Friday, June 22, 2018

Back From Lac Seul, Part 1

Bruce with a nice walleye
Our second trip to Lac Seul this year came about a week early. Water levels were about a foot higher than in May, so we cruised through the rags without an issue however fishing was considerably different than a month ago.  My good friend Paul Wenaas was on his way back from Lac Seul the morning we left and was fortunate to have him call us when he arrived at International Falls, MN and we were in Cloquet, MN.  The report..........slow, little wind and cloud cover made for difficult fishing and their best day was their last day when it clouded over and the wind picked up.  The other thing Paul talked about was the difficulty in trying to figure out the best dept for the fish.  He felt their best success was in the 8 - 15 foot of water, pretty shallow for this time of year.  I guess the late spring has messed things up somewhat.  On this trip we had our host Bruce along with his son Michael and their guests Dave and his 10 year old son Alex.  Dave does some work for Michael and Bruce so was invited up.  Then of course their was Pete and myself.  Our plan was to get up at a reasonable hour on Saturday morning, drive to Sioux Lookout and meet Bruce, who was planning on flying his Cessna 182 to the Sioux Lookout Airport and we would pick him up and he could ride into camp with us.  Well the weather proved interesting and although it would only take about 2 hours and 40 minutes to fly from Crystal Airport to Sioux Lookout, there were thunderstorms from the Twin Cities all the way to Lac Seul.  Luckily there was a window of opportunity between fronts and he successfully slipped between them.  In the meantime Pete and I were trying to judge the right timing as we spent at least 40 minutes in line to cross into Canada at International Falls.  Tasked with buying groceries we spent a half hour at the Safeway in Dryden before deciding to have something for lunch.  Although the skies looked fine above us, the horizons all around us looked dark and intimidating.  Arriving at Sioux Lookout we stopped at the bait store that our Camp is headquartered to get a few things, the owner Vicki asked if we were going to camp and if we could bring some minnows to camp, which we have done many times.  She needed about 45 minutes so we decided to head to the airport, about 5 miles away and wait for Bruce.  Parking the boat next to the fence where Bruce parked his plane the last time, Pete went in to check and see if anyone had an ETA for Bruce's arrival.  Sure enough the guy stated, "Just talked to him, he'll be here in less than 10 minutes!"  Absolutely amazing timing, drive 11 hours, stop for gas, food, delayed at the border, and come within 10 minutes of meeting him, Pretty good if you ask me!  Bruce landed and he tied down his plane while we transferred his stuff to the truck and in 20 minutes we were back at the Ojibwa Baits to pick up the minnows for camp as well as some for ourselves, as I tend to like to have some larger minnows for the big walleyes!

A Beaver Stopped by to See Our Fish Catching Techniques
At the landing Bruce finally got to spend some time in my boat.  Actually he fished with Pete and I the entire time while Michael had Dave and Alex in Bruce's boat.  I'm sure it was interesting for him, as it is when I fish with someone in their boat.  One get's used to being in control and when you are sitting on the passenger side, you can only offer an opinion and hopefully it's a good one!  Never the less on our first day of fishing, Sunday, the weather was overcast and enough wind to keep it interesting.  One of Bruce's favorite spots was Wapesi Bay, northwest of camp.  We did alright but as Paul stated, it was somewhat difficult to nail down exactly what depth the fish were at, especially when the water temperature was already in the lower 70's.We did get a number of nice fish including the one Bruce is holding in the top picture.  I would not say the fish were exceptionally fat but like a month ago, a good proportion of the walleyes we caught were over the 22 inch length.  After fishing our typical hot spots in Wapesi we headed for the area in which the Wapesi River flows into the lake.  The river cascades down a sizable rapids before entering the lake and it creates about a 100 yard stretch of current that was full of walleyes and a few northerns.  Because of the current it was quite easy to catch them on plastic as more of the fish are grabbing anything that looks like it could be eaten as it passes by in the current.  It is one of my favorite ways to catch fish, keep the bait moving and off the bottom and smash, one never knows what's at the end of your line.  I am still waiting for additional pictures to be sent to me!  Fishing the Wapesi River got our boat count up to 77 walleyes for the day, a far cry from the 158 we caught in one day a month ago, it was still fun and provided enough action to keep things interesting for sure.  The above picture was a very large beaver that swam across the river behind us.  As it sat near the shore, and between the 2 dead tree stumps in the water, I quickly took this picture, pretty interesting. 

We again saw a few bears on this trip, one by the road on the way up and one on the shore just a quarter mile north of camp, which isn't usually a good thing for the bear.  Unfortunately I'll finish that story next week.  The lawn needed cutting real bad and the garden needs to be worked on this week, the boat is a mess, never any rest for the wicked!

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