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Steve Foss

Opener reports — Post them here

24 posts in this topic

Well, it wasn't a walleye opener for me, like it is for most other people.

It was a LAKER opener! grin.gif

Chunkytrout and I headed to Burntside, hitting the water by 7 a.m. By 9 a.m., we had three lakers. All happened to hit my rod. A 2, an 8 and a 12 all smacked the bronze/black with hex chrome flutter spoon I was downrigging 40 feet down.

All three hit within a half hour of each other and within about a 300-yard area on the North Arm. Later, Chunkytrout, who spent a fair portion of the day paying the lake trout gods in fishing tackle (I think he lost four lures today), caught a sweet fat 3 pounder up near the Dead River.

All four lakers were unclipped native fish, and we let the bigger ones go, sending my 2 and Chunky's 3 home with him so his house guests could have fresh laker for supper.

What a perfect day it was, catching aside. It was brisk enough early to remind you that opener is SPRING, but the winds were gentle, the sun was warm and the afternoon was T-shirt weather. Been a few openers since we could say that.

Since Chunky spent little time manning the fish, he DID spend some time manning the camera.

Here are a couple images of the 12, and I hope you all had as great a time today as I did. Tomorrow it'll be working on the new garage, not more fishing. frown.gif

stevelaker-1.jpg

release.jpg

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Nice fish Steve!

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Thanks, Nate. Why aren't you out fishing, man?

But then, I suppose a guy who's been hitting the North Shore trout streams with a fly rod for several weeks doesn't have the same pent-up non fishing frustrations that some others do. grin.gif

And have you ever eaten more succulent trout than coldwater brookies and lakers, those hard-fighting and sweet-tasting char? grin.gif

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Couple of weddings this weekend and Cheffery headed over to open up our Leech Resort.........just holdin down the fort grin.gif Next week for the MI opener and then some turkey hunting, should get the rest out of my system.

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STF-What a nice looking Laker!

My fishing opener was with a young friend of mine on a lake just North of Duluth grin.gif

No Lakers, but 6 crappies between 10 1/2" and 11 1/2", one 12" perch, one 15" walleye. Plus a dozen northerns (C & R).

May not sound like much, but his dad passed away about 3 years ago and this was his first opener since then fishing with his dad's (now his) boat.

Written in memory of Phil, I miss you buddy.

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What a Day eh? STF great photos...

Thor660 & I got out to Island today & had a blast! BBq lunch on the lake, enjoying the nice weather on a MN opener was great. I know I'm not the only one who came away with more than a tan blush.gif.

We had good action all day boating many SMB, Pike & a few eyes. Quality over quantity with the Eyes though including beautiful 19 & 18 inchers.. Yum Yum. All eyes were caught in 5 FOW near emerging weedlines on plastic.

Thor nice to meet you through our mutual friends, I'm sure this wont be the last day we sit in the boat together.

Later -CLoma

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Greg, sounds like ya had a good day. You even managed to catch some fish. Must be that blind chicken thing huh grin.gif

I took my dad out on the river for half a day in the morning. In the afternoon I took the wife and kids out to a little lake and spent the afternoon watching them catch bluegills, crappies, and some bass. Was a great day.

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My opener was on Lake of The Woods. I went up there and stayed at Riverbend with my boys and a buddy and his daughter. I had one of my best trips ever. Nothing real big but plenty, and I mean plenty, of eaters. We went out Saturday at around 8 am, came in for lunch, and headed out again till about 7:30 pm. My buddy's daughter is only three and she did not want to quit!! I have a middle son who has autism and he would squeal with delight everytime he caught a fish. I can't seem to get rid of my smile. Today, I have to go back to work frown.gif

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just a sweet laker Steve!...."red finned " variety I see.....I have yet to get out on the lakes....biggest trip for me will be in a couple weeks up to the the Voyageurs park (Sand Point)...4 days of pure heaven grin.gif

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Our group of 8 opened out of the Ely area. It was to be a group of nine which would have made it 3 generations but a 3 week trip to Italy and jet lag was too much for Dad.

Fri. morning on the drive up you could see the sun was filtered from the Ham lake fire. As we got to the landing we could then smell it. I had Opened many times in the land that now burns. Memories of Openers from years past drift in with the smoke like a ghost.

With 3 boats loaded with gear we headed out. The ride is long as the outboard pushes us further along the motor route. Its a time when your forced to do nothing but think to yourself. My son is along on his 2nd Opener, I wonder what hes thinking and what memories of the trip will stick with him and rekindle decades from now. I also wonder with some degree of angst if we'll get a favorite campsite, then remind myself its one of those things thats out of my control and I enjoy the ride.

In the lead boat we make out way through the chain with a slight wind in our faces. The heavy boat not on plane but at enough of a respectable speed to push most of the spray away and we're making "good time".

As we round a point I see that site is open, in fact on the way we notice no one at any of the sites, well except for one boat that had been on the move with no load. I make land and as the rest of the group rounds the point, I feel their spirits of getting a good site with good fishing. I notice the last group to use the site left a well stocked wood pile, winter campers, I can tell because they lost their tent stakes to the frozen ground along with items you can't find once dropped in snow.

We go about making camp, tents are erected and the kitchen setup. The fire ban has changed the food menu some, no grilled steaks and burgers so to indulge I bring an oven to accompany the propane stove which to the younger in the group brings about some talk. They had never seen an over in the woods, nor a menu of pizza and lasagna.

Theres that boat we saw earlier. It made its way into a bay that our point shares with the main lake. Hmm, I wonder what they're up too? We see the pair in late teens to early twenties go about casting, at further inspection I see them using large spinner baits and spoons. This is Friday, the day before Opener. Despite my informing them that targeting fish out of season was illegal they continued. Knowing it was unlikely a CO would come along. I'll admit I was hoping they'd spin a prop and would have no choice but to look to me to lend a hand. We do have their boat registration and will report it. As I look back what impressed me was the youth in my group knew better.

"Don't get your shoes wet" I warned Jr on the drive up.

See if theres water my son finds a way to get his feet wet.

Having a spare pair of shoes along and my spare should have us covered for the weekend. I wasn't anticipating him sliding off a steep shoreline and into neck deep water, which he did do. I was impressed how he nonchalantly crawled back out. Later I found out it was my jacket he wore while taking a swim.

We spend the day around camp with talk of trips past, naps, and a I take the young guns exploring the woods. This was part of the blow down area and traveling though the deadfalls and new dense growth is difficult. We use the deadfalls to our advantage using them as a bridge plus its fun. Our ages range with me at 48, Jr 11, and his cousins in their early 20's. I leave everything behind, everything a 48 year old man has to carry around and become one of the kids. No compass or GPS, I explain how to use the sun for direction. They eagerly soak up everything I have to offer. No complaining of steep inclines, every step is an adventure with rewards of the hike on top high overlooks.

We make towards camp, along the way I'm reminded a good trip isn't measured but fishing success. We eat supper and turn in. Jr would've liked to stay up till midnight and fished but knew he needed to his sleep for the big day.

I awoke at 4AM Sat. morning. While the rest of camp was asleep. I put on a lighted bobber and made coffee. I knew Lonnie (my long time fishing partner) would be the next to wake and I'd have a hot cup of coffee waiting. It was dead calm and the only sounds were the hissing of the lantern and propane stove. I wasn't expecting much with the bobber, in fact I had zero expectations to catch an eye there. I just put it out for something to do while I waited for Lonnie to wake up. Lonnie and I have done Openers together for somewhere around 25 years. We know each other well, although we didn't plan on fishing early in the morning together while everyone slept in, we both knew we would. Thats how it went down, just as I knew it would.

While the rest of the camp slept we went to work. The eyes weren't on the 12' flats out in front as they've been on other openers. They weren't around the weed bed either.

An hour into locating and nothing. We came off a step break close to shore and I hooked an eye with a jig and minnow. A 15"er that went on the stringer. We see movement at camp and head in to eat breakfast, make a game plan, then head back out. Fishing is slow but we all manage a couple eyes out of 10' of water on jigs and minnows. We break for lunch back at camp. Its hot and the pike action from shore with a smelt on the bottom becomes intense with 34-40"+ pike. We let the kids have fun. 4 dozen smelt disappeared in a few hours. The kids really put on a clinic with all pike hand landed and hooks removed quickly and released with not one fish harmed.

Supper time and then off for the evening bite. We had a place picked out from scouting earlier in the day with a 10' reef running off a point that broke into deep water. Jigs and minnow worked the breaks and top of the reef. Jr was rigged with a slip bob and minnow to target the top of the reef. That worked as planned and and the eyes turned on. Action was fast although nothing was caught in the deep water prier or during the bite. Well into the darkness we caught eyes. As the action slowed I thought of having to head home in the morning. I didn't want the trip to end so soon. I lifted anchor and Jr and I motored back to camp followed by the rest of the group. Back at camp with no fire, we gather around the lantern and tell stories of past trips and talk about highlights of the day.

The trip is over but memories of it will live on.

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Great story, Frank. It's like I was there smelling the smells of the Moose chain. grin.gif

Well, not ALL the smells, with nine guys in the camp. smirk.gif

Good for you that another opener went into the books under excellent circumstances. You and Frank Jr. are building a lot of nice memories.

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Sounds Like fun frank. The opener was a bust for the Loadmaster. This was he first opening weekend I have had off in 18 years, so Friday I did all the yard work I could thinking about Sat morning. When the wife comes out and says her heart and breathing is not right, off the EM Ward and then an overnight stay at the hospital along with all day Sat. Find out she is having extra beats and high blood pressure (too much smelting) but they got thing under control. I know she did not want me fishing this weekend but I did not think she would go that far. Oh well another 18 years is not to far off>>>later the load

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Thanks Steve. When you all smell the same you don't smell anymore, till you hit town.

Bob, sorry to hear about the miss and good to hear shes been taken care of. You know you could call me when you need a partner. Take Care.

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Hit the kwazy rabbit for my first time ever!! guy named "jeff" gave us our opener advice- jigs with minnows by current. saturday proved him wrong, as I tied into a 7#er at about 8p.m. great fish to start the year!!!

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I went out today fishing the cloquet portion of the st. louis and did fairly well with a few bass and a walleye.

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Great story Frank. Long after you're gone, your son will be retelling the stories of that trip - well done.

For us:

Early in the week, my Dad and I planned to keep it low key and just hit Island lake North of Duluth with my oldest son for the AM in case my Dad had to head off to fight a fire.

Sure enough, our plans were wiped out as he had to spend 3 days fighting the fire near Cherry, so instead of having three generations in the boat, I planned just to take my 8 year old, allowing him to fish his first opener.

On Saturday, I was up at 4AM ready to go, and when I went to wake up my son, I saw his allergies were making it hard for him to breath well while he slept, so I patiently sat by waiting for his eyes to open. When he finally woke up, I asked him if he still wanted to go.

Fortunately he was game, and we ended up hitting the water at about 9:00. About 15 mintues later, while we were "arguing" about who'd be able catch the first fish, his jig a minnow locked into a 16" walleye with a DNR tag on it. I think the DNR tag was more exciting for him than the fish itself.

Over the next hour, we caught 6 walleyes from 12" to 18.5".

When the sun came out from behind the clouds, we went into the shallows, bobbered up, and caught 4 crappies from 12" to 16" - great slabs. We also released a couple bass, and too many "hammer handle" northerns to count.

All in all, albeit a bit short, it was a sucessful opener for father and son, and it allowed us to have fresh fish for dinner.

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That's a nice story, Ev. My son, now grown and about to graduate college, has asthma, which has to some degree limited (though not much) what he's been able to do.

Glad to see more memories were born on Saturday. grin.gif

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What Steve forgot to mention is how we giggled and screamed like school girls as that 13# surfaced! It was awesome and brought back a feeling like no other. Thanks Steve for the experience. Hey, I didn't do too bad behind the lense. Mister Professional Photographer Guy!!!!

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Chunky, I think you are right. I think it REALLY was a 13 lber, not a 12. I bow to your more accurate estimate. grin.gif

Yeah, the schoolgirl part. I remember that now. Here I was, trying to appear all manly. smirk.gif

Good pictures too, buddy.

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Nice to see some great pictures and hear great stories!

I met Great Outdoors on Sat. morning. Didn't get to talk much outside of intros. People were wantin bait!

ST, started reading your Opener article at the cafe, but couldn't finish before breakfast was over and the fish were waitin! Looked good though! smile.gif

We went to Shag for the numbers game and found about 8 boats on MY smirk.gif start spot! We pulled in line anyway. Caught some wallys along with everybody else. The bite slowed a bit so we went up shallow to check for pike. Caught one 3#r. The pike were all out on the break bustin schools of bait with the smallies.

We slipped back out to the break as the boat traffic lightened a bit. Warm, sunny and still. Thats when we caught a couple of the better ones that morning.

We came back out for the evening bite and bobbered up with two of the kids. It was just right. The time, location, breeze and the fish! grin.gif The kids had enough bites and caught enough to keep them interested. We had them setting their own hooks and netting the fish we didn't miss. wink.gif In total we landed 15 eyes between 14 and 24 inches that day.

Sunday we got there earlier - far fewer boats - far fewer fish too. frown.gif Finally started looking around for another spot. Might of found a couple too, I'll check em this weekend.

Fished Silver Rapids Sun. PM. They were right, more pike this year than eyes!

Among your guys' stories you're highlighting the memories of the weekend. We're making our own now too. The lot that I have was my Dad's. He wanted the place to be our new hangout and get back to fishing together again. He passed away a couple years ago before we could really get things going up there. Now that I'm learning the area better, I really wish he was still around to fish with.

Outdoor sports are the greatest. People can say you just hunt or fish with someone, but we all know its much more than that!

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I need to get out to the river

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went into the the B-dub via the Stuart River north of Big lake and into Stuart and Iron. We like the route because of the difficulty and the resulting lack of people. We started the 460 rod portage around 12:30pm on Sat morn and would have made Iron if the yoke on my canoe would not have broken on the 460. Lost a thwart after that (and nearly a seat) and we realized we need to stop at Stuart to mend it for the 320 into Fox and 3 other portages into Iron. Caught our limit of eyes from shore on Stuart and had nice fish fry that night. Sunday with a mended yoke , we nearly made the 320 into Fox before the yoke gave out again, but we were able to make it to Iron. Fished Curtain Falls, and the fish seemed to be deeper and more spread out than other years. Also fished breaks and pinches with decent success. Canoed to a beaver dam where the beartrap river leads into Iron to find some beaver wood to make a "new yoke" on Tuesday for our return trip on Thursday. With no drill bits and modern eqiumpment , the engineers of our group took over with a hand saw and a axe and little shimming. We were able to make a yoke out of a 3.5ft spruce log and slid into place. on the way out, the wind hit us hard out of the south on stuart and we camped again on Stuart. Canoeing in 3 foot waves in a 16Ft Penobscot is a bit nerve racking, not to say we had no thwart or yoke for support. Caught 13 more walleyes from shore and again had a nice fish fry.

The ticks were terrible (over 200 between the 4 of us) and I'am sure my buddies neck is still a little sore after using a spruce log for a yoke on the way out. Fishing was Ok, but the experience and being able to figure out problems in the face of the wilderness was something I will never forget.

Hats off to Josh,Jerad and especially Tim who designed the yoke and carried the beast on the way out and the way in.

A true trooper. Try carrying a canoe without a yoke and 60 lb food pack, and you'll see what I mean.

Jeff

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You did a good job this trip blooms (HPV). I was 1 of the 4 with jeff on the week long trip up the stuart. Sometimes when things don't go your way (like breaking a yoke on the first portage and having someone turtle back the canoe for the remainder of the day), you need to stop and reconisder your game plan. For us, stopping and smelling the roses led to some great fishing.

All in all, a great fishing opener and another trip filled with memories...i wonder if the people we saw with the lp tanks have made it in yet!!

And jeff, i stopped counting ticks at 40, and that was after only the 4th portage of 10 to iron....i would say we were well over 300, not that it is something to brag about.

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I left my home in se wi. at 6:30 am on 5/10. Had heard of the Ham Fire from posts by gunflint. Little did I understand of fires in the BWCA .Ive been down the Gunfflint Trail many times, as long ago as the early 70s.I stopped at the Forest Station in Grand Marais at 4:30 pm on that thursday afternoon for any information about the conditions on the Gunflint trail. Was told that the fire had spread accross into Canada and was growing. Driving up from duluth I knew the winds were now from the NW and blowing pretty good. My plans were to set up camp on East Bearskin and fish for crappies at a diff. lake on friday the 11th. The fires location and wind direction changed my mind. Although the forest service told me it was ok to camp at East Bearskin. I found out the next week from "Gunflint "that he had received a call thursday evening to evacuate the campground and that all people as far east as the East Bearskin area of the Gunflint trail should leave. Needless to say ,I was glad I made the decision I had ,not to head down the trail thursday pm. I camped for 4 nights at the Devil Track. There were ashes in the air that first night at the campground. Another camper decided it, the fire was too close and left early that evening, although he did return thee next day.I managed to catch a few eyes on Sat. and each of the following days I stayed at Devil Track. Next it was on to the camground at Two Island lake. Fishing for walleye was tough.Only caught one small fish in the 3 days I stayed there.The bass and Northern provided some action though. Shallow ,casting grubs.

I heard on the radio station out of Grand Marais that the trail was again open to the Mid trail so I packed up and headed up the trail to East Bearskin, where I stayed for the next five nights. Two cold fronts, rain and camp fires not allowed and I decided to cut my trip short and head for home. Had planned on staying til the 30th. The water temps on east Bearskin dropped 5-6 degrees while I was there. Fishing was slow. I did manage 22 and 25 inch fish but only one what i call eater size 13-17 inch fish. Stopped again at Devil Track to spend an evening fishing. I need to bring home a fish fry for my wife. Well the fish gods blessed me, caught my limit of 13- 14 inch fish in 2 hours, kept 4 that we had for dinner on wed.the 23rd. I already miss the area and am planning a trip with my daughter towards the end of July. Come the end of sept. into Oct. Ill again be on the Gunflint.

Before I left the trail I drove west on the trail to the gunflint lake boat launch.From there you can see accross the width of the lake. For my lifetime, Im 56, that area will always be changed. Totally burnned through. Other areas as well. Iron lake area got hit as well, Im told as the area around the Trails End Campground did too.The last time I motored out onto Sag. I can still see the results of the fire up there I beleive it was in 74.The Ham Lake fire will effect people for years to come.Those of us that visit and appreciate that area as I do and I know so many others do. My heart really does got out to those who lost property and the things we all have of importance to us that would be gone as the reuslt of the fire. So my lengthy opener report is not one of not one of terrific fishing, but one which will hold other memories. Lastly, has anyone heard of the cause of the Ham Lake fire? Under investigation is all Ive heard.

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