Temagami 2011: Day 4, Tuesday, July 19
We set an alarm for 5:30 to go fishing in Spawning Bay. We were in the boat by 6:15, but had to turn around shortly after our departure for my glasses. The boat ride to Spawning Bay took about 40 minutes. The lake was smooth and foggy. It still mindboggling how such a big lake can ever be completely calm, but at 6 in the morning, it is. We didn’t see any boats until we got to the Hub (main part of Temagami), and then there were only two. Spawning Bay was beautiful – very peaceful, with only two cottages (which dad doesn’t remember them being there “back in the day”) and three nice looking campsites. At least two of them were nice looking – one I couldn’t figure out whether it actually was supposed to be a campsite it was so grown over.
We fished in the bay for a couple hours, mostly catching small bass. I guess that makes sense since this is where they come to spawn in the spring, but dad and I thought there would be a few big ones hanging around. We had a great time anyway, and towards the end of it we started catching more bass (getting bigger, but still not big enough to keep) in one particular rocky spot.
After fishing and not knowing what time it was we headed over to Bear Island (the local Indian Reservation) for some lunch at the chip stand. Unfortunately the chip stand wasn’t open this summer because the owner couldn’t find anyone to work it. The guy there that was running his gift shop was really friendly, and despite not ever wearing a watch, he went into the back room to check the time for us. “10 minutes to 11.” A little bit early for lunch, but dad and I had breakfast at 5:45, so we were hungry. We headed down towards the Hub to Loon Lodge, a little island that has a “snack bar”. Dad and I ate the deliciously healthy breaded chicken sandwich and poutine fries. If you don’t know, poutine fries are smothered in gravy and topped with cheese. I forgot about the cheese part, which I don’t care for, but I asked for the gravy on the side and it was excellent. (Not as good, of course, and Stever’s chips and demi-glose from the High Street Pub.)
We wanted to head up the North Arm of the lake because dad had never been up there. I had been to Ferguson Bay, Whitefish Bay, and Sharp Rock Inlet on the canoe trip with Stacy in 2007. I really liked it up there – particularly Sharp Rock Inlet, which was full of tiny islands and big rocks. However, we didn’t go up there because there was a huge rain cloud to the north, and we weren’t sure which direction the storm was moving. (It turns out we could have gone and been just fine – but that’s all hindsight.)
After lunch we headed back up the Northeast Arm (where the town of Temagami is located). We decided to detour to the mouth of the South Tetapega River (we had gone up the inlet of the North Tetapega a few years ago in the rented aluminum boat), but we never quite made it that far in because the lily pads beat up the little motor, which is about 10 horsepower and the one we use for trolling. I ended up having to paddle us out to deep enough water that dad could start up the big motor (90 hp). Back in the Northeast Arm we went over to the Beaver Dam to try and catch some minnows and fish. The minnows proved to be much smarter than we gave them credit for. Our bread was appetizing to the little minnows, but the bigger ones would have none of it. We didn’t catch very many in the end. We put a minnow on a hook and stuck it in the water by the boat and there were lots of little bass going after it. The one that snagged it was a rock bass, and as I was bringing him in the minnow got free and survived. Just as dad and I were taking note of the fortune of the minnow a small bass came up and ate him! So it’s true that fish waste no time in going after injured minnows. If that’s the case, I wonder why we don’t catch more bass at Caribou.
We got back to our cottage a little after 1 and went for a swim. While in the lake I wrestled with untangling the lily pads that were wrapped tightly around the little motor’s propeller. Again, in hindsight, it might have worked just to put the motor in reverse, but I was able to clear the propeller after a few minutes of tearing away at the lily pads.
Exhausted for our morning, we headed into town to get chicken at the grocery store. Ha. Try again. No chicken to be found (there were a few frozen pieces on Saturday when we went). There was a plethora of strip steaks and rib-eye steaks, but we decided just to have hamburgers and salad for dinner. There were also no eggs – they do carry them, but they were out. Dad and I commented on how this grocery store is operating on a lose-lose situation: If they don’t keep a solid stock of food then people won’t be able to rely on them (like we did for meats and eggs), and if people can’t rely on them, they’ll buy their groceries in North Bay or New Liskard and then the grocery store won’t have enough costumers to carry an ample stock. There really is no easy solution to this dilemma. When dad and I stopped in North Bay, I didn’t let him by meat or eggs because I told him we should support the grocery store in Temagami and buy it there. But it’s not always available in Temagami. It’s hard to say what we’ll do next year – will we buy more groceries in North Bay or try again with the Temagami store?
After dinner dad and I both fell asleep for about an hour. We woke up around 6:30 and hurriedly got ready to head out on the boat. Back to Island 4 to evening fishing! It was a beautiful night – the lake was calm and the sun was warm (a little too warm, maybe). We had quite a few bites, especially with bass at first. Dad ended up catching two walleyes about 16 and 17 ¾. They were perfect keeper size. Later on I caught a “slotter” – a 20-inch walleye. We took a picture and then bid him farewell. It felt good to catch him because for most of the night I was only catching bottom. We caught the fish in a different location – off a shoal of Island 4.
The mosquitoes ate us alive coming back in, since we quit a bit later than we usually do. Right now I’m scratching the 2 millions bites that are on my thighs.
Fish Count (Keepers):
Where: Island 4
Bait: worm harness
2 – Walleye (Dad)
size: around 16 inches and 17 ¾ inches
Fish Count (Throw Backs):
1 – Walleye (Gina)
where: Island 4
bait: worm harness
size: 20 inches – “slotter”
Fish Count (Total):
5 – Walleye
3 – Bass
5 – Walleye (throw back)