Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

June 10, 2002

One piece at a time takes a long time

In every bird hunter's life, there are certain things that mark time and set seasons apart.

One of those things is the arrival of a new hunting dog, be it a pup or a started dog.

I wrote that paragraph in this column back in August of 1998 when I added a new member to my outdoor team - Angus.

At that time Angus was an aggressive, full of mischief 10-week-old puppy. He was an all black, springer lab mix, that looked all lab. He had the makings to be a big dog, with a head you could set a 12 pack on, a good hunter and I had high hopes for him.

Today, Angus is still all black, still aggressive, still full of mischief, has a head just about big enough to set a 12 pack on, and I can't believe he is already four-years old.

Before I move on, the high hopes I had for him aren't completely dashed yet.

Although the past four years have flown by faster than a ruffed grouse darting through the trees, I can remember Angus as a pup and all the trials and tribulations of his youth. The fondest memories with Angus involve my daughter Abbigayle, who is also four.

There were, and still are, episodes with shoes, the time Angus took my truck keys and accidentally hit the panic button on the remote entry, and all the adventures of Angus getting to know absolutely every person and every house in the entire neighborhood.

There are also many events that occurred while in the field. Many were good, events that any bird hunter would like to brag about. But, like most things, there is always a lot of bad that comes with the good.

For the most part, Angus has been a good dog in the field and at home, and he doesn't have any faults that time spent with him won't cure, and the memories I've gained with him I would have a hard time trading for anything.

Here is a special one. It all started about three years ago. Abbigayle, at just over a year old, got in the habit of helping me feed Angus.

She started by just giving him a bone after I would put his dish down in the kennel. Then it graduated to Abbi feeding Angus on a regular basis - one piece of dog food at a time. It would take an hour. She loved it and Angus learned to be a patient and a slow eater.

As Abbi and Angus grew, they kind of moved away from the one piece at a time feeding. Then, one day last fall, there was Abbi sitting in front of the kennel door with her almost two-year-old sister Emily.

The dog food pan was full, and Abbi was teaching Emily how to feed Angus - one piece at a time.

Area lakes fishing report

Walleyes are still hitting, northern pike action has been good, the bass are getting fired up, and the sunfish bite will soon be the best of the year.

If there is any one time of the year to go fishing, now is it. Largemouth bass are aggressive and in the mood to hit just about anything.

Northern pike are in an angry frenzy and cruising the weed beds, crappies are hitting jigs and minnows on many area lakes, and the sunfish, which are just starting to move on to beds, are starting to bite fast and hard.

To top that off, the fish talk out there has been crazy. Fish seem to be biting everywhere and anglers with good ears and a little time have had super success getting on the hot spots and catching fish.

Joe's Sport Shop and Hardware in Howard Lake reported: The weeds are just starting to develop on Howard and the sunfishing action is picking up. Anglers finding the right pockets are pulling in some dandy nine plus ounce sunfish. Other anglers are getting good numbers of sunnies, but have to pick through for the keepers. Evening crappies are still biting, and many small northern pike are being caught.

Rick Fisher of Howard Lake was on the big fish board with a dandy 14-ounce sunnie.

On Lake Ann the walleye bite for 10 to 12 inch fish is still on. Although the fish are small, a few keepers do get mixed in.

On a final note, Joe's added, the sunfish spawn hasn't started yet and anglers are expecting the spawn to get in full gear sometime this week.

Other reports have Lake Mary providing good action on panfish, Collinwood giving up some dandy northern pike and Dog Lake providing action on largemouth bass and northerns.

On a final note, get ready for some good sunfish action later this week. Cruise the shallows look for spawning beds, determine the weed edges and get ready to catch some fish.

Outdoor notes

­ There was a very interesting storm cloud sitting just over Winsted Thursday evening, June 6. The cloud was described by an amateur baseball umpire as a big cinnamon bun.

­ The gnats are out and in big numbers. Look for the mosquitoes to come very soon.

­ The morel mushroom hunt was dismal this year and most likely is completely over for the season.

­ Pheasants and song birds are nesting now. Hopefully the weather will dry out and warm up bit and give pheasants the break they need.

Last year, nesting conditions for pheasants was poor. Good weather this nesting season is needed to give the population a boost.

­ Goslings hatched about three weeks ago, and it looks like area Canada geese had another good year of nesting.

­ Take a kid fishing. He or she will have fun, and so will you.

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