Sue Kerfoot

In 1968, Sue married Bruce Kerfoot and moved from Chicago to the Gunflint Trail. They have run the Gunflint Lodge since then. As a novice northwoods resident, she has spent much of that time absorbing the rhythms of the local people and the nature world that make up the Gunflint Trail.

Posts about Fishing

It's Time for the Fall Animal Parade on the Gunflint Trail

Posted by: Sue Kerfoot Updated: September 26, 2009 - 5:02 PM
Once again fall color is still coming to the Gunflint Trail.  I think the true color has held off because we just haven't had any cold weather.  September has been our summer.

Meanwhile, fishing continues to hang in there.  Jon Schei from Gunflint Lodge says that everything is biting on minnows.  Lake trout are still in deep water because the top water has not cooled down.  Walleyes are biting well but there are few big ones.  Smallmouth bass are also biting well but they like the larger minnows.  Down at Hungry Jack Lodge, Forrest Parson still sees some large walleyes coming in.  One guest released a 31" fish this week.  His walleyes are biting on leeches and minnows while the bass like night crawlers.  With this nice weather it is really pleasant to be on the lake all day.

As there get to be fewer people on the Trail and in the BWCA, the animals becaome more obvious.  I have a slug of animal stories this week.

At Tuscarora Lodge, Andy and Sue Ahrendt were awakened the other morning between 4:30 and 5:00 by wolves howling over towards the public landing.  A little later a moose mother camp into camp.  She seemed a little dazed.  Did the wolves get a calf from her?  There was no sign of this yet but it certainly can happen.

At Gunflint we had some guests come off a canoe trip with their own wolf story.  Apparently the Mrs. was using the biffy out back when two wolf pups came into view.  She got scared and called for her husband.  He was too busy to come immediately because he was taking a picture of a wolf in camp.  Eventually he came to help her scare off the pups.

Some neighbors had to make an ambulance run into town the other night.  Everything worked out well but my story is about the ride home.  Shari Baker from Gunflint Pines says they saw a wolf pup, a moose, 6 fox and a bear.  It is getting to the time of year when we see animals on the road regularly.

Nancy Seaton of Hungry Jack Outfitters had her attention drawn to an aspen tree across a split of water.  For some reason four pileated woodpeckers were creating a ruckus over one poor aspen tree.  It is unusual to see two together let alone four.

In spite of the nice weather there are signs that winter is coming.  Barbara Young at Poplar Creek Bed and Breakfast has seen a couple of Juncoes migrating south as have I.  These are on the early end of the migration.  Of course, the real sign of winter is when the snow buntings migrate through.  Also our hummingbirds are gone for the year.  Barbara says another sign of winter preparation is that they got a load of firewood this week.

Sue McCloughan at Bearskin Lodge reported that they have just about finished mowing all their ski trails.  This is a real boon to the fall hikers.  These newly mowed trails are wonderful to explore during the fall.  It is time for all of us to get out and hike a bit.

Beautiful Fall on the Gunflint Trail

Posted by: Sue Kerfoot Updated: September 18, 2009 - 4:44 PM
I hate to repeat myself but the last three weeks on the Gunflint Trail have been just glorious.  It's the fall weather we all dream about.  Temperatures have been in the 60's and 70's during the day.  At night it gets down into the 50's.  The lakes have been staying pretty warm.  Barb Gecas at Heston's Resort said she has guests in this week who have gone swimming every day.  Terri Caldwell at Loon Lake Lodge told me that they had guests swimming too.  Terri even went in herself which does not sound good to me at all.  The leaves are just starting to turn so there is lots of fall color left to come.

Lake trout fishing has been slow and it is probably due to those warm lakes.  We need the surface water temperatues to drop to 50 degrees to bring the trout up.  The other alternative is for the wind to blow steadily for several days from one direction.  That will "turn the lake over" and bring the cold waters up.

Walleye fishing has been good.  There aren't a lot of big ones but lots of eaters.  Forrest Parson at Hungry Jack Lodge says his guests have been catching walleye in the evenings.  He said they have also been doing well on pan fish in Little Iron Lake and bass are buiting everywhere.  Debbie Mark at Seagull Outfitters says that Seagull Lake homeowners are catching walleyes in 14 feet of water.  Barb Gecas says her guests had a ball catching northerns on Iron Lake.

Moose are starting to reappear in anticipation of the rut.  Ted Young from Poplar Creek Bed and Breakfast says that a bull moose spent 45 minutes in their yard.  Guests were taking pictures and videos left and right.  The next morning one of the video cameramen came in very disheartened.  He had been playing with his camera and managed to erase all the moose video.

Lin Sherfy at Rockwood Lodge had guests running in to tell her about a huge bull moose on the Gunflint Trail between Rockwood and Old Northwoods.  Lin also had guests trying to portage from Morgan Lake to Jake.  A bull moose blocked the portage and refused to let them through.

Teresa Baumann from Golden Eagle Lodge is still harvesting berries.  This time it was chokecherries which she made into jam.  It is a big project involving boiling the berries and mashing them through a sieve before making the jam.  Lin Sherfy mentioned that there are still a few blueberries out there.

Sue Ahrendt from Tuscarora Lodge hiked the new Centenial Trail in her backyard.  You start at the Kekekabic parking lot and go in near the Paulson Mine.  On the way back you take a new loop.  This loop gives you a beautiful view of the ponds on the Round Lake Road.  At one point there is almost a tunnel made by the forest overhead.  Another spot takes you up and down where a trestle for the railroad used to be.  The entire loop is about 3.3 miles and ends up back at the Kekekabic parking lot.

Last night Barb Gecas went out on the lake in a boat after dark.  This is the dark side of the moon so she was treated to a spectacular display of stars.  She said the Milky Way was particularly stunning.  I often advise winter guests to walk out on the lake after dinner for the same kind of start show.

It Is Indian Summer On The Gunflint Trail

Posted by: Sue Kerfoot Updated: September 11, 2009 - 3:46 PM
Somehow the Gunflint Trail has blossomed into Indian Summer.  The last week or so has been just beautiful.  After a cool summer, this warm weather is what we have all been looking for.  The leaves are just starting to turn so there should be lots of great fall weather still to come.

Bob Baker from Gunflint Pines Resort says that fishing is improving some.  The walleyes have been biting well on Saganaga Lake.  Most of them are in the "eater" class.  Jigs with live bait have worked the best.  The warm weather has made it very nice to spend the day fishing.  Forrest Parson at Hungry Jack Lodge sent me a great picture of a walleye caught and released by one of his guests.  The walleye was 31.5 inches long.  Tom Caldwell from Loon Lake Lodge told me that the father and son who did so well fishing on Loon earlier returned this week.  They fished on Little Iron Lake and had great luck with walleyes.  Their fish were all in the 2 lb. plus size.  Tom says tht he can't remember when a guest has had such good luck with walleyes on Little Iron.

If you are going to be up on the Gunflint Trail on Monday, September 21st, there will be an interesting program you may want to attend.  Mark Jirsa, a Univeristy of Minnesota Geologist, will be leading an interpretive walk to two Sudbury meteorite impact sites.  As you may know, Mark has been discovering evidence that a huge meteoite that landed in Sudbury, Ontario, (500 miles away) blew ejecta to our area.  The walk will start at the gravel pit on the Gunflint Narrows Road (formerly Warren's Road) at 4:15 p.m.   At 6:30 p.m. on the same day, Mark will give a presentation at the Gunflint Lodge on this topic.

There is a new hiking trail going in on the Gunflint Trail.  Many of you have probably hiked in on the Kekekabic Hiking Trail to the Paulson Mine.  This mine was accessed by a railroad that came from Thunder Bay, Ontario, in 1893.  They dug some test pits and took out one load of what was supposed to be high grade iron ore.  It turned out to be taconite which could not be proccessed at that time.

The Kekekabic had gone past the mine site on its way to Ely for many years.  This fall the U. S. Forest Service is building a loop trail out to the mine site and even using some of the old railroad grades that lead to the mine.  The plan is to finish the entire trail this fall.  Yesterday I heard one dynamite blast coming from the trail work.  Next time you are up on the Trail, be sure to plan a hike on this new trail.

Gunflint Trail Guests Had a Beautiful Week in the Woods.

Posted by: Sue Kerfoot Updated: August 29, 2009 - 11:32 AM
Generally speaking we had a beautiful week on the Gunflint Trail.  All our guests were outside on the waterfront.  Kids were learning to paddle kayaks and canoes or just throwing rocks in the lake.  Fishermen were out with guides.  Many decided to eat lunch and dinner on the patio.  On Friday the weather changed and it was rainy.  As I look out my window today, things appear to be lightening up.  Bruce predicts it will clear this afternoon.

Guide Jon Schei from Gunflint Lodge has been catching lake trout by trolling with crank baits.  One of his guests brought in an 11 lb. trout.  It measured 34" in length.  He has also had luck with walleyes using leeches and night crawlers.  On the other hand Guide Dennis Todd has been catching walleyes in 18-30 feet of water using minnows.  Live bait of any kind seems to be the way to catch walleyes right now.  Dennis has also been catching a lot of 2-3 lb. lake trout in 40-65 feet of water jigging with spoons.  Mike Prom from Voyageur Canoe Outfitters reports that he had a party come in from the Granite River who did great using night crawlers for smallmouth bass and even got one up to 20".  Debbie Mark at Seagull Outfitters says her canoe parties are also catching lots of smallmouth bass and northern pike.  Shari Baker from Gunflint Pines sent her boys out fishing with their grandfather on Saganaga Lake.  They had good luck with walleyes.

We had a house fire up on Saganaga last week.  Shari said she saw a wolf on the road as she drove up to the fire.  Barb Gecas from Heston's  commented on how many wolves we have all seen this summer.  She feels all the wolves will keep the deer population down and give more of the young trees a chance to grow rather than be eaten by the deer.

Barb also mentioned that one of the homeowners watched a bear swim across Gunflint Lake from Canada.  It is not very often that you see that.  Everyone has been seeing an exceptional number of bear this summer.  With all the ripe berries, the bear have really had a feast.

We are finally getting near the end of the blueberry and raspberry seasons.  Both of these berries have been particularly prolific and long-lasting this summer.  We have all been earting fresh berries, pies and jam but the end is in sight.

Barbara Young at Poplar Creek Bed and Breakfast hasd a guest exploring a large open area behind their lodge.  This man is a hunter and he was counting the number of moose beds in this area.  He counted over 20 places where resting moose had flattened down the grasses.  Barbara and I wondered how many moose that represented.

Danny Baumann at Golden Eagle is starting to look ahead to the winter season.  This is the time of year when he starts mowing his ski trails.  It serves a dual puprose.  First they are ready for the ski season but before that his fall guests will have some great hiking trails.

I am taking a week off from writing.  Bruce and I will be out hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park next week.

Gunflint Trail resorts and outfitters busy with vacationers

Posted by: Sue Kerfoot Updated: July 31, 2009 - 11:08 AM

Everyone I talked with today tells me that business on the Gunflint Trail is busy, busy, busy.  That's the way it should be.  Bob Baker of Gunflint Pines says that lake trout are biting well on Gunflint and North lakes.  They are in 40-60 feet of water and will bite on whatever you throw at them.  Jigging has worked well with small spoons similar to Swedish Pimples.  You let the lure sink to the bottom and then reel it up quickly.  The trout have been following the lure until it is as close as five feet to the boat before biting.  Walleyes have been a little slower in 12-15 feet of water.  Smallmouth bass are hitting well with bobbers using leeches and nightcrawlers.  Andy Ahrendt at Tuscarora Lodge says some of his cabin guests have been doing well fishing for brook trout at an unnamed lakes.  They are trolling with small spinners and catching lots of fat fish.  It all sounds tasty to me.

The big news of the week is blueberries.  Andy said they had their first blueberry pie at Tuscarora.  Luana Brandt at Nor'Wester Lodge is also into baking blueberry pies.  Her brother-in-law, Paul, picks the berries and she bakes the pies.  Luana says it is a "match made in heaven."  If the blueberry harvest continues to be this good, Luana is going to get Husband Carl to make blueberry wine.

In addtion to blueberries, the raspberries are now appearing all over.  This is my favorite fruit to pick.  All winter long I look at the 1/2 pint containers (that's 1 cup!) of raspberries in the grocery store at $3-4 each.  With the first picking of raspberries, Bruce and I sit down with a big bowl for dessert one night.  That is when I know that my life is rich.  Friends and family feel that way when they get their raspberry jam for Christmas.

Andy McDonnell at Bearskin Lodge has added to the continuing saga of their cow and calf moose.  A couple days ago the animals laid down right in front of the lodge dining room windows.  It was time for a four hour nap.  Who knows how many pictures were taken during that time.  No one at the lodge has seen the pair for the past couple of days.  They have probably moved on to another spot in the forest but it sure was interesting while the twosome was at Bearskin.  We'll see what Andy has to say next week.

Some friends from Texas were staying at Poplar Creek Bed and Breakfast this week.  They reminded me to tell you that the mushrooms are HUGE this summer due to the rain.  Big yellow and red ones are all over.  It is just great fun to see them.  Of course, all you do is look at mushrooms.  It's too easy to get into serious trouble if you try to eat them.

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