NEW RICHLAND-HARTLAND-ELLENDALE-GENEVA AREA

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Latest New Richland, Minnesota, weather

It looks like an early spring is in store if you believe that chubby little rodent named Phil. I am however, a bit skeptical about the whole thing, especially after last year when one of his weather predicting brothers in fur proceeded to bite an unsuspecting mayor on the ear during his town’s copy-cat ceremony. I am surprised that PETA hasn’t stepped in and claimed it was animal abuse for making the little rodents hang out with folks that have nothing better to do on that day.

Locally, our big storm with up to 12 inches of snow predicted didn’t quite come off as advertised, but we did get enough snow and wind to warrant plowing, shoveling and various closings. If I sound somewhat disappointed, I am not, although the kid in me always feels a little nostalgic whenever I see a fresh snowfall, the old guy part of me finds that shoveling snow has gotten to be a little more like work as each year passes.

I have always gotten that somewhat cozy feeling when sitting in the old chair with the sound of the wind whipping the fresh snow into a frenzy. In those instances I tend to envision myself sitting in an overstuffed chair, reading a book while a warm fire crackles in the fireplace. As I awake from my fantasy I find that I have been dozing off in my recliner, the remote in my hand while the heat register is blowing warm air on me. Ah, reality, no overstuffed chair, no book of classics and no fireplace, but what I do have isn’t really all that bad. One of these winters I’d like to drive to the cabin and spend a few days in the woods feeding the fire and just enjoying being a little closer to nature. Our road doesn’t get plowed out in the winter so that might not be realistic, but what the heh, it is fun to dream.

As you can probably tell, I am a pretty basic guy with simple needs so my dreams aren’t all that large. As a kid I always had a vivid imagination and that part of me has never really changed much. My dream of becoming a star football player went away in about 10th grade, but my love for the game is still there. It can be pretty tough being a Minnesota sports fan, but if you don’t set the bar too high it’s not such a letdown when the team loses. I have an app on my phone that gives me periodic updates of Wild, Wolves, Gopher and Viking games, but lately I’ve been trying to ignore the first two. It could be worse, I could be a Cubs fan; my wife has cousins who live in Illinois and are diehard Cubs fans. I can’t even imagine how hard that would be.

This winter the best walleye fishing seems to be in the northern part of the state on lakes like Winnie and Lake of the Woods, but there are still fish to be had right here close to home. We have lakes right here at home that have many more fish than folks might imagine. Even when a lake freezes out, it never, in most cases, really ever totally dies off unless it is a man-induced kill.

Locally, there have been folks fishing by the access on the channel by Frank Hall Park. I’ve heard of some walleye and a few jumbo perch being caught. I’ve also heard the beach area was giving up a few jumbos, some sunnies and an occasional bass or walleye. If I were to do any hard water fishing I might try Fountain Lake by one of the bridges or in Edgewater Bay just to get away from the crowd. I’ve fished Fountain since I was a kid and, in my opinion, it has always been underrated when talking fishing lakes.

Although I have never been a hardcore ice fisherman, I usually manage to go once or twice a year and that is only on area lakes. My grandson Trevor has taken me a couple of times in the last year and I went with my friend Mark a couple of years ago.

Looking back to my childhood, my folks would take me to St. Olaf Lake every year for their annual ice fishing contest. Once we got there my mother would take me out to the spot, find a hole and line up the bait before disappearing inside the store/bar to relax with my dad and their friends. I would stay out on that cold ice staring religiously at that hole, hoping for the slightest sign of a bite. Mom would come out and check on me from time to time, but I didn’t really seem to mind that it was cold and the fish weren’t doing much biting because I was doing what I liked to do, and that was fishing. I can’t really remember catching much more than an occasional small perch, but even that was considered a victory in my world. I don’t really remember ever fishing Beaver Lake in the winter and actually one fishing contest a year was probably enough to pacify me until spring when the creeks, streams and lakes opened up.

Until next time, enjoy the outdoor rinks, sledding and fishing our area lakes but always be careful when you do decide to venture out because no ice is ever 100 percent safe.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers, n not only during the holiday season but for the rest of the year. They are the reason that we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.

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