Fish On!

Brennan Lake re-cap

Most of us drove a long way to Canada, some of us flew there in planes, most of us fished alot, some of us fished less, some of us drove boats around, there were trees and water everywhere. It was fun.  (more details to follow)

Saturday, June 18, 2011 - Birth Day


We celebrated the birth of the 2011 trip and Bobbers’s bday today.  The Indy travelers including rookie sensation T-Berry Davis hit the road at 6:20am, Garrett and I started at 7:30am, John departed Iowa at 8am, and the AZ, NC, and VA contingents departed around noon.  Garrett and I were delayed getting into Minneapolis and Cacteye arrived late as well.  We sprinted from the arriving gates to the remote puddle launcher gate just in time to make the flight to International Falls.   Tom’s luggage did not make the connection, but we made it to IF at 4:30.  Richard from Hilltop picked us up in the vintage Buick and we settled in our room.  We hit the Rendevous Bar to pick up a six pack and enjoyed a beer as we awaited the other arrivals.  John ran the Indy connection off the road a few miles outside of IF and arrived at the 1.8 star Hilltop a few minutes ahead of the Indy convoy.  We made an obligatory stop at the Outdoorsman for some non-essential purchases and berating by the employees over our worm purchase from the Canucks. We enjoyed a steak dinner at the Chocolate Moose and picked up James and a couple of Rookies (Wayne “Steel” Leeder and Holden “Higby” Clark) at the airport at 9pm.  Tom’s luggage arrived, but James was down a few of his score of bags, including bags filled with clothes.  Fortunately, James received his tackle, but got busy bartering for anything warm and water”proof”.  We all enjoyed Glenda’s cake for Bobbers birthday, received our imi gift bags filled with things not be used outside of a remote Canadian lake (i.e., pink purse and hat/bowl combo), donned dress uniform t-shirts, and initiated the Rookies with bear bells before we found the beds for a fitful night’s sleep in anticipation of THE trip across the border.


Sunday, June 19, 2011 - Shipping Day (Cool, Windy, Overcast with threats of Rain)


Up by 6am  for the Hilltop continental breakfast of pop-tarts, Little Debbies, and banana cake before the pre-border ritual stop at the Holiday gas station, some last minute entries into the Outdoorsman, and some more discussion about the defective worms.  James scoured the shops of IF for any clothing and ended up with more tackle.  I removed the first wildlife encountered  from my neck and we rehearsed our stories for the border crossing.  We passed the border without too much incident and picked up the worms from the Rainy Lake Tackle shop before the 30km/hr crawl to Rusty Meyer’s base camp.  Weather delays prevented an on-time departure, but we finally found Brennan Lake after a 2 hr flight and landed after noon.  The prior group had a young Jimmy James among them who experimented with matches on the back 40 of the island.  Fortunately, the fire burned to the outhouse, but the Link Pink outHouses and buildings were saved.   We dispersed our gear among the 4 sleeping cabins, rigged our poles, and hit the water by 4pm.  I think all groups caught some fish before Andy cooked porkchops for dinner.  We tested our survival knowledge (not so good as we gave the youngest NLFC members large knives immediately prior to the test).  Tom scored well and received the first coveted prize.  Based on my score, I would not survive without the others, so I kept at least one Rambo in sight the rest of the week and watched my back as Holden and Garrett lingered in the camp with daggers.  James built us a fire as he rearranged the forest so we could see the trees.


Monday, June 20, 2011 - Groove Day ( Mostly Cloudy, Windy, but pleasant temperature)


Some early risers at 4:30am to catch the sunrise and see some fish.  This became part of our daily constitution as did the certain prediction of rain.  Bob landed a 24" Walleye to get the big fish fishing started before we returned for breakfast of scrambled eggs.  A group headed to the outflow falls past the Happy Camp after breakfast, but found the road to the falls impassable.  We did let the horseflies chew awhile as we observed the rapids leading to a pool before the falls.  We caught several Walleye under 18" and enough for Candy Fish.  Randy and Clayton headed SW after breakfast and found the “other” cabin operated by the group not to be mentioned.  A resident racer sped past with front end locked and loaded down as six eagles practiced their skills on a rock nearby.  Beans and O-Rings joined the Candy Fish for dinner.  Bob caught another 24" Walleye or three as documented by T-Berry and Jimmy James set the mark for Northern at 31".  Garrett and Holden each caught a fish and were immediately rewarded with another prize from the box of bandanas (more knives).  Cacteye gave Gbert a nice pocket knife to give him a hat trick of knives by day 2. James built a fire (to save space, consider this entry a daily/nightly ritual with fires progressing in size and sparkage).  If entries for later days cease, we probably expired in the burning of the rest of the island.  Not to worry as James gave Holden evacuation plans A through Double D.  Everyone hit their stride today and really settled in to camp. 


Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - Swim with the Fishes Day  (Windier and Warmier with Lots-o-Sun)


Pre breakfast jaunt by the coffee crowd to the “other” camp to observe arsenal of planes.  Breakfast of pancakes and sausage.  Several boats sped by during breakfast toward the outflow.  Some of them returned and the Dos Equois man made sure that we did not see anything, like 3 boats and a prone, bandaged, and stiffened body.  Minisig fashioned a heavy slow action rod out of Canadian pine and nearly caught a pike at camp.  Higby and Garrett engineered a dam on the rocks.  A pretty slow day of fishing, but we were pleased with the Rib -Eyes, baked potatoes and salad for dinner.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - Lost Day - (Even Windier and Warm with Certain but no Rain)


Clayton celebrated his 20th and the rest of the day is a blur.  Maybe the Gimlets or fires got us. We could see billowing smoke on the horizon.   Rusty’s crew flew in the rest of James’ gear and worked on the water pumps.  They informed us of the other camp’s pizza past and let us know the fires were 40 miles out.  Up to this point, Clayton kept water running when needed.  The gulls and eagles put on a great show on the rocks in front of the cabins.  We did eat pan fried fish and threw and snapped pop-its before bed.


Thursday, June 23, 2011 - The Great Smoke Out (Wind Shift, but Warm)


We arose to some smoke as the winds shifted and blew the fire trail toward Brennan.  11 “eater” sized fish bagged by breakfast.  A group headed to the inlet after lunch and we exchanged positions in the afternoon.  Rookie Wayne showed real initiative and launched the NLFC diving club.  The first dive is known as the boat split with a half twist, degree of difficulty 3.2.  The camp “not to be mentioned” blocked the rapids in the morning and they returned with a party barge after lunch.  The afternoon crowd scaled a rock face for a beautiful vista down the Allenwater River.  Hamburgers and fries for dinner followed by some heated rounds of Pass the Trash.  Higby and Gmoney took top honors and more bandanas and probably kniives.

Friday, June 24, 2011 - The Last Breakfast (Smoky in th am, but clearing, Warm, and Mostly Sunny)


Visibility down to 400 ft +/- at smokerise.  Everyone toward the outlet after breakfast.  Lots of Walleye landed.  One group headed around the Happy Camp island and the other hit the south side of the channel in search of the elusive monster pike.  Hit some of the honey holes before an afternoon swim and Breakfast fish (Cornflakes® batter).  Team fishing after dinner with the bUmpire influenced by his thin and tenuous blood relationship to the unaBobber, rigged the outcome.  The Bumpire dq’d the winning team of Jack and Neil and gave out prizes based on undue influence and some allegation that we were out of bounds.  Seriously, we travel to the edge of the world and we still have boundries?  Randy and James claimed the “1st” prize and Andy and G-Money came in “second.”  I think Holden and Garrett claimed additional knives as part of the great knife and explosives giveaway.  We returned to the cabin with a beautiful sunset and started to pack for the departure.


Saturday, June 25, 2011 - Moving Day                                


The smoke lessened, but still present during the last morning fishfest.  Clayton landed a 23.999 inch walleye.  I can’t see well, but it looked over 25".  I do not recall who landed the largest Northern for the week, so someone will have to fill that award in for the books.  If I have a vote, I give Clayton the Walleye prize and the award for the ugliest fish, a rock bass with some serious bad scale thing going on.  Cleaned out the fridge for breakfast and in the process of packing and cleaning when the planes arrived 2 hours early.  A group of 7 scrambled to load the 1st plane and the rest stayed behind to finish cleaning, packing, and prepping the camp for the next group.   2nd flight arrived around 11am.  We loaded up and headed for FF to discover that the gas was out in one tank and that we had to make a n emergency landing in Ignace for more fuel.  Finally arrived in  FF and passed the border without incident around 3pm.  John headed for Iowa and the Indy crowd blazed the trail to Chicago and beyond after a hurried unanimous decision to elevate the Rookies to Veteran status.  The fliers ate a late lunch/early dinner at McD’s and then made the 10 mile tour of IF before settling in at the Hilltop. 


Sunday, June 26, 2011 - Back Home Again


The Indy crowd slowed in Chicago to for Jack’s departure and pulled into Indy in the early hours about the time that the fliers boarded planes to their final destinations.  Another great and memorable trip.  Some things to remember from our trip:


$          Pink outhouses

$          The phrases

$                                  “Do you think that will burn?”, 

$                      “Turn the pump on”,

$                      “Let me ask you again, did you see any boats pass?” 

$                      “I think the boys need more knives”

$          Inaugural NLFC diving championship.

$          Fire and smoke

Brennan Pre-Trip Info

Proposed dates: Fly-in Sunday, June 19; Fly out Saturday, June 25. This means travel from Indy beginning on Saturday, June 18 (Bobbers B-day) and return to Indy on Sunday, June 26. Fisher people originating from other locales will need to plan accordingly to arrive in Canada on the required dates.

Based on preliminary discussions, we have come up with the following list of attendees with years of attendance in parenthesis:

Bob Haldrup (12), Andy Haldrup (11), Neil Haldrup (9), Jack Haldrup (8), Garrett Haldrup (2), (collectively -  The Sigurds), Randy Shields (9), Clayton Wright (10), John Gaddum (4), James Clark (4), Matt Wieborg (3), Tom Lacaria (2), Holden Clark (R), Wayne Leeder (R), Tyson Davis (R) 

We have made a deal with Rusty Meyers for Brennan Lake (Website). This camp sits on an island in the 17 mile long lake with numerous inlets, rapids, and islands that ensures excellent fishing conditions (or at least in Neil's case, good opportunities for taking pictures of trees) regardless of winds and weather.

Click here for bigger map


Brennan has one new cabin which accommodates 8 people. It also has cabin grouping: one cabin being an eating/social cabin, another cabin with a large fire place, and a sleeping cabin. Meyers or a previous outfitter operated the lake as a lodge facility. All the cabins are connected by a board walk right to the dock. With at least 10 people, they guarantee that we will have the lake and camp to ourselves.  Note the designated "snorers cabin"  Gonna get pretty crowded in there with only 2 beds.

In addition to accommodating a large group, over 20, the float plane departs for Brennan Lake from Ft. Frances and cuts 5 or more hours of moose-dodging on the last usual haul to Ear Falls or Red Lake. Total travel time from Indy should be about 15 hours.

This camp includes a lot of staples, including things like milk, bacon, cheese, hamburger,… Did I say bacon? Anyway, this perk will cut down on the grocery bill, lighten our load, and allow Orvis to take in the latest northern slaying lures.

For the latest snappy NLFC discussion you can always go to the NLFC page on facebook.

Weus fishius maximus.