Bow hunting for whitetails and musky fishing: two very popular outdoor activities that take up big amounts of my time outdoors. Fifty-nine years ago a friend introduced me to the sport of deer hunting with a bow, and my Dad introduced me to musky fishing. Now, after so many years of pursuing muskies and deer, I have pondered the following thoughts: Are these two activities habit forming? Are they capable of taking every bit of spare time a person may have? Are they capable of changing a person’s lifestyle? We could go on and on and come up with more similar questions, but the point has been made.
This past Wednesday we returned from a week of musky fishing on Lake of the Woods in Ontario, Canada. It is my opinion that Lake of the Woods is one of the best musky lakes anywhere. It excels in producing many very large fish each year. However, the fish are muskies, and even in this tremendous lake they get lockjaw when a cold front passes through the area.
We arrived at Buena Vista Resort about 3 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon. My fishing companions were my frequent hunting and fishing partner, the “Osseo Jinx”, (Tom Twesme) and his long-time friend, Donald Wolf. Don is a retired grain farmer, and he confided in us that he was constantly wondering if his son, Mike, was able to combine beans without his help. We chided him that when one retires, he doesn’t have to worry about the crops.
We were anxious to get on the water, thus it didn’t take long to float the boat off the trailer and head out. Lake Of The Woods is huge, with thousands of islands. When we begin going around the islands I am hopelessly lost. “The Jinx” seems to have a GPS device between his ears, and always knows where we are. This was Don’s first time on the big lake, and he was anxious to do some exploring.
An intense cold front had passed through the area about 12 hours before our arrival. We fished until dark on Thursday, and put in a 10 hour day on Friday without seeing a musky. Saturday was much warmer, with lower wind velocity, and offered much more comfortable fishing.
Very soon after we began fishing Tom said, “Here comes one.” He was throwing a lure called a “Double 10”. It is a buck tail-type lure with two #10 spinner blades. With those large blades, the lure offers a challenge to retrieve. For these lures we use a reel called a winch that is geared down and makes it a bit less difficult to retrieve. The musky Tom had follow his lure to the boat swam off.
Perhaps an hour later Don saw a musky follow his lure to the boat, and he started to do a figure eight. On the second figure-eight Don set the hook and we netted a three-foot musky. After a photograph we released the musky alive. I put on a lure that is called a H210 and saw a musky follow to the boat. On the third figure eight it was my turn, and a musky about the size of Don’s was caught.
A bit later I landed a northern pike that was about 40-inches long. We quit for the day at dark after watching 14 muskies follow our lures to the boat. On Sunday another cold front blew in, and we saw only two muskies.
Sunday afternoon we were fishing between two islands, each with a cabin on it. We watched something black swimming between them. Tom said, “Is that a big black lab?” As we got closer we could verify that it was not a dog but instead a large black bear. We watched as it swam to an island, climbed out of the water, shook off and then scooted up a rock bank.
For about a week we didn’t listen to a radio or watch a television. It was relaxing until we got back and were quickly filled in on all the events in our country and around the world.
This was a great getaway!
Longtime Northwoods outdoors personality Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column appearing in the Star Journal.