The end of our fall break was just what the Dr. ordered…we had had volleyball Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of our fall break week; I had the camper loaded up and by 8am Friday morning was on my way toward the Linton area with nothing on the horizon but 3 uninterrupted days of fall fishing. I made it to the Narrow Lake Campground by a bit after 9:30am and was relieved to see that the spot I so coveted was un-occupied. Just like the Osprey on the adjacent lake…I swooped in and parked my camper and within an hour had our spot all set up, tidy and ready for Vickie to join me after her day of work. Pappi was also along; he and I jumped back into the Suburban and traveled about 5 miles west to Black Cat Lake. Black Cat is one of my favorite lakes as through the years I have had some nice days atop this lake…it is also has crystal clear water with lots of vegetation around the edges for bass and even a few musky to hide.
I hadn’t casted more than a handful of times using my Cabela’s TQR 5 wt. rod with a shad pattern in size 4 when I felt the all too familiar jab of a fish on the other end; I strip set and was quickly hooked up with a feisty 13 inch bass which set the standard for the rest of the day. As the morning progressed I caught about 20 more bass, all were in the 12 to 13 inch range…not any bigger or any smaller. I made about half a lap around the 20 acre lake cutting across the middle at about the angle of the boat ramp and returned back to the truck in a bit over 2 hours. Pappi was glad to see me and he and I took a small walk before we headed back to our camp spot.
I put the pup on a short lead beside the camper and quickly grabbed a quick bite for lunch…then reloaded and moved just north of highway 54 to Island Pit (in the Minnehaha FWA). I drove to the back and carried my float tube down to the water, pushed off and once again did about 2 ½ hours around the inside of the ‘boot’ that juts out on the far northern part of the lake. Once again I caught quite a few bass but just like the morning…nothing over 13 inches. I knew that there was a weather system moving in and it was clear it was close as the winds really picked up and made my time upon Island a bit like sitting in a washing machine as I was buffeted every which way from side to side.
Later that same afternoon, Pappi and I took a long walk along the northern edge of Downing Lake…what started out as a quiet stroll quickly turned into a thriller within a couple minutes of leaving our campsite. I had him on a short lead as we topped the knoll closest to the campground; as usual Pappi was under foot and when I looked up I witnessed two big coyotes running full speed directly at us. The key is that they didn’t know we were there nor did I know they were on a collision course! The two big critters hit the brakes, turned and fled back up the path and in a matter of a couple seconds were out of sight. I was glad I had the pup tethered and that he didn’t see any of the commotion.
Friday night turned into a long and cold deluge of rain that didn’t stop until about mid-morning on Saturday. The rain didn’t delay my fishing, in fact it was good as it usually helps in bringing fish closer to the surface due to the lack of sun. I made a return trip to Black Cat and fished the southern half of the lake, putting in at the gravel boat ramp I moved across the middle of the lake and then fished the outside back to the truck. Once again I didn’t catch any large fish (just two over 15 inches) but the morning was productive and the local Osprey kept an eye on me high atop his perch located adjacent to the boat ramp. By late evening I made my way back to Island Pit…I started at the boat ramp by the office and fished a loop around the southern end that found me crossing back across the main section of the lake at dusk. What an awesome time to be out on the water by yourself; ducks were whizzing overhead and several owls were hooting back and forth to each other. The last few minutes of my paddle were so very peaceful and I couldn’t help but wonder why there wasn’t another soul out taking advantage of this awesome beauty that God had created.
Sunday arose with a clear calm that just doesn’t happen each day. I traveled back to Bass Lake…I wanted to see if I could possibly have yet another musky contact. I parked at the largest gravel boat ramp on the southeast corner and pushed off in my float tube…there wasn’t a breath of wind and the air temps had to be in the low 40’s as my hands were cold. I had my big 6 weight rod with a large white musky fly that I have caught a few fish on before; I figured I would go big and either catch a big bass or maybe…just maybe a musky. I had had a musky contact the previous Monday while fishing from my boat and so I used my kick fins to move myself along the western edge of this small bay located within Bass. The previous Monday I had a large musky follow my fly and then…like they will do, disappear into the depths; as I neared this same spot I eyeballed a 10 foot path where the weeds created a trough that just looked very fishy. I made a casts just off to the side to wet my fly and what happened next was one of those special times fishing…there I was in a float tube, about half in the water when a huge fish came out of the shallows and viciously thrashed and attacked smack dab in the same opening I had planned on casting into. I can’t confirm it was a big musky…but let me tell you…it was a big musky. Nothing else could make the water boil…nothing! To say the least my senses went on high and I made about a dozen casts in and around the weed bed and while I would love to report a 50 inch musky catch…nah, nothing, but it sure was an exciting few minutes that I won’t soon forget…oh, and I plan yet another venture back to this little corner.
Soon enough the ice and snow will be upon us…don’t wait, grab your gear and make your way out to the many lakes and streams we are blessed with here locally…when you do, you too will Enjoy the Great Outdoors.