Canoe Trip Stories

The Sequel to "A Fish Named Walter": Walter's Family

Last year I shared with you the story of Walter. Walter was the largest small mouth bass I have ever caught at 5 lbs. 7 ounces and almost two feet long. I caught Walter during the month of August in 1998.

Being a regular visitor to the Quetico Park for the past eight years now, one accumulates memories. (The personal victories of catching trophy fish that last a life time.) Walter was and is a memory that I will replay in my fishing mind the rest of my fishing days! Never did I expect what was about to take place the very next year, on Walter's home turf. This event would surely surpass the memory of 1998.

We had left base camp early after a quick breakfast. We found ourselves paddling to Walter's home lake. The weather was perfect, as a slight breeze started to warm us from the southwest. "Perfect drifting wind" I thought to myself as my paddle strokes became a little stronger now, drawing closer to one of my most productive big bass lakes.

Trophy BassWalter is a bass that lives with his family on a large rock pile. The year before I caught Walter, I caught his cousin (another trophy bass) from the same rock pile.

We entered the lake after a short portage. Inside me my confidence was high. We immediately started working the shoreline with our light tackle presentation, allowing the four inch worm to fall out of sight. Being in the right spot at the right time also is an advantage. As I looked to my right, I watched a giant smallmouth cruise over a large rock and disappear into the darkness. I placed my worm in the direction of his travel, and he took it in! Four pound test does create a challenge within itself. After a lengthy battle, Walter's cousin was in the canoe and on the scale at 4 lbs., 12 ounces.

We proceeded to work the shoreline when my partner Brad, hooked on to one. Excitement was pretty thick now, as we had only begun to fish. Brad beautifully landed the fish, another cousin weighing in at 3 lbs., 5 ounces. Wow, could this get any better? A short distance away, Brad connects with another bass. This one weighing a healthy 3 lbs., 9 ounces.

We had arrived at "Walter's Rock Hotel" by now. Feeling oh so confident that Walter would be over six pounds this year, we began drifting over the rock pile. As we waited in anticipation, I could picture everything that was taking place in the deep, dark waters below. I kept going back in time to the day I caught the great fish, only to be disturbed by a great weight on my line. Could it be, I thought? Only for a moment did I feel the the fish, and then like that he was gone -- I knew it was a big fish. Not enough hook set, I said to myself. A big fish was not to be caught at Walter's house, but maybe on another day.

We moved off of the area and arrived at the opposite shoreline. With the thoughts of a big fish still fresh in my mind, I proceeded to set up the canoe for our drift. Our first pass through, my recently missed opportunity was replaced by a tight line and another big fish. (At this point I know we were being presented a once in a life time fishing day.) The bass became tired. When I could finally pull him from the water, he weighed a whopping 4 lbs., 15 ounces -- what a beauty! I guided the canoe back to our starting point, and soon had another trophy on my line - a 4 lbs., 5 ounce beautiful bass.

Well, let's recap the day; five smallmouth in a few hours weighing a total of 20 lbs., 14 ounces. Truely a day in paradise.

Trophy BassBy now we had worked our way around the lake, and as all good memories have to end, we started to paddle back out of the lake. We were met by two canoes traveling through. They stopped us and asked how the fishing had been. Of course, we could barely contain ourselves. We said it was good and paddled away, as today's victories were being etched into our Quetico memories.

Oh yeah, being totally filled with visions of trophey bass, and completely oblivious to our surroundings, we paddled right up to a cow moose and her two calves. Sometimes, something is so big you just miss it, as was the situation with the moose & calves. After a few pictures we moved on, and our day was complete.

We won't be visiting Walter's lake this year, we will be inviting new memories as we spend time in a different area of the Quetico. As I look out the window at our winter snow, my thoughts are on the Quetico, and the memories she'll create for us this year.

By: Curt Iverson

BWCA and Quetico Park Canoe Trip Stories