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steffanf

The late July/early August fishing trip reports...

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steffanf

Since I was the first one back from my trip up to Cass during the mass Chicago-area exodus, I thought it would be interesting to see how everyone did. I didn't actually get to meet any of you while I was up there, but apparently, I just missed some of you at the Pike Hole.

Anyway, my trip was one of my best up there for both me and my wife. We stayed up at Anglers Beach... someplace I had never been before. As for the weather, the only day it rained was Sunday morning (as I predicted) and the rest of the period was sunny. Of course, it was also very hot (90-95) most days. We did most of our fishing relatively close to shore with my small 14' boat. That kept us close to the Islands and into the bays most of the trip.

I started Sunday afternoon (22nd) fishing around the docks, running into some Rock Bass. The thing is, some of them were HUGE! After catching a half-dozen over a pound, we decided that I would go back around the same areas the next day... this time to keep some for eating. That Monday (23rd) started out extremely foggy over the lake. It was around 6 AM and visibility was less than 20 ft at times. It made things quite interesting when trying to navigate without a GPS! It didn't really burn off until 9 AM or so, but we managed to be out fishing well before that. As expected, the Rock Bass were hitting again. I am sitting there using bass lures to catch these things. They were not only relating to the docks, but also the weedbeds and any other structure one could find. I am wondering if the relatively low water levels have anything to do with this. I didn't have a scale, but my biggesst Rock Bass was just under a foot long and very FAT. I actually caught this fish on a Mepps Musky Killer! The smallest one caught was 8" and still good for eating. We fished the same area twice that day... once in the morning and the other in the evening. The catch was quite varied with Rock Bass being the most plentiful. Mixed in was a few crappie, a couple bull 'gills, one big pumpkinseed, a couple small northern and a bonus 17" bass. Between the two trips, I managed to keep 14 fish for eating later. I never ate Rock Bass before, but I figure they should taste like bluegill/sunfish. During the entire day on both Sunday and Monday, it was very calm with winds no greater than 5 mph.

The second day (Tuesday the 24th) was also fairly calm at the onset... this time without the fog (thank GOD). This day I made it a point to go and find some nice weedy drop-offs in search of some pike. We started fishing some nice shoreline with some lillypads and cabbgage mixed in and decided to cast along it. After missing several hits on my spinnerbait, I noticed something hitting at the surface within the slop. I decided to change my wifes' lure over to a weedless worm, casting right in the pads. Within 15 minutes she managed to boat a couple nice bass (16" & 17"). Still I was after pike and continued to use the spinnerbait along the weedline. After several hits and misses, I felt like I had to put on a trailer hook. Again after several misses and only one pike later, I decided to change to a Shad-Rap. This time I started to bring some in. Nothing was over a couple feet long, but I did manage to catch several. Toward late morning, I realized that I might want to keep a couple small pike for eating, since I have never tried it before. With that, I decided to keep a few 18" fish. Toward lunchtime, we decided to go to Chippewa Paws for lunch. That turned out to be a mistake. It turns out there are new owners AGAIN and they are only open between 5-9 PM on Monday through Wednesday. I did manage to get some gas, since I was running low. At this point, we were quite hungry and decided to go on a little adventure. We decided to go to the Canal House at Stony Point. Of course, one couldn't have a much longer trek than this from Chippewa Paws to Stony Point. Also, the wind had kicked up to around a steady 15 mph and some whitecaps were beginning to show up. I can't remember how long it took to get there, but we did make it. With the wind coming out of the southeast, the waves were hitting us semi-broadside. It was a slow trek with the 9.9 HP motor and it took us some 30-40 minutes to cross the lake. Just a little water was coming in the boat until we passed the southeastern tip of the island where we started to cleanly hit the waves head-on. That brings up a couple close-calls. I fogot about the shallow rock-bar to the southeast of Star Island and I pulled my engine up just in time to clear the rocks. Then I had another DUH moment just off of Stony Point itself.

I can say this... Stony Point has improved their food quality quite a bit. Matter of fact, I thought it was better than the Pike Hole that we ate at the day before. Also, I thought the Pike Hole used to have a larger selection of food last time I was there. At the same time, I believe the selection at the Canal House was expanded and much better in quality.

Back to fishing, we went out later that evening over in Allens Bay in search of some big pike or Musky. We caught a few more pike along a nice weedline and actually had a smaller (3') musky take a swipe at one of the pike just before netting it. Nothing like a good heart-attack at the end of a day!

We only fished for a few hours that next morning before heading back home by 10 AM. A couple points I think are worth noting about the trip. First, I will never stay at Anglers Beach again. We were stuck in an old run-down cabin (trailer) without an air-conditioner or even a TV. The place as a whole looked rather worn-down. While the host/manager seemed courteous, the place was basically being run by some 20-something year-old "kids". The boat launch was basically sand at the bottom end of the ramp with the low water levels and I did manage to spin the tires a couple times while launching. I tried to book a trip for next year over at Wishbone. Apparently, all of the peak season is already booked for 2008 (you guys must have beat me to it), so I had to look elsewhere. I did manage to get a week in mid to late June over at Stony Point next year, so I am currently set. Of course, with me now only living 4 hours away from Cass Lake, I may have to do a couple more short trips (tent-camping) during the course of the summer. Perhaps I could bum a room from one of you for a night next July...

-Gregg B.

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Commanche Jim

Nice post Gregg..........thanks for the info. We're heading up next Friday for just over a week. I can't wait.

Too bad about Angler's Beach. Back in the 80's when we used to go to Tom's, we'd stop in there once in a while just to check it out. It seemed run down back then too. It's a shame because it has potential.

How is Rock Bass? Never had it.

And thanks for the info on the Canal House. We were just talking the other day about how we thought their food has slipped over the years. Good to hear its better.

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steffanf

I thought it was a shame about Anglers Beach as well. Like you said: it has potential. I think it is located on one of, if not THE best spots on the lake, personally. It really needs alot of work... upgrades, amenities, facilities. Oh, well... live and learn. Stony Point has got my money for next year already anyway. Also, forgot to add that the Canal House has a breakfast bar before 10 AM and a salad bar after that. The breakfast bar has always been so-so (and continues to be such). However, the salad bar was pretty good. If they have the Chicken Noodle soup out, make sure you give it a try... it's basically chicken and dumplings... good stuff. As for Rock Bass, I havn't ate them yet. They are in my freezer and I will likely have them over the next week or so. I will let you know what I think of them after I try them...

-Gregg B.

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steffanf

I can now report that Rock Bass actually tastes pretty good. I chose to broil my fillets and just add a little paprika. It is not quite as good as bluegill or crappie, but it is fairly close. The big ones I caught actually had some bones in them that I didn't get out and that was a bit of a hassle. I guess that's what happens when you start dealing with panfish that are close to the size of bass.

-Gregg B.

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