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Lake Siseebakwet

September 19, 2012

August 18, 2012 – Rutger’s Sugar Lake Lodge

I swore I was done paddling.  I really did.  My shoulders ache.  I’m beat. There’s no way I can pick up a paddle.

Yesterday, on the drive back to Grand Rapids to meet up with my family and in-laws at Rutger’s Sugar Lake Lodge, I stopped off at the local pharmacy to pick up some peroxide to clean a nasty and infected gash on my pinky courtesy of the 42″ musky I caught on the Big Fork River.  Not only was getting out of the car a chore, but my body was so tired and out of kilter from paddling that I could barely walk straight.  My legs felt weird. My  back was kinky.  I just felt out of whack.  No more paddling.  Or so I thought.

Saturday morning and our eight year old son, having just woofed down several doughnut holes and orange juice at the table in Grandma’s room, is ready to go fishing.  Unlike most lakes, the shallow waters of Siseebakwet, Ojibway for Sugar Lake, are void of weeds due to the sugar sand composition of the lake bottom.  The result is crystal clear water reminiscent of that surrounding a tropical island.  It is simply beautiful.  However, being void of weeds means that there are no fish hanging around or under the dock.  No fish, no smiles and so my son suggests we go fishing in either the kayak or the canoe.   Great, I mumble somewhere in the recesses of my mind, more paddling.  Searching for positives, I tell myself that the canoe is free to use and, even more optimistically, this will be good experience for my son.  Maybe in a year or two he can guide our canoe down the Big Fork as I fish for musky, or who knows, maybe he’ll go paddling with me in the Boundary Waters.

In a matter of minutes, we don life jackets, grab a couple rods and reels, and paddle away from the beach.  There is a whisper of a breeze coming out of the north.  The slight land point provides a little shelter and the only fishable structure I can see: an underwater point that gives itself away by the contrasting water colors.  I point this out to my son and try to teach him a lesson in reading the waters.  However, we are soon talking about Legos and the make believe world that he is going to create, so I’m not sure that my words have had an impact.   I do my best with the paddle to keep us out over deep water as he tosses a Storm crank bait up into the shallows and reels it down the break line.  Occasionally, I manage a cast or two as my primary focus is on keeping the canoe in position. It would be really fun for him to latch onto a bass or a northern pike.

I’m flipping a 1/4 oz. Outkast Pro Swim Jig tipped with a blue X Factor double tail grub that my son gave me for Father’s Day.  While opening it on Father’s Day he pridefully told me that the guy at Gander Mountain said this was the best lure in the State of Minnesota.  Primarily black, the skirt has a few blue strands and looks good in the water.  I like fishing pig n jigs and I’m confident that it will get bit.  Actually, I did use it for a couple hours on Father’s Day when I nabbed the biggest fish of the day, a three pound large mouth bass, while fishing with my dad.  I like this lure.

Thinking that a fish, any fish, would be nice I feel a tell tale tap and set the hook.  I’m pleasantly surprised by the deep bend in my rod.  Moments later it heads for the surface, bass I tell myself, and comes flying out of the water to the joyous shouts of my son.  A minute or so later, I land it and snap this nice photo.

Pleasantly surprised, I must admit I wasn’t expecting such a beauty. My son is satisfied to have seen the lure he gave me catch a nice fish. He suggests that we call it a day, even though we’ve only been on the water for about half an hour and I oblige.  Happy campers, we paddle the short distance back to the dock where he tells everybody about our fish.

Sunday, August 18, 2012

My intention was to rent a fishing boat and take my kids and niece out fishing bright and early.  Unfortunately, or fortunately depending upon your perspective, they are still sleeping at 7 a.m. Having stayed up late last night eating Smore’s by the fire, I leave with out them.  In a canoe.  Apparently, the boat house doesn’t open on Sundays or the attendant stayed up late eating Smore’s, which means renting a boat is not an option.  The conditions are the same as yesterday. I paddle out to the hot spot and begin pitching my pig n jig.  It isn’t long before I catch a nice 14″ large mouth that strikes as it falls.  Nearing eight o’clock I’m about to wrap it up.  Working my way back along the inside turn I tell myself “a few more casts.”    A few more casts later there is a slight tap and I set the hook.  It pulls a little bit of drag before leaping.  Wow – it is bigger than yesterday’s and the fight is on.

Landing it, I estimate it to be about 18″. Beautiful markings and big maw.

The lake is still quiet at 8 a.m. and the few fisherman I’ve seen are fishing for walleyes, which is alright by me.  Siseebakwet is a beautiful lake worthy of another trip, albeit from a boat. No more paddling.

– Hats

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jesse permalink
    February 13, 2013 4:18 pm

    I live right between the waters of your last two stories, and gotta tell ya, these are fun to read. How avid a musky fisherman are you?

    • February 14, 2013 2:58 am

      Thanks for your comment and for reading. In regards to your question, that is a tough one to answer. I enjoy fishing period, but probably spend most of my time fishing for largemouth bass. Time and all the other details permitting, I would fish for musky more often than I do. The Big Fork is a gem for smallies too. I can’t wait to get back again. I’ve heard the Little Fork is good as well. – Hats

  2. alex permalink
    April 25, 2013 11:04 am

    Shame you didn’t try to take that canoe down to little sugar lake. Electrofish catch rate of 110 bass/hr as of ’06. All that and a mere 88 acres to keep you out of the wind, would have made for a nice day. https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/showreport.html?downum=31055500

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