Posted 3/2/22

AN OUTDOORSMAN’S Journal BY MARK WALTERS PROUDLY SPONSORED BY STANLEY TIRE Buualo County Gator Hunt Hello friends, There was a time not that long ago when I was very consistent at catching large …

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Buualo County Gator Hunt

Hello friends, There was a time not that long ago when I was very consistent at catching large northern pike both in open water and on the ice. This week I headed over to the Mississippi River to fish near Buffalo City with the hope of catching some gators which I find to be one of the best eat –

ing fish in the north.

Saturday, February 19th High 23, low minus 6 So here is the plan, I am going to drive on the ice near Spring Lake, unload my snowmobile and Otter Sleds, load them with my gear and go exploring. I would build a camp, catch huge gators, and go home 54-hours later. Naturally my sidekick Ruby is along.

Though I have camped and fished Spring Lake prob – ably fifty nights of my life I wanted to explore and cover a new, large area with my three tip ups. I set up on maybe a 40-acre body of water close to the main channel and began the huge task of build- ing camp. Long story short, I had one flag, caught a small northern pike and had a bad feeling about my location.

Sunday, February 20th High 46, low 14 I think I need to start add –

ing a "what did I forget" sec – tion to this column. Last night I was in my Eskimo ice shack enjoying life and thinking about cooking supper when I realized that I had forgot my Coleman propane cook stove.

This was not good, and I was hungry. I had a frozen, pack aged chicken dinner along and I wanted to eat it. I might add it had become very windy and my shack really was taking a beating and testing my ice anchors.

So, I come up with the idea of heating up my supper in a cast iron pan on top of my Mr. Buddy heater. I acciden –

tally put too much water in it so I had to cook it down and just before I was about to consume it, my meal fell upside down on my carpeted floor. I have to admit that I was crazy hungry and literally ate my supper off the carpet.

This morning I had zero action. I frequently moved my tip ups, and I was bummed. Throughout the day I could see two people off in the distance that appeared to be going to tip ups which generally means they are having action.

About 3:00 pm they left, I took a ride with my snowma chine, checked out their spot and made the decision that I was going to break camp and move. I have literally never done this, but I wanted to catch some gators. So, I put out two tip ups and am setting my 3rd when I get a flag. After an ex – cellent fight I iced a 28-inch gator, the perfect eater. Folks I have to tell you, between 3:30 and 10:30 I did not have a spare second. I was either building camp or running to another flag. I caught 7 gators by dark, four more after dark, and pulled my tip ups at 10:30.

The fishing was incredible!

Monday, February 21st High 31, low 23 I was walking the ice be fore daylight setting tip ups and putting lights on them. Before I had my 3rd one out my first was up. I was catching 19–30- inch northern pike, not trophies but half were over 25-inches so there was always hope for a 40-incher. In the back of my mind was a predicted ice and snowstorm so I wanted to be heading home by 3:00. With the approaching weather the action ended but my move had iced me 17 gators, most of those got released to swim another day.

So, I take the first load back to my truck and yester- day's warm weather had melt ed some ice where there was current. Had I been driving and not thinking I would have put my machine in open water.

When I got to my truck and trailer where there was snow and ice two days ago, there was now open water 40-yards in front of my truck. Had there been a little snow on what was ice I would have driven for ward to end this trip and would have lost the smile on my face.

When I was packing up, I spoke with my buddy Nan – cy Baker who was fishing by herself, it was her birthday, and she caught a nice limit of "sunnies'! A few minutes lat er a couple that recognized me pulled up with their truck and had me meet their golden retriever pup “Ruby.” These folks read this column in the Buffalo County Journal and named their Ruby after mine!

Push yourself!