Outdoors blog: Good day in the border country
By: Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune
A good day in the border country
A dog team rounds a point near Washington Island on Basswood Lake near Ely on Thursday morning. Fog and a light breeze had coated some of the trees with hoarfrost. (Sam Cook / News Tribune)
I took the day off Thursday and spent it running up to Basswood Lake near Ely to fish for lake trout with Ely musher Kelly Murphy and my son, who's home from college on break. I'm always amazed by the variation of weather one can encounter in a single day this time of year. The temperature was 6 degrees when we left the landing in Ely at 7:45 a.m., but it must have warmed into the upper 30s or low 40s by midday. We rarely had to scrape slush from our fishing holes.
The ride up was cool, and a layer of dense fog hugged the lake. I was on a trailing dog team by myself, and I could hardly see Kelly and his team up ahead some of the time. When we emerged from the Four-Mile Portage onto Basswood, the fog was so thick we could see no shoreline for some time. Fortunately, the dogs were following a well-worn trail, so they kept moving along.
The fishing, you ask? Not a single bite. And this was a spot fished often by Ely mushers who cater to winter anglers. We tried spoons, bucktails, airplane jigs and tube jigs. We used ciscoes. We had tip-up lines out at all times. Nothing.
But we traveled about 30 miles by dog team through some of the most beautiful country on the planet. Hard to say it was a bad day.