I am sure that you thought I disappeared but no such luck. The winter lake trout season has opened on the Gunflint Trail. Looking out over Gunflint Lake on the 15th, we could see little groupings of fishermen at various "hot spots" for lake trout. The ice was strong enough to support cars and trucks which made for easy access. One party told me that they had 22 inches of ice. On Saganaga Lake you can't get out with vehicles since it is in the BWCA. The ice at Honeymoon Island and American Point was 12 inches thick. The assumption is that all lakes have safe ice on them by now. You should, however, always check with people living on the lake regarding the condition of the ice. Springs and moving water are always dangerous.
Fishing for the opening weekend was spotty. On Gunflint one party brought in 3 nice ( 4 lb, 5 lb, and 6 lb) lake trout using ciscoes on a tip-up in 18' of water. Down at the east end another party limited out on the first day and was skunked the second day. Up on Saganaga one party caught 7 lake trout (returning 5 to the lake) on Nilsmaster Jigging Rapalas in 46 feet of water. During the entire weekend, the weather was warm which made fishing pleasant.
On Gunflint there was one party of ten with trucks towing ice houses who set their holes well into the Canadian side. Luckily some Minnesota game wardens came over to point out the error of their ways since the lake trout season is not open on the Canadian side yet. The party moved back to the Minnesota side of the lake. It was a good thing because Ontario game wardens came by later. They have the authority to take vehicles, ice houses, and everything else if they wish. On these border lakes, it is best to know where you are and all the fhising regulations.
Long time visitors to the Gunflint Trail have often eaten at Hungry Jack Lodge. A while ago their main lodge building burned to the ground. I am happy to say that Forrest Parsons has just opened a beautiful new lodge building. In the Loggers' Lounge Bar he is serving burgers, sandwiches, wraps and appetizers along with a full range of drinks. They serve daily from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. On the weekends they are running some daily specials. The food is good and the building is just wonderful. Congratulations to Forrest for getting this new building up and running.
Wolves are still all over the place. This must be a year to thin down the deer herd. A deer kill about 200 feet out on Gunflint Lake was totally cleaned up in one day between wolves and birds. We are also seeing fewer deer coming in to feed on corn. Some of them have been napping on the ground between the cabins. For the first time in the winter, a wolf got into my tightly covered garbage can and spread the bag all over the driveway.