Mushing into Alder for Lake Trout

Ice fishing trip
Andy and Bob on their ice fishing trip, behind Erik's team.


Saturday Andy and I mushed into the BWCA with Erik for some late season Lake Trout fishing.  We helped Erik harness the team and then shot off down East Bearskin Lake.  Morning conditions were still below freezing, so the trail down the lake was hard and fast for the dogs.  Erik and I rode the runners; Andy graciously agreed to sit in the sled.  We followed the balsam bough trail that Erik has traveled all season.  Winter campers were exploring Crocodile Falls portage as we sped by.

We crossed into the Boundary Waters, then stopped the team for a breather before we shot onto the Little Alder portage.  I think of this portage as straight and level, but with ten fast, powerful dogs and a freight sled full of fishing gear it didn’t seem straight or level at all! We skidded down onto Little Alder, then took a woods trail to avoid open water in the narrows and emerged onto Alder Lake. 

Once on the lake, Andy’s guide instincts kicked in, and he directed the fishing portion of the trip.  We drilled holes, baited our jigs with ciscoes or chubs, and started the part of the trip we’d all been waiting for:  Hanging out in the vast silence and beauty of a wilderness lake with nothing more important to do than jig our lures, watch the tip-ups, and glory in our surroundings.  None of this glorying, by the way, was interrupted by the need to haul up a fish through the ice.  Never had a bite.

I cooked some brats later in the afternoon, and then, already, it was time to head back.  I stood on the sled brake and Andy balanced on the hook as Erik “manually” turned the dogs homeward.  Down Alder, across the portages, and back to East Bearskin and Bearskin Lodge.

Posted by Bob

Waiting for a bite.

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