A Much Needed Trip
by Arkansas Man
At the first portage on the river we stop and take pictures of the small waterfall along the trail. About a half mile after we start again I see something dark along the river edges about ¼ of a mile ahead of us. As we get closer we see a young bull moose feeding among the water grasses on the edge of the river. Suddenly he lifts his head and looks down river away from us. We are down wind so we know he has not smelled us however, he turns sees us, looks back down the river and runs into the woods. As we come around the bend we see our first people of trip. They are heading out! A group of 4 canoes with one being a square stern Grumman with what looks like a 2x4 portage yoke system that must have added several pounds to the total weight and I am thankful I am not having to carry that across any portages. We soon enter Upper Pauness and paddle to the 40 rod portage which we had decided to do on the way in and the 8 rod on the way out. The portage is in good shape and we pass another canoe headed out. We start paddling and immediately see the head of the Devil’s Cascade portage and paddle toward it.
Once there after taking my first load across, I see a familiar face on the trip back and it is not one of our group! It is Yellowbird… my friend Bill who I had met before at Bottle Portage during the foot trip in 06’, and talk to often on the boards here and at QJ. He and his family entered # 14 the day before we did, and were camped at the campsite above Devil’s Cascade. The bugs had been giving his two daughters a fit! They are a wonderful family and I visited with them a few minutes and then say goodbye as I head back to my group to make sure all is across the portage. We paddle into Little Indian Souix again after doing our last portage of the day… Now to find a campsite on Little Loon! As we paddle we head into a brisk head wind blowing up LIS. Once we hit the main part of Loon we find a steady headwind of about 15 mph, not too bad just a little tiring in open water. The Souris River Canoes have no problems, although I can tell everyone is becoming a little tired. We pass through East Loon Bay and check out the campsite on the right before you enter Little Loon, but I want either the first site on the left, or the site at the end of Little Loon. The site on the left is open so I decide we have traveled far enough for the first day. (10.6 miles, time is 11:00 am, about 5 hours of traveling)
We set up the tents, and hang the tarp as it looks like rain at any time. Then it is get a hook in the water! First fish is a chunky walleye about 15 inches long, great eating size, but I turn it loose. Tonight we are having flatbread pizza! (if I had known we would not catch any more walleye on the trip we would have had walleye that night) All in all there are several fish walleyes, northern, and smallmouth caught from camp! Smallies from 2.5 – 4 lbs, walleyes from 14-16 inches, and northern all small. As we fish from camp waiting for the wind to lay and sitting under the tarp during rain storms my friend Bill and his family paddling by headed to Slim to camp that night. Later after dinner when the wind dies, and there is no more rain coming we take the canoe and catch a bunch of nice smallies on topwater, and one 36 inch northern on a black jitterbug! A funny note, Dave set up his Hennessy Hammock and went to sleep when we landed. He woke up after about 2 hours and fished with a spoon from camp about 5 minutes and caught a smallmouth that weighed better than 4 lbs. He then went back to sleep again! This is a nice campsite with two good tent pads, and a huge rock landing area, and excellent fishing right from camp! We head to bed at 9:00 since we are moving again in the morning.