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Steve Foss

Laker opener excitement

9 posts in this topic

C'mon now, you guys.

Surely SOME of you are itching to get out there on Saturday and land the most aggressive fish North America offers through the ice.

I spent a good part of today changing over my setups from early ice walleye/pike stuff to what will occupy me the rest of the ice season — LAKE TROUT!

I mean, for people like us, early ice walleyes are just a tune-up for mid January, right? That's when the REAL ice fishing season begins, right? This is a slightly unusual laker opener for me. Most years I've made one or two walks into Trout Lake off Vermilion by now, going by myself or with a few guys into a BWCAW lake that opens two weeks earlier than the usual winter inland laker opener. But this winter already has been busy season for photography, and I've had to postpone those great walk-ins.

Got the power auger fired up and ready to rock. The Strikemaster XL-3000 is going on its 12th year, but I've yet to find a 3 HP, 10-inch stock auger than can beat it. OK, so it weighs 40 pounds, but so does my gut. One of these days I'm going to trade this amazing auger to a youngster with a 2 Hp 8-inch auger, a youngster who wants a wider hole and doesn't mind toting the extra weight. grin.gifgrin.gif

The old 1980 Yamaha Exciter 440 is screaming. She ain't got a real big suspension for a real big guy like me, but darn it if she can't haul herself and me and all my gear all over the place faster than my heart can go. Light as she is, she most never bogs down, and on those rare occasions I can pick her up with one arm and move her over and we're back in business.

The brand-new Otter cottage (thanks, Santa!), has been broken in with a couple walleye outings on nearby Shagawa Lake, and is all it's been cracked up to be. Great shelter, much better than my aging Fish Trap II.

The Vexilar, the venerable FL8-XLT, also going on its 12th year, is charged and prepared to show me the red line of a charging trout. This unit has helped me land so many trout in the last bunch of years I don't know that I could ever part with it. Well, MAYBE I could. Eventually. grin.gifgrin.gif

Three rod/reel combos, tip-up, line and lures will all be at the ready. I've got a few new secret lures to tantalize the masses with, like a couple Yo-Zuri soft jigging spoons in a tremendously lifelike rainbow smelt pattern (killer on Bside), but truth be told it's less about the lure than it is about whether the fish are snapping.

Hmmm, got some new locations I've never told anyone about on Burntside, on top of those coupla tried and true spots that have delivered five-fish days through the ice.

So, laker takers, where are you opening, and are you going to sleep well tonight?

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I'm ready to tango with trout of the Laker variety.

After borrowing out a custom painted pimple and watching said laker rookie ice 3 B-Side lakers, 4th laker broke off. I got the

air brush out and resupplied my box with crazy patterns.

Oh yes I meticulously readied myself for the 2008 Trout Opener.

Rods are spooled and neatly packed away. The new Jason Mitchell 36" Mackinaw will be first rod up to bat. Tackle boxes cleaned and arranged. MarCum LX5 is ready to help play that cat & mouse laker tag. My chariot will deliver me to across frozen water to Laker Town. I'm packed, jacked, and ready for some Laker sMAck down. Lets get it on...shall we!

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My God Stfcatfish I think we were separated at birth. Here is my equipment list

1997 strikemaster

1989 yammy exciter 570

FL8

otter lodge

I only get 5 days each year to chase the lakers. I'll be headed up the Gunflint in one week during the coldest weather of the season. Good luck on opener!

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I'm itch'n. Got everything ready including a new house, etc. Last week I was informed that I will be at a birthday party in St. Paul tomorrow. cry.gif Don't catch 'em all, guys. Leave one for me.

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I am still playing around getting things ready to roll this morning. Still trying to get my reels stocked with new line, but I keep getting distracted!!! Going to head over to harass Great Outdoors here in a little while and get the Otter sled all dried out for tomorow. Heading up to Snowbank tomorrow and then out to Burntside on Sunday. I am excited like a 5-year-old on Christmas Eve! See you all out on the ice.

Justin

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Gee, I was pretty excited about scoping out some locations on B-Side when visiting up there around New Years Eve, but the ice looked prettty sloppy and I wasn't so keen on getting stuck out there. I was hoping the recent warm temps would let things settle some so it would refreeze ... have the ice conditions on B-Side improved at all?

Nothin more exciting than seeing that red flash @ 80' come flyin up to your jig that's @ 30' and feeling the whack when the two meet!

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Well, it's been quite an interesting day. With any luck I've used up all the bad happenings and have built a little positive mo jo.

Yesterday I got my auger all running and in great shape. Then I noticed the rubber O-ring on the breather screw on the gas cap was shot, so this morning I went to the hardware store and bought a few and replaced it.

Good to go.

So I put the auger in the vehicle and drove to Burntside to run it and see if the blades were still sharp as they felt, and it drilled one hole (fast as lightning) and konked out. Wouldn't start. I checked the gas tank, which I thought I'd filled the day before. Empty.

So I put the auger back in the vehicle and drove back home, picked up the gas can and drove back to the lake. Put gas in the tank and first thing it started leaking out. Guess that explained why my nearly full tank went empty overnight, eh?

So I drove back to town and hit the hardware store for some plastic epoxy/sealer, pulled off the tank, found the leak (two-piece tank with a leak in the seam, of course). And now I sit in my office getting high on solvent fumes as the sealant cures on the heater vent.

Well, you can bet that, if I even bring the power auger out tomorrow, I'll have the hand auger too. grin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gif

On the bright side, I found 10 inches of hard solid ice where I drilled about 200 yards out from the Van Vac landing, and everywhere I walked there was about 3-4 inches of hard-packed snow, and the only slush was shallow, about 3 inches deep, and right up against shore. I'm sure there are pockets of slush here and there, particularly back in the bays, but it seems the melt and subsequent cold are knitting everything back together pretty well.

The snowmobile trail across Burntside is staked, as well.

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Steve me boy, you are a hoot! Hopefully you did'nt burn out too many brain cells sick.gif Your day sounded like mine. Tried getting my mom out on the ice and everything went wrong. Auger about took my face off when I was messing with the govner, loaded the wheeler on the trailer b-4 locking the trailer to the hitch of the truck,trailer did a nice wheelie, lights on the trailer quit working then "magically" started working again. Unfortunately this was all for nothing. Went to a lake south of Cotton and had two on, but no go. Myself and mom weathered the storm and just enjoyed being there together. I keep telling myself that this is what it's all about. The small private pond that we were at had the same ice conditions you spoke of for B-side. Very small amount of slush on the edges and hard packed down topside on the main lake. We were able to drive the wheeler around everywhere. Do you think wheeler's are a possibility on Burntside for the bash? BC

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Sounds like we had exactly the same kind of day.

I put the repaired gas tank back on, filled it up and sure nuff, it still leaks. There's a crack in behind one of the spots where it mounts on the auger, so there's no way I can repair it.

I'll be using the hand auger for the next week or so until I get the new tank from Strikemaster. Sheesh, $33 for a little piece of molded plastic.

But at least I'm not toting around a 40-lb auger. grin.gifgrin.gif

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