Column: Ways to keep Grandpa busy

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 16, 2006

Dick Herfindahl, Wind & Water

This past Saturday the Fountain Lake Sportsman’s Club along with the Minnesota DNR hosted their annual Take a Kid Fishing Day at Edgewater Park on Fountain Lake. There were more than 400 participants again this year. Which would vouch for the success of this program.

There were moms and dads and grandpas and grandmas and uncles and aunts all there helping the kids get a taste of what fun fishing can be. Although the weather wasn’t ideal it wasn’t all that bad and the heavy rain did stay away for most of the morning.

My wife and I brought all four grandsons along for the big event. Trevor and Taylor, the two oldest hadn’t been able to be there for a couple of years so they were pretty excited. Dylan was there last year so he knew where the &8220;hot spot&8221; was. Grant the youngest of the four had visions of cartoons dancing in his head and talked his grandma into leaving shortly after the first bobber hit the water.

Trevor was the first one to catch a fish &045; a 4.5-pound carp.

That thing really fought and was finally netted by a nice kid that was fishing nearby. Trevor is not really a bobber kind of guy; he loves to cast and try different things and he is very good at it. Taylor caught a bluegill and Trevor caught another one at about the same time. This left Dylan without a fish and grandpa was starting to worry. Two out of three isn’t what you want when dealing with kids and the rivalry that is always there amongst brothers and cousins.

Now I have to testify to the fact that some things will never change when kids are involved in fishing. They have to cast! Patiently leaving your line out so the bobber and bait can do its thing is not an option. With casting come a variety of challenges. Crossing someone’s line whenever possible is a good way to keep grandpa from getting bored.

Then there is the overhead cast. This is the technique where you try to direct the bait through the trees with your eyes closed without hooking a branch. It is also another way to keep old grandpa from being bored &045; and I was definitely not bored! I must say that for as many leaves and branches they grazed I only had to unhook a few tree fish and untangle a very few crossed lines.

As the time to leave drew nearer Dylan said &8220;I’ve got one&8221; and soon was hoisting a small walleye out of the lake. Mission accomplished! They had all caught a fish and there would be no lower lips hanging down on this day.

I think that this is a great way for families to spend a day or at least part of one getting out and enjoying the sport of fishing. I know the lure (pun intended) of free tackle or maybe a free fishing pole for the kids is an enticement but the real reward is the time the adults get to spend with the kids. The expression on a kids face when he or she catches a fish whether it’s a bluegill, a walleye or a carp is worth every minute spent getting tangles out or baiting and re-tying a hook.

You don’t need a special weekend or special day set aside to do this. It’s something that can happen anytime if we just take a little time out of our busy lives and do it.

With the lakes we have available to us right in our own back yard taking a little time to take a kid fishing can not only be rewarding but pretty relaxing for the adults too.

MANKATO &045; For crappies try Bakers Bay on Lake Washington in 7 to 12 feet of water using flu-flus. Also try in front of the cracker box on Lake Washington as well. Sunfish and crappies have been going on Duck Lake and the West End of Francis, panfish have been biting in 7 to 12 feet of water.

FARIBAULT &045; You’ll find numbers of bluegills in the shallow sand areas of Lake Mazaska and Roberds Lake. Work the nine- to 11-foot bars on Cannon Lake and the 17- to 20-foot bars on French Lake for walleyes. Small buzzbaits turned some muskies on French over the weekend, and there’s a lot of nice bass being caught on Cedar Lake and Kelley Dudley Lake.

FAIRMONT &045; Leeches are producing walleyes in eight to 10 feet of water on Hall Lake, Budd Lake, and Lake Sissiton.

Crappies can be had on Budd Lake in three feet of water and at Hall Lake in eight to 12 feet. George Lake and Lake Sissiton are kicking out the area’s largest bass and bluegills continue to be an easy catch in shallow water on most lakes.

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH &045; Live bait rigs and leeches are producing larger walleyes on the bars and north end humps in 18 to 24 feet of water. The best bet for eating-sized fish continues to be in eight to 10 feet of water off Little Stoney Point, Mallard Point, and on the east end from the rocks to birches. Perch are scattered along the shallow points and hitting fathead minnows. Expect to find numbers of northern pike scattered throughout the lake.

BATTLE LAKE &045; The morning and evenings have been best for walleyes in nine to 22 feet of water on Otter Tail Lake, Stalker Lake, Rush Lake, Walker Lake, East and West Battle lakes. Crappies continue to be pulled from shallow water on lakes such as Clitherall, Ten Mile, Elbow, Blanche, and Mollie Stark. Beers Lake gave up some muskies over the weekend, Long Lake is the best option for northern pike, and big bass have been hitting plastics on Elbow Lake and Lake Anderson.

BRAINERD/NISSWA &045; Walleye action has been consistent in 13 to 30 feet of water on Gull Lake, Lake Edwards, and Pelican Lake. Live bait rigs or slip bobber set ups with redtails, leeches, and nightcrawlers are working best. Bass are very active in the shallow weeds and slop and northern pike are inhaling redtail minnows on the south end of Gull.

BEMIDJI &045; Lindy Rigs and leeches are turning walleyes on the west shoreline of Lake Bemidji in 12 to 14 feet of water. A jig and shiner minnow combination is working best for walleyes at Lake Plantagenette in six to 12 feet of water.

Panfish are active in the shallows of area lakes and there has been some decent shallow water muskie action from Plantagenette and Bemidji. Grace Lake and Big Lake are the area’s best options for northern pike and largemouth bass.

HACKENSACK &045; Ten Mile Lake producing crappies and largemouth bass in six feet of water. Pleasant Lake also has provided steady bass action in shallow water. Work Webb Lake in 20 feet of water with leeches for walleyes. The weedlines of Woman Lake are the area’s best bet for northern pike.

Until next time &8220;let’s go fishin’&8221; and enjoy the outdoors.

(Albert Lea resident Dick Herfindahl’s column appears every Friday.)