Swinging into summer fishing

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 15, 2002

Here it is, Father’s Day, the middle of June, and we are beginning to swing into our early summer fishing patterns in most areas around the state.

Some areas of the state have had more than their share of rain while parts of northern Minnesota are still dry.

Locally the crappie bite we had a couple of weeks ago has seemed to slow down a little but, overall, fishing seems to be pretty good. The Take A Kid Fishing event held last Saturday showed a lot of fish caught with quite a few small ones and a few nice ones. The number of fish caught was encouraging for the future of fishing in Fountain Lake.

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Kids don’t really care as much about the size of fish as long as they are catching something. That’s a real good thing to keep in mind when starting your young fishermen out in the sport. Pick a lake or stream that you know will put fish on the end of the little fisher’s line.

Spending 4-5 hours in a boat trying to catch Mr. Walleye and only having one or two to show for all that time may not be the way to start a youngster out.

I have written many times about fishing Fountain Lake as a child in the summer and always catching something.

Some of the greatest thrills I had were when Dad would tell me that we were going fishing with these friends of his and my Mom.

We always went on Sunday because Dad worked the other six days. We would pack up the car and Mom would usually make a picnic lunch and we would head for either Beaver or St. Olaf Lake.

Beaver lake was my favorite of the two lakes because we always seemed to catch a lot of fish when we went there. The fish were the kind that always seemed to be smaller when you got them home than they were when you were catching them. But that didn’t really matter then.

I must have invented the question, &uot;Are we there yet?&uot; I’ll bet I must have asked that question numerous times on the way there. I can still remember the excitement mounting as we turned off the highway and headed up the last stretch of road to the lake, a certain rush of adrenaline must have gushed through my body about the time the first sign of the lake came into sight.

There was a bait house and boat rental place on the southeast shore of the lake where we would rent two boats. My dad’s friend, Elmer, had an old 5 hp green Johnson motor and he and his wife, Mary would take one boat with the motor and would tow the boat with our family in it out to the &uot;crappie hole&uot;.

It was an unforgettable feeling when it started cooling down in the evening. The air felt a little crisp, you could smell a freshness to the evening and that’s when the fish would begin biting about as fast as you could get a line in the water. That was really a special time for a young aspiring fisherman.

Sometimes I would get to fish with Elmer in his boat, which I thought was really great because he knew a lot of the tricks to catching crappies.

There was at one time an eating place and bar on the north side of the lake, up on the hill, called The Chicken Shack. Some Sundays we would go there to eat and I would go down and fish off their dock while the folks stayed on top and had a few refreshments. I think the last time I went there &uot;Alley Oop&uot; was the hit song on the old jukebox.

The people that owned the place also had a cabin on the lake and after they closed in the afternoon we would go to their cabin. I fished off shore and caught these walleyes. I knew they were a little too small to keep but I was catching &uot;walleyes&uot; which I released, hoping they would grow to be caught again. It was a good feeling to be able to catch a game fish, no matter what size.

Dad wasn’t really into fishing but he would take us anyway because he knew Mom, my sister Judy and I really liked to fish. On one occasion we were all catching fish but him so I looked at his line and discovered a hook with no end on it. I told him about it and he looked at me, put his finger to his lips and went Shhhhh! That’s when I understood, fishing didn’t mean anything to him, but being there with the family did.

I know Beaver and St. Olaf still have plenty of fish in them but the fishing is pretty hard because of the boat traffic. Night fishing or early morning would probably be the way to go.

Good luck and good fishin.’