2010 Boundary waters Adventures
It's 2010 and report time again. The same place (Basswood Lake) with a new story, but our Boundary Waters Adventures always seem to take on a new twist each and every summer. Let's start it off with a few statistics. Last year upon arrival the water temp was a cool 55 degrees v/s 67 degrees this year. Last year water levels were normal v/s low this year. Our total miles logged on the water was 465 last year v/s 408 this trip.
A few additional observations I made on this years trip were as follows:
*Fewer tow boats were running up and down Basswood this year (poor economy to blame?).
*U.S. Border patrol was running along with U.S. Forrest Service this year on Basswood Lake.
*Many of the old semi secret hot spots have become over utilized compared to prior years.
This year on July 11th it was a very special outing for a great friend Bob Dahl (avid outdoorsman) who recently survived a horrid auto accident followed by many surgeries. Bob's favorite place on earth is Basswood Lake and this had all been taken away from him. While lying flat on his back in the hospital, I sent Bob a card with a gift certificate for a free day trip to Basswood. This of course was if he'd be physically able. Bob told me later that the invite was just what he needed to lift the old spirits while laid up.
The date of the outing had arrived and Bob was still on the mend, but was not to be denied a day in the BWCA. With the help of some medical devices and a hand full of pain medications we were under way. Being an experienced fisherman Bob was no stranger to an outing with less than favorable weather. We had off and on showers and a slow bite going on. This didn't matter to our Bob since he was just thankful to be where he belonged once more.
We decided to devote or attentions to a proven lunker spot before calling it a day. Bob got a hit in about 20 feet of water and we were both hoping large. When he set the hook the fish held tight to the bottom. We weren't worried because we gots us 6 lb. test and a tiny #8 hook. Bob finally managed to defeat the brute and wound up with a 10# eye in the net. After a quick Kodak moment she was released to fight again. (View on my photos page) I told Bob "God gave you that fish" and he replied ............"I know it Lee".
The day after my trip with Bob I became sick and missed the next three days on the water. On the forth day Kathy and I were back out and took a pounding in between fish due to the high winds. The next day was more high winds so we stayed home and took a ride to Ely. Once more we were back fishing by the grace of Mother Nature. Next my electric trolling motor started to act up and I couldn't back troll at slow speed. Meanwhile Kathy kept telling me that I was trolling to fast. "That's due to the low speeds not working" I replied. "Well your still going to fast" she replies. At this point I had to take another day off and drive 80 miles round trip to get it fixed. Thanks to Casey the Minn Kota repair man/Vermillion fishing guide I was back in service in short order with all being covered under warrantee. Back home I've got a pile of broke trolling motors and I'm dropping um off at Casey's to get them fixed next year.
We ran into friends Duane and Renee from Babbitt who were camping as they do every chance they can get a permit. They reported slower than normal fishing success just as we were experiencing. Of course Renee had no complaints since she caught the best eye of their trip again this year. I asked Renee to send me a photo of her trophy so she could have official bragging rights for the second year in a row. Being a humble person she e-mailed me the photo within 3 minutes after they pulled into the driveway at home. We also got to meet up with the U.S. Border Patrol officers who were traveling with the Forrest Service for the day. This was the first time I've experienced any U.S. Border Patrol in the BWCA. After some friendly conversation and a quick group photo Kathy and I went back to our trophy hunting.
The last couple years it seems most of the semi secret hot spots are gradually becoming common knowledge and less dependable. This may be a good thing for me because it's stimulated my brain to forget the old milk run and find some other spots. I was starting to get a bit lazy anyhow. We used both leeches and crawlers with the leech producing more action, but crawlers produced largest fish. Reefs produced the most action, but deep flats related to reefs produced larger fish in most cases.
Weather and wind will dictate the fishing activity as it always does and we just have to make the best of every opportunity given to us. This years best eye was 30.25 inches and 20.75 inches on best smallmouth.
This year I decided to work on the east end of Basswood a lot harder and it most definitely paid dividends. I'll be focusing on expanding exploration next year and that's easy to say but, hard to do when you've established so many honey holes throughout the years. The thing we all need to remember is that Knowledge Is The Key To Successful Fishing. So keep those brain cells charged at all times. Learn how to separate the BS from the facts and you'll stay ahead of the rest of the pack. Never rule out the flats (lake basin) when the summer reef bite fails. Just work those transition areas even if your not marking fish you'll find them scattered between structures. As old Buck Perry say's "The fish are either in the deep....the shallow....or..... some where in between"
Overall the fishing was not as good as some years, but better than other years. We had one day in Frog Bay when the wind was almost non existent and when she decided to blow for about an hour and a half we managed five eyes over 5# along with some eaters. This was the same reef we were fishing for hours with limited action and no wind. During another day on Baily Bay we were hammering some eyes in 15 ft. until it started to rain and she shut down. I decided to drop off the main reef and work the deep flats adjacent to the reef and found nicer size eyes scattered in 33 ft.
If you fish like everyone else fishes, you will catch what everyone else catches. If that's enough for you, then by all means.... but if you want more, it's time to step out of the box.
Please take a minute out to check out our (photos page).
This year we didn't have a chance to encounter any moose, bear or wolves, However we did enjoy a beautiful symphony from a near by wolf pack howling for a good 45 minutes one morning. It seems that they must have just made a fresh kill and were celebrating the achievement.
I hope you found my report somewhat interesting and I wish everyone could have the opportunity to experience the BWCA and I'm sure many of you already have. If you would like to see some of the photos from my trip, please visit my web-page at http://leeslakegenevaguideservice.com/boundry_'10.htm
As usual all of the larger fish are photo and release with most of the fish never being photographed since I fish alone most of the time.
See you on the water,
Lee & Kathy Borgersen
God Bless the Boundary Waters Canoe Area