Day 1 of 3
Friday, August 14, 2020We were cheap and it ended up costing us. Driving out of Grand Marias we drove past hotel after hotel and decided to instead crash in the tent at the entry point parking lot. After a night of restless sleep and hearing the trucks flying past the gravel road next to us. Our groggy behavior was evident right away as both of us misread the map and hopped back and forth over a beaver damn three times until we figured out our mistake from there it was a simple a couple of portages until our canoe graced the waters of ham lake. We pushed through it as our ultimate destination was further down the line: Long Island Lake. After three hours of restless sleep we were both wiped by the time we got to Rib Lake and seeing the campsite open it was hard to deny the open arms it possessed as it call to us. Logan and I both decided that it was a good stopping point for the day.... we had only made it half the distance that we had hoped but it would have to be enough. Soon enough the tent was up and food was settled in our stomachs looking out at the waves and the swift moving water as the breeze rustled the hairs on my arm. I knew that the drift down Rib would be easy and relaxing but was unsure about the speed and how hard it would be to paddle back. We had no choice but to get out and try to catch supper. Drifting down the lake with the wind at our back it quickly became apparent why this lake is a layover lake and not a destination one. The largest fish we had was a 16 inch string bean slime ball of a northern pike. Not big enough for the frying pan... The rest of the fish were smaller. The smallies we caught while fun to fight provided us with no food as well. Paddling into camp just as a storm was settling in we huddled under a tarp for some Knorr sides chicken flavored rice and then crashed in our bags hoping for a better day tomorrow.
Day 2 of 3
Saturday, August 15, 2020 Woke up to moist and wet conditions outside, Quick meal of oatmeal and granola while we surveyed the conditions on the water. Borderline whitecaps were rolling down Rib Lake and after a quick discussion with Logan we decided to not press onto Long island Lake as with Rib being smaller the waves surely wood be larger on Long Island. Instead turned our packed canoe back towards Ham where we had heard from other canoers the fishing was good. After some portages and fishing the connecting rivers I caught a Walleye on a Berkley flicker shad and threw it on the stringer. We worked the river system on and off catching mainly small bass and pike. It was during one of these times when a snot rocket of a pike slide down my hand and the second tremble hook on the Flicker shad was sent into my finger. The sensation of a pike on one end of a lure and you on the other is a unique one watching the fingerling pike wiggle around and it driving ever deeper into my finger. Grabbing it with the forceps I was able to get it unhooked and the pike hit the water with a splash. After a paddle to the shoreline I was sitting on a boulder and playing backwoods operation on my own finger. Keeping pressure on the backside of the barb I was able to find the angle the hook entered in at and slip the hook out. A quick bandage job followed and then a portage it wasn't ideal but it also wasn't something that a breaded walleye lunch couldn't fix. Once we were on Ham we set up camp on the campsite that was directly across from the portage. Logan had forgotten his rain gear over at the portage so he solo canoed back to get it. The wind had picked up and sent him out of my view as he went around a point. Twenty minutes later he was back soaked and pissed.... He had tipped the canoe trying to get it unstuck in a shallow portion of the lake. A rookie mistake for a rookie canoer. That night we worked the shoreline across from us and caught some decent smallies and at dusk we made a push for the opposite end following the shoreline we ended up in a cove. We were in the thick of smallies and good fishing every other cast brought one in. We were killing it on Berkely's flicker shads red, purple and silver it didn't matter they were hungry and aggressive. We kept two for supper and then called it a night as we paddled back and fry them with some lemon pepper seasoning then retired for the night sitting around the campfire and bonding over our wilderness experience.
Day 3 of 3
Sunday, August 16, 2020 The morning was a quick one as we packed up and half hazardly casted into the depths hoping for a bite as the coffee was brewing. Logan managed to snag his lucky purple Berkley on a log through the clear water we saw it there taunting us with its presence. Another quick breakfast and then we canoed out to it hoping to get it back but instead we managed to break the line. We both laughed as we had been lucky all trip only losing three lures to trees, rocks and fish it was a bittersweet ending to the trip. As the miles we canoed back seemed to fly by both of us canoeing in silence taking in the last bit of our trip and experience in the Boundary Waters. Knowing we would be back next year....