Opening weekend, May 2020

Welcome to “Ghost Camp”, and other VBL Tales…

2020 is a strange year. This is the first time in 29 years that opening day means one boat in the water and empty cabins. We’re anticipating the border to remain closed till at least June 21 which seems to be an interesting twist, but hey, that’s the reality. Now some may say this is an over-reaction, while others prefer to remain confined to their homes. I’m not going to speculate on what the next few weeks / months might bring, but we are anticipating being open for some of the season and preparing for next year as well. In the interests of that we are changing our check in procedures for 2021 by splitting up the camp into two arrival days….1/2 on Fridays and 1/2 on Saturdays. Should the virus still be a concern, this will give us sufficient time to do the “due diligence” on getting the cabins cleaned and ready, without feeling we are rushing. Everyone’s health and safety is a priority. If the virus is a dim memory the change will still give us old folks a break from the traditional Saturday grind, and put it into a more manageable two day process. On the upside, arriving on a Friday might make the border experience a little easier….and Gord (me) might be a tad bit less crabby on your arrival. (don’t count on it!)

What is the 2020 opener like?

For those of you that would have been here the weather has been great, but things have been cold and as far as fishing goes this is a lake trout opener. Unusually, by now the suckers in the creek would have finished spawning. Here’s a short video from today down at the creek…(click on the yellow underlined link)

We’ve had a few foray’s out in the boat to see what’s up. Water temps are cold and we’ve caught a few trout, but I’m anticipating that bite to really turn on this week. The walleye are scattered…caught a few while trolling for trout. On opening day we did make the big trek to Blind Bay, a notoriously popular spring destination for walleye. It wasn’t on but we did run into a few other boats. I will post some pictures in a moment, but first more tales from VBL...

It’s opening weekend!

A VBL memory from Dustin Kaehr…

2009 was my first year at VBL. Counting this year I’ve only missed 2 of the last 11 years. I have always gone over the US Memorial Day holiday. I love the early spring fishing. Lakers in the shallows, Smallmouth headed to the beds, Walleye and Pike ready to eat…always fun!
I have also have 4 boys (this year ages 17, 15, 13, 11) and my tradition has been the summer they turn 9 they get to go with me. Each of them has a book highlighting their trip. This year would have been all four of them and my wife…but that will have to wait until 2021. 
What I love about VBL and the trip, in general, is the memories created. Yes, the fishing is amazing…but really it’s the overall experience to “Fish. Relax. Unwind.”
Here are some of my favorite memories:
**Making a stop at the Beer Store to buy 2 cases of Kokanee when we get to town; 1 for my fridge, 1 for the fish house cooler
**When my 2nd son went, our truck broke down 35 miles south of International Falls at 5 am on the Saturday of Memorial Day. Thankfully the shop in IF was open, so we had breakfast at the Chocolate Moose while it was fixed…after we sat for 3 hours waiting for a tow!

**Our first year, we ran out of gas coming back…in the dark…thankfully Gord allowed our buddies to bring us gas, or we would have slept at the mouth of Sportsman Bay.
**Watching my youngest catch the largest Smallmouth I’ve ever seen on an ultralight rod…and then 15 minutes later him steering the boat so I could jump out and land a pike on an ultralight with a tube jig.
**There was the year that not 1, but 2 guys forgot their passports! We had them Fed Ex’ed and picked them up at the Fed Ex post at the Duluth Airport.
**Our first time fishing Clearwater – It was cold, snow/rain, and I wanted to come in. We got into some Lake trout and for the next 4 hours caught more 18″-24″ fish than we could count…still maybe the most amazing day on the water. 
**Countless hours fishing High Rock lake and watching my son pull (and release) a monster walleye from there!
**The journey to Caribou never disappoints. Sure the Smallmouth (and some Pike) fishing is amazing, but the journey there and back is really fun because we never know what Gord has in store for us: Rowboat on Otter (one time we WALKED around otter), gas-can eating bears, picky motors, etc….it’s all part of the fun!
**The time my 3rd son and I were sitting in camp and saw a moose come swimming up and head for the woods between cabins 1 and 2.
**The year I won the Ice Out…rigged? Who knows.
When I was 13 my dad took me on my first Canadian fishing trip. Since 1999, I have been fishing in Canada every year but 4…the last 10 at VBL. We love the fishing. We love the camp. We love Suzanne. Gord is tolerable. 
It’s a special place and I’m excited for all the trips my boys and I will have in the years ahead!

Thanks for the memories Dustin. It’s too bad you had to miss this year….the conditions are perfect for someone who likes to chase trout! We look forward to seeing Dustin and his whole family in 2021!

On the water in 2020….

Let’s have a look at some images from recent forays on the lake…

One of the few boats on the lake….Pat & Sharon from Cedar Point Lodge.
Looking for dinner.
Rick with a trout from the Canoe Narrows area.
Well it’s not a walleye but it will work.
Virus hair….
Oh, yea!
A pre-season walleye….Strawberry Island
Me alone with a trout… selfie.
S. with a pre-season walleye….
Another boat at Blind Bay…..Greg from Eagle Eye Guiding

Well, that’s a brief snapshot…

In our new state of limbo it’s hoped that we can get out on the water often and at least provide some updates / ideas on what’s going on. In the meantime if anybody has a story or memory to offer up send it in and we will post it in “Tales from VBL”. Till then stay healthy!

5 thoughts on “Opening weekend, May 2020

  1. Nice pics. Thanks. Good to see some things haven’t been affected by COVID-19. See “A**HOLE’S GARAGE”.

  2. You think you have long virus hair……you ought to see all the curls I have on the end of my mullet. All the old blue hair ladies keeping chasing me around the grocery store. I have to take my Ugly Stick with me to keep them away 😳


  3. Bloody Ceasars in the kitchen; MMMMM! You might want to get Susanne a stool, or shorten the legs on the table, she ca barely see over it.

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Thank you very much for making my get a way week so enjoyable. Dan and I had a great time. You and Susanne should be commended on how clean and well maintained your cabins and lodge are. I will recommend you to anyone that is looking to go to Canada fishing and I look forward to the time I can come back.

Jody Hansen

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