“There’s one!” Those were the words I uttered after hooking a trout while fishing with Jeff and Dave (Michigan) on Pasha Lake last night. With all the strength in I could muster in my left arm, I tried to reel in the scrapper, but it was useless. I sheepishly handed the rod to Dave and asked if he’d reel it in.
Why? For those of you out of the loop, I have some very unfortunate news. On May 16, 2015 while demolishing the old cabin #6, I sustained a massive tear to my left bicep.Distal bicep tendon rupture, as it’s known in the medical world. The injury resulted in a complete separation of the bicep to my lower arm.
Of course when it happened, I was hoping it wasn’t a significant injury. I tried in vain to ignore it for 3 weeks, but it wasn’t getting better. Then, late last week, Michelle laid down the gauntlet and told me to have it looked at. Good thing she did. Within 30 seconds of our meeting, Dr. Jeff Klasson (Lead Orthopedic Surgeon for the UMD Bulldogs at Essentia Health in Duluth) scheduled reconstructive surgery. In a non-offensive way, he chuckled when I explained to him what had happened. He knew immediately I was in my 40’s and told me how common the injury is in males of my age and during this busy time of year.
Of course, any good Pasha Lake report will somehow circle back to fishing. I found out Dr. K is an avid Lake Nipigon trout fisherman and has frequented the Pasha Lake area for many years. It served as a great conversation piece before going under the knife on Monday. And now that the surgery is done, we hope to use fishing on Lake Nipigon as reason for “in the field” rehab. It’ll be tough duty, but I’m sure I’ll manage!
The good news? Fishing has gone from consistently inconsistent to mind-bogglingly exceptional. This week, I don’t care what lake or weather conditions, fishing was everything you’ve come to expect from the Pasha Lake area. It was simply outstanding!
Probably comes as no surprise, but the board leader this week was Onaman Lake. One look at the reservation schedule and you can tell exactly what people’s intentions were. One look at the pictures from this week, and it’d be tough to report on anything else.
From crusty old veterans like Greg and Gwen Hoesktra, to new comers like Marco Leone and Jeff Heisz, guests clearly can’t get enough of Onaman. In fact, after his first day there, I asked Jeff and the boys if they wanted to go back. He looked at me in a growly old voice asked, “Do bears relieve themselves in the woods?” Then he grabbed me by the lapels and, with squinted eye balls and a snarly lip, gritted his teeth Clint Eastwood-style and told me I’d better sign him up for any openings for the rest of the week. And it was only Sunday… whew! As I type this, he’s out there for the third time in a row. While I may have embellished a little about how he asked for Onaman, his desire to fish there couldn’t be mistaken!
Among the many other hot lakes this week was one of our bread and butter walleye, perch and pike producers. In the past, this lake has been the barometer to successful fishing. We know that when this lake is on fire, it’s a sure bet other lakes will be all systems go. And that was the case this week. Even the “grandma” lake which has haunted a few anglers in the past was a big producer.
But allow me to digress a tad. If you’ve been following my reports for the first 2 weeks of June, you’ve noted my anxiety over the weather. It played a key role in water temperatures and thus finding and staying on fish. Not so this past week. Weather was out-of-this-world beautiful and the fishing followed suit. It was a tad breezy for a couple of days, but traditionally, that makes fishing all the better.
Looking back, guests were reporting the fish EVERYWHERE–near weed beds, off points, attached rock structure and within close proximity to every rock. (Every rock?? Thinking about that in Canadian Shield terms, that’s A LOT OF FISH!)
It was fun to see guests coming back so successful. We tend to get a little anxious here when fishing is a little off canter like it had been the previous two weeks. We want everyone to experience the full potential of all we have, and when that happens, it’s cool to see the smiles and hear the stories.
Another story that resonates from last week is of Brian Skaggs and his crew of 25 hoodlums. These guys are now veterans of Pasha Lake Cabins, having been here for the fifth year in a row. In the past few years, Brian has come twice a year, once for fishing and the other for bear hunting (see Brian’s bear harvest from 2014).
Traditionally Brian has hired me to guide for the entire week of their stay. He says I’m a pretty good fisherman and likes finding and catching fishing as soon as we hit the water. I say he just likes my company. Regardless, its usually 6 full days of solid fishing, and historically we’ve done well together.
This year, however, due to my arm surgery, I wasn’t able to fish with him. The cool thing? I didn’t need to. Brian has absorbed all that we’ve done in the past and put it to good use. That doesn’t necessarily mean Brian was the one catching fish. In fact, often times he wasn’t. But he was able to point his crew to the lakes and areas they needed to catch fish. That’s usually my role, but Brian took on the new challenge like a champ.
To top off their week, some of Brian’s crew hired Gus to take them out on Lake Nipigon for some monster alligators. True to the lake’s reputation, it delivered in a big time way. Gus, having fished the lake for over 40 years, knew where to go and delivered a knock out, one-two punch on some trophy pike. The lure of choice? The time tested, old reliable 5 of diamonds. I’d venture to guess that lure has caught more pike than all the other popular pike lures combined. The guy the invented it should be given some type of Nobel prize!
There is so much more I want to write about from last week! The Paul family, Jeff Barginton and their 40 POUND Lake Nipigon lake trout (that’s not a typo!), Don Wright’s small boat adventures on Nipigon, Jeff Heisz’s successful transition from river-to-lake fisherman and endless big walleyes on Onaman. But with limited time and anxious fisherman wanting their shot at awesome fishing, I’ve got to wrap things up.
Make no mistake about it, things are good here at Pasha Lake Cabins. Despite the short term challenges of my bum arm, we continue to put a formula together that gets our guests on fish. One look at the pictures from last week and you know we’re not hype, we’re the real deal!
It’s still very early in the season, so good things will continue to come. Peeking ahead a few weeks, we have the Walleye Dream Trip which will start in another week or so, and with that some AWESOME July fishing. Stay tuned!
Until next time…