Pike on a fly and a HARD PORTAGE

Reports or links to reports on trips.

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johnhens
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Pike on a fly and a HARD PORTAGE

Post by johnhens » Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:43 pm

I picked Tricia up from work as usual with the kayaks and gear loaded. We normally leave from work but made a detour home. We drove to Eau Claire, WI. The allergy season was bad early this year and for my benefit, we opted to stay in a motel. We got a good nights rest and left early the next AM.

We called fonixmunkee from the road as we had made arrangements to meet for lunch at the Anchor Bar in Superior, WI. Great choice fonix, for the beer, food and “atmosphere” (if it ain’t on the menu, don’t ask!!!)
It was good to see fonix again and chat about what else… Isle Royale!!

After lunch, we continued North to Grand Portage. We took the scenic route as far as we could. We stopped in Grand Marais. We went to the Trading Post to pick up a few things. We also stopped at the newly reopened Outfitter to check out the new store. Of course we had to try the Worlds Greatest Doughnuts.
We arrived in GP about an hour later. Went down to the Voyageur Dock to see if anyone was around. No one to be seen. We went to Rydens to make sure they would be open for breakfast-which they would/.
We went to the Casino and took advantage of the Friday Night under 50 room special (59$).
We made some minor gear adjustments and ate dinner and retired early.

I was up early, we dressed and went to Rydens. There were a few others there, some fishermen, some looked like they were heading to IR. We finished breakfast and headed for the dock. We dropped off gear and waited to load. Spoke to Captain Don about fishing and soon Captain Mike was calling for us to board.

We stopped at Windigo and were greated at the dock by Ranger Val, a pleasant surprise. Besides the usual LNT talk, she related the status of the trails with all the blowdowns. I wondered what the Minong would be like and if they would do any trail work on it. 3X the normal number of blowdowns.

We secured our permit and continued on our way to McCargoe. We arrived there after a pleasant ride. Our friend Dan was waiting on the dock. We quickly offloaded our gear, along with it seemed most of the boat. We were staying at McCargoe along with a couple in a tandem kayak.

We put out gear in the shelter and went down to the dock and cast for a while. We then , after no strikes went out in the kayaks and proceeded to catch Northern almost at will. I used a Doctor Spoon and it worked well. Tricia paddled up the creek aways and said there were northern up aways. We fished for a while and came in to eat late lunch/early dinner. It started to drizzle then turned to rain. We enjoyed brats that we cooked at home, froze and vacum sealed. The rain continued and our friend Dan, who was staying at Birch Isle, decided to head back. We enjoyed being warm and dry while the rain continued to fall. It was good to hear loons calling again.

The next morning came slowly as it was foggy. We ate breakfast and went down to the dock. There were a pair of loons hanging around. It was cool to actually be able to see them swim underwater. We listened to the forecast and decided to pack up and head to Belle Isle as winds the next day were forecast to blow NW.
We stopped at Birch Isle to meet with Dan. The fog continued making for an interesting paddle. We rounded the point into the Amygdaloid Channel. As we paddled NE, the wind picked up, a head wind of course. It was hard to figure out where we were, but we got to the Keyhole and ducked in out of the wind. We continued around the point back into the wind and made our way to Belle Isle. It was damp and cold. We moved our gear to the shelter and got the stove going. Hot drinks were welcome. Birds were active and we enjoyed the variety of warblers to be seen. We walked the trail to the dock. Lots of blowdowns.

The next morning, we ate a quick breakfast and grabbed the saw (I take a Sven Saw) and stated work on clearing the blowdowns my saw would handle. After about an hour and a half, we were clear to the dock with the exception of a few large trees the NPS would have to deal with.
Despite the fog, we decided to head to Duncan Bay. The waters there are protected and I wanted to try for Northern there. We packed and it began to rain. The fog seemed to ease, we took a compass heading and took off. We paddled across to Lane Cove and continued on towards Hill Pt. As we got close to Hill Pt, the waves began to get bigger. Soon we were paddling in what can best be described as paddling in a washing machine. We made it around Hill Pt. and made our way to the portage.
We spent about an hour cleaning the portage (as much as we could) and portage through to Duncan Bay. The winds continued to build, we could hear the waves breaking on shore in Stokley Bay. When we got to the campground, it was empty. We unloaded the boats and ate lunch. We then went out to sample the fishing. We did well. We kept one fish for dinner. The fish were biting aggressively.
Fried Northern for dinner, a good night.
We slept in the next AM, the sun warmed the shelter as it rose. After breakfast, we went fishing. It was good for about an hour and died. We paddled around the area. Very nice. We went back to the shelter for a snack. I decided to bird/read for a while.
I went back out to fish, I wanted to try and catch a northern on my fly rod. I cast for a while, no bites. Dan was out also, same for him. Went back to the shelter and took a nap. Woke and ate lunch and went back to fishing. Did better in the afternoon. I threw a topwater in the PM, a Zara Spook. What a blast catching a northern on a topwater!!The winds seemed to be subsiding.
The forecast for the next few days was windy. We had time, but our friend Dan did not as he was leaving on the Queen Friday. We discussed the possibility of doing the Duncan -Tobin portage and agreed to check out the portage tomorrow. Dan caught a Northern and we had fish for dinner, this time baked.

We got out early the next AM, the fish were biting. I was using my flyrod. I kept getting hits but could not get a northern on. The fly had 2 fiberglass pieces to make it weedless, I think they were preventing a good hookset. We ate lunch and went over to the portage. We decided to bring a pack with gear we would not need to make one less trip across. The portage was everything I had heard and then some. Lucky for us, the NPS had dropped off a trail crew who were clearing the portage before us. The first .2 mile have steep sections and flat sections. The trail climbs up to the left from the shore and turns to the right at the top of the climb. It goes along for a while before the 2nd climb, switch backed, begins. There is another section of trail and a final climb to the Greenstone. From there it drops down gradually weaving through rocks, 2 large ones almost sending me to the ground. There is a stair stepped boardwalk, a short climb and then down to Tobin Harbor where the docks can be seen across the way.

We spoke to the trail crew for a while, told them of our work, thanked them profusely, and cached our gear.
We returned to the CG and fished some more. This time I have to say, while somewhat frustrating, I “caught” numerous pike on the flyrod. At one point I had the fly followed by 4 pike to the boat. They sat and watched the fly as I moved it up and down. I have not had this much fun with a flyrod in a long time.
Dan managed to hook a 41” northern that weighed 20#. Again, the my most productive lure, a Five of Diamonds.

The winds picked up overnight. We were up at dawn, packed up and on the water by 5:15 AM. We got to the portage and about 3 ½ hours later were loading the kayaks to cross over to the docks. The portage was hard, I hope to not have to do it again. I slept well that night. The store was open, I grabbed a jug of chocolate milk and brought it down to Tobin to share with Tricia and Dan. We ran into the couple with the tandem who also got off at McCargoe. We enjoyed talking to them and hearing of their trip. We made pizza that night, and offered a pice to one father and son who were drooling. The ride back on the VII was pleasant, we had a nice trip. One note, we ended up moving out of Shelter 3 in the night as it was raining and it leaks bad. Hopefully this will be remedied.
Ran into greg from the Forum, his son had trouble with the blowdowns on the Rock Harbor Trail. He was oK.He was not the only folks we talked to who altered their trip because of blowdowns.
The birding was awesome as usual. I read a book from the IRKPA,The Soldiers of Poverty about a guy who joins the CCCduring the depression, and spends time in'36 fighting fire on IR. Good book.

More snowhoe hares than I ever recall.

We did not take many pictures, I don’t know why.

We had a nice chat with Capt. Don when we got back. We talked about the fishing!!

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Tom
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Re: Pike on a fly and a HARD PORTAGE

Post by Tom » Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:12 pm

Hmmmmm. Anchor Bar. Best. Fries. Ever.
(I'm going to give best burger to Gronk's down the road, but that's close, too!)

Thanks for the TR, John. It never gets old, does it? Even if the fish aren't biting.. It's a good time.

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moss13
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Re: Pike on a fly and a HARD PORTAGE

Post by moss13 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:20 pm

Ah thanks for the report John. So while on Duncan Bay you did not camp at the narrows but the other one? Of the 2, which one do you like better? Portaging kayaks on the Duncan-Tobin portage? Impressive I must say. Well done. Glad you caught some fish and had a good time as usual!


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johnhens
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Re: Pike on a fly and a HARD PORTAGE

Post by johnhens » Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:21 pm

moss13 wrote:Ah thanks for the report John. So while on Duncan Bay you did not camp at the narrows but the other one? Of the 2, which one do you like better? Portaging kayaks on the Duncan-Tobin portage? Impressive I must say. Well done. Glad you caught some fish and had a good time as usual!
moss,
we camped at Duncan Bay. I would rather stay at Duncan Bay. The portage was hard, lucky Dan was with us. Tricia was a trooper carrying packs.


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johnhens
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Re: Pike on a fly and a HARD PORTAGE

Post by johnhens » Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:22 pm

Tom wrote:Hmmmmm. Anchor Bar. Best. Fries. Ever.
(I'm going to give best burger to Gronk's down the road, but that's close, too!)

Thanks for the TR, John. It never gets old, does it? Even if the fish aren't biting.. It's a good time.
True words my friend, true words!!

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Nick
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Re: Pike on a fly and a HARD PORTAGE

Post by Nick » Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:22 pm

Hmmm...did you leave out a couple of details? :twisted:

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