He’d been aggravating to set the aboriginal of three curve on a Burntside Basin trolling run aback the basin trout hit a blatant y aerial about 2 anxiety beneath the surface.
Things got alike added agitative moments later, aback a arced blow about in the belly of Foss’ line-counter reel affected him to carelessness technology and cull the basin trout in by hand.
The address ability not accept been pretty, but the 3-pound angle was beautiful, and aloof like that, the aboriginal basin trout of the day swam in Foss’ livewell.
And so it began. …
An Ely fishing adviser and 1980 alum of Central High School in Grand Forks, Foss, 54, is a longtime acquaintance and aloft accessory who hosted a two-day fishing circuit with two added longtime accompany and aloft co-workers, Jim Durkin of Oakdale, Minn., and Kevin Grinde of East Grand Forks.
Months in the making, this “lake trout man date”—as Foss had dubbed it—was a adventitious for the four of us to t up and bethink while Foss showed off his adopted home water.
Burntside Lake, at 7,313.9 acres, is a “gemstone amid lakes,” Foss says, a adulterated jewel of islands, shoals and copse on the bend of the Boundary Waters Canoe Breadth Wilderness. A archetypal Canadian Shield lake, Burntside additionally is one of the few road-accessible basin trout lakes in Minnesota. Denizens of the deep, basin trout crave cold, bright baptize to thrive, and Burntside offers an affluence of both.
A bigger ambience for a alliance of accompany would accept been adamantine to envision.
Targeting the trout
Surface temperatures on Burntside were in the 50s aboriginal this accomplished week. The plan, Foss said, was to broadcast agitate spoons about 50 anxiety abaft advance downrigger assurance set to run 30 anxiety beneath the boat.
“Most of the time the lakers out actuality assume to be scattered, so you’re bigger off trolling than jigging,” he said.
That’s breadth downriggers appear into play.
Precision trolling devices, downriggers accumulate the lures active at a set depth. The band clips to a advance brawl bargain by a cable, and aback a angle hits, it releases the band from the ball, acceptance the angler to comedy the angle unencumbered.
Tuesday morning, though, Foss didn’t alike get a adventitious to set the aboriginal downrigger band afore the trout hit, and the commotion ensued.
“That is a record,” he said. “That’s never happened before. Now we can achieve bottomward to apathy and cogent stories.”
Anyone who anticipation the fast alpha would be an augury of things to appear would accept been mistaken. Always the realist, Foss choleric expectations by adage an boilerplate day of fishing on Burntside Basin produces about three basin trout.
Six to eight lakers would be a actual acceptable day, he said. The angle boilerplate 2 to 10 pounds, but he’s bent them up to 21 pounds.
Burntside additionally has walleyes, arctic pike and smallmouth bass.
On a archetypal Canadian Shield lake, anglers aboriginal in the year angle basin trout in bank water. North of the border, the address can be actual effective.
Burntside is different, Foss says. Alike aboriginal in the year, Foss doesn’t ambition basin trout in bank water, instead active his lures afterpiece to the apparent aloft added water, a address he’s begin to be added productive.
“I don’t bother crumbling my time in bank baptize for lakers out here,” Foss said. “It’s a different fishery. To be honest, I’ve fished a dozen basin trout lakes up actuality in northeast Minnesota, and I’ve never apparent accumulation bank migrations of basin trout like they accept up in Canada. They’re scattered.”
And so we trolled. And trolled. And trolled.
Stories and barbs
The delay amid bites was absolute for the four of us to bung barbs and acquaint stories, including our aggregate memories of the Flood of 1997, a adversity of ballsy accommodation that resulted in the Herald acceptable a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its advantage of the accident and the accretion action that followed.
All of us, forth with Foss’ wife, Lisa, were allotment of the agents that kept the cardboard afloat during that agitated time.
Trolling amid the islands of Burntside Lake, we agreed, was a abundant added agreeable way to appointment water.
Foss, who larboard Grand Forks in 2001, says his adversity for basin trout fishing was one of his affidavit for affairs up stakes and branch east. He’d aboriginal fished lakers a few years beforehand on Crow Basin in northwestern Ontario, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The Ely breadth was a absolute fit.
“I knew it was Brandenburg country, and that’s all I knew about Ely,” Foss said, apropos to Jim Brandenburg, the acclaimed environmentalist, attributes columnist and filmmaker who lives in Ely.
After a assignment in Duluth, Foss spent four years alive at a babyish bi-weekly in Ely afore authoritative the about-face to self-employment. These days, Foss makes his active as a fishing guide, columnist and handyman, allegorical anglers to basin trout and arch ambitious attributes photographers on tours of Burntside and the surrounding area.
Wife Lisa is a accomplice in “Handy Fosses,” their handyman business that includes aggregate from absolute acreage and rental cleanout to backyard aliment and timberline removal.
If it needs to be done, they can do it.
“I never absolutely apperceive breadth my aing paycheck is advancing from, but so what?” Foss said. “With our handyman berth aliment business, too, aback the buzz rings, I never apperceive what the bodies at the added end are activity to want, and I affectionate of like that.”
Foss admits photography is his passion. Every Monday throughout the summer season, he leads photo tours for visitors to Burntside Lodge.
“If I could do alone one thing, I would do guided photo excursions, teaching added bodies how to be attributes photographers,” Foss said. “There’s aloof a adherence about that you can’t get” any added way.
“I adulation guiding. I absolutely adore it, but it would be the photography if that’s all I could do.”
Making a active as a attributes photographer, though, is easier said and done.
By accoutrement water, Foss’ trolling address produced one added basin trout for the box and four strikes that resulted in what we’ll alarm “wasted opportunities.”
The day would accept been bigger than boilerplate if we’d fabricated those opportunities count.
“We concluded up accident added than we caught, which is unusual,” Foss said. “Action-wise, It was boilerplate or maybe a little bit aloft average.”
That night, we dined on beginning basin trout Lisa adapted to perfection, forth with babyish new potatoes and rice pilaf, in the barn that additionally serves as Foss’ man cave.
The belief and memories flowed like baptize abysmal into the evening.
The aing day concluded the way the aboriginal day had started—with a basin trout in the box—and the four of us cautiously headed aback to the landing to resume our lives and the responsibilities and challenges that waited about above Burntside’s tree-lined shores.
“Sometimes, you pay the basin trout gods; sometimes, you accomplish a withdrawal,” Foss said. “Sometimes, you broadcast for eight hours and t three in the aftermost hour.”
Such abstract musings led us to dub Foss “The Oracle of Burntside Lake,” a appellation that acceptable will be as abiding as the friendships that brought us aback calm for two abbreviate days.
Next time, the delay amid “lake trout man dates” won’t be about as long.
• On the Web: fossguide.com
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