Memorable weekend fishing on Rainy Lake

There’s nothing quite like captivity in a fishing boat to bring families together.
Fort Frances welcomed a bevy of my relatives over the long weekend, but the highlight of the weekend had to be an abbreviated fishing trip I went on with my dad, uncle, and cousin’s husband this past Friday.
My uncle, Steve, of Stillwater, Mn., has a summer residence on Hopkin’s Bay and enlisted the services of a neighbour who sent us off with a map marked with several “hot spots.”
This paid immediate dividends on our first spot, when shortly after our arrival the Americans in the boat hooked a pair of three-pound walleyes simultaneously. This, unfortunately, demoted me to the role of net man—and through the hectic process of hooking and unhooking both fish—I emerged from the wreckage with a hook in my shirt and in my jeans.
Four men in a small boat has its drawbacks, but neither pierced my skin and more importantly both fish were successfully brought into the boat and then released despite the mishap.
This quickly gave the Americans a 3-0 lead after an earlier walleye catch, and my uncle definitely made myself and my dad fully aware of that fact.
However, considering my dad’s experience as a former fishing guide on Eagle Lake, that lead didn’t stand for long as he successfully hooked four undersized smallmouth bass over a 10-minute span.
We hooked a few more smallies casting towards the shore but couldn’t get back on those big walleyes.
Some of my earliest memories are from fishing on Eagle Lake, and the sport certainly holds a special place with me because of that fact.
I don’t get out often enough for my liking, so when I do I try to make the most of it.
We eventually went looking for walleye trolling around the island with little success—despite the claims of the Fish Finder.
The ominous clouds started to roll in at this point so we decided to try one more spot shielded by the wind. I hooked on a couple more smallies there (they were tiny but still count), and then the skies opened up and rained hard on our parade.
We figured Mother Nature was giving us one final warning, so we made the quick trip back to the uncle’s cabin with the storm in hot pursuit.
The ride out was smooth and fast, but rough and exciting on the way back—and was arguably just as enjoyable as the fishing.
For the record, the Canadians held onto their home turf with a 7-3 win (by my count), but the Americans claimed victory by total weight.
Not a bad three hours work if I do say so myself.
• • •
The Muskie girls’ hockey team will feature a new look behind the bench this coming season.
Scott Clendenning and Mel Langtry will join mainstay Rudy Anderson on the coaching staff, replacing the departed Chris Hill and Lynn Kellar.
The team will be hosting a pre-tryout conditioning camp beginning Friday, Aug. 14 from 4:45-6:15 p.m. The camp will continue during the same time slot on Aug. 17, 20, 21, 24, 28, and Sept. 3.
The camp isn’t mandatory for those trying out for the team, but is an excellent tune-up to prepare players for the tryout process.
Actual tryout dates will be Sept. 14-16 and 18th from 6:45-8:15 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.
A $50 ice-time fee will be in effect, with those who can’t make those dates advised to contact one of the aforementioned coaches for alternate arrangements.
The black-and-gold had a great start to the season a year ago before faltering down the stretch and losing out in the NorWOSSA semi-finals to the Kenora Broncos.
• • •
The Fort Frances Girls Hockey Association is looking for willing people to fill coaching positions for next season.
A competitive team is being added for Atom (to join the existing ‘AA’ teams in PeeWee and Bantam) and coaching positions are available in all divisions.
“So far I have not received anything, however, I have heard of interest from a couple of people,” FFGHA member Wendy DeGagne said.
Those interested can apply via e-mail with DeGagne at or Tracey Coran at
• • •
Will they stay or will they go? That is the ongoing question regarding the Fort Frances Jr. Sabres.
A potential buyer had been in talks with current Sabres’ owner Scott Kellaway, but a deadline to complete the sale was set for this week and no word had yet come out as of press time last night.
Information is scarce on this, so stay tuned.
• • •
Speaking of the Sabres, two of last year’s mainstays have officially signed on with teams in the United States.
Ryan Faragher is headed to the Bismarck Bobcats of the North American Hockey League.
Faragher earned the Daniel Beardy Memorial Award as the SIJHL’s best goalie last season after posting a 24-14-6 record with a 2.44 goals-against-average and a .921 save percentage in the regular season.
Faragher will head there Aug. 30 to prepare for the season.
Meanwhile, forward Mitch Cain has signed on with the Des Moines Buccaneers, who are coached by Fort Frances native Dave Allison.
Cain was named the league’s best defensive forward along with the Fort William North Stars’ Cale Brown a year ago. He finished the regular season with 26 goals and 36 assists in 48 games while adding seven points in eight playoff games.
• • •
Meanwhile, several locals will be going to the final round of tryouts for the ‘AAA’ Thunder Bay Kings Aug. 10-14.
Jon Carlson, Robbie Rea, Bryce Knapp, and Nick Kaun will all be attending the camp.

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