Riege: Bits and Pieces for February

Published 10:54 pm Wednesday, February 15, 2012


February made me shiver with every paper I deliver. Bad news on the doorstep. I couldn’t take one more step. Don Mclean 1969. American Pie lyrics.

Winter might have returned for a while but this is a year of great news, good times, and lasting memories.

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Jim Nelson and Duane Smith contacted me this past week and they started out with some of the best news for 2012. The Fishing for a Cure event was tremendous success raising $11,887 for cancer research. That surpasses the amount raised by this event in the past three years combined, by well over $5,000.00.

Dan Lenz took home first place with a 1lb 13oz bass, second place went to Thomas Boever with a 1lb 4 oz crappie and rounding out third place was Steve Lowman with a 6.6 oz. crappie.

More importantly was the sense of community that came together on the ice that day. Over 270 participants took part in this event and they caught well over 50 fish. There were parents, kids, grandparents, dogs and all were fishing for cancer research. After the event the Eagles club was packed with a crowd eager for the live auction and raffle prizes. It was a job well done by the organizers and all who contributed to make this a tremendous success.

One thing that really struck me, during this event, is that this year is also the year of the portable fish house. With thin ice from the Twin Cities south, this year, portable fish houses are becoming the norm. These structures come with names such as the Clam, and Fish Trap. The important thing is that they allow you to take others out on the ice and yet be mobile. One thing that many modern ice fisherman want to do is to move from location to location. With February here, many will have to remove permanent wheelhouses off the lakes very soon, but with a portable, you can venture on the ice in March.

Ice fishing this year has been excellent in northern Minnesota. The Leech Lake area is reporting 25 inches of ice on Walker Bay and the perch are on the bite. Sportsman’s Lodge in Baudette, MN is having a great year as well. Many anglers on Lake of the Woods are catching limits of sauger and walleye. For special rates from now through March contact www.sportsmanslodgelow.com.

If you are thinking about making a trip to Canada this summer for some open water fishing don’t miss the All Canada show this weekend at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Minneapolis. Show hours are: Friday, February 17th 3-9 pm, Saturday, February 18th 10am-6pm and Sunday, February 19th 10am-4pm. This show has a number of resorts from fly-ins to drive-to resorts. Plus it has activities that the entire family can enjoy.

Being on the water or the ice has lead me to discover some other items that hold back the shiver of February. Fleece lined jeans from Wrangler have been my clothing choice for the past three years when the winter wind blows. They are probably the best kept secret in the clothing industry. I have even purchased pairs of these jeans to give as gifts to my son and my Dad. My Dad lives in Mesa, AZ and he wears them in the winter months in Arizona. He calls them his “hot pants.” These jeans are polar fleece lined and are faced with denim.

Another item that I noticed that was well used at the Fishing For A Cure event was sunglasses. I noticed adults and kids had sunglasses on, especially on a bright day. Sunglasses not only help you protect your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun, but also provide you with eye protection in the event a hook or lure is thrown by a fish. My sunglasses of choice are Ono’s Curlew polarized bifocal sunglasses. Now I can finally enjoy outdoor activities without the hassle of constantly switching glasses or trying to wear over-sized sunglasses over my reading glasses. Ono’s polarized bifocal sunglasses have bifocals built into the lenses. I can finally read the paper that is delivered as well as tie my line.

All in all, February this year has been good. We have set record numbers for Fishing For a Cure and we have put the shivers of this time behind us with new clothing, fish shelters, visions of Canadian summer resorts and useful tools that allow us to enjoy the outdoors and keep lasting memories.