NEW RICHLAND-HARTLAND-ELLENDALE-GENEVA AREA

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On a Tuesday morning blizzard day, four young-at-heart old guys went on a pilgrimage. The problem was to keep the van in between the ditches as we headed to that great Mecca, home of many walleyes, known as Lake of the Woods.

Paul Proft of Owatonna, Bob Goetz of Austin, Ray Thompson of Frederic, Wisc., and Bob Hanson of Albert Lea were the four excellent fishermen in the van. (Our rating has dropped to Not-So-Good fishermen after this pilgrimage.)

The four of us had four things in common: 1. Lutheran; 2. Health issues; 3. An excellent wife; and 4. Lacking in common sense, as per the Highway Patrol we should not have been traveling.

After nine-plus hours on the road, our great driver Paul Proft pulled into Walleye Retreat Resort. Paul managed to keep the van in between the ditches, even though the drivers of a lot of other vehicles did not.

Terri and Pete, owners of Walleye Retreat Resort, greeted us at the lodge door. They questioned our intelligence, as the rest of their reservations had canceled. They informed us that, seeing as how we were number-one fishermen, we would be staying in Cabin #1. The bombardier driver, Tony, would be picking us up each morning at 7 a.m. to take us to the heated, holes-open, ready-to-go fish house.

How many of you readers can say you have had hot pizza with pop delivered to you by a bombardier while you’re in a fish house? We traded a sack of corn each noon for pizza and had pop delivered by Tony. (Tony looks, talks, and acts just like his Canadian counterpart, Red Green, without the “eh.”)

In two days of fishing, we kept 13 walleye and sauger – not very good compared to our other times at Lake of the Woods. The fish were on the small side (all less than 13 inches). Ray managed to catch a small walleye with the hook from each of his two lines in its mouth at the same time (you’re allowed to fish with two lines). Bob Goetz tried to catch a huge Northern that managed to tangle two other lines at the same time. The net result? No Northern caught while stealing Bob’s Little Jig lure!

We calculated the cost of the 13 fish we kept at $80 per fish. We were very happy that we didn’t catch any more, as that was very spendy per fish. Ray pointed out that at least $75 per fish was for esprit de corps. Thus, we all felt better!

We drove over to the Amusement Center in Warroad to see the dome roof. The admission was free, but to get out was not. It is the only casino in Minnesota with a domed roof. They are building a new casino to open in 2014.

On County Road 8, driving by Walleye Retreat Resort, we saw huge owls just at dusk. Tony told us they were feasting on grouse nightly. We also saw a fisher cross the road in front of the van as we were driving.

Trivia You Must Know – Rick Jeddeloh is in charge of Daffodil Days selling in the area. Rick’s dad, Mel Jeddeloh of Waseca, is a faithful reader of this column.

Last but not least – NRHEG Girls’ Basketball team, two years in a row! Wow!

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Bob is a retired AAL (Aid Association for Lutherans) agent, currently working on his master’s degree in Volunteering. His wife, Genie, is a retired RN, currently working on her doctor’s degree in Volunteering. They have two children, Deb in North Carolina, and Dan in Vermont. Bob says if you enjoy his column, let him know. If you don’t enjoy it, keep on reading, it can get worse. Words of wisdom: There is always room for God.

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