Friday was the day I figured we'd have good fishing. Been slowly warming for three days. Enough time for the short strikers to become more active. No sense wasting what could be a good day. We were on the road a little after seven intending to hit a pair of lakes and put eight hours on the water. To my way of thinking, where we fished the afternoon and evening was more important than the morning. Those golden hours near sunset usually proved the best. Had the four of us lived where we fished, we'd rarely be on the water till after supper. But we don't and rolled up the highway.
The two laner we usually drive has a few straight sections. Mostly it roller coasters and winds its way over glacial moraines and alongside lakes. This is cabin country. Not the two and three story McMansions that've become the standard to the south. Most have been standing for more than fifty years. Grandpa probably built it himself and also drove the well. Generally they're known as decent fishing lakes by todays standards. Fished a fair number of them myself but not for a while. Once again we were heading for an area of the Chippewa National Forest and down the sand roads off the sand roads. It's not wilderness in the sense of northern Canada but there are wolves and few cabins. Depending on where you're standing in this area you might be on National Forest land, Leech Lake Ojibwe Reservation land or even private property. Had the government treated the Ojibwe fairly this'd all be reservation land. But the Federal Government didn't and the four of us were off to enjoy the fruits of deceit.
Figured we'd end the day on Silver Lake. It hadn't failed us in the last few times on its water and evening had proved excellent each time. Since morning didn't matter as much, and the choice was mine, we started on a lake named Hovde. No cabins, definitely out of the way and usually good fishing. However, today seemed an unsolved mystery. It's been a few years since we'd really gotten into the bass. Maybe they're onto our game. Might also have been the cold water. For a few minutes Larry and I thought we'd figured them out. Four healthy bass in ten minutes, then nothing. All in all we caught a few, maybe even a dozen but for this lake 'twern't nuthin'.
Evening on Silver Lake found me and Jake in the same canoe. I think his dad was thinking fish on the line beat boat control by a long shot. When we pushed off there sat Ryan in the catbird seat, rod in hand, bass in his eye. Believe he wasn't disappointed. He and Larry started off on fire, several big bass right off the bat no more than fifty yards from the access. They called for me to paddle over and join the fun but Jake was having none of that. He kept saying we should be fishing what he called 'sunny side'. Took a moment for me to realize where he wanted to go. Problem was it wasn't sunny in the little bay like it'd been two days earlier. Didn't matter, to our small group it'll always be Sunnyside.
Over there next hour me and Jake didn't catch a lot. He had this bug in his ear about that little bay and didn't want to leave. Grandpa's supposed to take control somewhere along the line and explain things like 'if they ain't bitin' here, let's try somewhere else' or 'once you've hammered a spot it's time to rest the pool' or the ever popular 'grandpa's gotta pee again and get himself another cup of coffee.' But I didn't. Went with the 'patience is a virtue and closely related to procrastination' bit, with the idea Jake would eventually figure out it was time to move on all by himself. And he did. His idea of moving was to paddle to the far side of the lake in the direction of the little speck that was Larry and Ryan.
Seems the two of them had worn themselves out reeling in bass and bluegills. Time for Jake to join in the fun. Me, I continued to take it easy and simply chauffeur. I've come to enjoy the role of paddler more than angler. It's what happens when you're sneaking up on seventy. No revelation there. I knew it was coming, just didn't know when. Might have to do with some form of acceptance or maybe just an aversion to handling slimy fish.