All New Water to the East of Bowman Island Lodge

by | May 29, 2024 | Coaster brook trout

fly-fishingI have a total of eight days fishing here to Bowman Island Lodge on the north side of Lake Superior.  Five days last year and the first three days this week.  I have never fished more than half mile east from the lodge.  And surprisingly, neither has my friend and host Jerry Darkes nor veteran coaster brook trout angler Joe Wolthuis.  And these guys have been here far more times than I.


fly-fishingTo me, unknown water spices things up.  I mentioned a few days ago about trying these waters.  Jerry was quick to explain that the east doesn’t offer protection from wind and weather.  And Lake Superior is no joke.


But today, a couple of things were different than usual.  First of all, Jerry was free to fish with Joe and I.  Last year he couldn’t break free a single day.  So this was a treat to have his experience on board.  Furthermore, Lake Superior was as glassy as it can be and the forecast didn’t predict anything serious as far as wind or storms.  Off we went with Jerry on the motor.


Joe-WolthuisThat half mile that all of us have made to the east – well there’s a reason for it.  There’s a good size stream that dumps in and catching a coaster brookie there is almost always a guarantee.  It’s a beautiful spot and despite heading off on a true adventure we had to stop.  We were not disappointed.  We had the unusual experience of catching two rainbows including this slab by Joe.


flyfishingThe thing about fishing where rivers dump into lakes is that after you catch a few fish its generally over for a while.  We caught both bows in the first five minutes then not another touch in the next fifteen minutes.  Soon the adventure began on new Lake Superior water for all of us.  This is prowling for lake trout on the edge of open lake.


We expected to crush the lakers but that wasn’t the case.  I hooked and lost one but over the course of about an hour trying, that was the only sign of life.  I have a hunch that the reason for this is that under the bright sun and mirror flat surface, the circumstances were too foreign to these lakers.  They aren’t used to these conditions and retreated to the depths.


Lake-SuperiorThat led us into a large bay.  It was beautiful.  The water was crystal clear with a turquoise hue.  Dense forest grew right to the waters edge.  There were rock cliffs with orange lichens growing on top.  They glowed in the sunshine.




coaster-brook-troutAnd there was plenty of woody structure for coaster brook trout.  Jerry ran his boat while Joe and I went to work.  It didn’t take long before we were battling our first brookies from this amazing water.





coaster-brook-troutI haven’t shown enough coasters so far this week.  There’s something about brook trout.  The colors.  The spots.  The vermiculation on top and the blue spots with red dots in the middle.  Sometimes its hard to phantom that these gorgeous creatures inhabit ice cold waters in the far north.



flyfishingThe fishing only got better as we learned the parts of the bay where the brook trout resided.  We must have caught a dozen of the colorful char.  There was also a lake trout or two.  And Jerry jumped a steelhead that looked to be 30” plus.  The silvery blur spit the fly with ease.



Jerry-DarkesThe afternoon zipped by fast.  We were in paradise back in the bay.  And sheltered too.  Outside the mouth of the bay Lake Superior was heating up.  Despite this mornings promising forecast, a strong southwest wind grew.  We popped from the bay only to quickly retreat.  Not to cancel our crossing, but to put on our rain tops and bottoms.  Luckily it’s only a short distance through the wide open.  Jerry took the brink of the drink!




moose-burgersWe returned to a smiling Gary at the lodge.  He was cooking one of his favorites – moose burgers and brats.  After the fishing season Gary takes to the woods and hunts.  Moose is one of his favorites for a lot of reasons.  One is that they taste delicious!  Tomorrow is our last day.


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!