The 2011 fishing trip with all the boys was a great time. The weather was perfect and the fish were biting. There were 11 species taken by the group of eight. Near the end of the week, we had a great shore lunch on the lake. We cooked lots of fish and had this group photo taken. We packed in all the equipment to fry fish and french fries. The boys were able to catch fish while we were cooking. We also had a nice campfire while we were there.
The Muskie were active – Jack caught a 42 inch model the very first night in camp. Jim-Jim and his crew attracted the attention of a very large Muskie out on Hibbing Point. Jim-Jim hooked a small walleye and before he could get in the boat, the Muskie attacked the walleye. A long fight ensued and ultimately Jim-Jim claimed the walleye, but the boys couldn’t net the Muskie at the same time. Mind you the Muskie was never hooked…..it was just hanging on to the walleye that Jim-Jim had hooked. The story that the boys told about that adventure will go down in the history of this event and will undoubtedly be told again and again over cocktails for years to come.
There were lots of nice fish taken during the week. Norweigian Bay produced a lot of nice bluegill for us and Square Rock Island was productive for small-mouth bass (for me, not so much for Sam.) We spent some time back on the Partridge River at the stairway to nowhere and caught lots of fish both times that we were there. We even saw someone sitting on the dock at the stairway to nowhere, but we never found out where he came from…..as you might expect. The Moose Ball Islands were not as productive as years past, but we noticed that several people were fishing the reefs just North of Greater Moose Ball. Sam caught a very nice walleye over by Treasure Island on and ugly yellow shadrap. It was really windy that day and we were trolling between the islands when he picked that fish up. Try as we might, it was the only fish we caught in that area.
Sam and I fished together everyday and were able to see a lot of the lake in the boat that we rented. I hope his memories of these fishing trips are as important to him as they are to me. It is great to be able to spend time with your son in the great outdoors. There is something about it that is very fulfilling in a hunter gatherer sort of way. Anyway…enough of that: On Friday afternoon, we took a long cruise down to Vermilion Dam.
I hadn’t been down there in several years and Sam had never been, so we took a few hours off from fishing and did some sightseeing. We hiked down the portage path to the river between the lakes and took some pictures. After that we went over to the Vermilion Dam Resort and bought some gas for the trip back to the more familiar part of the lake. On the way back we took a detour through a string of red-green bouys and headed back on to the east end of the lake. We actually went past the point where the map has to be turned over….this was new territory for both of us. After a mile or so, we had seen enough and turned back for the west end of the lake. Lucky and the boys were sitting out on a reef bobbing for walleyes. Jeff had caught a couple, so we anchored in to see what we could catch. The fishing was pretty slow at the time, but I was lucky enough to convert on the single bob that I had while I was there. Sam reeled in a rock bass with some big shoulders on it, but that was about all there was for us that final day.
Everyone caught a walleye this year, but it took Alex until the end of the day on Friday to finally come up with his. What makes that final fish of the trip even more memorable is that he caught it – after – a trip to the emergency room to repair his leg from a fillet knife puncture that he inflicted upon himself while trying to get the fish basket open.
You may notice that we are missing one boy from this picture. That is because Alex is on his way to get his leg stiched up and we were getting ready to clean some fish after getting Alex up off the ground. Lucky is getting to know the emergency room pretty well. He and both of his boys have made a trip there at one time or another. They really need to stop that tradition, and they especially need to avoid the emergency room when there are this many fish to clean.
Overall, it was a great trip with a great group of guys. I look forward to the opportunity to do it again sometime soon.