Yesterday saw Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. touring the frigid Minnesota countryside up around Mille Lacs Lake. It was a gorgeous day, although temps in the high teens, snow and our lack of cold-weather footgear limited our extravehicular excursions.
Mille Lacs is roughly where “real” Minnesota starts. The big lake itself is known for walleye fishing, and walleye are a lovely eating fish; clean, white flesh that reminds one somewhat of halibut. If I am to be on this job into the summer months, I will have to bring out some fishing gear.
This time of year Mille Lacs Lake is covered with a heavy layer of ice and the huts of ice fisherman, an angle on angling I’ve never tried. Prevailing winds shove ice floes into small piles along the southwestern shore of the lake, but at most of the public boat ramps the approaches are smooth and now, in January, the ice is strong enough for ice fisherman to pull large trailers onto the ice. Several small villages of ice fishing huts are visible from any point along the roads that circle the lake. It’s an interesting sight.
When I was a little tad, my parents and my Grandpa would take me along north to spend at least a week every summer fishing in northern Minnesota. I don’t recall ever fishing Mille Lacs, but we fished Cass Lake, the waters around Lower Red Lake, and around Leech Lake. I’ve been on a couple of canoe trips into the Boundary Waters area as well, and greatly enjoyed that country, at least as it was 30-odd years ago. One of the reasons I name for retiring to Alaska is that it combines almost everything I love about Colorado with things I love about many other places, northern Minnesota among them. Although I suspect canoeing into a wilderness in my sixties will be a tad harder on the shoulders than when I was sixteen.