Dave Schabell
Bill Hagedorn, Ryan Anderson, Chris Hagedorn, Jeff Hesse, and the Vesios
Spanish River Fishing Trip
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This year's trip report should sound vaguely familiar - the early spring weather was
still a challenge!!!!
Winter again refused to relinquish its grasp on the Canadian wilderness in May,
and the winds seemed to be at war, with the west winds blowing hard one day, and
the east winds countering the next.  On those rare days when the wind would start
up out of the south, by noon they had given way to the prevailing west winds,
requiring hoods to fend off the sometimes frigid air temperatures that
accompanied the arctic breezes.   Most days the high temperature reached the
upper 50's.
Much of our weather dilemna is self-inflicted and/or influenced by the
calendar, which, for the past six years has moved us a day earlier into
the season, and virtually eliminated the beautiful weather which
sometimes accompanies the first couple of weeks of June.  Snow was
still on the ground two weeks prior to the opening of the fishing
season and the spring run-off was much in evidence when we arrived
on May 14th. Weatherwise this year the two best days of the trip were
the two days preceeding our departure.  Because of the cold winds and
sub-freezing nights the water temperatures never eclipsed 55 degrees
and the smaller fish, which provide much of your day in and day out
action, never really became active.
Our other arch-enemies this year
were the black flies, which never had
a chance to die out this spring,
because of the wet, cool, conditions
and were our daily companions on
most non-windy days.  The picture
above of the black flies that were
attracted to Ryan's hood is rather
extreme, but you had to use plenty of
bug goop to hold them at bay.  
The re-introduction of the Muskie to the Spanish River is really
starting to manifest itself.  Above Ryan Anderson is proudly displaying
the big fish of the trip - a 40 inch, 20 pound muskie - the second such
monster that we were aware of during our stay.   
With all of my naysaying about the weather and bugs you might think that we didn't have a very
enjoyable time, which is quite to the contrary.  We had a great time and the fish were pretty much
oblivious to the weather conditons and were in a feeding mood after spending the last five months in
darkness under the ice.  Our numbers were great with walleye virtually jumping in the boat.  The place
is infested with them.  The picture of the young lady holding a ten pound walleye is of Dennis, one of the
staffer's girlfriend.  Dennis himself had caught a nine pounder just the day before.  We caught many,
many walleye in the 22 to 24 inch class and there were tales of 50 walleye days once the fish moved out
of the river into the bay.  We caught them at will trolling week four, allowing us to enjoy fish dinners
several times during the trip.
The quality of walleye and those smallmouth bass that we encountered were spectacular this year, with
Ryan Anderson catching the biggest smallmouth bass that I had ever seen (above) in my 19 years of
visiting the Blue Heron.  It was a monster 22 inches, which my all-too-honest digital scale weighed in at 5
pounds - 13 ounces.   Quality crappie contined to show up back in No-Fish Bay again this year, with Bill
Hagedorn catching the biggest crappie of the trip this year.
The only disappointment might have been the notable abscence of plus-30 inch pike this trip.  We
caught one - a 35 incher by myself late in the trip (below center).    
An oft-repeated scene this year.  The
walleye are big, feisty, plentiful and in
love with our shad-raps trolled out in
front of camp, or later in the trip, out in
the bay.
May 14th - June 12th
Bass are out-of-season but we manage to
encounter a few dandies each year.  Billy
Westmoreland has nothing on us!
Our daily schedule is normally up at 7am (or thereabouts)
followed by a hearty breakfast of fine fishcamp fare which could
be anything from bacon and eggs to pancakes, waffles, or
cinnamon rolls.  We like to be on the lake by 8:30am and fish
until about 2:30pm with a break in there for lunch - ham
sandwiches are the primary lunch fare.
We are normally back in camp by 3pm for the time-honored two-hour nap, followed
by dinner at 5:30pm, and then back out on the water, for the most enjoyable time of
the day - evening fishing.  It remains daylight until nearly 10pm when fish are
cleaned, cocktails poured, and oftentimes a movie is watched.  Next day is a repeat
of the one before and 30 days goes by in a hurry.
This year we were joined in Week 3 by Chris Hagedorn, Bill's son, and his friend,
the coverboy of the Blue Heron Resort brochure - Jeff Hesse.  Unfortunately, Week
3 was our toughest fishing week this trip and they had some tough sledding during
their stay, but had a great time nonetheless.  
As always, all good things must come to an end, and
we made the trek back down I-75 to the real world to
once again await the new spring and our 2010 trip to
the Blue Heron.
As always also, the Mathesons are  incredible hosts
and cannot do enough for you.  This year they
installed a smoker which makes a mean beef brisket
and deep fryers to ease the burden of frying fish in
your cabin.  Most of our cooking meat was done on
the propane grill outside of our door, and we were
met this year with new doors and a new picture
window from which to enjoy the view of the Spanish
I would strongly encourage anyone interested in a
quality drive-in fishing trip to give it a try.  If I were
only spending one or two weeks I would not hazard
the early season, but would recommend mid-June
throughout the summer, as the weather is more
stable then and the black flies will have earned their  
eternal reward by then.  There will still be plenty of
walleye waiting to jump on your hook, and you never
know when you will hook a trophy pike or hawg
smallie.  We strongly encourage catch-and-release of
all fish that aren't going in the frying pan or on the
wall.  Each of the fish pictured here and on the
slideshow, with the exception of some of the walleye
are still live and well today.  It is a marvelous
resource which seems to improve anually.     
Bill Hagedorn - Trip Eleven
Ryan Anderson - Trip Three
Dave Schabell - Trip Nineteen
Trolling At Sunset in God's Country
Fish On !!!
Chris Hagedorn and Jeff Hesse - Trip Two
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