Karl Seckinger

Karl "Trout Whisperer" Seckinger is an outdoor enthusiast and resides in northeastern Minnesota.

Posts about Fishing

Spring Cleaning

Posted by: Karl Seckinger Updated: March 16, 2010 - 10:05 AM

My daughter came home for spring break from college. She told me it might be time to do some spring cleaning. Most of her class mates went to Florida. She had other plans that included a list. My name was all over it. I was thinking I wished she liked Florida more than my house right now.

The first line item looked the easiest so I got a step ladder and started washing all the indoor window panes in the loft of my home. Looking out those cleaned windows made me wonder about being outside. She told me to stay inside and concentrate. She went and attacked a down stairs storage closet.

When I got the glass clean I started to wash out the window sills and there I ran into some relic long since deceased house flies. I tossed them in the garbage and that got me thinking about maybe cleaning up a fly box or two for trout. About that time my daughter came into the living room and told me to turn on the ceiling fan. She is fully aware of my short attention span.

I turned on the ceiling fan in my living room and it sent severed leaf fronds all over the area rugs. Im sure if I would have looked before I hit the on switch for the fan this new fresh mess wouldn’t have occurred, but it didn’t occur to me that all winter those peace lilies would have grown so tall. With somewhere around fifty indoor house plants it never occurred to me that one plant, all winter, had gone jack in the bean stalk on me, but it did.

She went for a broom. I headed for the door. She headed me off.

Well from cleaning up by the ceiling to now sweeping the floral covered floor I sort of spotted some lint my darlin daughter calls dust bunnies under the sofa. She said if we didn’t get rid of these bunnies, they make take over the house floor.

She helped me move the couch, and there, low and dust covered, hidden by a dust ruffle like a little treasure chest sat a lure box I thought I’d lost two years ago. I hit my knees and scooped the hallowed box up.

Here was tray full’s of some of my old standbys that had the past summer off. I felt like I won the powerball. Talk about striking gold. I mean what a find. Long lost lures that believe you me, I looked, searched for, and had long since given up on and who knew that just inches from me and my weary fishing feet lay the treasured trove.  I was thrilled. I opened the box and went through them, each and every one of them.

I told my little angel faced house keeper how happy I was that she suggested we do some spring cleaning. Honey, this really turned out to be a great idea. I started to show her some of the lures as she shoved me the vacuum cleaner.  She said stay with it dad, you never know what else you’ll find in here.

The trout whisperer

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A Best Day

Posted by: Karl Seckinger Updated: January 27, 2010 - 7:40 AM

I have read on more than one occasion that the outdoors, in just about any form, has all kinds of curative powers. Many have told me that Being outside is restorative and can rejuvenate ones total being. Being outside with an uncountable number of kids, half my age and a third younger yet, was the proof in the pudding, and I wasn’t even feeling bad to start with.

Some of the kids were old enough to bait a hook. All of them in the end could crank a fishing reel round and when the little girls got a bite, the shriek of enthusiasm was ear piercing to say the least.

Boys not pulling trout through the ice found a ready second in enjoyment trying to straighten any girl’s ponytails. Snow balls and little bundled body’s were tossed head first,  head long, face first and bootless into any snow pile unoccupied. Not one tear shed all day.

The laughter was non stop from sunrise to bedtime from 80 pounders of energy and either gender was brim full of infectious mirth. It got so bad at times the adults in the crowd, me included, couldn’t help but laugh along with them.

Freshly caught and then stiffly frozen trout, destined to be their dinner, for a few hours prior, become toys. One larger trout was a pre lunch football.  Ketchup was used to spray names in the snow.  The lakes fluffed covered white surface was pounded down during the day with little incessant footprints. Those kids ran, chased, and wrestled a winters indoors right out of themselves.

At days end in my home, the basement smelled of wet everything right down to the wool socks. I saw oodles of little pink toes and red faces perched in front of my fireplace. I had a hot toddy and they ended the afternoon with hot chocolate. One little pajama clad girl grabbed my finger, yanked it twice and thanked me for a real fun day.

I don’t know who had a better time; all those uncooped kids playing all day or the few adults and parents gathered who got to watch. Finally, like turning off lights in a room as each individual youngster fell off to slumber in a sleeping bag the energy in the room went from robust to calm and quiet.

The fire in the fireplaces was glowing softly when all the little lambs were finally asleep. As I went to bed I couldn’t help but silently thank each one of them very well behaved kids for a great day. They reminded not to worry about a lot of stuff or not to get too worked up about what could be, or what was, and just to spend the day in what is. I went to sleep feeling very good.

The Trout Whisperer

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Sometimes, it takes all day to get there

Posted by: Karl Seckinger Updated: January 18, 2010 - 1:19 PM

Sometimes, it takes all day to get there.

Winter Lake Trout Ice Fishing in Minnesota

4:12 A.M. he asks, “Can I go first”? I told him “brother, you have at it”.   The only instructions I offered to my client in the cab of his truck, “follow the openness between the trees, just stay on the white until you hit the lake, and don’t hurry, the lake isn’t going anywhere”. He nods.

6:20 A.M. It’s 17 below zero and we’re less than  a mile from his  Destination, a lake trout lake backed up against the Canadian border well inside the boundary waters canoe area in what he called “the north, in Minnesota” .  

He was hard to figure, but I think all that mattered to him was Ely Minnesota became somewhere south, and were about as far north as I can get him. He’s caught fish before, just not what will be frozen fish, this far north. I don’t know the guy, and I probably never will, but I know I like what the guy was after. He wanted less. He didn’t ask once how big the Lakers get or are you sure will catch them or how many would we catch. I think he would have gone, fish, or no fish.

In his pickup truck with personalized Texas license plates it was 74 degrees above zero with any climate control setting you can imagine. I hit a button; all that electrified leather warmed my backside. The truck is so new and high tech I know I’ve lost touch with anything that relates to the auto industry. If you’re sitting in the back seat of this super vehicle there is a fold down TV. The screen is the size of a slice of toast. For a guy like me that snowshoes, a one foot in front of the other kind of guy, this truck is off the charts. And the guy ahead of me, who can afford almost anything, wants to be off the charts, he wants way off the beaten path.

He stops and what he’s looking at or listening too, I can’t tell. He’s catching his breath from the upslope hike like me.  He’s looking. But I don’t ask for what, and then he starts to move again. Then he stops. He looks back at me over his Duluth pack; he says “this is cool”. I honestly didn’t know if he meant the air temp or the hike.

7:15 A.M.  We get to the lake. Behind us, the up and down snow covered portages. In front, is the day and a lake that for now at least, is all ours.  With a four inch hand auger, he wants to cut the holes. I graciously let him.

With every grinding turn he lifts the little ice chips. Ladling out slush we drop our airplane jigs tipped with raw bacon. I’m left of him, fishing forty yards away and he’s right of someplace I think he likes. 8:30 A.M. I toss him an apple. He doesn’t ask anything. We shuffle around little black spots that keep glazing over until, 9:10 A. M. a Lake trout then 10:40 A.M. a lake trout then 12:20 P.M. it’s four above zero and the brilliance of the sun tracks across the day with out a sound.

He pointed, without saying a word at a raven far above floating so black, in a blue sky. For lunch we had some permafrosted sandwiches. He asked me, “Can you come in here often”?  I said, “I try to come a lot, but not just to this lake”. I wondered to myself if that’s the answer he wanted or was he asking himself the question out loud. 1:06 P.M. lake trout, we shuffled, he asks “how deep is this lake”? I told him in spots it’s over a hundred feet to the bottom.  2:40 P.M. lake trout, we shuffled some more. 3:22 P.M. 7 above zero one lone whiskey jack works his way along the north shore flitting from branch to branch.

4:45 P.M. My body is shrouded in clothes and I’m still surprisingly warm. Back in the snow shoes we have a serious hike ahead of us.  6:22 P.M. the young man in the  trail ahead plods along and I can see him clearly as the daylight fades. He’s only two snowshoe lengths away and I can’t hear his footfalls.

I stop him mid stride and I ask, “Can you hear that”? He says “hear what”?  I said “listen, what do you hear”? He said, “I can’t hear anything”.  I said, “That’s my point, you’re off the beaten path” He shook my hand; he thanked me for the day. In his own words and very sincere, thanked me, like I gave him, a day, and for the first time all day, I understood that guy.

The Trout Whisperer

Outdoor Camping Tips, Openwater Fishing Tips, Ice Fishing Tips, Outdoor Hunting Tips and Easy Outdoor Cooking Recipes