Oyster, Ge-be, L.L.C.
by Arlo Pankook
I met Dan and Dylan in Ely at the ranger station, picked up our permit and consolidated our gear. We headed out to the bunkhouse at Echo Trail Outfitters and loaded up our MNIII. Echo Trail Outfitters is currently being ran by the ambitious young couple that has been running the Fenske lake cabins for a while. They have been really fixing up the facilities and are great people to deal with. As for us three we had a few beers and hit the bunks about 10:30.
Day 1 Wednesday May 26th E.P.16
Our alarm went off just as planned at 4:00 am. I was amazed to see all three of us up and actively getting ready within 5 minutes. Since we had packed 100% the night before we were on the road by 4:30 and unloaded with our cars parked at the entry point by 5:00am. 5:00am has been our put-in-time goal every year but it usually gets to be 6:00 or 7:00 before we actually put in. Our extra preparation and smaller group size made things go a lot smoother. We were floating in the Moose river by 5:30. Two miles of winding river and two short portages gets us to Nina Moose lake and two to three more miles and two medium length portages got us through Agnes lake and to the 160 rod portage into the Oyster river. We had only brought along three packs. A food pack, another large canoe pack, a lighter backpack for the guy portaging the canoe and of course our rod tubes. We single portage on every trip and today it was really paying off. We were traveling fast and we barely broke a sweat on the portages. We even saw a Pink Lady Slipper on the 160 rod portage into the Oyster river. By now we were glad to have left the busy Agnes route behind and were ready to get into some interior lakes. We were on the Oyster river and hit our halfway point for the day by 8:30. The scenery really started to get beautiful as we portaged into Oyster lake. This lake was prettier than I remembered,the wind was light and all was good in our world as we headed to the northern most point of Oyster and the portage into Rocky Lake.
Day 2 Relaxation
Day 2 was spent basecamping and fishing on Ge-be lake. The fishing overall was fair but we did manage to catch two nice Walleyes and a handful of Smallies. We ate two fish meals this day. This site suited us well and decided to give it 3-1/2 stars. The weather on this trip was perfect, probably the best we have seen on a May or June trip.
Day 3 Lac LaCroix Daytrip
Friday we got up about 8:00, loaded fishing gear and breakfast provisions into our canoes and set off for Lac LaCroix. Ge-be-on-equet creek was very low and may have been unnavigateable had we been loaded down with our canoe packs. We found a nice spot on the shoreline of LLC for our shore breakfast and shore fishing. Dylan prepared the grittle cakes on the camp stove while Dan and I proceded to catch fish. Smallies, Northerns and Walleyes were biting veraciously. We decided to keep four Walleyes for lunch and dinner that day. We were glad we made the trip to LLC, one of our favorite lakes.
Day 4 Back to Oyster
Day four we broke camp and made it to Oyster lake by 10:00. We got to the site at the base of the peninsula that we wanted just as a group was clearing out. Traveling early and light payed off again. Smallmouth Bass did oblige but several hours of trolling for Lake Trout proved fruitless. I guess it was just as well as we had already eaten fried Walleye with yellow rice, pan broiled Walleye with pesto pasta, creamy wild rice soup with walleye, Zatarans Gumbo with Walleye not to mention the gill hooked Smallmouth we blackened the first day. We would have to endure our last day without a fish meal. Our hammocks were used much this day and as the sun set over the bay on Oyster and we poured the last of our whiskey into our cups we savored the peace and tranquility of this beautiful place.
Day 5 Oyster On Out
We got another early start in hopes of not meeting a lot of people on this busy route as it was the day before Memorial day. We passed two groups that were heading out and all eight groups heading in but still managed to get to our vehicles by 11:00. As usual we were already planning our next trip as we headed to Ely for our traditional burgers, fries, salads and of course a cold one.