Last weekend was a little more about having fun and a little less about fishing. It was our third annual Superhero Rod Fishing Tournament. This year we had around 60 anglers hitting the waters of the Mississippi River in Brainerd. They were after walleyes, northern, bass and catfish, and of course they were all wanting to go home with a trophy. But you see when you are fishing with a Barbie or Snoopy rod you just can't take yourself too seriously.
What do you do when it's Thursday and you are looking for something different to do for the weekend? Well, you call your buddy Mark Courts who happens to run a salmon boat on Lake Michigan. Luckily due to a cancellation we had the boat for Saturday, so off to Sturgeon Bay we went. After getting to our hotel late we were not looking forward to the 3 a.m. wake up call, but at the same time we were excited to get our first king salmon on the line. Leaving the harbor around 4 a.m. we didn't have to wait long before the fish was hooked up and in the cooler.
Now it's back to reality, which isn't so bad when you live in Brainerd and get to fish all the time. For being midsummer already the bite has been pretty good. The walleyes are actually cooperating and, with bass and pike thrown in the mix, you can have some great days on the water.
So last week I was a little too excited to get back on the water to tell the whole story. I touched base on the amazing lake trout fishing at Tazin Lake, so this week I will get you the rest of the story. First of all, the resort amenities and lodge. If you think for one minute that there won't be all the comforts of home, you are wrong. The lodge is equipped with a tackle shop, comfy leather couches and satellite TV, although you will probably be too tired from reeling in fish to watch it.
What an amazing week at Tazin Lake Lodge. In some ways it's hard to believe you are miles from no one, lacking the ability to use a computer. But when you see the miles of mountainous terrain and untouched water, you feel pretty small.
Although it's always nice to get out fishing around home, when you have the opportunity to spend some time in Canada you take it. That is what I did last week. I had the opportunity to spend a few days in Ontario's sunset country. It was a chance for me to learn some new waters and take in the beautiful scenery that is so abundant across the border. Arriving in Nestor Falls I quickly got the boat in the water and found some spots on the GPS that looked promising. Well, they weren't.
The days and weeks are beginning to blur, I guess that means that summer is in full swing. The Trolling for the Troops event at Camp Ripley was once again a hit. Getting to be a guide for some much deserving veterans makes for a very satisfying day in itself. Now getting to do it with anglers such as Mark Courts and Ron Schara, well that really takes it to a whole new level. If these guys with so many things going on can take time from their busy schedules, well that just shows what a great event it has become.
When you are an outdoorsy person, whether it be hunting, fishing or anything else, you do it outside. Sometimes no matter how well you prep or try to control things, they just don't work out in your favor. But even if that happens, you still walk away with a sense of possibly knowing a little more.
This week brought me to Ely for the 51st annual fishing trip for disabled veterans at Veterans on the Lake Resort. I was joined by three other guides and tournament fisherman as well as 30+ veterans from all over Minnesota. This was my second year guiding up there and definitely a week that has become pretty special to me. We were all hoping that fall lake would give up some walleyes, and it did. I was joined this year by Jerry Hertel, a Vietnam veteran who had lost his vision, but did not lose his ambition or love of the outdoors.
For once everything came together for the Minnesota walleye opener. The weather was nice, maybe a little too nice. But that was OK by us. And the fish, well they cooperated to their fullest extent. Good friend Jeremy Woodwick, his son Carter and I were on the big pond a little after the sun came up on Saturday and with reports of buddies that hit the water at midnight boating over 100 fish, our expectations were high.