Anderson: At sunrise or sunset, Lake of the Woods calls

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 11, 2014 - 7:01 AM

Lake of the Woods’ best times of day entice and, again, reward

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– We backed the boat into the water about 10:30 on a recent night. The moon had risen as a slim crescent. But Lake of the Woods itself, all 1,700 square miles of it, was black, save for its nether reaches just offshore, which bore the muted reflections of Kenora, Ontario.

We were running late, and quickly loaded the boat with two coolers, our duffels and our muskie and walleye gear. Jan, my wife, was along, and also our son Cole, and while the outboard idled astern, Cole overlaid our position on a digital lake map, fine-tuning the GPS on the boat’s console.

Then he laid down a route, and we shoved off.

Destination: Big Narrows, 26 miles distant.

“We’ll have to take it slow,’’ I said.

“We’ll be all right,’’ Cole said.

Soon on plane, the boat banked between buoys and islands, a neat wake trailing behind, as Cole felt his way through the darkened maze by watching our changing position on the map; this while Jan and I peered ahead, looking for other boats and also deadfalls.

Lake of the Woods was flooded, and debris was scattered randomly on its surface.

“I wonder if Charlie will be up?’’ Jan said.

“He might be,’’ I said.

Charlie Ehlen is a retired physician who owns Big Narrows Resort.

In July and August, the part of Lake of the Woods near Big Narrows gives up a muskie or two, and on many past summer evenings, Cole and I, and his older brother, Trevor, while headquartered at Charlie’s place, have cast until night enveloped us, or until the mosquitoes ate us up.

Sometimes we’d fool a muskie. Sometimes not. Either way, we’d be up again at dawn, and cast some more.

Sunrise. Sunset.

Most of our Lake of the Woods memories are bathed in their soft glows.

But Trevor hasn’t been muskie fishing since he left for college in Montana three years ago. A fly fishing guide in summer, he’s busy in July and August.

Now Cole would soon leave for his freshman year of college, and I worried that in years to come, muskie fishing, or any kind of fishing, might not be the same.

Ten miles of the trip were behind us when Cole throttled up, and the outboard aspirated fuel hand over fist.

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  • A cast for muskies on Ontario’s portion of Lake of the Woods in low light, hoping to trigger a strike.

  • Dennis Anderson with the second of two muskies he caught in about an hour in late evening last week. The fish measured 41 inches. An earlier muskie topped 45 inches.

  • Fishing amid beautiful surroundings is a benefit to casting for muskies on Lake of the woods. Here Cole Anderson circled his lure boatside after a retrieve, hoping to entice a fish that might have followed the bait to bite.

  • As the sun rose over the treetops lining Lake of the Woods, a boat carrying anglers to favorite fishing spots carved a picturesque wake.

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