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QUETICO PROVINCIAL PARK — After dinner, we shuffle down the sand beach to the point, carrying our little camp chairs. It's time. Time to build a modest fire on the beach and watch another day in this 1.2-million-acre wilderness slip into night. In the eastern sky, the remnants of a double rainbow rise from the far shoreline. The rain somehow missed us but gave us the rainbows. Susan lights the birchbark, and the fire flickers to life. We settle back, running our fingers through the cool sand. Across the lake, billowing heaps of cumulus catch the last pink rays of sunlight.
SAXON, Wis. — Greg Massoglia's gaze swept across Lake Superior on this June morning, and he liked what he saw. Not another boat in sight. "One thing about this new regulation," Massoglia said. "It gave me a private fishing area. Everyone goes to Michigan." Massoglia and his son, Tate, 20, of Saxon, Wis., were headed out of Saxon Harbor near the Wisconsin-Michigan border to see if they could catch a few coho salmon in Wisconsin waters. For the Massoglia family, Lake Superior trolling is mostly about catching fish for dinner, and cohos are hard to beat for table fare.
DULUTH, Minn. — Those early days owning a bait shop were touch-and-go for Sue Chalstrom. She and her husband, John, had just bought their shop north of Duluth in 1981. Chalstrom's Bait and Tackle would soon become a fixture in the Duluth angling community. "I remember my first morning out there alone," said Chalstrom, 70. She needed more crappie minnows in the tanks out front, but she didn't know what crappie minnows looked like.
DULUTH, Minn. — Jeremy Kershaw had his heart checked out to make sure he was fit enough for the grueling mountain bike race he plans to ride this month. Kershaw, 46, is one of seven Duluth-area bikers who plan to tackle the 2,745-mile Tour Divide race from Banff, Alberta, to the Mexican border in New Mexico. The race begins on Friday, June 9. "My heart's OK," Kershaw said. "The brain tests are still pending."
Here comes the Class of '67 now, cruising up Main Street in the trolley car that class members borrowed from the senior-citizen home. They're lined up four or five to a row across the open-air trolley seats, waving to a few onlookers. It's the annual Alumni Parade in our little hometown on the prairie. My wife is on the front row in the trolley. She's the one leaning forward, waving energetically. That's how she rolls.
In addition to placing acoustic transmitters in muskies this spring, fisheries biologists are doing an assessment of the muskie population in the St. Louis River estuary. The Minnesota and Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources are cooperating in the population assessment. The agencies want to know whether St. Louis River muskies are doing well enough to sustain their population without further stocking, said Deserae Hendrickson, DNR area fisheries supervisor at French River.
As muskies go, he was a beautiful specimen. A big male, 46 inches long. His day was about to change. Already he was lying belly-up in a wooden trough that served as an operating table. Using a sharp scalpel, Erin Schaeffer, a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, cut a slit about an inch long in the muskie's white underbelly. The slit complete, she took a hydro-acoustic transmitter — about the size of a tube of lipstick — and pushed it through the slit she had just carved.
DULUTH — Island Lake is known for its standard 11- and 12-inch walleyes. But David Salo, an Island Lake resident, caught a walleye this past Sunday that contradicts that reputation. Salo, 61, caught a 30½-inch walleye while fishing a narrows in the lake's west basin. He released the fish after taking a photo and did not weigh it. "I wanted to get the fish back in the water," he said. "She swam off strong."
DULUTH — On a run through one of Duluth's woodsy trails the other day, I came upon a young man and woman sitting side-by-side in a bright orange hammock. The two were engaging in an emerging form of outdoor recreation in Duluth — hammocking. I had seen a few other hammockers around town. They tend to prefer quiet, wooded spots in parks or just off trails. I swung off the trail to talk to the hammockers I saw the other day. The young man and young woman sat side by side, just enjoying the evening. I asked what they did in their hammock.
QUETICO PROVINCIAL PARK, Ontario — We have moved away from the night fire now, down to the lakeshore. Half a moon and all of Jupiter reflect up at us from the water's unwrinkled surface.