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 Trout

Gunflint Trail fishing holds up.

Posted by: Sue Kerfoot Updated: June 8, 2009 - 4:13 PM

It's been cool enough on the Gunflint Trail that most of us are starting to think that global warming is a rumor.  No matter what the weather conditions, there are still lots of people catching fish.  Mike Berg from Seagull Creek Fishing Camp reports that Sally Noll (St. Paul, MN) got a nice 31" walleye on Saganaga Lake.  Most of Mike's parties have been bringing in enough walleyes for some great meals.  Forrest Parsons at Hungry Jack Lodge contributed the picture above.  He says that leeches and slip bobbers have done the best on Hungry Jack Lake.  Dan Baumann at Golden Eagle Lodge says that his guests have been catching walleyes on perch, vampire and blaze orange rapalas.  He also says that northerns continue to be good on adjacent lakes.  Shari Baker at Gunflint Pines Resort agreed with everyone else that the lake trout are still in shallow water.  Sue Ahrendt from Tuscarora Lodge had a party of six people come in from a four-day canoe trip.  They caught 89 lake trout.  The guests said they caught them on anything, in shallow or deep waters, from a canoe or from the shore.  Lin Sherfy of Rockwood Lodge also had a canoe party come in who had good luck with walleyes.  This party of four limited out as they paddled in from their trip.  A picture of their fish can be found on Rockwood's blog at rockwoodlodgeoutfitters.blogspot.com.  Mike Prom from Voyageur Canoe Outfitters even got out fishing himself the other night.  He caught eight walleyes on floating rapalas.  Mike says they are using leeches for walleyes during the day.

Many guests and residents on the Gunflint Trail explore the area on day canoe trips.  One of the most popular is into Johnson Falls.  You start out on East Bearskin Lake and portage to Alder Lake and then portage to Canoe Lake.  From there it is a matter of walking the portage trail into Pine Lake.  Almost at the end of this long portage, a well-beaten path leads off to the left (west) and Johnson Falls.  The falls are a fairly narrow gorge with a surprisingly long drop.  What many do not know is that there is a pool at the base of the falls with trout in it.  You must fish the pool from the shore as it is some distance from the lake.  Sue McCouglin from Bearskin Lodge told me that often times guests don't allow enough time for this day trip.  The guests ae pretty good figuring out how long the travel time back and forth is.  What they don't realize is that most everyone ends up spending a fair amount of time exploring around the falls.

Shari Baker reminded me that this is a special time of year for moose since the bull's antlers are still "in velvet."  It is an annual growth stage for the antlers and it passes quite quickly.  The antlers look very soft and velvety as they are growing to full size.

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.

Cooler Weather Keeps Gunflint Trail Trout in the Shallows

Posted by: Sue Kerfoot Updated: June 1, 2009 - 4:03 PM
The Gunflint Trail has been cool and windy lately.  The wind has brought cooler water to the surface of lakes.  The result has been good lake trout fishing in shallow waters.  Barb Gecas of Heston's Lodge reports that this is what is happening on Gunflint Lake.  Nancy Seaton of Hungry Jack Outfitters says her guests have had good luck in the shallows with rapalas for Lake Trout.  Forrest Parsons at Hungry Jack Lodge had a party of guests limit out in Duncan Lake on trout two days in a row.  The fish were in the 2-3 lb. range -- that's great eating.  Guests returning to Tuscarora Lodge from canoe trips experienced similar fishing in the interior lakes of the BWCAW said owner Andy Arendt.

Several places reported that the walleys are doing well.  Sue McCouglin at Bearskin Lodge said this has been true on both East Bearskin and outlying lakes.  Mike Sherfy at Rockwood Lodge had guests catching smallmouth bass up to 20" with leeches and slip bobbers off the lodge dock.  Mike Prom at Voyaguer Outfitters had a fisherman bring in a 44" northern with a rapala on Saganaga Lake.  Luana Brandt at Nor'Wester says walleyes are comin in.  She doesn't know what they are catching them on but she is selling a lot of leeches and crawlers.  Maybe that's a hint.

Nancy Waver at Trout Lake Lodge said the DNR just stocked Trout Lake with about 7500 yearling rainbow trout.  The fish were 8" long.  By the 4th of July their flesh will be pink and they will just fit into a frying pan.

Up at Way of the Wilderness Outfitters, Mark Darling reports that the eagle who normally nests at Trails End Campsite #13 did not return this year.  This is not the first time it has happened.  The eagle did not come before the blowdown in 1999 but came back after the Ham Lake fire.  They speculated that the new nest was burned.  It will be interesting next summer to see if the bird is back.

As usual the Gunflint Trail is full of animal sightings.  One of the most interesting occurred to guests from Rockwood Lodge.  Two different parties ran into a bull moose while hiking the South Lake Trail.  The moose intimidated both parties who turned around and came home.  Over at Gunflint Pines, Shari Baker says that otters have been feasting on minnows in buckets tied to her dock at night.  One of the guests even got a picture.  Paula Beattie at Moosehorn Bed and Breakfast said her guests saw a doe with a spotted fawn on the North Gunflint Lake Road.  Mama quickly sent the fawn off to lie down in the woods for protection.  The guests were thrilled to get a good view of one of the Trail's newest residents.

I know that many of you like to keep up with events on the Gunflint Trail.  One of the easiest ways to do this is to follow the blogs at www.gunflint-trail.com.  Many resorts post their blogs to this site so you get a good feel of what is going on up and down the Trail. 

Gunflint Trail Shines over the Weekend

Posted by: Sue Kerfoot Updated: May 25, 2009 - 5:31 PM
It was a beautiful Memorial Day weekend on the Gunflint Trail.  Every business seemed to have people out to enjoy the first hints of summer.  Saturday afternoon and Sunday were picture perfect days.  We even had some kids playing in the water at the beach.  It seemed a little early for me but they were having a great time.  Many guests just wanted to hike or take a boat ride on the lake.  It was a long winter and there is something about being on the water that tells you summer is here.

Fishing, expecially for trout, was good.  The picture above shows Tom Baumbeger who was fishing off his cabin dock at Clearwater Canoe Outfitters and Lodge.  It was noon and he decided to throw his spinner out one more time before stopping for lunch.  It turned out to be a pretty good choice.  Few of us would turn down this lake trout.  The fish measured in at 36" and 14 pounds.  Lynn Pauloski, the owner at Clearwater, said that Tom was pretty excited.

Sue Arendt at Tuscarora said the lake trout in the interior lakes of the BWWCAW are still biting like crazy.  One of their returning guests said the fishing was so good that it was like the trout were "goofy."  All in all her canoeists had some great fishing over the weekend.

Guests from Rockwood Canoe Outfitters agreed that the lake trout fishing was great.  They were in South Lake and figured they could catch as many fish as they wanted.  Like most canoeiss, the majority of their fish were catch and release.  You keep enough for dinner and release everything else.

Down at Gunflint Pines the Baumehen party (Hibbing, MN) also had good lake trout fishing.  They were trolling and caught 8 nice lake trout.  Shari Baker said that on Friday the Tischer party (Carleton, MN) caught a 27" and a 23" walleye.  Since the fish were full of spawn, they released them.  The Eilers part (Coon Rapids, MN) came to see moose.  Over the course of three days, they spotted four moose.

Luana Brandt at Nor'Wester Lodge reports that they have a cow moose with twins.  She also said that there is a mother fox who is feeding her kits right along the road.  This mother seems comfortable with people watching but not touching her babies.

Poplar Creek Bed and Breakfast had five fishermen who went down to Swamp Lake.  They got enough walleyes for a great dinner including a 20" fish and a 25" northern.  If we catch enough fish for a fresh fish dinner, I consider the trip a success.

Hungry Jack Lake has been having good walleye fishing according to Forrest Parsons of Hungry Jack Lodge.  Ken Miller (Atlanta, GA) caught a 24" walleye with a streamer fly.  Ken Radau caught a 30" walleye with a leech.

Andy McDonnell at Bearskin Lodge says that fishing for walleys is good there too.  Live bait like leeches and minnows is working great on Lindy Rigs, slip bobbers and lead head jigs.

Gunflint Trail fishing slows with cool weather

Posted by: Sue Kerfoot Updated: May 18, 2009 - 3:16 PM
On Saturday the winds kicked up on the lakes of the Gunflint Trail.  For most of the day it blew strongly with gusts up to 45 miles per hour.  The temperature was low and there were some snow fluries in the air.  The result was that very few fishermen choose to get out on the lakes.  Those who were out fishing said that the trout had stopped biting probably due to the cold weather.

By Sunday the wind had dropped.  The sun came out and everything warmed up a bit.  The fish, however, were still not cooperating.  I saw a couple of 3-3 1/2 lb. lake trout that came in at Gunflint.  They were caught by Paul O'Brien of Blaine, MN, and Gary Carlson of Minneapolis, MN.  The men were fishing with Husky Jerks from the Rapala family of lures.  Surprisingly when the fish were filleted, their stomachs were empty.  Usually there is something to give you an idea of what the fish were feeding on.  It does lead one to believe that the trout will soon be actively feeding again as the temperatures warm up.

Spring seems to be slowly coming along.  Nancy Seaton at Hungry Jack Canoe Outfitters estimated that the wildflowers were about two weeks behind their regular schedule.  Poplars, pincherry trees, and raspberries are all leafing out.  The birch have a ways to go yet before they sprout some leaves.  With all the poplars leafing out, there is a lime green "hazy" as you look at a stand of poplars from across the lake.  This spring phenomenon only lasts for a few days until the leaves are fully out.

There was an unusual couple of birds on Gunflint Lake yesterday.  They were an adult pair of trumpeter swans.  These are new visitors to the Gunflint Trail.  The only other place I have heard of them on the Trail is down the Granite River in 2007.  With their tall straight necks, the birds look very regal.

For those of you thinking ahead to fall hunting, several people have commented about seeing a lot of partridge this spring.  The birds have also been heard drumming.  Last year we had a slow partridge season so maybe there will be more birds this year. 

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