For the first time many anglers got to experience winter trout fishing on lakes that had never been ice fished. Lakes throughout the state had plenty of fisherman on them. Most anglers targeted rainbows but I did hear of some lake trout and brookies. We traveled north to go after some rainbows. We knew it was going to be a good trip when I pulled the first fish through the ice before my lure hit the bottom. Although Saturday was definitely better than Sunday, both days were amazing as far as trout fishing goes. We only had to move a few times and managed to catch over 100 fish.
As I have been planning a trout fishing trip to northern Minnesota for the last month, it turns out we will be able to fish for them right here. It was released last fall that certain trout lakes in Minnesota would be accessible to winter trout fishing, and then earlier last week it was released that many of the Crosby mine pits would also be open. This will be a great opportunity for fishermen to take a break from the usual and try their luck at some rainbow trout fishing. Although many of these stocked lakes have lots of 12 inch fish, you will occasionally catch fish 20 inches or bigger.
Are you sick of sitting around the house waiting for the cold weather to go away? Also, if you are thinking of going to the Extravaganza, here are a few pointers to staying warm head to toe. As far as stocking caps go they are not all created equal. There are actually hats with thinsulate that are at the top of the list. Also, a double layered fleece hat holds heat very well. Top it off with a facemask and you will actually be able to talk without your face hurting. You always hear people talk about layering, but layering what, is the question.
Well the only thing left of 2014 is the memories. Hopefully everyone had a great year and is ready to make this one even better. As outdoorsmen we tend to plan at the last minute and do spur of the moment trips. But some people have our future seasons all ready for us. First the wolves get back on the endangered species list with absolutely no warning or public input. And now the latest, an online class for boaters on invasive species. Don't get me wrong I do think invasive species need to be stopped. Not just slowed down at a cost no one can afford.
Hopefully we are done with this roller coaster ride of weather patterns. We were well on our way to having almost driveable ice, not any more. With the warm temperatures last weekend causing the melting ice and snow to funnel down cracks and old auger holes, there are now some pretty big openings that are covered with a dusting of snow. That makes them almost impossible to see. Some are big enough to drop an ATV through others are big enough for a person to fall through.
Just when we thought the snow this year was going to keep piling up it looks like we might not have a white Christmas. Who would of thought that we would have less snow now and warmer temps than at the beginning of rifle season in early November. Speaking of deer hunting, most muzzleloader hunters such as myself are getting ready to call it a year. The season has had its ups and downs that is for sure.
I normally do not "push" products in my stories, but after being at a local retailer this week, hearing a customer looking for a walleye ice fishing set up and hearing the employee responding, "if it costs more it is better," I figured I would throw out a few products for the ice fisherman on your Christmas list. The hot seller for the year is the Strikemaster Lithium auger. With a 50 volt battery it drills over 56 holes in 2-feet of ice.
After a deer hunting season that left a lot of hunters wondering where the deer went, hopefully next year they will want to do something to help. Keeping the wolf numbers in check is one way. There are only three reasons the deer population is as low as it is: too liberal on limits, winter and wolves. I contacted Zach Kimball, who lives near my hometown of Park Rapids. Zach is also an avid outdoorsman and wolf hunter. We should all thank Zach, he alone has probably saved hundreds of deer by legally harvesting his trophies.
Finally we are having a grouse hunting season like I remember it being when I was a kid. Last weekend I traveled north to check out the deer stands and do a little bird hunting. I heard the grouse numbers were up but you never know until you see it for yourself. And amazingly after a day of hunting I actually had my limit. It really made for a great day after not seeing much for deer sign, at least we have some grouse to shoot. This got me thinking how different grouse hunting is from other types of game. Usually, at least for myself, we tend to over do it on the guns we shoot.
Well, for many of us it's time to get the Sta-bil in the boat motor and the lawn mowers and get the deer stands ready for rifle season. It is only a few short weeks away and I really like to get everything ready in the woods by this weekend and let everything settle down over the next few weeks. With so much to do I decided to skip bowhunting this year and concentrate on waterfowl, turkey and grouse hunting. The Minnesota deer rifle season is as much about tradition as it is hunting for many like myself.