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.
Everyone on the Gunflint Trail reports an increase in fishing success. In spite of windy days and cool temperatures, the walleyes are moving out of the spawning areas. They are still pretty scattered but people are catching some nice sized fish and some eaters. Lake trout are also biting again and even the bass are feeding. The bass, however, are not up on the spawning beds yet. That will be another week or so.
On Saganaga Lake Mike Berg from Seagull Creek Fishing Camp had out Robie Wayne (Minnetonka, MN). They caught and released a 30 1/2", 20 1/2" and 28" walleye plus an 18" smallmouth bass. Smaller walleyes were caught for shore lunch. Ken Peters (White Bear Lake, MN) released a 28 1/2" walleye. Guide Curtis Blake had out Henry Withers (Savage, MN) and Martin Berskow (Bloomington, MN) on both Seagull and Saganaga Lakes. In addition to walleyes ranging from 24-27 inches, they had fish for dinner and fish to take home.
On Gunflint Lake Jon Schei took out the Wildenauer Party (Woodbury,MN). They caught 5 northern, some bass and a lake trout. It was all done during a little morning fishing. Above is their catch of northern. The lake trout was eaten and the bass released.
In the mid-Trail area Forrest Parsons of Hungry Jack Lodge reports that the bass are active right now. Walleyes are biting best in the evening hours. Teresa Baumann of Golden Eagle Lodge also had guests catching walleyes right off the dock during the evening hours. Forrest says that live bait have worked best for walleyes while suspended crank baits have been best for bass.
Andy Arendt from Tuscarora Outfitters has had several parties doing well with lake trout on the interior lakes of the BWCAW such as Tuscarora, Little Saganaga and Long Island. In these lakes the late trout are caught in 10-15 feet of water while trolling with a Sutton Spoon tipped with ciscos
Everyone along the Trail has been excited about the return of summer birds. Nor'Wester's eagle is back says Luana Brandt. Barbara Young at Boundary Country Trekking had guests from Illinois out on a guided birding walk. The guests added four birds (3 warblers and a flicker) to their life lists. Nancy Seaton of Hungry Jack Outfitters saw her first hummingbird for the year. Lots of partridge sightings are still being reported everywhre. A homeowner on Gunflint walked her side road and saw 17 partridge. But the bird sighting of the week goes to Bruce Kerfoot who saw a Baltimore Oriole at Gunflint's feeding station.
Finally, here's a reminder from Lin Sherfy at Rockwood Lodge to keep alert and drive carefully. Yesterday's wind blew a small tree across one lane of the Gunflint Trail near them. About 6:00 p.m. a car with a canoe on top came along that lane. There was another car coming in the opposite lane. Our first driver decided he couldn't stop so he hit the tree with his car. His aluminum canoe was swept right off the car. No one was hurt but the canoe.