Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mosquitoes, Minnows, Moose, Flying Daisy and Killer Grouse

Click on pictures to enlarge

After a month in the bush of Canada we ventured back to Minnesota to attend our nieces wedding on the 14th. Although it was a quick trip, it was great time and it was good to see friends and family. Kris and Dave had a quiet wedding at my brother Bob’s house, the weather was sketchy but they were able to get an outdoor ceremony in before the rain it.
When we returned we were greeted by hundreds thousands millions of mosquitoes! If you are out in the open during the day it was bearable but if you were anywhere in the shade or ventured out in the early morning or at dusk you are eaten alive. One thing we learned quickly is that our rig is not mosquito–proof. They somehow make their way in, I am guessing it is through the area around the slide outs as it is nearly impossible to make those air tight. Each night we kill at least a hundred before we go to bed. We also run a box fan on high in the bedroom to keep them from landing on us in our sleep. Today I ran some blue painters tape along some of the seams that looked like entry points so we will have to wait and see how it goes. So far tonight I think I only killed about 20 which is a vast improvement. We also got a chance to set up and test out the screen room we bought last year just for this reason. Overall I am impressed with how it keeps the bugs out and handles itself in the wind.

We have also been going with Chad while he traps minnows this week. The resort goes through about 40-60 dozen minnows each day for the guests so minnow trapping is a daily occurrence. He traps both using nets and wire traps. The nets are about 50 feet long, cylindrical and funnel shaped. He places them in areas with high minnow concentrations and the minnows swim down the net (funnel) to an area that they cannot get out. The traps are about 3 feet long, made of wire and have an inverted cone on one or both ends. These are baited with bread and the minnows swim inside the trap through the inverted cone and cannot get out. A good netting will result in more than 100 dozen while a good trap could produce about 10 dozen.
Minnow Lake

Trap in water

Only a few in this trap!
 One of the things we like to do is find remote lakes that no one has fished for a while. We will look at a map and Google Earth of the area and find a lake that has limited or no access. Many of these maps will show old logging roads. Once we find a likely lake we will use Google Earth to find the most likely route into the lake, create latitude and longitude GPS waypoints, gas up the 4 wheeler and chainsaw and see if we can get to the lake. Barb and I went on one such adventure ride the other day in search of a brook trout lake Chad he has heard of but has never heard of anyone getting to in recent years. The lake itself was about 40kms from camp with the last 6-10 kms being brush busting. We were able to find the old logging road that went near the lake, it was overgrown but passable with the 4 wheeler. As we were driving down the logging road, there on the side of the logging road was a huge moose antler! Bull moose will typically drop their antlers in January or February and this particular moose happened to be on this logging road when it dropped! We loaded it up and it now resides outside our trailer next to Barb’s chainsaw carving bear. We made it within 100 yards of the lake but that was as close as we could get with the 4 wheeler. With this information stored away, we will be back with our canoe and cut our way in the last 100 yards to see what we can do on that lake!
Moose shed where we found it

Cutting our way into a lake


Barb and I did get out fishing this week. We went to a lake that we had discovered last year. It again was a lake that Chad said the previous owner had fished but he has not heard of anyone fishing it in the 8 years he has owned the resort. We had cleared a logging road and just killed the walleyes, this is now a lake that Chad sends his customers to as well. This was also Daisy’s first fishing adventure for the year. She usually stays home but we were only going out for a few hours so we thought, what the heck, bring her along. She had quite the experience on the way there, she loves sitting on Barb’s lap with her head out the window and as we were driving down the gravel road we hit a pothole and boom, Daisy flies out the window! One second, she was on Barb’s lap, the next she is gone! Luckily Barb had her leash and harness on so she did not hit the ground, she just bounced off the side of the jeep a few times before Barb pulled her back in. it was a little nerve-racking for us and for the next few minutes Daisy gave me the stink eye like I did it on purpose!  When we got to the lake, in 2 hours of fishing, we had our limit of 8 eater size walleyes and had released about 8 more. We also ventured to another lake that no one has been on since Chad has owned the resort. I had been by this lake several times while bear baiting in the past few years but this time I brought the canoe and Barb so we were going to see if there were any fish in it. Barb had the first fish within 15 minutes, a small pike. A little while later, she had another and another. I think she had 6 pike before I had my first fish. All in all it was a good day. We caught between 15-20 pike, nothing huge but a fun lake to send someone to if they want a lot of action.

Daisy in full launch position

I think she is still giving me the stink eye!
Our third outing was another exploration adventure with our four wheeler and canoe. There is a small lake on the map that is adjacent to a really good pike lake so I thought maybe…….maybe there was a stream between the two and there was pike in there as well. It was only a 7 mile 4 wheeler ride from camp. On the way there we must have come across 10 hen grouse with a clutch of chicks. The chicks would scatter as we approached while the hen would feign injury in an attempt to lure you away from the chicks. If that did not work they get aggressive and attack you! When we would come across a clutch in the tall grass Barb would walk in front of the 4 wheeler to make sure we did not run over any and about ½ the time she would get charged by the mom! It was hilarious, the hen would hiss, puff up and charge her! We eventually made it to the small lake despite the killer grouse and a few downed trees. We fished it for about 45 minutes and……nothing…… it was a dead shallow lake. Oh well, can’t win them all. So we packed everything up and headed to the nearby pike lake where we spent 3 hours catching 9 fish (Barb 6, Jim 3 but who is counting). On the way back we ran across more killer grouse and a couple of turtles that we had to maneuver around on the logging roads.  
Mama grouse in attack mode!

Grouse chick on a rock
Not sure what this is but it looked pretty

Wild Rose

I also got a chance to play with my GoPro and get some more underwater video of fish. I still need some more practice but I got some underwater video of a few walleyes we caught and a really cool video of my pet northern. There is a northern about 34” that hangs around and will eat minnows that are thrown to him. One day I got my GoPro and he was very cooperative while I videotaped him. I will work on editing the video, post it on YouTube and copy the link to the blog. In the meantime, below are a couple of action shots from the video.
A few action shots of a Northern feeding


Footnote: No animals were harmed in the making of this blog…..well, maybe a few fish and a couple hundred mosquitoes but Daisy is doing just fine.


  1. Wow! I'm jealous except maybe for the mosquitoes. I'd love being that far out and doing all that fishing. Not sure what Steve would do. Any golf courses nearby?

    1. Well.....he could hit golf balls into the lake or swing at the mosquitoes with his pitching wedge!

  2. Sounds like fun exploring and catching great fish. I can't wait for the vids, the stills of the fish look amazing!

  3. Thanks Scott.... I need to find a guest up here that knows something about video editing......

  4. Poor Daisy! Sorry, I couldn't help but laugh reading and picturing poor daisy bouncing off the door. SO GLAD you got her back in safely!! LOVE the fish stories!