Thursday, February 17, 2011


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I grew up in Stillwater, Minnesota and always knew “Minnesota Friendly” but my Husband, Ed, who grew up in Illinois had no clue what it really stood for. My parents were great lovers of the outdoors and fishing in particular. Dad always boasted about Pelican Lake in Orr, Minnesota and introduced me to fishing “the big ones” at an early age. We would rent a cabin on the lake and spend many vacation hours catching, cleaning and eating the best fish in the world. I was tending the net the day my Dad caught a Blue Gill that weighted 1 pound and 14 ounces. He had it mounted. When Dad retired he bought a home on Pelican and I did the drive, 236 miles one way, every Friday afternoon and home again on Sunday but it was all worth it. When Dad sold the home on the lake I was devastated but didn’t have the means to keep it in the family. “BIG MISTAKE!”

All of the stories and pictures Dad and I shared with my Husband finally paid off last summer when we vacationed at Aspen Resort. It was an uncomfortably wet and chilly week but that didn’t stop the fun. Our camping spot overlooked the beautiful woods and the wildlife did not disappoint. Deer are always a welcome site but the bear seem to bring out the rugged appeal of the Resort which was warmed by the nightly bonfires enjoyed by all.

Having never caught a good size Blue Gill or any Northern at all, Ed was ready to tackle the elements and put the rain gear to use. The Dock Boys were great help in outfitting us with night crawlers and fuel and were really appreciated by me helping us launch and land the boat without any disasters. I am a tried and true worm, leach or red and white Dare Devil gal so all of the extra tackle and changing of equipment has no place in my fishing enjoyment. I dropped my line into the bay and we were off. It sure didn’t take long for the first Northern hit and I was a happy fisher gal. Ed kept changing from one artificial bait to another and I kept saying, “hook on one of those Dare Devils and you are sure to catch a fish.” Well it took a bit of time and effort but he finally used the right bait and there it was, the biggest Northern of the day. Well ya gotta know he’s a believer. Personally, I think it kind of scared the baajeeburrs out of him when he looked into the huge mouth of that big fellow and saw that double row of razor sharp teeth and he realized he had to get all those hooks out of its mouth. I just smiled and enjoyed the show.

The next day we had a little reprieve from the rain and we headed out to the big water and up around the north end of the lake checking out the beautiful scenery and the hot spots. We finally found my old fishing hole on the back side of my Favorite Little Island right by the lily pads and tried our luck at catching some Blue Gill. There were a few bites and we landed some nice pan fish but all of a sudden the bites stopped. I loaded my tiny hook with a big bunch of night crawler and tossed it out over my shoulder into deeper water. I told Ed that my Dad always said “if the Sunnies stop biting there must be a Northern right close.” No more than my bait hit the water and started to sink when a big old Northern snatched it up. With the help of a net I landed that fish on that tiny little hook. Ed’s lower jaw must have bounced off the floor of the boat 10 times as he kept shaking his head in disbelief proclaiming himself a true believer. I think it was just one of those lucky things that accidentally happens at the right time.

Of course the next adventure was cleaning the fish. The fact that I had cleaned more than my share of fish in the past put me in the drivers seat. I like all of my fish without bones, including the “Northern Y Bones” so the job began and we were really thankful for the beautiful fish cleaning house. We sure couldn’t ask for a nicer place to do the job and everyone using the cleaning house was friendly, helpful and courteous. Fresh caught Northern fillets were on the dinner menu that night, deep fried with beer batter, just doesn’t get any better than that. And not a bone to be found.

Even with the inclement weather we were able to enjoy the beauty of Aspen Resort and Northern Minnesota and we also had the opportunity to spend time in the quaint town of Orr. Bar none, Patton Restaurant makes the best homemade rolls ever --- the peanut butter twists are to die for. It is a must to enjoy up north living at ASPEN RESORT and experience its Minnesota Friendly hospitality. This year we are already booked for a 2 week stay. Like my Grandpa always said, “Every moment spent fishing is a moment added to your life.” Grandpa was really wise that way.

The Kedzierzawski's

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