Wednesday (7/15) the annual Gunflint Trail Canoe Races were held. It was misting and raining off and on all day but nothing happened during the races. About 200 people appeared for the event. The new children's games were exceptionally popular but everyone found something to participate in. The event raised $14,000 for the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department. These monies are an indication of the high regard that the community has for all our fire fighters and EMT's.
Of course, fishing has continued throughout the week. Forrest Parsons from Hungry Jack Lodge reported that Joe Marko (Hugo, MN) caught a 28 !/2 inch walleye on a slip bobber in about 20 feet of water to start the week out right. My picture is of Joe and his walleye. Bob Baker from Gunflint Pines has been seeing good lake trout fishing on Gunflint and North Lakes. They have been jigging with spoons or using smaller spoons while trolling with downriggers. The trout are in 45-75 feet of water.
Dan Baumann of Golden Eagle Lodge told me his guests have been having great luck fishing for herring on Flour Lake. The fish have been biting on spoons like cleos and daredevils plus Dan's favorite, the sonar jig. To be successful bringing in these fish, you need to have a very light drag or the hook will rip out of their mouths. The herring have been running 2-3 pounds. Dan likes to smoke them or make fishcakes. Another favorite way to cook them is to gut, de-head and scale the fish and then bake them like you would brook trout. With a daily limit of 50 fish, this fishing offers lots of action. Dan also reminded me that Tommy Eckel from Grand Marais used to commerically fish herring on Flour Lake about 15-20 years ago.
Although every resorter hates to see rain during the day, this mist we have been having is a blessing for the blueberries. It just coats them with moisture and turns hard little balls into big juicy berries. Debbie Mark from Seagull Outfitters had guests who came in saying the blueberries in the burn area on Alpine Lake were "outrageous." Luana Brandt from Nor'Wester Lodge has heard reports of potentially huge blueberry crops around the end of the Gunflint Trail. Every berry lover is digging for their favorite picking pots.
The bears are also looking forward to berry season. Sue Arhendt from Tuscarora Lodge saw the remains from bears eating strawberries on the snowmobile trail. Considering the fact that our wild strawberries aren't much bigger than the tip of your little finger, how do these bears harvest the berries with their large paws? Sue said the bears were also digging up all the ant hills in the area.
The Forest Service and outfitters seminars have been very well attended this summer. The most popular ones are the more active seminars such as the paddle and a lunch one. If you are going to be in the area, be sure to check the seminar schedules to see if something catches your fancy.