Some special memories just shouldn’t be tampered with

Published 9:56 am Friday, May 28, 2010

Now that another fishing opener is officially in the books we can get on with the task at hand. That being taking advantage of all of our resources and enjoying the summer ahead. The weather has definitely been summer like and that could actually be called understating the obvious.

On Memorial Day weekend my wife, Jean, and I are looking forward to taking a couple of the grandkids to the cabin. My grandson, Dylan, wasn’t able to make it to the cabin last year so he is really looking forward to it and, of course, Trevor, the eldest, is always ready to head to the cabin. With only a few short days I plan to hit a couple of different lakes in hopes of landing a few willing fish. Although Memorial Day weekend can be pretty hectic I’ve found that the farther north you get the less congested it is. It just doesn’t seem to be as busy as it was even 20 years ago.

Maybe it is just my imagination but there just seem to be fewer people heading north. Even in the summer months when school is out the numbers don’t seem to be there. It may be due in part to the fact that our hectic lifestyles, coupled with the high cost of living have made us less anxious to spend a week at a family resort.

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There are a lot fewer resorts around today and it is getting harder and harder for family-owned resorts to make it. A few years ago while we were staying at our favorite resort on Spider Lake, I was talking to Dave, the owner, whom I’d gotten to know very well over the years. He said that it was getting tougher and tougher to keep up with the codes and just the upkeep on the cabins was getting tougher.

When we first started going to Spider Shores Resort it was owned by Dave and Lynn Rauch and Lynn’s mom and dad, Bid and Ginny Grahmke. These folks shared the workload and were able to give each other a break during the week. They were both there on weekends, but come Monday noon one would be off until noon the following day then the other would do the same. This was a great way for them to run a resort and still have a little time to themselves. Both Bid and Dave loved to fish and many of their evenings off were spent on the lake.

Bid was the one who could always make you feel like “the big one” was just around the next point. I don’t know how many times I had come off the lake and he’d ask “how’d you do?” And if I hadn’t caught many, or any, he’d say something like “the big ones should be moving in soon” just to get you pumped up. Another line was “whenever Herfindahl is here there are always fish in the freezer.” Because we camped they let us use their freezer to put our fish in until it was time to leave. Bid’s little “isims” would always seem to work for me and after many years I finally had to tell him that although I knew all along that those old lines were bunk, I still looked forward to hearing what he would have to say next.

One thing about those folks was that even though we always camped they treated us like we were staying in the most expensive cabin on the lake. We always looked forward to going back there at least two or three times a year. Our boys grew up vacationing at Spider and when they were in high school each of the boys took their first camping trip without the folks to that resort.

In life nothing ever stays the same and eventually Bid retired and he and Ginny moved to Alabama and when Dave’s kids grew up it pretty much left just him to maintain the resort. He up and sold it one winter and we found out about it when Brian, my oldest, called to make reservations for the following summer and was told he was speaking to the new owner. Although Brian and his family went there a couple years after that it just didn’t seem like the same old place anymore. It’s kind of like the old saying “clothes make the man” well in this case it was the people that made the place work for us.

I try to make it a point to fish Spider at least once a summer not only to fish but to reminisce and visit some of my old “hot spots” that were pretty good to us over the years. I have yet to visit the resort since the present owners took over and I am sure they are fine folks but some memories are just better off left alone.

Here are a few fishing reports from around the state:

KABETOGAMA-NAMAKAN — Hot, mid-summer-like temperatures have been visiting our area since fishing opener, many days in the low to mid-80s.The water temperature is an unbelievable 66-70 degrees on the surface, all temperatures, air and water would lead you to believe this is mid-June.

Anglers chasing walleyes need to change tactics daily, as well as between mornings and evenings. The hot temperatures and bright sun tend to scatter the fish, depth-wise. Jig and minnow still an excellent presentation, us 3/8 or 1/2 ounces in deeper waters, especially mid-day at 30-38 feet. Cloudy weather or mornings, move into shallow water, 8-15 feet, toss the 1/2-1/4 ounce jig tipped with a minnow into the 8 foot depths and retrieve back to boat. Change speeds frequently to get the ole’ walleyes attention. The stand-by slip sinker rig is another excellent presentation. Try all baits, minnow, leech and crawler until they settle on one or the other and change up baits before you leave the area.

Northern pike bite has been strong, making a mess out of walleye anglers tackle, their best bite is along weed edges, try X-Raps that match your depth.

Smallmouth probably done spawning, use summertime presentations for them.

Crayfish crank baits always a traditional favorite. Walleye areas to fish vary with the wind direction. All around Sugarbush and the surrounding islands is a great area of the lake to fish now. Sand bottom bays may offer a shallow bite when bright sun isn’t a problem. Northern pike being found in Tom Cod, back side of Cutover and Mud and Daily Bays. Namakan anglers, Blind Indian Narrows and into Junction Bay are summertime traditional favorites.

LAKE OF THE WOODS — Summer has seemed to hit Lake of the Woods early this year. We have had beautiful weather and great fishing! The Northwest Angle has been experiencing the fantastic fishing as well. Using a 3/8 ounce gold or yellow jig tipped with a chub minnow has been working great in or around 18-22 feet of water. Remember, you will need a passport to drive to the Northwest Angle. If this may be a problem, look into doing a Passenger Service. Things on the south end of the lake are just as good. It seems to be no matter where you’re at, you’re catchin ‘em! The most action seems to take place in 21-28 feet of water just around Pine Island, Zippel Bay, or the Morris Point area. Using a 3/8 ounce gold/pink, bright gold or bright yellow jig tipped with a chub or emerald shiner is the best advice we can give! Good luck fisherman, and remember your sunscreen and a cooler for your catch!

LEECH LAKE — Fishing was great up here on Leech Lake. Jig and minnow were the best bait followed by a Lindy with shiner. The weather was in the fisherman’s favor for once, lots of suntanned people returning to work this week. Leech Lake is a wind driven lake, I think that some wind would have made this the best opener in history. With all the bright sun and calm water, your best bet is to find deeper water next to your favorite point or structure. Lots of time to fish Leech this summer… looks like a great one coming up!

MILLE LACS — Fishing was good again this weekend. Fish are now basically everywhere in the lake in good numbers. The water temperature is now in the mid-to upper 50s. People are getting fish on bobbers/leeches and lindy rigs/leeches. Although there are fish to be caught in all depths and in multiple patterns. Probably the best depths were 22-27 feet on gravel transition areas. The afternoon has been the hot time from about 1-4 p.m. with the rest of the day being slow but steady. Lots of keepers and “throw-backers” all mixed together. It was a breezy weekend all day both days but the storm and strong 40 mph east winds that came through mid-day on Saturday were downright scary.

WATERVILLE AREA — The night bite was much more productive for the walleye fishermen, during the day northerns were being caught on Sakatah. The biggest reported was 38 inches, but it still is pretty early for the

“bigger” ones to hit. Pannies were also caught nearby Best Point all day Saturday. Should be a good week as the barometer has been steady for three days now.

Until next time “play safe, enjoy the outdoors and Let’s go fishin’.”

Take a little time this Memorial Day to remember our brothers and sisters that are proudly serving our country and those that have served before them so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we have today.