Saturday May 27, 2006
I wake at dawn, anxious to get my trip started. By 05:30 Im on the lake, taking the first of what will be thousands of paddle strokes.
A hint of wind blows across the bow of my Prism. I soak in the sights and sounds of the lake. Beaverhouse. That name conjures up Voyager exploits, a rich history of native people, fur trading adventure, and a logging era long dead.
My permit secured, I paddle to the outflow of Quetico Lake as it pours into Beaverhouse. Wading into the current, I cast a Rapala TailDancer. Chunky smallmouth and walleye fall prey to my bait. I switch to my baitcasting outfit rigged with a large black jig and Gulp tail. On my third cast I get a vicious strike from a thick-backed Northern. It makes three strong runs in the deep blue pool before tiring, allowing me to gain line. I ease the single hook out of the jaw of the thirty-incher and release the fish into the flow.
Today I need to traverse the full length of Quetico Lake; I need to get moving. I slip the canoe back into the water and ease up the flow. The current is swift but looks passable.
My Prism shoots into the current and I dig with all I have. My canoe advances but as I enter the confined flow the force of the water pushes my bow downstream, sending my craft sideways in the current. In a moment I'm capsized.
Shock, then embarrassment wash over me, along with gallons of cold Quetico water. I float with the canoe a few yards, extend my legs, finding firm bottom. I walk my canoe to where minutes before it was beached as I fished. All gear is lashed in so none is lost. Humbled but relieved, I dump the water out and walk the canoe up to the portage head.
Paddling the narrow channel east towards the main body of Quetico Lake, I fight an internal battle with myself. How could I be so stupid? So careless on the first morning of my trip!
The wind freshens and with it carries away my troubles. A 5-rod portage gets me on the southside of the lake; the peninsula and island south of Eden Island provides shelter from the northeasterly wind.