Gunflint Trail fishing continues to be good. The resorts I talked with said their guests were doing well. Bob McClough at Bearskin Lodge reported that fishing is good for walleyes with leeches, slip bobbers and jigs on Crocodile, Moon and East Bearskin. He has even seen a lake trout and a largemouth bass come in from East Bearskin.
Dan Baumann at Golden Eagle Lodge had two more large walleyes caught off the resort's docks. The hot fishing, however, is for smallmouth bass. In addition to rapalas, the bass are biting on Zara Puppies which are a surface lure. As you reel in after casting, you use the tip of your rod to put a little action into the lure. It zigs ans zags across the surface. Dan says that every time he demonstrates this lure, he gets a fish.
Guests with Forrest Parsons at Hungry Jack Lodge have been exploring a variety of lakes. One guest got a nice 8 lb. lake trout on Clearwater Lake. A party of three went up to Seagull Lake. In addition to catching a 32" walleye (which was released), they filled out three limits of smaller walleyes for eating. Leo Lake continues to regularly produce rainbows on worms.
Luana Brandt at Nor'Wester Lodge also has guests bringing in eating size fish. Tom Caldwell at Loon Lake Lodge said his regulars who know where to fish on the lake are steadily bringing in fish. At Heston's Lodge Barb Gecas had some guests catching small fish on Loon Lake which they just threw back. The guests were thrilled with their catch. It may be due to the fact that the fishermen were three and five years old and out with Grandpa and Dad.
Animals have been quiet lately. Bob McClough had a young mallard they named Rocky. Some guests found him washed into the weeds with a large rapala snagged above one eye. After removing the lure, they let the mallard go. For several days Rocky ran around trying to join another mallard family with no luck. Eventually, he found a family willing to accept him or perhaps it was his real family.
Over at Poplar Creek Guesthouse, Barbara Young has lots of birds coming in. One day while she was gone a new bird came in. Between looking at the bird and at the bird book, this one was mistakenly identified as a Mongolian Thrush. The guests joked that it had a Mongolian firepot in its beak since Barb and Ted cook Mongolian firepot dinners in the winter. Barb came home and correctly identified the bird as a Magnolia Thrush.
Nancy Seaton claims that she has never seen such a bumper crop of all kind of babies. Not just birds but also loons, bunnies and fox. Maybe the warm spring gave all these babies a better start. Or it could be due to the fact that almost no one is reporting seeing wolves.
Rockwood Lodge has had a cow and 2 moose calves island hopping says Lin Sherfy. Guests have been stumbling over them at odd times of the day -- 10:00 a.m. or 3:00 p.m. Of course, if they send someone out to see the moose, the animals remain very elusive.
Mike and Sue Prom from Voyageur Canoe Outfitters took their kids on a canoe trip. They saw lots of loon families with two babies. They were also amazed at the variety of sizes in these young loons. Some seemed almost ready for feathers while other were tiny and riding on their parents' backs.
Shari Baker from Gunflint Pines noted that we have had a relatively bug free summe. It has been wonderful.
The most constant story with everyone has been the berries. Both blueberries and raspberries are very early and there ae lots of them. Sue Ahrendt from Tuscarora Lodge walked up the Centennial Trail to the first overlook. She stopped to pick some raspberries. A flicker of motion caught her eye and for a few brief seconds she and a young bear stared eye to eye. Then her dog Denali was off chasing the bear.
With this blog finished, I am off to join my neighbors picking berries.
As usual the Gunflint Trail is having some busy winter weekends. Shari Baker of Gunflint Pines wanted me to remind you there are activities these next two weekends. This weekend is Winter Tracks. It is a time for people to get out and enjoy the variety of activities that winter offers up here. Many resorts are also ofering special activities so check out the Gunflint Trail website.
Next weekend is the Mush for the Cure. It is a fun dog sled run between Gunflint Lake and Trail Trail center to raise money for breast cancer research. Many of the participants dress in pink. There will be about 30 teams. The event starts with a Pink Prom at Trail Center where a king and queen will be crowned. Again check out the website for times and places of events. (Aren't websites wonderful for stuff like this!)
It seems like all the resident animals have been making appearances. Dan Baumann of Golden Eagle Lodge was out grooming one night last week. Even though he never saw them, fresh tracks revealed that Dan was chasing wolves off the ski trails all night. On Flour Lake he counted eight different sets of tracks. Another day he was fishing on Birch Lake when a wolf ran out onto the ice. Dan said it was a beautiful gray wolf that probably weighed 100-110 pounds. When Dan made a noise, the animal did a 90 degree turn and took off into the woods.
Golden Eagle also has a lynx hanging around especially in an area where there is a good rabbit population. On the east end of Flour Lake is a family of five otter who occasionally are seen at the lodge. Moose tracks blend in with all the other tracks. The only thing missing is deer, which are not very plentiful around the lodge this year.
At Bearskin Lodge Sue McCloughan reports that the birds have suddenly returned. When the feeders first went out, they had to be filled daily. Then during January and early February the birds seemed to disappear. Well, they are back again. Pine grosbeaks and woodpeckers are particularly well represented.
Mammal activities at Bearskin have centered around pine martins. One in particular was seen sorting his food on top of the dumpster. One pile must have been the goodies and the other the rejects.
Luana Brandt at Nor'Wester Lodge has had four wolves hanging around. She says they look hungry and she has been keeping a close eye on their dog.
Lin Sherfy at Rockwood Lodge has been watching a flying squirrel that is living somewhere around her house. The animal is eating like crazy and visibly gaining weight. Lin speculates that "Clipper" is pregnant. This will be confirmed if there is a sudden weight loss.
Nancy Seaton at Hungry Jack Outfitters mentioned that now is the time to start planning canoe trips. One of the great aides for first time family canoe trips is a little book called "Becoming a Boundary Waters Family." This book takes you through a step by step process to get your family out on the canoe trails of the BWCAW. If you happen to live near Madison, Wisconsin, and would like to talk with someone about a trip, this group with be attending Canoecopia along with Smokey the Bear later this winter.
Finally we get to fishing. The lake trout have been biting well especially if you are willing to walk a bit. On the Minnesota side of Saganaga (which is in the no motor zone) people have been having great luck. But my favorite fish story came from Barb Gecas at Heston's Lodge. It seems that a father, son and grandson had one day of fishing off of Heston's Point on Gunflint Lake. The pre-teenage boy caught a 15 lb. lake trout. We all agreed that having the boy catch this fish was the best.
All the ski trails and snowmobile trails on the Gunflint Trail are in excellent condition. Word of the good conditions must be spreading because everyone reports good reservations for March. So figure out some dates and come up to see us on the Gunflint Trail.