Fishing fun on Mille Lacs

 My husband Eric and I recently joined a group of Hot Spot Outdoors buddies at Appeldoorn’s Sunset Bay Resort for some fishing and fun on Mille Lacs, and we had such a wonderful time. The resort and the area around Isle are beautiful, and Appeldoorn’s general manager Paul Waldowski treated us all so wonderfully.
I know there are plenty of good fishing lakes in southwest Minnesota, but for anyone heading north to do some fishing, I highly recommend checking out the resort. The cabins are lovely, and Paul toured me around the inside of one of the ice fishing shacks. Wow, not a lot of roughing it involved! The fish houses are light and roomy, have large bunks, a stove and even a big screen TV. The resort is also adding a reunion house, an
 event center and a gorgeous tri-plex. I think the new stuff is all supposed to open this spring. I can’t wait to see the results. Check out their website at
Eric and I fished in a boat with our friends Matt and Beth Cake, and I can honestly say we were the bright spot in everyone’s day. I don’t say that because of our charming personalities – I mean it quite literally. Beth and I were both wearing bright pink HSO hoodies, and Matt was wearing a blaze orange sweatshirt. You could probably see us from the moon. At one point I was standing next to Matt on shore and the others asked us nicely to please move away from each other because the clash of color was bugging out their eyes.
I didn’t do so great in the fish catching department, but that’s entirely my own fault. Others did fine, but I was busy soaking up sun and chatting with Beth and enjoying the sights and sounds around me. More than once my bait was robbed and I didn’t even care. Eric said he would look over at me and I’d be sitting there with my eyes closed and face toward the sun, with a smile on my face.

Beth and I model our bright pink HSO hoodies while hanging out with Appeldoorn's Paul Waldowski.

You know that look dogs get when you let them stick their head out the window while you’re drive down the road? Yep, that’s the look I was wearing most of the time. I didn’t have my tongue hanging out, but other than that it was the exact same thing.

Fishing with the HSO crew is a blast, because we talk about everything under the sun while we’re hanging out. There’s serious discussion about bait, jigs, lures and all things fishing, but also about life, kids, food and family. There’s a lot of joking and a fair amount of fish tales. My favorite part, however, is the sharing of information. If one boat of people got into a hot bite, they immediately let others know so everyone could get in on the fun.

Sharing of food was another cool aspect of this trip. Friday night we grilled up everyone’s bounty from home – venison brats, burgers and more. For a mid-day meal on Saturday, we feasted on a pot of Matt’s chili and some grilled turkey, with chocolate cayenne cookies for dessert. And after the night bite, there was a fish fry. The fish had been donated by one of the HSO guys, along with the dredge for cooking it up. I commandeered Paul’s kitchen and got a few things ready, then Paul fried up all the fish in a big fryer in his garage. We ate like kings.

Matt in his blaze orange shirt, showing off a very nice perch.

I didn’t have the opportunity to get much fishing in this summer, so the trip was a perfect way to end the season.

Since the change of seasons is now upon us, Eric pulled the ice fishing house out when we got home. Time to get ready for the next round of fishing – through the ice! I’m not a huge fan of winter, but ice fishing makes it much easier to tolerate.

Every now and then I run across someone who says they don’t fish. They even say they find fishing boring! All I can think is that perhaps they’re doing it wrong.