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 Walleye

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.

Warm Weather Should Hit the Gunflint Trail In Time for the Holiday Weekend

Posted by: Sue Kerfoot Updated: July 2, 2009 - 1:19 PM
The Gunflint Trail has had some rain and cooler weather the last week or so.  Things were dry and dusty so we can't even complain about the rain.  Word is that sunshine is coming for the weekend.  It will be welcomed.

Fishing contines to have bright spots along the Trail.  Jon Schei from Gunflint Lodge had the Bell party (Duluth, MN) out on Saganaga Lake the other day.  They caught 12 walleyes up to 26" with crawlers.  The fish were in 10-13 feet of water.  The party then went on to catch 8 lake trout with six of them being in the 6 lb. range on crank baits.  The trout were in 40-55 feet of water.  Shari Baker of Gunflint Pines reports that smallmouth bass are still biting well in shallow water with bobbers or casting.

Tom Caldwell from Loon Lake Lodge had a great fishing story to tell.  Harold and Matt Becker (Elmhurst, IL) are staying at the lodge to celebrate the son's 47th birthday.  They spent one day fishing on Loon Lake.  During that day they caught a 39" northern, 6 18" walleyes and 2 14" smallmouth bass.  It is great to hear of a father and son taking a fishing trip together and the successful day was just the icing on the cake.

Sue Arhendt of Tuscarora Lodge reminded me of an upcoming event on the Trail.  If you are going to be here on July 13th, you might want to consider visiting the Chik-Wauk Museum on Moose Pond Road.  The Heart of the Continent Partnership is working with the Gunflint Trail Asscoiation and the Gunflint Trail Historical Society to welcome canoers participating in the Canoe the Heart of the Continent.  These canoers are taking 18 days to paddle 350 miles along the boarder.  The event is to help mark the 100th anniversary of both the Superior National Forest and the Quetico Provincial Park.  Activities start around 11:00 a.m. with a shore lunch fish fry being served at 12:00 to 1:00.  Throughout the day there will be talks, slide shows, children's games, etc.  There will be something for everyone in the family to do.  The Heart of the Continent Partnership's goal is to preserve the heritage of the border lakes region.

All the Gunflint Trail lakes are welcoming summer residents.  After being quiet for so many months, it is good to see the population burst with those we only get to see in the summer. 

Lake trout on the Gunflint in 40-50 feet of water.

Posted by: Sue Kerfoot Updated: June 23, 2009 - 10:27 AM

As the Gunflint Trail lakes warm up, fishing is changing a bit.  The lake trout have moved into 40-50 feet of water and are biting on crank baits.  Nice sized walleyes are still coming in.  Teresa Baumann at Golden Eagle Lodge had one of the Sacharski brothers from the Chicago area catch a 9lb 2oz walleye on a blue rapala.   Walleyes have also been biting well on spinners with crawlers in about 15-18 feet of water.  Adam Treeful guiding out of Gunflint Lodge took a 19-year old guest to North Lake yesterday.  They caught 15 large walleyes.  Meanwhile on Northern Light Lake the Osbourne familly (Orlando, FL) has been fishing with Dennis Todd for a couple days.  Dad Tom caught a 28 1/2" walleye, son Duncan got a 30" walleye and Mom Debbie caught a 32 1/2" walleye.  They also got lots of smaller walleyes.  Most were caught on jigs.  Mary Jane Pratt (Edina, MN) and her daughter Karen were out on Saganaga with Jon Schei yesterday.  They caught 25 lake trout up to 8 lbs in size.  Throughout the week the bass have continued to bite well.  Shari Baker of Gunflint Pines says that her guests have been casting for them with artificial lures.

Lynn Pauloski from Clearwater Lodge reports that the dragon flies have hatched.  Aside from being beautiful to watch, they eat mosquitoes.  That is enough to make them welcome every summer.

Animals sightings continue to come in. Perhaps the most interesting are the wolves.  Debbie Mark from Seagull Outfitters says that her guests have seen wolves between Seagull Lake and Round Lake.  They have also seen a wolf on the Moose Pond Road.  Jon Schei has also seen wolves between Seagull and Round Lakes.  It is unusual to see any wolves during the summer, let alone this many.

The biggest sightings of the week have been the explosion of wildflowers brought on by the warmer temperatures.  The latest list features blue bead lily, prickly wild rose, bunchberries, lupine and lady slippers.  One of my neighbors on the Trail has 24 lady slipper blooming in her yard.  Even though lupine are technically considered an "invasive, non-native plant," they are still striking to see in bloom.  Down along Poplar Lake and on the South Gunflint Lake road are two prime places to see them.  Soon the blue flag iris will be in bloom.  The best place to see them is in a pond just south of Trail Center.  You can see it from the road but watch for other cars.  Nancy Seaton of Hungry Jack Outfitters tells me that the frogs in that pond have been especially noisy at night lately.

Planning ahead a couple weeks, it is nice to see the tiny wild strawberry plants loaded with berries.  Picking them is an on-your-knees job requiring lots of patience.  Only A list people get my wild strawberry jam.

That's it from the Gunflint Trail for today.

Gunflint Trail Hosts Jim Klobuchar's Annual Bike Ride

Posted by: Sue Kerfoot Updated: June 18, 2009 - 5:40 PM

The Gunflint Trail welcomed Jim Klobuchar's 35th annual bike ride this week.  The trip started with some days on the North Shore.  Then it was time for the long ride up the Trail.  They journeyed up to Gunflint Lodge, Gunflint Northwoods Outfitters and Gunflint Pines for two nights.  All 183 people enjoyed a "duff" day exploring the lakes of the Trail.  Most decided on activities other than biking for this one day.  It was a great group to visit us.

Fishing didn't stop while the bikers were here.  Mike Berg of Seagull Fishing Camp reports that cooler weather earlier in the week didn't stop his guests from having good luck.  Bob Alton (Fort Pierce, FL), Chuck Rexroat (Sycamore, IL) and several friends limited out with eater-sized walleyes and released a few big ones.  The week warmed up and Dave Becker (St. Paul, MN) and Bob Invie (St. Louis Park, MN) had good luck fishing on both Saganaga and Northern Light Lakes.  The bigger walleyes kept on biting but the eaters slowed down a bit.  Minnows and leeches worked best.  Down at the mid-Trail area, Forrest Parsons of Hungry Jack Lodge said that Todd Peterson (Edina, MN) caught a beautiful 30", 10 lb. walleye.  And of course, the smallmouth bass are still providing plenty of action on the spawning beds.

The Becoming A Boundary Waters Family seminars are educating even the local residents.  At Poplar Creek Bed and Breakfast, Barbara Young said Ellen from the Tofte U. S. Forest Service station gave a talk on birds of this area.  One of Ellen's interesting points related to birding generally in the area.  The American Bird Conservancy rates the Superior National Forest as one of 100 globally important bird areas.  This is because of our sparse population and acres of uninhabited land throughout the forest.  Those of us who live here tend to take our variety of birds for granted but the outside world thinks this area offers some superb birding opportunities.

This column could be filled with reports of animal sightings.  In the last years the frequency of sightings has been on the rise.  Many feel that the explanation lies in the Blowdown of 1999, the Cavity Lake Fire of 2006 and the Ham Lake Fire of 2007.  These three events have lead to many acres of new growth in the forest adjacent to the Gunflint Trail.  The young forest offers much more sunshine and feed for animals.  So we look forward to an increase in sightings.

At this time of year, the forest young are making their first appearances.  Luana Brandt of Nor'Wester Lodge says one of her employees was driving to work when a partridge family crossed the road.  The young were just "puffballs" of feathers.  Our favorite fox, Gimpy at Moosehorn Bed and Breakfast, brought one of his kits to visit owner, Paula Beattie.  Mark Darling at Way of the Wilderness Outfitters had a visit from a repeat guest.  It was a turtle who buries her eggs each year right in front of his main building.    She did it again this year.  As you visit the Gunflint Trail look carefully to see which animals you can observe. 

Notes from the Gunflint

Posted by: Sue Kerfoot Updated: June 15, 2009 - 2:50 PM

Up and down the Gunflint Trail, I am hearing reports that the smallmouth bass are on the spawning beds.  Most fishermen are using surface lures such as poppers.  Pound for pound, smallmouth bass have more fight in them than most other fish.  If you have a young fisherman in your family, this is the perfect way to get them hooked on fishing.  Every fish they hook feels like a lunker.

In addition the walleyes and lake trout continue to bite.  Bob Baker at Gunflint Pines says that walleyes on Saganaga have been doing well on leeches and crawlers.  He also said that lake trout on North Lake have been biting on stick baits.  Luana Brandt at Nor'Wester Lodge reports that fishing is great for walleyes and lake trout at secret spots.  Apparently her staff has really gotten into fishing.  The guys fix up all the rods and lures and give them to the girls who catch all the fish.  Remember too that as our waters warm up the lake trout are going into deeper water.  They like about 50 degree tempeatures and follow the cooler water down as the top waters warm up.

Sue Ahrendt from Tuscarora Lodge reminded me that a series of seminars will be going on all over the Gunflint Trail this summer.  Basically they revolve around a new program of the Gunflint Trail outfitters called Becoming A Boundary Waters Family.  The outfitters have even put out a book by this name that is packed with practical information on taking your family on a canoe trip. Considering the authors of the book, this is expert advice.  You can also get information about this program on their website,

It seems like there has been an explosion in the moose population all along the Gunflint Trail.  For the past weeks I have been regularly reporting moose sightings.  Usually the number os sightings starts to slow down as there are more tourists on the Trail.  For some reason, people are still seeing lots and lots of moose.  Ted Young at Poplar Creek Bed and Breakfast reported about guests who were hung up by a moose on Horseshoe Lake just where it narrows on the way to Vista Lake.  After an hour they crept along the furtherest shoreline to get around the moose.

Luana Brandt has also reported that the blueberry bushes are full of white blossoms.  Now it is down to the correct mixture of a little rain and a little sunshine for a great crop.  Luana's mother-in-law, Alis, used to be the #1 blueberry picker on the Trail.  Those berries were then turned into to awesome blueberry pies.  Luana learned the pie-making area very well from Alis.  So long about the last week of July start checking your favorite secret spots for blueberries.


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