Friday, May 6, 2022

Slow morning drive

 There’s no doubt that this Spring has been one of the latest in arriving. Here in northern Minnesota the official date of March 20 means little, and Groundhog’s Day means nothing. But this year winter really kept her grip on things. Fishing season opens in eight days and the lakes are still mostly ice covered. Shaded areas still support deep banks of snow. The grouse have just started drumming at my place last week. There are a few woodcock around and they’re looking for someplace high and dry to nest. 

This morning Gabi and I took a ride to check things out on the forest road near here. There’s nothing like driving east into the sun to notice how dirty the windshield is, but it didn’t seem to bother Gabi, always alert for activity. It was 29 degrees when I left the house, so the heater felt good. A big mug of coffee was delicious and morning public radio is usually pretty entertaining, sometimes enlightening. 

The road took us to two lakes and approaching the first it didn’t seem like much was going on. There is some open water out from the shore but the main body is covered with rotting ice. Thanks to my 10x binocular I soon spotted a multitude of waterfowl. Mallards, ringnecks, blue-winged teal, Canada geese, ospreys, eagles, and the largest flock of trumpeter swans I’ve ever seen – probably 30 in one group. 

On the way to the second lake a couple of healthy-looking deer crossed ahead and a grouse was out picking gravel from the road. In some places patches of snow still covered the road. The second lake is smaller, but deeper and showed less open water then the first.  

Yes, Spring is slow coming, but sure is welcome. 



  1. Al
    Unreal the number of waterfowl in one place; 29 degrees would be bitter cold here---I was trout fishing on our local tailrace yesterday with the temp at 88, my tee-shirt was wet under my shirt. I was going to do a post concerning the trip but one 6" rainbow didn't qualify for a post. What would have qualified was the 16" I lost Euro Nymphing. I'm still learning how to fish this method and may never get as good as some o the anglers I watch on Utube. I will be back Tuesday to try to redeem myself.
    When the season opens there do you fish the lakes or the streams first? How do fish the lakes, boat, or wading around the edges?
    Thanks for sharing
    Forgot I did figure out out how to comment with one's name showing but no image anymore

    1. Hey Bill,
      Yes, it was below freezing this morning but by afternoon it was near 70. Stream trout fishing is open now but the streams are out of their banks from snowmelt which makes for some interesting canoeing but not much else. Tributaries to Lake Superior are still high but there is some steelhead fishing to be done. Panfish is open year-round and bass, pike, walleye, lake trout opens next Saturday. I fish lakes mostly from my boat and use electric trolling motor to work around rocky shorelines fly casting for bass, weedy bays for early pike, and all over for muskies when that opens in June. I also have a smaller jon-boat for some backwoodsy water that's harder to get to. And I have two canoes for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and some of the smaller water around here. I have to travel a ways to get to real good trout streams but there are some small brushy creeks close with native brookies. -- I think a 6" rainbow vs. the 16"er has the makings for a post. Heck, most of what I post is just drivel but it keeps me from productive stuff around the house and there're worse things than writing. Good fishing!

  2. Al
    Pike and walleye are two species I've never landed using the fly rod. When you land either this year share a post. Lake fishing there I assume would be similar to Smith Lake fishing here but void of the pike, walleye and ice. Do you fish dry flies and poppers for the bass and trout or use streamers more? I have found that the really quality trout on the Sipsey Tailrace here will hit the wooly bugger drifting it or fishing it slow with a jerk retrieve. There is no mistaking the hit it is jarring!!

    1. Bill
      Walleye is delicious but not a great fly-fishing target. I catch a few early in the season on streamers when they're shallow, but if I'm looking for a fish-fry of walleye I resort to the deep and dark side with spinning gear (gasp!). I love fly fishing smallmouth bass with poppers and I always start with that but will go to streamers if they won't come to surface. Same with pike. Explosive topwater strikes and hard fighting fish... what can I say? Dry flies for trout if conditions warrant it, but my box contains nymphs and streamers, too. I agree, wooly buggers are hard to beat. I use barbless hooks & release all bass and most trout, Pike are good to eat and occasionally I'll keep one. All this fishing talk makes me eager!