My sons and I had thought how great it would be to take a trip to Canada where that clear cold deep water and clean air laid waiting. In 2000 the time came.! The price was right, the timing good for the three of us, and the approval of our wives was obtained.
Chris and I would fly from Tampa to Atlanta. In Atlanta Mike would board the same plane and we would fly on to Minneapolis where a rental car would be waiting. We would drive to Bemidji for a family reunion and then on to Canada.
At the Mid-way Airport in Chicago we had a stop over. The luggage people did their work as we sat on the plane. We didn’t realize how this would affect us later but when we arrived in Minneapolis we found Mike’s rod-case and its contents were missing.
We filed a "Lost Report" and drove on to Bemidji to discover that we had no reservations. The motels were almost full but luckily we found one room near the airport. After a partial night's sleep, we discovered the reunion had been postponed an extra day. We left without attending for fear we would lose our reservation in Canada.
Late that afternoon, we arrived at the lodge to find we weren’t expected until the next day and they had rented out our cabin. After serious discussion, the manager spoke to the two women in our cabin and persuaded them to move to a smaller space.
Sunday morning the guide (we thought we had cancelled) arrived around 6:30. We gave him $20.00 for making the trip and sent him on his way. After breakfast, we proceeded to the boat and motor waiting for us at the dock.
The first two days we went where everyone told us the fish were biting. They swam by laughing!
The third day we found a great spot right below a white water rapids drop in the river. Several boats with guides easily maneuvered the rapids but we were not proficient in the maneuver, so were left behind. Too bad we let our guide go!
On the fifth day, after rain, clouds, and water that looked like the muddy Missosuri River, Chris became ill and stayed behind while Mike and I proceeded to take our boat and set out for a destination about 6 miles downstream. An hour into our trip a storm came up and we were forced to take shelter on a small and terribly overgrown island. Holding our boat with the anchor rope to keep it from drifting out into the waves, we waited in the cold and rain, for several hours hoping the rain and wind would stop before attempting the trip back. Finally, we decided to brave the storm. With waves washing over the bow of the ship soaking us to the skin, we made our way through the heavy storm back to the fishing resort. We found Chris standing on the dock. He said that he felt better later that morning so he went to town for groceries, then upon returning, he fished from the dock and caught four decent sized Northerns. The rest of the week presented the grand total of ten fish, and none as large as I usually caught off my own dock in Florida. We should have stayed in the cabin with Chris!
We finished up the disastrous week with too few fish, colds, a couple thousand bucks lighter, and considering another fishing holiday. Probably in South America.
PS: Mike did get the lost rod back, the last day we were there.