|Boundary Waters Canoe Area- The Ultimate Outdoor Experience|
July was another incredible month! Here we highlight three groups who all had a true Boundary Water adventure.
The Dickinson group consisted of 6 people from the ages of 13 (our youngest to date!) to 66 years old. We were 2 hours into the trip, heading down the Nina Moose River when I saw an Eagle flying toward me and then over me. As I watched it pass by, it swooped down right in front of everybody in the group and plucked a 15” Smallie out of the water as though it had done it a hundred times before. The group, who was before silent, broke out in celebration as the eagle flew off. I could tell at that point that this group was not only interested in the fishing but all that the Boundary Waters has to offer.
The Mayfly hatch was in full swing but we still managed to catch a bunch of Northerns. Smallies and a few Walleyes. This group did well considering they were not battle harden anglers. On this trip the #1 lure was the j-9 Rapala with the Firetiger finish. The top water action was very exciting. With the help of my newfound guide Walt, his son Steve was able to catch a bunch of fish including a 19” Smallie and a 30” Northern.
And we can’t forget Jim’s daughterStephanie (AKA the Walleye Slayer) who set the bar with her 1st Walleye right off the campsite.
Last but not least is were the Vandenbergs who had the
patience that all fisherman should have and it eventually paid off.
We had a couple of day trips which included a trip to the Bottle Rapids and a trip to the Lac La Croix pictographs where Stephanie compared her hand with Indians of the past.
The Slater group was our only all women’s group this year. This group had women of all ages Lucy, Jill, Kat, Rose and Pam. They proved that they could not only handle it, but they excelled at camp life and were one of the most organized groups I have ever taken out. They tackled the wilderness and the rugged landscape like champs and weren't afraid to get their feet wet. They carried the canoes and equipment the whole trip. The weather was pretty good except for a 5 minute downpour which they said added to experience. While paddling down the Nina Moose River, a deer stood within a few feet. We also saw Otters and Eagles everyday… even a Mink.
The funniest moment of the trip was when Jill hooked a Pike but it broke her line. She said the fish was as long as her leg! We all laughed and resumed fishing. Moments later Lucy hooked a decent Pike and after a few minutes I grabbed it and brought it aboard. I was baffled when I saw it had two lures in its mouth. Then I realized that it was the same pike that broke Jill's line. We were all cracking up. I hear that Jill still isn’t over that!
While fishing off the shore of our campsite, Pam realized a giant Snapping turtle was stealing fish from the our stringer. I was fed up and had a bout of insanity and jumped in the lake and grabbed that snapper by the tail. Don't try this at home!
The girls made me laugh everynight over the campfire as we played "Would you rather?" One afternoon, Jill and Rosie gathered wood and built me a kitchen table. We left it for the next group to enjoy.
These ladies did well. They were very proud of themselves, as they should be. They met their goals and learned some wilderness skills that will last them a lifetime. They tied their own knots, fished with artificial lures, caught, netted and ate their own catch.
But the highlight of the trip was the last night. Just before night fall, Jill and Pam paddled up, secretive but proud. We all knew they had fish! They lifted the stringer to reveal 2 Northerns and 3 Walleyes. We let the Northerns go and filleted the Walleyes for our last supper. This was an incredible evening and the sunset was inspiring.
Last but not least... there was Mike… the smallest group to highlight here... it was only me and him. Mike has good wilderness skills and is an avid angler and canoeist. Before entering the BWCA, he was backpacking for three weeks in Montana. We reached our campsite in record time! He not only had his heart set on the usual Walleye, Pike and Smallie but he really wanted big Bluegills. (I don’t mind telling you that it put a little bit of pressure on me.) We went ... we caught... we slammed (!) the bluegills along with all the other species we caught. (~ 40 to 50 – 9+” gills) He is a hardcore angler as we fished 8 to 9 hours a day.
A once in a lifetime thing happened on this trip! We were fishing in the middle of the day and the fishing had slowed down a bit. I was laidback and soaking it all in when I felt a tug on the canoe. The fish on the stringer were a little feisty. I grabbed the stringer and gently pulled on it. I thought it felt a little heavy then I checked the other side of the canoe to see if it was caught in the anchor rope. Nope, it was all clear. When I pulled the stringer from underneath the canoe I pulled up a 40” to 45” Northern with my stringer in his JAWS. I yelled for Mike to look. Mike was so caught off guard he didn’t know what to do… put on a bigger lure or keep fishing? The Northern came slowly to the surface right next to me, it let the stringer go and slowly swam off. I noticed it had one of our Jigs in the corner of his jaw. We were laughing at what just happened and then we looked down and the fish had come back again. I tried to grab the stringer with my hand and saw there were two monsters... both the same size trying to grab the stringer! I reached down and grabbed one of the slimy Northern by its tail but it slipped through my grasp and swam off. Mike threw me a landing glove and I spent the next few minutes jigging with a stringer of fish in one hand and a ready with a landing glove in the other. We never saw them again but that is a memory that we will never forget.
Looking forward to seeing you all soon.
Please check out the slide show from the July trips... Click the image below!
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