Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Canadian Opener, part 2.

Me with a nice walleye and my caretaker!
Sitting in the cabin while there's fish to be caught is pretty hard.  Admittedly I have become a little softer in my age yet I knew that the walleyes were continuing to move through and we were missing out.  Of course the temperature continued falling as well as the rain but for a moment around 7:00 Sunday evening there appeared to be a small opening in the rain, as not to be so miserable. There were plenty of guys fishing off the main dock and they were catching fish yet I wasn't too excited to stand with 6 other guys vying for a spot.  Just north of our cabin and a little ways up from where the Beaver was parked was a sand bar that jutted out from the shore about 100 feet of so forming a perfect place for walleyes to congregate.  There always seemed to be boats working the area and as I walked the quarter mile hike along the shore there was one parked off the bar.  Arriving on the bar, we exchanged a wishful greeting as they pull away without much luck.  Fishing from shore has it's place and this sand bar had walleye written all over it!  I am sure you could fish it effectively from a boat however on shore you have the perfect vantage point to work the sharp drop that it formed as well as the eddy that wrapped around the downside shore.  I think most guys simply don't feel comfortable fishing as close to the shore as they need to be.  It was pretty easy, cast straight out from where the sand is off the shore, feel your jig tumble down the edge, then bring it back through the eddy. Because the wind was blowing pretty good it would create a huge bow in my line which was difficult to control yet I could see the fish hit the jig by the change in that bow, enough to nail a nice walleye. My second cast repeated the first, a large bow in the line, that slight movement, tighten it up and set the hook.  2 casts, 2 walleye.  At that point I decided to change to a heavier jig as better control was needed.  Putting on a 3/8 oz jig proved to be positive as now it was easier to reel in the tension without dragging the jig too far.  The walleyes didn't seem to care and for the next 90 minutes each cast produced a fish from 13 - 24 inches.  It started to rain again, the temperature was still falling as well my hands were getting numb yet the fishing was too good to stop.  With 3 fish on the stringer, cold hands, and the rain intensifying I decided it was time to pack up and leave before it got worse.  As I headed towards the cabin here was Bruce walking my way to get my butt back, my hamburger was getting cold.  I guess when the walleyes are biting, nothing else seems to matter yet there is something special when your friends do care about you.  In the end it was an unforgettable experience, I guess up there, they all are! Unfortunately because of the rain, cold, and by myself, I didn't take any pictures of that night so the first one is Bruce and I the next morning with a nice walleye.

Pete on Monday afternoon
Saturday was beautiful, Sunday was cold and blustery but Monday saw us waking up to 3 inches of snow covering the ground and 27 degrees.  Uffda!!!  Water to the cabins were starting to freeze, water in the propane regulators were starting to freeze, what a mess.  It took a few hours to get everything usable again as I pulled off the top of the stove to see if there were any problems.  Man was it dirty! Deciding that we were not going fishing for a while as the snow was coming down horizontally I got out the cleaning spray and started cleaning the mess from a couple years of use, spills, and neglect.  Once everything settled down we decided that time was a wasting and our purpose was to fish, let's go!  Bruce, Pete, Mike, and I decided to take the boat out after scraping all the most of the snow aside to comfortably fit 4 guys in the 20 foot Alaskan.  That was a mess in itself as we had no shovels to move the snow,  we pushed it to the sides with our feet then used the net to get out what we could. With the weather the way it was our plan was to try and find some wind protected shore to keep the misery factor an a minimum, which was hard to do. Luckily the fish were still biting and the good news was that we didn't need a cooler to keep the caught walleyes in as they did just fine laying on the deck in the snow.  On Saturday I did really well using Gulp on my jigs  however by Sunday the water had cooled and it was strictly a minnow presentation.  We tried a number of areas but the best spot seemed to be the sand bar that I had fished the night before.  With the snow coming down it did limit the amount of boats fishing and we were the only one on the point at this time.  It was pretty much a fish a minute with 4 of use flinging the jigs and by the time we were done there were 4 walleyes and a big lake whitefish on ice.  Lake whitefish are common in these lakes but tend to be very hard to catch.  I was pulling a jig and minnow across the sand bottom when it went thump and the battle was on.  Whatever it was, it fought
Nice Lake Whitefish
hard thinking I might have the biggest walleye of the trip here!  Actually as it came up near the surface it looked sort of like a walleye yet usually you can see the white tip on the tail, this fish had none.  Getting it closer to the boat it became obvious it wasn't anything I've caught before, a Lake Whitefish.  It was exciting to catch one as they are supposed to be excellent to eat and of course a delicacy smoked.  After coming back in it was time to show the boys my real talents for making steak on the grill. Bringing up 8 nice 18 oz New York Strips my intent was to make the famous Steak ala Kienitz after a recipe by my old neighbor Troy.  Previous posts in this blog have described the culinary masterpiece but for those who don't want to search again here is the simple procedure.  After setting the steaks in an aluminum roasting pan take a bottle Tabasco Sauce and empty it over the meat.  Next open a medium bottle of Frank's Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce and empty that on the meat, turning the steaks over to get it on both sides.  Next dump a bottle of hot Pace Picante Sauce then let it marinate for at least 2 hours at room temperature.  Fire up the grill and simply throw the steaks on right out of the pan, keeping as much sauce on as you can.  A little messy and you have to watch the fire so the sauce doesn't burn, cook no more than medium rare. Other than Mike, the rest of the guys looked at me like I was crazy but a quick sample and their minds had changed from thinking they would need a bottle of Tums to put out the fire to WOW, this is fantastic.  You can teach these old dogs new tricks!  With dinner out of the way and the need for 3 more walleyes to fill our limits, Mike and I decided to go back to the sand bar and see if we couldn't accomplish the task.  Although it was cold, snow is nicer than rain so we suited up and walked the 1/4 mile to the point.  It didn't take long to get our remaining fish and as a bonus Mike caught another lake whitefish, a twin to my earlier fish.  With that we returned for a couple of cocktails before getting ready to head out in the morning, 6:00 would come soon enough.

Morning on Lac Seul
Tuesday morning greeted us to a gorgeous blue sky, light winds, and the promise of above freezing temperatures.  This was perfect as ice and snow covered the airplane and the only deicer was the buckets of lake water we could throw onto the plane.  In the meantime Bruce, Tom, Wayne, and Mike were loading the boat in time to follow the camp boats back to the landing as it is takes the guessing game where the rocks are when the water is as low as it is. While Pete and I brought our stuff to the dock, Garith warmed the plane up and tried to park it in the sun to help melt everything.  Once loaded it still took a few hours to make sure we had everything melted off before we took off. Rising off the lake in the plane is an awesome feeling and the view is spectacular.  Heading east, Garith always likes to fly around the major airports to avoid having to talk to the control towers as well as any traffic.  This time he headed more east than he thought as sitting in the copilots seat I could see the GPS and the instruments stating our destination and ETE (Estimated Time En-route).  At take off it was 1 hour 32 minutes but after about 15 minutes in the air it said 12 hours.  The GPS showed us flying straight east so after a little discussion and making a 90 degree turn we got back on course which was good as we only had about 2.5 hours of flying time with the gas we had on board.  Finally landing on Crane Lake and going through customs we added about 55 more gallons of fuel and headed home.  The weather was perfect and by 1:00 we were at Surfside.  It is always fun to fly over the Iron Range by Hibbing, Eveleth, and Virginia, Minnesota.  From the air the view is spectacular and it really is amazing the impact on the area.

It was a great trip again but ironically was a repeat of the Minnesota Opener, beautiful on Saturday and turned to crap for the next 2 days.  My boat was scheduled to be started on May 20th and takes about a week.  Assume it's shipped this week, Frankie's should have it next week and Deb has promised that they would take care of me.  That's all one can ask.  In the meantime I have a lot to do around the house getting the garden planted, the lawn mowed, as the rain has finally decided to get back to normal, heck the Mississippi River is up 6 feet already and more rain is forecast for this week.  My Grandpa Roy always said that you can never get enough rain. I guess that after living through the depression and the drought years of the 1930's, he's probably right.  On the other hand my friends in Dallas, Joe and Matt might just disagree about now.

1 comment:

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

I always said you have to be a little bit miserable to catch fish. Thanks for proving it on both openers.