock put the eye in the trough to measure her up. To his surprise the monster was longer than the 30.5 inch trough. We gave her 30.75” and released her back to the river.
We caught a few more fish from the Spruces and decided to head to Shale Rock at about 6pm. We got to Shale Rock and the fish literally jumped in the boat. It also started to rain. We headed into the landing around 730pm because we didn’t want to get totally soaked.
We met up with Josh and Klayton at our cabin at Border View Resort. We cleaned fish, had a wonderful fish fry, enjoyed a few beverages, and headed to bed early.
Saturday morning seemed as if the walleyes never woke up from their sleep. We bounced from spot to spot only catching little fish. We came to the conclusion that the water temperature was probably pushing the majority of the females into spawn mode, thus meaning all they cared about was making babies and not eating anymore. At noon, we decided to head to 4 mile bay to fish sturgeon.
It was excessively windy that afternoon as Topper was convinced we had to go out into 4 Mile Bay to his hog spot. We arrived at the spot to find 3 to 4 foot waves and no hopes of even 3 anchors holding us. We headed back to a deep hole in front of Sportsman’s Resort. We enjoyed a few beverages out in the boat and slammed on a 48, 46, 40, and 2 littler sturge that evening.
Sunday morning our heads hurt a little as we crawled into the boat and went out to Topper’s spot in 4 Mile Bay. Mama boated a fat 50 inch sturgeon, followed by Brock losing a giant 2 minutes into an intense battle, and Topper catching a smaller one. Action was slow so we moved back to Sportsmans. After a couple more hours of nothing and a few short naps we decided to hit the road.
If you have not experienced a sturgeon on the end of your line you better get up to LAKE OF THE WOODS in the next couple weeks and experience it. As for walleyes, you only have till April 14th to catch them as season closes for a month. ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!
Written by Brock
Plans were jarred around again before the weekend arrived. Mama and Godfrey planned on looking for moose sheds on Friday in Northeastern MN as Brock journeyed to Brainerd to check out another boat. Topper had to work on Friday so he was set to make us some money. Topper planned on fishing the Rainy River on Saturday.
Mama and Godfrey put in a full day of walking. They dodged huge piles of moose shit in the aspen regeneration cuts, but only came up one handed with a real old shed that had been gnawed on by 62 rabbits, 42 mice, and 1 lone porcupine.
Brock did not buy the Yar Craft he checked out as too much work and money looked towards the boats future. He did enjoy lunch with Joel Reed, Kayla, Nathan, and Nathan’s girlfriend; some old school Bemidji college kickers and friends of the Hang Loose Boys.
Brock arrived at Topper’s house at 5pm on Friday for preparation to get Topper’s boat ready for the river the following day. Topper had just pulled it home from Shane’s shop where his hole in the side had been fixed. The floor of the boat was off, the seats were nowhere to be found, and everything was scattered everywhere. They managed to put everything together in a matters time, but decided to wing it on the motor and hope it started in the morning once they got up to the river (not a smart move considering we had a 3 hour drive).
We left Topper’s house a little after 3:30am on Saturday. The wind was gusting to 30mph already; the weather called for snow, sleet, and rain all day; the boat had 2009 registration (its 2010 and we are predestined for a ticket), and the spare tire for the trailer was nowhere to be found. We were in very good shape.
We arrived at Vidas landing at around 7:30am. Yes, the motor did start and we were on our way to catch hogs. The weather was already downright brutal and we looked at each other and knew it would be a cold day on the river.
As we battled the hurricane winds, we managed to put some nice eyes in the boat. Our 2 biggest eyes of the morning were 26 and 27 inches. As the wind started draining our batteries, we decided to anchor up and give sturgeon a try. We fished sturgeon for a good 5 hours only boating one about 35 inches.
We returned to the walleye game in the evening as the sun peaked out, the wind started to diminish, and the boats cleared off the river. Fishing took on a whole new level as we kicked it into high gear boating walleye after walleye. We managed to put some picture fish in the boat with a 28.5 being the biggest.
We loaded up the boat as the sun set. Not too many boats were left on the river. The ones that had left missed out on the best weather of the day and best eye bite, sucks to be them. As we pulled out of the landing we decided the day was pretty successful considering we did not get a ticket for old boat registration, the weather was awful, and the fishing was good.
We are pumped for this weekend………
Written by Brock
Last Weekend of March
Somewhere Between Here and There
As the last weekend of March rolled in on us, we had no plans of fishing. The warm temperatures and deteriorating ice conditions put an early halt to our March Madness on Lake of the Woods. We wished it didn’t end so soon, but were happy to get a weekend to relax. We can’t fish every weekend. Guys have to get some rest, pay some bills, and make the women happy….
Most of the Hang Loose Boys stayed around the Grand Rapids area for the weekend, kicking it, relaxing, and getting some much needed work around the house accomplished. Ice fishing gear was put away and soft water gear and boats were taken out of storage.
Rainy River is soon approaching and nothing fires us up more than a monster sturgeon on the end of our pole along with a few 10 plus pound walleyes. Last soft water season was tough on our boats so some major repairs had to be worked out this weekend. Brock and Topper still remain in the market for finding their new boats.
Brock took the morning of Friday to make some phone calls on some boats. He and Topper have been having similar problems as boats are flying away minutes after they get posted on the internet. Only time and they will have some new rigs to hit the water in this year.
Brock decided to stay in North Dakota for the weekend and hang out with his buddy Matt (aka ‘The Shed Hunter’) one last time, as Matt had found another job and would be relocating somewhere around Devils Lake. Brock and Matt had a plan for the weekend. There plan was to shed hunt all weekend long. Matt’s buddy Kamran arrived in town a little after noon.
At 2pm the boys hit the prairie. Sixteen sheds were gathered on Friday. Not bad for an area Matt later admitted he had already walked 2 weeks before and picked up most of the big antlers. We think he brought us there just to find a few of the matches to his earlier finds.
Saturday morning started at 7am as we ate some breakfast at the local café. Our waitress asked us at meals end if we were just going to go back to bed as we looked stuffed and tired. We proceeded to tell her that we were going out into the prairie to get some exercise, find some sheds, and drink some beer. With a confused look on her face, she responded, “So you guys just go out and search for sheds to drink beer in and stay in?” As we laughed hysterically, we just shook our heads, yes. She must not have been a farm girl with a hunting background.
Saturday proved ever so successful with us 3 finding 39 sheds. A few matches were found scoring in the upper 130s, 140s, and a single side which would have scored in the 150s if we had found the other side.
Sunday morning came early as the 3 of us felt very lazy as we had already walked 1000s of miles in the last day and a half. We hit up a different café for breakfast and headed back out to find Matt’s matching side to his 150 class. The day was hot, almost reaching into the 60s by noon. We did not find the other side, but picked up 6 more sheds while walking, zigging, and zagging in the corn as that was the last place it could be. We took a few pictures of our 61 sheds we found in two half days and one full day, and then called it quits for the weekend. All in all it was a pretty crazy and fun weekend.
Those 61 sheds weren’t the only sheds found during the week. Mama scored on 3 hog moose sheds up in Lake County, MN along with a few deer sheds as well. According to Mama, the 3 sheds weighed 90 pounds and were heavy as hell to carry around while cruising timber. They were too valuable to leave behind, though.
Hang Loose Outdoors are shed hunters…….. Best way to scout for next hunting season as sign still exists from the fall and bones lay where hogs traveled……
Written by Brock
Weekend #3 of March Madness
Lake of the Woods
Well, as the third weekend of pike fishing closed in on us, none of us really knew what the weekend plan was going to consist of. We had been fishing hard core for a month straight and had all become pretty worn out with the slower side of fishing and long drives, but the awesome weather kept our spirits high!! By Thursday night we had finally put together a game plan. Dan Neary planned to attend (only his second attendance of the season), new comer Brad was bouncing along for the ride, and Kevin Godfey was also along more jacked up for hogs than anyone else.
As Mother Nature filled the previous days of Hawg Pike with sun shine and warm temperatures, this weekend it brought gale force winds and chills right down our spine. As usual, nothing stops Hang Loose from catching fish and having a blast.
Topper, Adam and Kevin loaded up the wheelers on boss man Godfrey’s trailer, stopped and picked up some food and beer, and headed north to Dan’s house in Mizpah, just east of Northhome. Brad and Craig drove up solo as Brock came in from the west. As the beer and stories started, Adam pulled out the old cardboard cribbage board and challenged Kevin in a game thus starting the whole weekend!
With all the Hang Loose Boys finally at the weekend’s base camp, strategies started flying around and teams were called out: Adam, Craig, Brad and Kevin as “Team Gator” against Topper, Brock and Dan as “Team NO NAME”!!!
Friday morning came very early as the crew left from Dan’s around 6am and headed even farther north to Baudette. We found some scary looking ice in those parts and after checking with a couple resorts, we found it was still safe for travel out of Morse Point!
With gale force winds, white out conditions, unsafe ice, and Topper in the lead to his honey hole pike spot, we were all pretty convinced that is was going to be a very long day on the ice.
After discovering Topper’s spot was not too far from open water, the ice was deathly slippery to run on, and the wind was frantically cold; the sun came out and gave us warm hopes that flags were soon to pop. The day turned out to be very rewarding in the little contest we had going as “Team Gator” caught multiple fish in the mid 30 inch range with a couple hanging just under 40, while “Team No Name”, Brock, Dan and Topper, put only two fish on the ice all day; one being Brock’s fat 39in, and a 41inch Mammoth that Dan wrestled in taking big fish of the day and big fish of March Madness.
Topper decided to just leave the truck and trailer at the resort that evening so he and Adam jumped in with Brad and Kevin who had no idea where they were in relation to Northern Minnesota, and decided to take the lead in front of Dan Neary. In no time, Adam and Topper started dosing off in the car. Adam woke up to Brad asking directions. Adam replied, “Right”, having no idea as his eyes were still closed. Well to make a long story short, they ended up in Warroad like 45 miles the wrong fricken way!!!! LOL !!!! That right turn should have been a left. It’s funny how people screw up East from West.
Brad, Adam, Topper, and Kevin were ridiculed to the max by Dan, Brock, and Mama when they finally arrived back at Dan’s trailer to freshly grilled venison. The windy cold day and long opposite direction car ride found everyone in bed early that night.
Day two showed itself a little behind schedule in the morning as Topper, Adam, Brad, and Kevin missed their turn to Morris Point Resort. One would think they would remember where they were going after already getting lost 6 hours earlier. With even harder winds and temps down another five degrees, the two groups decided to part ways.
Team Gator went back to Topper’s spot from the day before as Topper, Brock, and Dan went to a new spot that looked pretty promising from the contours on their GPS. Topper was on deck for the next flag as he began his long wait for his first fish of the weekend. Topper’s team was having some bad luck, but as fishing goes, Hang Loose is never scared to try new spots and consistently keep on the move. Their first flag came at 5pm after 3 moves as Topper pulled in a rat, 20in pike.
Within 20 minutes of being all set up in the morning, Adam and Craig both pulled 38’s; what a start to the day!!! With flags off and on all day, it seemed like Brad was having some sweet beginners luck pulling nice fish all weekend along with a monster 41in HOG in the evening, while the rest of the team caught mid 30’s fish!!
After two days of blustery wind and slippery ice resulting in some hilarious ice falls, one team struggled to get flags, while the other had consistent action. As for word of slow fishing all over the big lake, Hang Loose was satisfied in the quality fish they put on the ice in 2 days. Word on Saturday evening of Scottie Thomas’ buddy catching and releasing a 45in in one of Brock’s spots also proved success for the group.
Hang Loose took Sunday off to relax and look for some sheds in the woods as one more day of wind might have blown their skin right off their face….
Written by Adam Godfrey
Hawg Pike Weekend #1 2010
We had waited for the arrival of this weekend to come ever since we left the ice in early April of last year. Hog pike on Lake of the Woods send shivers down our backs. We know that each flag could be that 45 plus inch toothy creature.
Hang Loose Outdoors arrived in Warroad MN, a little after midnight on Thursday. Dan Carrol opened his doors and floor to us to crash for the weekend. With drinks in hand and hopes held high, we got a total of 2.5 hours of sleep that night.
Friday morning we unloaded the snowmobiles and headed to our 2009 spot that never failed giving up pictures of 40 plus inch gators. The sunrise was admired to its fullest as 10 tip ups were precisely placed on our gradual break where gators were awaiting the tasty smelt on our snagger rigs.
It took a few hours before Tops finally broke the ice with the first hog of March Madness right around 11am. The fish went 37 inches and sent our hopes sky rocketing for flags to start popping. We never did get the intense flurry of flags we were used to, but we made the most out of the beautiful day.
We spent most of the day tossing the football around waiting for the next flag. Mama was Brett Farve as Brock and Adam took up the rolls of Randy Moss and Chris Carter. Games and food were action packed on the ice as fishing took up the slower side of the day.
At the end of Day 1 we had caught and released 7 pike: 26, 30, 34, 35, 36, 37, 37”. During the afternoon hours Scottie had mentioned a spot up at the Northwest Angle that had looked good via Google Earth. We checked it out on our gps and immediately came to the conclusion that it was our destination for Day 2.
Day 2 we piled on the snowmobiles at 6am and headed up to the Northwest Angle. The trip by sleds was about 25 miles to our planned destination for the day. Fog was extremely heavy and our sight was limited as we cruised. After a long trip, we finally had 10 flags in the water as the fog burned off to clear skies and 40 degree temps.
Scottie broke thru around 10am with a 37 inch fighting fatty. With no more flags and the clock showing 1pm, we made our move to steeper structure off a point which headed into the mouth of the bay.
Godfrey had just put the 10th flag in the water and it popped. It was Mama's turn as he picked the flag up, and hand over hand a 35” come flying up the hole. Fifteen minutes later, Godfrey caught a 39” and another fifteen went by as Tops added an additional pig of a 39” to the ice. It was a little flurry that locked down the new spot for a possible revisit third weekend of March.
Scottie ended the day with a 37”. Not a bad day’s catch: 35, 37, 37, 39, 39”. Not many fish, but definitely quality fish…. As we discussed our average catch for the day, Tops (who never fails us on any trip) reminds us that he has under a quarter tank of gas in his sled.
As we are assured that we will run out of gas before War Town, we begun our trek back. We did run out of gas……but right at the truck. We loaded all our gear and headed back to Dan’s house.
Dan had fish and potatoes waiting for us as we pulled in the driveway. We filled our bellies with deliciousness and Dan and Darrin told their story of hammering the walleyes as we showed them pics of our big pike… Our full bellies and sunburned faces found us in bed early.
Day 3, we all broke up; Tops, Godfrey, and Mama heading to 4 Mile Bay to try there pike luck out there. Scottie and Brock went out close to War Town in search of MN pike, as Dan and Darrin headed out to hammer the eyes once again.
Day 3 ended with the 4 Mile Bay crew, putting a huge 39” and a 39.5” on the ice. Dan and Darrin filled out on eyes from 14 to 17” and iced 2 pike: a 35” and 38”. Scottie and Brock bounced flags 18 times with no luck, but did succeed in getting Brock's truck stuck...
As 2 and a half days flew by, we were happy with the results of the early pre March pike bite. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and we could only complain about some broken gear. We knew that next weekend would only be better……………
Stay tuned as Hawg Pike 2010 has only just BEGUN!!!!!!!!
Written by Brock Anderson
Well, we began this journey about 2 weeks ago with ‘Topper’ mentioning something about a sub-species of Northern Pike called the ‘SILVER PIKE’, and let’s just say we were all into it so much that we just had to go hunting for this elusive fish. The Silver Pike is only found in a handful of lakes in Minnesota.
We all met at Godfrey’s house at 3:30am on Friday morning. We squeezed all our gear into Mama’s Chev bomb with the snowmobiles on the trailer and headed to the Boundary Waters with our destination being 15 miles north of Ely, MN. We all love to throw spears at Northern Pike and with the last weekend of the Minnesota spearing and angling season for pike and walleye upon us; we decided this would be our primary way to target these fish. We decided we would also throw out some tip-ups to help in hopefully putting one of these special fish on the ice, and for back-up we brought the poles and gear to target some ‘LAKERS’ in the off hours of spearing!
To start the trip out we couldn’t find any damn bait!!! Out of the four bait shops in Ely, not a one of them was going to be open before 8 am except the Lucky 7 gas station we pulled into first thing. The sucker minnows they had there weren’t even big enough to decoy a perch. As we stood there and thought of what to do, a customer who looked like he might do a little fishing came into pay for his gas. He must of saw how we were staring at those 2 inch sucker minnows because he grumbled, “That ‘BITE ME BAIT’ in Babbitt is open for sure”. Godfrey called 411 and got in contact with the owner who explained that he had big sucker minnows that would work for decoys and tip ups.
We jumped in the truck and headed back south 15 miles to get lost in a town of 100 people! Finally finding the bait store, we walked into a small shop with one of everything, but two of nothing. Looking into the tank of 13 suckers that were just big enough to use on tip-ups but not quite what we had in mind for decoys, we said, “We will take them all”! “GEEEEZ must be some hardcore fisherman around these parts” we were all thinking! We cleaned that nice little bait shop right out…. “Great place to stop if you are ever cruising through Babbit.”
Finally, we made it to SMITTY’S resort, checked in, and began to chat with the local coffee drinkers in the lodge who had nothing positive really to say about the fishing and really didn’t seem too excited about us spearing their prized SILVER PIKE! With one of them reminding us that there really is no such thing as spear and release, we looked at each other with not much care about the specific comment! Haha !!!! So we all threw our clothes in the cabin, loaded up the sleds, and headed out into one of the most beautiful sun rises the northland had to offer with Brock and Topper going one way and Godfrey and Mama headed another! Knowing we had to cover some water being new to the lake, we picked two different kinds of structure and went with our instincts.
With only one flag and no fish seen the first day, there was still a story to be told: Topper never seems to fail us! Brock tells it while laughing so hard he cries! As they stare down the spear hole Brock glances out the window and screams “FLAG” as he rips open the door and high steps his way out with Topper soon to follow, but after taking three sprinting steps is reminded of the spear being tied to his leg by coming to a halting stop and face planting right into the snow!!! HAHA!!!!
Godfrey and Mama’s only excitement was when they had a skier come sneaking up on them while in the house. The skier proceeded to ask what they were up to and how the fish were biting, but when he found out what they were doing he didn’t seem very open to their weapon of choice and stated, “OH you’re some of those SPEAR CHUCKERS from the resort ah”. Mama and Godfrey looked at each other and chuckled as he skied away!
Getting up at 6am and excited for the second 35 degree clear sky day to begin, breakfast was chowed down, and the sleds were fired up! Oh we started things off right that second morning with Topper blowing a head gasket on his auger and Godfrey’s blades so dull that Brock’s 140 pounds couldn’t even drill a hole. We were still determined to find those sought after silver fish or a Lake Trout or two. Let’s just say we struggled that second day as well. Lake Trout were seen in numerous amounts in the spear holes, but would not present themselves on the end of our lines. The Silver Pike shied away all weekend to the four of us. One silver was viewed back at Smitty’s during lunch which kept us thinking it could still happen…. One of the Deer River clan was fortune enough to chuck a spear through one. Good going Judd….
Well, we never did get a Silver Pike and we never did catch any lakers, but you all know us, we tried our hardest and had a blast doing so!! Topper caught some grief over the trip since he planned it, but that is expected and will be forgiven!! As everyone loyal to the sport of fishing knows, fish can’t bite all the time. Smitty’s Resort was a great place to stay and very reasonably priced. As for Snowbank Lake, with its Silver Pike and Lake Trout, an off weekend might find us scratching our heads to come back and giver another shot down the road. Hang Loose Outdoors does not let an unsuccessful trip go unforgotten….
Written by Adam Godfrey