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Fishin report for Lake Iwanttobethere..


Bobby Bass

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Bobby Bass

THE I.R.S. HAVE me scratching my head yet again. Just filed my taxes and who knows when I will see or hear anything back from them. Been waiting on a 1099 that finally arrived in a small zip locked bag. Yup Mark the mailman hand delivered it to me this morning. From what was printed on the plastic bag and Mark's explanation the envelope with my tax form got shredded somehow in the ultra modern sorting machine at the big city post office. The note on the bag explained that sometimes things happen and they are out of their control and they hope I am not inconvenienced by the accident. Lucky for me the information that I needed was on the side that was delivered. The other half was gone but I had a record from last year with the missing information. Meanwhile my son got his tax refund back and my daughter who filed a week earlier is still being processed. I have no idea how they do things but I am figuring it has something to do with a dart board.

With taxes out of the way I can now return to cruising the Internet in search of valuable information. Translation I am just a tad bored and I am looking for fishing videos and tactics for catching smallmouths. I think I have mentioned that one of the local lakes has become a secret smallmouth hot spot and I need to freshen up some on my approach to catching them. Most of the fishing I have been doing for smallmouths has been river fishing or the occasional trip up into the BWCA in spring or late fall when the skeeters are not as big as in the summer. Even with everyone complaining about catching smallmouth when searching for walleye no one wants to give up the smallmouth spots. I am thinking that they think I will try fishing for walleyes in the spots they caught smallmouth because they were really there looking for walleyes. Walleye guys think like that, at least that is the way Elmer is.

So I have been spending time running down deals on fishing tackle and comments about the local lake. Sticker shock on some of the hard lures and I might have to order some things for the Bait Room at the Resort just so I can get a good price break. Just one of the advantages of owning ones own tackle shop. Am so sick about talking and writing about the weather that I figure some good old middle of the winter Cabin fever talk would be good. Of course with the little ice fishing trip in just a few days I should be distracted unless the weather is bad and the fishing lousy. Buddies will be there and I am sure we will have stuff to talk about. I have already made sure that no beans are coming on the trip and that Gary is not allowed to drink any Molson beer, it does not agree with him and if you add beans to the mix. Well it is just not the right combination to have in a sleeper out on the ice.

I did talk to big Earl at the General Store and checked to see if the wife has made any purchases in the past week. I am thinking that If I am gone for a couple of days that would giver her just enough time to start painting a room or something. She does not have to finish painting the room just get past the point of no return so that when I come back I will have to do it. As far as Big Earl could tell she has not bought any paint and we both questioned Barb the cashier just to make sure. Taking it one step further I asked if Chucks wife had been in to buy anything, I would not be surprised if the two of them would be working together. As I was writing this the wife came in with a cup of tea and asked me how I was and if everything is still a go for the weekend. I told her yes and she turned and left the room with Duncan following. I could hear her on the phone in the kitchen talking to someone but I could only make out her saying "Yes, he is going" and then she saw me peeking around the den opening and went quiet. If I was suspicious at all I would think that something is going on, here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,642,991}

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Bobby Bass

SUNNY, WINDY AND cold here today at Lake Iwanttobethere. I just got back inside as I had to go outside and adjust the latch on the wood gate. The post has shifted some probably because of the weight of the snow piled up against the fence. Did not move much but just enough so that the gate can't latch. With the wind blowing the gate keeps opening up and then slamming close. The dogs hear the slamming gate and figure someone is here so they start barking to tell me. I finally had enough of telling them no one is here and getting dirty looks from them. Put a coat on and took a screw gun out and moved the latch over so it will now catch the swinging gate, I got the to do list out and added fix gate and then put a check mark next to it, now I can take a break.

A little excited here about going fishing up at Woods Lake, almost but not quite as excited as when I would get to go to summer fish camp when I was a kid. I have packed and unpacked the gear bag three times and each time I seem to add a few more things. I know it is one of those "We have everything for you places" but it is always better to have your own gear. Chuck tells me we will be traveling in a heated track vehicle to and from the shack so first thing I took out was a big oversized fur lined hooded parka, because you know the heat will go out in the vehicle. I then packed away several of them heat packs in the pockets of the parka and added some more inside the gear bag. A couple of small candles and two small boxes of wood matches along with a lighter and my cigar blow torch lighter. Never know when you may need light or have to start a fire.

This morning I made the trip into town and filled up the gas tank on the Tahoe. Cleaned out the back so there is room for my gear bag and a couple of cases of refreshments. A cooler to keep things warm and a sleeping bag. Checked the air in the tires all the way around and had to add some. I checked the window wash but it has been awhile since it has been even warm enough to squirt the glass so I was still good. A bag of Kit Kat's in the center console and I stopped by Marv's Smoke Shop for a half a dozen cigars. Last stop before leaving town was the bank where I picked up ten dollars in rolled nickel's, a little poker money. I debated about going to Amy's Bakery for a loose meat sandwich but decided it was a good idea and ordered three of them. Two were wrapped with a little extra paper and put in the cooler and the other one I had for breakfast, tasty.

Back at the cabin here and the gear bag is resting by the door. Wife is putting the final touches on a box of goodies for us and she won't let me peek inside to see what she has packed. I have in a round about way asked her several times what she has going on this weekend while I am gone and she has not really answered me. Now has me thinking she is just messing with me but I did to a search of the cabin looking for some hidden paint cans or wallpaper. I came up with a lame excuse that I was searching for a missing pair of gloves but I don't know if she believed me or not. Duncan has been at my side the entire time, even helped me search the closets. I would open the door and he would nose around some them look back at me waiting for me to tell him what we were searching for. I am pretty sure he knew something was up but he just could not help me out. He did act a little guilty when I was looking under the bed in the spare bedroom and found the wife's missing slipper. I held it up for him to see and he gave me that Lab guilty look and tried not to make eye contact. I chuckle some and just tossed the slipper back under the bed and gave him a pat, his secret is safe.

With the gear bag packed and the goodie box resting on top of it I am now sitting in the den with a cigar smoking in the ash tray with in reach. Smoky the big tom cat is laying on my arm in the sunshine pouring through the window and refuses to leave. Makes typing a little interesting but he has me thinking he knows I am leaving. Actually I am pretty sure that I am just in his way and he wants to lay where the sun will be on him. Should have a story about fishing come Monday so I hope you have a good weekend, I will because I am going fishing here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,646,766}

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Bobby Bass

DAY ONE OR should I say night one.. It has been my experience that one should always prepare for the worse when leaving someone else in charge of planning any kind of fishing or hunting trip. This way when it turns into an adventure you are prepared. Our small caravan of two trucks made the late afternoon evening run to Woods Lake needing just one stop for fuel, coffee and a rest room break. That was the good part of the evening. We arrived to be told that our booking to the lavished shanty on the ice missing and the lavish ice house was already occupied and would be through the weekend. However we were informed that one of the local guides did have a shanty out on an isolated bay on the lake and it just so happen that it was available for the weekend. The resort guy called the guide who agreed to rent it out to us at a substantial discount since the lavish shanty was not available.

We were told that there would be no ride in a heated track vehicle but we could just meet the guide on the lake and follow him to the shack in our own trucks. Some small talk was exchanged between us and since we were pretty much screwed and had no place to go we took the offer and the resort guy called the guide back and set up a meet. I could type up several pages about the rest of the evening but that would just make this story too long to post. I will just go ahead and touch on a few of the highlights of the evening. We met the guide who went by the name Slinger how he got his name I am sure is an entertaining story he tells his clients during lulls in fishing trips. We followed him in his beat up truck mostly by the one working red tail light that kept blinking off and on as he drove across the ice. We arrived to find the ice house cold and partly jacked up. Seems Slinger the guide was just getting ready to move it when he took our booking.

Since we were there we now helped move the shanty about a quarter mile from where it was. The furnace was started and lights were turned on. When we asked about holes Slinger the guide told us he had forgotten the auger but would be back come early morning to drill us holes. Guys tossed gear bags on bunk beds and we settled in. Cards were brought out and coins dug out of pockets. I watched as Slinger the guide single red tail light blinked out for the last time and closed the door making sure it was secure. That is when I noticed the "No Smoking" sign on the back of the door.

A card game was started but it was only played for a few hands, with no holes to fish over the guys just decided we might just as well turn in and get an early start in the morning. I was the last to hit the rack but I first had to go outside to answer the call of nature. Did I mention we were in a very isolated bay of Woods Lake? When I stepped outside and closed the door behind me I was greeted with silence. Not a light to be seen other then a million or so stars over head and a few clouds and a surprisingly bright moon. I walked off to the side putting the trucks and shanty at my back and there were no signs of anyone else ever being here. I stood for a moment and just looked and listened. I could hear the sound of bunks creaking some and maybe an elbow hitting the wall and the total silence of....... The furnace not running...

The next morning we woke to the sound of a slamming truck door outside of the shanty and Slinger our guide was back. The heat problem of the night before had been fixed by Hammering Hank who quickly discovered it was a fuel problem and he just changed tanks. After that the shack was toastie, as a matter of fact it got pretty warm inside and guys were quickly down to just wearing their long Jon's. Slinger cut holes and carried the ice chips out to dump in a pile and we were fishing. Turns out besides being able to sling a few stories Slinger the guide knew where to put his ice house as no sooner did we start dropping bait down the holes then walleyes started coming back up.

A few holes were drilled outside and tip up's were set and the guys who played by the windows made a game of making excuses to get up before running out the door. Tip up's have always been first one to the hole gets the fish with us. I didn't even try, I just sat back and watched the holes inside the shack. I had just cleaned out the holes with Gary's hockey stick ice scoop when I watched my rod start sliding to the hole across the carpet. Making a grab for the rod I pulled up and set the hook at the same time and was rewarded with a very nice twenty-seven inch walleye. Took a quick picture along side the ice scoop/tape with my phone and then went to my gear bag for my camera. I turn to see the tail going down the hole as Hank had released the fish. Got a round of laffs from the guys as I stood with the camera and I should have known not to have turned my back, but at least I got the phone picture.

Several more eaters came up then the bite got quiet and we spent time playing cards, swapping stories and watching tip up's in the bright sunshine. Somehow the no smoking sign got lost and cigars were lit and soon there was a cloud bank of smoke just above our heads. Slinger had left to check on some other shacks he had out and said he would be back after dark to check on us. Dark came but Slinger didn't. Tip ups were brought in and supper made, walleye with fried tatters and onions. Some can corn and hot biscuits. Chili had been simmering all day long and when you felt hungry you just took a ladle of that. A fruit cake that Big Earl had sent along remained untouched as no one wanted to be the first but the box of goodies the wife had sent along was long gone. The cookies never had a chance nor did the brownies.

Slinger arrived an I happen to see him weaving across the ice, actually I just saw a bright light coming at us as what he lacked in tail lights he made up for in the several headlights he had on. He skidded to a stop outside the shack and knocked before entering. I guess the cigar smoke was kind of thick as in the light from the shack the smoke kind of rolled out of the shack and Slinger shouted out asking if we had a fire? He came in the shack and said "You know there is no smoking allowed" and we all kind of looked at our feet like our dad just caught us. Then he said "You better give me one of them bad boys" and a cigar was found and I used the blow torch cigar lighter to lite him up. He asked about the fishing and told us this part of the evening is a good time for perch and so it was here on Woods Lake {1,654,704}

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Bobby Bass

AT SEVEN-THIRTY this morning it was minus thirty-one degrees below zero. Sunshine Ray is forecasting that it is going to warm up! Of course he is not picking the day, just forecasting that it is going to warm up soon. I am going to go out on a limb here and forecast that it is going to get dark tonight and there is a real good chance that it is going to get light out tomorrow before once again getting dark out. I am not saying this is a sure thing but I am just forecasting there is a pretty good chance that is what is going to happen.

Gear bag has been semi unpacked and is in the hall closet. With the forecast of it getting warmer we are kicking around the idea of maybe a day trip or two to chase some northerns before the end of the month. Oil guy came today and filled the tank for the cabin and that should take us into summer. The same guys down at the Lodge who always give me grief about having oil for a back up are now wishing they were burning oil instead of propane. But the price will level out and return back down to where it should be. With the day's growing longer and the sun hanging higher in the sky it will not be too long and the solar collector on the side of the cabin will start blowing some hot air. Although right now there is a pretty big snow bank in front of it blocking the sunlight but that soon will start melting. At the Resort Vic has been pretty much staying in the main room and the heat is on there and in the Bait Room. Cabins are all buttoned up and buried in snow and even the shop just has a single foot path to it.

I think this year we are going to work on putting a green house or at least something to capture some free solar heat for the Clubhouse. Of course this is going down as the coldest winter in thirty-five years in these parts so if we can stay warm in this it is saying something. Was running errands most of the day today had to make two trips into town. Diggers was having a sale on seed so I had to go and buy a mess for both my gardens and the Resort garden. Yesterday I got the trays out and planted my tobacco seed. They are not kidding when they say that seed is small, could have used the help of the granddaughter and them little fingers of hers. As it was I had to put my cheater glasses on and tap the seed on to a white sheet of paper just so I could see them. I always am amazed when I see them little seeds that come mid summer will grow to be plant's five or six feet tall, Just like the sunflowers that grow way above the six foot fences that we use to coax the bees to come visit the gardens, hard to think them little seeds will soon be plants ten or twelve feet tall.

As long as I was in town I drove over to see Vicki at the Masterbaiters shop. Pretty quiet in there and I wandered the aisle some and spent a few minutes looking over smallmouth lures and also the selection of Wacky worms and hooks. Traded some small talk with Vicki and talked about when she was going on vacation this spring and how many hours she would need me to tend the shop. Of course I don't take any pay instead we do a little bartering on fishing tackle and maybe on a new spinning rod setup for them Wacky rigs. Matter of fact down in the big city it is time for the Boat and Camper Show, just kind of sneaked up on us with all this cold weather. I may or may not go down, don't really have a reason. With Chuck getting a boat last summer we are not shopping anymore and I spent to much money a couple of years ago upgrading the Puddle Humper with the new trolling motor and the graph, along with some rods that somehow found their way into the Puddle Humper when the wife was not around. I wrote a story back a few years ago about an experience I had at the trout tank at the boat show. I'll have to repost it and share it with you. So it is going to get warmer here at Lake Iwanttobethere they say, I bet it is going to snow now... {1,661,727}

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Bobby Bass

SOME BAD NEWS here at Lake Iwanttobethere, Mister Swift has died. Not many people know Mister Swift as he retired many many years ago and pretty much always kept to himself around the lake. The thing is that Big Earl sold Mister Swift his very first power tool from the General Store that came with a life time warranty. With his passing the warranty is now void. I told the Fellows at the Lodge last night that since Mister Swift has died all the lifetime warranties are now void and they will have to buy new tools. This was met with some disbelief but they had been drinking beer since sunset and it does not take much to get them riled up over something. I might have hit a cord with them as they are now upset over having to buy new tools to get a new warranty. I just turned and walked away from the round table as they were already talking about pawning their tools. I might have gone just a tad too far....Nawww

I did find the little story about fishing at the Boat show, it is several years old so some of you visitors to the Lodge may not have seen it so here it is for your consideration.

Several years ago I was in the big city at the annual middle of the winter Boat Show with a bud of mine who had another bud of his working the concession stand who was selling Bud. Well my bud had already had a few to many Buds and was telling me about his special way of catching trout from the pond. He then put down his 75 cents and went behind the rope that kept people back from the portable trout pond, His idea was to snag them...

He tossed the little fly out which he had weighted down with three bottle tops from the Buds he had in his jacket and proceeds to rip the fly through the pond. On his 2nd time through he latched on to a trout which he then reared back setting the hook and yanking the fish out of the pond through the air to land on the top of an elderly lady who had a stocking cap covered in yellow beads. The next rod action was to yank the fish back taking the stocking cap off the head of the now screaming lady and hat and fish fell back into the tank. I guess the yellow beads look like corn as now the 500 trout attacked the stocking hat sending a wave of water over the side of the tank onto the floor. Well it was pretty much down hill from there.

Women started screaming, men started running. Kids chased flopping trout on the cement floor. Then a guy falls into another guy and that guy takes a swing at that guy and misses and hits another guy who falls on the girlfriend of another guy who hits the first guy who falls into the pool. Security rushes in and drags the guy in the pool out but they slip on the edge of the pool and then the pool splits open and before you know it a couple of thousand gallons of water is flowing into the main arena and then sail boat on display gets floated and the mast hits the big net holding the balloons for the final night drawing and they drop all over the place and the band starts playing Danny Boy and it's like the Titanic all over again.. And there I am, just standing in line with my 75 cent ticket and all I want to do is catch a fish.

Here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,664,567}

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Bobby Bass

WINTER HAS RETURNED to Lake Iwanttobethere but it is the more seasonable tourist kind of winter. Winter is winter, I can hear you saying that as you read but I am talking about twenty degree temperatures and it is snowing. I think everyone would rather have twenty above then twenty below. So far this morning there is about four inches of new snow on the ground and everything is a clean white again. The snow banks have gotten pretty dirty both in town and along the roads. Frank the plow driver has already been by pushing snow up to cover the end of my drive but I have not gotten the snow thrower out so I don't mind. Still another band of snow on its way so I will wait till later this afternoon and clean everything all up at once.

A few tobacco seedlings have already popped up in the trays I have over by the south windows in the den. Kind of surprised as they are supposed to take a little longer but even seeds have over achievers. Going to plant the celery and some cherry tomatoes today, figure I might as well get them started. The good news is that we are now less then three months away from the opening of fishing. I don't know how I let that date slip past me. Last night I spent some time on the Internet searching for best prices on some fishing gear, can't believe how much they want for wacky hooks. Nothing on TV to watch but repeats which I think may be a contributor to what we call Cabin Fever. With the weather finally warming I like everyone else will start to spend some more time outside. Matter of fact I am even thinking of just going ahead and pulling the snow off the cabin roof so I don't have to worry about my ice dams getting any bigger next week when the red needle on the bass thermometer is supposed to get above freezing.

Of course it is still winter and things break and need to be fixed. The Tahoe sprung a leak in the power steering hose and that needs to be fixed but I am going to wait for a thirty degree day to do it. Dodge is buried in a snow bank and maybe I'll start to clean some snow off of it but we still have a lot of winter left. Maybe I will just put it on the do list and let mother nature take care of it for me. Over at Chucks he has started to clean snow off his wedding shack foundation. Needs to get a roof on it and the wall sheathing now that the weather is improving. Won't be too much longer and he will have to get ready for Maple Syrup season so his days are going to get long real soon. Going to be a lot of snow to melt and ice out I think is going to be late again this year. Sunshine Ray is forecasting a cooler summer here at the lake since there is so much ice on the big lake, means our weather is going to stay cooler longer.

Lodge business has picked up some with the warmer weather as members are coming in for a tap beer, some conversation and maybe a few hands of cribbage. Word about me growing tobacco has several members offering to try out the final product. Of course they want me to hand roll them cigars and ask if I will be also making cigarettes. I usually reply with I will trade you one of mine for one of yours and the conversation usually changes then. The secret smallmouth lake is not so secret anymore either, but most of the guys at the Lodge are walleye fishermen and all they do is bad mouth the bass fishing. I always tip an ear in there direction when they are doing the bad mouthing as that is how I get some pretty good bass fishing lake tips.

Middle of tax season and guys who have received their refunds are coming in and clearing up their bar tabs and paying ahead on their membership and locker fees. I have noticed a few guys are actually cleaning up their lockers and making room for golf clubs and newly purchased fishing rods. Always nice to have a place away from home to weather your new purchases before bring them home slightly worn and passing them off as old stuff. Not every husband does that to his wife but I have seen where the guys who do it always seem to end up with more fishing rods and the latest sand wedge. I know few guys who would like to be able to do it with boats and atv's but we just don't have the space at the Lodge to store that kind of stuff, at least not without an increase in Lodge fees. I see the snow has started to fall again so I better get to planting some seeds here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,668,171}

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Bobby Bass

Why do I love to fish, I sometimes ask myself that question. Why do golfer's golf or walkers walk? Why do runners run Why do bird hunters shoot a twelve instead of a twenty? Why do some guys like dogs but other guys like cats. Why do guys fish for walleye and spend thousands on deep hull boats to go backwards in big waves? Why do guys spend days pitching lures bigger than their kid's arms just to see a flash of a following musky and call it a good day. Why do some wade in chest deep water in a snow melt rushing river dangling a hook with some yarn on it? Why do guys brave sub zero weather to sit on an overturned five gallon pail at sunset on a frozen lake trying to coax a six inch crappie to bite?

Why do guys circle the dates on a calendar for their next fishing trip when their boots are not dry yet from the one they just returned from. Why do guys keep journals and jot down everything about the day they just had while others write down nothing but instead just go out and do it again. Fishing starts off as something to do with an old rod and a coffee can of fresh dug worms. You walk the bank of the local pond or creek and drown worms trying to catch something that swims. Maybe you are lucky enough to find a frog or even a crayfish to go for the big one. Sometimes you are lucky enough to be friend a fishing buddy and the two of you grow up together and keep fishing. One of you gets a beater truck or car and now you can travel to fishing spot's afar.

You get better and fish start coming home with you but then you discover girls and fishing is not as great. Time marches on and if you are lucky you and your friend hook up again. Bigger boats and shinny trucks you now go fishing when you can. But as you get older things change some, now you bring your son or daughter along and they remind you of things. The boat sits on the trailer all dry as you walk the banks with a glass jar. Your daughter turns over rocks and things looking for frogs and other squirming things. Feet dangle shoeless off old wood docks and bobbers float calmly just off the rocks. Backs rest against well-worn planks as you look up and see lions and tigers and princess in the clouds that float lazily high overhead.

Time has a way of marching on but I have spent many a moment in a boat or walking the banks of a stream and it seems like I was just there yesterday. I have some places that I been fishing for fifty years but they never seem to change. I think of the big round rock just off the shore at the lake. Does not look any different even though it has seen fifty winters and fifty summers since I first fished from it. Millions of waves and who knows how many bare feet have stood on it and casting out into the lake. The only thing that has changed is me I guess, as getting up on that rock is not as easy as it once was. When I was a kid I had to wade through the water to climb up on the rock. As I got older I could just jump to it with ease from the shore and now that I am getting old I have to once again wade out to the rock again. But once I am there it is the same, when the water is low it is warm under my toes and I cast out into the lake because that is where the big ones are at, so I was once told.

Why do I love fishing, because it just never grows old here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,671,358}

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Bobby Bass

A LITTLE AFTER eleven in the morning here at Lake Iwanttobethere and I am actually behind the bar here at the Lodge. We had this idea that we would offer free shots after every goal scored by the U.S.Hockey team in the early morning game against Russia. We had not planed on all of the Fellows showing up for the game along with several Lodge members who were planning on going fishing in the morning. We also had not planed on the game going into a shoot out and so many goals being needed to decide the game. I don't know if it was the win or the several shots in just a few minutes that sent the Fellows down to our own skating ring to play some boot hockey. From my vantage point here at the Lodge I can see them in various positions leaning against the boards or in Tiny's case just laying face down on the ice not moving. The U.S. Won the game and the Fellows said they would be back come late afternoon when they replay the game. The offer of free shots I informed them is only for LIVE games.

Sun is burning through the cloud cover or maybe I should say it is smoldering through. Not real bright out but it is trying to warm up some. I have the radio playing in the background and Sunny Clearweather is at the controls. Spinning the Poka Saturday Poka Show and she did go over her forecast which is calling for a Tuesday high of, get this forty! Will be tee shirt and flip flop weather here for sure if that happens. Will be a good day to fix the Tahoe and maybe my part will be here for the snow thrower. Yup broke it again, this time I snapped the clutch cable and Dan at the part's shop was all out of them. He had to order one and told me I should have ordered the cable the same time I ordered the hose. Of course I didn't know that the cable was going to snap and he replied. O yea.

So I am putting in a shift here at the Lodge and Gus will be in at noon. I'll hang around and get some paper work out of the way and no doubt find something to do. Duncan came to the Lodge with me but the old dogs Barney and Bud decided they did not want to leave the cabin. Matter of fact by the time I got back from going to the bathroom the two of them had taken my spot in bed. I just through the covers over them and left them that way. On my way out the door I borrowed a few pieces of candy from the wife's box of Valentine candy, I figured she would not miss them. Had a bigger crowd then I thought for the hockey game but that is because it went so long and we had guys coming into the Lodge to pick up a few things from their lockers and then stayed to watch the end of the game. Place is pretty empty now as everyone has headed down on to the ice to fish and just a few kids are here using the Luge run.

Got a fire going and the smell of popcorn is in the air. Couple of crock pots hold chili and sauce for Coney's. I already had a Coney as I did not have a real breakfast and we were to busy for me to stop and make something. Now I don't normally drink Wild Turkey and eat Coney's before ten in the morning but today is a Saturday, and of course there was the hockey game. Duncan barks a few times and I turn to holler at him to use his inside bark when Mark the mailman comes in, it has to be the uniform I am thinking. I serve him up a bowl of chili and a Lake Iwanttobethere Root beer and we make small talk here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,674,065}

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Bobby Bass

SNOWING HERE, AGAIN looking out the den widow I watch as small heavy flakes of snow are falling on to the deck. Dogs were out just a little while ago but already the falling snow has filled in there paw prints. A big cup of hot cocoa warms my hand and I added three of the big marshmallows to it. I make rounds of the cabin looking out windows and not surprisingly it is snowing outside at everyone of them. When this is done later this afternoon I will have to go out and shovel paths. Forgot all about it being Presidents Day so no mail and no delivery of my parts for the Tahoe and the snow thrower. I did talk on the phone some with my neighbor Chuck who was out looking for someplace to punch a hole through the snow banks around his place. The tractor already has the snow piled up as high as the bucket can reach and he has no pace left to put snow.

Five inches of snow two days ago, another two inches yesterday and now Sunshine Ray is saying we will get four to seven more today. I am tempted just to leave it where it falls but we are only in mid February and there is more snow to come I am sure. Good thing is we are going to have a warm spell for three days and we should see temperatures in the upper thirties, melting snow kind of weather. Trouble there is the new snow on the roofs and ice dams that will have to be broken up. You would think we would be in the clear then or at least starting to see a chink in winter but forecast is then calling for temps back to single digits and over nights back below zero again. Chuck is looking at having to dig a hole through one of the eight foot high snow banks so he can push snow through the hole and back deeper into the woods. I am stuck with out the snow thrower running so I can't throw my snow up and over the banks and will have to shovel it. Winter is really beating us up this year between the cold and the snow.

The plastic greenhouse is taking a beating this season to, it is just about at the end of its life as they say they heavy greenhouse plastic is only good for five years and this one has been in use for about seven. I will have to decide if I want to recover it this summer or just tear it down. Am thinking a new greenhouse at the Resort would be a better place for a greenhouse as I already do have another one here at the cabin. When I was talking about just taking the greenhouse down my number two granddaughter told me that I could build a tree house there for her. Of course not having a tree is not a problem because she told me a tree does not have to hold up a tree house as long as it is made from trees. I think she has been spending to much time with her grand ma and is learning the ways of women in getting their own way. That and the fact that she is now seven going on twenty-seven.

So we got out a drawing pad and starting writing down things that she would need in her treeless tree house. Windows, a roof, a swing, a trap door to the second level. I rolled my eyes at that request as the price of the tree house just doubled. Also we need a trap door in the floor to escape if attacked by pirates. Sometimes she is still seven years old. I did like the idea of the hammock but now it just got bigger so we can hang a hammock inside. Cabinets of course and maybe electricity? We need screens in the windows so we can swing in the hammock with out any bugs and we need maybe a skylight so we can have lots of glass to look out at lightning when we have summer thunderstorms. The wife with a twinkle in her eyes starting adding some suggestions. A railing and maybe a little porch where we could hang flowers from and two swings instead of one so grand baby number five can swing to. This is what happens when you are stuck inside, here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,680,063}

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Bobby Bass

WORKING AT THE Lodge today, well we are melting ice dams since the weather has warmed up some and we have a lot of snow on the roof. Thought I would post how we are doing it..

With warm weather here, at least for a few days and after having received yet some more snow Ice dams are a problem. Here is a simple way to deliver ice melt right on the roof where you want it. I take a large plastic juice bottle and cut out one side. I then drill a hole through the bottom and insert a long handled Painters wand through the bottom hole and out the top of the bottle. Some tape to hold it on the pole so it can't swivel and you have a way to put salt/deicer anywhere that the pole can reach. This will also work on the pole you use for your snow rakes. Have a helper do the filling for you and you can make quick work of putting the melt on that ice dam.

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Bobby Bass

LODGE LOOKS GOOD today as I was down working along with the entire crew for what was an extended lunch hour. With a TV on inside the main room featuring the US Hockey game and another TV out on the deck playing the Canada game we were busy. Some Lodge members had planned on being at the Lodge to watch the games while others came in on their lunch breaks and just stayed to the end. Like most small town's business was pretty much shut down while the game was on. Here at the Lodge for example if you didn't have a beer or a Coney in your hand when the game was going on you were not going to get waited on till between periods because staff was watching the games with management's approval.

Beer was poured in pitchers between periods and the bathroom had a short line. I spent time watching both games and I rather liked watching the Canada game out on the deck, more like hockey weather out there. Been a while since I have been on the deck and there was no snow. Yesterday we took advantage of the warm weather and shoveled off the deck, cleaned the parking lot and widen the sidewalks. Snow was pulled off the Lodge roof and deicer put on the ice dams which today are dripping enough water to take a shower under. Today we enjoyed the work we put in yesterday and just watched hockey!

I have stuff to do at home so shortly after the games were over I headed back home. I noticed a long line at the car wash and a few orange cones along main street marking pools of water and I suspect deep pot holes under the calm surface. I must admit driving the Tahoe through some water puddles with the window down and not having to wear gloves while driving is a nice feeling. When I got home the bass thermometer hanging on the cabin wall had the red needled pointed at just above forty. Solar collector fan was on and it was blowing warm air into the cabin and I didn't hear the furnace running, another sound I would rather not have to hear.

Dogs were let out and they ran as best as they could through the deep snow. Duncan of course has a big advantage with the long legs and being eleven years younger than the old dogs. Didn't take long for Bud and Barney to find a dry spot on the deck where the sun was shinning and lay down. Duncan just followed me around like he was my assistant as I checked on melting ice dams and chopped some ice on the sidewalks. Half of the Dodge has reappeared as the warm weather and sunshine has melting the snow off the hood and roof. Greenhouse is still buried along with the work trailer and the garden looks pretty lonely. As I was out just enjoying the weather the son came by to show off a outboard he bought yesterday. His motor on the Barge was shot and he found another one same make but six years newer. Wanted to know if he could store it in the garage till he could dig his boat out so he could mount it. Told him to get his brother over to help him lift it because I was not going to try and move a fifty horse with just the two of us, and besides I was enjoying the weather.

I think we are getting just a tease of things to come as Sunshine Ray is forecasting another winter storm heading in our direction. Sounds like Thursday night the snow will start and by Friday afternoon we may see another twelve inches of new snow on top of what we have. No doubt if that happens the melt will be over before it really can make any impact. If the snow was not enough winds are supposed to blow up to forty miles an hour, I see some drifts in my future. Of course the cable for the snow thrower should be here on Friday so I might get lucky and have it up and running just in time to take care of the new snow. It has been suggested that all the snow in the past week has been my fault because I broke my snow thrower, pretty hard to defend myself on that as that is just the way things work here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,686,785}

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Bobby Bass

SOMETHING IS WRONG if the first thing on your daily to do list is shovel snow! Yesterday afternoon after I got home from the Lodge I discovered I had a leak on one of the roofs from an ice dam that I thought we had removed. There was still a low ice ridge on the roof and water being water it found a way to back up under the flashing to drip into the kitchen. The daughter was around so up the ladder she went and cleared the last of the ice away and as long as she was up there she shoveled the rest of the snow down that I could not reach with the snow rake. I was left with a nice pile of heavy wet snow on the deck and without the snow thrower I had to shovel it off. Thing is the piles around the deck were all made with the snow thrower and trying to toss heavy snow up over the top off the piles is not something an old man should be doing, at least not all at once.

So I took my time and moved half of the pile last night and had it on my to do list to finish today. Between periods of the lady's hockey game I would go out and shovel some of the now frozen snow. The deck is now clear and the ladies lost in OT it could have been a better day. With some lite snow falling Duncan and I took a ride to the Resort and that is where I am writing this from. Vic and Marv along with Elmer watched the game here and are getting ready to hunker down for the forecasted storm. Sunshine Ray is now saying we may see twelve to fourteen inches of snow and maybe if we get it bad it might dump up to eighteen. Long range forecast is now calling for next week's temperatures to go back well below zero. Last week of February should not have over night temps of minus twenty-five below with two feet of new snow.

Of course I was not really at the Resort to check up on the boys but I was here for my Pie of the month delivery. For a Christmas present I got enrolled in the pie of the month club and I made a call and changed up my membership for them just to send me apple pie every month. When Vic found out about it he asked how many different kinds of apple pie are there and I told him I didn't know. I just arranged for them to send me the same apple pie every month, works for me. Kids should be getting out of school about right now except the coming storm has everyone so worried that they already canceled school for today yesterday. Tomorrow all the grand kids will be at the cabin so I will at least have kids to do some snow shoveling. Just in case my part for the broken snow thrower does not arrive like it is scheduled to.

Another hockey game to watch as the men will be playing Canada tomorrow. I will retreat to watch the game with the grand daughters while the boys will go bake with their grandma. Don't know how that works but the girls would rather watch hockey, they especially like to watch the ladies play. I figure I will let them watch hockey, then they can go shovel then back inside to watch a movie before more hockey in the evening. We are not going to be watching any figure skating or ice dancing. Matter of fact I don't even consider ice dancing a sport unless you are out on the ice and someone is using the Lake Iwanttobethere lake ice house out house and you really have to go. Now that is some real ice dancing!

Snowing a little harder so I suppose I should head back to the cabin. I was supposed to stop and get something but I don't remember what it was. There is one advantage to getting old and that is now I can tell my wife that I forget stuff she asks me to do. Talking with other Lodge members it seems that is a very common thing to do here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,690,047}

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Bobby Bass

NOT HAVING A good day so far, Men lose in hockey and I just checked with UPS and they tell me my little cable is sitting in a brown truck stuck somewhere and they are changing my delivery to Monday. Without the cable my snow thrower is not moving and I am not going to be tossing any snow before it gets cold and everything freezes up. I did make it to the Lodge this morning, not a real big problem getting the Tahoe out to the main road through the snow. I didn't see a plow but I did see three beer trucks so I figured it was going to be a pretty normal day. After watching the hockey game to a pretty quiet room I made my way back to the cabin to find snow drifts in my drive. The wind has picked up and with the air cooling off some the water content in the snow has lowered and it is now the perfect stuff for making drifts.

Chuck will be over later in the day to scoop out the drive and we will clear Elmer's place to but with no snow thrower I can't get to the sidewalks and clear up around the out buildings. Right now the dogs are not going too far off the deck to do their thing as they are dragging their "Junk" through the snow and that just has to be cold. Only thing I can do is shovel a little at a time to make more room for them. Really need a blower to fling the new stuff up and over the banks, pretty hard to do with a shovel. I am thinking I am not the only one with the same problem as Stormy Clearweather in her morning report was saying it has been a pretty widespread snow fall. Winds are not going away any time soon so drifts are going to continue to grow. Don't even have the grand kids as the son took a personal day and his three kids are staying at home with him tonight. No doubt he has them shoveling snow when they could have been here, shoveling my snow.

Drive back from the Lodge was a little interesting as a good snow storm brings out the best and worse drivers it seems. For every truck I saw with windows cleared and headlights on I saw another with lights out and a twelve by twelve inch square section of windshield cleared of snow. These are the same people who drive through the towns only stop sign and just turn right out into traffic on the county road. I am guessing maybe one out of five people on the road had no reason to be on the road, they were just out checking the storm. My mother in law is like that, she will take her two wheel rear drive buick out for a spin in the middle of a storm because she is getting low on milk. Being low on milk will mean she has two gallons in the fridge and she lives alone. When she gets stuck I get the call to see if I am "Out and about" and can I swing on by and pull her out. To be honest it has been awhile since I have had to do that because the boys, my sons would jump at a chance to take one of the 4x4's out to help Grannie. They would show back up at the cabin several hours later and drop the keys on the desk and tell me I need gas.

I just noticed that the wind chimes outside my den window are not making any noise. With this wind they should be banging away. I went outside to check on them and found that they were frozen as snow melt from yesterday dripped down the hangers to freeze all the tubes together in a icicle. I am sure we have had more snow in past seasons but that thirty plus inches of snow that we got in early winter that never melted is coming back to haunt us now. I sit in the den trying to get my tobacco seeds to turn into plants and just outside the window four feet of snow sits on the greenhouse roof. I sure do hope we don't have another long cold wet spring like last year but it is not looking to good here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,693.015}

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Bobby Bass

I FEEL LIKE I am in a Rocky movie. Yesterday had its highs and lows as I was expecting my cable to fix my snow thrower just in time to save the day. Then I find out that the delivery had been pushed back to Monday and I would be doing a lot of shoveling. With darkness falling who shows up at my door but the UPS guy who handed me my little brown box with my cable. I put the box on the desk in the den and left the shovel on the deck, tomorrow I would be back in business. The son came on by and saw the part box and went out and installed it on the blower. I didn't want to be snow blowing after dark but what the heck. I dressed back up and we took turns widening sidewalks and blowing the banks back away from the deck. The blower was blowing like it was new again with the new clutch cable and the twin belts that I had installed last month. We did some serious snow throwing, moving the banks back and snow was flying when I went inside for a cup of coffee.

I was leaning up against the kitchen sink with a coffee mug in hand when I noticed the quiet. Snow thrower was not running so I figured the son had ran out of gas. Not a second later and the deck door opened and the son gave me the throat slash with his hand. "She died" is all he said and I went outside to find out she had gas but somehow the son had sheared a drive shaft. Today I am back to shoveling snow. I spent time searching for a replacement shaft and all I find is "No longer available" on the part's web sites I have. Chuck hearing of my problem said that maybe we could weld it so we shall see about that option. I made an inquirer to Big Earl and when I mentioned I was looking for buying a new snow thrower he just laughed at me on the phone until I hung up. Guess he really did sell his last one.

Today has started off no better then last night ended. More snow on the roof has created another ice dam problem. Bottom of the drive is filled with snow as Frank the plow driver came by and Chuck has problems with his pump for his septic tank. He is in town now trying to find a replacement one so no plowing with the tractor till tomorrow. Found Duncan inside the big garden today as he can now walk over the six foot high fence that surrounds the garden, the snow is that deep. He didn't go anywhere he just walked into the garden and barked at me to get my attention to show me he could do it. Before the wife went into town this morning I shoveled snow on top of the roof of her Jeep. When she asked me why I did that I just told her to dump it off somewhere down the road. She shook her head at me and drove off, swiveling the little Jeep trying to shake the snow off.

Thirty-six inches of snow on the ground is what Stormy Clearweather is reporting. That is the snow depth out in the middle of a field with no drifts or extra snow from a blower or wind. Now take that pile and add on snow moved for parking or clearing sidewalks and the piles are getting too high to shovel up on. The chatter around town is no longer about the weather it is about where are we going to put the next snow storm. Mother Nature is winning here, She is pushing her snow banks closer to houses and reclaiming parking spaces and driveways. The deer must be having a terrible time of it as I heard that one of Chucks son in laws was out trying to ride his snowmobile and got stuck. He stepped off the sled into chest deep snow and it took him an hour to get his sled turned around and back on the trail to get out. No longer is anyone talking about having enough snow or maybe a little more is needed for a good spring run off, talk is where do we put it here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,696,349}

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Bobby Bass

GOT THE LAPTOP sitting here on the bar top at the Lodge here at Lake Iwanttobethere. Silent Sunday but I am working a shift for Gus who wanted to get in one last fishing outing before the deep freeze returns. Gus and a couple of the guys are sitting off Rootbeer Island this morning. From time to time I can see them when the wind settles down some and is not blowing snow across the lake. Sitting inside the Lodge it looks like a nice enough day out. Sun is shinning brightly with not a cloud to be seen in the sky. Then you step out side and the wind blowing the ten degree air gets real cold real quick on your skin.

Drive into town was kind of an adventure as there was a fair amount of traffic it being a Sunday and church services were being held. The high snow banks along the streets makes turning onto Main Street interesting as no one can see anyone coming. Cars just kind of ease out from the side streets like a deer coming out of a swamp. Speaking of deer a herd of them have been wandering in town. I was coming home last night and I came right up behind eight of then walking right down Birch Street. The lead one started flicking his white tail as if he was signaling that he was making turn and they all moved off down the alley. I am sure walking on the town's streets has to be a lot easier then the deep snow of the woods.

Like most towns we have alternate side parking in the winter and Sunday is change over day. Going to be a mess as people had dug out places to park their cars and now they will have to park on the other side of the street. That leaves big piles of snow where they parked and no room to drive down the road. For a few hours the side streets are going to be four wheelers only until the plow can push banks back. Then everyone will have to grab a shovel and go back out and dig through the new wall of snow covering their sidewalks to the street before it gets frozen solid. I did get a chuckle this morning as I was taking a shortcut on Bass Avenue and I saw where someone had dug through the seven foot high snow bank on the curb to get to the street. The thing is the path through the snow was maybe at best eighteen inches wide, has to be a real skinny guy that dug that out.

Here at the Lodge some chatter going on but not about what you would think. No one is talking about snow because no one has a better story then anyone else. Everyone has to much snow and everyone has tales of broken snow throwers or busted plows. Ice dams, big deal can't find any salt, join the crowd. Big Earl was in for awhile before going down to the ice. Told me he can't get any salt or roof rakes and no more snow blowers till next fall. A hot item has been mirrors as guys have been coming in and buying them for the fenders on their cars. They put the mirrors on so they can see around corners when they pull out from side streets. The best part, it is a Fellows idea that actually works.

Guys are a little restless, nothing on TV to watch, no sports on. Coming up on hockey playoffs and baseball is still a ways away. A week a way from March and things should be getting warmer which means in this part of the county we usually see the snow fall pick up. I think everyone is hoping that does not happen. Winter skeet league should be starting in a week but that is on hold. The Trap House is buried under snow and there is just a large mound where it should be. No one wants to dig it out so we will just wait for the melt, it will come, someday here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,699,812}

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Bobby Bass

LAST TUESDAY IN February and I really thought it would be different then what it is. This morning I knew as soon as I had to put a little effort into pushing the storm door open that it was cold out. I walked past the Bass thermometer on the cabin wall and the red needle was once again well below zero. Made my way down the sidewalk to the Tahoe feeling like I was walking through a world war one trench. My wife's grandfather would talk about being in the trenches and how you could see nothing unless you climbed a ladder. The snow along the sidewalk is getting to be like that. Must be really bad for the dogs as their view of the world is much closer to the ground. The only one walking up on top of the snow banks is Duncan. He tries to get Bud and Barney to play "King on the Hill" with him but they can't climb the steep snow banks that he just jumps.

With the garbage cans moved I start the Tahoe and let it warm up. Sun is shinning and I am thinking at least that is one good thing but out over the lake I see a bank of clouds heading in my direction. I look at the coming clouds and pull the collar of my coat up a little higher around my neck. I hear a bird calling and it sounds like the cheessee-burgerr bird but as I strain to listen closely it is not, this birds call sounds like "Coldder, Coldder" It is not telling me something I don't already know. Sunshine Ray is calling for a week of real cold weather, again. I decide to head back into the cabin and wait inside for the Tahoe to warm up. I grab a few sticks of firewood and notice the pile is starting to get smaller. The ample filled lean to is no longer overflowing with wood. As I hold a few sticks of Maple in my arms I am doing some figuring in my head estimating how much wood I have. Looks like I am going to have to spend some more time getting wood this spring as I am going to be digging into next year's wood pile soon.

Vicki is on vacation down at the Masterbaiters shop so I was down there for a few hours. Mostly just to open the shop and wait on Mark the mailman and on the UPS guy. As soon as they make their deliveries I can just go ahead and close up shop. Not much business this time of the year and all I need do is clean the minnow tanks of the floaters and change the fishing report message on the answering machine. I have been doing some shopping and I have a little cardboard box in the back room with my selections. I barter time for tackle as payment for covering the shop while Vicki is on vacation. Got a selection of stick baits, some wacky hooks and a few buzz baits. A new reel which Vicki ordered in for me and some rattle traps. By the end of the week we will be even up and I can take the box up to the Lodge to put in my locker till I can managed to mix them in with my other lures in the tackle boxes.

Had breakfast at the Dew Drop Inn this morning, waffles and strawberries. Made some small talk with the Dick the owner and asked why the salt shakers were no longer on the counter. In there place was a small card that asked you to ask for the salt. He told me that since there has been such a salt shortage in town that some unscrupulous fellows have been coming in and taking the table salt to do their sidewalks with. Funny thing is that the salt shakers would reappear but empty the next day. When he said fellows I was thinking Fellows and I may have been right but I didn't want to push the issue.

Speaking of the Fellows after their success with the mirrors mouthed on fenders they have now launched yet another mid winter enterprise. With all of the snow on the ground they decided to reopen the corn maze just outside of town. The deal is they took two snow blowers and mounted them on top of each other and put tracks on the lower snow blower. The idea was to cut a snow maze out of the field and then charge people to walk through the snow maze. Sounds like a pretty good idea except for a few things. They might have had better luck if they had a plan to follow and that plan should have allowed for snow being blown filling in the trenches that they already cut. By the time they ran out of gas they were stuck in the middle of the corn field with no way to get back to the road. They ended up crawling on top of the snow to get to the road but before they could get into town and get some gas the wind came up and the entire snow maze drifted over. Somewhere out there the two snow blowers are buried till Spring, just like the rest of us here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,705,451}

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Bobby Bass

KNEW IT WAS cold out this morning as soon as I touched the door handle on the back door. Handle was ice cold and I had to push some to get the door closer to release and let me out of the cabin. Way below zero as I walked past the thermometer, to tell the truth I didn't really look as I am way past being sick of this cold weather. As I sat in the Tahoe and waited for it and the seat to warm up I was thinking that when the weather does finally warm up that sixty is going to be the new seventy. Eighty might give ya a heat stroke and I should maybe get some beer today and have it on hand just in case a warm day does sneak up on us.

Drive into town was uneventful, exchanged hand waves with passer bys and a few got the curt nod of the head. Was careful coming up on intersections, always on the look out for a truck or car sneaking out from behind the high banks. As I was driving I was thinking when this snow does all start to melt we are going to have a lot of ice problems, not to mention the potholes are going to be big enough to swallow them little electric cars that have showed up around town. I saw one down at Big Earls the other day that took up half the parking space. Was enough room to park another one behind the first one. Hate to get in an accident in one of them, I think hitting a house cat would total it.

Sun can't make up its mind if it wants to shine or stay hidden behind clouds. The wind has no doubt about what it wants to do as it has been blowing strongly all day and change's direction every few minutes or so it seems. I spent some time standing outside of the bait shop trying to smoke part of a cigar. Only way to do it was if ya stayed in the sun but the wind kept chasing me around the corner and then back again. Gave up on the cigar and went back inside to wait on Mark the mailman. No other stops to make so I came straight on back to the cabin after Mark came and went. Pulled up and waiting for the wind to die some, I could tell by the snow being swept across the yard. Made my way into the cabin and I was surprised I got in the door without any of the dogs greeting me. Hanging my coat up on the coat tree I could hear my wife in the kitchen and by the tone of her voice someone was in trouble.

Not wanting to get in trouble or perhaps find out I already was in trouble I eased into the kitchen to find all three dogs, Bud, Barney and Duncan sitting with their backs to me on the kitchen floor and the wife with her finger shaking at them giving them a lecture. I have been on the other side of the finger a few times so I tried to back out of the room but she looked up and saw me. "You call these dogs hunting dogs" She shook her finger at me and spoke loudly, not quiet yelling. The dogs saw me and looking over their shoulders they gave me their "We didn't do it look" They all went to get up and come greet me but the wife seeing them starting to move just said SIT once and they all did .

Trying my best not to become the focus of attention I asked her what happened. I was informed that she went to take some garbage out and happen to look into the garden. Two years ago we planted two fruit trees in the corner and put a bench between them. Plan was the fruit trees would grow up and we would have a nice spot to sit in the shade and enjoy the blossoms. Well, we planted the trees, staked them and encircled them with a four foot high mesh fence to keep the rabbits and varmints away from them. With all the snow that has fallen the snow is now even with the top of the fence and something had come and chewed the fruit trees even with the top of the snow. The wife is not happy, I was not home so the dogs are getting the blame for not keeping the rabbits away from her trees, but now that I am I was told to add making a higher fence around the trees and I better hope they grow back. I took the dogs out with me and made a big deal about going to inspect the trees. Between you and me no way was I going to go wade through four feet of snow to check the fruit trees that I could see were missing their tops. I did however go check my young apple trees and they are doing fine here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,707,902}

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Bobby Bass

BEER IS THE body's antifreeze at least that is what the Fellows gathered around the big round table at the Lodge were trying to convince me last night. Now I was not offering to much resistance but I was making them work at convincing me. The Fellows took turns sipping on their own beers and coming up with examples why beer like antifreeze in a truck works better then just plan water. Example, if you just put plan water in a radiator it will over heat but if you put in antifreeze.. See you are getting it. If you put just plain water in your radiator in the winter it will freeze but if you put antifreeze... See you are getting it. So with the body it is the same thing, when it is a hot day in the summer which tastes better Beer or water? And in the winter when it is freezing out on the ice and you are fishing in your shanty, which tastes better, a can of water or a can of beer? I think they had a point but for conversation sake I brought up the fact that we take showers in water not beer, Tiny spoke up and said "That is because I can't afford that much beer"

A lot of conversations going on around tables at the Lodge last night. It being the last Wednesday of the month we are all waiting for a better month to come. February has not been a good month, to cold to much snow to much wind and fishing for the most part is all done. Ice shanties have been pulled off the lake and most guys had no place to put them. Wives were complaining because the ice houses have taken their parking spots in the driveways and they want their spots back. Rich from the septic company has been working from sunup till sundown pumping holding tanks out. The frost has gone deep and leeching fields are freezing and business is booming. Just yesterday Rich was at Chuck's place pumping him out. I have been lucky so far, knock on wood.

I spent some time outside this afternoon working in the sunshine. I used the roof rake to try and clear some of the snow off the collapsed roof of the plastic greenhouse. Could not get too much off mostly because I didn't want to snag the plastic and tear it and because I could not get to close to it. No sooner would I step up on the snow and I would break through the crust to the deeper stuff below. Duncan with his big web lab feet would just run across the snow and look down at me from the high banks. I did go out to the south side and pull snow away from the solar collector. With all of this sun the collector is not working with eighty percent of it behind a snow bank so I knocked that down some. I was ready to come in as my hands were froze from holding on to the long metal handle of the snow rake when the wife came out and started pointed away at the snow banks along the sidewalk.

I pulled the flaps up that were covering my ears and shouted at her to repeat what she was yelling about. Seems she had a problem with the dogs lifting their legs and peeing on the snow banks along the sidewalk heading back to the shed and parking area. I had not really thought about it being a problem and I actually look at it as a form of outdoor art. A guy thing so to speak. Well she wanted me to pull some snow down to cover the writing on the wall and said it is so bad that it almost looks like Duncan was writing his name on one section. I looked where she was pointing and I was already figuring how I could sell that section or at the very least post it on the Internet. But she was just getting carried away, all that was spelled out was D-U-n. Another lost million dollar idea here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,711,244}

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Bobby Bass

BACK ALREADY FROM the Masterbaiters Shop, Vicki will be back from vacation on Monday so just a few more days and I will be done covering for her. Nothing to report about the drive down and back and no one was at the shop at all this morning. Forecast is calling for more cold weather through the weekend so I think fishing is about done except for the few diehards that are left. No new snow for awhile and the piles of snow in town are getting to look pretty dirty. Not a sight that makes people feel good at all about winter. The Fellows have been hard at work, at least for them as they got out a couple of the big two man saw's and have started yet another business adventure. Now they are going around town and cutting out walkways through the snow banks with the big two man saws. It actually works pretty slick and they get a nice clean cut and a snow thrower makes pretty quick work of removing the snow between the cuts. They went with the hand saws because the chain saw was too dangerous.

I did notice on my way up the drive that we are losing tree branches. Have not really been looking at the trees till the missing top of the fruit tree was pointed out to me by the wife. Now that I am looking around the last snow storm has taken down some decent size branches and I noticed a few limbs have been broken to. Just something else that will have to be cleaned up after the snow melts and Spring arrives sometime in mid June. Checked the mailbox and nothing but a few bills and a couple of magazines with summer pictures on them. The bills and the magazines both were just tossed on the desk, I will look at them later. Sky is overcast and no sunshine. I should have known that as soon as I cleared snow away from the solar collector the sun would disappear.

When I was down at the bait shop I was reading the paper and I saw where Stormy Clearweather in her article had written that Lake Iwanttobethere has just had its second coldest winter on record. So cold that our kids will be able to say they remember the winter of 14 and we lived through a winter colder then what our parents ever experienced. Not really something I want to say I did but I guess it was good that through the stories of the past few months I kept a pretty good running commentary of what was going on. I know that there has to be a mention about the weather in just about every story. I should have written more about the past summer as that had to set some kind of record as being the shortest summer we have had. Was still snowing in May and then we got dumped on with snow in November. I don't remember it being to warm in between.

I don't have a fire going as I thought maybe just the solar heater and the furnace would take care of the cabin today. Going to have to go start one as the sound of the furnace clicking on and off is bugging me. Wife is at work and the dogs are all sleeping and I am looking at a quiet day outside the window. No sunshine, no birds at the feeders. Overcast sky and the trees are not swaying. No wind and the wind chimes are quiet. Of course they are still covered in ice so it would have to be a pretty good wind to get them banging. I know I should be enjoying the quiet as it is Friday and in a few hours the grand kids will be over and movie night will be here. Sure would be easier to make the afternoon go by if it was sunny out and the snow would be replaced with green grass and I would be keeping an eye on a red and white bobber floating off the end of the dock with one of Elmer's borrowed frisky sucker minnows under it. I know its going to be awhile but still I can almost picture the ducks at the end of the dock here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,714,457}

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JUST ONE MORE really cold night is what I heard on the radio as I drove into the Masterbaiters Shop this morning. The Tahoe rolled on the snow packed road like I have no shocks and the tires feel like they are frozen into squares. No traffic as anyone smart would be staying where the heat is this morning. Twenty-three below and there is wind. Tops of branches are swaying as I drove down the road and even though I was looking for signs of wildlife I saw nothing. When I got into town I did notice that just about every house was sporting midwinter yard art. Shovels were jammed into snow banks along sidewalks and driveways. You could just see the handles sticking out of the snow. Push shovels and spades along with ice scrappers and spuds. Roofs covered in snow or some showing where a roof rake had peeled away snow to leave a ribbon of dry shingles.

Sunshine Ray was saying we just had one more cold night then it will get better. Going to have to heat up a lot just to get what they call normal March temperatures. It as been so cold for so long this winter I have just about worn out my winter gloves. Wish I had some stock in a flannel company as I wear mine just about all day. I parked at the bait shop and there were a couple of trucks already there idling in the lot. I made my way to the door and dug the keys out of my pocket, hard to do wearing gloves. Got the door open and hit the light switch and I was just pulling my coat off when the bell over the door rang and a couple of guys came in. As I turned on more lights and hung my coat up behind the counter the guys wandered around the bait shop and I could tell they were killing time. I know this because I have done the same thing many times.

I made my way down and started up some small talk and found out they had dropped their wife's off at church and it they were just down to kill some time. Found out they were Tiny's cousins and as soon as we had established someone we knew in common we exchanged HIYA's and the secret Lake Iwanttobethere handsake. They told me they had already pulled their shanty off the ice but they have their wife's use to the idea of them hanging out together. Come open water they will be in their boat every Sunday morning. As I checked the minnow tanks for floaters they made small talk and we did the fishermen thing feeling each other out a bit. Soon as I found out they would rather be chasing bass then walleye we started trading a few bass lakes that everyone knows about. We then moved on to the second tier of local bass lakes that are known but not bragged about as having bass in them.

One of them asked me in a round about way if I have fished the local lake that is supposed to have a booming population of smallmouth in it. Testing the waters some I told him I have been meaning to get over there and fish it but just have been too busy. He nodded and said he has fished it a few times, tilting his head over at his cousin he lowered his voice a tad and said "He lives on the lake" trying not to look to interested I glanced at his cousin looking over the deep diver baits hanging from the pegboard. I took a chance and brought up a stretch of river that you have to take a shortcut through some farm land to get to. A pretty good stretch of river to catch smallies in. They both looked at me and asked if I ever ran into the one horn bull and all three of us started laughing. We had found fishing common ground here at Lake Iwanttobethere{1,720,895}

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YOU WILL BE happy to learn that last night will be the last night that temperatures here at Lake Iwanttobethere will dip below thirty below, as a matter of fact I will go so far as to say temperatures will not go below ten for the rest of the winter. I can say that because after lasts nights minus thirty-three degree reading I went outside this morning and brought in the bass thermometer that hangs on the siding and drilled a hole in the face plate. I then installed a tooth pick that will stop the red needle from going any lower then ten below! I have had enough of winter and I for one refuses to let it get any colder any longer.

Today I am hoping it warms up some I have a replacement drive shaft for the snow thrower and I would like to put it in. Snow thrower is lying near the shop as that is as far as I dragged it last week. Stormy Clearweather is forecasting rising temperatures but also the chance of some snow so I should work on the thrower just in case it is needed. Number two granddaughter stayed the entire weekend as she will be out of town next weekend. Since she was here we had to do some work. I figured I would get her to dust off all my wood carved ducks that I have and she did that but then told me they really needed to be washed. So I took all the ducks down and she washed them in the sink and she was right, they did need a good washing. As the ducks dried she was eyeing my fishing reel collection and told me they need to get washed to, but that can wait till the next time she is here. Her parents when hearing that she spent the afternoon washing stuff wanted to know why she can't do any cleaning at home. I didn't have an answer other then kids like doing stuff they want to do rather then stuff they are told to do. Come to think of it that sounds a lot like me.

This afternoon I brought home the tackle that I earned down at the MasterBaiters shop this past week. I now have a pretty good assortment of stick baits and a half dozen lipless crank baits in smallmouth bass colors. A few new buzz baits and a few more odds and ends. I just brought the box right in the cabin and set it down right on top of my desk in plain sight. Of course the wife was at work and I will have box emptied and disposed of before she gets home. I think I am pretty much all set for fishing, tackle wise. Of course I won't really know until I do inventory but it is still too cold and too early to take the tackle boxes out to the shop and dump them on the big radial arm saw table. I have gotten in to the habit of just cleaning all the boxes out because this is how I find out how much tackle I really have. A few years ago I noticed I was down on spinnerbaits so I starting buying two or three at a time and just tucking the bags away.

Come spring I started to gather up all the bags that were hidden in summer coat pockets or in the bottom of my waders. Trouble is when I started to sort through my tackle boxes I really didn't need any baits I had plenty they were just not all in the right tackle box. By the time I added all the ones I bought I ran out of room in the tackle box. Same thing happen with plastic worms the year before that, now I have extra worms stacked in a tool box marked Plumbing. I do have a lot of purple and watermelon bags, but I never seem to be able to pass up on those colors. Sure is good to be writing about spinnerbaits and plastic worms rather then snow and cold here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,724,424}

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I AM GOING to write a book. After years of being asked when I am going to write a book I decided it is time that I should just go ahead and write one. Several factors are involved in this decision. Last night I was at the Lodge and I came in to find Marv sitting at a deck window looking out over Lake Iwanttobethere with an easel set up and a blank white canvas on it. He had a brush in one hand and a mug of Hamms in the other. I picked up my pink slips with phone messages on them from behind the bar and walked over to him. We exchanged HIYA's and I said I never knew that he was a painter. Marv sipping from his mug just said he was a man of many hidden talents. "So what are you painting today" I asked. Marv just looked at me and then back out at the lake which by the way you could not see because it was snowing and simply said "Inspiration"

I left him there and made my way back to the office but I had an idea that was dimly glowing. This morning I decided that I should write a book so when I got up I made my way into the den and opened the laptop and found the writing program that I loaded a few years ago that is formatted for writing book size pages. I figure that if I am going to write a book I should just do it on the laptop so I can take it anywhere I go in case I find "Inspiration." Now I have thought about writing a book for a long time but writing a book is not easy. You have to have a story to tell. I do have a friend who is a writer and he tells me there are several different ways to write a book and it depending on what kind of book I am going to write. A lot of books are written with the ending first and then you work backwards fleshing out the book. I have that kind of stuck in my head so I need to come up with an end before I can have a beginning.

So I have the laptop sitting on my desk right next to the desktop computer, I have a blank page on the screen except at the top I have written

Chapter One

The cursor winks at me waiting for me to start writing. Now here is where the idea comes in. The wife was going to Robin's Nest in town with my neighbors Chuck's wife. She wanted me to go with but I told her that I was starting my book today and I would not be able to make it. The wife had won at the Ladies Auxiliary raffle an afternoon tea. Now the Robin Nest is a quaint little place just off Main Street which serves elegant afternoon tea. This is the wife's description not mine. To me the place is way too small, has wrought iron furniture spray painted a powder blue with white lace tablecloths and chairs so small that I can only fit one cheek on to them. The tea cups are the size of shot glasses with handles that will only let me put two fingers inside of them. This forces me to point my pinky out into space which I was told is the correct way to sip tea. As you might have guessed I have been to the Robin's Nest before, but just once.

I took out a cigar and ran its length under my nose taking in the smell of the leaf. I nipped the end off with the cutter and put flame to the leaf. A few puffs and the cigar was glowing red with a whiff of smoke curling out the end to rise towards the ceiling. I sat back in my desk chair I mean my writers chair and looked out the den window at the bare apple tree. The wife came in the den to tell me she was leaving and I told her I bid her good-bye. (Writers talk that way I am told) She asked what I was going to do this afternoon and I told her I was going to work on THE BOOK she patted my shoulder and told me to have a good afternoon. An hour later and the laptop is untouched, the cursor blinks at me just beneath the Chapter One on the otherwise blank page. I did write this down though and I did smoke half a cigar. I am beginning to think I should have started writing a book along time ago, here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,727,446}

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WITH WARMER WEATHER in the forecast guys at the Lodge are gearing up to do battle with snow banks. That was the common thread at the Lodge last night as both Stormy Clearweather and Sunshine Ray are forecasting that we are going to get into the thirties. The melt is on, just not today as we are only going to get into the teens. Yesterday we did hit twenty-three and with no wind it was tee shirt weather for a few minutes until your skin told you it was really not all that warm out. I walked around the cabin with a shovel and dug a few holes here and there. Dryer vent was covered so I dug that out and I saw where the wind has drifted snow up and over the fence in a few places. No sooner would I dig something out then Duncan would have his nose down the hole checking to see if he was missing out on anything.

I don't have the snow blower fixed yet, matter of fact it is still sitting upside down outside the shop. Have it on my list of things to do today, getting it inside the shop and thawing it out. Figure I can either start a fire in the potbelly stove today or tomorrow, not in a big rush just yet. I was over at Chuck's for awhile and he has a lot of snow over there to. Matter of fact there is so much snow in the pasture that the horse fence which is five feet tall comes up to their knees. They could just step right over but they have no where to go so they don't wander far from the big round of hay and the water trough inside the fence. I came over to Chuck's to watch him work, he was pulling snow off the roofs and I don't know if I mentioned this but he has a lot of snow. We chatted some between ducking the snow and then we started to see how many times in a conversation we could get in that we have a lot of snow.

Down at the Lodge the conversation about how much snow we had just continued, Everyone I talked to I brought up the topic about how much snow we have and it just kind of took off. Before you know it everyone in the place was telling everyone else about how much snow we have. I gave up on how many times I mentioned how much snow we have. Guys were standing looking out the deck windows of the Lodge at the frozen waters of Lake Iwanttobethere and with one hand holding their beer mug and the thumb of the other hand under the suspender holding up their snow bibs they would nod and tell each other about how much snow we have. I would just smile to myself and keep pouring beer and nod when someone came up and asked if I have noticed how much snow we have.

Looks like the cold weather is finally going to come to an end, it has been a long long winter. Now we get to see what spring has in store for us. With all of this snow, did I mention we have a lot of snow? It is going to be interesting to see if we have a nice long melt or if we will melt quickly. Either way everything is going to be wet and muddy for a long time. Pot holes are starting to show up and with the melt there are going to be some surprises under the standing water on the streets. Just a few weeks away from fishing on the Mystery River but when I drove over the bridge today it was frozen solid and there was a lot of snow covering it from bank to bank and as far as you could see back into the woods. The wife just came in and seeing me sitting at the desk she came in to ask if I was working on THE BOOK and then she mentioned that we sure do have a lot of snow, here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,729,908}

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THIRTY-TWO DEGREES out but no sunshine. There is a little water dripping off the eves but some sunshine sure would speed things up some. Today I am at the Resort as we were planning on doing some snow removal but with no sunshine things are not going as planned. Hammering Hank has made a few passes on the drive pushing banks back a little with the work truck plow. The shop door has been dug out and a few passes made with the snow blower but my heart is just not in it. I came in and hung my coat on a wall peg and poured myself some orange juice and made my way over to the first booth where Vic was reading the paper. Vic has had a very good winter, getting far more exercise then the rest of us he looks years younger. His path out to the shanty on the ice is well worn and that to is on the list of things to do today, taking the ice house off.

Hammering Hank has a plan for that though as we are just going to hook up some chains and drag it off and up on to the shore. The plan is that it should take but maybe a half hour to do it, I have set aside two hours just in case. As I sit here in the booth I must have a special touch, as the sun is just coming out and putting a glare on my screen. Still not going to rush out and do anything as it is lunch time and Marv is in the kitchen making egg salad sandwiches on fresh bake Kaiser rolls. I am told we have strawberry pie for dessert and whip cream. I chit chat with Vic and he tells me just yesterday we ran out of the garden potatoes we planted last summer. He then pushed the clip board over with the garden plan for this year and I sipped on my juice and nodded that it looks good.

Since we were waiting on Marv we went over to the Bait Room and checked for floaters in the tank and made more small talk. Peg board hooks are looking kind of bare as we sold just about everything we had stocked last spring. I looked over the clipboard and we have several pages of stuff I need to order. We should be able to double our order from last year as we are putting our of our sale money right bake into inventory. Like the rest of the guys I got rid of a lot of stuff that was just taking up space in my tackle boxes. Reminds me I need to go through my stuff at home soon. I am sure I have some more lures that can come to the Bait Room.

I hear Marv yelling so along with Vic I head to the main room and we sit down with Hammering Hank and Skinny, Elmer is on his way but he got sidetracked in town picking up some gas for the snow blower. Sun is now shinning through a few scattered clouds and it feels good on the side of my face as I bite into the egg salad sandwich and lick my lips. The room is quiet as everyone is eating, nothing but the sound of the ceiling fan and crackling of the fire and the smacking of lips. I pluck the last few potato chips off my plate and lean back into my chair about as contented as a guy can be in the first week of March. Since I last looked at the thermometer the temperature has gone up a few degrees, no doubt due to the arrival of the sun. I was thinking of putting my boots on when Marv came in with a strawberry pie and small plates. Well I forgot all about the boots and held up my lunch plate, no need to dirty a new one, here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,732,541}

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AT THE LODGE this morning, I had to open as Gus has the day off. Don't expect it to get busy at all till afternoon when I am sure the lunch crowd will show up to watch the high school hockey tournament on TV A few pails set up in the main room to catch dripping water as I guess we didn't get all the snow off the roof. We like everyone else in town have a few ice dams and yesterday we sprung a few leaks. Nothing real bad but enough to make wet spots on the floor so we put the buckets out and the big yellow bucket with the mop is sitting by the front door just in case. I was here at the Lodge last night as I came to watch the college hockey game and tip a few. Spring is slowly coming as now at the Lodge a "Cold One" is referring to a beer again and not the weather outside...

Last night we were running a drink special, a shot and a glass of beer. Guys were complaining of sore shoulders from moving snow with the snow rakes from roofs. Gus came up with the idea of the shots and small beer glasses instead of the big heavy beer mugs. Seems to have gone over well as already this morning I have been asked for a few glasses instead of mugs of beer. Lady's Auxiliary will be having their weekly meeting in the small meeting room. None of the ladies have shown up just yet so guys are in having a quick snort and then back out to run errands or in some cases they are retreating to the basement locker room. Some talk of maybe digging out the trap house but no sooner do guys go out there with shovels and see how deep the snow is then they come back with a maybe next Saturday would be better day.

Yesterday it was warm enough that some snow on roofs started to melt and I think the snow banks have settled some. They don't seem to be as high as they were last week. Today it is not forecasted to go above thirty but tomorrow we are going to be in the forties! I can already hear the sound of dripping water in the buckets here at the Lodge. Back at the Resort Vic's ice shanty came right off the ice like it was supposed to. Of course it came off in two sections as the rope around the middle of the shack kind of separated the bottom from the top when Hammering Hank gave it a good tug with the tractor. Vic was watching from the Club House and to his credit he didn't throw a fit. I was with him and he just sipped on his coffee and said to no one "Well that worked out nicely" With the top of the shanty on shore Hammering Hank and Skinny attached the chain to the bottom of the Shanty and pulled that up out of the snow and dragged it up to the wood shop. When Hank came in he held his hands up to Vic and just said "It was supposed to do that" Vic just nodded and said "I know, Skinny told me when you guys put it on the ice that it was a "Breakaway Shanty."

I do expect that the Luge run will be busy today and tomorrow it will be a mad house around here. If the temps do hit forty the Luge will be busy and I am sure there will be some guys out on the ice chasing crappies and gills. I was thinking maybe I will hit the car wash on the way back to the cabin tonight as there for sure will be a long line tomorrow. But now that I have had some time to put more thought into it maybe I won't. If it gets warm tomorrow the pot holes will fill with muddy water and I won't get very far before I am dirty again. Daylight Saving Time starts tomorrow so remember to move your clocks tonight. Pretty good timing as we will be able to enjoy a longer afternoon tomorrow and maybe it might be a good day for the first BBQ here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,738,345}

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IN A WORLD of black and white Duncan's red collar stands out. We took a walk this morning well actually more like a trek as we walked the back trail where the snowmobiles cut across the lot. Chuck has a trail system back there that from time to time someone manages to find their way onto. Posting signs does not do much to keep people off and with all the snow we have on the ground some of the signs are pretty low. Not a lot of color in the woods this time of the year. Some deep greens on the Pines but the Maples and Birch and Poplar are all just black and white. Back in the woods the snow is still white or at the very least an off white. As soon as you get out of the woods you see the dirty snow from passing cars and trucks and from Frank the plow driver pushing up sand and dirt from the road up on to the banks.

As the melt has started the banks are losing the last of their white clean snow on top and now you can see the layers of snow. Like a core sample you can see the few small snow falls and the bigger ones as they are thicker. Mixed in is the occasional piece of garbage that was tossed from a car that was just too big to bring back home and put in the garbage can. On our walk we saw a few birds but Duncan was more interested in old tracks that he was following. Nose down I could hear him snorting in the quiet. We didn't go far as if you stepped off the snowmobile trail you would sink into the snow, at least I did. Duncan with them big web lab feet and the vigor of being young had no problem moving across or through the snow.

Was not much of a walk, at least for me but it was a start. Time to be outside and doing something other then walking from the cabin to the Tahoe or shoveling snow from the Tahoe to the cabin. When we came back off the trail to the yard both Buddy and Barney were sitting on the deck watching. Barney came down and, well actually he didn't come down off the deck as the snow is so deep he just kind of walked right off the deck and out on to the snow to greet us. A couple of barks were exchanged and I bent over to give Barney a good head rubbing and a few pats on his side as he turned and walked away. In no hurry to go anywhere he was just done with me. Bud waited on the deck for Duncan to come and give him a full report on what he saw out there, Like a General debriefing his private after a recon mission.

Snow is going to have to melt some before me and Bud will be taking any walks. Both he and Barney will be fourteen next month and this past winter has been hard on them. To much snow for them to really get out and do anything they are content to keep an eye on things from the deck. Over the wife's objections I built another step for the old dogs and put it in the living room so they can climb up on the couch. On good days they can still jump up on the couch but there are days when old bones are feeling old and that step is nice to walk up so they can lay down on a pillow and take naps in the sun. The wife says she was finally looking forward to when the dogs would not be on the furniture any more but I catch her with Bud trying to lay in her lap and together they are watching TV and she is rubbing him behind his ears. I figure it is better for Bud to get rubbed behind his ears then me here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,740,932}

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BACK FROM TOWN had to run errands this morning and pick up a few things. On my way past the car wash I noticed a pretty good line had already formed and there was a nice pool of dirty, brown water at the entrance. I can't tell you how happy I was to walk out the cabin door this morning and hear the sound of dripping water coming off the cabin roof. Walking in the snow to the Tahoe it made that squishing sound instead of the frozen crunch that I have been hearing for what seems like months under my boots. Drove into town with the driver's window down and that might have been pushing it some but I had the heater on and I found a balance of heat and fresh air. Good to hear the tires on the road and not the hum of the four wheel drive engaged.

First stop was at the General Store where like everyone else I was there to pick up a few jugs of window wash and a couple of bags of sand. The sand will be spread on the walkways back at the cabin because even though the snow is melting today there will be ice tonight. General Store was busy, Earl greeted me at the front door which was standing open. Might be losing a little heat from inside but the trade off was the breeze of fresh air that was coming in. Barb was at the counter wearing her jacket but she had a smile on her face and we exchanged HIYA's. Junior was coming up the center aisle with a flat cart stacked high with cases of window wash. I help myself to a case as I might as well stock up. With the window wash and a couple of bags of play sand in the Tahoe I drove over to Ma and Pa's Grocery Store. I was greeting with the jingle of the bell over the door when I came in and Ma was watching her soap opera on her new color TV behind the counter.

Pa gave me a wave from behind the meat counter and he started slicing up some bologna. I knew right where I was going as I walked down the aisle that the shelf with pancake mix was stocked. I picked up two boxes and then came back up past Pa. He held out a small white paper package that held some thick slice bologna for me and the with the other hand he gave me another small package and just said "For the dogs" I timed it just right making it to the counter as a commercial was on and Ma waited on me and I was out the door just as her show came back on. Have been going through a lot of pancake mix the past few weekends as we have been making fish pancakes for the grand kids. As I got into the Tahoe I thought maybe I should have bought four boxes instead of the two I did.

Had a few more stops to make and I ended up at the car wash. I was going to get the Tahoe washed but I saw Chuck parked out on the street and he was talking with Hammering Hank. I pulled alongside and joined in. As we talked about the melt going on we watched as a guy pulled his SUV out of the car wash and off to the side. He got out with a cloth and started hand drying his truck and he was taking his time not missing anything. As Chuck, Hank and I talked we all watched the guy doing his drying. I was just getting ready to move on when the guy got back into his truck and pulled out of the car wash parking lot. He stopped at the street and was looking for traffic when Skinny came driving up to meet with Hank. We all saw it coming but the guy in the truck never had a clue. Skinny hit that big water puddle and the water flew from his tires to splatter the SUV from bow to stern. Could not help to laff and so we did. The guy turned his wipers on and drove out into the street where he did a U-turn and headed back into the line at the car wash. And that is why I don't wash the Tahoe this time of the year here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,744,172}

Pancake Panfish

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Bobby Bass

THIS MORNING IT is a chilly thirty-six out, well that is chilly somewhere but not here at Lake Iwanttobethere. Yesterday the high was above fifty which we have not experienced in over four months. I say warm because at fifty there is no wind chill! This morning I went outside with the dogs and watched as they spread out checking out things that have emerged from the snow. I would estimate the snow went down at least fourteen inches in the last few days. Where the snow blower had made a pass and the sunshine had worked its magic a patch of grass can be seen. All three dogs sniffed at it and pawed the area some. The cabin roof is almost free of snow, I wish I could say the same for the ice dams but they are a lot smaller then what they were. I came out with the dogs to make sure they don't linger to close to the cabin, if a ice dam broke loose and came down it would do some serious damage to a old dog that is not quick enough to move out of the way.

The snow blower is dead, ordered the wrong part, I found that out after I tore it apart. Did not matter much anyway as the part I do need is unavailable. I put a call in to Dug who came over and took the engine off and a few other cables and belts. The frame will find its way to Mike's junkyard one of these summer days. Nineteen years I had that snow blower, I think I got my moneys worth out of it. Come the middle of summer or so and I will start working Big Earl for a replacement. I will bother him for a few months trying to get him to give me a deal on a new one. I would start now but I already know you can't buy a snow blower any where in the county. Last night I was at the Lodge and I told the Fellows about the death of the snow blower. I had a few offers for the engine but like I said Dug already got that. Gary told me that was too bad as they had a plan for what they called a "Snow Mower" and I could have been the first one to try one out. Blows snow in the winter and mows grass in the summer, I am kind of glad I lost out on the chance.

Not to many people out on the Lake ice here, the melting snow has made walking almost like doing one of them work outs that they sell for 19.95 on TV after midnight. Only place where you see anyone is where the Luge runs ends at the bottom of the hill at the Lodge. I hear the run was kind of slow during the day but when the sun went down the run got faster. While I was at the Lodge I could hear grown men screaming in the night as they rode down the Luge. Might have been the speed of the run or the Wild Turkey or them realizing that they have to walk back up the hill after reaching the bottom. I was going to give it a try but I thought better of it. It is a long way to the top and the snow was soft and I am getting a tad too old to be trudging up hill in the snow in the dark without spilling my beer.

Today we have an overcast sky but you can see a bright spot where the sun is. Water is still dripping off the roofs but not like it was yesterday. As promised the walkways have iced over and it is slippery when walking across the now ice covered snow. Dogs don't seem to have a problem but then they have nails that have been walking on nothing but carpet and hardwood floors for the past several months. Sunshine Ray with some regret said we are going to only be in the low thirties for the week and another fifty degree is not in the near future. I can live with that, snow problem on the roof is taken care of, the ice dams will slowly melt away and no snow in the forecast. I can see the tires of the trailer for the Puddle Humper and there is enough water in the big puddle at the Lodge that you can cast topwater lures in. Spring is slowly coming here at Lake Iwanttobethere 1,744,172}

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Bobby Bass

NOT EVERYTHING YOU watch on TV is a good idea. Yesterday afternoon I took a trip into town, I had to go to the Lodge, I had forgotten my tool bag. The place was quiet even though there were several pickup trucks in the parking lot. I came in and the bar area of the Lodge was surprisingly empty for the middle of the afternoon. Looking out the deck windows I saw a few fishermen out on the Lake but the Luge run was quiet. I had a feeling, you know the kind you get when something is not just right. That and the fact that most of the trucks in the parking lot belonged to the Fellows. I was standing there thinking about what could be going on when I heard and felt a large BANG followed by cheering.

I went out the side door of the Lodge to find the Fellows standing in a group along with Gus and Elmer and Marv. Marv was holding a .22 and the Fellows were all holding pellet riffles. I figured they were shooting at the pigeons that like to dump all over the Lodge roof but I saw broken ice at their feet and they were patting Marv on the back, that is till they saw me. So I guess you need some back story here to make sense of what they were doing. There is a show on cable TV where these guys up north go out in a boat to passing ice bergs and they shoot the icebergs with high power rifles. The ice breaks off in big chunks which they harvest and then melt, bottle and sell as clean drinking water. One of the Fellows I am sure had gotten the idea that they could go out on the deck and just shoot the ice dams off the roof of the Lodge.

Even I could see it was a bad idea and as I came out on the deck to get a closer look at the roof the Fellows all seem to take a sudden interest in the parking lot. Marv just looked at me, and handed me the .22 and he and Gus walked back into the Lodge. With no one left I held the .22 and checked the chamber, there was a round in it. I looked at the roof and there was a pretty thick ice dam just about ready to go. I thought what the heck, I raised the rifle took careful aim and squeezed the trigger. I could hear the splat of the round hitting the ice but nothing happened, pretty much like what I was expecting. I went back into the Lodge and put the .22 in my office. I then went to Marv and put out my hand and he reached in his pocket and gave me the box of shells. I put them in my own pocket and said nothing. I headed back to my office with a smile on my face. I had been looking for some .22 shells.

One by one the Fellows came back in through the front door and made there way to the big round table. Gus brought over a few pitchers of beer and low conversation filled in the quiet of the Lodge. Gus was back behind the bar and our eyes met but we didn't say anything. Marv was over fiddling with the TV and that is when I noticed Elmer missing. I was just turning to head out the side door when the Lodge shook, a large BOOM was felt through my feet and I could hear the cackle of Elmers tell tale Laff. I think Elmer had taken care of the ice dam here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,749,512}

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Bobby Bass

SUCH A TEASE that is what mother nature is. A few days of flirting with fifty and today we are back in the upper thirties. Over cast sky has replaced sunshine and snow is back in the forecast. I should know better, we are still a few months away from sleeping with windows open at night. Yesterday I did however have my first encounter of the new season. I was down at the General Store where Big Earl was having a special on trolling motor batteries. There was just a few of them sitting out and I saw the price and could not resist buying one. I lifted it up to put it in my cart and slammed the battery on my thumb which was between the battery and the cart. I would rate the blow to my thumb an eight out of ten, ten being you see stars, nine you curse out loud. On closer inspection I had merely pinched the thumb and it was not bleeding all that much. Since it was a trolling battery I am calling it a fishing injury.

With the battery in the Tahoe and a wrap of some duct tape around the thumb I was soon back on my way back home. A nice, even melt is going on. The last few days the snow has really gone down. Fence posts have emerged from the snow and in my yard I can now spot the wheelbarrow and a hint of where the fire pit is. Just some ice left on the cabin roof and the ice dams that are there are half of their size of a week ago. I am hoping the slow melt continues and I will not have to worry about the dams sliding off the roof. Boat house roof has maybe a foot of snow left on it but the snow has pulled back from around the edges. Old Dodge has shook snow off the roof and hood and if the melt continues the bed will be empty soon. I was thinking of putting the key in and giving it a turn to see if it starts but I am not going anywhere as it is still buried in snow up over the bumpers.

That time of the year when I tend to do a lot of reading, not much I can do outside. O there is plenty to do just it is all still under mounds of snow. I am not one to go out with a shovel and move snow to spots where it can melt. I hate make work and that to me is just doing something that is going to happen by itself, in due time. Today is kind of old guy day here at the cabin. Wife is at work and it is just me and the dogs and a visitor. My daughter's dog Buster B another black lab is staying for a few days as the daughter and her husband are on a short getaway. Buster B is twelve and he has not had a good winter. He came over yesterday with a bag of meds and a list of instructions, just like any old guy does. He has a bad leg that he strained and an infection at the same time. Toss in he is getting old and he just wants to take it easy and not be with his young owners, two of my granddaughters. So Buster B is taking a rest here for a few days. Bud and Barney greeted him and then left him alone. Duncan is wondering where all these old guys come from and why no one wants to run with him.

Buster B is sleeping in the living room on his bed that the daughter brought over for him. Bud is on the couch and Barney I think is in my bed. Duncan is at my feet. No sunshine coming through the den window but I can see the big maple swaying. The occasional bang of a wind chime can be heard and a few drops of water, no doubt from the melting ice dams can be seen falling past the window. Several crows have flown by, going or coming from somewhere. Almost forty out but it feels cold out, funny how we forget what that minus twenty weather was like just a few weeks ago. Some sunshine would make all the difference but as I look at the sky that does not look like it is going to happen. Still six days away from Spring, so I guess it is still winter here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,754,819}

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Raven77
      West end this afternoon:     Richie Bay 48     Black Bay  55  
    • Raven77
      Bill, you can follow me around for walleyes if I can follow you around for crappies 
    • imhatz
    • MikeG3Boat
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    • mbeyer
      Tripp   Always good to see this tread bumped and revived for the spring. Maybe, I run in to you this year on the lake......
    • gimruis
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    • Rick
      A weekly list of news briefs about fish, wildlife, and habitat management. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • Rick
      Mother Nature gave Minnesotans extra ice-free days this spring on many of the state’s water bodies, but relatively cool weather since then—including overnight lows in the 30s—means the water temperature may be lower than people expect. As anglers prepare to hit the water for Saturday’s fishing opener, it’s vital they keep this in mind and put their safety first. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • Rick
      Mother Nature gave Minnesotans extra ice-free days this spring on many of the state’s water bodies, but relatively cool weather since then—including overnight lows in the 30s—means the water temperature may be lower than people expect. As anglers prepare to hit the water for Saturday’s fishing opener, it’s vital they keep this in mind and put their safety first. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • PSU
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