Brute’s Bleat: June 11, 2014


Fishing on Lake of the Woods has been a tradition for Mike Muller (above), George Palmer and myself for a number of years, something we managed to keep alive last week.  Also on the trip were my older brother, Lloyd, from Elk River, his son, John, from Dallas, Texas, and Mark Klimstra, also from Elk River.  When we arrived at the Canada Port of Entry, the attendant was slapping mosquitoes like crazy and we knew we’d have those to look forward to. As we were about to leave Canada to drive into the Northwest Angle we were checked by Home Security people at their temporary station for passports. That hadn’t happened to us before and as the saying  goes, all’s well that ends well! 
Getting back to fishing, Palmer was the first-fish winner with a nice walleye off Brush Island which was good for a $1, but too big to keep. That was something that haunted us the rest of the morning even after we moved into Canadian waters and fished near Windfall Island. I had one walleye 26 inches long and Muller caught the most for our shore lunch. He also showed his skill in 31 that night, winning the six person pot or $5. On Monday it rained and we continued playing cards rather than fight the elements. Lloyd won twice, John once and Muller once leaving the rest of us wondering what we were doing wrong. On Tuesday I got lucky and pulled in the first walleye again in Canada, but this time off High Island. We also caught and released some small mouthed bass up to 17 inches which are more sporty than walleyes, but not as palatable. Our shore lunch gave us a break and a chance to stuff ourselves with fish, fried potatoes and cantaloupe for dessert. The Elk River guys and nephew, John, fished on Wednesday morning for crappies as they had their limits of walleyes and had to leave to make a graduation commitment for Mark’s daughter who is also a hockey goalie and will be playing at Bethel College next year.  Mark assured us he’d have a full week next year.  The three of us took ham sandwiches along when we fished the Monument Bay area.  Luck was still with me and I caught the first fish and while most of the fish ran small I nabbed one that measured 25 inches. Later in the afternoon a 31-inch Northern (about 7.5 lbs.) gave me a thrill and Muller wrapped the net around it. That evening we had four spirited games of 31 with Muller and George winning one and yours truly two. On Thursday, our last day of fishing, we tried Rock Island off the west end of Brush Island in Minnesota and found the walleyes hungry and aggressive. I had the first fish, but we kept only the ones that came close to the 19.5-inch slot and ended up with enough to fill out our limits. We had planned a shore lunch, but by 11 a.m. we were ready to pull up the trolling motor and try something different.  Yours truly was operating the trolling motor at the time and was pulling it up with the tether rope when it broke and I tumbled backwards into the boat. There was some concern about my well-being by my fishing buddies, but fortunately, the only thing that got hurt was my fishing reel which had a severe bend in the axle. Normally I use an electric knife to fillet the walleyes, but an afternoon thunderstorm knocked out the power and it was back to a manual knife.  Our hosts, Dale and Grace Prothero and their son, John, used a backup unit for water and the rest of the appliances are gas so we enjoyed a delicious spaghetti dinner that evening, compliments of Palmer’s spouse, Sonja. We ate in the screened porch which provided more light. The electricity came on later while were we washing dishes, which was fortunate for the dishes! Later Palmer and I relieved Muller of four quarters apiece. Again it was great fishing at Minnesota’s best-kept secret and we made reservations again for next year.  As the saying goes, “We’ll be there, God willing, and the creek doesn’t rise.”