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A-fishing they did go. Three “good” fishermen left early Friday morning, May 19, for a week of fishing on Leech Lake, Walker, MN.

Who were these “good” fishermen? Bob Goetz from Austin, Paul Proft from Owatonna and Gary Oliver from Fairmont. Bob Hanson from Albert Lea joined them Monday afternoon, May 22, at the Blue Water Lodge on the shore of Leech Lake. (He had Veteran’s Honor Flight activities from the DC flight to attend Sunday, May 21, thus not being able to arrive on Friday with the other three “good” fishermen.)

The four fishermen made a pact that this was the year to regain their “very good” status as they slipped to “good” status in their annual weekly Leech Lake trip in 2016. The weather was a constant the first six days with rain plus wind out of the east. That old saying, “wind from the east, the fish bite the least,” was most certainly true. There were days when the four of us caught only two or three keepers. All four of us were skunked at least once each. Even though it rained every day, we fished each day—sometimes getting wet in the rain, which just meant throwing your wet clothes in the dryer. Each lodge unit (there are nine) has a washer, dryer and a dishwasher.

After eating most of our fish on Tuesday, our take home fish number was very low. We caught three walleyes on Wednesday, thus a total of five going into the last evening of fishing on Thursday. Gary and Paul knew that walleyes will sometimes school together around an underwater object. They spotted two buoys marking an inlet into a small harbor. Bingo, under the buoys, the walleyes were there. They called us and Bob and Bob’s boat hustled on over. The four of us kept 10 walleyes (we caught some too small or too big), thus we had 15 in total versus our limit of 16.

Paul Proft won the award for catching the only empty Coors beer can off the bottom of the lake. He released the can, stating, “I’m on the Coors catch-and-release plan.”

A typical day was a heavy breakfast, fish till a heavy lunch, play the best two out of three cribbage games, donate to the casino, a heavy evening meal, fish till 9 p.m., play two out of three games of cribbage, end of day.

The temperature was cold until the last day of fishing (Thursday, May 25). It was 37 degrees one morning with wind and the high temperature in the 50s. On Thursday the high was in the 70s with little wind in the evening—then we caught walleyes. ‘Twas then the croakers sang that old ballad, “A froggy went a-courtin’ he would go, a-huh, a-huh.” (They were just off the deck of our lodge.)

Two of the guys (Paul and Gary) were younger than 70 while two of the guys were over 70 (Bob and Bob). One of the older guys remarked after showering, “I felt like a dirty old man, so I took a shower. Now I feel like an old man.”

In summary of our fishing rating, we are still “good” fishermen. Maybe next year we can regain our “very good” status.

Coming home Friday evening, the weekend of Memorial Day, northbound traffic was very, very heavy. Stop-and-go started on I-35 just before 494 West and all the way till going north at Rogers. At McDonald’s in Garrison on Mille Lacs Lake, if you turned in you had a hard time getting back on the highway turning left to go north. About one out of eight vehicles going north was pulling a boat.

And that’s my fishing column, and I’m sticking to it!

P.S. Yes, Bob and Bob retained their cribbage championship.


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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