Column: Kids, dog, fish: Does it get any better than that?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 23, 2003

I spent last weekend in northern Minnesota with my son Brad and three of my grandsons. It was just about a perfect weekend. The weather was typical July weather, 80s during the day and into the high 50s at night. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

The fishing was good if you were fishing for the right species. We didn’t see any walleye and I didn’t really expect to, as we didn’t actually spend any time focusing on them.

We fished the little lake that we are on and also went to another nearby lake to fish and swim.

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Grandson Trevor was going to show us where he and his dad and mom had caught some northern. We didn’t have any luck right away and eventually decided to try casting jigs up to the weed edges.

I used the trolling motor and moved slowly along so we could cast to the weeds and cover a lot of territory thoroughly. It’s a fun way to fish and you never know what you’ll tie into.

Trevor latched onto a nice northern with his ultra-light and he had quite a battle before he finally put him in the net.

I had a nice bass on and lost it but did manage to boat another smaller one. We all caught something. Taylor, Trevor’s brother, caught a nice bluegill. We were on a meat mission because we were all ready for a nice meal of fresh fish.

As we rounded the last point before the access Trevor caught a &uot;slab&uot; crappie. We stopped trolling and started casting and we all were landing some nice crappie. Dylan, the youngest of the three boys that was along, landed a nice crappie and we all caught fish. We kept enough to eat and released the rest.

Once again it was Trevor that led the way in the fish catching. He’s a natural fisherman.

The next evening, after a great meal of fish and fresh fried potatoes, Brad drove the boys back to the other lake to do a little swimming.

Brad told me that Trevor couldn’t even go swimming without fishing. He put on a life jacket and swam out into the middle of some lilly pads and began casting. He did catch some sunfish so I guess it was O.K. as long as he didn’t latch onto one of the big northern that inhabit the lake or he probably would have been water skiing.

After cleaning up the camper I decided to soak a bobber and relax on the dock. I started getting bites right away and the fish weren’t only going after my bait but also attacking my bobber.

When the boys came back from swimming I told Trevor about the fish attacking my bobber and the next thing you know he’s put on a floating jig head and headed to the dock – he knew what he wanted to do.

About half an hour later he came up the hill with a bucket of fish. One of the fish was a huge bluegill and another a large sunfish. He had caught all those fish in about half an hour.

We didn’t plan to keep any more fish so he was headed back to the lake to release them, but Brad and Dylan’s dog Bud had ideas of his own. While Trevor was carrying the fish back to the lake Bud ran up, put his nose into the bucket and came out with the big bluegill. We retrieved the fish and it miraculously seemed none the worse for wear.

I guess this proves that Bud is a well-rounded outdoorsdog. He’s one yellow lab that likes to fish as well as hunt and has the soft mouth to prove it.

There’s no better experience than to enjoy the outdoors with family. It’s even extra special to watch them when you know they actually enjoy it and want to learn more about it.

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Here are a few reports from some of the state guides and bait shops.

Winnibigoshish Area – The Walleye bite is on, just have to sort out the little guys. By sorting you will get some nice eaters in the 14′ to 16 1/2″ range. The main thing is a lot of action. Sugar bar, back side of little Musky and the humps.

Brainerd Area – Hot!! I think it reached 95 degrees today but it sure did seem warmer than that! I fished this morning and the surface temp on Gull was 80 degrees on the main lake.

Lake Vermilion – The walleye action has been excellent this week. Good weather and warm temps have the fish in an active feeding mood. Lindys, spinners and crankbaits have all been effective presentations. Crawlers are the number 1 live bait option for most anglers.

Blackduck Area – Panfishing at the area lakes is continuing to prove productive, with some nice sunnies and gills being caught along the weedlines. The sunnies and gills have been pretty decent size, with the ones I measured last night coming in at 8″ to 9 1/2″ inches so some good fish fries going on. Aside from the panfish, a few perch and a largemouth bass was also brought in last night. Another nice thing about the smaller lakes in the area is they are more protected from the wind, as we had a couple folks out on Leech yesterday and there were some pretty good rollers coming in.

There is still a lot of good fishing left so don’t start putting away the tackle just yet.

Until next time, Good Luck and Good Fishin.’

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Remember our service men and women that are still in Iraq and it’s no picnic for them.