Joe Lake, Again

June 26, 1917

I woke up at daybreak. I was awakened by the howling of wolves in the hills not too far from my camp. It started with a few short yelps, followed by a lengthy and dismal howl. Usually, it’s only at night that the wolves can be heard. My only thought was that the pups are starting to get more adventurous and one of them might have gotten lost and the mother was looking for it. When the pups get older, they are taken out of the den and put into a ‘playpen’ a low lying open area where they stay while the older ones hunt. It’s not unusual for one of them to wander off. I’ve come across a few pups around this time of year. It’s better to leave them alone because sooner or later the mother will catch up to them. The yelps and howls went for another few minutes and then they stopped.

I decided to make a venture up through Joe Lake, again today. I went into Little Joe when I heard a loud whack on the water. I knew exactly what that was, a beaver warning everyone within a quarter mile that danger was present. The beavers never dive without a warning, making a noise for everyone to hear.

There is timber everywhere. The rapids are choked with timber and one cannot canoe without the constant danger of encountering a deadhead or a sharp broken trunk ready to puncture anything that comes in its way. There are several spots between the lakes and on the rivers where the knots of driftwood and timber are so thick that you need to portage around them.

I find myself paying attention to all this detail in nature. Minutiae as most would say, but it keeps my mind off other affairs. The present industry of the beaver on the lakes has much significance to me than the battles overseas. A dam that makes the water levels rise has more meaning than a trench dug into some foreign soil.

I make my way back to Joe Lake Dam. Despite the success of catching all of the trout on Canoe Lake for the Colsons. I am determined to catch the big trout that inhabit the deep waters below the dam at Joe Lake It’s a battle of wits, patience and cunning.

Denizens of the Deep

June 25, 1917

I was talking to Ed and Molly Colson yesterday morning. They had a large number of guests coming in from Buffalo tomorrow and they wanted to serve the fresh caught trout. Unfortunately, they had little luck catching anything and Ed asked me if could try tonight. I said it would be my pleasure and they would have a dozen fresh trout by tomorrow.

Trout in Canoe Lake are difficult to catch this time of year, either by angling or trawling. Catching by fly is a non-starter too. The only way to catch trout is by means of a night-line.

The first thing  I had to do was to catch a couple of dozen of minnows. This was easy enough to do with bread crumbs and a few tiny pieces of pork. Within the course of a quarter-hour I had a pail full of minnows and I was ready for the next stage of the venture.

I used my long trawling line – the copper wire. I unwound the wire and every five or six feet I put a line of three feet with a hook on the end. I put a fourteen lines in total. I knew of a good spot where the trout were I took with me a half dozen short cedar logs, about eight-inches each. These would act as floats. I attached a line of about thirty feet to the end of the trawling line and secured this one with a stone. I unwound the line and with each hook-line I baited with a minnow. Every five or six feet I attached a cedar log to act as a float. When I was finished unwinding the trawling line, I attached another 30 foot line with a stone. And there it was in the lake, the entire contraption – the night line.

I went back about 6 o’clock this morning, and sure enough the cedar logs were twirling and dancing like water striders. I pulled up the the trawling line and I had trout on twelve of the fourteen hooks. Two were lucky to have gotten away but the caught ones were a nice size. The largest almost two and half feet long. I put the dozen trout on a line and delivered to them Molly. She was most gracious and said she would arrange a credit for me at Annie Colsons outfitting store.