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Sue Kerfoot

Grand Marais, Minn.

Fish are Biting on the Gunflint Trail

As we approach the middle of August, fishing continues to be good on the Gunflint Trail.  Andy McDonnell at Bearskin Lodge commented that fishing has been steady all summer rather than up and down like it was last summer.  At Golden Eagle Lodge Dan Baumann's guests have been catching lots of big smallmouth bass and releasing them due to the slot limits on Flour lake.  They have been getting plenty of eating size wallyes but few big ones.  Moon and Aspen Lakes have also been providing good fishing for bass and walleye.

Luana Brandt at Nor'Wester Lodge says that her guests have been really happy with the fishing.  Shari Baker at Gunflint Pines had a party out on Seagull Lake who did well on trout, northern and bass.  She said the walleyes on Gunflint Lake have been doing better than usual.

The best catch of the week goes to a 21-year old Indiana girl fishing on Loon Lake.  Tom Caldwell from Loon Lake Lodge said she caught (and released) eight lake trout one day.  All the guys in camp were envious and referred to her as "that girl."  Sometimes women just have the touch.

Guests and neighbors on the South Gunflint Lake road have been seeing wolves.  Barb Gecas at Heston's Lodge has had three guests report seeing a wolf.  Shari Baker has also had guests seeing the animal.  One of the neighbors told me about seeing a big wolf in front of the fire hall at 8:00 a.m. one morning.  Sue Ahrendt of Tuscarora Lodge has been seeing wolf puppies on the Gunflint Trail.  With all the rabbits around, Sue figures there is plenty for them to eat.  We just don't want a car to hit them

Down at Hungry Jack Outfitters Dave Seaton has seen a big bear with very large arms.  It looks like the bear was a body builder.  With all the blueberries this year, the bears are not going hungry.  According to what I have read, a good berry crop increases the reproductive success of bears.  Well, this year has(and still is) one of the best blueberry crops in years.

Dave has also had some guests from Russia who find the Trail to be like Siberia.  This is probably because both places are part of the boreal forest.  In Russia it is called the tiaga.

Debbie mark at Seagull Outfitters said that the temperature of Seagull Lake is 77 degrees.  That is exceptionally warm for water temperature up here.  It is probably why all the kids are every resort are living in the water.  The best part is that we have had enough rain so that there is no fire ban.

Lin Sherfy from Rockwood Lodge has had canoeing guests coming in after seeing a huge moose.  Lin has seen the pictures and agrees that this one really is huge.  It is located somewhere north of Winchell Lake.

Two sets of a cow and a calf moose have been regularly seen around the road by Seagull Lake.  These have got to be the most photographed moose in the world.  Cars are stopping all the time to snap some pictures.

Finally the warm weather has done wonders for the garden at Poplar Creek Guesthouse.  Ted Young says they have gotten 18 ripe tomatoes from just one tomato plant.  This is really early for tomatoes to ripen up here.  Usually we don't see red until late September.

Just as an aside Ted says that his wife, Barbara, hates to make beds in this hot weather.

Beautiful Weather on the Gunflint Trail Keeps Everyone Out and About

Gunflint Trail fishing continues to be good.  The resorts I talked with said their guests were doing well.  Bob McClough at Bearskin Lodge reported that fishing is good for walleyes with leeches, slip bobbers and jigs on Crocodile, Moon and East Bearskin.  He has even seen a lake trout and a largemouth bass come in from East Bearskin.

Dan Baumann at Golden Eagle Lodge had two more large walleyes caught off the resort's docks.  The hot fishing, however, is for smallmouth bass.  In addition to rapalas, the bass are biting on Zara Puppies which are a surface lure.  As you reel in after casting, you use the tip of your rod to put a little action into the lure.  It zigs ans zags across the surface.  Dan says that every time he demonstrates this lure, he gets a fish.

Guests with Forrest Parsons at Hungry Jack Lodge have been exploring a variety of lakes.  One guest got a nice 8 lb. lake trout on Clearwater Lake.  A party of three went up to Seagull Lake.  In addition to catching a 32" walleye (which was released), they filled out three limits of smaller walleyes for eating.  Leo Lake continues to regularly produce rainbows on worms.

Luana Brandt at Nor'Wester Lodge also has guests bringing in eating size fish.  Tom Caldwell at Loon Lake Lodge said his regulars who know where to fish on the lake are steadily bringing in fish.  At Heston's Lodge Barb Gecas had some guests catching small fish on Loon Lake which they just threw back.  The guests were thrilled with their catch.  It may be due to the fact that the fishermen were three and five years old and out with Grandpa and Dad.

Animals have been quiet lately.  Bob McClough had a young mallard they named Rocky.  Some guests found him washed into the weeds with a large rapala snagged above one eye.  After removing the lure, they let the mallard go.  For several days Rocky ran around trying to join another mallard family with no luck.  Eventually, he found a family willing to accept him or perhaps it was his real family.

Over at Poplar Creek Guesthouse, Barbara Young has lots of birds coming in.  One day while she was gone a new bird came in.  Between looking at the bird and at the bird book, this one was mistakenly identified as a Mongolian Thrush.  The guests joked that it had a Mongolian firepot in its beak since Barb and Ted cook Mongolian firepot dinners in the winter.  Barb came home and correctly identified the bird as a Magnolia Thrush.

Nancy Seaton claims that she has never seen such a bumper crop of all kind of babies.  Not just birds but also loons, bunnies and fox.  Maybe the warm spring gave all these babies a better start.  Or it could be due to the fact that almost no one is reporting seeing wolves.

Rockwood Lodge has had a cow and 2 moose calves island hopping says Lin Sherfy.  Guests have been stumbling over them at odd times of the day -- 10:00 a.m. or 3:00 p.m.  Of course, if they send someone out to see the moose, the animals remain very elusive.

Mike and Sue Prom from Voyageur Canoe Outfitters took their kids on a canoe trip.  They saw lots of loon families with two babies.  They were also amazed at the variety of sizes in these young loons.  Some seemed almost ready for feathers while other were tiny and riding on their parents' backs.

Shari Baker from Gunflint Pines noted that we have had a relatively bug free summe.  It has been wonderful.

The most constant story with everyone has been the berries.  Both blueberries and raspberries are very early and there ae lots of them.  Sue Ahrendt from Tuscarora Lodge walked up the Centennial Trail to the first overlook.  She stopped to pick some raspberries.  A flicker of motion caught her eye and for a few brief seconds she and a young bear stared eye to eye.  Then her dog Denali was off chasing the bear.

With this blog finished, I am off to join my neighbors picking berries.