Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sun, glorious sun--fishing at Bull Moose Camp in Ontario

Day seven—Fairweather fisher(wo)men on Upper Goose Lake, Ontario!
13 July 2011: Sun, glorious sun greets us as we awake around 8:30. We have a fabulous breakfast then head off to the boat with spirits soaring high—there is little wind, the sky is clear blue and we are optimistic that the fish’ll be bitin’.

By late morning we are in t-shirts and reapplying our spf protection (regardless of which I manage to miss a few spots so have this odd set of “lines” which are literally a few stripes across my chest in front of my neck and a spot behind one arm! Wacky tan!) Our goal is to catch some nice walleye for dinner.
Within only a short while of parking ourselves over “the hump” (where the lake arches up from a depth of around 30 feet to a shallow space of around 12 feet), anchored in dad’s favorite spot, we catch a few 15 and 16 inchers. I insist we throw back any fish that is not 17 to our max 18 size, especially this early in the day, (if we catch them this early, we have to drag them around on a stringer ‘til evening). Another boat from camp comes by the hump to do some backtrolling and we watch each other haul in both walleyes and the occasional northern. Dad and I decide we should be more adventurous and try some other spots, though, so we wave farewell to our neighbors & head off to cast for northern along a few different shorelines. We cast round some large rocks and islands as well. Our Northern trolling paid off in larger walleye, too—in addition to a few that were too large to keep, we took home our limit for the day, 2 each, of a nice size (16.5, 2 at 17 and one at our max 18” size limit) for dad to bake up in this Alsatian recipe I had brought for him from Mulhouse, with Riesling and cream (super yum). We also decided to go back downriver along the beaver dam and to the rapids before heading in. But having little luck there, and feeling like we still wanted some action, we returned to “the hump”. The wind had picked up—which felt great on our skin in the heat, but made it harder to stay anchored. I was fixated on a forest fire we could see billowing up behind one shore (see pic, this is early on—that low lying cloud is actually the fire. It grows later on until we can see sort of pink-red at the base of 3 clouds of smoke, but the first is out by the following morning) On the windy hump, we backtrolled. There, dad again caught a few really good sized fish, and I caught some nice walleye, too. We even had a few doubles--as here with our almost identical 2 walleye! We were excited with our day, and just enjoyed the sun and warmth of the lake, too. But it was time to head in—after all, by the time we got the boat to camp around 7 it was 9 hours after we’d left camp (and our lunches we just had while bobbing around in the boat! So we did not get out of our boat for 9 hours—and were a bit sun-scorched, perhaps a touch dehydrated +sun & windburnt and needed a snack before dinner!) Back at Bull Moose, dad taught me to clean the Walleye. I did my best to not lose any of the meat and yet also to not accidentally take bones with it either. Though my filets looked choppy round their edges, I was proud to be doing a decent job. Certainly my dad—with his experience and his old pathologist skills too—is far better at this, as the pics show. Back in our cabin, we had our baked walleye with salad and wine, which felt very fancy for the North woods—not at all the camping canoeing experience of food from my childhood. Here, the luxury of a full oven! As the sunset fantastically once more over Bull Moose Camp, the sky began to spiral perhaps forewarning us, we thought, of rains to come on our last fishing day…

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