2012 Full Story
It's 2012 meaning once again it's time for my Boundary Waters Adventures report summery. Let's start it off with a few statistics. Last year the lake levels were normal v/s this trip the water was way above normal. Our total logged miles on the water were 485 mi v/s 420 mi last year.
A few additional observations I made on this years trip were as follows:
* More canoe groups than last year.
*Water level was a foot higher.
*Winds were very light/ or non existent on many days.
* Two straight line wind storms hit in early July.
* Water temps were at 74 degrees upon arrival.
Before we left home for Ely we were concerned about the existing road construction that we were headed for. Unfortunately our biggest concern was focused in the Duluth area where scheduled construction on the Superior/Duluth bridge caused a detour. To add to the confusion was the massive flooding in and around Duluth with roads closed or washed out. My paw always said "worrying never changes anything". As luck would have it everything worked out thanks to a well planed detour rerouting.
Upon arrival in Ely we were greeted the worst mosquito infestation in two decades. A group of Basswood campers told us that they cooked their meals out in the boat to avoid being harassed by the MN. state bird (mosquito). On 4th of July the area was accosted by powerful straight line winds. Amongst the casualties was the electrical power that was lost for 2 days. But, enough about all the good stuff!
As usual Kathy & I were on a mission to attack the lunker fish population of Basswood. This is much easier said than done if your chasing after specifically Lunk- A -Sorious fish. Just as last year Mother Nature was not kind to us as far as daily mile high skies and light to nonexistent winds. My wife Kathy aka (Borgie) didn't fish as frequently as she'd like due to temps in the 90's on many days. Fortunately for her the first day she fished would prove to be her best day of the trip. You see, as we're back trolling I'll call out when I spot a fish on the screen. I also "call big fish" when I spot one that's of lunker potential.
The cool part is that when we spot fish relating close the bottom the odds are in our favor. So, I call out "big fish". Then Kathy states her line was screwed up (actually she said her line was (#$^)%) up. Being used to being a fishing guide I quickly handed her my rod and took hers to fix it. Two seconds after the rod exchange she set the hook on my rod and the fight was on. This turned out to be the best battle I've seen in years on six pound test. The bottom line was a 10 Lb + walleye for grandma (Photo).
When fishing for walleye we generally can figure out what mode they are in and fish accordingly. Now the walleye are either in an aggressive, neutral, or negative mode. This will dictate your presentation and speed. More times than not we fish as if the eyes are in a negative mode. It works best if your confident in the spot your working at the time and have already marked fish. Borgie has a habit of yelling at me if I day dream and move along a tad to fast for her. I try to explain that the person in the bow of the boat needs to swing their rod around to the other side when the skipper makes turns or you'll be under the boat at times. Some day she'll actually listen to me.
Our usual presentation is back trolling Lindy Rigs 3/8 oz. with 6# test and #8 Mustad hook. One of us will use a leech and the other a crawler. With the leech most times you just slowly let your rod go back as the fish takes it and hit um. With the whole crawler it's a tad more tricky. Most times you have to spoon feed the crawler and you can only drop your arm back so far. Therefore, I leave my anti reverse off and slowly back reel until the speed of the fish taking the crawler increases. That tells me it's time to set the hook. A key note here is to only back reel at the pace of the fish. If you back reel faster than the pace of the fish the sinker will drop. Result being the fish feels the pull from the sinker drop and he will drop the bait. Practice makes perfect.
Borgie's best walleye came from 31 feet and my best eye was from 33 ft. Almost all our top fish of the trip are caught fishing the deep water flats (lake Basin) related to near by structure. Fewer fish were caught on the flats but, larger fish. We have to run through three lakes every morning to reach the Prairie Portage (see video) and then across to Basswood. This is where the miles really pile up but, I wouldn't trade the experience and beauty of a wilderness trip like Basswood for any other. Thanks to our friends Duane and Renee from Babbitt for sending me a couple a their nice Basswood fish photos. Fishing Basswood is not just about big fish unless that's your only mission. There are plenty of nice eater size fish to be found here and their not as hard to find. Let's be honest now. Who could pass up a few nice eater size walleye meals during your stay?
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.
See you on the water,
Lee & Kathy Borgersen
God Bless the Boundary Waters Canoe Area