It's July and resorts on the Gunflint Trail are busy! If you are coming this way, now is the time to call your favorite resort and get a reservation.
Meanwhile the fishing continues to be good. Andy McDonnell at Bearskin Lodge says that evening fishing with leeches and a slip bobber have yielded a 27" and 28" walleye. He feels that walleye fishing in the Bearskin area is better than it has been the last couple of years. Ted Young at Poplar Creek Guesthouse says his guests have been catching walleyes on Little Ollie lake which is unusual.
Teressa Baumann at Golden Eagle Lodge also has had some nice fish come in. A 30" and a 28" walleye were caught off their dock using leeches. Her son, Zach, brought in a 28" northern. Ericka over at Hungry Jack Lodge says that Leo Lake has been giving up some rainbows while walleyes, smallmouth bass and northerns are being caught on Hungry Jack Lake.
As usual the animals are out in force. Ted Young woke up at 6:00 a.m. the other morning to see a moose walking towards his apple trees. It immediately gave him a dilemma -- call the guests and risk the moose eating his apple trees or scare the moose away and save the apple trees. Luckily the moose just smelled the apple leaves so the guests got to see her.
Babies are out all over. Andy McDonnell says the fox babies have learned to follow when the staff is trashing fish guts. They follow the truck and feast on the guts. Golden Eagle has a loon with two babies. Teresa has also seen mallards with 10 and 7 babies.
Dave Seaton at Hungry Jack Outfitters has our best baby story. They have a loon with a cracked voice who has not been able to get a mate. This lonely male found a mate for the first time this year. He is so happy to have a baby that he is overly protective. At the same time thee is a very determined eale on the lake who wants loon chick for dinner. Every time the eagle swoops down, Dave can hear the distinctive call of the loon as he has a fit. So far the baby loon is still with us.
Everyone up and down the Trail from Luana Brandt at Nor'Wester Lodge to Shri Baker at Gunflint Pines to Sue Ahrendt at Tuscarora Lodge can't stop talking about the berries. The strawberries are good now and the rspberrries and bluberries are coming along fine. Sue swnt scouting one day and found pincherries, dewberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. She says don't get disappointed if you find some blueberries tha were caught b e cold snap. There are sill lots of blueberries around.
Two activities are happening on the Gunflint Trail now. The first is a grand opening of the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center. It will oficially be open on Sunday, July 4th. Earlu opinions tell me that it is well worth the stop. The second is that the U. S. Forest Srvice is conductin an archeological dig at Gordon's Site on Gunflint Lake. They will be here through next week and it is a grat opporunity to see an actual dig in progress.
Speaking of the Forest Service, they have just come out with a guide to the new Centennial Trail. This trail was built last fall between the Kekekabic Trail and the Round Lake Road. Tom Kaffine from the Gunflint District has identified 14 historic spots on the trail. He then wrote a small brochure telling you the signifcance of what you are looking at. Spend an afternoon hiking this trail.
At this time of year, Gunflint Trail fishing is always the first thing on everyone's mind. Deb at Golden Eagle Lodge had a guest out fishing with Guide Roger Campbell. They went up to Saganaga Lake. The guest landed a 23' walleye and five others. Other people in his party fished on Northern Light Lake (on the lower Trail) and landed walleyes and northern. In Aspen Lake Biranna Baumann caught a walleye in the 21" range. Luana Brandt at Nor'Wester says that she has been seeing "glorious walleyes and trout from the mid-Trail lakes."
Forrest Parsons at Hungry Jack Lodge also had some guests out with a guide. The nine-year-old girl landed a 29 1/2" walleye on a slip bobber and a leech. After pictures, the fish was returned to the water. This party also caught some eating size walleyes. Tom Caldwell at Loon Lake Lodge had two couples sharing a cabin this weekend. One of the women caught a 17 1/2 lb. lake trout and the other woman caught a 12 1/2 lb. northern. The husbands didn't get much at all. Additionally, Tom had a guest bring in a 34" northern, the biggest fish his guests have caught so far this summer.
Bud Darling at Way of the Wilderness Canoe Outfitters said the guests at Trail's End Campground have been doing well on walleyes in Saganaga Lake. Bob McCloughan from Bearskin Lodge says his guests have had good luck on BWCA lakes such as Crocodile and Adlter for walleyes. They have been using slip bobbers and leeches too. Sue Ahrendt at Tuscarora Lodge reports that her canoeing guests have done well fishing for lake trout in about 30' of water. The warm waters are sending the lake trout into deep water earlier than usual.
Shari Baker at Gunflint Pines has seen some nice walleyes come in. She says the bass are starting to be active. Both Greg Gecas at Heston's Lodge and Forrest Parsons at Hungry Jack Lodge echoed Shari's comments.
The local wildlife has provided moments of interest at many resorts. At Rockwood Mike Sherfy said that two guests refused to come out a cabin one night because they saw two green eyes (bear?) looking at them. Turns out it was two green lights from the sump pump and septic lift station.
Down at Poplar Creek Guesthouse, Ted Young told me about his neighbor who has a Great Gray Owl's nest in his yard. There are no young yet but the female is very evident. He figures the owl took over a crow's nest because two crows are really raising a ruckus.
Luana Brandt at Nor'Wester had a pine marten get into a raven's nest. The young ones were 8-10" fledglings but the marten got three of them almost immediately. Luana has tried to save one of the ravens but it doesn't look good.
So goes another few days along the Gunflint Trail.
The weekend weather on the Gunflint Trail was beautiful. It made up for some cold, windy and rainy weather last week. Mike Berg from Seagull Creek Fishing Camp reports that lake trout fishing has been doing well with jigs and ciscoes. Jon Schei guiding out of Gunflint Lodge agrees. He was out yesterday (7/20) with his parents on Saganaga Lake. They started out the day with a 27" walleye in 32' of water. Then they switched to lake trout and 30 minutes later there were six lake trout in the boat. The fish were in 40-60 feet of water and caught with crankbaits.
Meanwhile Guide Dennis Todd from Gunflint Lodge spent the week on Saganaga and Northern Lights Lakes with the Sherrick party. Using Lindy rigs and jigs with leeches and nightcrawlers they caught 9 walleyes over 28" They also limited out with eater-size walleyes. The fish were in 16-20 feet of water. The bonus for their fishing was catching two northerns over 40" on jigs.
Debbie Mark from Seagull Outfitters had a family come in from a canoe trip. They were fishing at the west end of Saganaga Lake (in the 1st Bay, 2nd Bay, 3rd Bay area) with a slip bobber and leeches. Suddenly they hooked what appeared to be a large bass. With a little help from the wind, the fish towed them all over. Finally after 20-30 minutes they beached the canoe. Their line was wrapped around a tree in the water. As they struggled to untangle the line and keep the fish on, they noticed a brown thing in the water where the line was. They had hooked a beaver! No wonder the "fish" had fought so hard. At that moment of realization, the line snapped. Debbie has lived on the Gunflint Trail for most of her life and never heard a story like this.
Meanwhile down at Nor'Wester Lodge, Luana Brandt had a bird story for me. A baby bird fell out of its nest. It was hard to tell if the baby was a hawk or an eaglet. After much looking (but no touching). Luana decided it was a baby hawk. It had lots of feathers and was still molting on the shoulders. They cordoned off the area. The baby disappeared. A phone call to the DNR assured them that the mother will continue to care for the baby until it could fly.
Only one moose story today. Andy McDonnell at Bearskin Lodge said that last week's momma moose and calf have taken up permanent residency around the lodge. There is a very dense bunch of trees and shrubs that they are comfortable in. Andy does say that the mother gets a little testy if anyone comes too close to the baby. The guests are loving it.
With the rain last week and the sunshine over the weekend, everything is growing. The wildflowers along the roads are in a blooming frenzy. On the south-facing rocky outcroppings, the blueberries are ripe. Shari Baker from Gunflint Pines was out picking and had good luck in those areas. No sign of the raspberries yet but they can't be far behind.