Dick Herfindahl: Life is good when you spend some time outdoors

Published 8:46 pm Friday, June 22, 2018

Woods & Water by Dick Herfindahl


This past week reminded me of when I was in the service in Southeast Asia, where the month of June was right in the heart of what was called the monsoon season. It would rain almost every morning and then around noon it would clear up and be super-hot and muggy. I’m just saying, luckily it has finally cooled down, now it just has to stay dry for a few days.

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As I write this week’s column, I am preparing to head north to the cabin once again. My grandson Dylan will be driving up from St. Cloud to spend the weekend with me. He has already told me he wants to go to Spider Lake when he is there. He, like his grandpa, has a love for that lake and I am glad that we share that. Last fall, when we went to Spider, the northern fishing was great and we are hoping for a repeat.

In all the years that our family camped at Spider, we always enjoyed good fishing for a variety of fish, including northern and an occasional muskie. The bass and crappie fishing on that lake is also very good and at times the walleyes will cooperate. When Dylan mentioned going to our favorite lake this weekend, my adrenaline started flowing and I am pumped up. Not only for the fishing, but for spending time with my grandson.

This lake has special regulations and according to the DNR, any lake that has special regulations for pike you have to follow that lakes regulations. On Spider, all fish between 24-36 inches must be immediately released, but you can keep three under 24 and only one over 36, but only a total of three. These regulations have been in effect for quite a few years and I have definitely noticed the northern pike fishing getting a little better each year.

I am also looking forward to checking my trail cameras when I get to the cabin. I can’t wait to see what critters have been hanging out around the area. I haven’t seen any bear so far this year, but that’s not to say there aren’t any close by.

Our little lake now has its share of bass and nice sunfish. If you catch that occasional perch, it is usually a keeper. Although bass have no teeth, they are a predator fish and will indeed eat other smaller fish. The one element that our lake has been missing since we have been enjoying it is a predator fish. I also feel that a few pike would really keep the smaller fish in check but I’ll definitely take the bass.

Locally, we have some pretty darned good fishing right in our own backyard. My grandson Trevor took me out on Pickerel Lake last week and we caught a few really nice pike. Although we didn’t keep any, we did catch quite a few in the 25 to 29-inch range. Like many of the shallower lakes in this part of the state, the weeds start to get thicker after the middle of June and we noticed that. It seemed as if whenever you made a cast you either had a fish or weeds. Lura Lake over by Minnesota Lake, is probably a little harder to fish because although it boasts some really large bass, it’s at about this time of the year when the weeds get super thick and make fishing it a real challenge.

The dredging on Edgewater Bay has been going strong for about two weeks — finally! On my wish list you will find aerators and a dredge on Pickerel Lake. It is really a beautiful lake and I feel that by at least adding aerators, it could possibly avoid another freeze-out.

So far this year, the fishing on Fountain Lake has been good for just about all species. The hot weather seemed to light a fire under the pike and during that stretch, the northern fishing seemed to be “hot” — pun intended. We have a lot of water in this area to fish, not counting the fields and ditches.

It will be an exciting time next year when Albert Lea hosts the 2019 Governor’s Fishing Opener. The opportunity to host this event gives our area a lot of good, positive exposure and a chance for us to showcase our community. This will be our chance to let folks see for themselves why we love to call it home.

Until next time, now is a great time to remove yourself from the stress of the week and go kayaking, canoing, swimming, walking or hiking one of our trails. You can also relax by having a picnic at one of our many nice parks. Keep in mind that a picnic by the lake should also include a fishing pole or two.

Please take some time to honor those who have sacrificed so for the freedoms we enjoy today. Also, take some time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who served and those troops serving today.