Fishing The Northland!

I lived in France for a stint and used to raise eyebrows when I would offer to host my French colleagues if they ever made their way to Minnesota. They couldn’t comprehend the concept of “Minnesota Nice” and didn’t think I was serious, which I was. Last March I tagged along with Bill Sherck and Chip Leer as we undertook a winter-camping adventure somewhere near the Canadian border. We had a great time and Chip mentioned, in true "Minnesota Nice" fashion, “if you’re ever in Walker let me know and we’ll go out fishing!”. As luck would have it a wedding brought a group of us, 23 people strong, to the south shores of beautiful Leech Lake in early June. So, here I sit in front of my computer with Leech Lake to my back….tactical error….let me turn around. So like I said…here I sit in front of my computer with the inspirational Leech Lake laid out in front of me!

I’m not afraid to fish new lakes and methods but if you’ve never fished Leech Lake it can be a very intimidating body of water not to mention a significant waste of time fishing where the fish aren’t. We’ve been dealing with crappy (not crappie!) weather which has produced decent whitecaps. Fishing the docks and shores has proven to be very different from the lakes we’re used to…. The panfish aren’t present like they seem to be on every other lake I’ve fished on in MN. Without the right equipment (boat/electronics) or a guide who knows what he’s doing you’re best bet for luck is probably at the local casino. I’m up here with my young three boys who love to fish so the casino is not an option…time to call in a pro…enter Chip Leer!

We caught a break in the weather and made it out with Chip last night. We loaded his boat at Trapper’s Landing Resort with me, my wife Kristin and our three sons Theo, Aaron, and William. We zipped out to a nearby point in search of a school of walleye…it didn’t take long and we found what we were looking for! Unfortunately, getting them to open their mouths and eat our Fireball jigs with minnows or leaches was a different story. After about 15 minutes William, age 6, declared that he preferred fishing for sunnies and when he learned we wouldn’t be targeting them he went on strike. One kid down, two to go. After a quick change of location we found more of the same….plenty of fish on the graph but nothing willing to bite. Aaron spent about 15 minutes at Chip’s feet checking out all the buttons on the electronics and trolling motors but about 30 minutes into our adventure…he pretty much checked out. Two down, one to go. We rigged up some spinners and night crawlers and trolled some areas that once again were showing fish but not producing. Aaron and William were burning through the snack we brought for them so we zipped by the resort and dropped of Will, Aaron and Kristin.

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