Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Minn.

August 2, 1999

Hot weather slows outdoor activity

It isn't the heat that will get you, it's the humidity.

When the air gets as hot and muggy as it was last week, even the most die-hard anglers seem to throw in the minnow bucket and head for air conditioned comfort. Also, and often, they dream about the cool, crisp days of fall that are not long in coming.

As I reported in last week's column, the dog days of summer have definitely arrived and the fishing on our area lakes has slowed to a pace that a 12-year old lab could keep with on a 98 degree day.

The only reports to come that reflect any type of angling activity and success have come from lakes Minnetonka and Mille Lacs. On Minnetonka, anglers are finding fair-sized sunfish in eight to 14 feet of water on several of the lake's western bays. The bait of choice has been small leeches.

On Mille Lacs, probably the best walleye bite of the decade hasn't slowed much, and anglers are still coming up with nice catches of walleye. Also, a few anglers from the area reported excellent catches of large northern pike on Mille Lacs.

Joe's Sport Shop in Howard Lake reported: There hasn't been much activity and even the northern pike action on Howard, which had been excellent, has slowed.

A couple good bets for fish at this time of year are sunfish with small leeches off deep outside weed edges, and flipping a pig and jig for largemouth bass through heavy weed mats and structure in 12 to 15 feet of water.

Angus update

If many of you don't remember, Angus is a black lab/spaniel mix that I got as a pup about a year ago. In fact, Angus turned a year old about a month ago.

He is my third hunting dog and by all means, as been the most interesting one so far. In a year's time, Angus created more havoc than my previous dogs, Bear and Tucker, did in a lifetime. From stealing keys and setting off auto alarms, to chewing out the floor in his dog house, Angus has been a fired-up mass of black hair, big head, ears, drooling mouth and nose since the day I got him.

From my experience with labs as hunting dogs, I put them in two categories, plodders and groundbreakers.

Both can be excellent hunters and pets, and I have had both.

The plodders are somewhat congenial and are very sensitive to the wishes of their master. They are excellent retrievers and good, tight working bird dogs. But, they don't carry the desire that the groundbreakers have.

The groundbreakers are tough-minded, intense dogs that take a bit more training then the plodders do. With work, they can be super, well-controlled retrievers.

As bird dogs, they are the elite and the hunter following them has to be ready to move and keep pace. Their desire to hunt is unmatched and I call them groundbreakers because, when it comes to getting a bird, they will tear up any ground that is in their way and do it all day for several days.

Good or bad, Angus is most definitely in the later category. Training him as been a challenge at times, but his desire and ability to do the task he was bred for are excellent. He will go and go and go, until there's no place left to go, and then he'll do it all over again.

On a good note, he has settled into not that bad of a family dog and is getting better all the time.

Throwing a little fire onto that subject is my 16-month-old daughter Abbigayle, (every other word is puppy - Angus) who is completely wrapped up in puppies. Sorry to say, Angus sure isn't a puppy anymore and most of the time, a 13-month old lab isn't a good match for a 16 month old toddler.

However, their relationship is getting better, and Abbi's mom (my wife, Amy) doesn't have to worry about Angus running Abbi over anymore. Now, she just has to worry about an occasional and accidental wap from a fast wagging, big black tail.

You'll get to read more about Angus and Abbi in the future.

Outdoor notes

  • Be very cautious when outdoors in hot, humid weather and don't over do it, especially when you're in the water.
  • Take extra special care of your pets in hot weather. Make sure they always have fresh water, don't push exercise, and keep them out of the sun as much as possible.
  • Plan your fall hunting trips now.
  • The early September Canada goose season opens on Sept. 4.
  • The 1999 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook will be out and available at area license vendors in early August.

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