Quetico Is Still A Great Time In The Rain
Great being back and seeing Deb, Dave and the staff at Seagull Outfitters. Only needed a tow this year since we brought our own canoe yet we're treated just as though we went with a complete outfitting package. Great outfitter and people C:
Drive up and back...smooth sailing both ways even with the big storm only a few days prior to our departure. The only detour we had was due to bridge construction coming out of Superior to Duluth heading up. Our first trip with our canoe went without issue...tied it down once at home and never needed any other altering or retightening.
We crashed in our vehicle overnight at the Gunflint Lake overlook. Had a little rain over night. I woke up at 5a.m. and shortly after watched a wolf walk directly in front of our car not 20 feet away. I was able to wake my son up in time to get a short glimpse, but due to that and being so fascinated I wasn't able to get my camera out in time to grab a photo:( Ten minutes down the road towards Seagull Outfitters we watched a small bear cub scamper back into the thick forest as we came around a corner. No moose this year, lots of deer, a few bald eagles, painted turtles, loons galore, voles taking shelter under our rainfly, turkey vultures, snapping turtles laying eggs and our pet chipmunk Frito.
I thought last years weather was bad but after this year last year couldn't even be compared to bad. Out of 11 days we had 2 pretty nice days. The rest were either cold fronts, heavy rain, high winds or just plain rain.
Here's the big storm approaching. We were about a mile from camp as it built but intially was moving from south to north and off to our west. At first we headed for camp because it was hard to see from our fishing location. After drying everything out the previous day we didn't want to get everything soaked again so we headed for camp but again it looked as though it would push into Canada and miss us. As we approached our campsite it appeared to change directions lower and came right at us. The cloud formation and movement reminded me of scences from the movie "War of the Worlds". We ran into our tent with only seconds to spare...but the downpour was so heavy and quick our camp was soon flooded. We also received hail. June 19 and 20th were almost all day rain events as well and on the night of the 19th the wind came up so bad it bent our tent poles on our Eureka Outfitter.
Only saw about a half dozen ticks...one attached to my hip one night on our nightly inspection. Skeeters weren't bad at all until the last two days when daytime conditions had little or no wind and cloudy conditions. Flies got bad on the last two days as well. Out on the lake and even the portages they were very scarce. Tons of friendly dragon flies the most I've ever seen and lots of butterflies.
Water was high and rising with all the heavy rain. If I remember correctly Janice measures everyday and didn't get over 2" on any one day. By the end our stay the level was just shy of what I remember on our June 2008 trip which is the highest I've seen it.
For us fishing was fair to good. Lots of big walleyes(26-29") and smallmouth(18-20+"), pike were the quietest I've ever seen. Didn't try for Lake Trout but saw one caught in the throat leading down to Silver Falls on our entry day. Numbers were down (250-275) from last years catch of 500+ but feel it was mainly due to fighting the weather where we were either trying to stay dry or drying everything out. We also spent more leisurly hours around camp then usual. Our time on the water was definetly cut down this trip. Small fish were scarce...
Did best on our usual 1/16oz jigs and plastics and also topwater like tiny torpedos. Smallmouth at least didn't seem to want to chase down the topwater however, almost all hits came on a pause. Only got a few on my favorite inline spinner searchbaits. Most smallmouth seemed spawned out and feeding on small perch, crawfish, mayfly larvae and dragonflies.
Smallmouth mainly near shore to the first dropoff in 10-15 feet. Walleye on mainlake points and dropoffs from 10-26 feet. Although we found one spot where smallmouth and walleye were feeding over a very muddy and large 4 foot flat feeding on small perch and mayfly larvae. Like I said pike were quiet we'd fish a mile of shoreline without a hit from one...something unheard of in all my other trips.
Here's some of best...
One of the many nice doubles my son and I manage to land...his smallie, my walleye :)
We kept and ate one medium size walleye...the rest released. It's not that we don't like fish but when we're that close to water it's about impossible for us not to be casting.
Aother spectacular trip...can't wait for next year....next year he'll be taller then me:)
treated to a beautiful evening after the storm...