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Big Fork Smallies.

September 15, 2012

August 17, 2012

7 a.m.  The morning is clear with a slight breeze out of the north. Bill is right on time and takes me across the bridge to the launch at the base of Big Falls where he helps me unload the kayak.   It takes a tremendous amount of will power to leave the musky rod in the car, but I do so.  I kick myself when Bill tells me they’ve seen some big musky in the pool below the falls.  Oh, well.  The plan is to fish for small mouth bass and I am sticking with the plan.   My biggest concern as I paddle away from the access is if I have bitten off more than I can chew for today’s adventure.  The stretch I will be covering is about the same distance as yesterdays.  However, I only have five hours, instead of seven, to get to the pick up point.  The current is swifter below the falls according to Bill, which will help.  Nonetheless,  I know that I will need to focus more time today on paddling.

In the pool below the falls I cast a black jig head tipped with a yellow Gulp twister tail.  Pitching it behind rocks and logs from the old logging days, I nab one small northern pike and have several small mouth bass strike.  The small mouth seem to be sitting along the logs and I cast to this structure whenever I see it.  Yesterday, I noticed several frogs along the bank when we launched the kayak so I switch to a Rebel, frog pattern, crank bait before reaching the next pool. Again, I see a smallie rise and hit the bait.  I set the hook too quick and miss it.  Sticking with the crank bait I catch two more small northern pike before I catch my first smallie in the tail of a pool.  It is a feisty 11″ fish that puts up a good fight. I’m not sure what the problem is but I miss several more fish that again charge out from along fallen logs.

This beauty strikes from behind a shore line boulder and puts on several acrobatic leaps before running under the kayak and turning me around a bit.  I measure it at about 14″ inches and let it go after snapping this photo.  I catch another 12″ smallie  15 minutes later before I have to pick up the paddle.  My arms are tired and I begin the search for the half way point, Sturgeon River.

Paddling steadily, I see two deer drinking from the river, a bald eagle perched on a rock and I even get chased by a two otters who snort at me.  Again, I make it back on time but have passed up an abundance of promising water due to the need to reach the pick up point.  Next time I will need to allow more time or bring another fisherman so we can take turns paddling the canoe or drift boat to maximize the fishing opportunities.  It was a great experience and I can’t wait to get back.

Make sure to contact Bill at Rivers North Outfitters of MN if you decide to make the trek.

– Hats

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