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Steve Foss

Well, if there are lake trout gods, they were smiling on us this morning. Perhaps it helps appease them to have a fisherman named chunkyTROUT along, a sort of priest, you know (no offense to the worshipful meant), who understands trout language.

Anyway, we fished in about 60 FOW off Van Vac on Burntside.

Our vehicles protested what we asked of them (it was -20), but did it anyway. Five minutes after we set up I missed one. Fifteen minutes after setting up, Chunky caught a chunky one of about 4-5 pounds. Five minutes later I hooked and landed a 5 pounder. Five minutes later I hooked and landed a 3 pounder. Fifteen minutes later Chunky hooked and landed a 7 pounder. His came on an Angel Eye, mine on my go-to No. 7 glow/charteuse jigging Rap. Mine was tipped with a small strip of cisco. I believe Mr. Chunky's was too. The fish all came pretty close to the bottom, and wouldn't move more than 5 to 7 feet off the bottom.

An hour after we hit the ice, more or less, we were leaving the ice. Some days are like that. Considering all the fishless days he and I have spent on Bside, perhaps those trout gods took a look at the thermometer and the wind gauge and cut us a break. We could blow it up and tell fish stories, but the fact is there were only a couple small roads and our vehicles weren't in the best of shape, so we busted through a plow wall and went about 200 yards down the shore from the access, looked around, said "OK, this is as good as anywhere," (figuring it was between 50 and 70 FOW, a good range) and drilled the holes.

Fresh laker on the table. Mmmmmmm, hope you guys who stayed away because of the cold don't mind Dinty Moore beef stew in a can for your own dinners.

Chunky spent the afternoon on Miners after streamers with a few other FMers and non FMers, and when I got there on the snowmobile to check in there were a bunch of rainbows on the ice, but I'll let him tell about that . . . grin.gif

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chunkytrout

What a crazy opener. The hardcore freaks (most of us) were out but there wasn't the constant buzz of two strokes flying across the ice. Trucks wizzing down the ice at 50mph. The consistant grind of augers. It was in a word...quiet. The existing roads were shot and Catfish said " There's a break through the plow pile right there. Let's punch and roll a ways." . I'm thinking yeh Steve whatever (I have a two wheel drive truck with chains). So that's what we did. New spot, never fished it before.

No matter how many times you go through your gear pre-opener, nothing's ever exactly ready for me. I'm tying stuff and Catfish is 20 yards away yelling " Missed one!" . Ten minutes later, I have something resembling a laker presentation in the water. Just when the heater is set perfect, the LX3 is dialed in, and the rod is feeling natural, that red LED line comes up and TUG. It all comes back in a wave of joy. That spotted critter comes out of the hole and it all becomes real again. Not a summer memory. L O V E I T !

What Catfish neglected to mention was that it took a can of go-go juice, leaving my ford running all night, Steve rapping on his Chevy's Tstat with a pliers, a blown Eskimo recoil cog, both of us freezing, and finally a blown Chevy exhaust.

We limited in a little over an hour. " The Trout Gods did smile upon them."

Headed over to the pit. Catfish didn't make it there. Something about a blown exhaust. Me myself didn't do so well. However, BW in the hole three feet away limited with some nice dark purple males in the mix. I, caught a small sunny and a largemouth the size of your average cheap cigar. Didn't really care either way. Two lakers in the back of the truck (which is still running) and another hectic day of fishing ahead.

Happy Trout Opener

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WalleyeWeasel

What an awesome couple of stories!! Good too hear!!Burntside can be a bugger sometimes, scratch that, most of the time!!

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Steve Foss

Chunkydude: If I'd have said more about the mechanical breakdowns, what would that have left for you to post about? grin.gif Besides, I may rip a guy's truck, his dog, his beer or his wife, but I'll NEVER rip a guy's Eskimo auger on a public forum (especially when it's only a year old.) blush.gif

Both my fish were stocked fish (clipped fins). Chunky, do you recall whether yours were?

Last year we caught a goodly number of fish that weren't stocked (no clipped fins). My take last winter ran about 75 percent unstocked.

See you tomorrow, bubba. And hey, how did Burntside Betty and Snowbank Sally perform. Since you teased everybody on the forum with your post about those Ely custom-made rods, you owe it to everybody to give up the details of your first date. Pleeeeaaaase, Chunky, set the hook and tell! cool.gif

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Moose-Hunter

Done in an hour?!! Congratulations!!! Sounded like a heck of an opener!!

Hearing you guys were in trucks... How's the snow/slush cover on Bside? Since my snow machine is "belly up", I'm still thinking my wheeler might do the trick...

What say ye?

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northernnels

stfcatfish: good to see you guys did well. One question I have is what time did you post, it says 10:10 pm and my computer says its only 9:10 pm. Is there a problem with the site 's time. How was the slush on the lake? Oh! I will bring some buttershots with me. grin.gif I hope I get a trout this year Nels smirk.gif

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northernnels

YUP IT SURE LOOKS LIKE THERE IS SOME THING WRONG WITH THE TIME ON THE SITE ABOUT 1 1/2 HOURS FAST. NELS confused.gif

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Surface Tension

You Dogs! Could you rub it in any deeper.

Well after the great buzz of subsonic temps from our news media I wussed out on this years Opener. Today turned out to be just "another day in "paradise" as far as late Jan temps go, nothing out of the ordinary for sure. So I sit and read your post with a side of crow. Actually no Dinty Moore stew for me, it was left over lasagna from last night although I did get a meal of eyes today but they are still in the frozen state in which they transformed to quickly after they hit the ice and they'll stay there till the taste of crow leaves my palette. So good for you, I'm happy for ya. You can bet I'm going to be out with a vengeance when I hit the trout waters.

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Steve Foss

Well, it's -36 at the Ely airport as I write this (6:30 a.m. by my clock), and I'm no eager beaver, I'll tell you. The night before last only got to about -20, and that kicks butt on -36. However, there's no wind at all at the moment.

Frank, crow tastes just fine. Eaten it often. You cut it in small strips and set it aside. You sautee onions and mushrooms over a medium burner, then mix in the crow strips. Add garlic and oregano to taste. When it's nearly done, put sliced tomatoes on top and cover for five minutes. If you like, you can sprinkle some shredded mozarella on the tomatoes. Tastes just like chicken. blush.gif

Hey, now THERE's a recipe for Leaky's book. Lord knows we all eat crow sometimes. grin.gif

Wheelers would be a bit iffy. There's about a foot of snow on the ice but there are drifts to about a foot and a half in some places. And the wind has packed it down hard enough to make it dense but not hard enough to float a wheeler on top. With really aggressive tires and a lot of clearance a wheeler could make it around. I had to back off and try twice to get through some drifts in my full-size 4X4 pickup yesterday, and that was only driving about 300 yards in the open. Lee sides of islands and near shore will be a good bit deeper snow.

We found no slush, and it doesn't seem to be a problem in other places. There was about six inches of it off Moroni Point (where guys punched a road through yesterday west of Van Vac), but nothing too bad, and their road was pretty long.

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Steve Foss

Well, it's just dropped to -38 at the airport (7 a.m.)

Hope everything runs and nothing rips. grin.gif

I'm not surprised at the stance of the national media/TV with regard to cold. They've never understood what the issues are with cold and wind, not really. When a New York City anchor or big city morning TV show personality sees -20, they think that's "bitter" cold. Add 10 mph of breeze, and they shiver and call it "dangerously cold" on the air and urge caution. Of course, use caution, then do whatever you were going to do anyway.

I'm a bit disappointed in the local (Duluth) TV news, however. All that hype by people who should know better caused schools to be closed over most of the Arrowhead and some points west, when in fact we've had far colder conditions so far this winter. Ely's coldest has been in the -38 range, with Embarrass at -47 for its coldest so far, if memory serves.

The late week/weekend lows were in the low -20s, with winds into the low teens and wind chills in the -40something range. That's nothing unusual in the Northland. We call it winter.

Out in North Dakota, where the wind never seems to stop, they'd not consider closing school at that wind chill unless snow was also involved.

Of course, many of those kids who didn't have school late last week got bundled up and had a blast playing outside. When you're in school, almost any reason for an unexpected day off is a good one. grin.gif

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chunkytrout

Well, my truck looked at me as I prepared to head out, and it just laughed. Yeah right, like I'm gonna start after what you put me through yesterday. So, here I sit typing away. (I'll get out yet even if I have to take the wifes car grin.gif ). The ice is good but snow covered with wind pack. My 2WD truck had no problems with tire chains.

Betty and Sally performed wonderfully Steve. I got so used to lakering with broomsticks. It's amazing what a quality rod does for your angling pleasure.

Right now I have -36 on the dial. I'm gonna let it warm up a hair and then head out to find Catfish and Jackpine Savage fishing on BSide.

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REEFRAKER

I'm glad you guys did good, although you made me envious. I'm sitting home talking to myself, "I should have went,I should have went". Might see you next wk end. Stay warm.

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Leaky

Way to go, Guys. Talked to Bob the Bartender this morning. He mentioned right away that he saw you two with your limits. Nice start to the year!!

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OUTDOORNUT

Nice work boys!! Glad to see someone got out and made the most of the friged temps. I was hoping that you would have graced us with a few pictures.

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Steve Foss

I have a pic of Chunky with his bigger trout from yesterday. I'll e-mail a jpeg to S.T. later tonight, so he can post it.

Got another limit on day two, and my pard almost did too.

We went back to the same spot. Chunky was going to meet us on the ice off Van Vac, but it sounds like the truck had trouble, and we didn't see him. Dude, you were missed! frown.gif I fished with a friend of ours named Al in my two-man trap.

It was definitely a different day. As the sun peaked over the trees on the ridge above the south shore of Bside, it was colder than -30. But it was toasty in the two-man. The sun beat onto the canvas and the 8,000 btu Dyna Glo actually made it hot in there at times.

Oh, yeah, there was fishing, too.

The fish were much more tentative today than yesterday. We were fishing by 8:30 a.m., but the first fish, a 3-lb native (unstocked) that fell to my jigging Rap, didn't come until after 10 a.m. We had marks coming off the bottom regularly, but they weren't willing to chase very much and wouldn't respond to a variety of presentations.

Around noon, Al caught a 1.5 lb stocked eater on a minnow (he fished all day with a minnow/sucker/raibow just off the bottom and a bobber. He had a sucker on a tipup a couple feet off the bottom, and I had a sucker on a tipup about 35 feet down over 70 FOW. Our shack was again in 60 FOW. We had no flags all day.

And we had only one high flyer all day. I reeled up to the fish and got him to hit, but it wasn't a good hit and he was off after only a couple seconds. Felt like a heavy one. He hung around and I teased him for awhile, but he eventually faded away.

I caught a 4-lb native about 1:45 that came up slowly off the bottom just like all the other marks we'd seen all day but decided to smack the Rap. Turned out when I cleaned him he had a fresh sucker minnow with a hook mark through its back and a dead fresh rainbow in its stomach. Both those were Al's.Talk about a team effort. It definitely helped each of us to have the other's presentation only a couple feet away. My jigging brought in fish that responded to the jig sometimes and to the live minnow sometimes. The dead bait that hit the bottom brought on the well-known Hoover vacuum attitude of lakers, and the scent of bait in the water was a good thing.

We both had four or five fish on briefly during the day and had several more bites, but couldn't land a lot of them. The only other fisherman was someone in a permanent about 100 yards away.

We fished until about 2:15, then packed it up as the wind began to rise. It was a great day to be on the ice with good company, and on a great lake fishing for great fish. In other words, it was great. grin.gif

The lakers are chunked and shrink-wrapped and waiting for the right weekend for their date with the smoker.

Now it's time to thaw the Trap and the gear and get ready for next weekend and the bash.

See you guys up here.

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Xplorer

Congrats you two on a well earned opening weekend smile.gif

As i sat in my in-laws house last weekend i was thinking about that sudden tug, sweeping hookset, and the invariable run a laker makes when it sees the ice for the first time.

Good to hear the conditions on the lake were decent, lets hope that they continue to allow some venturing out and about on the lake for Bash weekend!!

See you boys in a couple weeks, will be up early saturday am.

PS: Had the coldest day ever at my house yesterday morning. When i woke at 4:30 i looked at the digital outdoor thermometer and did a double take. Even went and turned on another light to make certain i wasnt seeing things...-45.1 degrees. "Whoa" was about all i could think.

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

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Surface Tension

Sunday morn the digital thermometer froze but the dial thermometer was at -43 . Furnace ran for 18 hours straight.

Chunky's Trout

Chunky-trout.jpg

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Granny

Congrats on the good fishing!

I just hope you guys saved a few for Bash grin.gif .

Granny

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Surface Tension

I use 10 lb mono on the reel I plan on fishing outside the shack. Just picked up 10 lb PP to test for outside fishing too. I've had the braided lines freeze to the spool before but the PP isn't supposed to be as prone to freezing.

8 lb seems to light to me, especially when that Laker takes a run or thrashes at the hole. The 10 lb is limp enough for me and still gives my lures good action.

One bad thing about the braids is they hold air, you'll see that air as blips on your flasher for a while.

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lotalota

Thanks ST,

I've used the regular PP for a while and you're right, it does ice up pretty badly and stick together when you're outside the Otter. I didn't lose any fish because of it but then I've only iced walleyes with it (don't tell Northlander I said that wink.gif ). The General has some PP ice line that I was going to take a look at. It supposedly doesn't draw up water as much as the standard stuff. I'll take your advice and go with the 10lb too. Hadn't thought about the final struggle at the hole and the thin diameter.

Lota Lota...

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lotalota

Dang...nice fish!!! It's been too long since I had a laker on the other end. The Bash can't come soon enough!!!

I finally picked up a rod worthy of these fish and don't want to stumble on choosing the line. I've been saving an old ABU C3 with a couple of spools for this very purpose. I was thinking about spooling with 8lb Power Pro on one and 8 lb fluoro on the other. You guys have any thoughts on that?

Lota Lota...

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BRULEDRIFTER

Ahhh yes, what a great opener it was. fished the pit with bw, chunky, and others. its always a good day when im back in ely. god how i miss that place. catfish it was good to meet you. sorry i missed out on the bside trip on sunday, i really wanted to join ya'll, but, i just had a few too many beverages on saturday night, and it was just too bleepin cold. got out on the pit again on monday AM with the gal, the fishing was great. she outfished me 4-1. she pulled out 4 dandy rainbows. with the biggest being a 17.5in male. very dark purple colors and a developing kype on the lower jaw. very impressive fish. definatly the nicest rainbow ive seen caught out of lentic waters in my day. needless to say the weekend renewed my love for fishing stream trout in lakes. chunky, i hope you got your truck goin. it was nice to see ya. we stopped in the grounds for lunch on our way out of town and saw your better half. well, cant wait for the bash. i got really pumped to see the lakers you guys caught out there on saturday. im still a virgin when it comes to iceing lakers, hoping to pop my cherry here in a few weeks. see ya again at the bash.

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traveler

Well, we went for it afterall, not quite as chilly as forecasted but still pretty brisk. We got checked by a warden coming off the ice at night and he said he had 30 below friday night. We had 11 people and only managed a handful of average size brookies in 2 days of steady fishing. Pretty slow by usual standards...

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northernnels

Stfcatfish or Chunky could either of you give a post of snow/slush if any on burntside, after the recent snow. I may take a ride up on Sunday for a little warm up test run for the Bash Thanks Nels

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Steve Foss

There's little or no slush. Just a few places that have a bit. With this dump of snow today/tonight we're up to a solid 1.5 feet on the ice, and it's going to be blowing this weekend, especially Sunday, when winds are supposed to be up to 20 mph, though it's supposed to at least be warm — temps in the low teens.

The wind means the ice roads will be drifting over, so it's full-size 4X4 vehicles on the ice roads (unless the plow pickups are out) with only the more aggressive going off road, or sleds going anywhere you want.

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