Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fishing Heaven

My first Lac Seul Walleye
The long anticipated trip to Lac Seul is now history and it exceeded my expectations.  Both of my friends Paul Wenaas and Ryan Sterle have been on me for years to fish Lac Seul however it's never been very convenient for me.  I now see why they have been so insistent!  Everything was planned perfectly, I would pick up my neighbor Pete at 5:00 Wednesday Morning, load what little he had, drive to Osseo, MN and pick up Dan and his gear then head north.  After stopping at Lundeens for a coffee refill the next stop was Round Lake, just north of Mille Lacs to pick up Bruce's boat and his neighbor Wayne.  Once hitched it was off to International Falls, crossing the border and eventually ending up in Sioux Lookout, Ontario and the Deception Bay boat landing.  Our destination was Lac Seul Outpost where Bruce reserved what is known as the VIP cabin.  After launching the boat, Dan, Wayne, Pete and I loaded it up and began the one hour water ride to the Chamberlain Narrows, our final destination.  Bruce and Lyle, the other third of our group had intended on flying up on Bruce's Cessna 172 with floats and have the cocktails ready by the time we got there.  Unfortunately the cloud ceilings prevented them from taking off and they were now 6 hours behind with the intent on simply driving up, staying in Sioux Lookout, and having the resort taxi pick them up in the morning.  Of course, it didn't stop us from having our "congradulitory, we finally made it" cocktail, got the cabin ready to go and took a little boat ride to the nearest point, where I got my first Lac Seul walleye with hopes for plenty more!

Eye's bigger than their stomachs!
Thursday was beautiful however the forecast for Friday was cold and rainy with Saturday just plain cold.  Lac Seul is a very large reseviour, spread out over 160 miles, full of bays, channels, islands and walleyes.  After Bruce and Lyle arrived we switched to a resort rental boat, 20 foot Lund Alaskan with a 115 Optimax, plenty of room for Pete, Dan, and myself.  Like most large lakes, there are names for specific areas where we fish and Lac Seul was no exception.  Pecker Point, The Church, The Goal Post, Birch Narrows, Three Sisters, meant a special location to meet, fish, and compare notes.  Some of these were close to the cabin and others were 20 minutes away.  We always caught walleyes no matter where we went, from 6 inches to 26, there was always a willing fish to hit our offerings.  While Pete and Dan stuck with minnows, I experimented with Gulp and Crawlers, a combination I did well with while fishing in Canada this June with my brother Steve.  It was fairly successful and given a situation where one would have exhausted his supply of live bait, it was a great option.  Actually on Friday I did very well with this combo, outfishing live minnows by around 10%.  Still the minnows were the go to bait yet I do like experimenting and when the fish were aggressive, the Gulp worked well with even the little ones getting into the action.  What was surprising was the fact that we caught walleyes everywhere we went.  Primarily fishing in 16 - 22 feet of water, someone would always catch something.  With that large expanse of water, there has to be a significant population of fish, and they all seems fat and sassy, a very healthy lake to say the least.  It's certainly a lot different than my home water's of Mille Lacs but that's for a different day.

The perfect moment
Friday and Saturday found the wind howling out of the North and temperatures in the high 40's.  Admittedly it's been a while since I have had to layer up in my lined pants, rain suit, and gloves but we managed to head out in 34 degree temperatures and decided to fish closer to the cabin while still catching fish.  After getting used to the first cold weather of the year, by noon we were back in the swing of things and continued to assure we would have fresh walleye for the evening meal.  One of the more interesting thing that would happen each day was the congregation of Bald Eagles watching over our every move.  Apparently they are acclimated to either mortally wounded fish floating to the surface from a deeply hooked lure or the fisherman simply feeding them (which is illegal, by the way).  One of our smaller walleyes swam away but surfaced minutes later presenting an easy meal.  Focusing on the fish, I snapped this picture at the perfect moment as the eagle had it's talons extended, ready to grab the fish.  It was awesome. Sunday morning came way to fast as we had to head back to Deception Landing to go home.  Because Ken, owner of the outpost had to go back and pick up a new guest, 4 of us boarded the shuttle boat while Bruce and Pete followed behind.  An hour later we docked at the landing where the truck was coated with a thick frost.  As Bruce decided to pull his boat home and letting Pete and Dan continue in my care as we headed home.  Driving south of Dryden, Ontario we saw 2 different black bears along the road as we listened to the Packer game on the XM radio, unfortunately it wasn't very good.  Home by 7:00, I finished skinning our walleye fillets and vacuum packed them.  As stated, the time went too fast as it always does, yet there is little one can do about that other than enjoy every moment you can.  The trip to Lac Seul with Bruce, Pete, Dan, Wayne, and Lyle was simply that, enjoyed every moment.  With Crown Royal as the preferred beverage, I even learned how to enjoy and make their favorite cocktail, pour to the first set of stars on the "official cocktail glass" in the cabin cupboard. Thanks guys!

Saturday is Tim's annual pig roast come rain or shine and the weather is looking more like rain.  With water temps still pretty high at Mille Lacs, it might not be until next week before I try to renew the fall trolling strategy.  Apples are starting to ripen as I have picked my Honeycrisp's already with more needed harvesting this weekend.  I thinks it's shaping up to be a busy 4 weeks.


Anonymous said...

Best walleye fishery I have ever been to. I had the same experience,; every spot held fish. The only question was size. Glad you made it.

AK Keith

Duane said...

Mr.Anderson, Someday you need to fish Arctic char in the Beaufort Sea.

Dave Anderson said...

You know anyone with an airplane! Maybe you could do Mille Lacs with me sometime. I'd even ask your kid to go with.