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 Northerns

Families Enjoy the Gunflint Trail

Posted by: Sue Kerfoot Updated: July 14, 2009 - 3:57 PM
The Gunflint Trail is filled with families exploring the north woods.  They are out hiking, fishing, and searching for blueberries.  Of course, every lake has kids enjoying the water while parents lazily watch.  For many young children, it is their first experience playing in a lake or riding in a canoe.  These children are having the woods and waters of this area imprinted in their lives.  We will be seeing them for years to come.

Many are out trying a little fishing but not all are as lucky as one father was.  Deb Smith of Golden Eagle Lodge reports that Tom Zemlin (Edina, MN) was out fishing with his family on Flour Lake when he hooking a large northern.  They didn't have a bigger enough net in the boat to land the fish so they decided to beach it on shore.  But they didn't want to take a chance on the line getting caught in the motor so they rowed to shore.  It was a very successful beaching operation.  Once the fish was in the boat, they hurried back to Golden Eagle to weigh it.  The northern was 22 lbs and measured 41 1/2 inches.  What a great catch!

Carl Brandt from Nor'Wester Lodge had some guests fishing on Saganaga Lake with Guide Curtis Blake.  Using leeches and slip bobbers, one of the party hooked a 13 lb. (31 3/4") walleye.  There were also many smaller fish in the stringer before the end of the day.

Ever so often even the outfitters and resorters get out to fish.  Debbie Mark from Seagull Outfitters found herself sitting in a boat on Seagull Lake the other day for the first time this summer.  Her reward was a 29" walleye.  She was also using a slip bobber and leech.

Animals are regularly appearing all over the Trail.  Shari Bake from Gunflint Pines had some employees and their friends go down to Trail Center for breakfast.  On the way back they spotted 2 fox and two wolves.  We are just not used to seeing as many wolves as have appeared this summer.  Sue Arhendt of Tuscarora Lodge had some staff members spot a porcupine at the resort.  There used to be lots of porkies on the Trail but the pine marten have reduced the population until they are rarely seen.

Dave Seaton from Hungry Jack Outfitters reported seeing a large Western Racer Snake (a garter snake to me) trying to eat a big toad.  The snake's eyes were bigger than its stomach and the toad got away minus one leg.

Yesterday the Gunflint Trail greeted the Canoe The Heartland paddlers.  These young people are canoeing the Quetico and BWCAW in honor of the 100th anniversary of both parks.  Their big voyageur canoe was a joy to see.  About 150 people gathered at Chik-Wauk Lodge to watch these modern day voyageurs arrive.  There were games for the kids, canoe rides, and a shore lunch cookout for everyone.  The rangers from the U. S. Forest Service and the Quetico Provincial Park presented several very interesting talks about the area.

Tomorrow evening is the annual Gunflint Trail Canoe Races at Gunflint Lodge.  For over 25 years this event has raised money to support the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department.  If you are in the area, be sure to stop by.

Fish Keep Hitting On the Gunflint Trail

Posted by: Sue Kerfoot Updated: July 9, 2009 - 9:06 PM
No matter how nice or how bad the weather is, the Gunflint Trail always had guests finding fish.  Terri Caldwell of Loon Lake Lodge tells of some guests who fished all over Loon Lake with no success.  They came back to the lodge and tried using some ciscoes off the dock.  Pretty soon there were three nice lake trout on their stringer.  Ted Young of Poplar Creek Bed and Breakfast had some guests fishing on Vista Lake which usually has small northerns.  One of the fishermen caught a 40" northern on a Lazy Ike.  Andy Arhendt from Tuscarora Lodge had a party of fishermen come in from the South Arm of Knife Lake.  They had good luck catching large northerns on Daredevils and Red Eyes.

Dave Seaton of Hungry Jack Outfitters took a four-day canoe trip with his sons, Ben and Will, into Rush Lake.  Dave could not believe how many singing birds he heard on the lake.  He said the sound was almost deafening at times.  Among the birds he heard were Cedar Wax Wings, Song Sparrows, and Swallows.  At night he even heard an unknown owl calling.  As part of the trip Dave travelled towards One Island Lake.  He had been there after the Blowdown of 1999 and noticed all the green islands.  On this trip he saw those same green islands untouched by the Ham Lake Fire of 2007.  Dave and his wife, Nancy, have an even longer memory of this area.  Both of them (at different times) took guide training trips through the area with Bruce Kerfoot.  Dave said the portages were muddy then and they still are today.

At Bearskin Lodge, Bob McCloughan reported a cow moose and her calf in camp.  What made it different is that the two animals remained around the main lodge for several hours.  Every one got good views of the animals and lots of pictures.

The prize for animal sighting goes to Rockwood Lodge.  Lin Sherfy said they had a lynx walk through camp in the middle of the afternoon this week.  One of their guests was from El Salvador and just thrilled to see the animal.  The cat must have napped near the lodge because it was later seen drinking from the lake.  The animal stayed around camp for two days.  Lin speculated that it was checking out the groceries since they have lots of fox and rabbits around.

If you are on the Gunflint Trail next week, don't forget the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races at Gunflint Lodge on Wednesday, July 15th.  They run from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m.  In addition to the races, there is food, a huge raffle, kids' games, and a silent auction.  All proceeds from the races go to the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department.

Barb Gecas from Heston's Lodge offered hope for the blueberry crop.  Some of their guests hiked the Magnetic Rock Trail this week.  The five-year-old boy in the party carefully carried back to Barb three ripe blueberries.  As always, blueberry crops are a combination of temperature, sun and rain.  It looks like there will be a good crop this year.

Warmer water brings more fishing activity on the Gunflint Trail

Posted by: Sue Kerfoot Updated: June 4, 2009 - 5:30 PM
The lakes of the Gunflint Trail are starting to warm up.  As a result the fish are becoming more active.  Lake rout are still in shallow waters.  Bob Baker from Gunflint Pines was fishing in North lLake the other day and catching lake trout with stick baits.  He also got walleye and bass on Lindy rigs with night crawlers.  Tom Caldwell from Loon Lake Lodge has a party of three men up from the Twin Cities.  They caught a number of nice northern up to 38" and released them all.  There were also quite a few lake trout with the biggest weighing 15 lb. 4 oz.  Most of their fish were caught with rapalas in about 15 feet of water.  Gunflint Lodge had a party of three men out today (Thursday).  They came in at noon and one of the men, Tom Sehman (Cottage Grove, MN) had a 20 lb. northern caught on a Rapala Tail Dancer.  Debbie Mark from Seagull Canoe Outfitters says that her canoesits are using minnows to catch walleyes on Ogishkemuncie and lake trout on Gabimichigami in the BWCAW.

The big northern story belongs to Roger Campbell, a fishing guide who lives on Poplar Lake.  After being out on the water all day, Roger decided to play around for some small fish.  On his 5 lb P Class Florocarbon Line (this is a professional guide and not me talking), Roger put on a Weed Weasel Jig and a big minnow.  Almost immediately he hooked a huge northern but didn't have a net.  Slowly Roger worked the boat and the fish over to Trail Center Resort.  There he got a net and was able to land the 51" northern pictured above.  One of the neighbors looked on a table correlating fish length to weight for each species.  A 48" northern weighs about 30-31 pounds so this one was somewhat bigger.  Roger said the head was 10" across.  It was a personal record for him.

Ther are still an amazing number of animal sightings all along the Gunflint Trail.  Dave Schudy was fishing along the Clearwater Road one night.  He ran into 3 bull moose on the road.  Linda, our mail lady, has seen 5 moose and 2 wolves in the last two days.  Sue Arhendt from Tuscarora Lodge says they have a pair of trumpeter swans and some moose on Round Lake.  She reports that they co-habitat very well.  Sue was also out running with her dog one day.  They saw a moose and the dog barked as they ran past.  Coming back the moose barked ar them.  I understand that this was a "bark" and not a "snort."  Lin Sherfy from Rockwood Lodge reports that the yearling bear are out and about.  Like many teenagers, they seem to find trouble everywhere.  The moral of Lin's story is to not leave tempting food out for these youngsters to find.


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