Lake Trout Dreams
Over the years I have come to recognize Clearwater Lake as a fickle temptress for BWCA fishing. Every spring afternoon she beckons me to continue my eternal investigation into the whereabouts of the furtive Lake Trout that call her waters home. I have returned fish-less more times than I would like to divulge and every time the flames of desire dwindle a bit; the 35 pound trout hanging over the fireplace in the lodge never lets the embers die though, and once again I find myself walking down to the waterfront with rod in hand.
Clearwater Lake is long and winding with a couple of larger expanses of water on its east and west ends. I decide to paddle out a ways and troll through the narrow mid-section of the lake in hopes of a lunker, or at the very least dinner. Within minutes my shad-rap has snagged and I start back paddling. Upon picking up my rod I notice a different sort of weight on the line. I decide to set the hook and immediately my drag is buzzing and line is flying off my reel. It must be a massive Lake Trout. The fish slows and I gather myself and begin slowly working the beast back in. It is dead weight at this point and it feels as if I’m hauling in a marlin. I’ve managed to retrieve half my line when he decides to take another run and in an instant: nothing.
There’s no let down more instantaneous than feeling that much weight vanish in a flash, and for a second I think I might cry. As I wind in 50 yards of limp line I swear off fishing. It really is a pointless endeavor I tell myself; a complete waste of time. Screw that fish, I hope he chokes on that lure; it probably wasn’t that big anyway. Who am I kidding, it was a monster, world record most likely, and I had to go and mess with the drag. I’m an idiot; I’m a pathetic excuse for fisherman, a pathetic excuse for a man. Take a deep breath, get a grip and know that it was only a fish. As the sheared end of my pitifully flaccid line comes into view I pull out a new snap swivel and start thinking about possible lure selection. I snap on a copper ¾ ounce daredevle spoon and flip it behind the canoe and continue trolling. As I pick up speed the line goes taut. Within minutes the rod tip twitches then quickly doubles over from the weight. The flames of desire burn white hot, and as I reach down to set the hook I think about all the times I’ve sworn off BWCA fishing.