Karl Seckinger

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

Posts about Fishing

The Bermuda Triangle vs. Ely's Angling Angle

Posted by: Karl Seckinger Updated: September 14, 2009 - 3:11 PM

With the world always being involved one way or another with the ever popular love triangle, and we know how the Atlantic Ocean has the Bermuda triangle and the state of Minnesota has the northwest angle? Do to my small town math calculations I was thinking maybe Ely should work out some of its own geometry and possibly defy the law of physics and come up with a trendy little angle of its own.

We would need a catchy angle name, like the Ely angling angle. Start off with some old wives tales and mix in bit of wendigo lore and legend and I bet in no time at all we would start having famous fishing guides swallowed up by paranormal occurrences other than there is one powerful walleye bite up in pipestone bay where most guides disappear all to often on a regular basis. Case in point, Bob Cary is really not gone…the Ely fishing angle, hooked him, forever.

Now where would the mapped out angling angle actually be gridded? Well we ought not to forget that if were gonna propose a Equilateral angling triangle we better anchor it with at least two bait shops at possibly opposite azimuths along the base line of say, Sheridan street. 

If on the other hand we choose the isosceles triangles we just change the name to the ice-isosceles triangles and it would pretty much cover the eight months of ice we live with every year. We could have seasonally adjusted angles due to the declination angle most of us never understand either.

In any case, we just all need to be careful and select the “right triangle” angling angle. But I digress with respect to where the angle will actually dangle. Since I’m just a lowly fisherman maybe we leave it up to the city fathers who maybe related to a county surveyor with a firm eye on Ely’s terra firma.

Now with any good angle it’s got to start somewhere vague so we need to get the rumors of leviathan small mouth bass chomping on unsuspecting  fishing folks who were aimlessly wandering fall lake last fall. A Water wolf pike that fanged the faint of heart fishing pros who swear that a northern pike to end all northern pike  fish was lost somewhere in Elys angling angle but there gps went dead due to electromagnetic forces beyond anyone’s recent comprehension. Hey a little aura borealis goes along way.  (Work with me here, the less we know, the less were liable or culpable for on slow fishing days later on).

Fishingly yours,
the trout whisperer

Pink Salmon

Posted by: Karl Seckinger Updated: September 8, 2009 - 1:10 PM

During the next few weekends if you want a chance at a pink salmon or humpies as we call them you may want to head up the north shore of Lake Superior.  Not only will the drive reward you with the onset of autumns leaves changing but the lake run humpies will be entering the streams to spawn.

Drift casting with white, or orange spawn flies on four pound or lighter line usually does the trick. You can start at the Lester River just north of Duluth and fish to the Canadian border. The devils track river by grand Marias has to my favorite but once the run is on the fish seem to at least trickle into any and all the rivers. In the years of big runs the sheer number of salmon is impressive to say the least.

The first place to try on any of the north shore streams is the terminal holes. A fresh rain really kicks them in gear. Most are under three pounds in size but when first hooked they put up a good fight especially with some of the lower water conditions seen in the fall.

The Trout Whisperer

Heavenly Fishing

Posted by: Karl Seckinger Updated: August 31, 2009 - 9:47 AM

Somewhere in the future a baby will be born. Boy, Girl, no matter, and I have no preference. This little person will grow up and wonder hopefully as I have, For instance:

I wonder if I like cigars, like my grandpa did. Then from my comfortable perch in heaven I will hit the “oh that’s a given” button. Since its heaven, I will also hit the” but no smoking till your old enough, switch”.

Since my cigars probably got me up yonder earlier than necessary, I can from a distance still be a great grandpa, right? I can’t erase all the photos of me makin smoke, and I really don’t want to. I may be the exception, but whoever invented a fine rolled stogie will always have my respect. Wonder who invented cigars?

But the little tyke of the future will also question things like, should I use a Mcginty, or one of those ancient Mickey Finns. Since the Irish lineage must persevere I will gently, with a mere wisp of my angelic wings tip the balance to the Mcginty of course.

The fly will sail forth and light softly at the head of the pool and as my second generation offspring lifts ever so slowly on the rod tip, the progeny of some Wiley strain of brook trout with a skewed eye will snap at the fly.

The fish dives and the rod responds with bowed arc and it’s on. I will be jumpin around in my white robe trying not to make to much ado but cheering with every fiber of me being for a solid hook set.

One sturdy fish with a staunch regard for nothing but light flour and real butter after a serious tussle throwing water and snagging some underwater obstacle, but with deft care by the rod holder in playing the fish ultimately to the net gets my feet back on my cloud numbered nine. 

Now if it’s my grand daughter who brings the fairest of trout to creel, the man in her midst must now be a gentleman by congratulating her in all haste. I mean a big fuss over the rod handling and fly selection with special aplomb on the knot selection that held that nineteen inch fish.

Here is where she softly tips her cap, and just loud enough for all to hear, “my gramps taught me that knot before he went to his trout pond, up above”. Um, I think I’d send a small breeze across the rivers surface for her perfect testimonial about then.

If it be my grandson, well then he best light one for both of us right then and there. Nothing like fine tobacco to settle my nerves and the quicker the better after a nineteen inch kyped jawed male the likes of which I saw once in all my years of brookie fishin on earth. Up here, I catch twenty inchers all the time. No, really, you can’t lie once you’re up here, honestly.

With me hopping and flying all over the porch up in heaven it would surely draw a crowd of eternally winged fishing fans. They all ask almost at once what the fuss is about and I would say how my great grand child just put the touch on one of the finest brook trout ever reared from a wild one spotted egg in the darkest streams still flowing in the boreal forest.

Oh, can you hear that heavenly sigh? The music plays, they all congratulate me for inspiring my earth bound kin with the desire to fish.

I float just abit off my cloud and humbly announce it was all I could do; I mean it was “his will”, as I point to the big office with the trumpets pealing, up the golden road next to the biggest set of pearly gates in heaven.

Right over by the pond guarded day and night by retired game warden angels with the twenty four incher brook trout swimming in it. I wonder if God owns a nine foot five weight?

The trout whisperer

Do you fish?

Posted by: Karl Seckinger Updated: August 24, 2009 - 9:22 AM

If I asked you, do you fish? And you reside on planet earth... your response might be, why of course I fish. Then if I asked how……it gets interesting real quick.

Take the folks in the southern United States that fish with there hands…its called noodling. The fisherperson simply reaches into a catfish hole and hopes the catfish latches on and is hoisted to shore. In Great Britain it’s called trout ticking. You slowly rub the trout’s stomach, numbing it abit, and toss it ashore.

I don’t know if this is legal anymore but in days of old they had “trout binning”. Large rocks were slammed with a sledge hammer in a river. The force of the blow stunned the fish long enough for a fisherman to scoop them out of the river.

“Free diving” is still practiced in many places. You simply scuba dive or snorkel in the ocean with a basket and grab any shellfish you might find.

Spear fishing, bow fishing, harpoons or gigging has been around since time began. Single sharp poles evolved into pronged tridents and morphed into bows for longer shots or more power. Gigging was popular at night with torches, lanterns or flashlights for forking frogs.

Seines, trawlers, gill, trap, cast, hoop, drift, are types of nets used in the art of taking one or more fish in any myriad water conditions not to mention how the mesh screen dictated the catchable fish size from the smallest alewives to massive heavy gilled salmon. 

Kite fishing took a boatless shore angler and got his lure trolled along the coast in hopes of hooking anything shore cruising. Not to popular, wasn’t too effective. But it may have been fun all the same.

Fishing is and has been done with dams created to interfere with migrating fish, weirs to expose fish or concentrate them.  Traps considered still very effective and widely used for lobsters and crabs with baiting.

Dredging fish had two different methods. One is being done away with as it is very destructive to the ocean floor. Basically a heavy metal scoop dragged, filled and winched topside.  In some Asian countries small channels were built by mounding or digging small trenches or dredging out the soil and rough fish would navigate these small impoundments.

Electro fishing is still widely practiced, usually reserved for research, but not always. There are some who walk on stilts and zap fish from as high as ten feet in the air in low surf conditions. It’s a long pole with a battery that does the trick. It looks like a human stork on stilts and the youngsters follow or retrieve the catch with baskets.

If you want you can teach or train cormorants to do the fishing for you. Birds that naturally prey under water for fish are neck restricted with rubber bands, dive and harvest and resurface. Then you basically get the bird to upchuck in your hand.

Mild toxins, poisons and explosives are no longer legal for the average Joe. But lakes are reclaimed (poisoned) in many instances if rough fish or an undesirable invasive takes over a once productive water body. State agencies do this style of terminal fishing.

If that doesn’t work there is basically one method left. It’s called angling. You just use a hook line and sinker. You can spice it up in a variety of ways with fly rods or trolling but it’s a pretty popular way to fish no matter where you live these days.

The trout whisperer

Poikilothermic Fish

Posted by: Karl Seckinger Updated: August 17, 2009 - 2:35 PM

If you have ever walked up to a trout stream and the fins just zip out of sight, you could have warned the gill breather by vibrations from your heavy foot falls or maybe you were busted by “Snells window”.

Trout have some oddities. They typically have the same density as the water surrounding them. This is really convenient for trout survival considering that sound passes through air at roughly 770 mph, but passes through regular pure water at over 3000 mph. You make the wrong noise in a wet trout environment, you lose.

Banging oars or paddles on a kayak or canoe can send trout for cover at speeds you cannot cast quickly enough. Last time I checked my fly cast’s don’t go over 2000 mph, it pays to be quiet in and around trout water.

Trout are ectotherms. They acquire there temperature from the surrounding water. The term cold blooded (Poikilothermic) is misleading.

If the water is 38 degrees and the fish’s metabolism is slow you may work harder for a trout.  If for instance, the water temp is up to mid fifties they may come easier. 

Also, deep water lakes can have fish in forty degree, 80 foot deep, low metabolic rate.   In that same water body, fish higher in the water column, fish at a much warmer, higher, metabolic rate. One lake, one specie of rainbow trout and they become two different targets to fish for, based solely on temperature.

Trout have another phenomenon on there side and it’s referred to as “Snells window”. Trout looking around in their watery surroundings acquire an image with the proper light conditions that you, and any predator or prey, are much closer in view, than in actual reality.

Snells window if you’re not careful as a fisherman has a double whammy. When I walk up to the stream the trout appear closer than they are. Watch where you let your body shadow fall to include the action of your rod casting. 

Trout miss the fly sometimes not because you didn’t set the hook, but they miss judged the distance. Trout have fed heavily on one hatch that occurs at seven, almost sunset pm. (Small little gnat lets say.) That same fish slaps at an eleven in the bright sunshine morning grasshopper and misses the first time. A second cast, and all is well.

If the trout can see you, before you see them or they appear closer than they really are, you better practice your casting and approach trout streams like you’re going after a trophy buck.

Cloudy day, moonlight, bright sunshine all comes into play. Water clarity, turbidity, and currents add some fun to the mix as well.  Tougher weather works in the fisherman’s favor. Some lures that have internal sound producing features may scare fish one day and hook them the next. Glow in the dark or match the hatch is all part of the game.

The trout fishing game is not just the right food at the right time. They have a diet, but they will forget food if there sound spooked or the picture doesn’t look right to them. Everyone knows about the occasional trout that hit the tin can lid but it’s the exception more than the rule. They make mistakes but less often than you think.

Trout Whisperer