Early Season at it’s best!

It’s been a week since we’ve returned from our early season trip to VBL…and I already wish I was headed back up. I took my 2nd son up with me (I take my boys the summer they turn 9). We also had my father-in-law, a buddy I work with, a buddy from school and his father-in-law.

I’ll try to keep the words short and the pictures many, but overall it was a great trip! As you could tell by some of the previous pictures, the weather was great, there were no bugs, the water was still cold, and the fishing was on just about the whole week. We even got to learn the fly fishing basics over the weekend. We had a bit of adventure getting up there when the bearings on my truck went out at 5am and we were 35 miles South of International Falls. After two hours tracking down and waiting on a tow truck, praying a shop was open over the holiday weekend (thank you All Seasons Equipment!), and then going for breakfast at the Chocolate Moose while it got fixed, we were back on the road North! After that ordeal, the border crossing was easy.

Hot Chocolate makes everything better


Once we got there, we unpacked and hit the water. I won’t give you a day-by-day rundown, but our week went something like this:

Up and eat breakfast
On the water by 9am
We’d fish all day…usually on Clearwater. Some would head to High Rock.
Dinner by 6pm
Back out into VB for the evening bite

VBL Sunrise
Breakfast of Champions

Clearwater didn’t disappoint and as an added bonus the creek was up, so all three boats could go over. We caught fish off all the common points. We were trolling small floating Rapalas in mostly blue/orange or black/silver combo. The Lakers were up in the water and that always makes it fun!

His first Lake Trout
Beautiful weather all week

We also got into some pretty good Smallies on Clearwater:

Tub jigs into the boulders worked like a charm!
A great Clearwater Smallie

Instead of Clearwater, just about everyday, one of the boats would make the journey to High Rock lake. It did not disappoint as we caught some great Smallies and Walleye:

Some nice eaters
Tub jigs were getting Walleye & Smallmouth

He caught and released this beauty!

While Clearwater and High Rock didn’t disappoint, most of our after dinner fishing was done within site of VBL…and it was equally as great. We caught 3 Lake Trout over 30″, the biggest was mine at 33″ and 15lbs. Mark caught two, almost twin Lakers (31″ & 30.5″) just 30 minutes apart. In fact, the first one he caught actually tried to hit his white tube jig while is was 4″ out of the water off the side of the boat! They cast at it as it swam away, and he caught it on the drop!

I also caught the small perch to complete a 6-species week at VBL (Lake Trout, Walleye, Small Mouth, Pike, Whitefish, Perch). All these pictures are from within 5 minutes of VBL:

A beauty of a fish!

Landed this 30
One of a limit-out kind of morning right before we left
Hey, it counts for the specie total!


Like I mentioned in a post before I went up, heading to VBL is about so much more than the fishing. It was a great time with my son building some memories, chatting in the boat, hanging with friends, drinking bourbon with Gord deciding John and Mark could just spend the night on the water and we’ll find them in the morning, and so many other things!

It really was a great week and it’s why I love early season fishing trips!

Love the views from the deck
Yep, he went swimming!


8 thoughts on “Early Season at it’s best!

  1. Great stuff, Dustin! Your son will always treasure this trip with his dad. God willing, my brother and I will be plying the waters of Eagle Lake in a week. Every trip is unique. Maybe my brother will catch his first laker this year…..

  2. Great post Dustin! Gord, how about an update on the laker fishing including the water temps in the bay. I am guessing you still have lakers in shallow?

    1. Yes, that is a nice glove.

      A tip to all anglers with sensitive hands–a glove will protect your hand from many sharp parts of a fish. It use to be that a week’s worth of fishing left my hands painfully sore from numerous nicks and cuts obtained from grabbing fish. This was greatly reduced by handling fish with a heavy rubber glove. A glove also makes gripping fish more of a sure thing, meaning I’m less likely to mishandle a fish and drop it to the floor of the boat. Consider a glove if you have these problems.

    1. Andy
      That is why we had to take a couple years off cause they were concerned we would deplete the perch population.
      This give a couple years of spawning and growing to happen.

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On behalf of the Boyes Group, I would like to pass on our sincere thanks for hosting the Muskie Madness Week and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at VBL and had a great time!! This was our 7th year on Eagle Lake and we have stayed at a few other lodges but VBL takes the cake hands down! You can definitely count us in for next year. I’m happy to see you post some of my pics, they turned out well. Thanks again Gord for a wonderful week of fishing and your stellar hospitality, you run a first class operation, we look forward to seeing you next year!

Trevor Benner

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