Lake Hubert Newsletter
Latest Addition - July 2003



MISSION: to encourage the people using the natural resources of Lake Hubert to maintain a high level of water quality and to promote its fishery, shoreline, natural resources and water safety.


The annual meeting of the Lake Hubert Conservation Association was held Saturday, June 21, at Lutheran Church of the Cross.

President John Holbrook highlighted four significant issues of the past winter:
shoreline changes due to ice pressure, frozen septic systems caused by lack of snow cover, the first conservation easement completed (14 acres, by Jeff Schoenwetter), the denial of a lot-split variance that was accomplished with the support of LHCA members.

Other items of interest were:
- Marcia Corchran's mammoth projects--a new website ( ), a new directory and a new map.

- The persistence of curlyleaf pondweed, especially on the NE corner of the lake. It can be controlled but not eradicated. Spraying is being done.

- Election of four board members: Bill Bergersen, Jeff Schoenwetter, Gary Eidson, and John Engen.

- Jerry Williams' suggestion that the LHCA pursue annexing the Lake Edward portion of Lake Hubert into Nisswa.


Lake Hubert folks have always been both intrigued and very involved in preserving their local history. Indeed, many locals have significant personal collections of past artifacts, including pictures, news stories, letters, audio tapes, and other items of historical significance. Much of this was of invaluable use when the Lake Hubert Depot was refurbished as it helped in securing important grants from the Minnesota Historical Society and the Cote Foundation.

This summer the LHCA is spearheading an effort to consolidate, organize and inventory items relating to our local history in preparation for securing our own files and space in the Crow Wing County Historical Museum Building in Brainerd. As a prelude to this new project, Ellie Ellingson and I visited with the museum's director in order to learn the basic elements of assembling our own collection. We are now in the process of puffing together a committee of local Lake Hubert folks who would like to assist us in this project.

The museum is also excited about our efforts to implement this project. Our eventual Lake Hubert collection will enhance its resources, which at this point are not very extensive, on this topic. Our collection would appear in the card catalog so that anyone could enjoy and utilize the materials. And, if ever needed again, this collection would enhance research efforts for future grants or for scholarship.

If you wish to be involved in helping to preserve our heritage, contact Ellie Ellingson at 963-3572. It should be noted that once our collection is forwarded to the museum, those materials then become property of the museum and not the donor. However, the prospect of making our collection accessible to everyone in a climate and temperature-controlled environment should far outweigh that factor.
John Holbrook


Meetings on ordinance enforcement and septic systems have been scheduled by the Lakes and Rivers Alliance (LARA) of Crow Wing County. Ordinance enforcement (Why isn't it as easy as we think it should be? Who does it? How is it done? What are the problems involved?) will be discussed on July 21. Septic Systems (How do they work? What can be done to keep them working well? How can you avoid freezeup next winter?) will be the topic on August 18. Both meetings will be held at 7:00 pm at the Mission Township Hall, 1 1/2 miles north of County Highway 109 on County Highway 3.


July 1, 2003
Balance 1-01-03               $9,300.13
Dues                           $4,965.00
Donations                     $2,265.00
General Fund income $16,530.13

General Fund expenses           $4062.31

General Fund balance           $12.467.82
* ** * * ** *

Depot Fund Balance     $6,315.32

Endowment Fund trans $1,252.74

Depot Fund income      $7,568.06
Depot Fund expenses    $ 275.91
Depot Fund balance     $7,292.15

General + Depot Funds Total     $19.759.97

Emergency Fund Bal.   $11,731.49

Endowment account balance    $219.47

We currently have 124 paid-up regular members and 30 associate members. As of 7-01-03, 75% of LHCA members have paid their 2003 dues. Thank you and congratulations!

Bill Bergersen, Treasurer


The Lake Hubert Conservation Association has established a lost and found contact for the lake. If you find or lose an item, contact Newby Gruenhagen and let her know what the item is, when it was lost or found, and who did the finding or losing. Please hold on to the item for a few months and Newby will keep track and contact people if there is a match.

Newby can be contacted by phone at 218-963-3018 or by e-mail at


Lead sinkers and jigs swallowed by loons, eagles, and other wildlife can cause toxic problems with their reproductive and immune systems, migration patterns and even cause death. Alternative non-lead products are safer and perform just as well as lead tackle.

* * * *
Earthworms are not native to Minnesota forests! If introduced, they can unbalance the ecosystem by eating the layer of organic duff that flowers and other plants need to thrive. Do your share to slow earthworm infestation by dumping unwanted bait in the trash and keeping vehicles on well-traveled paths (worm eggs are spread through soil caught in the treads). To learn more, see

* * * *
Deer eating everything you plant? Ten-foot high fences work. The Northland Arboretum also has a list of annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs that deer may not eat, including such things zinnias, bleedingheart, barberry, and peonies.

* * * *
John and Joan Weston, who were active in Lake Hubert affairs for many years before moving to Texas, are moving back to the Nisswa area in August.

* * * *

Since the last newsletter came out we have heard of one death, Frieda Eklund, who lived on Camp Lincoln Road. Our condolences to her family.


A major victory for wetland protection was won this past spring when Judge Galen Vraa handed down a harsh sentence to Arnold Ruther, found guilty on twelve charges related to the filling of 14.2 acres of wetland in Ottertail County. Citing Mr. Ruther's two previous convictions for violations of the Wetland Conservation Act, the judge sentenced him to serve 365 days in jail, pay a fine of $6000 plus surcharges and law library fees, and pay $123,000 in restitution charges within 30 days. Wetlands, once considered "useless swamps," are now recognized as valuable lake filters, flood controls, wildlife habitat, and other important functions.


1. Conserve water. Save dollars and septic systems by installing low-flow showerheads, faucets and toilets.

2. Maintain septic systems. Inspect and repair tanks. Pump regularly. Faulty systems leak nutrients and pathogens into lakes causing excessive algae growth and possible illness.

3. Stabilize shorelines. Keep the land out of the water by leaving buffer strips of vegetation and natural shoreline.

4. Minimize runoff. Increase the ability of land to absorb rainwater by installing gravel trenches along driveways and patios, directing roof drains away from hard surfaces, and choosing natural native landscaping.

5. Use fertilizers and pesticides conservatively, if at all. Use phosphorus-free fertilizers and cut back on chemicals.

6. Participate in your lake association. Meet your neighbors and learn about lakes.


The soil around Lake Hubert contains an excess of phosphorus. When phosphorus enters the lake, it encourages weed growth and algae. We really do not want to encourage that.

One pound of phosphorus can grow 500 pounds of algae.

Most folks know they should use phosphorus-free fertilizer. Check the bag before buying, and if your store doesn't have it in stock, let the owners to know it is important to have some.

Most dishwashing detergents do have a percentage of phosphorus. They run from zero to ten percent phosphorus. The only phosphorus-free brand I have found is called "Seventh Generation" and I found it at Cub Foods. Take a moment to check labels, and, for the lake's sake, buy products that are phosphorus free.

Len Anderson


Though jet skis are a delight to some, they are as popular as mosquitos with others. To keep as many people as happy as possible, here are some basic rules to remember.

1. Operators must be at least 13 years old.

2. Operators age 14-17 must have a
watercraft operators permit or have someone
over 21 on board.

3. Personal watercraft operation is allowed
only from 9:30 am until 1 hour before

4. PW need to operate at slow no-wake
speed (5 mph or less) within 150 ft. of shore,
docks, swimmers, rafts and nonmotorized

5. You may NOT chase or harass wildlife.

6. You may NOT travel through emergent
vegetation at greater than 5 mph.

7. You may NOT weave through congested
water traffic or jump the wake of another
watercraft within 150 ft. of another watercraft.

by Karen Sherper Rohs

I was first introduced to the concept of light pollution during an astronomy class in college. Although I had sympathy for the astronomers and the difficulty presented to their work as the areas around the observatory became increasingly lit at night, it didn't seem very relevant to me personally until I moved home about ten years later. I discovered that the town five miles south of our hobby farm has so much lighting that a haze persists through the night.

What Is light pollution?

Light pollution is light that goes beyond where it is meant to be going or light being used when it is not needed. Three of the most serious problems in shoreland lighting include glare, light trespass and sky glow.

Sky glow refers to the washing out of the night sky due to exterior lighting at night. Examples include billboard lights that shine upward, street or parking lighting bouncing off pavement, and commercial or residential lighting open to the sky.

Glare is the light going beyond what the fixture is meant to illuminate. This might be caused by poor design or poor installation. On shoreland it can hamper the vision of boaters, pedestrians, and drivers and actually be a safety concern.

Light trespass is usually caused by glare; it's the illumination of adjacent or nearby property not meant to be lit by the fixture. On the waterfront, water reflects glare from shoreland lights onto distant properties. The reflective nature of water is one of the most challenging aspects of sensible shoreland lighting!

What can be done?
*Provide adequate light for an evening activity, but don't overlight...
*Choose lights that do not emit light above the horizontal or retrofit existing fixtures with shields to reduce glare.
*Use high-efficiency lamps.
*avoid dusk-to-dawn security lights; consider motion detectors...

Why care about light pollution?
A quick scientific literature search produced studies indicating connections between artificial night-time lighting and disruptions in migrations of birds and salmon, disruption of plant development, decreases in moth populations, behavioral impacts on fireflies, and disruption of turtle and frog reproduction. In addition, eliminating light pollution will reduce energy usage and save money. Perhaps less tangible, eliminating glare will once again open up the nighttime sky for gazing.


More than fifty Lake Hubert residents wrote or called the Nisswa Zoning Commission in February to protest a developer's plan to build two houses on an environmentally sensitive piece of land on the north shore. The LHCA was also active in opposing the request, which was ultimately denied by the commission.

It was a terrible winter for septic systems. It has been estimated that 80% of the systems in the area were frozen-lines, tanks, drainfields, singly or in combination. Pumpers were booked weeks in advance and some folks had to be pumped and thawed repeatedly. A winter without snow cover and very cold temperatures were the culprits. A sure-fire preventive has yet to be discovered.

Ice ridges formed by sheets of ice that push up dirt and sand and rocks each spring are a natural lake phenomenon. This year they were especially prevalent and virulent throughout the county. Riprapped shorelines were hardest hit. Lake Hubert suffered particularly on the east shore. Repair requires permits. The goal is to do as little as possible to change the shoreline.


Everyone living on Lake Hubert knows about Camp Lincoln and Camp Lake Hubert because of the beauty they provide--the mile of wooded shoreline, the sailboats in the wind. But what goes on at these highly respected camps may not be familiar to many.

The two camps, Lincoln for boys and Hubert for girls, are private camps owned by the Cote family and directed by Sam Cote. Each summer they run five two-week sessions and two four-week sessions of traditional camp. In addition there are three golf camps, two fishing camps and two tennis camps, all one-week sessions. In the spring and fall the camp is used by other groups such as Girl Scouts and Job's Daughters.

Campers come from 40 states and 10 foreign countries. Each week each camp averages about 200 campers and 75 staff.

In the spring 55 horses are brought up from Tanque Verde Guest Ranch in Arizona for use by the campers. There are 30 sailboats and many windsurfers and kayaks. Eight tennis courts support the tennis program.

New this year is a 55 foot high, double-sided climbing wall.

The camp has long been noted for its excellent food and in-house baking, but campers also consume 900 cases of cereal every year.


Long-time residents who enjoy fishing may have noticed that over the years, yellow perch have been decreasing, an observation supported by DNR data. Gill net surveys show that in 1982 each net averaged 33 yellow perch while in 2001 this number had decreased to 0.7 per net!

It is important to understand the life history of perch to gain insight into why this is happening. Perch are highly adaptable to a number of lake conditions, habitats and temperatures. They spawn in the spring, typically late April or early May. Perch do not build nests or guard their eggs; instead, they release a gelatinous egg strand that floats until it becomes entangled in debris or vegetation. A single female can produce between 10,000 and 48,000 eggs.

Incubation lasts about 20 days, at which time 5 mm long larvae hatch and begin to feed on microscopic zooplankton. Once the larvae reach the size of one inch they swim to the bottom of the lake, reaching a length of four inches by October. Adult perch can live to be seven years old and attain lengths of about 10 inches.

There may be several reasons why yellow perch are disappearing from Lake Hubert.

First, however, lack of food does not seem to be one. Lake quality reports indicate that phosphorus levels have increased during the past two years. Phosphorus causes an increase in zooplankton, perch's main food source. Other planktivores--crappies, bluegill and pumpkinseed --have also decreased in number, adding to the mystery.
The decrease may be part of a down-cycle. It has been well-documented that perch populations are cyclical and it may be that the past few years are a downturn in the average seven-year population cycle. However, DNR data do not indicate that perch populations have had an upswing anytime during the past decade.

A more likely cause in number reduction may be predation. In other words, juvenile forage fish such as perch are being consumed in larger numbers than are necessary to replace the adult population. Predators are abundant in Lake Hubert and include large-mouth bass, northern pike, and walleye. DNR data indicate that the number of walleye has increased. Walleye are voracious consumers of yellow perch. The average walleye caught in DNR sampling of Lake Hubert in 2001 weighed 2.28 lbs. and was 18.9 inches long. One walleye this size can consume 5.25 lbs. of yellow perch--250 juvenile perch--annually. The number of northern pike has decreased but the average size has increased.

With decreasing forage fish populations and increasing predator populations, a concern is that eventually there will not be enough forage fish to support the predators. Typically, a lake is self-regulating. If forage fish become scarce, predators tend to have lower rates of survival and reproduction. However, by stocking walleye, the number of predators is increased without considering the number of forage fish necessary to support the population. If this is the case, the declining yellow perch population may be an indication that some lean fishing years are in the future.

The above article is exerpted from a paper by Beth Holbrook, a graduate student in fisheries ecology at the U. of MN-Duluth. She is the daughter of John and Mary Holbrook.


(Part Ill of a continuing series)
by John Holbrook

The culinary delights of eating the much maligned Lake Hubert rock bass have been thoroughly discussed here in the past. Indeed, this writer has heartily encouraged various gourmet experiences featuring the succulent fillets of the rock bass, provided, of course, one is fortunate to catch enough for a feast. As for great recipes, please refer to my personally acclaimed Rock Bass Cookbook, although it must be admitted that Rainy Days Bookstore sold out both copies.

Nevertheless, the need for having a sufficient supply of rock bass fillets available for your favorite recipe was recently made apparent to me. While preparing my popular delicacy "Florentine Stuffed Rock Bass" (which is best served with a good California Chardonnay), I found myself short just a couple of fillets. After pondering the problem, I fortunately remembered that there was a large rock bass nesting at the end of the dock. The solution was simple:
catch the fish, quickly fillet it, and then finish preparing my epicurean delight.

So it was with considerable confidence that I baited a crappie minnow on a small jig and lowered it in front of the targeted fish. The rock bass sniffed at it a couple of times then briefly took the bait. However, before I could set the hook, the fish spat out my rig. Worse than that, no amount of jigging or enticing could rekindle a feeding interest. Put simply, this fish was not going to bite on a minnow.

"Oh, well," I sighed, "I'll use a worm." Digging into a fresh box, I found an especially wiggly creature that would seemingly be irresistible to any piscatorial critter. Again I lowered the squirming bait to within inches of my quarry. Unexpectedly, the fish glared at the worm, looked up and sneered at me, and then backed off from the worm, which was obviously an unwelcome intrusion into the nesting area. This lack of cooperation on the part of the fish now significantly raised the stakes. I'd have to think of something else if the fish was to become a meal. Finally I figured it out. I'd net the darn thing; it was as simple as that.

Thus, I grabbed my biggest landing net and waded quietly out to a spot just three feet away from my cagey opponent. Slowly, oh so slowly, I lowered the net and inched it towards my prey. After several tense moments the lip of the net was just below the head of the rock bass. One swift upward movement of the net would now finish my quest for a complete dinner. Alas, this careful strategy also failed. For an instant, the fish was in the mesh, but just as the net was raised, the wily rock bass squirted forward and barely flopped to freedom. For a few long seconds it stared at me menacingly and then swam off to the safety of deeper water.

Disconsolately I trudged back to the kitchen to finish my meal preparations. As for the needed fillets to fill out the recipe, I reluctantly ended up using a walleye caught the day before.


Fifty years of continuous family ownership of their property on Lake Hubert were celebrated by Elizabeth and George Vilfordi on July 4 this year.

All nineteen family members, including their children, spouses and grandchildren, joined to commemorate the founding of the initial lake cottage on Sunset Bay by Turner and Marie Hackman, Elizabeth's parents, in June 1953.

For many there were nostalgia and warm childhood memories of happy summers on Lake Hubert, for others, the recollection of lasting friendships. Some reflected on the changes brought about by time. But for all there remains a profound sense of gratitude for the ongoing legacy which has been established for the family's future on Lake Hubert.


John Holbrook, President
Chuck Corchran, Vice-president
Bill Bergersen, Treasurer
Linda Youngs, Secretary
Len Anderson
Marcia Corchran
Ellie Ellingson
John Engen
Gary Eidson
Newby Gruenhagen
Jeff Schoenwetter
Harold Stewart
George Vilfordi
Linda Youngs

Jerry Williams, Director emeritus
MJ Cote, Camp representative
Barbara Peterson, Newsletter editor

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