With sled dogs in tow, Rob Horley's grandparents first paddled onto Lake of the Woods back in 1929.
LAKE OF THE WOODS - Not far from the island in this big border lake where he grew up, Rob Horley dropped a jig over the boat's side the other evening. We were fishing for lake trout in 70 feet of water, and Rob's jig drifted through those depths a few long seconds before settling onto the bottom, his excess line gathering limply in loose circles on the surface.
I also had a jig resting on the rocky bottom, but only momentarily before reeling it quickly back toward me, mixing into this motion hurried upward sweeps of my rod, trying to trigger a strike.
"A trout will also hit a jig if you stop reeling on the way up and let it sit a second or two,'' Rob said.
We were on the Ontario side of Lake of the Woods, and the evening was warm but not hot. A soft breeze rose and fell as it made its way across the water and wound among the red and white pines on an island not far away. We saw no other boats.
Winding my jig to the surface, I flipped open my reel bale and again sent the lure to the bottom. Trout we were seeking could weigh up to 20 pounds, maybe more, their strikes vicious.
"This is a good spot,'' Rob said. "They're in here.''
Rob's grandparents first came to Lake of the Woods in the summer of 1929, arriving in the Sioux Narrows area from the south end of the lake. They paddled multiple canoes and towed others, with a team of sled dogs in one. Erecting a tent on an island, they fished and gardened and picked berries and sometimes a moose fell to the pot. Fights between the dogs, so important in winter, and the island's bears caused no end of racket. Come late autumn, before freeze-up, they paddled south again, to Rainy River, Ontario, where they passed the winter.
Rob's grandparents eventually established a permanent home on the island to raise a family and build a fishing camp, the Sanctuary, which still exists.
In the years that followed, huge log booms, 10,000 cords and more, were floated down the lake, and with them came opportunity, particularly for Rob's dad, Robert, who guided fishermen in the summer and felled trees in the winter.
Rob recounted all of this the other night while we fished and while shadows lengthened across the lake, fashioning a painter's milieu of azures, indigoes and emeralds.
Already Rob had two bulbous trout to his credit, both released, and now I had a strike.
"That's a pretty good fish,'' I said.
My rod was nearly doubled over, its tip pulsing toward the lake bottom as Rob and I peered into the clear water waiting for a telltale flash of silver-blue.
Finally there it was, a hulk of a trout weighing 15 pounds or more that was released as quickly as it was netted.
Known for its walleyes, smallmouth bass and muskies, Lake of the Woods is also first-rate lake trout water. But years ago the species was whacked so hard by fisherman its numbers diminished.
"Since they outlawed dead-bait fishing for trout in spring 20 years ago or so, the trout have really come back,'' Rob said. "People would come to the lake and camp on islands and toss out ciscoes or other bait. Every fish they hooked died -- and there were a lot of them. Not everyone quit at a limit. Now camping on the islands is mostly prohibited, and so is that kind of spring fishing.''
When Rob was born in 1963, his parents and grandparents still lived year-round on the island. He was only days old when his mother wrapped him in a sleeping bag for the ride home in an open boat from a Kenora, Ontario, hospital.
He fell easily into fishing and guiding.
"I was 10 or 11 when I caught my first 50-inch muskie,'' he said.
When we quit fishing, we had a dozen or more trout or trout strikes to our credit.
We wouldn't be paddling heavy canoes to shore or sleeping in tents or be kept awake that night by dogs fighting bears.
But not everything was different from the Lake of the Woods we know and the Lake of the Woods Rob's grandparents first knew in 1929 -- the thrill of fish and fishing especially.
Dennis Anderson firstname.lastname@example.org
|Atlanta||2||Bottom 8th Inning|
|Houston||3||Bottom 8th Inning|
|NY Mets||1||Bottom 8th Inning|
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|Miami||6||Top 8th Inning|
|NY Yankees||9||Bottom 8th Inning|
|Chicago Cubs||5||Bottom 3rd Inning|
|Los Angeles||1||Bottom 3rd Inning|
|Cleveland||3||Bottom 4th Inning|
|Kansas City||0||Bottom 2nd Inning|
|Seattle||9||Bottom 3rd Inning|
|Arizona||0||Top 3rd Inning|
|Arizona||3||Bottom 3rd Inning|
|Oakland||1||Top 3rd Inning|
|New York||6:30 PM|
|St. Louis||0||2nd Prd 14:34|
|Mount St Marys||77||FINAL|
|Boise State||58||1st OT 0:50|
|Oklahoma State||70||2nd Half 0:08|
|Connecticut||45||2nd Half 2:26|
|Georgetown||56||2nd Half 3:53|
|UMBC||43||2nd Half 6:40|
|Bowling Green||42||2nd Half 10:15|
|Siena||44||2nd Half 10:58|
|Va Military||47||2nd Half 11:20|
|Northeastern||53||2nd Half 12:07|
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|Western Ky||39||2nd Half 9:15|
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|Missouri State||23||2nd Half 11:15|
|San Diego||26||2nd Half 15:55|
|Seattle||19||1st Half 3:58|
|Army||22||1st Half 6:15|
|Nicholls||6||1st Half 6:46|
|Arkansas||5||1st Half 16:06|
|Pittsburgh||2||1st Half 18:30|
|South Carolina||16||1st Half 15:00|
|Oral Roberts||0||1st Half 19:15|
|Auburn||9||1st Half 16:04|
|Oklahoma||9||1st Half 15:33|
|Texas||4||1st Half 16:39|
|Incarnate Word||3:00 PM|
|Colorado State||3:05 PM|
|Seton Hall||3:30 PM|
|George Washington||3:30 PM|
|Ball State||3:30 PM|
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|Holy Cross||4:30 PM|
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|Jackson State||5:00 PM|
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|James Madison||5:00 PM|
|Saint Peters||5:30 PM|
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|Grambling St||6:00 PM|
|Eastern Ky||6:00 PM|
|Wright State||6:00 PM|
|SE Louisiana||6:00 PM|
|UC Riverside||6:00 PM|
|Long Beach State|
|Northern Colorado||6:00 PM|
|St Bonaventure||6:00 PM|
|UC Davis||6:30 PM|
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|Prairie View||7:30 PM|
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|Montana State||9:05 PM|
|New Mexico||9:05 PM|
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|Cal State Fullerton||10:59 PM|
|Sporting Kansas City||0||1st Half 5:00|
|Red Bull New York||6:30 PM|
|New England||7:30 PM|
|Real Salt Lake||9:30 PM|
|(5) South Carolina||58|
|(18) Oklahoma St||67|
|East Tenn St||50||FINAL|
|Fla Gulf Coast||74||FINAL|
|Central Michigan||79||1st OT 2:33|
|Ohio U||36||2nd Half 15:19|
|(15) Texas A&M||64||2nd Half 8:55|
|New Orleans||31||2nd Half 9:21|
|Sam Houston St||73|
|Kansas||37||2nd Half 8:38|
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|Southern Ill||37||2nd Half|
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|Indiana State||34||2nd Half|
|Illinois State||30||2nd Half|
|Ohio State||33||1st Half 5:19|
|Eastern Washington||3:00 PM|
|Portland State||3:00 PM|
|Northern Ariz||3:00 PM|
|Utah Valley U||3:00 PM|
|TX-Pan American||3:00 PM|
|Prairie View||3:00 PM|
|Texas Southern||3:00 PM|
|Sacramento St||0||1st Half 18:42|
|McNeese State||0||1st Half 20:00|
|Jackson State||0||1st Half 20:00|
|Western Carolina||3:30 PM|
|(14) NC State||4:00 PM|
|(2) Notre Dame|
|Central Arkansas||4:00 PM|
|Stephen F Austin|
|SE Louisiana||4:00 PM|
|Cal Poly||4:00 PM|
|UC Santa Barbara|
|(16) Nebraska||4:55 PM|
|(19) Michigan State|
|Miss Valley St||5:00 PM|
|Texas State||5:15 PM|
|Chicago State||6:00 PM|
|(7) West Virginia|
|(13) North Carolina||6:30 PM|
|Cal State Fullerton|
|Northern Colorado||8:30 PM|
|Long Beach St||9:00 PM|
|Washington St||10:30 PM|
Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?