Thursday, March 15, 2007

Boundary Waters Ice Fishing and Winter Camping Expedition

Camping on Long Island!?
Lake Saganaga, that is.

(Click on the pictures to make them bigger!)
On Friday, March 9th, we set out to enjoy a great weekend of ice fishing, on one of the best looking spots on earth, with the best weather you could hope for.

Our group included:

Peter, Bill's son
my brother, Mark
and myself, Michael.

We travelled from Saint Paul, MN to Grand Marais. Spent the night in Grand Marais and headed up the Gunflint Trail to Lake Saganaga. We started out at the Snow Mobile landing (In summer it is conveniently used as a boat ramp!)

We headed out north into the Lake. We used a well packed snowmobile route to get into the main body of the lake. Apparently, dogs like to ride as well as run on the ice.

(We are still trying to figure out what this guy was pulling.)

It took a couple of hours to get to our campsite.

Finally, the lake is opening up, and we can get away from the snowmobilers.
This is one of the most subtly beautiful places you can imagine. In every direction, there is just ice and small islands. I can just imagine what it is like to kayak here in the Summer, when all of the ice is gone.

Now it is time to get down to the business of fishing. Ice fishing is an interesting sport. It requires a lot of work, to be able to sit around and wait. It is nothing like going fishing in the creeks, and ocean like my childhood, in South Georgia.
First, you have to drill a hole. It is easier with 2-3 people on an auger. (Mark and Pete take the first shot.)
Then, you clear out the slush. (and I thought slotted spoons were just for green beans.)
There are two types of fishing you do in ice fishing. Jigging, and using a tip up. Lets look at a tip up first.
Here is Bill rigging one up. (I think he does this to get out of dealing with the auger!)

Basically, it is a line, with a hook and some bait. You drop it into the hole and it is suspended from an apparatus on the top of the hole that has a flag on it.

Then, while you are jigging, you keep an eye out for the flag to pop up, meaning that something, hopefully a fish, has the bait and is running with it. When that happens, you run to the line and start pulling, with your hands, the line.

That is how Mark caught this beauty.

Now, for jigging. No apparatus. Just a fishing pole (looks like something from Toys-R-Us, but it works just great!), a hole, and a whole lot of patience.

Jigging is the way I caught this lovely thing. (Not to brag, but at 32", it was the largest of the trip!)

Mel, caught this one jigging also.

Here is Mel catching th
e one above.
It looks a lot like road construction looks, a few guys watching the one guy do all of the work. However, unlike road work, there really is nothing that the other guys could be doing.

Following are just some other shots from the trip.

Some tracks that we came across on the lake. The Romantic in me thinks they are wolf. Maybe someone could ID them. I could kick myself for not getting a reference shot with someones hand there. However, they were about the size of a big dogs paw. Say a Lab or something comparable.

This was the first fish that was caught, Saturday noonish. Larry caught by tipup.

Well, for Mel's sake, let me clarify that. Larry stepped away from his tipup, Mel saw the flag, and pulled the fish out of the water. You go figure out who gets the credit.

Lots and lots of waiting.

Bill (On right) and his son, Peter

The closest I have come to Canada.

There are a few more pictures. I will be uploading them to Snapfish soon. I will let you know when they are there.

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