12 July 2011: Chilly-stiff, dad and I wake to see that the lake is still choppy & the skies are grey. We aren't excited about the prospects of getting cold again. So we layer ourselves thickly—
I literally put on heavy fishing pants, lined rain gear pants over them, smartwool socks (thanks mom!), a heavy tank top, a short sleeved then a long sleeved t-shirt, a zip-up hoody sweatshirt, a fleece-flannel zip-up vest, then my rain gear windbreaker. Atop that, as an extra warmer, I strap on my life vest (keeps ya cozy!)
We push off with our packed lunch in the boat and decide to head to the other part of Beren’s river where we will be out of the wind and can fish along Eagle Rapids--a sort of flat, wide, waterfall space.
To get there, we head into what looks to me like a bay at one edge of Upper Goose Lake with no outlet. Dad steers the boat straight towards the back of the bay—closer and closer to what looks like a shoreline. But just as I begin to fear we will ground the motor at the back of the bay along the reeds and weedy lily pad area, there is a place where, when the boat is turned sharply and suddenly, a river reveals itself, with a wide, flat rock along one edge of the river.
We fish round that for a bit and catch some of our smallest fish ever--dad hooks a mini Northern (like that winner fish pic?) & I get many mini Walleye. In fact, I think this little guy gets me the prize for the smallest catch of the day. This little determined critter got my minnow even though my minnow was almost a third his size—notice the hand to fish proportions! I started to call any catches like this “bait”—so, instead of “Oh, I have another fish” I would ease the netting query immediately by saying—oh, I caught some bait again!
As we slowly meander upriver, the sun is chasing away each of the clouds. Within hours we are peeling off layer by layer, down to t-shirts or tank tops and our fishing pants as the wind dies down and the sun begins to toast us. The halcyon days of fishing are here!
After we cast along a rock and down some reedy areas, we troll a bit. Our most fun is as we cast in around a beaver house where Dad catches 2 perch and a northern and I catch a northen and a walleye. We then head farther along Beren’s toward the rapids.
Dad informs me that this is a spot which is usually great in the early spring season for fishing, as the fish come up to spawn and are often all around in this area. He does not sound too optimistic about us catching anything in July. Yet, within only a few minutes of each other we both hook our first fish along the rocks at the bottom of the rapids.
We catch a few more while the boat is nestled near the shore then, hot hot hot, we decide to take our lunch break at a picnic table along Eagle Rapids. After our sandwiches and beer, we cast a little off the upper side of the rapids to no avail (thus this pic of dad casting from the river’s edge back along the curve of water arcing towards the bubbling rapids).
We decide not to pull down the boat and head farther along Beren’s. Instead we admire the thousands of tadpoles pooling in the shallows alongside our boat (pictured here is one with his little legs already forming) then we push off and motor round to try another angle of the rapids.
This time, however, we keep getting hooked up on rocks and are less patient. We decide to throw the towel in & head back out to the lake for a bit to try some other spots.
I learn to drive the boat and motor us along the river, round through Southwest Lake again, then up the other section of Beren’s to Upper Goose Lake. There, our luck awaits us.
Casting, this is when dad gets his nice Northern—see pic. It gives a great fight and is caught on this fun bait—which flips and flops along the surface of the water so that when the fish goes for it you see it—this fish hit the bait three times, finally snatching it hard, pulling it underwater & getting itself hooked. Again—for those concerned about our depleting the lake or killing such fish, don’t worry—this fish swam on back to whatever rock dad had lured him away from after this photo session—the bait hooked nicely in his lip and was easy to get off, and he is too big to keep, evidently (29”).
I, too, catch a northern--but a smaller one (pictured above at the right, laying across my lap as I unhook him). By the time we head in, we have been out boating around and fishing for nearly 8 hours.
We make dinner and hang out chatting on the steps in front of our cabin (as in the pic here of dad on our sort of front stoop--the steps down from the cabin area to the mini beach area where the boats are parked) then take pics of the gorgeous sunset (seen here). A little sunburnt, we tuck in early for a fitful night’s sleep.