No, it has nothing to do with the redneck rocker, Willie Nelson. It does, however, have a lot to do with last weekend’s crappie outings on Big Bowstring Lake. Oh how sweet it is to be able to drive a vehicle to a productive fishing hole or two and not worry about pulling a trailer behind.
Memories of me using a snowmobile to reach my panfish destinations, two weeks ago, are still frozen in my mind. It was downright awful out there. Sub-zero temps and cold winds made for uncomfortable traveling and the fishing was equally as poor.
So when I heard that Geiger’s Trails End Resort had six miles of plowed roads available, I said “count me in.” There was absolutely no hesitation in the decision making process.
Sure, there are plowed ice roads all across the North Country but most all of these great fisheries are focused on walleye and possibly perch. There aren’t too many places that have plowed roads to good crappie fishing, not since Upper Red Lake enjoyed it’s crappie bonanza.
Another plus from last weekend was the weather and even though it was well below zero in the early morning, it almost felt warm when compared to what we’ve been dealing with.
Saturday’s day on the lake was colder, due to the wind but Sunday offered the perfect opportunity for me to leave the shelter in the truck and fish outside. The truck, by the way, was left running so all of the equipment, that needed to, stayed nice and warm. This included expensive camera gear, live wax worms, and gloves that took turns resting on the defrosters.
Every time I needed to re-bait or change a lure, a truck sitting session took place. This worked out well, as I needed to warm up myself and the radio was always on.
The crappies were hungry and if you were fortunate enough to find a school of them, even more so.
Bowstring offers plenty of places to fish, which is always nice, especially if your spot isn’t producing, which happened to Blake and I on Saturday.
After spending two hours trying our luck in a good “community hole”, yes, the road goes there, we reeled up and relocated to the other end of the road system. It turned out to be a good call, as the first hole we drilled was filled with fish. Our limit of ten each was achieved in fifteen minutes and we were back home in Keewatin, 65 miles away, a little after noon. Now that’s good fishing.
On Sunday, I headed to the same area that I ended with on the day before and it was as if I had never left. The fish were there and eager to bite.
The best bait for me was Northland Tackle’s little “Forage Minnow Spoon”, tipped with a wax worm. I lost one on each day due to hungry northern pike. Another top producer was Northland’s “Mud Bug” and “Gill Getter” tipped with a wax worm or plastic.
Top plastics were Clam’s “Polli” and Northland’s “Impulse Mini Smelt”. These baits actually outfished the wax worms.
I should mention that driving off the plowed ice roads and going it alone is definitely an option at this time, as long as we don’t receive much more snow. I never ran into any slush (I believe it’s all froze up) but did hit the occasional deep snow drift. Please keep that in mind. You could get stuck so bring a shovel along. The ice, by the way, is in great shape and looked to be at least 24” thick.
So, all in all, it’s great going out there and great fishing as well. Good luck, have fun, and stay safe!
Greg Clusiau, HSM Outdoors,
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