Archived Story

Column: Ice fishing is still good in Albert Lea area

Published 9:08am Monday, February 18, 2013

It’s winter and along with that comes weather, and occasionally a blizzard will be in the forecast. This past week, the northeastern part of the country received a lot of snow, and much of that part of the country was experiencing blizzard conditions. Now, this in itself is not new to most Minnesotans, because that is the weather that we deal with when choosing to live in this great state. Somewhere along the line, someone decided to start giving this winter storm a name. It was christened “Winter Storm Nemo,” which makes no sense to me. Now we have had a couple of memorable storms during my lifetime which were tagged with a name of sorts. I can remember my folks talking about the “great Armistice Day Blizzard,” and who can forget the ice storm we had on Halloween in ’91. Looking back on it, us Minnesotans could have been naming our storms like the media did out East. We could be reminiscing about winter storm Sven or that blizzard named Lars, and for the sake of gender equality, who could forget that dreaded ice storm Lena.

In Minnesota, the weather is always a good conversation starter and last weekend had just a little bit of everything: ice, wind, rain, sleet and snow. It almost sounds like the post office’s motto. I am sure glad that the weather wasn’t extreme enough to earn a name.

With all the different things going on weather-wise, it still didn’t deter my grandson Trevor from doing his share of fishing. With the rest of the family out of town, he had the whole weekend to do some serious fishing, and he definitely made the most out of it. On Saturday, he invited me to come to Fountain Lake and spend a little time fishing. To both of our surprise, his grandma decided to go along, and it turned out to be a lot of fun; although we didn’t exactly slay them, we did catch fish. Earlier, Trevor had caught a couple of bass, which he released, and he also had a couple of dandy crappie and a mess of nice bluegills in the bucket. He told us that he had a nice northern up to the hole a couple of times before it finally broke his line.

Fishing and hunting is what Trevor loves to do and sharing that time with him in his portable fish house was a memorable time for both his grandma and me. He’s come a long way from the days when I would take him, his brothers and cousin to the channel for an adventure in line tangling. At the time I suspected that they were deliberately trying to see how many different ways they could get snagged or catch a tree branch. It seems like they would wait patiently until I wasn’t looking to make a cast and then they’d ask for help. Somewhere along the way all of them (grandsons) have gotten very good at fishing but Trevor has taken it a step further. He can read a flasher and tell you which is your jig and which is a fish and also tell you to raise or lower the jig to entice the fish to bite.

Trevor and I may take a few days in March and head north to the cabin for some late season ice fishing. We have talked about doing this for quite some time and this may just be the time we do it. I am looking forward to spending a little time at the cabin in the winter and who knows maybe we’ll be partaking of a couple of meals of fresh fish in the north woods. Somehow I just don’t feel that it could get any better than that.

From the reports that I received, the fishing on Pickerel Lake has also been quite good. There have been some dandy perch and crappies caught and also some northern in the 22-26 inch range. Hopefully the low water will not have a negative effect on the oxygen levels of our lakes this winter and with some much needed moisture in the spring maybe our lakes will get back to somewhat normal levels.

Speaking of lakes and things I see, the never-ending attempt to divert money from the Wildlife and Habitat Restoration part of the Lessard-Sams is continuing. The Heritage Council did not recommend the projects proposed by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Chippewa nor another one by the Met Council for Willdlife Habitat Restoration and Enhancement in the Metropolitan Regional Parks System. Representative Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, seems determined to do whatever she can to change the way the Heritage Council operates in order to get more money for the Metro parks system. There is a piece of the pie that is already designated for parks and trails but evidently some folks want to keep their piece and take part of someone else’s.

I spoke with Garry Leaf of Sportsman for Change a couple of years back, and he felt that as long as this bill is in effect, there will always be someone trying to change it to their benefit. I feel that we have competent people on the 12-member Heritage Council to screen the applications and recommend the ones that they feel are worthy.

Until next time, get outside and take in a little fishing, skating or just take a winter walk in the good old Minnesota outdoors.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.


Dick Herfindahl’s column appears in the Tribune each Sunday.