Time on the Ice on the Gunflint Trail

Sam Cook is an outdoor writer from Duluth, Minnesota who loves to spend time in the outdoors. He recently wrote an article about the lake trout opener for lakes outside of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. He spoke to numerous ice anglers who were out on Clearwater Lake enjoying the sunshine and a view of the palisades. He also talked to a group who was trekking in to South Lake to winter camp. And he also spoke about the Gunflint Trail itself. I loved what he wrote and thought I would share it with you.

While catching a few lake trout is the big lure that draws all of these anglers to the Gunflint, it’s not the only one. Simply forging up this ribbon of snow-packed asphalt is like entering a different world. Up here, the snow is still white. It’s heaped on rows of mailboxes, and it clings to the downswept branches of spruce trees. Little tornadoes of pine grosbeaks flit up from the road at intervals. A set of moose tracks — yes, some of the critters remain — lead across a lake that snugs up to the highway. Sentinel white pines rise above the rest of the forest, awaiting the return of nesting bald eagles in April.

For miles and miles you drive through this white wilderness. Maybe you meet a half-dozen cars. Maybe not. And when you finally stop and get out, the silence is palpable. You are deep in the heart of a northern Minnesota winter.

Here’s Cassidy and her first lake trout!

Ice fishing in the Boundary Waters
Cassidy’s First Lake Trout

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