Column: Spider Lake: An old friend revisited

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 6, 2003

Once again I was able to make a weekend trip to our camper in northern Minnesota.

To say it was a beautiful weekend would be an understatement. It rained the two days before I arrived but the weather was picture perfect for the weekend. The mosquitoes weren’t a factor and, except for an occasional bite, the deer flies were not as abundant as usual for this time of year.

I had a chance to fish a few different lakes and had pretty good luck.

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On Sunday a couple of friends, Travis and Josh dropped by and we decided to go to Spider Lake and see if there were any fish left in it. I hadn’t fished Spider for a couple of years and the thought of fishing it this year was always in mind. The lake hadn’t changed any and was as pretty as I remembered it.

After trying a couple of my old spots I decided to fish in the area that, over the years, had always held fish. I have a certain way of fishing this area of the lake and over the years it has produced.

Slow trolling or drifting with jigs and twister tails has been a great rig for me over the years. Slow trolling Shad Raps has also been a great lure to use in this particular area.

On this day we caught fish with jig-minnow, jig and 1/2 a crawler and just a plain jig and twister tail. When fishing just a jig and twister I like the Berkeley Power Baits the best as they seem to hold an attraction for the fish.

Although the bass we caught weren’t real big Travis did get one that went a little over 3 lbs. He also holds the record for the smallest muskie boated by anyone I have ever fished with. It went a record 4 1/2 inches long. The jig and twister he was using was 3 inches so that had to be one mad or hungry little fish.

Besides catching both large and small mouth bass we also caught some nice crappie and some small northern. Everything was released on this day but it was fun to fish the lake I had been going to for so many years. It was almost like seeing an old friend again. We all caught our share of fish but that was just a bonus.

The lakes in this part of the state are really low and rain would certainly be welcome. The lake we have our camper on is located by Marcell and it is higher now than it was in the spring but just a few miles south of there the lakes are low.

The fishing on Tetonka in the Waterville area has been pretty good all summer. All the lakes in that area are low but the fishing can still be good the rest of the fall.

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While talking about the lack of moisture it may be a good time to remind everyone about fire hazards with the hunting season looming just around the corner.

The DNR has released the following information regarding the fire danger in the state: Minnesota’s dry conditions in the past two months are putting wildland fire officials on alert. The extreme northern portions of the state have received some moisture over the past two weeks; however, south of a line from Duluth to Bemidji and west to the Dakota border conditions are becoming extremely dry.

During snow-free months fire officials monitor moisture in various sizes of fuels from grass to large trees. They also monitor projected fire intensities and potential for fire spread.

Most of the indices are now at or near conditions which existed during one of the most severe fall fire years, 1976. That year several large fires were fought throughout Minnesota and hunting seasons were altered due to the extreme wildfire danger.

More recently, the Carlos Edge fire burned ,9000 acres in mid-October of 2000.

Fall fire season normally occurs from the time of first frost until snowfall or persistent frost reduces fire danger.

&uot;This year we are already seeing fires that are difficult to suppress and burning in peat,&uot; said Ron Stoffel, Minnesota DNR Wildfire Suppression Supervisor. Long-term weather forecasts call for continued dry conditions. A CL-215 water scooping aircraft normally based in North Carolina is now stationed in Brainerd and fire-fighting helicopters are stationed in Brainerd and Ely. Another larger helicopter will return to its base in Grand Marais today from an assignment in western Montana.

Many Minnesotans enjoy the fall months and the hunting, camping, and other recreation this time of year brings. In cooler temperatures, when people like to sit around campfires, everyone needs to be mindful of the wildfire conditions, said Stoffel. Fall weather is also often windy, making perfect conditions for fires to spread quickly. Fire danger will remain high in the southern two-thirds of the state until we receive several days of soaking rain. Portions of the northern third of Minnesota will only need a few days of dry weather to increase wildfire danger there.

That’s about if for now so &uot;Good Luck and Good Fishin.’&uot;

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