This year the fishing was brutal , Last year had to be one of our best walleye years, followed by one of our worst? One great highlight was Brad Turk bringing his daughter up for one night. Brad dad Bill was on here quite a bit before he passed away. There must of been a little intervention as they had some great fishing , They even headed home early. They came on a Thursday, so I left the house right where it was for are next guest. They caught a few fish but nothing like Brad and Ryley did . The house was only fished 8 hours by Ryley and Brad. The hammer and I were in old Minnesota that night. Wemaybe caught 2 less then 200 feet away. Sean brought his wife and daughter plus his good friend Jeoff. They had outstanding fishing . They were straight west of where brad and Ryley had been. Then Paul came up with his crew. I put them right where Sean was the first 20 hours. I think they got 3 fish. I then moved them doing the cookie shuffle that someone coined.. Just like that they had better fishing. I know they were watching us when we moved them and thought is this guy goofy moving us 100 feet. Then the last weekend I gambled we would still do well working our way west. Afew fish were caught but again not the best fishing. My crappie get together is on hold as of now as I brought the houses close to shore for now. I have some spots we want to try but I need to watch whet the lake does with all the snow as It’s not worth tearing up the equipment
Yesterday was another grand day working on a grand lake.
Seeing all the news of rescues. We just went about our business and headed out on the best road on red lake . There were only a few that road out the storm. They all new we would be out once the winds subsided.
I dropped the red barons v plow after sledge hammering all the ice off her. Reminded me of the deadliest catch when they have to pound the ice off the ships. I can not imagine doing a whole ship. Wow!
Our plans were simple. Just plow down the center of Hillmens highway to the last wheel house, then work our way back making the trail wide enough to get off the lake. No one out there was panicking,they all were just riding out the furoshise winds. V plowing up to the front of the vehicles is always tricky. Yes we had to shovel a bit. I then backed the red baron in, hooked up tow rope and pulled them out. All and all it went pretty well.
Once we had everyone off the lake. 5 total. Jonny boy and I headed out to take north Dakota and florida close to home. After plowing every one out I decided I needed to throw in the towel. Leaving the houses out chasing the elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie with all the snow seems like a real bad idea at this time. We will see what mother nature does but for now the houses are coming close to home. We do plan on targeting them with the sleds if possible as I have a couple spots I would like to try.
One spot you line up the tree with, the ditch grade, a mile from the main road. Had to throw that in there for my good friend Jake.
Jonny boy and I went about our business. With all the snow the houses did have some flooding issue, but just taking our time, slow and steady, not being in any big hurry as my mentor cousin Pete taught me. We were on the move. It basically took twice the time as normal with all the drifting etc.
Joe and Rick did go home with there 8 with 2 over so that was nice. Both house also had on a big walleye sunday night. I would guess it was the same fish as they do swim around, Joe lost her at the hole in north dakota as well as jess fishing in florida.
Bill and Sharon were the farthest from the road but we were able to slowly make our way out there with the last 20 feet consisting of a little backing up and ramming.
Jeff and Bethany had a pretty good drift in front of them so a little shoveling was in order. Then the tow strap got them on the road.
All my other houses were good from the prep work I did Saturday. No flooding issue and easy to get to.
Today the plans is to get them all closer to home ,then a couple days off as I’m a little burned out.
I guess the first thing to say is mother nature is brutal just brutal. With the high winds predicted my plan A turned to plan B on Saturday. I guess that’s nothing new this year or most years. Talk about a challenge. It just never stops.
I’m not complaining as the season winds down. We had a great year customer wise. Having all my repeat customers year after year is such a reward as they become friends then customers second. I write more about the highs and lows the next few days as I reminisce about what I woulda, coulda done better.
The fishing on the other hand was probably one of the worst we have seen. My theory is the bait fish in this lake last summer into fall was unreal. We marked fish all year that refused to bite. The only problem with my theory is the early ice bite. But I would guess they were still putting on the feed bags at that time. Then the rest of the year/winter they could live off there fat reserves. I would guess I saw hundreds of fish and not a skinny one in the bunch.
Seeing the winds were going to basically be hurricane forces? After taking the grand kids out to lunch Saturday I fired up blue thunder and headed out on the lake to prep around all the houses. Talk to all our customer and warn them of the up and coming winds. I also stopped and gave the wheel houses I plowed spots for a heads up. Some took my warning and pulled the plug. Brandon and his wife left with there 8, Glen and his son also got there 8 and hit the road. Alisa and hubby got off.
Rick got off the lake early sunday morning just in time. They did not do so well in old Minnesota. It does sound like Rick may come up this summer.
Mark and Sarah were in montana. They also only managed a couple fish but she enjoyed her first ice fishing trip.
California had Jack and his dad. They also did not do that well. They did take my warning and got off the lake before the big winds hit.
Florida had Dan his wife Valli and daughter Brooke. They had outstanding fishing. They headed off the lake sunday once I got out there. I escorted them back to shore along with Darrel in his wheel house.
The winds were unreal by that time, I had to go back out one more time to gather generators, what a mess.
My last stop was to get Boar off the lake and drop gas off to the other Jeff in his ice castle.
Joe and his dad Rick are still out in north Dakota. John and Jess stayed in florida to ride out the winds. So north Dakota is 100 feet from florida and they have caught only a couple fish? I don’t think I will ever figure out why that is.
The red baron is running and I guess its time to go check things out. Blue thunders plow stopped going up and down as I was buttoning up my prep work so That’s needs to be addressed asap. Stay tuned as we keep on trucking on a grand lake that owes us nothing
Well its the push to the end of big game fish season. With the amount of snow on the lake looking for the elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie will be a challenge.
The good news is both plow trucks have new radiators.
Were still seeing a few more walleyes caught compared to most of the year, I have no clue why there biting better now other then there fat reserves are waring off from the feasting they did this late summer and fall.
Glen and his crew were up to a few ? 8 this morning with another 10 smaller one’s released, so there getting some action. Glen is a fishing machine so if ther’es fish in the area he will catch them.
Darrin and the boys ended up with 7,Jonny boy and Jess have caught a couple. I lost a nice one while cleaning Minnesota yesterday.
Were picking up two of the grand kids today so Jonny boy and Jess will be holding down the fort.
Its pretty quiet out on the lake today with maybe 10 fishermen out there counting my 7 . The guys in montana Andrew, Noah, Chris were sleeping so not sure how they did at this time.
We have 2 early arrivals Friday so just like every day, all winter long we will be busy tomorrow.
I guess another rough Friday is in the books. Getting everything ready for our guest Friday morning was a challenge to say the least. While I was prepping ,Jonny boy had to put the new starter in blue thunder as she decided 20 below was time to give up. Plan A had again changed just like that as I banked north Dakota with a shovel after moving snow around with the red baron. I was then off to bank California, as I was again trying to maneuver the red baron around I noticed we had a radiator leak so I shut her down.
Jonny boy rolled up and we finished banking California. He was auguring the holes. I jump into blue thunder to move some more snow around. All of sudden we had a plow line deciding to leak. Back to hand banking Kentucky as I also shut her down. Just like that both plow truck would need to be limped home.
We checked in the customer through out the day.
Bard and his daughter Ryley arrived for California for a quick 1 night stay. They got there 8 before 8pm and decided to head home.
Ben, Shawna and the kids were in montana the house that Glen put the hurt on the fish Tuesday. They leave today after spending 3 nights . With a new 6 week old baby Sully they had there hands full. They managed to catch a couple fish before I got a phone call around 11 pm. Shawna had got a nice 18 with the rattle wheel. In the excitement the lure popped out and buried itself in her arm. I headed out to see if I could get it out with the string trick. With two barbs in her arm it was a little tricky. With the two little ones sleeping ,the baby crying a bit we got her out. No sooner then we were done and The rattle wheel by the door goes off. We encourage her too land the fish as she was a little gun shy. being such a trooper she set the line and they had another 18 in the bucket, My work was done so I headed back home.
Neal was with Tracy in north Dakota with there friends Bob and Lori in florida. Florida caught more fish then north Dakota but they all had a grand time on a grand lake. Tracy and I came up with a new facebook page we may launch soon.
Morgan her dad Tom, and her two boys Griffin and Arron were in Kentucky. They had some bites but had trouble hooking them as it was a lite bite for them. They did manage to get 4 nice one before they left yesterday.
Jason and his brother Troy checked into Minnesota, they kinda drew the short straw because of my break downs. The house was not moved like, I like. It would be interesting to see how they would do as Minnesota had been sitting there for a week. Jason managed to get his first red lake walleye and did miss a few fish. They were here one more night so will see how they finished out later on.
Kirk and his son Arron are in California they were up to a couple 4 or 5 as of last night. will see if it picked up for them.
I plowed a spot for Keith and his son Andrew before the red baron broke. They got there 8 so we found another fishy area to ruin.
Will say good bye to everyone this morning, regroup, and improvise as we start prepping for the last weekend of walleye fishing. I need to repair or replace the radiator on the red baron asap. Jonny boy got the old one out yesterday so that chore is half done.
Ii was able to get new plow lines made for blue thunder Saturday, plus we installed the new radiator so again blue thunder will be the work horse for a few days.
We also have a few guest coming today and tomorrow, they will be fishing houses that caught fish but will not be moved.
Its something I do not care to do but will defiantly be interesting to see how it all pans out.
Then there were 10? Yes only ten days left of walleye,pike fishing here on such a grand lake.
Of course its been another busy 2 days for me as I grind and battle mother nature. I’m not complaining as its such a challenging job. Planning days in advance, mother nature always throwing curve balls. left, right, up, down. We start the season wanting a bit of snow , We end up towards the end of the season with well over 2 feet.
With the weight of the snow our houses have pretty much flooded every spot.
The silly fish start to bite all of a sudden? Now that its such a chore to get around. It will be interesting to see how it goes the next 10 days.
Paul,Dennis,Brad, and Josh arrived sunday for north Dakota for 4 nights. With the great fishing Sean had with his family we decided we would start the first night on the same spot. They did get a couple fish but we would be doing the cookie shuffle the next day. It was not a big move as some times that’s all it takes.
The guys caught a few fish right away. The third morning they had a nice run, Paul tangled with the legendary pike nick named jingle bells for all the lures its taken. They had it half way up the hole after a epic battle only to have it slip away.
The last night they were treated to a nice run on the rattle wheels at 4 am .
Tom,Darrin and Mike were in California. They were here 2 night,The first night they got 7 followed by 2 more for a total of 9.
Glen was here one night and landed on the mother load, A school of fish must of decide to rest under that house as he actually got tired of catching fish. Well just like that my plans changed as Rodger needs a place to rest as they drove up to get there broken car so I gotta go.
Yesterday I got a early start as I headed out to top off the generators, then back to shore to plow out a couple driveways for some locals. Once that was done it was right back out on the lake to check on the guys. Since the fishing had picked up I was looking forward to some better reports .
First stop was California with Tom and his crew, they had 7 when I had last seen them . They did manage to get a couple more .
Paul his brother and 2 buddies had a couple more when I arrived around 10 am. As I was visiting they had a nice little run or school of fish come through and managed to land a couple more while I rooted them on.
Then it was over to check on Jeff and his family that had arrived Monday evening around 8pm.
They had only managed one little one in Kentucky and a 17 out of old Minnesota.
Jonny boy was out further fishing florida which had been fish fri Saturday sunday. With pretty decent fishing over the weekend it was more of a scouting and matianace evening for him and jess. They landed 3 quality fish while spending the night out there. Jess also landed a fat 18 around noon yesterday.
So all in all the fishing has gotten much better.
After checking in on everyone I headed out to grab montana and move her back towards the fleet. With warmer temps, a lite snow coming down, a wisp of wind. I soaked up the tranquility of working on such a grand lake. My thoughts were. This makes up for the struggles and brutal conditions we have endured the past few weeks.
With all the snow out on the lake most of the houses are closer to the main road. Every year is different and this is no exception. Once I got montana in her spot I headed home to grab blue thunder and head back out to block and bank her for Glens arrival today.
Just like that I jump in blue thunder and hit the key. Nothing. Back to the grind as I crawl under the truck to lightly tap the starter. After attempting that 3 or 4 times it was time to lug the torpedo out and warm her up.
Of course we lost a extension coed over the weekend so I did not have a long enough cord, so back out on the lake to retrieve a cord, I did get her running , but a new starter will be arriving today, along with a radiator that’s in route and a 100 foot extension cord.
Heading back out I got montana prepped for today, Then headed over to check on everyone, gas up the generators and get blue thunder back home. There’s just enough heat to keep the window clear.
After some rest and dinner I again headed out to check on everyone, visit a bit.
My last stop was Kentucky where they were all playing a dice game with the kids, I hung with them tell a little after 10 where I did the generators and headed home, another 16 hour day in the books.
Today we will be saying good bye to a few and checking in glen, plus Gary and kay.
The snow on the lake has made any off road travel not advised, I saw where some guys with a truck and chains made it about 20 feet off the main road where Wayne said they spent over 2 hours trying to un bury it..
As I was coming out that evening I saw the two guys were heading off the lake never wetting a line.
Well its time to hit the lake, As that old timer Dave told me. ITS A GRAND LAKE AND OWES US NOTHING NOTHING
I would have to say last week was one of those weeks you do not want a repeat of. Back to Back snow storms put the hurt on the fleet. Blue thunder has a new radiator coming, it may need a new starter when I get tired of crawling under it and tapping it with a hammer.
Friday was a brutal day for me as we prepped and checked in customers . I was in blue thunder all day with just enough heat to keep the windshield clear. Friday evening waiting for our last check in I was shivering at home. Luckly it was our good friend Wayne so he understood I did not feel that well.
The red baron also had some issues as we saw a small radiator leak. We had only made 1 pass down buddy hillmens road which was completely snowed in. I had Jonny boy head home. We got home and found the leak. It just so happens when I junked out the grey goose I had the common sense to take out the radiator. I left Jonny boy to the task of replacing her while I headed back out to cut the north edge of the road. When the crew arrive for montana and florida they were a few guys Zack that jonny boy use to work with and have had a tradition going on 3 years. One of the guys jumped in to help jonny boy button her up and the red baron was back on the ice in less then 3 hours. Installing a used radiator, out side, under a tarp in -10 degrees. If I remember right I gave Jonny boy a slap on the back with a job well done.
Right now both trucks need to be monitered well as we try a thaw them out.
Now for the fishing re[port. it has gotten better in spots with Sean is wife and daughter and good friend joeff landing over 30 fish . Purple was the hot color.
Mean while Wayne was in old Minnesota with not a nibble. The house had not been moved all week as it was never fished more then 24 straight hours. being it was wayne he was nice enogh to fish it there the first night,
We did move it Saturday doing the cookie shuffle. It paid off as the hammer and I joined wayne Saturday eve. We landed 8 fish in a 2 hours flurry with wayne landing his biggest red lake walleye a fat chunky 24 incher. We also lost a couple fish.
Mean while the crew out in montana were having a grand time on a grand lake. Jonny has been hanging with them as they all head home today.
Dustin and Chandler fished 3 different spots in 4 nights. They did not do that well but did get a couple fish. They also improvised a tool for retrieving a wallet on the bottom of the lake.
Kentucky only had customers 1 night. Joanie and her crew. They were just north of north Dakota and had the super slow fishing. Stupid fish.
Today were back to regrouping as we have Paul and his crew in north Dakota and Tom coming for California. Plus sounds like
there may be another band of snow coming our way. I’m defiantly trying the no snow snow dance today.
Talk about getting some snow. Yesterday we spent most of the day prepping the red barom amd Blue thunder for another bout of cleaning Hillmens road.. From the looks of it yesterday getting off road would all most be impossible..
We have our work cut out for us today as we alos have to get all the houses set up. Montana and floriida are ready to auguar, north Dakota is ready to move ,block bank auguar, Minnesota needs to be dug out as well as California and north caroliana.
If your coming today take your time as I have a feeling we will be running behind.
I’m nursing blue thunder as she’s struggling to get good heat in the cab. Seems the new radiator a year ago has a couple pin holes in the plastic seems. Why in the world would they ever make radiators out of plastic is beyond me. We have a new one on order.
Jeff was here the beginning of the week . They got 5.
The hammer and I fished just a little and have managed a few in between the snow storms.
Cutting trails with the red baron is getting tougher as there s just so mush snow. Will have to see how she goes today.
I do have Chandler and dustin out there fishing in old Minnesota a so will get to see if that spot had any activity at night as the rattle wheels have been pretty quiet at night tell 4 am. Time to hit the lake
UGGGGG! Just came in from plowing the gas station and store. We got dumped on with some more snow.
Oh well mother nature always seems to step in and throw a wrench in the operation.
Have you ever tried to plow a parking lot ,drive way when your a perfectionist? It futile. Lucky I learned you can not clean it all up.
Now a little good news as the fishing finally picked up a bit for some. With all the houses on fresh ice ,new locations I expected a couple fish to be caught.
Bob and Mary had me plow them a spot for 40.00 they ended up catching a dozen I be leave. So My new saying is I plow you a spot for 50 but I’ll take 40.
Some other guys wanted me to plow them to a spot on there narvonics for 40 . Nope wasn’t happing as I had no idea how far they wanted to go.
I expect were going to start seeing some slush pockets out there after this dumping. I did notice a spot yesterday.
North Dakota was set up with Dave and his 3 boys Al, Hunter, and Jake. They were less then 200 yards where Bob and Mary were fishing. They landed 1 fish. Ish
Florida which was 150 feet away from north Dakota with Rollie and Kevin got there 8. Plus a couple bonus pike and a nice perch. Plus they had a little rattle wheel action. crazy
I plowed another spot for LouAnn and we set her wheel house up for her. They did not do that well 2.
Kentucky had Ashly,Colton and Jackson. They had a lot of bite and landed a couple plus lost a bigger one in the middle of the night.
Old Minnesota was a bust with Jim a last minute deal. He had his son Austin 3 year old.
Montana was near Minnesota and also had hardly any action? Craig and Spenser came last year and did real well so they were a little disappointed to say the least. I sure expected better fishing in that area as The hammer and I fished a couple nites last week, We lost a few fish, missed a few and landed a couple.
Jonny boy and Jess had some action in California also? Plus last nite they caught 4 or 5 before dark.
We also plowed a spot for our friend Lonnie and he had a few last night during the snowfall.
Steve use north Carolina as a day house and only landed one. 100 feet from California. Stupid fish.
Yesterday we were able to move 4 house s and check in Arnett and mike in north Dakota.
Jeff also showed up with his parents for florida so I’m hoping they had action last night as we stayed on shore with all the snow coming down.
Looks like we will be plowing, plowing ,plowing all week. In between we will again have to get the whole fleet moved and set up for the coming weekend.
I’m thinking it could be a grand week on a grand lake that owes us nothing