Dick Herfindahl: Enjoy the warm weather; it’s what we long for in January

Published 8:16 pm Friday, July 13, 2018

Woods & Water by Dick Herfindahl


This past week, I was able to enjoy another few days at the cabin, doing a little fishing and a little work around the place. Having a cabin will always be a work in progress, but it is a “labor of love” as some may say. We had a storm with straight-line winds go through when we were there and the power was knocked out. Luckily we had no electricity for about the first 10 years we were there, so we didn’t have to make much of an adjustment.

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It seems as if we are destined to endure temperatures in the 80’s for the rest of the summer. I don’t mind the 80’s if the humidity isn’t in the 80’s or more. I’d guess that if I were searching for a perfect world, it would be a never-ending venture.

Once we pass the middle of July, we head into what some may call the “dog days,” which are usually associated with August. Over the years, there have been a few “old wife’s tales” associated with the dog days of August. One such tale says that the northern lose their teeth in late summer, which is supposed to explain why they seem harder to catch at that time. There is no scientific data to support this claim, but in more likelihood, the fact is that the larger ones seek deeper, colder water while the smaller ones remain along weed lines. One thing that is a given when it comes to fishermen, they can always come up with an excuse. Personally, I feel that the challenge of finding the fish during the open water season is what makes fishing so much fun for me.

Whatever you believe, the bottom line is that the fish are there to be caught if you can locate them. Over the years, I have caught northern trolling deep running lures over 20+ feet of water and I’ve caught August walleyes fishing open pockets in shallow weed beds. I believe that each lake has its own particular pattern and that pattern can change not only from year-to-year, but day-to-day. I have fished Spider Lake for many years and each year I find that the fish may not always be in the same place at the exact same time as the year before.

Each year on my first visit to that lake, I would be thinking walleye first and at times I would be successful and other times not so much. The only drawback to my seeking out the wily walleye is that I tend to spend way too much time trying to find the hungry ones and waste valuable fishing time in the process. Spider in particular has some very good crappie fishing and when you get into a school of those hungry slabs there is no better table fare to be had.

I grew up fishing panfish with a simple hook, sinker and a bobber tipped with a minnow or a worm. Over the years, I have gotten away from that method and have been using light tackle with a jig and a twister. I don’t feel that there is a better way to fish than tossing light tackle and when a fish hits it, I always get a tingle of excitement no matter what the fish. My favorite jig is a 3/32 oz. jig with a Northland swirltail twister. My favorite jig color is pink and the plastic color may vary from day to day and lake to lake, but I do prefer the white speckled one.

Fishing kind of reminds me of playing hockey because both sports allow the participant to be creative. Over the years, I’ve seen fishermen come up with some pretty bizarre lure combinations and thought to myself “this surely won’t work” only to have that person out fish me. I eventually learned that you’re better off not offering too much “free advice” to a fellow fisherman.

When he was younger, I would take my grandson Trevor fishing a lot and I like to think that he learned a little bit about fishing from old grandpa. He wasn’t very old before I realized that he was going to be a very good fisherman, as he was always changing it up and trying different things until something worked. When we would be trolling, he was never satisfied just waiting for that big strike. He would be in the front of the boat casting, while I dragged my lure behind the boat doing the anticipating. It seems there isn’t a week that goes by when he isn’t texting me a picture of a big fish that he has caught on one of our area lakes.

My grandson Dylan is also an avid fisherman who loves the sport and will fish any time he has the opportunity. My other two grandsons also like to fish, but not to the extent of Trevor or Dylan. The boys are all hunters and Trevor’s two brothers really enjoy hunting waterfowl. I have to say that their love of the outdoors makes me proud because our youth are the ones that will carry on the tradition of our outdoors heritage.

Until next time, get out on the water or sit by the bank on the shoreline and wet a line. Be sure to use some sunscreen because the sun can be pretty brutal this time of year.

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.