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Hopes rise on a trip to someone's honey-hole

I'm headed for a honey-hole. The trip is a couple weeks off, but I've been figuratively frothing at the prospects of this fishing for some time. This is not my honey-hole, you understand. It has been passed along to me by a friend who trusts that...

I'm headed for a honey-hole.

The trip is a couple weeks off, but I've been figuratively frothing at the prospects of this fishing for some time.

This is not my honey-hole, you understand. It has been passed along to me by a friend who trusts that I won't write about it and overwhelm the body of water with fishing pressure it cannot withstand.

So, you will get nothing out of me, now or later, even if you ply me with good beer or a lifetime supply of Dairy Queen chocolate malts.

What's important here is the idea of a honey-hole, a spot so reliable, where the walleyes are both plentiful and large, that it has become almost legendary.

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Honey-holes come in different forms. The best honey-holes are those that you stumble onto. My wife and I have stumbled onto a few over the years, mostly in canoe country. We had beat into the wind all day once a big lake, then ducked into a little pothole one portage off the main route to camp for the night. We were tired, but we rigged up before supper and dropped jigs and leeches off a reef we had noticed on the way in.

Oh, my.

These walleyes were very hungry. We caught enough for supper and released several more. I think we could have caught 30 or 50 if we'd wanted to.

That's a honey-hole.

A bunch of us happened onto another honey-hole a few years ago. We had paddled and portaged for more than two hours to a walleye lake we knew was good. We had planned to fish across the lake. A couple of us, waiting for the others to rig up at the last portage, idly flipped our jigs and minnows just off the portage.

It was as if the walleyes had been waiting for us to arrive. The rest of the gang quickly joined us and we caught six limits of eater walleyes in a couple of hours. All because a couple of us were killing time.

But honey-holes can be temperamental. We've been back to that spot in other years and found very few walleyes. We just happened to hit conditions right on one occasion. But it was a honey-hole for a day, and you can bet we'll drop a jig there every time we go back.

So, now I'm headed to someone else's honey-hole. Just two of us will go. I've never laid eyes on this particular body of water. But I've heard the stories -- from more than one source, and from their repeated trips. Big walleyes. Very nice smallmouth bass. Plenty of both.

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The place is well off the beaten path. You'd almost have to know about it to find it. So, except for an occasional meal, none of these fish leave the lake. They'd spoil before you could get them back to civilization.

The danger, of course, is getting your hopes too high for such a honey-hole. We all know what can happen. A thunderstorm could shut all the fish off. Conditions could conspire to keep us from even reaching the lake.

But I'm not dwelling on those possibilities.

We're headed for a honey-hole.

SAM COOK is a Duluth News Tribune outdoors writer and columnist. Reach him at (218) 723-5332 or scook@duluthnews.com . Follow him on Twitter at "samcookoutdoors."

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