May 2022

After missing our traditional Memorial Day fishing trip to Canada in 2020 and 2021, we were excited to get back to our lake! Our big group dwindled down to a good group of seven guys: Steve Pelton and Fred Bouwman from Wisconsin, Jim and John Cunningham from Iowa, Mark Wanous, Kendall Strawmatt and his son Carter from Minnesota.

I left at 5:10 am to pick up Fred in Three Lakes. Jim and John met the Minnesota guys in Owatonna. We all met in Two Harbors to travel north together.

Saw the sign at Ryden’s that eggs were not allowed across the border. Of course the eggs were packed in the very front of Mark’s pickup. Carter crawled back there to pull out the eggs to avoid a hassle. Everyone had completed the ArriveCAN app, but the line at the border crossing at Grand Portage was backed up across the Pigeon River. With just one lane open, the Ontario sign was oddly ironic.

Our favorite hotel in Thunder Bay was booked, but we found an inexpensive place off the waterfront. Found the Beer Store and enjoyed a couple huge 19″ pizzas from Stan’s Pizza.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Up early, light breakfast at hotel. Quick stop at the Silver Minnow Bait Shop and we were off! Saw a big bear along the highway – he posed for us as we drove by.

Little traffic on the highway. The good gravel road was in great shape, except this washout, which people filled with trees and rocks.

The logging road was narrow and overgrown, but we were very relieved to see that someone had cleared the beaver dam from the culvert and drained the lake.

The other washouts were not too bad, although John found one deep hole where water was running through the beaver dam.

All of the work we did last September to clear the path paid off, we only stopped 4 times to clear down trees. Everyone jumped into action when we got to camp. Tents and the big canopy were setup. Kitchen setup. Boats hauled to the landing, motors put on and tied up. We were expecting to spend a lot of time clearing the path, so we were way ahead of schedule. Let’s go fishing!

Fred and I trolled for about 10 feet before I caught my first Walleye – They have been waiting for us!

Fred and I quickly filled our stringer with +17″ Walleye for dinner.

Carter quickly tied into a monster 40″ Northern. Carter lost perhaps a bigger Northern right at the boat.

Lost Lake Bay was filled with big Northerns. Mark, Ken and Carter caught five Northerns in 2 passes! Ken Landed 38″ and 36″ Northerns.

Mark landed a fat 36″ Northern

Jim and John found the Walleyes.

Jim and John had trouble with the 25hp motor, but the spare 15 worked fine. Ken had trouble with the gas line, so John towed them back to camp. Having a fish fry on day one was a welcomed surprise! John bought a Fire Disc and it worked great for frying fish, blackening Walleye fillets, making bacon and about anything else we could throw at it.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Drizzled overnight, woke to cloudy skies with light wind. Up early with a breakfast of biscuits and gravy with eggs. My camp oven started up fine but quit before completely cooking the biscuits. Ken pulled out the trusty old Dutch oven to complete the task.

Fred and I tried the Lost Lake Bay without any luck, but when Mark, Ken and Carter arrived, Carter caught a 39.5″ Northern to show us how its done.

I switched from my trusty Big Doctor Spoon to a smaller WD Wobbler and landed the biggest fish of the trip, a 41.5″ Northern after quite a battle.

Drove up to see the old camp (1980-2015) – the landing was a muddy mess with the high water. The big rock in the channel was nearly under water. Picked up some nice Walleyes on Muskeg Point. Fred caught a nice 17.5″ Walleye for the stringer.

Cleaned another nice stringer of fish on the island.

John caught a big 39″ Northern. Had another 36″ too.

Jim Caught a 36″ and a 33″ Northern.

Mark caught a nice 36″ on the windswept point and a big 39.5″ Northern at Lost Lake Bay.

With the high water, Ken, Carter and Mark made it back to Clear Jack Lake without any problem. Found a huge beaver dam.

Tim Fischer’s memorial stone was knocked over, Carter climbed up on the rock to fix it.

They also spotted a metal plate nailed to a tree. Fred did some research and found that prospectors use these to post their claim on mineral rights in an area.

Read this article to learn more.

When the rain started, Fred and I headed back to camp. I made Blacked Walleye Tacos for the men – very tasty!

Monday May 30, 2022 – Memorial Day!

Thanked John and Mark for their service to our country. Overcast morning after a big lightning storm overnight. Ken had coffee ready every morning. After John and Jim made a breakfast of French toast and bacon. The boot required for Fred’s recent bunion surgery slowed him down but could not stop him!

We were ready to head out for fishing when the sky turned dark and it started to rain hard. We stayed under the canopy and played cards to pass the time. Ken was the big winner!

After the rain stopped and with light winds, Carter and I ventured back to Lost Lake. It was a difficult hike with many down trees.

With the high water, we started further south of the creek to find solid ground but ended up finding Lost Lake at the anvil rock, 200 yards south of the canoes.

We found the canoes and shoved off.

Carter caught over 25 Northerns from 25-32″ on his trusty Mepps Syclops Spoon. Fun to see the Northerns follow the spoon up to the canoe and often hitting it when jigging alongside the canoe. We trolled the entire lake, but the best action was in front of the creek coming in from Glacial Lake. Carter caught a Northern on every cast!

We stored the canoe and hiked back to the boat. The sun popped out. A cold beer tasted great! Jim, John and Mark met us at Lost Lake Bay. They had great fishing!

Fred and Ken picked up 21.5″ and 20″ Walleyes on Clear Jack Lake. John also landed a 20″ Walleye. Great fishing!

Beer battered fish fry for dinner. Nice campfire before the rain pushed us under the canopy.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Sunny blue skies, but very windy. Jim made eggs and bacon, while Ken made the pancakes.

Wind increased, I got pretty wet trying to cross the bay in front of Weber Point. Fred lost his hat and we failed to retrieve it in the big swells. Pulled up behind an island to put on rain pants. Tried fishing the slip bobber shore, but boat control was impossible. We fished the muskeg on the west arm to get out of the wind and found a hot spot! Fred and I were catching Walleyes withe every pass. After we filled our stringer, we went back to our quiet landing to clean fish.

We then went up to the Clear Jack Lake. I picked up a 33″ Northern before we found the big Walleyes off the sandy point. I picked up a 18.5″ Walleye on a spoon. Fred landed a big 23″ Walleye and we turned around and Fred got another nice fish on the next pass. Three big Walleyes on three passes.

Jim and John also struggled with the wind but caught a nice stringer of Walleyes with two 18″ fish.

Mark got very wet driving south into the wind but put his boat on the fish. Carter landed a 21.5″ Walleye and lost an even bigger one. Mark got a 23″, 22″ and Ken got a 20″ and had 4 keeper Northerns. A great way to end our last day fishing!

We pulled the motors off and pulled the boats up to camp. Packed what we could. Jim and John made Cajun style fish fry with our extra fish and Ken grilled some brats that Mark provided. Carter continued his smelting operation, melting beer cans in a tin can, encouraging us to empty more cans for him. Nice campfire, visible from space after the cooking oil was tossed on the fire!

Wednesday June 1, 2022 – Happy 17th birthday Carter!

Ate the leftover scrambled eggs, bacon and brats wrapped in the extra tortilla shells for breakfast burritos. Everyone jumped into breaking down the tents and packing the trucks. Mark’s battery was dead, but John was able to give him a jump. We stopped to take a team photo before we left camp. Great group of guys!

The drive out was mostly uneventful, but we did see a moose on the side of the road (no picture) and a small bear with ear tags.

Made it across the border into the USA without incident. Stayed the night in Grand Marias and headed home early the next day. Outstanding trip!

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