May 28, 2011

Lakers in the fridge

The first week of the Minnesota fishing season passed uneventfully here in the eastern Boundary Waters... Too cold, nothing doing. 
But we kept after them, day after day, paddling after work against the gusting winds. Crankbaits, spoons silvery blue and copper with pink, dead oily ciscos, tiny spinners and monstrous depthraiders. We hit 'em with the kitchen sink and the cast iron stove and a pile of buttermilk pancakes. We whistled at 'em, called out to them from the shoreline during the work-day.

Hey so yous get any down at the other end of the lake? Oh you don't say? Interesting, very interesting. Heard the folks in cabin six got a couple, too. Gotta get back out there after work tonight, storm is moving in, air feels right.

Yep yep. 

Finally amidst a mist Erik cracked the cork on Clearwater, right where we'd been expecting them, just before sunset. A real nice one, too, just over 23 inches, spotted and slippery. 
The clouds hung around the entire next day so we planned on hopping up to the border lake north of us after work and doing some trolling in a richer environment. We flew threw the portage and within 15 minutes of starting our run Erik popped another one on the same bait from the night before. Another nice one, just under 20. We circled the bay and the next time through I finally got my first laker of the season. May 24, ten days since the season opener. We got a few legit bites in other spots, but it turned out we had some kind of action every time we'd pass this one ordinary-looking stretch of shoreline. I got another one just before sunset, and on the next run, Erik got our fourth of the night, ensuring we got our limit for the day. Those lakers went in the fridge, and our first fish dinner of the summer is now on the menu for Saturday night, coinciding with the arrival of our final crew member and the completion of a productive month.

Tonight they've predicted lows in the 20s again and the herb garden has been covered. The window on lakers has just opened and in a few weeks the nights will warm and the mysterious predators of Clearwater Lake will retreat to freakish depths, taking canoe trolling out of play until autumn. 

And as the nights warm the mosquitos will rise up in great numbers, and the hum of traffic on the trail will similarily increase, and I will associate the difficulty and reward of lake trout pursuits with the quietness of May and the beginning of my active isolation. Funny how a month up here changes your definition of busy. 


More photos at my Wild Almanac Logbook