Paddle - BWCA, Quetico, Sylvania, and other paddling places

Quetico Moments

By Auralee Strege Print Icon Print Report View/Leave Comments (0)
Dates:June 28, 2014 - July 5, 2014
Entry Point:12 - Pickerel Lake (Quetico)

I awoke slowly at first, hearing Ben stirring and unzipping the tent at 4:30am one morning. I wanted to keep sleeping, absorbing as much sleep as possible to recover from the 7 months of sleepless nights hearing crying for nighttime feedings, but when Ben whispered, “There’s a moose,” I quickly started getting out of the tent to see this rare sighting.

It was still dark and hard to see anything detailed far way, although I was able to make out the huge black object moving slowly near the far shore through the trees by our campsite – a moose feeding in some lily pads. I heard several splashes of water, like someone was throwing rocks in. I figured it was probably Ben trying to get the moose to move, but I later found out it was a beaver slapping its tail in the water below where Ben was watching the moose.

Cow Moose Crossing Bay

We had dropped off a dinner size walleye in a fish cage earlier in the morning at a peninsula not wanting to carry it during our fishing around the rest of the lake. It was a beautiful morning; the water like glass with no wind, and sunny skies. We had success catching several walleye, nothing big – mostly eating size, and I was hoping the secret lake we were on was going to show some more excitement. It didn’t take long as we approached the peninsula to pick up our fish; I started reeling in my line that I had out trolling. I felt a big jerk and then my line went loose. At first I thought the fish had simply taken my lure and gone, biting the line off, but as I started to reel in again, I felt something heavy on the end. The fish started fighting like a northern pike, taking deep plunges and getting the drag on the fishing pole rolling. Eventually I was able to reel in the line enough to see the fish, a huge northern, thicker and longer than any fish I’d seen. Yay! The pike had most of the lure inside its mouth at this time, so I thought we had plenty of time to let it fight and get tired enough to bring it in the canoe. Phil made a few grabs at the fish only to have it fight and swim away. As the fish surfaced again for one more time next to the canoe, I noticed the lure barely hanging on. Phil did another grab and this time was successful bringing him in. Ben quickly put the fish on a stringer while the northern was thrashing and trying to escape. I was so happy Phil was able to get him in the canoe – now I could get a picture and weigh my biggest fish. He weighed in at 12.6 lbs. This catch made paddling so far worth all the work and time getting there.

Big Northern

Ben and I had just paddled back from a small island where I cleaned the walleye for dinner. We were setting up the stove and getting the cook kit out in the kitchen area when Phil noticed a moose swimming in the water right next to our campsite. Everyone quickly stopped what they were doing and grabbed their cameras to take a pictures. The bull moose kept eating lily pads and didn’t seem to mind all the attention. Phil and Ben snuck down a trail near our canoe to get closer and took some more pictures.

Bull Moose

I cast my fishing line out near some rapids and started reeling. I jumped in the air as I felt a bite and called out to Ben that I had a fish. I reeled him in and was able to weigh him – a 3.4 lb bass. I spent the rest of the time fishing from that spot catching a few more fish.

Smallmouth at Rapids

I lay in the tent thinking about the beauty of this wilderness. I felt a stirring in my heart and longing to extend our canoe trip longer so I could enjoy a few more days of this special place and more sleep smileyI’ve felt this on a few occasions, but this trip in particular I didn’t want to end.

Loons on Calm MorningBurning SunsetCalm Rainy Sunset

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