I can’t believe how fast the summer has gone by. It started out with the ice going out late, with cold water temps and high water. Then came the rain and I am not sure if it has ever stopped, the water got even higher. For 2 days last week we hit 90 degrees and then dropped to the 60’s. Don’t get me going on the bugs, all kinds of bugs, mosquito’s being the worst, close in the race are the biting flies.
You think, why do I want to go to Canada? Because the fishing is outstanding. It is like the post office saying
“Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postmen from their appointed rounds.”
“Neither rain, nor wind, nor high water, nor bugs shall keep the fishing person from fishing”. The fishing persons determination inspires me. This what makes me love being here and serving my guest. There achievement of catching a fish of life time dream, or telling me the story of how they lost the biggest fish they have ever seen. Fish on my friends summer is still coming.
Looking back on the Canada trip had to wait a couple of days until I was not so tired I was blind. It only took 4 days to get my feet back under me and for my life to return to normal.
The Trailer From Hell
It really is necessary to review Clyde’s trailering adventure in chronological order. To see it all in one place give you some perspective on what a hassle it turned out to be.
1. After a 18 hour drive they drop the boat in the water, stop at the first point, drop the trolling motor in the water all cranked up to fish, and then the cable breaks.
2. Off to the shop, no repair cable, and it will take a week to get one, so he buys a new trolling motor, Ouch.
3. On the way back to the resort they get a flat tire on the trailer.
4. When they want to buy a replacement tire they only have them on chrome rims, so instead of one tire it is tires and rims.
5. When putting tires on the axle find bad bearings on one side so they fix those.
6. But when tried to put boat on trailer the tires are a little to big, so final result is cutting fenders off with a torch.
7. Now after we tow 20 miles to a new ramp we stop for gas, and one side of the new tires was not properly tightened and the lug nuts have come loose, wallowing out the new chrome rim and the lugs on the hub.
8. Luckily Paul at Musky Bay brings us a new trailer and Clyde changes out and we still fish.
9. Then we are getting ready to fish and someone has taken the key out of Clyde’s boat. Everyone helps and the van, cabin, boat and everything else is sight is searched. Jake even takes out the ignition before an hour later Clyde finds it in his pocket.
10. Clyde and John pick up the new hub which was ordered and delivered and they do not check it until back at the resort, it is to big.
11. So they tighten the old one on, and now since we are leaving the next day Jake welds the trailer fenders back on.
12. We leave the next morning and Clyde and John will drive on the old hub the 70 miles to the US where the auto parts store has a couple of hubs and put it on there.
13. They get to the store and the guys says ooops, thought the caller wanted bearings.
14. They leave and see another store and low and behold they have the hub, they put it on, and off they go.
15. Outside of Des Moines Ia the van starts blowing fuses. They get that resolved and make it home to Arkansas.
Through it all Clyde remained upbeat and never let it get him down. He just kept fishing and like it always does for him, it all worked out. But it was the Trailer From Hell and we were all on him about it – Time for a new boat.
If you ever want to take a trip to Canada there are a few things you need to know. The Ontario fishing regulations were written by a crackhead after smoking crack and drinking a 40 of Old Milwaukee. They are almost indecipherable. There are multiple regulations, sometimes even for the same body of water, with Lake of the Woods being a good example. So if you are planning a trip to pursue a specific species be sure to check the regs, and with the resort were you are planning to stay, to be sure that species is open.
And if you are planning on keeping fish, there is a difference between 2 types of fishing licences available to people visiting Canada. And no matter what you need the Conservation card which is good for 2 years. So again if you have any questions a good resort like Musky Bay will answer them for you. Just this comment to Ontario – Your regulations are to complicated and there is a better way to organize them. And on the flip side, the specific management practices that make the regs a mess is the very thing that preserves the great fishing.
A good GPS and the applicable map card is absolutely invaluable. Lake of the Woods is a monster and with the card you can get around. It is simply a matter of caution when heading into coves and bays. There is so much water that you can fish for weeks and never even see the same thing twice.
One of the things that I so hate in Texas is that throwing trash out the car window is some kind of state sport, and most of Texas’s roadsides are covered in litter. One thing you notice is the roadsides in Canada are far cleaner, and the lakes are pristine. It is so beautiful there that it is just impossible to throw anything in the water. It is so nice to spend your day fishing on clean water with the only sound eagles, beavers, and tree frogs.
Only one time did a boat come near where we were fishing that was playing his radio. I have never really understood why anyone enjoying the outdoors would want to play a radio. Might as well stay in the house and play a video fishing game.
Clyde’s motor would act up a little at the start of the day, and then it would run fine and not be a problem. One day it died right after he took off from the ramp and while he was trying to start it the next 3 boats stopped to be sure they were ok. People watch out for each other up there, it is a big place and you could be the one out there all night. To bad many fisherman here drive right by folks.
Fork out for a good rain suit, you will need it. It rains like the devil, then an hour later the sun is out and it is 75. But you will never regret forking over for good rain gear and dry boots.
And last but not least, if you think you need it or want it, bring it. Lots of stuff is just not available close or even at all. And some of what is makes expensive seem like a deal. An example – I bought 5lbs of charcoal, a small can of lighter fluid, and a $4 tube of hand lotion, and it was $20. So plan well, we took multiple of things like extension cords, chargers, spare tires, and on and on.
One of the great things about fishing for 2 weeks is we had totally different conditions and of course had the good days with the bad.
– When the weather was bad we caught many of our big fish, when the weather was great we caught lots of fish, but they were smaller.
– We boated 8 muskies, Clyde and John boated 4. But we saw dozens and dozens. And in our case when they wanted to eat they smoked it, otherwise they followed it to the boat. We literally saw dozens of muskies and Shoedog and I both only lost 1 each of those that did hit.
– Out smallmouth extravaganzas were beyond description. First it was Bear Bay on the upper end of Lake of the Woods. A 50 minute run, then idle two shallows, thru a small lake, and then smallmouth heaven. Fish after fish, most really nice fish. Then it was the portage from Crow Lake to Cedar Tree. Musky Bay keeps small boats and motors on the lake and you carry your equipment over. Once there it is big smallmouth, and take my word for it I have caught my share over my lifetime, they are big. It is one of the bass fishing days of my whole life. When you add both boats and Bear Bay with Cedar we easily put over 250 smallies in the boat. If you love bass fishing it is a bucket list trip.
It would be impossible to tell you how many fish we caught total, but between both boats it was hundreds and hundreds. On a good day 50+ was the norm, the few bad days it was less than 10. Even in this part of the country you can have a bad day, but they were usually our fault and not the fishes.
Read my lips – Rapala 4 3/4″ 2 hook gold Husky Jerk. Fish it on a wire leader. Hold on, something will eat it. Use a light wire leader and be sure to bring at least 3.
The Great Outdoors
The scenery is spectacular. So fresh and green, so quiet, so big it makes your head spin. The Eagles were majestic, and the other birds, hawks, crows, ducks and who knows what else made our day. A loon chasing a hooked musky, a mother otter and her baby, deer, you just never knew what you would see next. And I have to tell the beaver story again.
Beavers are everywhere and we saw them and their handiwork frequently. As we fished down a bank on Lake of the Woods we saw a beaver about 35 yards down the bank. He was towing a branch of green leaves headed to the house when he went under. After that we did not see him again as we fished that way. Suddenly Shoedog reared back and set the hook. He saw something green roll over and yelled it was the biggest musky in the world.
At that point I grabbed the net when the beaver surfaced, Shoedog had the beaver, or the beaver had the Shoedog, hard to tell. The beaver is pulling on the branch, where the Shoedog’s bait was lodged, wondering what is trying to steal my supper, and the Shoedog is pulling trying to get his lure back. That will always go down as one of the great outdoor experiences of my life. The look on the Shoedog’s face was priceless, and the beaver was totally confused. It was awesome.
We were also lucky to hear an elk twice. The second time it was a full bugle echoing across the hills, a real thing of beauty. We also heard the wolves one time. Clyde had been lucky enough to see a couple over the years, and it would have been a high point in my trip. Maybe next time.
Musky Bay Resort– Nestor Fall Ontario
I can not say enough about Paul, Jake and the whole family. The place was clean, well appointed, and they went above and beyond in taking care of us. Situated on Crow Lake they are a short ride from various ramps on Lake of the Woods, and only 20 miles from Sioux Narrows, the musky capital of Canada.
And if you are not a crazy nut like we are, and do not want to trailer a boat all the way there, you can arrange a pick up in International Falls at the airport. Rent the boat from them, and they will transport it to various ramps so you can fish different waters if you want. Musky Bay will try to accommodate any need so you have a successful fishing trip. Heck if you do not want to cook they offer lots of different options in that department. They will do whatever takes within reason to make your trip one to remember.
The fishing possibilities are endless but they also offer hunting. They hunt big whitetails, and some of them are monsters. Paul tries to keep his hunters shooting only 145 and above. Last year they had a 65% success rate on big whitetails. There are also tons of wolves and Paul said hunters would have easily have had a 100% success rate on wolves if they were hunting them. Licenses are purchased over the counter and apparently can be purchased with no problem. When he told me the price for a hunt I about fell over. If you ever wanted a north country whitetail hunt check them out.
When you add the 145 miles from home to College Station and then back, the trip was a total of 3400 miles. That is from my front door, to Canada, driving to ramps, then back. It took around 28 hours to get there, and then 28 back. By driving over 16 day 1 we were able to shorten day 2 coming and going.
The Shoedog and I spent right at $1400 each on everything, which we felt was pretty good for 14 days of fishing. Gas was the number one expense by far, both going and coming, and for the boat in Canada. But on an adventure like this it comes with the territory so you ignore the pump, pay, then hit the ramp.
We all brought food, most of it prepared in advance and frozen. In fact we used dry ice in the Yeti and our frozen stuff stayed frozen on the 2 day drive. Thaw one each morning and we were ready to go. We did not eat out once in Canada which saved tons of money. All of us came in under budget (minus the Trailer From Hell).
So what a trip, it was a fishing extravaganza, and now we will put it to bed. We fished hard and got our moneys worth. John caught his biggest lake trout, Shoedog caught his biggest musky, lake trout, and smallmouth, I caught my biggest smallmouth (several), and Clyde had a real monster musky that John knocked off with the net. This was a big boy trip, to little sleep, to long on the water, and then do it again. We burned the candle at both ends and when the rewards came it was like a lightning strike. And those are the moments that keep us coming back. And we will be back. Thanks for stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.