Lake Trout Prove Cooperative In Canoe Country

Steve Harrington of Duluth holds another nice lake trout he caught in Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park over the past weekend. We try to make the trip each year shortly after the ice goes out. (Sam Cook photo)

Two of us made our mostly annual trip into Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park to see if we could find some lake trout over Memorial Day weekend. We went up through Ely, from the Moose Lake public landing to Prairie Portage, then in from there a few miles.

In early spring, lake trout can be caught easily near the surface, as opposed to later in the season when they must seek deeper water (50 feet or more) to find the temperature they like. The water is very cold this time of year, especially with our late spring. We troll using Wally Divers, Rattlin’ Raps, jointed Rapalas, and other crankbaits that look like minnows. Fishing was good. The largest fish we caught was eight pounds. We’d keep a couple of smaller fish for supper each night.

Much of the reason we go into the canoe country is for the solitude. The park is lightly traveled. We typically see almost no one for four days. Because the trip was later this year, over the holiday weekend, we saw about six parties in four days.

The moon was just past full and flooded our camp with light each night. The loons were paired up and calling madly. Woodpeckers drummed and yammered. We watched a beaver swim down a small set of rapids, then slap its tail when it saw us. At one portage, we saw a sheet of ice that was at least 8 inches thick in many places, pretty rare for May 26.

Here are a few more photos:

Dinner is secured. We kept a couple of lake trout for supper each night. (Sam Cook photo)
Lake trout fillets sizzle in a frying pan over the fire. (Sam Cook photo)
Steve Harrington checks out a thick sheet of ice we found beneath cedars at the end of a portage in Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park on May 26. (Sam Cook photo)
Holes of various sizes formed where the ice was melting along the portage. (Sam Cook photo)
Steam rises from cooking pots on a May morning in Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park. (Sam Cook photo)