Dick Herfindahl: Weird weather makes fishing pretty unpredictable

Published 7:53 pm Friday, July 6, 2018

Woods & Water by Dick Herfindahl


Another week of hot weather and an occasional storm coupled with high humidity has caused my newly planted grass to do a speed growing thing. The creeping Charlie, that has all but taken over my back yard has also flourished. I have never been a big advocate of putting chemicals on my lawn, but I am afraid that I will have to knuckle under and spray it.

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I will be up north once again when this column appears in the paper. My wife Jean and I will be heading north for a few days and our grandson Dylan will be joining us for a couple of days when he drives up from St. Cloud. I am sure that will mean a couple of days of serious fishing. Dylan will be happy to see Grandma because he says she makes the best breakfast and her pancakes are the greatest.

Even with the hot, humid weather that we have been experiencing, fishing has actually been fairly good. I have heard reports of some nice bluegills being caught on area lakes, while the northern fishing on Pickerel Lake has been on and off. Fountain Lake is a good bet for a variety of fish and on any given day you could catch walleye, northern, bass, an assortment of panfish and even a catfish or two.

As a kid, I pretty much lived at that lake for a big part of my summers. Once I was old enough to ride my bike to town by myself I would spend a whole day just fishing the shoreline from the Bridge Street dam, all of Katherine Island and on occasion, I would even venture as far as the beach. What a great way for a young fisherman to spend a day, outdoors, fishing and never being bored.

I would always take enough money with me so that on the way home I could stop at the Dairy Bar, which was part of the Northside Creamery. I would sometimes have a cone, but most of the time I would have my favorite, a chocolate marshmallow Sundae. I savored every bite of it because, to me, there was just nothing else like it. The only other ice cream treat that could compare to it was the strawberry, pineapple whipped cone, that you could only buy at the fair.

I am glad to see that a good number of our youth are active in the Albert Lea Anglers fishing club. I know some of these kids and in the past they could often be seen fishing the shores of Fountain Lake. It is comforting to know that these youths will be a part of the future of our outdoors heritage.

In a way, in my youth, we kind of had a fishing club of sorts. There was no actual club, but each time I went to the dam, there would usually be the same kids fishing and we kind of got to know each other. That was a time to share a story or two and do a little bragging if you had caught a big one, which was usually a bullhead.

Yes, helping kids get involved in fishing and the whole outdoors experience can be very rewarding. In looking back at my days as a youth, I have my mother to thank for encouraging me and giving me so many good little tips that helped me become a better outdoorsman. I still use a lot of the things that she taught me about fishing.

My uncle Ben was another huge influence on me. He and my aunt Marcie would take me up north on vacation with them. They had no children of their own, so on more than one of their vacations I would be lucky enough to be invited along. The only drawback was that I had to ride in the back seat with their dog, Skippy. Which I always thought was part “devil dog” and part wolverine. If you even looked at that dog wrong, he would growl and snap at you, but he never did really bite me, so I guess his bark was worse than his bite.

Ben was my childhood idol when it came to fishing because he knew how to catch all types of gamefish and he shared his knowledge with me. To this day, if I close my eyes and think back, I can almost smell the fumes that his old green 5-horse Johnson outboard motor gave off as we trolled the shoreline of a northern Minnesota lake in search of pike. Uncle Ben was always a trickster and on more than one occasion he would catch me off guard by jerking on my line while I was deep in thought as we trolled along. I would set the hook and have that look of excitement that I’d get when I just missed a big one. I would look up at Ben, only to see the twinkle of mischief in his eyes.

The Fountain Lake Sportsman’s Club once again did a great job of getting our local kids involved in a day of fishing. They do a lot of things to promote this great sport, not only on that day, but throughout the year. The Take a Kid Fishing day is pretty much a year-round endeavor and those folks deserve a great big thank you for all of their hard work. Getting youth interested in fishing will introduce them to a sport that will last them a lifetime. You don’t need an expensive boat or top shelf equipment to enjoy the fine fishing that we have available to us right here at home.

Until next time, if you enjoy fishing, why not take a little time to introduce someone to this awesome sport?

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