Lumberjacking, Almost skunking, and Ridiculousness

Posted by MNAngler On August - 12 - 2011


Day 2 of our Gunflint Trail weekend turned out to involve even less fishing than day 1, which I didn’t realize until I sat down to write this blog post. You would have thought that so little fishing would have bothered me, but it didn’t because I was having too much fun doing other things.

We spent much of the morning and afternoon taking down a couple of 30 ft trees because one of them was growing into the roof of the outhouse. We ended up taking down two trees (and a third little one) because the one was in the way of the other in the direction we wanted to fell it.


About mid-afternoon, just as we were finishing up, Ken’s sister and niece showed up. We were expecting them and had a few hours to sit and chat before we had dinner. After dinner we spent several hours sitting and chatting as well. I didn’t mind missing fishing for the visit because the two are always fun to, well, sit and chat with. Ken’s brother-in-law was always a riot as well and we all missed him at the table.

Our visitors stayed til 8pm, so Ken, George, and I only got out for an hour before the skeeters started eating us alive. Since we were short on time, we only went as far as Kloek channel and none of us had so much as a nibble.

Almost Skunking

The next morning, I finally had enough energy to get up early to try my luck. I was on the water by 6:30am and headed to Voyager’s Bay.

I started with the bubble gum fluke and got nothing. I then switched to a wacky worm and concentrated off shore a bit to avoid getting hung up. One on cast, I pulled on some weeds, but the weeds fought back. I tried to set the hook, but missed it. Without reeling up, I lifted twice more before getting hit again. But I missed again.

More wacky worm rigging didn’t yield anything so I also tried a texas rigged sinking minnow, tried wacky rigging the sinking minnow (which promptly got snagged, even in the middle of the bay), and a white pearl fluke. No more bites.

I put on a rattling Rapala to troll home and that’s when my saving grace hit. A small 10″ smallie on the way past the island at the entrance of Voyager’s Bay.


That afternoon, Ken, George, and I tried our luck in some howling winds. George and I were thinking of portaging into Prune Lake for crappie, but decided it was too windy. We hit Lindner Alley with Ken instead. Ken and I trolled with dipsy divers while George mostly cast. We were targeting Lake Trout but would have also been happy with Northern. Ken was trolling a large, colorful shad rap while I trolled with a 5 of diamonds. We were seeing all kinds of fish on the graph, but we couldn’t get any of them to bite.

After about an hour of fighting the wind, we decided to head into Dark Arm Bay (which is long and narrow) where we could be sheltered from the wind. Ken had lost his dipsy diver and Rapala on a snag out in the open water, so he put on a flashy spoon like lure with heavy weights. I stuck with my dipsy diver and 5 of diamonds. When we got to a narrowing of the long bay, we saw a smattering of fish at 11 ft and when my lure passed it, I felt some resistance. I set the hook and everybody got excited as I reeled in. Unfortunately, it was just weeds.

We made our way into the end of the bay where there were a lot of downed trees and calm water. I started casting with a bubble gum fluke and George cast with the shad rap he had success with the day before. Ken became a chauffeur.

I felt a nip on one cast, but it turned dead after a few seconds. The odd thing was that it kind of bounced even after it went dead. We went to retrieve it and I was able to get it loose.

A few casts later, deeper in the bay, I got hit again. I was sure I had a fish, but again, it went dead. We went to retrieve it again, but this time, I was able to see my fluke attached to a branch. But to my surprise, a fish was still attached to my fluke! And the fish had a spot of white on its tail. It was a walleye!

I tried to pull the line up to pull up the branch so I could try to free the hook, but all I was able to do was break off the end. I couldn’t pull the line up high enough to reach the hook or the fish. I was using braid, so I knew the line wouldn’t break, but it was cutting into my finger as I pulled on it.

George is a good 6 inches taller than me, so I thought he would be able to reach it with his longer arms. I wrapped the braid around our emergency paddle to be able to pull on the twig harder.

George said the fish was only about 9″ long, but we were feeling too guilty to just cut the line. We spent a good 20-30 minutes trying to get the dang hook out of the dang twig to rescue the walleye. And George finally did it. He lifted it out of the water into the pontoon when it did a little shimmy-shake and it was gone.

We were going to let it go anyway, but it would have been nice to get a picture of our prize. It was much George’s catch as mine by the time he was done.

What a ridiculous afternoon. We chuckled all the way home.

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