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The lake came alive

The lake came alive this Victoria Day weekend. Since our first weekend at the cabin, almost five weeks ago, hardly a light has been seen at night on the lake. This weekend several lights lit the windows of cabins that we can see.
We have cut and split wood for the past two weekends, building a supply for next year’s hot tub season. Heating the hot tub water with a down draft stove is not the most efficient method, but it does work. It takes an hour to raise 500 gallons of water 6 or 7 degrees Fahrenheit. And to bring the tub to a nice balmy 100 degrees F. normally takes about seven hours. Once the temperature is reached, the warmth in the tub can be easily maintained.
I have digressed. We hadn’t heard any other chain saws in the area. In the past four weeks, we haven’t heard the sounds of people. An occasional boat was sighted, but the lake remained desserted.
That changed this weekend. They chain saws could be heard in almost every direction.
Marnie and I went fishing Saturday morning. Last year there was a standing joke, that if she was in the boat we wouldn’t catch any fish. Saturday was a great day for fishing. I had decided that we would fish in Grassy Portage Bay. It is a long bay, almost five miles in length.
I have fished there but with limited success. In the back of my mind, I sort of remembered fishing behind an island on the south side of the bay about half way down. It was probably as far as I had travelled east in that bay. Our adventure began there.
No sooner had we set the bow mount trolling motor down than Marnie proceeded to tell me she had a fish on. The day couldn’t have started better, and it was a tournament keeper bass.
We fished along the bank of the island, and then took over a spot when someone else departed. The wind was blowing from the southeast and was catching the boat like a sail. We drifted across a bay three times before I finally got a hook in the water. By then, Marnie had already brought three Northerns into the boat.
We were fishing for fun. The fun was catching fish. We were not looking to catch a specific species or a trophy.
There were probably four boats within hollering distance of us. And another five or six in a two mile stretch of the lake. Everyone seemed to be out fishing the opener.
Our next fish was a 21-inch walleye. It was returned to the water.
This past Christmas, I received a “smoker” as a gift, and had brought to the cabin two recipes to smoke Northern Pike. We began picking some larger pike and putting them into the live well to bring back to the cabin.
We moved to the north shore of Grassy Portage Bay and our luck became phenomenal.
A larger Walleye charged my lure and was returned. Finally a walleye in the slot size was caught. Then a second was caught. Four nice size Northerns were also in the live well.
Our friend Larry Greif joined us for supper Saturday night and we treated him to Turtle Island surf and turf. The walleye was a wonderful addition to steak.
Sunday, Phil and Carole Greif came for supper. Across the way we watched as boats pulled into Bennett’s and at another cabin, a party went into the early evening Sunday. Boats were moving, and the sounds of people enjoying Rainy Lake were again heard across the water.

–Jim Cumming,