August 2019

With Kendall Strawmatt bringing his two sons Cade (15) and Carter (14) on their first trip to Canada.  Mark Cunningham continued his 40+ year family tradition by bring his son-in-law Ben Flemke and grandson Max (11) to Canada for the first time.  Mark had brought his Dad (Marv) to this lake in the late 1970’s.  Four generations of Cunningham men have now fished this special lake. This was a milestone trip!


The rest of the crew was comprised of experienced fishermen: Jeff Westra, Fred Bouwman, Mark Wanous, John Burkhartzmeyer and Warren Suchanek (making his first visit in 13 years!)

Canada 2019 August Team Photo

Friday August 23, 2019
Fred and Jeff drove to our house the night before to finish packing.  We are on the road at 8:00am. Fred rode along with Jeff.  The drive up was uneventful, except a big rock from a gravel truck cracked my windshield 😦

Met the Owatonna guys in Two Harbors.  Ben jumped in with me, Max rode with Grandpa.  Lunch at the Hungry Hippie Tacos in Grand Marais MN.  Gassed up at Ryden’s and prepared to cross the border, when we learned that Max did not have his new passport.  He had his birth certificate and the letter from his Mom & Dad allowing him to enter Canada.  It has been our experience that people crossing into Canada for the first time are often pulled over, but no problem crossing with the three kids this time.

A quick stop at the Beer Store in Thunder Bay before checking at the Valhalla Inn.  Nice dinner and a few beers before bedtime.

Saturday, August 24, 2019
Woke up to a thick fog in Thunder Bay, but the skies cleared as we headed North. A quick stop for 3 lbs of leaches at the Silver Minnow and we were off. Quite a bit of bridge construction on Hwy 527, but traffic was light. We pulled off onto Hwy 811 to check our load.

Canada 2019 August On The Road

The first 50 miles on the old logging roads where not too bad.  Water was low and the washouts were dry.  Jeff nearly lost the trailer when the hitch pin pulled out in the brush and the hitch slid out of the receiver.  Fortunately the chains held and it was only a minor delay.

Canada 2019 August Breakdown No Hitch 1Canada 2019 August Breakdown No Hitch 2

The last 6 miles after the Italian Camp were overgrown and thick with brush.  Ben jumped out to trim or push back several trees.  It was clear that no trucks had passed through these roads since we left in May.

Canada 2019 August NarrowCanada 2019 August Narrow Trim

We setup camp quickly and got the boats ready.  Kendall made a new outhouse from a plastic drum, which was installed in the sand near camp.

Canada 2019 August Outhouse

The camp was assembled in the traditional spots.

Canada 2019 August Camp


Three Grouse greeted me as I brought the first boat down to the landing with the 6-Wheeler.  With the camp organized so quickly – Ken took his boys, joined by Jeff & John out to fish for an hour or so before dinner. 

Dinner was some nice big Windsor pork chops with corn on the cob.  A great first meal!

Canada 2019 August Camp Pork Chops and Corn

Sunday August 25, 2019
Kendall baked biscuits in the Dutch oven for a great breakfast of biscuits and gravy.

Canada 2019 August Camp Ken Dutch Oven

Water level was down at least 18″ or more.  Normally, you can’t see the bottom row of timbers at the old bridge landing.


The combination of low water and thick weeds in the river, required Mark to be nimble to cut out the weeds from the prop.

Canada 2019 August Boat Mark Nimble

With clear blue skies, Kendall and the boys were off to explore Clear Jack Lake with Mark Wanous and Warren.  Cade and Carter jumped into the water to pull the two boats across the beaver dam.

Canada 2019 August Boat Strawmatt

With a steady breeze out of the South, Fred and I had great fishing!  Our first fish was a double of 17″ Walleyes!  Filled our limit within an hour.  Fred’s biggest was 19.5″, Steve’s was 18.5″.


Nice to get out of the boat at the end of a good day of fishing to clean fish on the island with Jeff and John.

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Everyone had good fishing!  Mark, Max and Ben had a triple of 18″ Walleyes!  Mark caught a 19.5″ Walleye.  Cade landed a 32.5″ Northern after the line was caught in the motor!  Warren caught two 20″ Walleyes and a 31″ Northern.  Wanous landed a 26″ Northern and several 19-20″ Walleyes. Jeff & John caught 22 Walleyes and 10 Northerns.

John and Jeff watched an Eagle grab a Northern out of the water – cool!  Mark prepared a traditional fish fry and we enjoyed a campfire on a crisp, clear night.

Canada 2019 August Camp Cook Mark John Ken

Monday August 26, 2019
Light rain overnight.  Woke up to a loon flying over the tents calling to his partner on the lake.  Pancakes and bacon with Jeff”s maple syrup was very tasty!

John and I tried fishing a number of different spots, often picking up one or two fish.  We did not find the hot spot until later in the day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACanada 2019 August Boat John Steve

Canada 2019 August Stringer Steve JohnMark Wanous had good fishing with Fred.  They also saw 4 Otters!

Canada 2019 August Boat Mark W

We continued to give Mark grief about bringing Busch Light to Canada – Jeez.

Canada 2019 August Mark W Busch Light

Ken, Cade & Carter had great fishing, Cade landed a 33″ Northerns and a 19″ Walleye.  They also saw Wolf tracks in the sand near the trappers cabin.


Mark, Max and Ben heard a moose in the woods and had another triple of big Walleyes! Max was an excited young man!

Canada 2019 August Mark Max

Jeff & Warren saw two Beaver, Loons and Ruffed Grouse as well as catching 5 Perch.

The steady rain changed our plans for dinner, we decided to grill bratwursts and huddle under the canopy instead of around the fire.

August 27, 2019

Rained on and off all night.  Breakfast of French Toast and Sausage, enjoyed under the canopy while we waited the rain to pass.

Canada 2019 August Camp Canopy

We ran out of Jeff’s Maple Syrup, so we had to try something else.

Canada 2019 August Squirrel Turds

The boys passed the time playing cards and betting peanuts while under the canopy.

Canada 2019 August Card Game

Cade landed the biggest fish of the trip – a monster Northern – 42″ – Wow!  Great to see his big smile!

canada-2019-august-cade-42.jpgCanada 2019 August Cade 42 Long

The Strawmatt family had a nice stringer of fish at the end of the day at the old trappers cabin.

Canada 2019 August Stramatt StringerCanada 2019 August Cade StringerCanada 2019 August Carter Stringer

Max and Grandpa Mark had great fishing in the rain.  Another happy young man.

Canada 2019 August Max

Warren and Steve had good fishing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe explored the Italian Camp – shallow water landing, a bog to walk to a turn around spot for a truck and a big open area where the Italians have their camp.


We picked up a few Walleyes trolling and saw a beaver around Fire Island.


Jeff & Fred saw a Loon with chicks on her back.  Jeff had good luck with his magic Hot ‘N Tot fishing lure.  Nice 17.5″ Walleye.

Canada 2019 August Boat Jeff 2

Mark and Max each landed 18″ Walleyes. Mark & John caught a lot of nice 17-18″ Walleyes.  Carter finished the trip with a 17 & 18″ Walleyes!

Storms rolled through all day, but the worst of it missed us to the South. It was nice to see the sun peak out at the end of the day.



Nice to see a rainbow over the river at the end of the trip.

Canada 2019 August Rainbow

Max found his swimming googles to keep the smoke out of his eyes.  Carter wished he had some.


After another fine fish fry dinner, the old oil made the campfire visible from space!


Wednesday August 28, 2019
We packed up camp and were ready to hit the road, but Jeff had a low tire and then the trailer bunk folded over, which required some field repairs with a birch log strapped to the trailer to keep the boat from bumping the fender.

Canada 2019 August Flat TireCanada 2019 August Breakdown Birch Chainsaw

It was a dream come true to take Max, Cade and Carter on their first trip to Canada.  The tradition continues!  Cade and Carter wanted to thank al the guys for a great trip!

Canada 2019 August Cade Carter Thanks







Ghost River Lodges with Linda


Linda and I greatly enjoyed a week at Ghost River Lodges on Marchington Lake near Sioux Lookout Ontario in July 2019. It is a unique setup, a big flat bottom boat picked us up at the landing, we loaded our gear and supplies, parked the truck in a secure location and we were off for a week of fishing and relaxation!


A very nice young man named Aaron helped us unload our gear again into a trailer pulled by an old  Ford tractor, which made the portage around these rapids to load on to yet another big flat bottom boat which brought us to the resort (our cabin was on the far left).

Canada 2019 GRL Arrive at Resort

Ghost River Lodges is a well run operation with very nice people. Darrell, Tena and Chelsea Kartinen provide great service and hospitality. I like how they promote catch and release by offering a discount for guests with conservation licenses (keep 2 Walleyes per day, vs 4).

Ghost River Lodge is located just off the Canadian National Railroad tracks (the same train that we took last year to start our Wabakimi canoe trip in Armstrong).  They rent a box car to deliver fuel, building materials and other supplies to the lodge.  The owners and staff take the train to start opening up camp before the ice is off the lake.  The train rumbles past the resort every few hours.

A float plane dropped in and cruised up to the dock, handed off a barrel and quickly took off again.  Darrell told me that they deliver fresh minnows nearly every day.  Planes, trains, boats and automobiles – oh my!


After getting situated in the cabin, we went out fishing for a few hours.  We caught good eating sized Walleyes, enough to pan fry the Walleyes with Cajun seasoning and a side of Red Beans and Rice.  It was nice to relax and read for a couple hours after a great meal.


Chelsea was our guide on our first full day of fishing, the first fish of the day was a 22″ Walleye.


Linda’s first fish was a huge 27″ Walleye


Linda’s next two Walleyes measured 24.5″ and 22″ – Great fishing!


Stopped for a shore lunch at a beautiful spot.


Admired our nice batch of morning fish.


We enjoyed crispy walleye tacos and Chelsea introduced us to Walleye fins.  Very tender meat and crispy fins.


We fished several other spots, which I marked on my GPS and we took a boat ride under the train trestle to fish below the beautiful Twin Falls.



We got back to our cabin in time to enjoy a beautiful sunset after a fun day.


A classic cold front brought strong winds and rain along with a slow down in fishing success.  With fish in the refrigerator, we decided to explore one of the many remote lakes that flow into Marchington Lake.  Some can be reached via portage, with additional boats located on the remote lakes, but we decided to explore the tunnel under the train to Clamshell Lake.  Darrell had explained that a rope would be provided to allow me to pull the boat through the tunnel.  As expected, going upstream against the current was more difficult, but a great adventure.


Clamshell lake is a catch and release lake, so we tossed back all of the fish taken on this lake.  As we watched the clouds build up for another storm, we decided to get to the main lake.  Navigating the tunnel with the current was much easier.


The storm chased us off the lake and we enjoyed making and eating blackened Walleye tacos with all the fixings.


Storms rolled through frequently for the rest of our trip.  We fished in the rain, but when the lightening started, we found a safe spot on shore until the storm passed through as quickly as it started.  Our rain gear got a good work out!


We did see lots of Eagles, Herons and this Loon on her nest.  Also saw a Loon with 2 baby chicks on her back, but not close enough for a picture.


We also spotted the world’s largest Robin with huge red breasts near our cabin.


In the small world category, Jason, the guy in the cabin next to us, was wearing a hat from Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo were Linda and I have been vacationing for 30 years – (  Jason is a very serious fisherman and loves salt water fishing out of Zihuatanejo. Jason and his Dad were visiting Ghost River from New Jersey and they took the flat bottom boat ride back to our car with us.  Jason noticed that Linda was wearing a jacket from Rum Runners Restaurant in Cape Coral, Florida.  We have vacationed in the Cape Coral/Fort Myers Beach area for many years.  His mother has a condo in the Cape Harbour development next door to the restaurant.  Small world indeed!

While we had driven up using the more direct route through International Falls/Fort Francis to Dryden to Sioux Lookout, we decided to take a different route back home.  We took Hwy 516 back to Sioux Lookout, then the winding Hwy 642 to Silver Dollar, which is located south of Savant Lake and Sturgeon Lake.   We got on the main Hwy 17 in Ignace and went past the Graham Road were so many of our wilderness fishing and canoeing trips started.

We spent a wonderful evening along the Lake Superior waterfront.  We stayed at the beautiful and newly opened Delta Hotels by Marriott Thunder Bay After easting fresh fish all week, we enjoyed a great steak dinner at the Prospector Steak House and Brewery. A festival was going on at the waterfront, so we walked around and enjoyed a beautiful evening on the big lake and admired the view of the Sleeping Giant.

Canada 2019 GRL Thunder Bay Lake FrontCanada 2019 GRL Thunder Bay Sleeping Giant

A wonderful trip ended when we returned home after a major storm, to find the power out, trees down across the road and against one of the buildings.  Nothing major.








May 2019

Big group again this year – 13 men.  Mark Wanous, Denny Kramer, John Burkhartzmeyer, Jerome Spindler, and 7 Cunningham men; John, Jim and Zack from Iowa, Mark and his brother Ron with his two sons Peter and Johnny and their buddy Charlie Skinner, joined me for another great trip. Great to have the Iowa guys backs after the infamous trip in August 2015 – our last trip to the old camp.  Long time regulars, Fred Bouwman and Kendall Strawmatt were not able to join this year.  No rookies this year, everyone pitched in to make for a well run camp – Great group!


On the road at 8:30 on May 23, I was driving alone from Wisconsin, met the guys in Two Harbors.  Peter jumped into my truck for the rest of the trip, great conversation!  Lunch in Grand Marais, gas at Ryden’s, across the border without incident.  A stop at the beer store before checking into the Valhalla Hotel in Thunder Bay.  Mark, Ron and John covered their trucks with plastic wrap to protect from scratches – it worked well.  Dinner and drinks before going to bed to prepare for our journey in the morning.

Breakfast at the hotel and on the road at 9:00 on Friday May 24.  Stopped at the Silver Minnow Bait Store for leeches.  Hwy 527 was quiet, even with a little construction.  Peter saw a small bear cross Hwy 811.  Dropped off a gift for Paul the Trapper who helped us out last September.  Peter spotted a Moose antler shed on the side of the road.  Some other fisherman had cleared the brush from the road and the washouts were stable even with the high water.  We made great time!  Everyone pitched in to make camp, pulled the boats to the landing before enjoying a tremendous steak dinner (Thanks Denny!).  Peter and Charlie cut down some standing dead trees for the campfire.  Fortunate to be setup before the rain started.

We woke up to the sound of light rain on our tents on Saturday May 25.  The skies cleared briefly for breakfast of biscuits and gravy.  We finished loading the boats.  Saw and heard a couple grouse and saw several snowshoe hares with bright white legs.

One of the old Evinrude motors would not keep running, so Peter used my old Mercury as our 6 boat fleet hit the water.

Zack captured a great panoramic view of the landing at the river.


Incredible fishing!  Denny caught the largest fish of the day with a 43″ Northern.  Zack caught a 37″.  Ron got a 34″ and Mark W. landed a 30″ on the Clear Jack Lake.


Ron landed a nice 34″ Northern.

Canada_2019_May_Ron_34 (2)

Jim caught the biggest Walleye of the day with a 21″ and I landed a 19″.  Mark C. caught 20″, 20″ and 19″ Walleyes in less than 5 minutes! Lots of Walleyes were caught on this day.

A sample of the number of Walleyes caught were on display with several nice stringers like these from John Burkhartzmeyer and John Cunningham.

Two boats noticed unusual musical sounds of the wind blowing through the trees.  It sounded like the music heard by Sigurd Olson in the classic book The Singing Wilderness The skies cleared towards evening, which was a welcome sight as we made our way back to camp after an excellent day on the water.  A fish fry, with French fries and onion rings was followed by a nice campfire.


On Sunday, May 26, Jim, John, Ron and I prepared an excellent breakfast of pancakes, bacon and eggs.  I fished with Charlie on his 24th birthday – what a fine young man!  With the high water and late spring, the weeds in the river did not reach our props.  Several of us decided to meander up the river to the Far Back Jack lakes for the first time in 5 years.  We trolled for Northerns, Charlie caught one on his huge soft bait, while I caught a nice Walleye on a Big Doctor Spoon.

We noticed a boat on the shoreline, so we checked it out.  After a short walk from the lake, we found the remains of an old moose camp.

Fishing action was hotter on the main lake!  Mark Cunningham caught the biggest fish of the trip with a 43.5″ Northern.  Mark also caught 35″, 33.5 and 30″ Northerns – Wow!


John Burkhartzmeyer got a 40.5″, while John Cunningham got a nice 40″ Northern.

The brothers Peter (42″) and Johnny (fat 34″) landed big Northerns,  Johnny also caught another 34″ and a 32″. Dad Ron caught a nice Northern as well.

Zack caught a 36″ and his uncle Jim landed this 35″.

Four Northerns over 40″ and 12 over 30″ – Wow – What a day! The day ended with a pink sky over the camp.  Blackened Walleye Tacos were a big hit!


Memorial Day!  Denny played patriotic music to honor those who served our country.  Nice weather – perfect for the young guys, Zack, Peter, Charlie and Johnny to hike back to Lost Lake.  They found the canoes quickly and enjoyed paddling around the lake.  They found a boat on shore, with a 15 hp motor and a bin containing life jackets and seat cushions.  Must be a remote lake for a fly-in outfitter.

Canada_2019_May_Lost_Lake_Charlie (2)

Northern fishing stayed hot!  Denny caught a nice 42″ and a 30″.


Steve caught a 39″ and a 32″


Zack caught 36″ and  35″ Northerns, Mark Wanous landed a nice 36″

Johnny caught 36″ and 32.5″ Northerns.

Another great day of catching big fish!  A 42″, a 39″ and 9 over 30″! With the clear blue skies and a setting sun, the boat ride back to camp through the channel was beautiful!

Denny and Mark returned to camp early to get the fire going.  Ron held court around the campfire.  The Cajun fish boil was tasty, 13 guys ate 52 Walleye filets, 8 lbs of potatoes and a couple big onions.

Tuesday May 28 was our last day fishing.  Jim and Ron cooked up a great breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon and little smokies.  Some guys used the extra tortilla shells to make breakfast burritos with the sour cream and sriracha sauce mix from the fish tacos – very tasty. Jim stayed back in camp to trim trees, clean up, read and relax.

Denny & I led Ron & Peter and Charlie & Johnny to the far north end of the lake.  We saw Boy Scout Island, the site of an old trappers cabin & garden, the High Bank, the river flowing out of the lake to the north. Our final destination was to fish Walleyes on Mule Lake, which has produced some great fishing over the years.  Getting over the beaver dam was the first challenge, but Ron and Peter helped push our boat over. Navigating the twists and turns up the fast moving stream was tricky, but we reached our destination.

Ron caught a couple of keeper Walleyes, but overall, fishing on Mule Lake was disappointing.  Denny and I caught more rocks than Walleyes on this shallow, rocky lake.  We returned to the main lake and headed south to find the best Walleye fishing of the week.  John and Zack Cunningham caught over 50 Walleyes between 15-17″ – their hands were raw after handling so many fish.  Mark C. fishing with John B. as well as Mark W. fishing with Spinny, had similar success catching Walleyes on this sunny, but breezy day.  As a bonus, Johnny caught one more big 35″ Northern.

Mark Wanous’s motor froze up, so John and Zack towed them back to camp early. They had the two motors off and one boat on the trailer quickly.  Brought up my boat and the rest of the motors before the black flies swarmed us at the landing.  Dinner featured bratwursts and french fries.  We reflected on the record number of big Northerns caught and released, 6 over 40″ and 25 over 30″ – Wow!  Burning the old cooking oil, always puts on a show!


Wednesday morning was a beautiful morning to pack up.  With the head start on Tuesday night and with an experienced crew, the trucks were loaded in record time.  The washouts looked imposing, but the ground was solid under the water.  A flat tire on my truck less than a mile from the tar road Hwy 527 slowed us down a bit.

A fitting way to end this great trip was with seeing a young bull moose on the side of the highway.  Very cool!




September 2018

I was thrilled to have Andrew Pelton return to our special place after over 5 years (life – marriage, work, etc. – gets in the way sometimes).  Andrew convinced his long time friend Tyler Knudson to drive to this wilderness paradise.  Fred Bouwman has been a fine partner on these trips since September 2011.


Our trip started smoothly.  The guys arrived in the early evening of Tuesday, September 11 (Never Forgotten) to finish packing, loading and strapping down the clamshell boats.  After a nice dinner, we hit the sack early to get ready for our adventure.

Andrew and Tyler were excited and up at 2:40am, long before my alarm at 3:30.  We were on the road before 4:00. Quick stop in Rice Lake WI, gas in Two Harbors, MN and at Ryden’s at the border.  Crossing the border with shotguns normally creates quite a delay, but this time we breezed through quickly.  Getting our hunting licenses was a more complicated procedure.  AJ Trading Post, south of Thunder Bay, had processed our hunting licenses in the past, but a computer issue forced us to visit the Ontario Service Centre in Thunder Bay.  No parking for trucks and trailers was a sign that the Centre were not designed for our needs :(.  Andrew and Fred went to the Beer Store, while Tyler and I took a number and waited to be processed.  We got our licenses and were on the road again.  Quick stop for bait at the Silver Minnow.  No traffic on Hwy 527 or 811.  Water levels were very low, so the washouts were not a problem.  Made it to camp, without using the chainsaw, at 6:10.  a little over 14 hours – 5 hours from Thunder Bay.  Setup camp in the fading daylight, then enjoyed a great steak dinner, a nice campfire and slept well.


Low water and heavy weeds made it tough to get out to the lake from the river.  Strong winds made boat control difficult.  Fishing was spotty, but we caught enough for dinner.


Enjoyed a great dinner of Cajun fried Walleye with Red Beans and Rice around the campfire before rain pushed us under the canopy.

Friday started with light rain, but started the skies cleared out to make a very comfortable day on the water.  Fishing picked up along a submerged rock pile near deeper water.  Andrew and Tyler had a double!


We picked up some nice walleyes in deeper water.


Andrew and Tyler caught some majestic Northern Pike.


We noticed smoke coming from an island and we found a smoldering fire that looks to be started by lighting.


We chased a Bald Eagle from our island fish cleaning spot, he flew across the channel to watch us carefully.


We cleaned up a nice mess of fish for dinner.  Blackened Walleye Tacos were wonderful!


Andrew built a nice fire – not quite visible from space.


Saturday was the opening of the Grouse season.  Tyler and I went hunting near camp after breakfast.  Andrew joined us as we walked 2 miles without seeing a bird 😦



After a cloudy start, it turned into a beautiful blue sky day, but fishing was slow.


We cleaned a nice stringer of fish on the island.


Andrew took Fred fishing, while Tyler and I walked through our old camp to try to find some Grouse.  No luck on the Grouse, but it was amazing on how overgrown our old camp has become is just 3 years!


While it was clear from all the down trees, no trucks or ATVs had visited our old camp in quite some time, I was surprised to see a lawn chair, without any webbing, waiting to greet us.


Our old path has been reclaimed by nature, with just a well defined moose trail to our old landing.


We enjoyed a fabulous sunset on our last night on the water.


When we arrived back at camp, we noticed that somebody had cleaned a couple grouse at the bridge.  We later learned that they pulled out our lawn chairs and enjoyed a couple of our beers – guests are always welcome at our camp.

We enjoyed pan fried walleyes with Italian breading with pasta.  Andrew built a nice fire under a clear star filled night, until we saw lighting in the distance.  Heavy rain pushed us into our tents.  During the storm, Andrew’s new canopy collapsed under the weight of the water.

Easy to sleep in with the lingering light rain and thick clouds overhead.  After breakfast, we decided to skip fishing and hunting to just pack up and head home.  The skies cleared, which made packing up camp less miserable.  The boats were nearly filled with water when we pulled them up on the trailer.

Left camp at 2:15.  After several miles, we stopped a few times to talk with various members of the extended family of a trapper named Paul that were Grouse hunting on their 4-wheelers.  When we stopped to talk, we found that both rear support beams on the 6-wheeler trailer had broken off, which we disassembled and stored in the truck.  Trapper Paul’s brother-in law Curt noticed a loose strap on the clamshell boats.  We found that the 4×4 we had used to separate the two boats had fallen off. We removed the seats and reset the boats the best we could before we strapped the boats together.


Paul told us that he had a big wood pile at his cabin with several large pieces of lumber that we could have.  We accepted his gracious gesture and stopped at his cabin (I think I scared his wife when I knocked on the door) and found an old 4×4 that worked great.


We were able to get to Thunder Bay by 8:00 and after dinner, safely across the border and into our hotel at 9:45.

Traveled a total of 1,143 miles from home to camp and back, but we remember the 156 miles of logging trails. Over time, I think will remember this trip more for the breakdowns that for the fishing, but I am so glad Andrew made it back to our special place.

May 2018

After missing our traditional May fishing trip in 2017, I was excited to be back again! Big group this year – 13 men. Fred Bouwman, Mark Wanous, Denny Kramer, Kendall Strawmatt, John Burkhartzmeyer, Jerome Spindler, Mark Cunningham and his son-in-law Ben Flemke, Ron Cunningham with his two sons Peter and John and their buddy Charlie Skinner, joined me for a trip in May 2018.

Peter, John and Charlie jumped out of the truck to trim the trees fallen over the old logging road. The logging road is tough on equipment, but just one flat tire.Flat tire F

The trapper fixed the culvert that the beaver had dammed up to flood the road last year, but more parts of the road are at risk.


The GPS stated the obvious.

Much of our road trip F

After one of the longest winter in recent memory, we were surprised to see the trees and flowers in full bloom. A warm, dry May lead to a fire ban, even after heavy rain the day before we drove up. Cool wet weather was quickly replaced with warm temperatures and blue skies. Wind blew from all 4 directions in the span of 5 days, but the wind made for outstanding fishing!  A morning mist welcomed us back home.

Morning mist F

Fred caught the biggest fish of the trip on the very first morning.  Fred wrestled a 41.5″ Northern into the boat.  He played in well, even while fishing with just a jig without a leader and having the fish make several dives, including one under the boat, before finding the net.


Walleye fishing was exceptional!  Fred and I had our limit caught, cleaned and on ice before noon.  John caught a 22″ Walleye – with instruction from Uncle Mark to “Don’t Horse It”!



Ron took Peter and Charlie to fish for Northerns at the mouth of Lost Lake Creek without success.  They then went back to our old camps and found a Moose rack and a “mystery deposit” that was not solved until later that night.

Ron had trouble with the old Evinrude outboard motor, which required a slow tow back to camp.

Rescue operation horz F

The blue Walleyes were abundant.


Great fishing, limits of nice fat Walleyes like Peter’s stringer were common.


Sunday was great fishing!  I rarely count fish, but on this day, I caught 42 Walleyes and 15 Northerns (including a 35″) – how fun is that!  Ron caught a 36 and 35″ Northern.  Charlie landed a 36″.  Denny caught 22″ and 19″ Walleye.  Spinny landed 20″ and 19″ Walleyes.  Mark Wanous caught a 20″ and lost a big fish 😦  Lots of big fish caught this day!  Nice to stand up an clean these fish.

Fish Cleaning

A great day to enjoy our beautiful lake!

Glass Lake

Memorial Day was remembered with patriotic music while thanking Denny and Mark W. for their service to our country.

Monday was a day of adventure.  Lost Lake got it’s name in the 1980’s when Mark Cunningham and I hiked from the main lake, along a small creek to a lake we had found on the map.  As a storm came in, we lost our bearings and ended up wandering around in the woods for 5 hours.  Hence the name Lost Lake.  We left two canoes near the creek over 20 years ago to make it easier to enjoy this beautiful lake.

Peter had hiked up to Lost Lake with me in 2016 and had a lot of fun catching big Northerns in crystal clear water from a canoe.  This time Peter would lead John, Charlie and Ben to Lost Lake.  They were confident and excited to get started when they left the boat, even bringing a Heineken mini keg.


I had not marked the coordinates of where the canoes are on my new GPS, so this device was of no help.  I did load the track this group took to find Lost Lake from the GPS when I got home.  The lower blue track line shows the 2,511 yard walk past the south end of Lost Lake to where they turned around to find the east side of Lost Lake to walk around the lake to find the canoes at the mouth of the creek, a brief paddle casting for Northerns on the west shoreline and finally the 471 yard walk straight back to meet us at the boat. Total walking of 1.7 miles!  The Legend of Lost Lake continues!

2018 Lost Lake Route

As these tired guys approached the boats, 3 of them fell into a deep watery hole that John turned into a swim.


They were happy to enjoy a cold drink at the end of a great adventure!


Fishing on a main lake was very good.  Ken and I both landed 38″ Northerns.


Ron caught several nice walleyes and a perch.

Ben caught a fat 23″ Walleye

Canada_2018_May Ben Fat Walleye.JPG

Charlie caught a big Walleye and had a nice stringer of big fish!


Fred had great fishing along the spot we call Slip Bobber.

Fred 17.5 inch walleye at Slip Bobber F

John caught the largest Walleye – 26″

John Walleye 26

Fred and I followed Ken and Spinny up the creek, over a beaver dam to Clear Jack Lake.  Great fishing for Northerns and a number of big Walleyes were caught on spoons.

While on Clear Jack Lake, we visited the memorial plaque for our buddy Tim Fischer who left us too soon 10 years ago.  The memorial is on a large rock outcropping on Tim’s favorite lake.

We ate very well.  We tried a new recipe for Blackened Walleye Tacos – Easy, tasty and the guys ate a lot of fish!
1. Marinate clean Walleye fillets in lime juice
2. Heat charcoal grill
3. Sprinkle both sides of the Walleye fillets with Blackened seasoning
4. Lightly spray grilling pan
5. Cook Walleye fillets on grilling pan, flip once – done when fillets fall apart
6. Mix sour cream 16 oz, 1 teaspoon garlic salt and 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
7. Warm tortilla shells on griddle or oven
8. Serve with spicy sour cream sauce, shredded cabbage, shredded cheese and salsa

The Ziploc Bag Omelet experiment was a big hit – each guy could pick their own ingredients.

In our third year at the new site, we have a better setup at the landing and camp.


Wildlife sightings included a bear on the drive in, a moose on the drive out and another bear just south of Grand Portage.  A fox at Ryden’s did not seem afraid of vehicles or people.  Eagles, loons, geese, ducks and seagulls were abundant.

Good group of guys!

Team Photo


Explore Team.jpeg

Great trip!  Great weather.  Active fish, some big Northerns and more Walleyes over 20″ than I can recall!