Yoopers for a week
An Outdoorsman’s Journal
Hello friends, The Canadian border is closed to non-essential travelers. Ever since 1982 I have flown with family and friends to Shultz Lake from Red Lake, Ontario, for seven days of fishing and good times.
We have a revolving crew, meaning every other year for half our guys. This year we had to figure something out in the U.S. and we found a really cool place to stay in a great area.
Timbers Resort on Lake Gogebic, near Bergland, in the upper peninsula of Michigan, would be our home for a week. Folks, I have to tell you, Tim and Sarah Long run a great place to stay, everything works and it’s clean and peaceful.
Saturday, July 4 High 93, Low 67
One of the unique things about this trip is that all eight of us (Jeff Moll, Dick Schuster, Trent Schuster, Roger Frank, Gary Gray, Mike Walters, Tom Walters and myself) all went to Poynette High School. Three of the guys who are not relatives have always been buddies with either Tom, Mike or myself, and Trent is Dick’s son and my nephew.
We have a deer camp together, duck camp, go on ice fishing trips and do the Canada thing. Like our group, this 10-cabin resort had other groups that, in all honesty, hoped to be in Canada but are fully aware that still having a good time together is always an option.
My brother Tom from Denham Spring, La., received the award for traveling the furthest. But Timbers Resort had groups from Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Indiana and some truly world-class fishermen.
So here is the rough news. The night before we arrived, there was a major mayfly hatch and that, with several days in the 90s, put a serious hurting on the fish bite.
We fished out of three boats and put in about 7-10 hours a day per person. Our goal was to do well on walleyes with a major side goal being to harvest a few of what I feel are the largest body-size perch anywhere in the Midwest.
Our techniques were using planer boards, which are not popular with some of the guys, drifting with leeches and crawlers when there was enough wind and using slip bobbers and anchoring and fishing for bluegills.
For the most part we switched partners with regularity. After day two all we could do was hope that the fish were going to start to bite. What was really cool is that even though it was the July 4 weekend on Michigan’s largest inland lake, there was hardly any boat traffic and everyone you did see was very polite.
Once we realized that, at least for the time being, the fish bite was not happening, we started doing a lot of porch time. In reality, that is a good share of the reason that we were doing this trip.
In other words, the cook of the day would cook for the gang and in the middle of the day the rest of us would sit on the porch, have some beverages and laugh a lot. For the most part, we would fish the last three hours of the day and after dark we would play “mess with your neighbor,” which is a very fun card game.
Gary Gray is four years older than me and, as a kid, always thought of me as Mikey’s snot-nosed younger brother. In that game Gary destroyed me and loved doing it!
One night Jeff Moll was super crazy, as he always is late in the evening, and the following morning he cooked his “group meal.” We should have called the Bergland fire department because he forgot about it, then served the charred remains to seven guys who all of the sudden were not very hungry.
The fishing really was slow, but we were all wise enough to know that it was just a period of time and on the last day I fished with Roger Frank. Roger wanted to learn how to use planer boards and we had our best day of fishing, catching walleyes, perch and crappies.
Adventures like this do not always work out exactly as you dream, but I will return to Gogebic and when the Canadian border opens, I will be back to Shultz Lake.
It was cool to see so many people relaxing on their porches.