11 June 2004 - Friday - Day 2

            Today we got up bright and early.  Early wasn’t a problem because we’re so far North that sunrise was about 4:30am.  We lounged a bit until breakfast, and after breakfast, we got in our boat (a regular fishing boat, with a brand new 25 Horse Power Honda motor, and went fishing on South Trout lake.  We’ll save Favourable Lake for another day. 

            We drove the boat fast, until we reached an island on the right side, where we slowed down and started trolling.  Within five minutes, Kathy caught the first fish, an 18-inch long lake trout.  That made us optimistic about the fishing.  For the next few hours, we boated around the lake, trying to catch fish, but were unsuccessful.  When we reached the portage point, we stopped and took a bathroom break, then we got back in the boat and continued fishing.  We went all over the lake, but we didn’t stay long because it was very windy and it made the waves choppy.

            We saw a loon and got pretty close to it.



The loon is the Minnesota State Bird, but maybe it was a draft dodger from the 70s.  Now some would argue that the mosquito is the Minnesota State Bird, and maybe it should be.  But just to set the record straight:  The Minnesota State Bird is indeed the loon.  I’ve heard it said—right or wrong—that the Minnesota State Bug is the Tick.  Combine the two and it’s easy to understand that the Minnesota State Person is the Lunatic!  But I digress…

            Finally, we went into a bay on the North side of the Lake, and it was much calmer.  There we started catching more fish.  Together, we caught about seven lake trout (I caught three, one of which was twenty-two inches long, which is nearly the largest that can be legally kept.)



In that same bay, I caught a large Northern Pike.



We threw all of the fish back in–catch and release–because it’s still too early in the trip and we didn’t want to bring them back to the lodge.  When we get to Favourable Lake, we’ll hopefully catch some fish for lunch and cook them in a “shore lunch.”

            After a few more hours of fishing, we ended up back on the East end of the lake, where the portage to Favourable is.  We stopped for another bathroom break, carefully pulling our boat mostly out of the water, then decided to stretch our legs and go for a short walk.  The walk was nice, however, when we got back to the boat, to our horror, we discovered that the wind had increased, and drove the waves into our boat, causing the boat to be filled with water. 

            The first thing we did was move all of our belongings to shore where it was dry.

            Kathy started to panic and get hysterical, but I remained calm.  I started bailing the water out of the boat, but every few seconds, another big wave would crash into the boat, filling it with more water than I had bailed out.  It was a losing battle, and we were starting to get worried.  We were also starting to get extremely wet.  Our boots were completely and thoroughly soaked.

            The only solution, it seemed, was to turn the boat around so that the nose was pointing into the wind.  That way, the boat cut through the waves instead of letting the water in.  The problem was, the boat was very heavy, being full of water and with a heavy motor on the back.  Another problem was the wind, which wanted to keep pulling the boat back to one side or the other, which meant it kept taking on water. 

            Finally, I stood in the front of the boat with a paddle, trying as best I could to keep the boat from going sideways under the force of the wind.  Meanwhile, Kathy used a small cooler to bail water out of the back of the boat.  Slowly, we made progress, and finally won.  Kathy bailed out the boat.  With the boat now afloat, our next task was to load it with our gear again, get inside, then paddle out to deep enough water to start the motor.  After a few desperate pulls on the motor, it started and we were on our way. We continued fighting the horrendous waves until we got back to the bay we had good fishing in.  We kept fishing there for the next couple of hours, catching fish, until it was time to return to the lodge for dinner.  By then, we were mostly dry except for our poor wet boots.

            When we got back to the lodge, they told us that two of the other boats almost got swamped because of the large waves.  It sounded like we had pretty good luck fishing compared to the other groups that went out.


            Tomorrow they say it might rain, so we’ve decided to either stay at the lodge, or go fishing on North Trout, which supposedly has large Northern and large Trout too.  That way if it rains, we can head back to the lodge.