Yesterday Joanna and I decided to take a canoe and do a little exploring in our area. Some campers that stayed with us this spring found this lovely little lake and had such a great time there that we wanted to try to find it and fish there ourselves. However, we promised not to disclose the name of it, so we will call it Mystery Lake.
John loaded our 16 foot Grumman canoe in the back of the pickup truck and we loaded up all our gear, heading out about 8 am.
As we traveled along the narrow road enjoying the scenery, all of a sudden a young bull moose leaped out of the trees and onto the road right in front of us. Joanna and I gasped and were amazed as he immediately began trotting down the road in front of us. We tried to get a picture of him, but he kept disappearing around the curves in the road before we could catch up to him. We could only travel about 10 mph. Soon we saw him again, but then he turned into the trees on the right and we lost sight of him. Pretty exciting.
We were looking for a certain trail that would take us down to the lake, but accidentally made a wrong turn down another small road and ended up at someone's gate. Oh boy. Lots of lost time on that one.
We backtracked the way we came and finally found a turn into the woods that resembled the trail we were looking for. But it didn't look like it was made for a vehicle. We decided we'd better walk it first to make sure we were in the right location and see if it would work to drive down it with the truck.
When we reached the end of the trail, we knew we were in the right place. What a gorgeous little lake. We longed to get on it with the canoe to check out the fishing. I knew I could not begin to carry the canoe that far even with Joanna's help. The next best thing was to do some road clearing to make it possible to drive the pickup in a bit closer to the lake.
We thought we did a pretty good job of removing obstacles, but once I began driving the pickup in reverse on this path, I wondered what I had gotten myself into. Yikes! What a maneuvering test this was in weaving to and fro to miss hitting branches, small trees and brush along the way. I'm afraid we did end up putting a small dent in the door of John's pickup and added a few new scratches. Uh oh.
I was already exhausted from THAT ordeal when we unloaded the canoe and proceeded to walk down the sloping hill to the lake. The canoe seemed heavier than ever. Maybe I have just aged and gotten weaker. At first I carried the back end of the canoe and Joanna the front end. But I couldn't see where I was going and kept tripping on rocks and logs on the path. Maybe the front end would be better for me I suggested. At least I could see where I was going. We both wore rubber boots since there was a muddy spot at the landing.
Soon we reached the landing. I safely skirted around most of the mud, silently rejoicing that I could soon set the canoe in the water, when unfortunately, my right boot sunk down about eight inches in the last bit of mud. Of course Joanna had no idea that my foot was stuck and kept moving forward with the canoe. It all happened so fast. Next thing I knew I was face down flat on the ground. Joanna set down her end of the canoe and worriedly asked if I was okay. When I finally stood back up, she began to laugh hysterically as I was covered in mud from my waist down. I walked into the lake and rinsed myself off while we both had a good laugh.
We got ourselves situated in the canoe, baited our hooks with spinners and leeches and started paddling out in to the lake. ( Note to self- check the weather forecast before venturing on a lake in a canoe.) Once we got a bit further onto the lake, a gale force head on wind pushed hard against us. We paddled ferociously to get a little ways up the lake. Soon Joanna felt a tug on her line and began to reel in a large walleye. Yahoo!! She got it near the canoe, grabbed the net and without warning, the end two feet of her fishing rod bent over and broke off! As soon as the rod broke, the line broke and away went the walleye. Joanna was aghast that we had finally gotten to the lake only to have a broken fishing rod. Well, at least we got to see the fish and knew we would have released it anyway because it was well over 18 inches.
We couldn't figure out why her rod would have broken, but then surmised that the canoe must have bounced on it in the back of the pickup truck and damaged it enough to break it when pressure was applied with a fish on the line. She managed to use it without the tip, but I think it hurt her ability to feel the fish on the line and she was only able to bring in a northern after that.
We decided to try to get to the other end of the lake, but fighting the wind made it almost unbearable. Two beautiful trumpeter swans were floating nearby, softly playing some deep trumpet sounds from time to time. Joanna attached a five gallon pail to a rope and threw it in the lake to help slow down our drifting from about 15 mph to 10 mph. No walleye could keep up to that speed. Soon, we had drifted back down to a bay that was too shallow to fish. We paddled back to where we started and Joanna had caught her nice walleye. We even tried to still fish with an anchor, but found we did better drifting. I was able to get four more walleye, all nice size, keeping the smaller ones and throwing back the bigger ones.
We've got enough for a meal we said and headed back to shore to call it a day. It was a memorable adventure to be sure, but we unanimously decided we didn't have a hankering to ever to go back to Mystery Lake.