Karl Seckinger

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

Posts about Family Fun

AULD, Lang, SYNE, Trout Whisperer Style

Posted by: Karl Seckinger Updated: December 23, 2009 - 2:28 PM

Tis the season, as they say, to start lookin' ahead. Get all those new years’ resolutions written up, start the diet and since I don’t do any of that stuff, I’ll knock that off right there. But what I do, do, is take a fond look back every year.

When I was five I caught my first brook trout. It was about five inches long and as close to a liquid rainbow of color in my hand as I could get. I never forget that first little brook trout, the spot I was standing, and my grampas face when I showed it to him. It’s my best trout, my favorite trout, ever. 

When I was twenty six years old I grabbed a model ninety-four, my favorite wool coat and headed north on a piece of property today I may just get lost on, but back then, I had almost every tree branch memorized. Just after lunch I cut a deer track.  He led me a merry chase, but in the end, became the trophy buck of my deer hunting life. I’ve shot bigger and had more surprising deer hunting trips since then, but back in “26” as I call it. That was my deer day, of days.

This fall I was mired in a mental morass until the sky filled with triple curled mallards so deep into the Superior National Forest they could have only been the most lost ducks on earth. I was trying to get away from it all and I dang near did. Then with age in not only me, but the sweetest over/under money could buy, melded with some experience and the gifts that only the outdoors can provide, I hit upon a day in the duck marsh that I will never see again. It was feathers and duck calls. Mallards quacking in a squall of weather nobody but a duck hunter would really appreciate. It was not a duck day, it was THE duck day. It was my duckiest day ever, on planet earth. 

I had quite a year,  and one fourteen pound, six ounce lake trout from one hundred and six feet deep in Lake Superior reminds me that no matter how hard I try, how expensive the lure, sometimes they just come up on the old fashioned hand lines.

We may get fancy, can electronically see into the depths, but the old-timers took fish and big fish.  I’m not an old timer yet, I just hope to live long enough to become one, and one of my hopes for the coming years, is that you and yours do too.

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

98.6 Degrees

Posted by: Karl Seckinger Updated: December 8, 2009 - 10:57 AM

For me there is a direct correlation between the flames of the campfire and my sleeping bag. They both take the chill off eventually, but not completely. As my front or backside reflects the fire it warms either my face or my posterior. My mummy bag encases almost all of me, to the exclusion of my nose.  My nares get to inhale the chilled air. The fire and the bag do there best, it’s just not perfect.

I try to stay warm before I turn in for the night. Conserve body heat. Fire the furnace. Think hot thoughts. That old camping prayer comes to mind. Now I lay me down to doze, I pray the lord my feet aren’t froze. If I’m frozen, as I quiver, I pray the lord to stop my shivers. I always wake with, Blessed are the morning fire makers, they shall feel the heat. Wonder how hot Hades gets?

The old adage about cutting wood warming you twice is nice, until you quit splitting the stuff or standing by the fire you have to tend. Human Energy expended, is not directly related to the Btu’s the fire emits. I quit splitting and eventually the fire dies down. It gets cold, I get cold.

My favorite is when anyone walks up and I’m vibrating in place.
You cold? Yeah I’m fra, fra, freezing. I’m usually too cold to say hypo something is settling in.  Hypothermia is the wrong word for slowly getting teeth chattering cold. I can verbally get out its frigging cold, or it’s colder than a witches, then I get a brain freeze. So I go to cot, hopefully not to clot.

When I wake up I fiddle to find my socks and reheat those which hold my toes. Adding Caffeine is like stirring the coals to my insides with fresh coffee. But to protect my digits I have to have gloves on for the mornings chill and the hot of the coffee cup.

At breakfast I ache for the sunshine like a snapping turtle does a sunny log.

I am warm blooded. The turtle is cold blooded. We both savor soaking the same sun. I have never had a turtle, turtle its way up to my campfire, so I know those snappers got something in there shell I want.
Getting warm and staying warm is at times an effort to be sure. Ah, but me being blessed by the Irish I’ve hit upon the cure.  Lasting internal warmth of earthy blood flowing warmth.  If the sun wont shine outside, I make it burn brightly inside.

From my thermos The Irish cream works its spirits out of the bottle and into my being. Blessed be the breakfast that follows. I can hoist a toast and toast my insides. The warmth oozes through me. Then I don’t feel the backside chill of the campfire. Suddenly my coffee is not mouth burning hot, and the stove of my insides is brewing nicely.

 My daughter says, “Dad never touch a drop before noon”.  And I always answer “its noon somewhere my darling daughter”. Before she can lady lash me, I let her know that she is all about cocoa and hot milk. I tell her she has her beans, and I have mine. She likes the milk and I prefer the cream. It’s the same cow darlin.  It’s an argument I’ve yet to lose.

I don’t know what the turtle has tucked away for its reptilian antifreeze not to congeal but I can sure as shooting share a nip off my flask to bring your body temperature back up to 98.6 degrees.  It’s no shell game, Bring your cup.

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

Nut Rice Crann-berry Bake Yer Brains Out Easy Sidedish

Posted by: Karl Seckinger Updated: November 13, 2009 - 9:51 AM

 Nut Rice Crann-berry Bake Yer Brains Out Easy Sidedish

  • 1 cup of uncooked wild rice
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 2.5 cups of water
  • 1 pat of butter
  • 1/2 cup of diced sweet onions
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 cloves of diced garlic
  • 1.5 cups of raw crann berrys
  • a dash or pinch of salt

  • One box of stove top stuffing( save for the end..read all directions first)
    1.mix it all up and bake in a covered dish for about 60 minutes...give it a stir... check for doneness... an bake about 15 more minutes uncovered.

    When this is all done baking ..shake some of the dry stove top in and stir it all up...let it rest about 6 minutes before serving...

    The Trout Whisperer
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    How to Trap a Kid

    Posted by: Karl Seckinger Updated: October 6, 2009 - 3:11 PM

    You know what I want for Christmas? I want a nine year old boy. Do not bother wrapping or putting in a box, I want the no batteries required, I want the no assembly required. I want a nine year old full of energy and questions boy.

    For a Christmas delivery, He walks into my trapping shed and I have two beaver skun and im working on the third. Two mink are already put up on stretcher boards and a red fox is lying on the floor waiting for a good skinning.

    The wood stove has my fur shed at 60 degrees and the kid starts opening his jacket and pulling his hat off and he is all eyes. The only sound I hear is the stove hissing.

    After he scans the entire shed and his eyes glaze over looking at my traps and boards and knifes and the gambrel……..he goes from absolutely quiet to an explosion of questions.

    “Hey mister”…….I’d probably die right there if the kid actually said that…….but it’s my wish…….

    Could you take me trappin'? How many pounds is that beaver? Is that beaver a hundred pounder? That is the biggest beaver I ever saw! Where did you get those beaver? How’d ya trap a beaver that big?…One run on sentence after another, …Then he would trip over the fox while reaching to touch the drying mink. Round two.

    The magic if you will is right here…….he’s nine, and im old and I get to dispense all my trapping wisdom. First, you stop skinning and show him how to set a number one long spring and then let him fire the trap with a piece of kindling and it makes him jump back with a start. Then he tries setting it. You show him how to stand on the spring because his little mitts are not big enough yet. Just like when I first started.

    How do you explain “ backing” on a garage floor? So you tell him to be ready next sat at 6:00 am. Just dress warm and don’t worry about lunch, tell your mom I’ll have you back in time for dinner.

    Poof…. reality again

    When my kids grew up around the house and what they consider there father to be, it was natural for me to include them on my outings. My youngest was as close to the dream as I ever get. She would get in the trapping sled while I would snowshoe along from trap to trap and she would … in little girl fashion…. “mush doggy” and flail her pine branch to whip me in shape. It went way to fast.

    So I want to trap a kid in the neighborhood. Problem is there aren’t enough kids where I live and the few there are have dads or politically correct parents who not on your life would let them trap anything.

    Oh, I drop hints at church, and I volunteer to coach soccer but no takers yet. When I asked my fourteen year old daughter if she new any younger boys I got …”DAD that’s weird”.

    If you pull into my yard I have all the strategic call lures placed. There is no less than four canoes of varying length hanging on the side of my trapping shed and a kayak perched directly overhead in the pole shed. Fourteen foot boat on a trailer waiting for some whipper snapper to jump into at a moments notice.

    Draping from the garage and driving my wife nuts is at least thirty rusted traps of all sizes and some well spaced elk antlers and deer horns everywhere. I got the bait, I soft catch all the old guys in the neighborhood with there reminiscing and pull up chair chats but no nine year old upstarts as of yet.

    My hands do not quite close the springs shut on a 220 anymore. I find myself hoping I had someone to trap with and my wife is okay with trapping as long as im doing the trapping. She will visit occasionally in the trapping shed while im skinning and she loves showing off the tanned pelts scattered about our home ……but what I wouldn’t give for some kid to come get caught in the snare I have mentally set.

    In my minds eye, he always goes home yapping about what a Daniel Boone he has met and wants to grow up just like the old guy down the road.

    The Trout Whisperer
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    The Big Bad Wolf

    Posted by: Karl Seckinger Updated: October 1, 2009 - 8:35 AM

    What’s mans best friend, rumor has it, it would be a dog right? “Wolves strengthen the biodiversity of a region by bringing into balance species with large populations, and bolstering species under stress.” That’s a direct quote from the Maine wolf coalition and I couldn’t agree with it more. Now before anyone accuses me of biting off more than I can chew, try gnawing on some four legged facts.

    Wolves not only play a part in the balancing of our deer herd, they have time and again been shown to regulate smaller canines like coyote numbers. Sometimes they go for an aquatic meal and dine on the dam building beavers. The big bad wolf in some worried minds, turns out actually to do more good, than the legendary bad.

    We run into conflict as humans when we live in the wolfy woods. Ask little red or grandma when For instance, we let Fido off the leash in the great outdoors or in some instances just out the back door and lobo takes permanent care of Fido. See sometimes wolves do, what wolves are programmed to do, woods or not. Naughty, naughty wolves, you bad, bad, dog.

    Wolves kill a variety of critters. From the  moose, to the fury little bunny rabbits but Wolves don’t take a doggy bag with them after dinner so  the remains “bolster species under stress”, which parlays into a feast for crows, fishers, pine martens, ravens on down to the smallest little chickadees or mice that feed on the kill sites.

    Maybe I camp there too often but late in August on into early September up by hog lake in Cook county I can hear the wolf packs  many times just bust out howling. The pack is bringing the new of the year pups that survived so far this summer out on some real meal training runs in preparation for the winter ahead. Call me wild or crazy but I prefer a good wolf howl to a domestic dog barking any day.

    Here are some basic wolf tracks to gaze upon. Genetically speaking, dogs and wolves share a common ancestry. An adult wolf in tip top condition can be 38 inches tall at the shoulder and above those four large padded feet amass 80 pounds of body weight. Wolves are so specially designed they can trot continuously over five miles at a maintained pace or speed of five miles per hour. Fur coloration runs the gambit. The black furred wolf which is considered rare, has to do with a mutant gene and my, what big yellow eyes they have for gathering light at night to see.  

    The famous gun dog trainer Bill Tarrant once wrote “every one who owns a domestic dog, has in essence a small wolf in there home”, mine mainly chews on milk bones, but I agree with Bill too.

    Trout Whisperer
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