I was up North visiting the motherland and happened to run into an old high school friend (hereafter called "Whitey") who runs a sweet little tourist cabin/commercial fishing operation on Lake Superior. As it happened, my brother and I had planned to do a little shore fishing and I mentioned it to my buddy MM. It's not as complicated as it is rather tedious to explain...but as fate would have it, my brother, MM and I joined Whitey in his boat for an afternoon of trolling on Lake Superior. The catching was good, the catching up was better. It's always a pleasure to fish with my brother on home water, when two old friends get involved it's even better. Three coho salmon were caught and cleaned and they lasted exactly 4 hours before they were grilled and eaten. The thanks go to Whitey for hosting a memorable excursion.
Whitey's commercial fishing operation on the Big Lake
The clan joined forces with our friends from the Northern Tier for a long weekend of camping, swimming, tenting, playing and storytelling on a pristine clear water northern lake. The kids ran themselves ragged, swimming, catching tadpole/frog hybrids, poking at the fire, stand-up paddle boarding and swimming again. The adults (and I use the term loosely), caught up, cooked, toasted to our good fortune and half of them fished a little. I am truly grateful to know such fine people.
Sometimes the deal is too good to pass up. Despite 16 feet of flat bottomed aluminum grace in the form of Jon Johnson and 17' of Old Town Penobscot, the decision was made to add 15' 2.75" of Mad River (Royalex) Intrigue to the family. The guy selling was down on his luck and wanted to ditch it fast. I tried to tell him that he could get more than I was willing to spend if he took a few pics and posted it on craigslist, but it appears that he was willing to cut and run. A quick bath and light sanding of the wood gunwales followed by a tung oil rub and it's looking pretty really good. My wife thinks I bought it to resell it for a modest gain but...ummm...we'll see.
July 4th has become a set fishing date for the hex hatch back in the motherland of MN. This year was no exception. The big mayflies wanted to peel of the water in droves but an oncoming storm cell must've triggered something in them to stay put...at least in the numbers that I'm used to. My brother in law stayed loyal to the dry fly and pasted it over the sporadic risers. He landed a bluegill and then a small northern on top before hooking up with a 4-5 pound walleye that became untethered tragically close to the canoe. As for me, I'll confess I had a hex spinner pattern on for a few minutes, but with 2011 being "The Year of the Chartreuse and White Deceiver", I pitched that for most of the evening. I landed 5 walleyes of which 4 were promptly hung on the stringer. It's a game of torture with the event triggered by the audible hum of mosquitoes waking up and zeroing in on any portion of your body they can shove their noses into. Seemingly strong barriers like cane canoe seats and Carhart pants are not deterrents. We pulled the canoe off the lake and onto the trail at 11 pm and the storm unleashed itself at precisely that moment. The rain was kind enough to wait until we had the gear stowed and the canoe lashed onto my brother in law's truck. It wasn't a banner hex outing but the fishing was good enough and mosquitoes left us with enough blood to get back home and clean some fish.
Neither government shutdowns (couldn't buy a fishing license), nor cold water (41 degrees) nor lack of sleep (2.5 hours) will keep a fisherman from delivering a fly to the lake trout of Lake Superior.
With the sun just clearing the horizon the first Superior lake trout succumbed to the siren song of my striper stripped Deceiver. Shortly thereafter the second was on the rocks. By 2 pm, brine soaked they were in the weber over hot coals with hot alder and maple smoke wafting all around. By 6 pm they were devoured.
(Rest assured that a license will be acquired as soon as the state leaders realize that "Revenue" is a good thing for the state.)