Of Wind, Water, & Wilderness
With the drag fully loosened on my spinning reel, I grabbed the line near the closed bail and pulled upward to the first eyelet of the rod. This distance being about a foot and a half, provides a rough way of measuring out line. A count of thirty would lower the trolling rig to a forty five depth. In spite of being held down by two ounces of lead, the drag of the diving cisco imitation caused the line to trail behind the canoe at an angle as much horizontal as vertical. I stripped off another forty five feet of line. It was hard to judge the depth at which the bait was actually running. The lake trout would be down fifty feet during this last week of spring. I wanted the presentation to pass over them rather than under. They would swim upward to take a bait, but being deeper than necessary would risk snagging up. We had neither depth finder nor charted detail of the lake's bottom contour. I tightened the drag and laid the rod crossways against the thwart in front of me, holding it secure with a little pressure from my boot. I picked up my paddle to join in with John.
We had paddled away from the portage fifteen minutes earlier. The shallow depth in the narrow channel of the river had dropped away as we transitioned into the wide expanse of Quetico Lake. An impressive view of Eden Island opened up to our left. In front of us lay the twelve mile long south arm. We would set our first night's camp where the lake hooked into the far southeastern bay and continue on to Jean Lake the next morning. It would be a day for travel, but not with the intention of maximizing the distance from the entry point. The process of planning the trip during the long winter months had eliminated several routes accessible from this lake. What was settled on became an eight day loop which would take us into the desired fishing destinations of Jean, Burntside and Bentpine Lakes. The final day would be one of travel, traversing a series of lakes to the south featuring Snow, Your and Badwater.