Fishing the big lake is easy -- with some help
Catching fish on Lake Superior is easy. Most Northland anglers -- especially neighbors, coworkers and outdoor writers -- have vast personal memories on file of detailed stories about the sheer rigors and hardships of trying to catch fish. Nobody ...
Catching fish on Lake Superior is easy.
Most Northland anglers -- especially neighbors, coworkers and outdoor writers -- have vast personal memories on file of detailed stories about the sheer rigors and hardships of trying to catch fish.
Nobody goes out, just plops in a line and pulls out a lunker. More often catching one's lunch involves miles of trekking through the bug-infested Boundary Waters, while carrying a canoe, a couple of coolers and stopping for periodic compass readings.
Or, anglers will bloviate on how they had to tow a boat across the next state, then back the trailer a quarter mile up a steep, winding road to launch in a hidden pond. Other versions feature run-ins with Canadian constables or angry locals who don't want anyone on their lakes. Travails include having to keep abreast on what legal limits are in effect on what bodies of water and dealing with capacity crowds at the more popular spots.
Regular fish stories are rife with boat troubles, trailer troubles, water too high or too low troubles and, of course, the one that got away.
Fishermen are expected to know where to go, which fish are which, what bait to use and how to convert their catch into neat fillets.
But fishing the big lake remains easy for anyone, thanks to a small local industry. For less than a monthly boat payment and upkeep costs, you can grab a charter boat driven by an expert and have a much better time than the average angler.
To spread the word on this "anyone can do it" activity, the Duluth Convention and Visitors Bureau, local hospitality businesses and some charter boats hosted the Lake Superior Media Fishing Challenge.
The Monday event was actually a commercial for the local charter industry and a chance to show off a not widely publicized pastime. Participants came from all types of media as far off as Texas. Some claimed fishing experience, while others were admittedly unskilled.
But they were taken in hand by nine charter boat captains and their mates. These are men with immense patience, as well as fishing, navigation and boating skills, not to mention tale telling ability for those lulls in the action.
On board, all the would-be anglers had to do was follow directions, stay out of each other's way, enjoy Lake Superior's scenery and not spill their coffee. Captains like Don Nelson of Lake & River Charters did all the work. They rigged the lines, set them at the best depth and guided the boat to the best spot.
And except for the early morning aspect, it was an ideal setup for journalists, whose best skill is to just observe. But eventually, everyone got involved as a fish hit the line, and it would be up to one of the participants to reel it in. The captain might make a few suggestions during the process but mostly stood by with the net to help board the catch.
All four anglers on Nelson's boat "The Office" had the chance to reel in at least one fish, which he identified and put on ice.
Back on shore he deftly cut the lake trout and walleye into fillets and sent the now experienced anglers off happy with stories of their own to tell.
A 37.5 inch lake trout, caught by a broadcaster from Crookston, won first prize, and a local radio guy caught the most fish. For more information on charter fishing visit http://www.fishduluth.com .