Spring Trout Trip
When four adult, slightly past middle age, guys, get together for a camping trip you know there will lots of jokes, jabs and jabbering. The great thing about a boyz trip to the Quetico for lake trout is the chance to be little boys again or a primitive hunting party or some combination thereof. At these ripe ages there less bragging and less muscle testing and a lot more dependence of each other and modesty, the result of what little wisdom that has been gained over so many years. All for the better to have more fun, take fewer portages and prepare a few good meals that men have garnered from years of watching their wives.
This was a laid back, no worries about catching a lot of fish and happy to be out, kind of trip we did last week to the fabled North Bay of Basswood Lake in Quetico Park. It was the week before fishing opener in Minnesota and two weeks before the same in Ontario. Lake Trout is the only species that we could keep that were in season. When we caught a smallmouth bass and a walleye, both handsome specimens, they had to go right back in the lake. The lakers were playing hard to get on us. We trolled a lot of water at different depths and saw some great scenery, absorbed too much solar radiation on the hands, ears and nose but rarely had to reel up lunker lakers. Actually, there were no lunkers caught last week. The bay was cold and calm most of the 5 days we were there but she was pretty stingy with the red fleshed trout.
When a lake trout was landed it was meant for the pan and the meals were exceptional. I made a first for me; trout tacos. It was just snap decision while hiking the isles of Zup’s grocery in Ely the day before the trip to buy cole slaw mix and dressing and some real big soft taco shells. I just breaded strips of trout cut off the filets and fast fried them laying them in the taco with some fried cubed potatoes and onion topped with juicy cole slaw. It seemed to be a hit among the four men cooking around the campfire. One of my chums for another trout dinner baked his filets over the fire in aluminum foil with butter and onions; another big success story for the guys. We spent time contemplating how much water to use for oatmeal and whether or not the pork loin over the fire was cooked enough or if a little pink was now ok to serve America’s other white meat. With the occasional sip of box wine from a plastic bag details of cooking were more easily worked out.
Perhaps the most solemn moment of the trip was the scattering of the ashes of one of our fathers who passed away recently. Jack was a friend to all, a great hockey coach and a bit of an old curmudgeon but renowned for his unique expressions and liberal use of language that would be bleeped out on TV. Not that Jack was on TV but he a star to those of us who knew him. If you knew Jack you always smiled when his name was mentioned. He did some fishing up north and he loved to visit Ely with his wife Ann to see what their son was doing now to live the life of a modern entrepreneur woodsman. Like father, like son, Steve managed to scatter a few choice words in every conversation we had last week. It’s a loose group when the men that are still boys at heart, make a trip to the woods to catch lake trout in spring. Enjoy the photos and come up soon.