Dick Herfindahl: It’s hard to top a weekend fishing with grandson

Published 9:45 pm Friday, June 29, 2018

Woods & Water by Dick Herfindahl


This past weekend, I was lucky enough to spend a long weekend at our cabin with my grandson Dylan. We had some good weather, so we took the time to do some serious fishing. Dylan loves to fish for musky and pike; we fished them hard for two days. I have to say, it’s been quite a few years since I have made that many casts in two consecutive days. My shoulder sure let me know the next day how much fun I’d really had.

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Our first day was spent on Moose Lake, which lies a little north of Deer River. It was our first time visiting this lake. It’s a nice lake with a shore line that has plenty of pencil reeds, which makes it look like it can hold big fish just about anywhere. About an hour or so in, Dylan had a monster musky follow his lure to the boat. Dylan figure-eighted his lure at the boat, but that big bruiser just turned and slowly swam away leaving him standing there with his mouth open, hardly believing what he had just witnessed. He turned to me and said “Grandpa, I’m just shaking after that.”

I know only too well the feeling of a close encounter with a big fish. That is part of the mystique of fishing and it is what keeps us coming back for more. Over the years, I have caught a few musky and missed more than I’ve caught, but each time that I’ve had one on or had a follow, I get that adrenaline rush that is hard to explain.

Spider Lake has been the lake that has given me the most encounters with the great toothed one. Almost all of the muskies I have caught have come out of Spider. I have caught some nice northern while musky fishing and have caught musky while fishing northern.

On Sunday we had a little different plan. We started out trolling for northern and had some good success early. I had just changed lures when I tied into a nice fat pike. It gave me a run for my money and was at the boat and then taking out drag for a few minutes before Dylan got it into the net.

It wasn’t a legal size for Spider because a northern has to be between 24 and 36-inches to be a keeper. It was 34-inches, but even at the legal length I would have snapped a picture and released it. We caught a few nice pike that day and we both enjoyed a great day on Spider. This lake has a few rustic campsites accessible only by boat, which are scattered throughout the lake and they are strictly first-come sites. I have made it a tradition for the past few years that each time we go to that lake we pack a lunch and take a break for shore lunch. Both Dylan and I look forward to this each year.

I told Dylan as we were trolling on the largest part of the lake that I would be hard pressed to find a prettier lake than this. The lake is actually divided into three separate parts. The first and smallest part of the lake is unofficially called First lake, it is where most of the homes and cabins are. Second lake has two cabins which are accessible only by boat and Third lake, the biggest, is totally undeveloped except for a few rustic campsites and one cabin that sits in a remote bay. The whole lake is surrounded by the Chippewa National Forest.

Each time I visit this beautiful lake, I think back to the days of camping in our pickup camper when our boys were small and my wife and I were young and adventurous. We always caught fish, and had hot dogs and s’mores cooked over the campfire, we just took in all of the outdoors life that we possibly could. Firewood was $2 for a wheelbarrow load and at the end of the week the bill would come to less than $100. This included gas, bait, a few groceries and treats at the store.

One year there was a bear that visited the campground on a regular basis. On the night that it was supposed to appear, the boys said that they were going to stay awake so they could see it. The bear actually walked right next to our camper during the night, but unfortunately the boys had enjoyed a busy day and just couldn’t keep their eyes open. We actually took the boys to the landfill one night to see the bears. Some folks from Mankato were camping by us and offered us their vehicle so we could take the kids to see the bears. It was pretty exciting and I do believe that getting that close to that many big bears was probably more than the boys had bargained for. Whenever I watch the movie “The Great Outdoors” with John Candy, it reminds me of that night.

Until next time, it was great spending time on my favorite lake with my grandson who loves that lake as much as I do. I told Dylan that I’d like to take a tent and spend one night at one of those rustic Spider Lake campsites. It’s on my bucket list.

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