Issue 2 • Edition 5
Featured in this issue
IS YOUR BACKYARD WILDLIFE-FRIENDLY? BY: BILL MARCHEL
PLUS MORE! • Status of Area Fisheries
By: Jim Kalkofen
• ReeÀn’ Smallies
By: Ted Takasaki
• Spinning Walleye Gold By: Dave Csanda • Summer Shooting Sports
By: Tim Anderson
• Your Best Shot
Read Online: www.brainerddispatch.com or www.brainerdoutdoors.com
YOUR OUTDOOR HEADQUARTERS
The Ultimate Fishing Experience
MON.-FRI. 8:30-6:00 SAT. 8:30-4:00
HWY 169 E. GRAND RAPIDS, MN 218-326-0353 (800) 223-0621 4404 HWY 71 N BEMIDJI, MN 218-444-1010
2115 SE MAIN AVE. MOORHEAD, MN 218-287-9100
The First Cast When we as fly fishers are preparing for our first cast there is a lot of preparation that leads into that moment. Some of the elements are choosing the body of water where we will fish, choosing what “may” be the right fly, the presentation that fits the situation and learning about what the fish are feeding on. These and other factors are what a fly angler does before and after. I think we need to consider something else, and that is the future of our sport and the environment it is in. In Brainerd, Minnesota back during the 1960s & 70s there was an industrial arts teacher named Don Wig. Don had a passion for his fly-fishing and decided to incorporate it into part of the curriculum for his junior high students at Franklin Jr. High School. One of the elements to passing his program was that as a student you had to successfully tie 6 different patterns. For some students this was just part of something that they had to do to pass the class. For some others it was that spark to lead them on in the pursuit of a style of fishing that their fathers talked about as something their grandfathers had done and they didn’t even know some people still fished the “old fashioned” way. When Don passed away it appeared that the tradition might pass with him. That was until a science teacher, Ken Perry, was approached just before the fishing opener in the spring of 1993 by a student who asked about tying flies. Since Ken knew how to tie and found they would even had access to some of the old equipment that Don Wig had used. A few students gathered for a few days and tied flies. The next year this practice grew when the returning students wanted to do more tying and some had even purchased some of their own tying equipment. The numbers and participation kept growing from there. Both male and female students wanted to become more involved. Just fly-tying grew to questions of fly-casting and rod building. Before Ken knew it this was snowballing into something more than he had originally envisioned. Ken is not only a science teacher, but also a member of the Paul Bunyan Chapter of Trout Unlimited. He found out about a new program that Trout Unlimited was offering to get more youth involved in not only fly-fishing, but in the aquatic environment as well. The program laid out the whom, want, why, when and where of the “First Cast Program.” Trout Unlimited like some other organizations had finally awoke to the fact that students of today are the fly fishing people, the stewards of the resources and most importantly the voters of tomorrow. The students now have a regular curriculum and not just about fly-tying. With the help of program worked out by Trout Unlimited these kids are participating in a restoration project on a small trout stream in the Brainerd area with the help of the local chapter of TU, volunteers and the DNR Fisheries. It is part of their learning to measure the physical features of the stream, sample the aquatic community for determination of what is living in the stream and collect data on the chemical characteristics of that stream. They will be monitoring the stream for a number years to witness the impacts on the envi-
by Mickey O. Johnson
ronment caused by nature, the DNR and Trout Unlimited efforts to restore this watershed. Another part of what the students will be required to do will be to give regular reports to the local chapter of Trout Unlimited on their findings. They will also prepare regular reports to the local DNR to supplement their own data. It is also important that they will from time to time go in front of the public at club meetings, such as conservation groups to generate support for the program. Students will be learning how to tie their own flies from donated material and from materials purchased with monies from Trout Unlimited, donations and matching grants from various groups. These classes will be taught by volunteers from the Paul Bunyan Chapter of TU and Ken Perry their teacher. Members of the chapter are also participating in fly-casting events and fishing outings to put the student progress into practice. [It is just like Ken Perry said “The positive thing about this program is that I am able to not only relate to my students as a men- tor of sorts, but they see one of their teachers in a different light.” “It also gives some of them to experience mentorship as well when they help he others tie flies or do some of the tests.” “It is good when we can give both boys and girls the th feeling of accomplishment and a sense of stewardship in dealing with natural resources st that th may well last a lifetime.” “I think that the t success of this program is proven by our increased participation each year and the i student who return to learn more and help out.”] o With the blessing of the Franklin Jr. High W School the students student have put together a web site (http://franklin.k12.mn.us/firstcast.html) so others can monitor their progress. [One of the students, Shane Brown said “I like learning different ways to fish and it was a lot of fun going to the stream to test the water.” “We didn’t know how much stuff we’d find in it.”] The school has also offered some funding showing its overall support of the program and its benefits. This in turn has created expansion in the program to include younger students to the positive exposure. The students and their parents have signed letters of commitment to the overall project as well. Others who may be interested in starting a similar program are welcomed to contact either their local chapter of Trout Unlimited by going to the Minnesota Trout Unlimited web site www.mntu.org or the national Trout Unlimited Organization www.tu.org. This type of program wasn’t difficult to start, but like anything else success is in those who participate. The future of our environment and sport depend on who is around in the future to make it all work. The time for waiting for someone to do it for us is in the past. To try and deal with problems after the fact have only hurt us and put us behind and sometimes losing altogether. I would rather be a part of shaping our future rather than complaining about what wasn’t done and having it fall on deaf ears. Mickey O. Johnson Lifetime Member of Trout Unlimited and the Federation of Fly Fishers
Welcome ...................................... 3 Spring Fever Inspires Adventure! .... 5 Reefin’ Smallies ............................ 8 Itching For Relief ........................ 10 Spinning Walleye Gold ............. 11 Hot On The Trail.......................... 12 Spring Migration ........................ 14
SUMMER SHOOTING SPORTS Page 26
Summer Shooting Sports ........... 17 Featured Products .................... 18 Nisswa Page .............................. 21 Status of Area Fisheries ............. 22 Is your backyard wildlife-friendly? .....26 Fishing Guide ............................. 28 Memory Lane ............................ 31 Service Directory ....................... 32 Today In The Outdoors.............. 33
BACKYARD WILDLIFE 506 James Street • P.O. Box 974 Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 829-4705 www.brainerddispatch.com www.brainerdoutdoors.com Visit us on Facebook 4
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Your Best Shot ............................ 34 STAFF: Publisher .................................. Terry McCollough Advertising Director ................... Tim Bogenschutz Copy Editor ............................................Roy Miller Marketing / Special Projects Coordinator ... Nikki Lyter Magazine Layout ................................ Tyler Nelson Ad Design .......................................... Jeff Dummer, Andy Goble, Lisa Henry, John Maatala, Tyler Nelson and Cindy Spilman Sales.............................Kelly Carlson, Linda Hurst, Kristine Roberts, Glen Santi, Carla Saffon, Jill Wasson and Dave Wentzel Online Sales Manager .........................Beth Lehner Outdoor Traditions is a trademarked magazine published by the Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 976, Brainerd, MN 56401. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. ®2010 Cover photo provided by Bill Marchel
SPRING FEVER INSPIRES ADVENTURE!
by Sheri Davich
IT HAS BEEN AN INCREDIBLE SPRING,
and I, like
you, perhaps, am restless to get outside. We've been given a gift this year, an extended outdoor season.
THE HEARTLAND TRAIL
The Heartland Trail is built almost exclusively on a level abandoned railroad bed. It is relatively flat and paved. My
And because the weather has been so out of the ordi-
middle-aged body should be able to handle the physical
nary I have an itch to do something novel, daring, even
demands, although my backside is hurting just thinking
somewhat dangerous! I want to take an adventure. I have
a fever, it's called “spring fever,” and only a day outdoors
It sounds lovely. The DNR website describes the trail, saying there are “views of lakes, rivers, and streams, and
will do! My requirements are simple:
many are accessible from the trail. The trail passes through
• This “adventure” has to be accomplished in a day.
northern hardwood forests and stands of jack, red, and
• It must be inexpensive.
white pines, as well as the spruce pine forest community.
• I want to experience it with “my sweetie”, husband
The occasional majestic white pine can be seen towering
Jim - a date!
over the trail. Whitetail deer, red fox, porcupine, beaver
So, what to do?
and muskrat are often seen off the trail. The observant trail
After some research, and some courage gathering, we
user may spot coyote, weasel, mink, bobcat or black bear.”
have decided to tackle a day- long trail bike ride. The inspiration is all around us. Locally, we are blessed with miles and miles of scenic trails meandering their ways
Hopefully, there will be no lions or tigers or bears. Oh my! Actually, I might like to see that bear. I'll have to be observant.
through quaint towns to explore. I have chosen the Heartland Trail running from Park Rapids to Walker. The distance, at about 27 _ miles, is doable.
FACING OUR FEARS
Now, the thought of a long bike trip of 40-plus miles scares me to death, but it can be exhilarating to take one-
Well, we'll see, wont' we? I honestly don't know if in a day's time we will be able to do the round trip or if we will have to arrange for a ride back to Park Rapids. We will
self out of a comfort zone. I am a marathon runner, and I've always considered those bikers whizzing by in their skintight shorts and aerodynamic helmets as a different breed. I'll join them for a day and see if they're on to something good. OUR PREPARATION
prepare for both. I don't
I conferred with an experienced rider, Jim Eisler from
want to have to rush. It's
Edina Realty. He is a veteran of numerous rides, days long,
all about the journey.
and he offered some great tips. At his direction we will definitely start with shorter rides and work our way up.
Map provided by the Minnesota DNR
S h e r i
D a v i c h
We will have our bikes “tuned up”, and we will educate
should bring food, water, sunscreen, a helmet, sun-
ourselves on how to change a tire.
glasses, a first aid kit, cell phone, gloves, tools to re-
Jim recommended padded bike shorts, which I refuse
pair a tire, and proper clothing such as rain gear(if the
to wear. I have enough natural padding as it is. I hope I
weather report dictates). It will be a challenge to carry
don't regret that decision. He also said to invest in a “road
everything! We will learn the hard way if any thing else
saddle,”not one of those “big-padded monsters which will
is required, and I'll pass the information along in a fol-
make me miserable (yikes!).” In
low-up article. We'll be taking some shorter “trial” runs
the interests of keeping expense
to ensure no surprises. I am sure there will be some,
at a minimum and making this ex-
anyway. Those will be part of the fun, if we live to tell
perience accessible to anyone I'll
go with what is on my bike and STAY TUNED!
hope for the best.
I will be inviting you along for the ride in the Fall IS A DAY LIKE THIS FOR YOU?
edition of Outdoor Traditions with words and pictures. your oown! w ! wn We hope to inspire you to an adventure ooff yo
This is an experiment, and husband Jim and I are your
S H E R I D A V I C H is a free-lance writer living in Pequot Lakes.
guinea pigs. Common sense says we
REMEMBER Always wear your life vest when visiting Corps recreation areas and boating on lakes and rivers!
Have fun on the water at the following Corps recreation areas: Blackhawk Park, De Sota, WI • Eau Galle Lake, Spring Valley, WI Gull Lake, Brainerd, MN • Cross Lake, Pine River, MN Sandy Lake, Mc Gregor, MN • Pokegama Lake, Grand Rapids, MN Winnibigoshish, Deer River, MN • Leech Lake Rec. Area, Federal Dam, MN Orwell Lake, Fergus Falls, MN • Traverse Lake, Wheaton, MN Lac Qui Parle, Watson, MN • Lake Ashtabula, Valley City, ND 6
S p r i n g
F e v e r
I n s p i r e s
Check with Corps Rangers in the event you need to get a “Loaner PFD!”
A d v e n t u r e !
Photos provided by the Nevis Chamber of Commerce
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By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson
O T H E R F I S H M I G H T F I G H T B E T T E R pound for pound than smallmouth bass. We just don’t know of many. They’re like copper-colored missiles shooting from the water when they’re hooked. It’s a blast catching smallies with a medium-light St. Croix rod and Ardent S2500 spinning reel.. Finding smallmouth isn’t usually rocket science either. All that’s needed is knowledge on what makes smallmouth tick and a willingness to keep moving until you connect. You’ll know when that happens. With smallmouth, it’s often a case of find one, find 50 or more.
They’re s o much f u n that out-
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S m a l l i e s
door radio personality, Jim DaRosa, spends summers guiding clients on Mille Lacs Lake to smallmouth bass in a world where most anglers target 50-inch muskies and 8-pound walleyes. “When you get a 6-pounder blowing up on top, there is nothing like it,” he said. DaRosa’s simple formula to find smallmouth bass has three main ingredients. “They need the deep water, cover and food source,” he said. Deep water nearby offers smallmouth an escape when hungry muskies show up looking for a meal of bass. compose of boulders, maybe even Cover is often composed weeds at times like their cousin the largemouth bass. p They lend smallmouth a place to hide from predators am and a vantage point to ambush prey. fr Their menu ranges from crawdads, which crawl youn around the rocks, to young-of-the-year fish of all kinds. ma course at certain times of Bug hatches provide a main the season. The smallmouth’s world perks up when water temperatures reach 50-55 deg degrees in spring. They begin to sandy gravelly hard-bottom shoregather to spawn on sandy, line-related structures like reefs and points. opene in the northwoods are deTiming of season openers layed to protect the adul adult fish while they reproduce th water temperature is 60 or and usually occur after the layin their eggs. But, they don’t above. Fish are done laying necessarily move too far aw away from spawning areas. sum “They’ll stay there all summer long as long as they have everything they need to be happy,” DaRosa said. als move away from the shoreSchools of bass also seaso progresses and the temperaline as the season t u r e s rise in the shallows. They find offshore humps and islands just like walleyes. In fact, you’ll often find smallmouth bass in the same areas as walleyes from June through the remainder of the summer. The bass tend to be the shallower of the two species. The exception comes when a breeze disturbs the surface enough to cut the glare of sunlight and allows walleyes to hunt the tops of the humps or along shallower wind-beaten shoreline. In that case, the bass may get dispaced to deeper water. Photo provided by Ted Takasaki
DaRosa has targeted smallmouth with topwater baits even when the chop was a 1 1/2 feet high. But if the wind gets too strong, DaRosa and his low-line bass boat stay home. He could switch to a higher-sided boat like walleye guides’ boats, but that style is harder to control in wind and boat control is key to success, he said. While most people focus on rocks, DaRosa thinks mud is an untapped smallie location. He’s using his Humminbird side-imaging sonar to search the soft-bottomed flats for the odd boulder or isolated rock piles that can harbor bass. His record is nine fish caught from a single boulder no bigger than the hood of a car. Find a spot like that, mark it on the GPS and smallmouth will be there day after day. In normal years, smallie metabolism usually increases with water temperature. Early on in the season, DaRosa said, bug hatches augment other available food. As summer progresses, food sources deplete and the fish become more aggressive. The mid to late summer bites are great. Fast presentations work well. But, last year was an exception. Temperatures stayed unusually cool in the northern Midwest. Fish metabolism never rose. Smallmouth and other predators stayed fairly neutral to negative all season long. Having a slow approach in the bag of tricks was critical. For DaRosa, “fast” translates to topwaters like the Pop R and Zara Spook. A propeller, a rattle, something with a design that creates noise when jerked through the water — it’s all good. Make sure everyone uses something a little different to start, whether profile, size or color. Let the fish tell you what they want that day. “From late July on, a little bit of noise and they’ll charge from the bottom. Sometimes two or three will hit the same lure. Hook one and several will often follow it to the boat,” he said. Sight fishing and staying mobile are the keys for finding fish on larger rock structures. A reef can be huge. DaRosa likened schools of smallmouth to herds of cattle that graze from one area to another. Guides like him are able to move with them day to day, but weekenders must move fast to locate the right spot for that day. Don’t be shy with the foot pedal to the trolling motor. Keep moving until a tattletale smallmouth lets you know where others may be. “Slow” means jigs in smallmouth parlance. Swim a Lindy X-Change Jig weighing in at about one-eighth of an ounce and a 3- to 4-inch YUM plastic grub in crawdad-mimicking pumpkin colors over rocks in 4 to 5 feet of water. Tube jigs, stick baits, and jerk shad style baits work, too. Super braid line of 8-pound strength and 2-pound diameter on a St. Croix medium spinning rod are best. It’s the simplest fishing you can get. Try dropping the jig back or switch to monofilament if you get short strikes. The mono stretches to allow fish to hold it longer than the no-stretch braid so you
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can set the hook. Exceptions to the rock scenario occur in spring and later in fall when targeting weeds can be productive. Though weeds hold more walleyes and largemouth bass, smallmouth will hunt the same foods. Especially in fall, DaRosa tries the vegetation when he sees perch fishermen move to shallow water. Spinnerbaits work then. Listen to DaRosa and his co-hosts, Don Dziedzina and Ray Ludkevicz, on several stations in the Chicago area or 24/7 at www.Fishinglineradio.com. Contact DaRosa’s guide service at www.fishsmallmouthbass.com. Take a trip to target smallmouth bass this summer. But be sure to get ready for liftoff.
T a k a s a ki
T E D T A K A S A K I is one of the country’s top pro walleye fisherman and a former PWT champion. Not only has Ted won many fishing tournaments, he is the CEO of Lindy Little Joe, Inc. maker of fine fishing products.
Coming this summer: vote for
Best of the Brainerd Lakes!
If you would like to have your business featured in one of the four categories call Kelly Carlson at
218-855-5862 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To see a sample webpage go to:
www.brainerdlakesbound.com/bob a n d
S c o t t
R i c h a r d s o n 9
“LEAVES OF THREE — LET IT BE.”
As soon as win-
ter ends most of us ache to get into those flowerbeds or spend a little time in the woods hiking or gathering camp firewood. Early in the spring we start itching to move outdoors a little and maybe pick a few wild berries. If you’re not careful that might not be the only itching and aching you’ll be doing.
contact. It will be at its worse after about five days, and start to heal in a week or a week and a half. Poison Ivy does not spread from one person to another. Some people believe if they’ve never had a reaction to it that they’re immune. That’s not true says Dr. Devine. “We see a lot of people who think they’re immune to it. But it’s like bee stings you can get stung and stung and never get a reaction but all of a sudden one time you will.” He also says once you get a breakout from poison ivy you will be even more sensitive to it for future out-
ITCHING FOR RELIEF by Sheila Helmberger
Poison Ivy is almost everywhere, from the heart of the woods to our own back yards. It can be hard to spot because the green leaves of the plant often blend in nicely with many other plants. It can grow as a vertical woody vine, as a lucious ground cover, or even a small bush. Most of the time you won’t even realize you’ve come in contact with it. There’s enough of it in this area that if you haven’t actually had the rash yourself you probably know plenty others who have. The oil from the plant is called urushiol (yoo-roo-sheeol) and it’s the culprit that causes all that pain and discomfort that signifies an allergic reaction. It’s potent enough that you don’t even have to come in contact with the plant yourself. It’s possible to pick it up from your pet, clothing, shoes, garden tools and other items that have brushed up against the plant. Its resin can remain potent on those items for years. If you’ve come in contact with any of that oil, no matter how it happens, chances are you’ll notice it within 24 hours if you’re going to break out. Often it starts with an invisible spot that itches. Soon small bumps will begin to form, almost like bug bites, and soon after that the blisters will arrive. Dr. David Devine, a physician in Urgent Care at the Brainerd Medical Center, said there’s only one possible way to avoid, or at least minimize, a reaction to the resin but he says timeliness is key. “The one thing you can do, if you know you’ve been exposed, is to shower as soon as possible. You really only have an hour or two to wash with soap. We see a lot of people in the spring who say they didn’t think they’d been into it or that there aren’t any plants around. They’ll say it hasn’t even greened up yet but when we ask them if they’ve been out digging in the yard or flower beds, sure enough.” The rash generally develops within a day or two after
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breaks. “For someone who has had it once it doesn’t take much of the oil to get on them for them to break out again,” he said. Mild cases are usually self-treated with over-the-counter products like hydrocortisone or an antihistamine such as Benadryl. These won’t clear up the rash but they will help you stay comfortable. Applying calamine lotion or applying a wet cloth or compresses can help with relief from the itching. Soaking in an oatmeal bath can also be soothing, or sprinkling the bath water with baking soda. Once it gets severe, turns into an infection, there are a lot of blisters, or it gets on the face or genitals, Dr. Devine said it’s probably a good idea to go to the doctor. He said two to three patients a day go to Urgent Care for treatment from poison ivy. Usually a prescription is written for Prednisone or other steroid pills. These can help take care of the inflammation and allergic reaction. Not only is the rash itchy but it’s also unsightly often oozing juices from the blisters that is every bit as miserable as it sounds. “The weeping is your body’s reaction to the oil. Just like any wound, if you have a cut it weeps to try to fight off the offending agent,” said Dr. Devine. Scratching and breaking the blisters does not spread the rash, but it’s better to leave them alone if possible since doing so can slow the healing process and possibly lead to an infection. Dr. Devine says poison ivy has no particular season since it can remain for an indefinite time on so many things. “We even see it in the winter,” he says, “because it gets on firewood. If we see a case in the winter they’ve usually been around a campfire.” S H E I L A H E L M B E R G E R has a journalism degree. She is a mother of three, and contributes regularly to various local publications.
Photo provideds by Sheila Helmberger
SPINNING WALLEYE GOLD WHILE LIVEBAIT RIGGING AND VERTICAL JIGGING GO HAND-IN-HAND WITH WALLEYE FISHI N G I N T H E B R A I N E R D L A K E S A R E A , another form of walleye temptation gained national repute on our local waters as well. Spinner rigging dates back to the original Red Devil Spinner Harness marketed by Little Joe — and even earlier if you count wire-shafted spinner contraptions like the Prescott or True Spin. Each spinner design was tipped with a minnow and trolled to impart flash, wobble and vibration to the livebait. And all caught plenty of walleyes, perch, pike, bass and muskies. Yet, oddly enough, spinner fishing in central Minnesota never achieved the height of popularity it enjoys in other areas. Trolling night-crawler tipped spinner harnesses behind bottom bouncer sinkers remains the number one method for catching walleyes in reservoirs from Texas to Saskatchewan, and it does one whale of a job convincing walleyes to bite on rocky Canadian boundary waters like Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake. But here in the Brainerd area-other than on Lake Mille Lacs-spinners seldom earn even an honorable mention among the jigging and rigging clan. The best guess is, it’s not the spinners’ fault; it’s the sinker’s. Wire-legged bottom bouncers tend to foul in and around weeds, and we have plenty of weedy lakes
Photo provideds by Dave Csanda
in our neck of the woods. Trolling bottom bouncers up tight to deep weedlines where walleyes lurk beneath the cover is asking for trouble…meaning frequent snags and frustration. The solution? Get rid of the bouncer, substitute a bullet sinker and shorten the snell. Then you can spin walleyes to your heart’s content with remarkable ease and efficiency. In essence, a weed-resistant slipsinker setup consists of about a 12- to 18-inch snell with rotating spinner blade, a few beads, a large single hook (rather than tandem hooks), and a barrel swivel up front. Slip a quarter-ounce pointy-nosed bullet sinker onto your line-the same sinker style bass anglers use to Texas Rig plastic worms-and then tie on the spinner rig. Your new setup slips and slithers like butter through the outer fringes of weedlines. If you start to hang up a bit, give the rod a wrist snap to help clear the snag, and shade the boat out a little deeper as you troll slowly along with your electric motor, moving just fast enough to spin the blade. Note that we shifted from a standard two-hook spinner harness of about 3 to 4 feet in length, to a shorter snell with a single hook behind the beads, clevis and blade. The shorter snell doesn’t wind around and tangle
Continued on page 30...
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HOT ON THE TRAIL
As OHV use grows in state, program growing right along with it M U S T B E T H E V E S T . Or what it represents. And the unteer youth ATV safety training instructors and comsubconscious message it seems to send. plete a trail ambassador training session. In 2007, the Minnesota Trail Ambassador program Then they get the vest. Lime green, orange and white was formed to promote the safe, ethical and responsible with a patch on the front right and front left, it seems use of off-highway and all-terrain vehicles in the state. to draw some attention. Only two years later, it seems to be making a difference. Palmer used the analogy of when a driver on the highStatistics show accidents and incidents involving OHVs way sees a highway patrolman — often, almost instinccontinue to drop, while the tively, drivers tend to tap number of registered OHVs in the brakes, even if driving the state remains on the rise. within the speed limit. As a result, the Trail Ambas“When they see these sador program also has seen a (vests) ... It’s the same spike in volunteers. And with thing,” Palmer said. “And OHV numbers expected to most of the people you see continue to grow, expect the on the trails are going beTrail Ambassador program to tween 5 and 15 mph. If we follow. see them driving faster than “From Year One to Year that we’ll flag them down.” Two we doubled the number According to the DNR, of trail ambassadors (in the trail ambassadors assist state),” said Darrel Palmer, land managers’ efforts and president of the Central Lakes provide a recognizable presATV Club, which includes the ence while serving as a posiBrainerd area and, according tive and informative role to Palmer, is 100-plus strong. model for fellow OHV and “We had nine trail ambassatrail users. Among their dudors last year (in the club), ties, trail ambassadors are two the first year, and it looks responsible for greeting and like we’ll have 16 this year. educating trail users, giving “Most of the riders (in the minor aid in emergencies club) are 60-plus years old. and providing information They enjoyed being outdoors about responsible OHV use and can’t get around like they on public lands, the DNR used to and it allows them to Darrel Palmer, president of the Central Lakes ATV said. Trail ambassadors get out and drive around. I’m Club, wears his vest with pride as a member of the have no law enforcement the young guy in the club. It’s Trail Ambassador program. authority, but are in contact interesting how many trail amwith law enforcement agenbassadors are retired.” cies. Among the prerequisites for being a trail ambassador, “The program was meant to be the eyes and ears of individuals must be active certified Minnesota DNR vol- the DNR,” Palmer said. “We’ll help people who need as-
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sistance. We become the reporting force for the DNR. troducing ourselves and generally visiting, and getting a Our job is non-enforcement. We can’t arrest them. But count on how many trucks and trailers are in the parkwe can tell them that they’re hurting our sport and ing lot for DNR statistics. Then I’ll get on the trail and wrecking it for the rest of us. We can take down their ride until I get to an intersection. license plate number. We’re going to make a point of “People will see the vest and are curious and will ask, every weekend being out there and riding. It’s a success ‘Is there a problem?’ And sometimes if we see an exstory. pired license we’ll remind them of that — Minnesota“Our trail ambassadors ... there were 140 statewide nice kind of courtesy. One time I saw kids riding with last year, and in Crow Wing County alone there were no helmets. Two weeks later I saw them and they had 31 of them. And we want more trails so we’re recruit- helmets. They just didn’t know about the law.” ing more. We have six more this month in my club. So Palmer, who was born and raised in Brainerd and I’m going to guess there are going to be 40 if not 50 (in lives in Merrifield, is an avid ATV rider, along with his Crow Wing County in the next year). And in a lot of the four children. classes there’s Minneapolis people who have cabins up “Now I have six ATVs,” he said. “And there’s never here. been a rollover or accident. And that’s with a lot of “The highest rate of incidents is in the 35-40 age miles logged.” group. They haven’t had the training. We’re telling parWith options limited in the Brainerd area, Palmer ents that they need to be mostly rides at his cabin with their children (during north of Remer. training) so, as a side bene“There’s a public perfit, in some cases we’re getception that we’re trying ting to teach those in that to fix,” Palmer said of 35-40 group. We’re not just OHV riders. “But there’s training the kids.” always 1 to 2 percent The program, funded that don’t want to abide by grants approved by the by the law. The (Trail Minnesota Legislature in Ambassador) program is 2007, provides other safety helping to change that benefits, too. Trail ambaspublic perception. It sadors receive an hourly puts us on the right side rate and mileage — 25 of the equation. We’re cents a mile in the Central all working together beLakes ATV Club, Palmer cause we want to make it said — with all that money work.” Some of the “tools of the trade” that go along with going toward safety educabeing a trail ambassador. tion and safety equipment, such as the Central Lakes ATV Club’s safety helmet giveaway for kids. Local trail ambassadors mostly patrol the Spider Lake, B R I A N S . P E T E R S O N , Outdoors Fort Ripley/Ripley Connection and Pine Center trails — Editor, may be reached at brian.peterson@ the only three official trail segments in the area. There’s brainerddispatch.com or at 855-5864. a push for a 50-mile trail from Fort Ripley to Pine Center to Brainerd. “People will want us to do something (about people riding in their ditches, etc.) but the only trails we patrol are designated trails,” Palmer said. “That’s why we’re pushing to get more designated trails. You get where you want to ride and (can help with) maintenance and enforcement. It won’t solve the problem of people in the ditches but it will give people an alternate place to ride. “Our (Trail Ambassadors) season officially starts May Full Parts, Sales, 15 when the trails open. My first (Trail Ambassador Service & Rental ride) is May 28 at Spider Lake. I’ll be at the trailhead 218-568-7278 around 9 and get the stuff unloaded and the first hour 2 Miles South of Pequot Lakes on 371 N to hour-and-a-half will be spent visiting with people, inwww.sprmotorsports.com
ATVs, Boats, & Personal Water Crafts
Photos provideds by Brian S. Peterson
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SPRING MIGRATION By Judd Brink Owner and guide MN Backyard Birds
SPRING IN MINNESOTA CAN BE VERY UNPRE-
but my favorite time of year is the spring migration of birds. The new songs and colors that fill the trees each spring are sure ways to cure cabin fever for many of us here in central Minnesota. Both the spring and fall bird migrations allow many of us to enjoy a good variety of birds in higher numbers as they move through our state. Bird feeding and watching is the second largest recreational activity in the United States and continues to grow. Why is Minnesota such a p popular p birdingg destination for so many people no matter what the he weather is or month of year? The state is located within three major biomes or habitat types to the west we have open grasslands orr native prairiee to the north we have boreal or coniferous forest est and to the east we ood have our hardwood sota forest. Minnesota has wonderful opportunities to witness the migration of birds in many unique habitat types such as Hawk Ridge in Duluth or Tamarack Refuge near Detroit Lakes. There are several bird watching festivals and events DICTABLE
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that take place each spring and fall during those peak migration periods to watch or to learn from bird watching guides. The festival of Birds in Detroit Lakes is the oldest birding festival in the state; May 20-23 2010 will be the 13th year. The location of this particular festival lies within a transition zone of different habitat types thus creating unique birding opportunities; itâ€™s possible in one day to bird in several entirely different habitats. According to the Minnesota Ornithologist Union, the state bird list contains 421 species that have been observed. o Most of our breeding specie species are known as long-distance migrants migra or neotropical migrants, birds that winter in central or south Ame America but migrate to the United State and Minnesota to breed and States raise rais young. Many or almost all of our warbler species are considered neotropical ne migrants as they travel many thousands of miles each spring sp to arrive in suitable habitat ta to raise their young. These long-distance migrants use u major fly ways or corridors that aid in guiding them back each year here in Minnesota we have the Mississippi River Flyway. The mighty Mississippi F River starts its journey at Itasca State Park and ends at the Gulf of o Mexico; this waterway serves as a rreference f r n orr a guide g id to help birds find their way back to the state. The other major flyways are Atlantic, Pacific and Central. Each flyway has its own geography that the birds use to aid their flights of migration. For our residents,
birds ones that live here year round, also show some migration patterns but this migration is only seasonal. Most of the seasonal migration within the state occurs during weather events or to find food ood supplies. A good example of a resident bird that shows some seasonal movements each ach year particularly during the winter months ths would be Purple Finches or Red-breasted ed Nuthatches. Both can be found in northern rn Minnesota on a consistent basis but might ht be absent or difficult to find in southern orr central Minnesota but can be attracted to o bird feeders in the winter months as they are searching for new food sources. Hawk Ridge in Duluth is the best and most well known fall migration hotspot in the Midwest. Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory averages just over 100,000 raptors each year with fall being the most productive and is also designated as an Important Bird Area. Hawk Ridge is located near Lake Superior and raptors (hawks, eagles, owls and falcons) prefer not to fly over large bodies of water so they hey the ridge and its thermals and updrafts to aide in their
migration and direct them around Lake Superior. The fall migration starts at the end of August and continues through the end of November with a peak in September. The broad wing hawk is probably the most
Do you enjoy taking photos?
Do you have a favorite image of an eagle, Áower, sunset, et, or how about your favorite hunting partner? Here’s your ur chance to share it with readers of “OUTDOOR Traditions.” s.” Send it along with a two-sentence explanation as to where, e, why, and how it was shot. Both could be published online e and in the 50,000 copies of our new quarterly magazine,, “OUTDOORS Traditions.” Each issue will have an “editor’ss pick” contributed photo, including a credit line of the photographer’s name and portrait if available. Deadline for the Fall edition is August 20, 2010. The Dispatch will collect images quarterly (spring, summer, fall, and winter).
Send your photo to: “Your Best Shot” Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 574, Brainerd, MN 56401. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope if you want your materials returned. Or send your digital Àle to email@example.com om Photos provided by Judd Brink
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B r i n k
abundant migrant with days in the thousands of birds also known as “kettles” or a large group of raptors. I have been watching birds at Hawk Ridge for many years and it’s one of those natural events that is very enjoyable. I always looked at the license plates to see where and how far folks have driven to witness their journey from Hawk Ridge to southern US or South America. In all my years of watching the hawk migration I have only witnessed a “kettle” event a handful of times but something that I won’t forget. The fall colors from atop the ridge are spectacular with great views of Lake Superior. I would encourage you to visit Hawk Ridge to witness this seasonal event sometime it’s a great experience. There are naturalists available to help enjoy the migration and answer your raptor questions. For many birds migration is necessary to find food and avoid colder weather but they face many difficult challenges on the way. Most birds migrate at night so there are many obstacles that they may encounter on their migration or seasonal movements. With new technology comes more issues for our birds in the air as they collide into cell towers, office buildings and wind turbines found on wind farms. Severe weather during a long flight also can be hardship for them as they end up in odd locations at the wrong time. Larger birds like raptors and waterfowl are more likely to return for several seasons to nest and raise young compared to our smaller neotropical birds. Most of our long-distance migrants that are just starting to arrive can be attracted to bird feeding stations placed in our backyards. Many of them are not seed eaters so don’t expect to see too many of these birds coming to your feeders that have been up
and meal worms or grape jelly many oriole bird feeders offer this set up; and they work very well. Providing these foods again in the fall can help prepare the birds for their long flights and give you one more chance to watch them before they leave on their impressive journeys. The return of our favorite garden or backyard birds is sure to brighten our spring days and their songs let us know that summer will once again be here. Think Spring. See Birds. Feed Birds. J U D D B R I N K is the owner of MN Backyard Birds and offer birdscaping packages using bird feeding stations for your enjoyment. We install and maintain bird feeding stations for commercial and residential customers in the Brainerd Lakes Area. Judd Brink can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
over the winter months; they feed on fruit, insects and nectar instead. Spring can be very hard and unpredictable for birds that arrive too early as food is difficult to find or simply not available to them; but providing orange halves, meal worms and sugar water can help them get through until things improve. If you do feed birds fall through spring when they need it the most it is very important that you continue through the tough times of spring this is the most critical period. There are many feeders that are now available that feed orange halves
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Photo provided by Judd Brink
SUMMER SHOOTING SPORTS
IF YOU’RE ANYTHING LIKE ME, SUMMER IS A TIME
I anticipate the always surprising ruffed grouse as it bursts from cover, and the subsequent adrenaline rush that I get as I try to bring the bird down before it gets out of range. I also look forward to hunting a host of other game birds that Minnesota has to offer, such as the ring-neck pheasant, the woodcock, a variety of duck species, and also the Canada goose. There’s always that disappointment that comes with a miss, and each year, I spend some of my summer spare time trying to become a more accomplished shot-gunner. My reasoning is that I will (hopefully) have less disappointment to deal with in the coming fall hunting season. There’s a long list of variables for the shooter to work on: accuracy, follow through, target panic and a consistent gun mount to name a few. What better way to prepare for the coming fall hunting season than to head out and do some pre-season training, and as you will see, the Brainerd area is brimming with opportunity. OF ANTICIPATION FOR THE COMING FALL.
To illustrate, I recently went shooting with a friend who was frustrated because he was only hitting roughly 25 percent of his targets. I stood behind him, and recognized that he was shooting over the top of the clays for the vast majority of his misses. We got his cheek down on the stock, and in just a few minutes, he learned to mount and point his gun level. By the end of our shooting time, he had hit more like 75 percent of his clay birds. That was a great improvement, and he was one happy dude! But just to reiterate, some guns will just naturally fit, and come up more level for you, and that is the one you want. Also know that if you want to fine-tune your stock to fit even better, there are several adjustments that a gunsmith can make to help with that. Secondly, buy and use a gun that you enjoy. The gun that you miss with, or don’t enjoy handling and looking at, tends to sit there and get ignored. If you own a gun that you really admire, and that you can hit with, I can just about guarantee that you will be shooting and hunting more often. And isn’t that what it’s all about? Many times this means an outlay of a good amount of money, but I urge you to think of it as a lifetime investment. I own an expensive Browning over and under, and a Benelli autoloader as well. I’ve had the Benelli for close to 25 years now. I expect to have both for the rest of my life.
I sell firearms part time at thel Gander Mountain store in Baxter. There’s usually two crucial things I like to discuss with our customers. Let’s just call it advice to think about when using a gun, or when buying a new one. The most important aspect of the gun, I think, is that it fits you. In order to consistently hit your target, the gun must THE GAMES mount level the vast majority of the time. As you try them My favorite shooting game is called sporting clays. It’s sort out, you’ll find that some do and some don’t. of like golf, only with a shotgun. One is able to walk around To test a gun’s fit, you’ll want to simulate that you’re raising the gun to shoot at a bird that has just flushed. But remember you’re not aiming the shotgun; you’re pointing it. Both of your eyes should be open, and your focus Mille Lacs Lake - Garrison MN should be on the bird. Now change your focus to your barLargest rel and see how level it is. If you can see lots of the barrel Selection of Bait and or the ventilated rib, you’re likely “looking uphill”, and Tackle in the will be shooting over the top of your birds. This problem Area! is really quite common. The easy adjustment is to get your Best Service, cheek down tight on the gun’s stock to make the plane of Great Prices. the barrel level with your eyes. Guide Sometimes it’s easier said than done. Old habits die Services hard, but get consistent with this technique of “bearing Available. down,” and it will save you many misses in the future.
Hwy. 18 West • Garrison, MN• (320) 692-4341
Photos courtesy of Tim Anderson
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LM Steel Manufacturing and Supply creates custom fire rings for individuals and campgrounds. Our fire rings are manufactured with our finest steel products to with stand the flames and heat from your family’s campfire. We can produce a general campfire ring or one that is completely customized and unique to your yard. Our talented and creative employees can create landscapes, animals, names, logos or any other decorative elements you desire. We can also manufacture fire rings with removable or swing away grates to provide for cooking. These unique fire pit rings make great one-of-a-kind gifts for weddings, anniversaries, father’s day, mother’s day and other special events/milestones. Not only beautiful and unique, fire rings are practical; they bring families together and are one of the best safety precautions when having a fire. For more information and to see more photos please visit our Fire Rings site at: www.fire-rings.com or by calling L&M Steel at 218-828-1256.
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Fish have nowhere left to hide. Get true 180°, panoramic sonar imaging with the most advanced imaging system on the market. The StructureScan module merges high-resolution data with its high-speed Ethernet from three fieldproven systems – SideScan imaging, DownScan™ imaging and 2-D sonar. This fish-finding triple-play provides a complete underwater picture in split-screen format on any HDS system. Periphery-scanning SideScan delivers 480-ft.wide, side-to-side imaging for pinpointing nearby fish and checking under docks, weedlines and hanging brush. Bottom-following DownScan Imaging™ provides a high-resolution picture of fish and structure beneath your boat, while scanning the whole water column for structure and movement. The Broadband Sounder™ 2-D sonar produces clear, target-rich returns that let you see fish stacking up, structure and bait in deep and shallow water. The split-screen format lets you compare and contrast returns from each system for verifiable accuracy. This sleek, simple-to-install system includes a low-profile transducer and the waterproof LSS-1 Black Box module that connects easily to your new or existing HDS unit with an included Ethernet cable. The plug-and-play LSS-1 module can network up to three HDS units for monitoring SideScan, DownScan and 2-D sonar across multiple screens for one-look access to critical data. It’s also adaptable for other upgrades like the LWX-1 satellite receiver. The low-drag imaging transducer mounts on transoms and transom steps, jackplates and trolling motors (trolling motor adapter not included) and features a builtin water temperature sensor. StructureScan is also retro-adaptable so you can upgrade your current HDS system
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2011 Arctic Cat Prowler® XT 550 Whether you’re up against sand, rock or the challenge of the trail, this machine takes it in stride. The Prowler® XT 550 is an ATV designed for those passionate about the outdoors and its limitless potential. And the 545 cubic centimeter, liquid-cooled engine has enough power to put its full potential to the test. Your horizons are boundless and unpredictable, which is why a fully independent suspension can take the toughest terrain and smooth it out in front of you with a full ten inches of ground clearance. The front differential lock in conjunction with an electric on-the-fly two-wheel / four-wheel drive switch gives you traction instantly through the unforgiving quagmire. A 600-pound capacity rear cargo box is ready to haul your gear, and front and rear hitches with 1,500-pounds towing capacity are capable of pulling trailers, boats or recreational toys you need hauled from point A to point B. This Prowler doubles as recreation and workhorse. It’s got the performance and reliability you’re looking for.
PADDLE BOATS by Kennedy Pontoons, Inc. Kennedy paddle boats are unique in comfort and design. They could be more accurately called “Peddle Pontoons” because of their stable and roomy deck and upholstered seating. They are totally self-draining and will not “pocket” water as plastic paddle boats often do. Getting on and off of these paddle boats is very easy because of the “walk-around” deck design. With almost 50 square feet of carpeted deck area, there can be room for sun tanning, diving or fishing. Propulsion is provided by a direct-drive all-aluminum paddle wheel which is enclosed in an upholstered aluminum wheel housing. The steering system is also constructed of long lasting aluminum components.
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a course, where automated clay throwers are set up to simulate real hunting situations. Our area hosts work hard to make the game both interesting and challenging. You’ll find scenarios that include the full woods, the open fields, and even the ponds. Not only that, but you’ll get a chance to work on your accuracy when it comes to the habits of the individual species of bird that you’re after. Examples include the springing teal, the decoying mallards, the rise of a pair of roosters from the grass, or a ruffed grouse coming hard right to left through the trees. This is an enjoyable way to casually go out with your pals and spend an
enjoy various activities having to do with being outdoors, shooting or hunting, there are several more interesting activities available at many of the same facilities that offer trap, skeet, and sporting clays. Several business locations offer real bird hunting for pheasant, partridge, quail, grouse, woodcock, ducks, geese and even wild turkey. Many specialize in dog breeding, training and sales. Others have banquet facilities, conference meeting rooms and lodging for retreats. Still others offer trails for hiking, biking and horse riding. In fact, each family business seems to have it’s own specialty, or activity that it is especially passionate about.
With over 30 years of experience in being "obsessed with fishing" T I M A N D E R S O N is the owner ot Tim Anderson’s Big Fish Hunt Guide Service. Specializing in Giant Musky Hunts on Lake Mille Lacs, and the surrounding Brainerd Minnesota area Lakes.
A group of youth gets involved in the shooting sports. Photo courtesy Rice Creek Hunting and Recreation. hour or two shooting while hiking a nice piece of land. See how many targets you can break out of 50! A second, more formal game is called skeet. This is a game of angles where the shooter moves around a half-circle, stopping along the way to shoot from concrete pads. A high tower is on your left at one end of the semi-circle, and a low tower is on your right at the other end. The clay birds come out as singles from left to right from the high tower, right to left from the low tower, and then as doubles with both coming out at the same time — one from each tower. The shooter starts under the high tower, and works his or her way around to standing under the low tower. Finally, the shooter moves to a place directly in-between the towers, and tries to break the bird before it passes overhead. This is a very challenging game, and it takes a very accomplished shooter to break all 25 targets. A third game is called trap. Again, the shooter moves along a series of concrete pads in a semi-circle, and has 25 targets to shoot at. Clay pigeons are thrown from a single low house, which is located at the center of the semi circle, and behind. The targets are going up and away, but the angles change as the shooter moves from station to station. A beginner might find this game easier than skeet because the angles are less sharp and the targets are farther away. Personally, I started with trap, then moved to skeet, and finally shoot sporting clays the vast majority of the time. For the competitive person, league shooting is available for most of these games at most of our area facilities. One can compete as an individual, or more commonly, as a team. MORE OPTIONS
If you’re not into the “shotgun game thing,” but still
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There is opportunity in all directions. Do a little surfing online, or call up one of these area businesses soon, and see if you can make a great connection this summer! Wild Acres (Pequot Lakes) 218-568-5024 • www.wildacresmn.com Ganz’s Rossburg Pheasants (Aitkin area) 218-927-2300 • www.ganzpheasants.com Wealthwood Rod and Gun Club (Northwest corner of Mille Lacs Lake)
218-678-2281 • www.wealthwoodrodandgunclub.com Dog Lake Birds and Clays (Jct. County 8 and State 18 south of Deerwood)
218-820-4437 • www.doglakehunt.com Rice Creek Hunting and Recreation (Little Falls) 320-745-2232 • www.ricecreekhunting.com Ringneck Ridge (Motley area) 218-575-2913 Little Moran Hunting Club (Staples area) 218-894-3852 • www.littlemoran.com Lakeshore Conservation Club (West side of Gull Lake) 218-963-4003 • www.lakeshoregunclub.com Hunts Point Sportsman’s Club (West of Pequot Lakes) 218-568-8445 • www.huntspointclub.com And for the archer who wants lanes, various targets, or the simulated hunt, contact: Gander Mountain • 218-828-1736 Easy Riders Sport Shop • 218-829-5516 Beimert Outdoors • 218-746-4018 Lakeshore Conservation Club • 218-963-4003
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Photos courtesy of Tim Anderson
Summer In Nisswa you can fill your summer photo album with as much relaxation or excitement as you want! Nisswa has a variety of activities for all ages! Beautiful lakes, bountiful fishing, unique shops, area resorts, golfing for all skill levels, Trails for hiking, biking, camping and so much more! Up-coming Events!
Turtle Races • June 9th - August 18th Every Wednesday Stamman Scandinavian Festival • June 11& 12 Freedom Day Celebration & Parade • July 3 Majestic Pines Art Festival • July 16 & 17 Crazy Days • August 20 & 21
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STATUS OF AREA FISHERIES: Area Fishery in Great Shape
WHEN A MAN WITH HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE WHO HAS LIVED HIS LIFE ON THE BRAINERD A R E A L A K E S S P E A K S , the fishing world listens. Such is the case with DNR area fisheries supervisor Tim Brastrup, who has racked up 25 years looking after the local lakes and rivers. His assessments of panfish, bass, trout, pike, muskies and walleyes follow. However, his overview is slightly bittersweet, because after a total of 32 years with the DNR, and 11 as supervisor, he will retire June 11. “I have mixed emotions leaving now. I love my job.” Health issues related to an Army accident four decades ago have affected his legs and back, and he said, “It’s tough for me to do my job the way I want to, and it’s time for me to close the door on this great career and give the younger folks an opportunity.” One statistic that tells the mettle of a public official over the years is probably a world record set by Brastrup, who has attended 354 Saturday lake association meetings. “Success in this job is listening to people, and I did that.” What of retirement? “I will start fishing more and intend to build a small home on property I own on the Iron Range, back where I grew up,” he said. The area Brastrup and the fisheries crew covers mirrors the majority of the Brainerd Dispatch readership, all of Crow Wing County and the southern half of Cass County. Therefore, when he speaks about a species, he refers to lakes that most readers are familiar with and fish most often.
BLUEGILLS AND CRAPPIES
These popular panfish occupy a big niche in the fishing community. Starting at ice out, crappies are king until the walleye and pike seasons open. “Crappies need bullrushes for spawning, and this is one of the first lake vegetation species to go,” he said. “Some lakeshore owners like their beaches, and bulrushes disappear.” However, crappies are survivors, and in many lakes remain very healthy. Bluegills are the all-season biters capable of making youngsters life-long fishermen. DNR sampling was traditionally done in June, July and August in the shallows, Brastrup explained. The typical bluegill (or sunny) was small. “We wanted to improve or maintain the bluegill fishery, so around 2005, we implemented five crappie
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and five bluegill limits on Gilbert, Rogers, Goodrich and Sylvan lakes,” he said. To gather pre-regulation data, his crews surveyed all four lakes in early spring. “We caught lots of 8-, 9and 10-inch bluegills. They always existed, but people weren’t catching them,” he said. What happened next with the larger ‘gills is that more were being caught. “I think people learned how to catch them and where to target them, and their results tied into a positive opinion of the regs,” he said. It typically takes 10 years to determine the success (or lack) of most fisheries size or bag limit changes. Author’s note: For big bluegills in summer, go deeper. Weed edges in 15 to 22 feet of water are great places to start. Fish jigs no larger than 1/16th of an ounce with 1 _ or 2 inch Power Bait, Gulp!, Slurpies or Twister Tails on light line with ultralight rods. LARGEMOUTH BASS
“We live in a bass fishing mecca,” Brastrup said. The bass fishing is as good as it was 25 years ago, he emphasized, with good habitat and fast-growing bass. “If we didn’t manage so diligently for walleyes, because that’s what most people want, bass fishing would be even better,” he said. Only one area lake has special bass regulations. On Hubert Lake near Nisswa, no bass over 12 inches may be kept. “Locals release most bass anyway,” he said. Test netting proves that 23-inch bass are not that unusual. Interestingly, he compared the numbers of anglers. “It seems if 100 people fish for walleyes, 25 fish for bass, and most of them are tournament fishermen,” he said. Pike would be about 25. “Bass are in great shape,” he said. MUSKIES
The premier muskie fishery is the Mississippi River flowing through Brainerd. The largest fish he knows of is a 56-incher caught toward Little Falls. “The pictures show that it’s huge, and the graphite replica does it justice,” he said. No muskies may be kept from the dam in Grand Rapids downstream to the Coon Rapids dam. Rice Lake from Brainerd to the county line and from
F i s h e r i e s
illustrations provided by the Minnesota DNR
Aitkin upstream to Palisade has been stocked with muskies for five years, at a rate of 3,000 fingerlings (10 to 12 inches long) per year. Those being caught are already in the 30- to 35-inch range. “The best fishing is below the dam, and what our telemetry studies show is that muskies migrate a lot,” Brastrup said, “its not uncommon for them to stroll from the Little Falls reservoir all the way to the dam in a week or so.” Even though the local musky anglers hit lakes outside his supervision, like Cedar, Leech, Mille Lacs, Shamineau, Alexander and the Woman Chain, public meetings are planned this fall for Roosevelt and Lower and Upper South Long. “Research shows these appear to be ideal muskie lakes, and that information will be shared at those meetings,” he said. NORTHERN PIKE
Brastrup said, “Our pike goals are to improve or keep what we’ve got.”
There are lots of “hammer-handle” lakes, and pike sizes except for a couple of lakes have declined over the years. “People like to eat them, and with situations on some lakes, the preponderance of huge year-classes, means smaller and smaller fish,” he said. That’s why several lakes have experimental size regulations. In 2005, Round Lake went to a 30-inch minimum and Mitchell Lake to a 40-inch minimum. Upper and Lower Mission lakes have a 24- to 36-inch protected (can’t keep any this size) slot limit. New this season is a similar protected slot on Big Rabbit and East Big Rabbit. “These upper size limits appear to be working,” he said. With special regulations, the goal is to examine each proposal closely and determine if a need exists. “If we add a new regulation, even though we feel it’s necessary to improve the fishery, we recognize it will limit somebody’s fishing. Unless we feel we have to, we won’t do it.” Another issue arises when the public and home owners/cabin owners/lake associations come to us asking for special regulations to improve their lakes. He said, “We research and make recommendations, but get fought by the Minnesota Dark House and Anglers Asso-
THE BUCKET BRIGADE DOESN’T HELP MATTERS “Nothing but problems!” was how DNR area fisheries supervisor Tim Brastrup described anglers who move fish from one body of water to another. “For my entire career this issue has given me fits,” he said, “And, it continues even today.” Locally, he cited what their nets prove. Mississippi River muskies are in Gull Lake, courtesy of anglers who wanted to start their own program. Lake Shamineau muskies stocked by the DNR received a left pelvic fin clip. Those fish are now in Round Lake. He said approximately 200 smallmouth bass were illegally moved from the Mississippi River to Round Lake. “Illicit stocking may seem to be a laughing matter, but it really confounds years and years of lake management,” he said. On another system, Lake Allen, a trout lake, a local property owner stocked largemouth bass in the lake. They became fat on the trout, and with no competition from other predators, ruled the roost. They became so prevalent that the DNR was forced to spend $20,000 to reclaim the lake to rainbows and brook trout. Relocating fish from one drainage system to an-
other could seriously affect the gene pool. Exotic species are always a danger when moving from one system to another. Parasites in one waterway could be introduced to fish in another lake. The gene pool could be negatively impacted. “This causes havoc,” Brastrup said. In addition to whatever diseases a fish could be carrying, the water in livewells used to transport fish could contain spiny water fleas, zebra mussels, milfoil and other harmful “foreigners.” Brastrup said with Mille Lacs so popular and right in the middle of the state, and not far from other large Brainerd area lakes, he’s surprised exotics like zebra mussels and spiny water fleas haven’t made it to Whitefish, Gull, Pelican or North Long lakes yet. This season, he advised all boaters know and abide by the state regulations about inspecting and cleaning boats when departing one lake, and doubling efforts to make sure absolutely no water is transferred in bilges, livewells, or bait buckets. Read the 2010 DNR Fishing Regulations booklet for specific rules, and especially which waters are known to contain exotic species.
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ciation — the spearers — nearly every time.” Gull Lake is the premier “big-pike” area lake. The testnet catch rates are double what they were 15 years ago. He suspects much of that is due to a new culvert under 371 that allows more fish to swim into Hole in the Day bay to spawn. The problems on Bay and Crooked lakes are due to unlimited spawning. “These are poor pike fisheries. The little pike eat everything, from all the perch to stocked walleyes to young-of-the-year bass,” he said. Typical test nets produce about five pike per lift, but on these lakes, 18 to 20 pike is the norm. “They grow fast and die young, with a life span of only three or four years,” he said. Nothing has changed in 25 years. In 1984, the DNR removed all pike that swam up a spawning creek, and all were hammer-handles except one 20-pounder. “Eating themselves out of food may be the key reason, and a couple years ago, in 15 gill nets targeting perch, the DNR crew caught only one perch. Since perch are the primary forage of pike, bass and walleyes, that impacts everything,” Brastrup said. The expansive wild rice spawning areas produce record-pike hatches every year. SMALLMOUTH BASS
“They’re really expanding and popping up all over. Smallies are more numerous in lakes where they’ve always been, and in the past decade there has been an enormous change — in many cases for the good,” Brastrup said. Whether the food source, water conditions, or any number of dynamic ecological factors, smallmouth bass populations are increasing. Fishermen travel long distances for the world-class smallmouth fisheries of Mille Lacs and the Mississippi River. He said, “I feel smallmouth will grow in range, numbers and popularity.” Managing this species hasn’t been difficult, and only one area lake has special regulations - Hubert — where no bass exceeding 12 inches may be harvested. On Mille Lacs, no fish under 21 inches may be harvested. Statewide, smallmouth bass fishing is catch and release only after Sept. 13. TROUT
The area has two trout streams, including what Brastrup refers to as a “blueribbon trout stream.” That is Stoney Brook, on the west side of Gull Lake. “Brook trout of every size to 14 inches, with a few in the 16-inch range swim in
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Stoney, with many in the 10-inch range,” he said. “It has beautiful habitat with a special “no kill” rule for brookies. Some brown trout also live in Stoney. The other creek, not far from Stoney, is Cory Brook, a stream reclaimed from heavy beaver dams and damage. Stocking includes trout labeled “Minnesota Wild” brook trout from southeastern Minnesota trout streams. There are six natural trout lakes, Marion, Margaret, Strawberry, Snowshoe (or Little Andres), Pleasant and Allen. A total of 10 pits are managed for and stocked with mostly rainbows in the Cuyuna Range area. “With minimal carry-over, the best big-fish pits are Pennington and Huntington,” he said. WALLEYES
“Walleyes are the No. 1 fish in this area,” Brastrup said. A total of 50 lakes are managed in Crow Wing and southern Cass County for walleyes. He summed up the walleye fishery in one word, “Excellent!” Buoyed in large part by a healthy stocking program, coupled with regular assessments, and a few lessons learned over the years, he expects walleyes to remain the No. 1 fish for years to come. Previously, the DNR stocked primarily fingerlings in the five larger area lakes. “We went almost exclusively to fry-stocking in these lakes. The results were immediate, and that’s our plan for the future,” he said. He surmised that with only fry, there was less competition from walleye fingerlings, and more fry moved up the year-class ladder. Gull receives 2,830,000, while North Long and Pelican receive 3,900,000 fry annually and Lake Edward gets 2,000,000. The Whitefish chain receives 5,000,000 fry annually and approximately 132,000 fingerlings every other year. “I feel we can create an even better walleye fishery on Gull and the large lakes,” Brastrup predicted. That may require special regulations and different stocking strategies to increase the average size. “The day is coming to discuss options,” he said. Currently there are no special walleye regulations on area lakes. Summing up the Brainerd lakes area, Brastrup feels the fishing is good to excellent for most species, and looks stable for years to come. The fish and fishermen will miss his guidance, insight and desire to improve the area lakes and rivers.
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J I M K A L K O F E N has been in and around
boats all his life. He has been director of the largest walleye tournament circuits for two decades, and was inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. illustrations provided by the Minnesota DNR
Register online today at
For details log on to brainerdlakesbound.com
Is your backyard wildlife-friendly? If you spend a little time in the bird d food food d section secti tion off your favorite store you’re bound to hear bird feeding enthusiasts comparing notes on the wildlife that frequent their yards. “I’ve had five orioles and an indigo bunting at my feeders,” they brag. During this “green” era attracting wildlife to backyards is more popular than ever. By placing a few bird feeders, and with the addition of a simple landscape project or two, you can attract wildlife of all sorts to your yard. If your backyard is already providing for wildlife, you can be recognized for your efforts by having your property certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat. I certified my backyard a few years ago and during the procedure learned new ideas for future landscape and feeder projects. The certification process is easy and costs only $20, which includes a full year’s membership to the National Wildlife Federation and a one-year subscription to National Wildlife magazine.
Every wildlife-friendly backyard should feature some heavy cover for birds to nest and escape predators. This mourning dove is raising its young in a white spruce tree.
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To T o be b eligible eli ligib iblle as a Backyard Backya k rd d Wildlife Wil Wildl dlif ife Habitat Habiita Ha tatt your your yard yarrd must furnish wildlife with certain habitat requirements. Basically, a backyard must provide one or more essential elements from each of five wildlife habitat categories: food, water, cover, a place to raise young, and sustainable gardening. The Food category is broken down into two subcategories, plant foods and feeder types. The plant food subcategory listed eight sources of food that could be provided to wildlife by landscaping with various food-producing plants. The proper plants could provide seeds, nuts, berries, fruits, nectar, sap, twigs, and pollen. I satisfied that requirement since I have landscaped my yard with various plants that provide all of the above food sources. For instance I planted green ash trees to provide seeds, red oak trees to supply nuts, June berry, chokecherry and elderberry for their berries, and crab apple, plum, mountain ash for their fruit, etc. The second Food subcategory — feeder types — lists six styles of feeders. The feeder types are tube (usually thistle feeders), platform, suet, hummingbird, squirrel, and butterfly. Water is the second essential wildlife habitat element. Wildlife needs water for drinking, of course, but also for bathing. There are several subcategories from which to choose. I fulfilled the water requirement by having a pond excavated in my rural backyard. The third essential element required when certifying a Backyard Wildlife Habitat is Cover. Your backyard should provide wildlife shelter from bad weather and a place to hide from predators. There are 13 Cover subcategories of which two are required. Again there are many subcategories, including wooded areas, dense shrubs or hedges, evergreens, or brush or rock piles. I met the two requirements by planting several white
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spruce trees and hedges of red-oiser dogwood, highbush cranberry and other shrubs. As a result, currently I can verify 15 different species of birds nesting within 30 yards of my home. The fourth essential element is Places To Raise Young. Some of the 10 subcategories overlap the Cover elements. A few of the subcategories are mature trees, nesting boxes, dead trees or snags, and water gardens. A minimum of two of the subcategories must be fulfilled. I met the two requirements with mature oak and elm trees, and by placing nesting boxes for wood ducks, bluebirds and purple martins. The final essential habitat element is Sustainable Gardening. I achieved my two requirements by not using pesticides and by reducing lawn areas. If you want to attract wildlife to your yard but donâ€™t know where to begin, there are a number of books available on the subject. One of the best is titled Landscaping for Wildlife by Carrol Henderson. Also, there is a ton of information available on the National Wildlife Federation web site at www. nwf.org. To obtain an application for certification of your yard as a National Wildlife Federation Backyard Wildlife Habitat call 1-800-822-9919, or apply online at the web address above. Schoolyards can also be certified which is great a learning tool for teachers and students.
A female ruby-throated hummingbird is feeding on butterfly weed. A backyard featuring a flower garden will also attract butterflies and other valuable insects.
A male rose-breasted grosbeak is feeding at a sunflower feeder. Every wildlife friendly backyard should contain several feeders of various types offering a variety of seeds
A backyard pond can attract colorful wood ducks and other water birds, such as herons and kingfishers, and also reptiles and amphibians. Other wildlife will use a backyard pond for drinking and bathing.
Nesting boxes can attract birds such as the eastern bluebird. Other birds that use nesting boxes are wood ducks, hooded mergansers, house wrens, swallows and purple martins, and some species of owls.
B I L L M A R C H E L is a wildlife and outdoors photographer and writer who lives near Fort Ripley. His work has appeared in many regional and national publications and he writes a monthly column for the Brainerd Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com
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FISHING GUIDE TIM ANDERSON THE MIGHTY MUSKY IS A WORTHY OPPONENT FOR BRAINERD FISHING GUIDE TIM ANDERSON.
Minnesota’s whopper fish is moody, unpredictable and elusive. And Anderson loves the challenge. “It’s the size, it’s the predatory nature, it’s the attitude,” explained Anderson. “Muskies are very challenging to catch. It’s feast or famine. They are fickle. They have attitudes. The challenge is to pattern them enough to catch them consistently.” Anderson, who has been guiding for five years, can help you catch whatever you’re after, northern, walleye, bass or sturgeon. But it’s muskies that fire his imagination and fuel his enthusiasm. “I’m obsessed with muskies,” he admitted. “It’s a lifetime pursuit. They’re at the top of the food chain and can reach 40 or 50 pounds or more.” Muskies can only be found in about 80 of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes, said Anderson. In central Minnesota, muskies are native to Leech Lake and the Mississippi River and stocked in area lakes such as Mille Lacs, Cedar, Shamineau and Lake Alexander. Anderson tailors each muskie trip to fit his customer. “If they want muskie action, we go to Alexander or Cedar or Shamineau. They’re built more for numbers and action. Mille Lacs is built more for a whopper. If they are after a giant musky, we head for Mille Lacs, Vermillion or Lake Bemidji.” Last fishing season was a phenomenal one for Anderson. “We were successful catching fish on close to 90 percent of our trips.” Last summer also produced the biggest musky Anderson ever encountered. The 55-inch fish with a 26-inch girth was one of the largest muskies caught in the country last year. It happened after a long day of guiding. Anderson said a friend called and wanted to go out on Mille Lacs. “I was tired and needed a break. I went
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home and slept six hours and then met him over at Mille Lacs at midnight. We’ve caught some monster muskies together. We fish tough water and we catch big fish, the really huge ones. That really trips our trigger. “It was a chilly night with a light wind and a dark moon. We were on a rock reef and I circled it once. We were just going around for another loop when the fish struck,” Anderson recalled. “You flip on the headlamps and you just see the water frothing and a big silver side. My friend yells ‘Fish!’ then ‘Big Fish!’ then ‘This is a giant!’ We landed the fish in less than a minute. A fish that big is extremely hard to catch. Out of hundreds of muskies, we’ve caught maybe half dozen nearly that big in the past t10 years. “It’s a super tanker, it looks like a missile. You look at them and your jaw just drops. I’m guessing one percent or less of the muskie population is that big. Everything has to line up perfectly to catch a fish like that.” “That was just one of those nights. Some nights you just want to get another one. And sometimes you just want to sit back and bask in it the glow of what happened. We kept fishing and kept reliving the moment. The next thing we knew, the sun was coming up and we headed for home.” Don’t expect to see any fish trophies on Anderson’s walls, unless they are a replica. This guide is exclusively catch and release. “You catch them and release them so you can catch them again. It takes l5 to 20 years for a fish to get that big. If you catch to eat them, they are gone forever,” Anderson stated. “I don’t believe in killing big fish. With today’s technology for digital photos and replicas, there is no reason to do it.” Anderson holds his customers to the same standards. “Most who fish muskies know that it is a catch and release sport. I cover that ground up front.” Photos provided by Rachel Reabe Nystrom
He remembers a time when a client showed up for his fishing trip with a big cooler. “I took a deep breath and said I was really sorry that I hadn’t made it clear to him that my muskie fishing business revolves around hunt and catch but it’s catch and release,” he recalled. “I told him if he wants to catch muskies, I’ll get you great pictures and if you want a replica, I’ll hook you up with the best guy around.” The man agreed and Anderson said they had a great fishing trip. They got a 53-inch musky. “He caught something truly remarkable especially for the lake. We got great pictures of him bear-hugging that fish with the moon coming up over his shoulder. It was the biggest fish he ever caught in his life,” Anderson said. “It was a good satisfying feeling for us. We achieved our goal and it’s a victory to know that fish is still alive and will spawn again” Better yet, a close friend of Anderson’s enjoyed the thrill of catching that very same fish six weeks later. “We knew it was the same one from a very distinctive mark that was on the fish’s head,” he explained. Tim Anderson fell in love with fishing when he was a young boy growing up on Reno Lake in Deerwood. He had his own boat and motor before he was 10. “It’s the way I was born, a God-given desire to fish and hunt,” he said. “Nobody in my family was really into it but I found ways to earn money so I could buy the stuff I needed, guns, ammo, rods and reels. My earliest recollections are coming home from school, changing clothes and heading for the lake and woods.” Along the way Anderson earned a degree in wildlife biology and got involved in the family photo business. After 20 years running a photo service in Baxter, he Tim Anderson at age 13 closed it a couple of years showing of a couple of delicious bass he caught from ago to concentrate on guidthe shores of a local lake. ing. Anderson divides his time between his guide business, writing, photography and speaking. “I could make a good living doing something else but it isn’t important to me. Do what you love and be content. I try
to follow in the Lord’s footsteps and look for opportunities to share my faith along with fishing. It’s very hard for me to separate the two.” Anderson’s website www.bigfishhunt.com is the primary source for his guiding. Repeat customers make up a large part of his business. “I love trying to put people onto fish,” he said. “I honestly can say I would rather see someone else catch the fish than me. I’ve been there and experienced it. I’d rather teach and encourage.” Anderson acknowledges that he is tenacious when it comes to catching fish. “I’ve had clients call me the casting Nazi. I don’t give up. I do everything I can to get people what they are paying for. If that means fishing for 12 or 16 hours straight, that’s what we do and if the fish are biting, we don’t leave.” Anderson’s fishing boat is a 2009 Ranger, 20 feet long with a 250 Mercury engine and state of the art electronics. He has fond memories of the old days when he had to line up his special fishing spot with landmarks on shore to find it but grateful for the new technology. “With GPS I can drive my boat right to spot on Lake Mille Lacs to locate a fish that lives on the top of the reef. I can mark the spot and come back and catch him later when he’s in a better mood and ready to eat,” Anderson said. “I can cast to that fish in the dark, in the middle of a storm. You would never be able to do that without GPS.” Fishing begins in March for Anderson when the rivers open up and continues through October. He’s planning to take his boat to Florida next winter and expand his fishing range. Bur for now, Anderson is looking forward to another summer of Minnesota fishing. He recently bought a camper that he hopes will cut down on his drive time back and forth to his favorite lakes. “Now I can stay at the lake access,” he said. “I can fish until I’m tired and then crawl into my camper and get up and fish some more.” At 46, Tim Anderson says he’s living his dream.
A journalist, R A C H E L R E A B E N Y S T R O M worked as a reporter and talk show host on Minnesota Public Radio for almost 20 years. She currently serves on the Crow Wing County Board as a commissioner. OPEN 365 DAYS
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Continued from page 11... around weeds like a longer one. And by using a single hook that’s largely protected by the whirling blade, you greatly minimize picking up shreds of greenery. Now, here’s a big deal: When you’re around weeds, don’t use a live nightcrawler for bait. Bluegills and perch pounce on it and shred it. You’re better off switching to a live minnow, hooked either up through the mouth, or by inserting the hook into the mouth, out one gill opening, and reinserting the hook point lightly beneath the dorsal fin. The latter rigging is exceedingly weedless, but requires a larger than normal hook, like a #1/0 lightwire Aberdeen. In fact, if you substitute a livebait imitation, like a 3- to 4-inch biodegradable Trigger X Minnow, Swimming Grub or Spinners are winners for walleyes Jumbo Leech, you retain all the attracin the Brainerd lakes area tion of livebait with the durability of an artificial one that won’t rub off in weeds, nor be picked apart by marauding panfish. The spinner rig imparts a lively action and attraction to the phony bait as it flips and flops along, and walleyes, pike and other species will pounce on all over it. And you can catch multiple fish on one bait without rebaiting. If there’s a single most underused and effective walleye tactic on our area waters, this one gets my vote. Now, back to traditional spinner rigs, or at least modifications of them. We already said that you seldom see bottom bouncers in use in our area to deliver baited spinner rigs. But what you do see is three-way rigs, notably on Lake Mille Lacs, for trolling in depths anywhere from 12 to 15 feet deep along the edges of rocky reefs and gravel bars, down to the bases of midlake mud flats at the 28- to 34-foot levels. They’re easy to fish and deadly effective, particularly once walleyes have seen enough of their buddies disappear on finesse livebaitrigged leeches. By mid-July, the best bite often switches over to small-bladed silver spinner harnesses tied with long snells-4 to 10 feet in length-of light 6-pound-test fluorocarbon line. Three-way rigs originate with a three-ringed swivel, one loop of which is tied to your main line. To a second loop, tie your spinner snell. And to the third, a short dropper line of 15 to perhaps 36 inches in length, to the end of which is tied a bell sinker ranging anywhere
from half to perhaps 2 1/4 ounces, depending on how deep you want to fish. The 1 3/4- to 2 1/4-ounce sizes are favored by most folks fishing the perimeters of the deep mud flats on Mille Lacs; the smaller sizes are better for fishing shallower reefs and gravel. As with all spinner rigs, use just enough trolling speed to barely make the blade spin, or even flicker at times, rather than rotating hard like a whirling dervish. A little added flash and attraction is great, but don’t overdo it. Big fish eat small flashing minnows, not high-speed propellers. Speaking of minnows…at times, minnows trolled behind spinner rigs tend to outproduce traditional tandem nightcrawler harnesses or single-hook leech rigs. It’s hard to say why, other than that conditioning may set in after all the leeches and crawlers that livebait riggers drag before the eyes of Mille Lacs walleyes in June and early July. The spinner tactic becomes so deadly, in fact, that Mille Lacs spin doctors have actually given it a name: spinnowing (short for spinner-minnowing). The incremental increase in speed, flash, vibration and action seems to work wonders at times. As you troll along at around 1 to 1 1/2mph, following the contours rimming the edge of a mud flat, let out just enough line to touch bottom with the line extending downward at about 45 degrees from the surface. Then lift the rig slightly, making only occasional bottom contact when you lower the rod tip to make sure the rig is near bottom. You don’t need to tap-tap the bottom, stirring up the mud with your weight. In fact, a slow, steady drift or troll is often as good as pumping the rig to make the spinner surge, pause and flutter. While this tactic often produces walleyes in summer on other deep, clear Brainerd area waters like Gull, Pelican, North Long, Round or Whitefish, the odds on these lakes are usually better with weed-resistant spinner rigs that tickle the outer fringes of the weeds. Deeper threeway rigging tends to be better in fall, all else being equal. As we conclude, let’s not forget that livebait rigs, jigs, crankbaits, slip bobbers, longline trolling Rapalas in the shallows at night, open-water trolling with deep-diving crankbaits, and other tactics also produce summer walleyes in our area. Spinners simply provide an additional option, often underused or ignored. And if the fish aren’t used to seeing something…it may look mighty good the first time someone purrs a spinner along past their noses. It might even be you.
After 28 years as a magazine editor and TV angler at In-Fisherman, D A V E C S A N D A recently rejoined his old friends at Lindner Media, producers of Angling Edge Television, in Baxter.
Spinner Rigging For Walleyes
http://www.youtube.com/user/LindnerMedia#p/u/79mnjrErB1aU 30 S p i n n i n g
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Photos provided by Dave Csanda
Memory Lane FISHING Memories
Well, It's that time of the year when you see this mass exodus from the big cities, and in case you don't read the papers, or you're living under a rock, its not a terrorist attack, but the opening of fishing that brings them all up Highway 10 and 94, heading for the lakes. Boats with enough electronics in them to make Microsoft blush will hitt the water and $300 fishing rods with equally expensive reels will try to entice some wary walleye to a lure that looks good enough for even me to eat. I know when it comes to the fancy boats — I'm being a little facetious and it's not true for everybody —but some of the rigs I have seen, left me with myy mouth hanging open.. When you have to o have a super duty truck to pull the rig-Lets face it; you got a lot of boat. The Vikings came from Norway 400 ago in smaller boats. My dad never owned a boat, but he and I, and maybe one other brother would go out to Wilders Resort on Sylvan Lake and rent one for a dollar a day. We had an old three-horse Johnson motor that had the gas tank on top and if you wanted to go backwards you just turned the motor around. Dad would have a pocket full of White Owl cigars and it was hard to judge who smoked more, him or the motor. His old rusty lunch box would be full of liver sausage sandwiches and maybe some pickled herring, No beer or pop for him, just an old Mason jar full of well water to drink. But for us, as meager as it sounds, it didn't get any better than that. Fishing together with him is one of my favorite memories. It wasn't the fish we caught that was important to me. The treat was I got to spend a whole day with my dad without working. My wife fills that niche for me Photos provided by Mike Holst
by mike holst
now and outside of the fact she usually catches more fish than I, it's still a good time. That's what's missing in so many peoples’ lives now days. A time for fathers and sons, or daughters, or the whole family to sit down and fish together. I have a 13-year-old grandson who loves to fish but I'm not sure he will this year. You see, his father and mother are both working two jobs just to keep thei their heads above water financially. It's a hundred and fifty miles aw away to his house, but I might jus have to go get him, it's that just im important to me. So, to all of the fisherman out th there this weekend, whether it's in a launch the size of a small h house or an old tin boat with a leak in the stern. Whether it has a motor bigger than most cars, or an old Johnson like we had that smokes like a steam engine and has about the same power as my wife's w mixer, I wish for you a good catch and a trip but most of all I wish that you make a memory safe trip, that will have your son someday sitting down and writing about it. And you know what, he'll not remember the size of the boat or if you caught any fish at all that day. He won't remember if he fished with a Zebco or a Garcia or a cane pole. He'll just remember the time he and his dad went fishing.
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We want your stories!
Do you have a great story you would like to share re p, about your life in the outdoors? Fishing tales, deer camp, p. camping outings with friends and family growing up. R Here’s your chance to share it with readers of “OUTDOOR g Traditions.” Send us your story of 500-700 words, along with quality photographs and short biography about the writer. If your article is chosen, it will be published in our OUTDOOR Traditions magazine. Deadline for the Fall edition is August 20, 2010. The Dispatch will collect stories quarterly (spring, summer, fall, and winter). Send your story and photographs to: “Memory Lane” Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 574, Brainerd, MN 56401. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope if you want your materials returned. ch.com Or email your digital Àles to firstname.lastname@example.org 32 S e r v i c e
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today in th 1
16 Nisswa Turtle Races
Moondance Jammin Country Fest June 17-19
Turtle Races Wednesday Night Street Drag - BIR
Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals
CRA Motorcycle Racing - BIR BIR Bracket Drag Racing
Cass County Fair Crow Wing County Fair Wednesday Night Street Drag - BIR
Wednesday Night Street Drag - BIR Turtle Races
Wednesday Night Street Drag - BIR
Cass County Fair Crow Wing County Fair
Hospice Charity Golf & Dinner BIR Bracket Drag Racing Series
Bean Hole Days
Cass County Fair Crow Wing County Fair
Bean Hole Days
Big Fun Tuesdays in Crosslake
Wednesday Night Street Drag - BIR
Big Fun Tuesdays in Crosslake
Battle of the Bands 24th Annual Show & Go - BIR Pine River Duck Races
Summer Garden Tour
Big Fun Tuesdays in Crosslake
Nisswa Freedom Days Parade 24th Annual Show & Go - BIR
Babe’s Annual Beneﬁt Rally BIR Bracket Drag Racing Series
Pine River Duck Races
Moondance Jam - Walker
Moondance Jam - Walker Annual Majestic Pines Art Festival
Pine River Duck Races
3 Arts in the Park
Moondance Jam - Walker Annual Majestic Pines Art Festival
Downtown Brainerd 3-on-3 Street-Ball Shoot-Out
Pine River Duck Races
SEPTEMBER Cass County Fair Crow Wing County Fair
Early Canada Goose Season Coca-Cola Muscle Car Shoot-Out / SCCA Trans-Am Series - BIR
Bear Season Morning Dove Season Wednesday Night Street Drag - BIR
Coca-Cola Muscle Car Shoot-Out - BIR
Cowboy & Hobo Cowboy & Hobo 8th Annual Women's Days Music Festival Days Music Festival Wednesday Night Expo and Fall Arts/ Heritage Days Heritage Days Crafts Show Street Drag - BIR & Quilt Show & Quilt Show Season 15 16 17 18 Grouse Deer hunt CRA Motorcycle Stream Trout / - Archery Season Racing - BIR Smallmouth Bass Sm. Game Season Annual Ski Gull - 2010 Catch and CRA Motorcycle Fundraiser Release season only Racing - BIR
Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals
Ideal Volunteer Fire Department Beef Feed
Wednesday Night Big Fun Tuesdays in Street Drag - BIR Crosslake Turtle Races
Downtown Brainerd 3-on-3 Street-Ball Shoot-Out
Conﬁdence Learning Center Annual Fishing Tournament 26 Miss Brainerd Lakes Pageant Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Brainerd
Cass County Fair Crow Wing County Fair Big Fun Tuesdays in Crosslake
Big Fun Tuesdays in Crosslake
4th "American Celebration" 24th Annual Show & Go - BIR
Nisswa Turtle Races
4 Brainerd's July 5
Sour Grapes Half and Half Marathon
AUGUST Big Fun Tuesdays in Crosslake
Nisswa Stamman Scandinavian Festival June 11-12
Nisswa Turtle Races
Muskie Opener Pequot Lakes Cherry Car Show
Wednesday Night Street Drag - BIR
Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Pine River Duck Races CRA Motorcycle Racing - BIR Pine River Duck Races 8th Annual Rally Up North
Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Dru Sjodin Purple Elephant 10k/5k
Coca-Cola Muscle Car Shoot-Out / SCCA Brainerd Outdoors Brainerd Outdoors Trans-Am Series - BIR Expo Expo
CRA Motorcycle Racing - BIR BIR Bracket Drag Racing
8th Annual Rally Up North Brainerd Jaycee's Street Fest on 7th
Cowboy & Hobo Days Music Festival
CRA Motorcycle Racing - BIR
6th Annual National Chainsaw Sculpting Invitational
Take-a-Kid Hunting weekend
6th Annual National Chainsaw Sculpting Invitational
Crosslake Days 2010 Crosslake Days 2010 Crosslake Days 2010 Crosslake Days 2010
6th Annual National Chainsaw Sculpting Invitational
Crosslake Days 2010
For more information or more events, log on to:
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I took this picture over the Mother's Day Weekend. I thought it was appropriate for Mother's Day with the newlyhatched babies. The mother robin choose to make her nest in the center of the bird feeder where you could see them rom the window! It took some patience to shoot the right moment! from
SSend d a slide lid or print i t tto “Y “Your B Bestt Sh Shot” t” B Brainerd i d Di Dispatch, t h P P.O. O B Box 574 574, Brainerd, MN 56401. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope if you want your materials returned. Do you enjoy taking photos? Do you have a favorite image of an eagle, flower, sunset, or how about your favorite hunting partner? Here’s your chance to share it with readers of “OUTDOOR Traditions.” Send it along with a two-sentence explanation as to where, why, and how it was shot. Both could be published online and in the 50,000 copies of our new quarterly magazine, “OUTDOORS Traditions.” Each issue will have an “editor’s pick” contributed photo, including a credit line of the photographer’s name and portrait if available. Deadline for the summer edition is August 20, 2010. The Dispatch will collect images quarterly (spring, summer, fall, winter). After each issue of “OUTDOOR Traditions” publishes, we will then place the images on our website.
Upload your favorite outdoors photos at http://spotted.brainerddispatch.com/ 34 Y o u r
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Outdoor Traditions Issue 2 Edition 5 • Is your backyard wildlife friendly? • Status of area fisheries • Reefin' smallies • Spinning walleye...