By Taylor Ham.
After spending my last winter in the cities I’ve realized there is no other place for me than a small town like Ely, MN. I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to call it my home. Something that has been brought to my attention is the accessibility to wilderness I have that many people don’t. Working at an outfitter gives me the ability to rent gear and take it places that for some people only comes once a year or even a lifetime. For me it comes every day if I choose. It takes just a little discipline and the desire to get out on the water. This past winter while focused on my health and healing I spent a lot of time thinking about the spring days I would be fishing in the BWCAW.
I don’t know much about fishing and I had made It my goal for the summer to fish as often as I can as well as listen and retain as much information as I can about it. What I have found is that fishing is an expensive hobby, but it has been well worth it. It has been occupying my mind most of the time. Catching fish is one of the most exciting things that I have ever experienced.
When you work a full-time job it’s not hard to make time, you just have to prioritize what you want. If you’re tired you just have to push through, especially when you’re learning something new. The odds increase drastically the more I have my line in the water. For me it is not enough to spend just my days off in a boat. Finding time in between shifts at work to be on the water is key to every summer I’ve spent in Ely.
Before my shift a friend and household member Nick and I wanted to fish on Little Gabbro. We got up at around 5:30 AM, got organized to be on the water by 7:00. Wasn’t quite early enough to get the morning bite but it was a beautiful morning regardless. Caught a few small fish and sometimes that’s enough. After drifting around for a bit, I noticed something on a distant shoreline moving around. It was a moose and her two babies! The most incredible wildlife I had seen in the Boundary waters to date. It made the whole trip worthwhile.
The reason I live where I do is for mornings like that. The accessibility I have to wild places surprises me every day.
A day later I made plans with my partner Madeline to go fishing on South Kawishiwi in the evening after work. We didn’t catch much but again it was a beautiful time on the water. I will never complain about that. It’s a good way to spend time with the people you love. After not having much action with a jig and minnow we decided it was a good time to head back. I threw on a small Rapala and we started our lazy paddle back. After about one minute of trolling I had a good fight with a small mouth bass. It’s so exciting to reel in something big and guess what might be on the other end of the line. I will be chasing that feeling for the rest of my life I’m sure.
As I’m learning as much as I can about fishing, I stop often and think it’s all a process. I don’t know a lot and that’s okay. But the best thing you can do is talk with people, take their advice and most importantly keep the line in the water. Cheers and happy spring!