Big Sauk Resort
May24 through 27, 1998
As promised, here is a report on the fishing trip that my sons and grandson took last week. Dale traveled from Colorado on Friday arriving in the early evening. Doug and his son Chris and Dan arrived on Saturday afternoon. We made final plans for the trip North and tried to wait patiently for the hours to pass.
After loading the vehicles on Sunday morning we headed North. The resort is about 180 miles North of Estherville on Highway 4. Several pit stops, rain showers, and much conversation later we pulled into the Big Sauk Resort. We were able to get checked in, buy our license, and get on the water by 2:30. Fishing was slow but we were able to boat enough fish to make us happy for the first day.
Dale got the prize for the biggest fish on Sunday with this 27" 5lb Northern Pike. He was casting with a white lead head/spinner lure on 6-pound test line and no leader.
In our haste to get on the road we forgot a landing net so Dale played him out, keeping tension on the line and moving him close to the front of the pontoon boat where I was stationed to pull him out. Dale was real excited to get this one on his line and much happier to have him in the boat. This is the biggest fish I have ever helped land without a net.
Dale reports that this is the largest fish he has ever caught. His previous record was a 22-inch Brown Trout. Chris was jumping for joy as we got the fish in the boat. The fun didn't stop there.
Dan managed to cast over a school of crappies and pulled in 5 or 6 in a row. Dan's fishing had been pretty dismal up to that point and I sure got a kick out of seeing the smile on his face when he started pulling them in.
We all were able to put a fish in the basket but we worked pretty hard to get enough fish for Sunday supper. Our total fish count was 1 - Northern Pike, 1 - Sunfish, 16 - Crappie, and one lonely little Perch Dan refused to throw out. He had put it in the basket before we caught anything large enough to keep, saying "I didn't come up here to eat bologna for supper." The Northern Pike was reduced to two very large filets, which disappeared on the dinner table.
This is a picture of our A-Frame cabin. It is a very clean and modern cabin that included a loft with two beds, a bedroom on the ground floor, large living and kitchen area, and of course a nice bathroom. This cabin is a far cry from the old shacks we used to stay in at this resort. We even had the luxury of a modern gas stove.
The resort itself is located on a long narrow lake that is a dammed up river. The weeds are real prevalent, but for the most part we are able to travel up and down the lake looking for the hot spots.
In years past my wife Betty and I did a lot of fishing at this place and returning here brings back many very good memories. It has always been a great pan fish lake but Sunday proved that there are some larger fish waiting for our bait.
After cleaning up the supper dishes we sat around and relived today's great adventure and Chris challenged me to a chess game. He is a young, but worthy opponent who always gives me a run for my money. In this case he tromped me in a hard fought battle. Dan played with his lap top computer, and set up the photos you see for use on this page.
Doug and Dale went for a short walk and we all turned in early, knowing that an early start on Monday would guarantee a great catch.
Monday morning came early, with Doug and Dale headed out for a walk, or possibly a run at 5:30 AM. The rest of us tried to ignore their early hour but were up by the time they returned. Following breakfast we headed for the lake, ready to go find the big ones.
We choose a pontoon boat so we would all have room to move around and cast our lines. Monday was not to be the fishing day that Sunday afternoon was. The weather was beautiful, light wind, no humidity, and a clear sky. The water was calm and allowed us a clear view of the hundreds of small perch swimming below us.
We did have fun catching the little perch, but after a while we wanted desperately to put a fish in the basket. We tried several locations on the lake but just weren't able to produce anything steady. Dan did manage to land a perch of questionable size. Since he had worked so hard to play it out he allowed us the chance to snap his photo.
Needless to say, this one didn't go into the basket. We did make a small catch of Crappie, Blue Gill and Perch before lunch. Following lunch we headed back out but had worse luck than in the morning.
There was still no wind and the wispy clouds of morning had moved off leaving the hot sun burning down on us. We took a mid-afternoon break and then went back out until about 8:30. Our total catch for the day was 10 - Crappie, 2 - Blue Gill, and 2 - Perch. Here are a few more shots of our Memorial Day Monday.
Doug didn't have great luck but worked hard all day trying to land a big one or any fish he could put in the basket.
Dale continued in search of another trophy like he caught on Sunday.
Along with slow fishing comes the desire to keep moving around the lake, always knowing the next spot will produce a great catch. I took my turn on the anchor rope and navigating the lake. Chris liked casting with one of my long rods. His had a very short ice fishing rod that did not offer much opportunity to cast into the spots he knew would contain the fish he was looking for.
Supper was a late evening fish fry (about 10:00 PM) and then collapse in bed, exhausted from riding the waves all day.
Tuesday morning Doug and Chris loaded up and headed for home. Chris needed to get back to school and Doug back to work. This left Dale, Dan, and I to go hunt for the big fish. I don't want to sound like a complainer, but the fishing on Tuesday was pretty rough. We had the pontoon boat again even though we could have gotten by with a smaller boat.
I finally got out of my rut by catching two nice Northern Pike in the morning run. The second Pike was a little bigger than the first and neither of them as large as Dales, but large enough to go on the stringer.
Dan caught a Crappie but didn't find anymore and I got a nice Crappie later on in the morning and that was pretty much the end of the fishing. We took a mid-day break to get out of the hot sun and went back out after a rain shower.
We finally gave up the hunt, the big quantity just couldn't be found.
Fishing is about more than catching fish, it's about enjoying the experience. Based on that measurement this trip was a total success. It was a great time for us all to catch up on each other's lives, remember the "good old days," and yes eat some great fish.
This trip will be one of those memories that turn into the "good old days." Thanks Doug, Chris, Dale, and Dan for a great trip.
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