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Easter weekend snows!


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I just returned from a long weekend run from North Dakota hunting snow geese with 4 other friends.

Wednesday evening we found a major migration near Wahpeton, something I've never seen the migration that far "east" before. Birds didn't seem to mind the snowcover on the ground and they were moving north, hard. We continued west and found an area of that was holding some birds and we deployed our spread into the wee hours of the night.

Thursday and Friday we found stiff northerly winds and cool temps, but the intense sun was very welcome. Birds were moving and we had success shooting around 50. Almost all birds adults.

By Saturday morning we needed to move as we weren't on the "X". We knew the south winds was going to happen, so a guy in our group scouted while myself and the others hunted the morning and tore down the spread of 1,000 decoys.

Reports were good, the "X" spot was found! We needed to go further west. We quickly grubbed up some food, tore down camp and rushed to our new camp and field nearby.

A gracious farmer allowed us to spend the night in this humble abode for our hunt...

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Ok, we stayed out of this old house but this is how we move with the snow geese.

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By the afternoon, the much needed south winds kicked up and it looked very promising. Birds all over.

Saturday evening from 4pm until sunset we shot over 100 birds.

Sunday morning we stopped another 40 on their flight.

When we returned to camp, the death toll was 198 snows, blues and rossies. Yes, we got into some juvies too...they are there and go get them!

Sorting out the kill

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A friend shot a Ross with this neck band, no leg band. If anyone knows anything about it, please tell! We are researching it. "K U3"

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I can't say enough good things about the wonderful people of North Dakota! Thanks so much!

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Great looking bunch of birds. Looks like you saved a few acres of arctic tundra this year.

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Great hunting!!

As for the banded bird, goggle "report band" and then fill out the stuff!! Its cool finding out where their from and how old they are. I shot one a couple years ago that was 22 years old at the time!!! Let us know what you find out!!

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Thanks for the compliments.

My friends and I have been hunting these snows for several years and each year we learn something new. I remember the early years dividing the birds up between us and all I had to clean were 8 after a 3 day hunt. smirk

We placed approximately 1,000 deks consisting of floaters in sheet water, northwind socks and many sillosocks. This year a couple guys in the group manufactured their own sillosocks (400), and let me tell you they were excellent. I was thoroughly impressed, they were better IMO.

2 guys stayed in Nodak and have been hunting for a week now. Times are tough out there I guess. Still a fair amount of birds, but the mud is absolutely insane. They've moved north and the conditions are very, very tough and the fields choices are not good.

I'm really glad I'm not going back with those reports. The new quote of the day "if I kill one a day, I'll be happy with all this work". shocked

Without that Otter ATV trailer they are suffering. I have to give kudos to that wonderful work of art...it saved us. From hauling all the deks, all the kill, guns, gear and not to mention passengers. 100 birds almost filled that trailer, and there was room for more. You can't believe how much weight it was!

I shot a lot of (poor) video from the blind that I hope to make a movie out of, if I can salvage some. I've never done it before and I can't believe how difficult it is to film. There will be a lot of editing... If I can figure it all out I hope to post something.

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  • 1 month later...

If you cant find anything out on the band I would post something up on the Foiles Migrators Forum or Avery Forum. There are a lot of knowledgeable people on them that may help you out

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  • 1 month later...

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Rick G
      St Cloud has a good access at Wilson park,  Sartell has a nice access off NE River Rd,  another access above Blanchard dam on East side off Hilton Rd  and at Lindbergh state park...Little Falls  has a access right above the dam.   Water is pretty high and dirty.  Crayfish colors have been good again this week.  Smallies have been using anything available that breaks the current so finding them most days has been pretty easy
    • Brianf.
      Interesting...   You're doing better than most.  The biggest bass weighed-in during the recent MN Bass Federation tourney was only 4.33lbs.   The winning bag was less then 20lbs.  To have several over 5lbs during your trip is pretty special.   Congrats!  
    • Jetsky
      Question.  I have guests coming who may want to fish for muskies.  I've cast for them in August along shorelines and at rock piles.   Do I fish for them that way in June?   Should I troll shorelines or drop offs for them?  Thanks.
    • partyonpine
      Yeah was up for a week.   As other alluded to the weather was brutal.  Did catch some larger walleyes on slip bobbers on windy points in under 5 feet of water.  As for minnows they were at Lucky seven in Virginia and Grubens has some nice minnows as well.  Smallmouth fishing was terrific given the circumstances.  
    • partyonpine
      Brian   That is funny and shows how things are anecdotal.  Just got back from a week we caught as many fish as we wanted, however our average size was 16.5-17 inches.  While no 6 pounders we did score several 5 pounders.  We did not catch any or very few fish under 14  inches all week.  I was just commenting that the average size has increased substantially.  We were throwing larger artificial and live bait but again did not really catch any small smallmouth.  Fished smallies for 5-6 hours each day and walleyes at night.  Overall was slow but the weather was horrendous.  Did go home with enough walleye to satisfy me.  
    • Brianf.
      I haven't been up to fish smallmouth  in a couple weeks.  My partner and I caught about 300 over the  course of those two days.  That sounds great - and it is if you like numbers. However, few of those fish were over 3 pounds and even fewer were over 4 pounds.  Most of our catch comprised fish between one and a half to 2 1/2 pounds.   I've been fishing the lake for 20+ years and feel that the size structure of the smallmouth in the lake has changed quite a bit during that time.  When I first started targeting smallmouth 20 years ago, half our bag seemed to be comprised of four pounders - and five pounders were in the mix with an occasional six pounder here and there. I haven't caught a 5 pound smallmouth bass in five years on Lake Vermilion!   They are a daily occurrence on places like Mille Lacs and in Door Co.   What has changed on Lake Vermilion?     I have some theories about why the size structure has changed, though curious what others are seeing.  Anyone have thoughts about the state of the smallmouth fishery on Lake V? 
    • SkunkedAgain
      Don't forget about the times that they unwittingly fly into your fishing line.   Normally I would say that ebbs and flows in food source would be a good sign. However, even with this bountiful mosquito population available there just really aren't enough bats around for the natural cycle to capitalize on it to any noticeable degree. The DNR says that roughly 90% of the bat population in the Soudan mine has died off. If that 90% is representative of the entire area, even a mosquito all-you-can-eat-buffet will not bring the bats back for many years.   Hopefully the little guys can make a comeback.
    • Dash 1
      Made it back to the chain today. Sunfish are spawning but finding them in the thick weeds is nearly impossible. My main reason to get out was to test my minnkota after rewiring it. It definitely made the difference. Never shut down once and I ran it for several hours.  Now I just need to relearn how to catch fish.😂
    • LakeofthewoodsMN
      On the south end...   A good week of walleye fishing with some big fish caught along with good eaters.  All of that despite some fronts that came through and lots of wind.  Being in a charter boat a few days this week was an advantage for sure.     Wherever you fish, there are days the wind will blow.  Here are some good options for anglers when the wind blows on LOW.   -Fish on a big charter boat -Fish the 42 miles of navigable Rainy River -Bays such as Four Mile, Bostic and Zippel Bay -Slide behind one of the thousands of islands that being up at the NW Angle -Trailer your boat to a leeward boat ramp and fish that shoreline A jig and frozen emerald shiner was the go to presentation for walleyes.  Most boats are anchored up and vertically jigging.  Some are starting to use spinners and minnows or crawlers with success.  This pattern will pick up steam as the walleyes are starting to transition with warming waters. Walleyes have been caught this week in various depths.  As a rule, 21 - 32 feet of water was still the range.  Again, various areas across the lake are holding fish.   Various rock reefs have been good.  Fish are transitioning to mud as the season progresses. On the Rainy River...  The river is flowing strong right now as water is being released from the dam which controls its flow.  With the heavier current, fish are being found in areas with a current break.  Even a slight break that still has current is a fish attractor when the water is moving.   Jigging with a minnow, pulling spinners and trolling crankbaits along shoreline breaks against the current in 6 - 12' of water is producing a mixed bag of walleyes, saugers, pike, smallmouth bass and an occasional crappie.   Casting to shoreline structure and even docks is also an effective method.   For those who like fishing for dinosaurs, the sturgeon season opens July 1st. Up at the NW Angle...  A great week of fishing amongst the island area of Lake of the Woods.  Guides fishing the Canada side of LOW reported big numbers of walleyes along with a mixed bag.   Minnesota waters also produced good fish.  Many of the walleyes are being found in deeper than normal water for this time of year, in that 22 - 28 feet.  As hatches begin and shiners begin to spawn, there will be some shallow water opportunities as well. The goto presentation continues to be a jig and minnow.  Pulling spinners with shiners or crawlers and trolling crankbaits also putting walleyes in the fry pan.     As is common in these parts, a mixed bag of walleyes, saugers, pike, jumbo perch, crappies, pike and smallmouth bass being caught.   Muskie anglers, the season opens on both sides of the lake Saturday, June 15th.  A glorious day for those who target the almighty predators!  
    • leech~~
      Over the years the only sure time I have been able to see bats or know their around.  Is sitting by a fire or down by a dock at sun down when there's just a bit of light left when looking up, and seeing them diving in and out.  
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