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thegildedgopher
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06/15/2019 07:43PM
My 12yo son and I just returned from 4 days up the Gunflint. We spent time fishing Clearwater, West Bearskin, Gunflint and Little Gunflint. I have read time and time again how tough CW and Gunny can be, but I did a lot of reading and research and it all boiled down to this: We wanted a chance at catching a monster lake trout. We didn't expect numbers, and we prepared ourselves mentally to go home with a skunk on the board. We figured we'd target walleye at least one day as well.

Gunny killed us. Little gunny netted us a total of two perch, in what the guides told me was the honey hole for walleye. West Bearskin we lost one fish, likely a trout. And then there's Clearwater.

First let me say, everything they say about CW is true. It's gorgeous. The palisades are so powerful it's almost distracting. Fishing can be slllllow. But there are some giants in this beautiful body of water, and my son and I were lucky enough to meet one of 'em. We had picked up 2 lakers on a trolling run, one about maybe 12 and the other maybe 18. We came to the end of the run and we were going to turn around and troll the same stretch again. My son started reeling in his line and the rod bent in half so hard I thought he might lose it. He was confused. It felt like snagging a log in heavy river current, just pure weight going straight down and pulling line. We were in 60 feet of water so I knew it was no snag.

We did not bring a tape measure or a scale. Those numbers honestly don't mean much to me. All I know is this was special. I told my son he might spend the rest of his life trying to match this one. I think he "gets it." But if not, time will teach him that fish like this don't come along that often.

So I'll stop talking now, because I think I could just go on and on. Suffice to say, we will be back at Clearwater this time next year :)

(Note: Sorry for the blacked-out faces. My wife is very weird about putting photos of the family on public forums. Also I'm holding the fish because my kid literally couldn't lift it, and I didn't want to stress the fish out. Quick pics and straight back into the water.)



 
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thegildedgopher
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06/15/2019 07:52PM
ALSO -- we fished Tail Dancers, Little Cleos, Daredevles, Crocodile spoons, big hair jigs, big white tubes. All 3 of our fish were caught on a #7 jointed Flicker Shad in purple tiger. Leadcore with 4 colors out, 14lb flouro leader. Probably running about 20-22 feet. Fish were suspended at 25-40, but sometimes over very deep water.

Couple more pics of the smaller fish.


 
Sandman2009
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06/15/2019 07:52PM
Nice work! Hooking big lakers is quite the experience.
 
06/15/2019 08:02PM
Great fish! Nothing more fun then big Lakers!!!
 
Basspro69
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06/15/2019 09:05PM
Beautiful Trout on my favorite lake up there congrats !
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member (334)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/15/2019 10:25PM
Thanks folks. And not to make this sound like an award acceptance speech, but I owe a bunch of thanks to a bunch of people on this board who have been very generous with their insights into chasing Lakers. I haven’t been on this board long but have really soaked in some great info and it felt rewarding to be able to put it together and put my son in the biggest fish of his life... so far :)
 
missmolly
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06/16/2019 07:18AM
What a fish!


Regarding the blacked-out face, how do you do that?
 
thegildedgopher
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06/16/2019 02:00PM
missmolly: "What a fish!



Regarding the blacked-out face, how do you do that? "


I use photoshop a little for work but I’m not very skilled with it. You use a tool to select a portion of the photo and then you can fill it with color.
 
carmike
distinguished member(1646)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/16/2019 07:41PM
Beautiful fish!

Leadcore sure is a great tool...Just a serious bummer if you ever have to portage it off those motor lakes. :)
 
Zwater
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06/16/2019 08:03PM
Great fish and great memories!
 
06/16/2019 10:48PM
Now that's a hog!! Nice and fat. Probably around 32" based on the 28" I caught on Oyster this year but definitely a good bit fatter than mine. I have no doubt your son will be tormented trying to top that... really a big beautiful fish.

Those little ones look WEIRD though! Real bug eyes on them. Haven't seen lakers like that before.
 
thegildedgopher
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06/16/2019 11:06PM
flynn: "Now that's a hog!! Nice and fat. Probably around 32" based on the 28" I caught on Oyster this year but definitely a good bit fatter than mine. I have no doubt your son will be tormented trying to top that... really a big beautiful fish.


Those little ones look WEIRD though! Real bug eyes on them. Haven't seen lakers like that before."


I honestly haven’t caught enough to notice anything different about these ones. Curious to hear ideas on this.
 
Mocha
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06/17/2019 09:43AM
great job! sounds like you spent a good amount of time looking for fish and were finally rewarded.
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member (334)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/17/2019 10:24AM
Mocha: "great job! sounds like you spent a good amount of time looking for fish and were finally rewarded."

We arrived at CW on Wednesday afternoon and fished about 4 hours going up and down the shoreline breaks around the entire lake, essing out into the deep center and just trying to figure out what depths the fish were hanging out at. No bites but lots of information. We ate a great meal and spent the night in the bunkhouse going over what we'd learned and making a plan for the next day. We were up early, lucked out with fantastic mild weather, and were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time.

We never did make it Chik-Wauk, by the way. Next time!
 
shock
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06/17/2019 04:53PM
beautiful fish and story , well done guys :)
 
Pinetree
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06/17/2019 07:41PM
Nice fish,more important,good time and quality time with family.
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member (334)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/18/2019 12:18PM
carmike: "Beautiful fish!


Leadcore sure is a great tool...Just a serious bummer if you ever have to portage it off those motor lakes. :) "


Depending on the time of year it can really be worth it though! Prefer it to extra weights or mini down-riggers.
 
Pinetree
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06/18/2019 03:04PM
Also nice release.
 
lundojam
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06/20/2019 12:38PM
The fruits of your research labor! Good job! You never got to Mayhew? I'm thinking of giving that a whirl next week.
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member (334)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/20/2019 01:59PM
lundojam: "The fruits of your research labor! Good job! You never got to Mayhew? I'm thinking of giving that a whirl next week."

Never made it to Mayhew. I should've driven back there just to check it out. I wish we'd had two more days. Or 10 more!
 
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