Hooked on Hardwater Canadian Adventure
Back in February this year I was honored to take part in the annual The Club for Boys outing in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota.
This event offers fellowship and mentoring to 60 boys from the club for a 1/2 day of ice fishing. These fellows are teamed up with professional fisherman from all over the USA and Canada.
Each year at their fund raising dinner on the Saturday of the event the club has unique and exciting outdoor related silent and live auction items.
My back story here is I was once one of these boys myself. Getting introduced to fishing by a mentor changed my life for the better and made me the man I am today.
Fast forward to now, and as one of these Professional fisherman it was time to give something to the fundraiser and to this great cause.
I donated a 3 full day expenses paid guide trip to the club to auction during the live portion of the event. This would entail a 3 day fully guided Canadian adventure in beautiful Northwestern Ontario. A fire cooked shore lunch and a chance at what I like to call the Canadian Multi-species grand slam.
This Grand Slam entails catching each of the following species:
Black crappie Walleye Perch Small mouth bass Northern Pike Lake trout
This is no small feat in just three days of fishing.
This year my trip was purchased for a handsome sum of money from the Auction by Robert Lowrey and his son Bryan. Communicating back and forth since the auction we'd agreed to do this trip in August and to try for a multi species adventure.
Day one of the trip saw us on my favorite Lake trout water with a shore lunch and possibly some small mouth bass after we had completed our trout adventure. We caught our fish by using down riggers in the 70-100 foot range. The best presentation was the new Northland Fishing Tackle Buck Shot flutter spoon in the 4" size. The trout were eating it up.
I like to tow these baits on 20lb braid 10-20 feet behind the ball at 1.8Mph. We caught quite a few, released lots of smaller fish and had a delicious meal. After lunch we needed just two larger fish to fill out a limit for Robert and Brian to take home. As luck would have it we ran out the clock and down to the wire landed just one beautiful fish to take home.
We spent the last few minutes of remaining daylight to try and catch a small mouth or two via fly rod with poppers and streamers. Both Bryan and his dad are avid fly fisherman and it showed in their technique. Even the guide learned a few new tricks! A few fish were raised but we just simply ran out of daylight to accomplish this bite.
Day two greeted us with a nasty cold rainy front to deal with and it was expected to be a wet one. Rainy Lake this time of year has a stellar walleye bite jigging main lake structure with a live minnow. We set out to accomplish this and to see a bit of the scenery that Rainy Lake has to offer. A chance at a small mouth or two was also going to be a possibility.
The day started fast and furious with many walleyes caught and released. A few stellar fish were also caught, Including a beautiful 17-3/4" Sauger caught by Bryan. Its the largest sauger I've ever boated on the lake. Bryan also had the largest walleye of the day at 8lbs. This was a special fish as he and his dad hooked up at the same time. Robert landed a wonderful pike at the same time. The friendly banter and competition between the two was fun to be a part of. What an awesome double.
Throughout the day we toured the lake and after filling out a limit of eyes and trying for some smallmouths we decided to head for a potential crappie bite. As fronts sometimes work out the crappies were not active and laying on the bottom. We managed just 4 fish in the time we had.
One little known thing about crappies on cold fronts is they'll be feeding at some point throughout the day. It's just a matter of having enough time on the clock each day to wait out the bite and catch a limit. We just ran out of time.
Day three saw us heading back to the trout water for redemption at one more keeper fish for the smoker. We caught 7 trout in just a few hours of fishing. During our time on the water it was decided that redemption on crappies was also needed. We headed to my favorite water for a trolling bite that I happened to mention. You catch crappies trolling? On crank baits? Why yes I do. And yes we did!! Both Robert and Bryan were amazed that you can catch these fish trolling between 1.5-1.8MPH.
They were slamming the crank baits so hard at times they were foul hooking themselves. Lots and lots of fun!! My favorite crank baits to run are #3,4 Salmo Hornets. The tight action of these baits puts the right amount of noise in the water column to trigger aggressive bites.
After filling out some limits on those fun fish we made a few casts for bass and Bryan caught a 16" specimen to fill out for the Canadian MultiSpecies Grand Slam. He definitely won the weekend with the biggest fish and the overall grand slam winner. He wasn't afraid to let his dad know it either! He he!
Overall I was honored to share three days with these fine fellows and to donate my time and knowledge of this fishery to raise money for something that I strongly believe in. You can bet your bottom dollar there'll be another 3 day fishing adventure on the auction table in 2018. Bet lots and be generous. This club is doing wonderful work.
A very special thanks goes out to both Craig and Dave Oyler for allowing me the opportunity to participate and donate for a wonderful cause.