You're out on the lake trolling and enjoying the peace and quiet when it begins. It starts with a single bullfrog strumming his bass way back in the bayou, then others join in; the distant drumming of a partridge adds to the beat, the plaintive cry of the loon, the screech of an eagle, the ungodly squawks of several sand hill cranes, the gulla-gulla-gulla of seagulls (kala, pronounced gulla, is Finnish for fish), a gaggle of geese honking, the raucous, cacophonous cawing of crows.
By the time the owls give a hoot, and the coyotes and wolves add their yips, yowls and howls at the moonrise, the wildlife serenade reaches an orchestral crescendo that's almost deafening, then falls still shortly after dark. For best effect, insert Simon and Garfunkel's Sounds of Silence here.
"The Copper Country is in full bloom with waist-high ferns and Queen Anne Lace, hollyhocks, daisies, brown-eyed susans, buttercups and butter 'n eggs no matter where you look." reported WW&W floral correspondents Arbutus Peterson, Violet Rintamaki and Holly Hockala. Just standing out in a field of Yooper wildflowers and taking a whiff does it for me.
The hillside on White Street heading up from Hancock to US-41 North is covered with sweet-smelling magenta and hot pink sweet peas. So is the toppa Quincy Hill, Raymbaultown, Bumbletown, Bootjack and other flower patches throughout the Keweenaw. They're as common as lupine.
While recently wetting a line with WW&W senior fishing correspondent Ed Wetalainen, he reported that inland lake and Lake Superior anglers were getting bit pretty regular with good catches of walleye and northern on Portage, Torch, Rice and Gratiot Lakes and the walleye and smallmouth bite is picking up on Lake Medora and Lake Fanny Hooe. Crankbaits, crawler harnesses, live and Gulp minnows have been doing the trick.
Trollers on Bete Grise, the northshore outa Eagle Harbor, Big Traverse and K-Bay have been nailing nice size lake trout, splake, coho and kings on RJs, Husky Jerks and Reef Runners. Downriggers are de rigueur for putting Silver Streaks, Finn Spoons, Laker Takers, Syclops or your favorite spoon in the strike zone at 35-45 foot depths. Others have gotten lucky bobbing for lakers with geppus and jigs tipped with cutbait at 150-200 feet.
Heading west along the northshore, Lake Superior trollers working Misery Bay, Fourteen Mile Point, Ontonagon, Silver City, Black River Harbor and Little Girls Point near the Wisconsin line northa Ironwood are reporting good mixed catches of salmon, browns, steelhead and lake trout.
Don Kauppi, Copper Harbor, reminds Keweenaw anglers to register for the new year-round Splake Tournament that kicked off with the Longest Day Tournament on June 19. A one-time entry fee of $10 qualifies you to weigh in and register any splake any time at the Gas Lite General Store. Biggest splake registered each month wins $100 cash. For more information, call Don Kauppi, Mariner North, 289-4637, or Jeff Coltas, 289-4652.
There's always something fishy going on in the Keweenaw and one of the fishiest, most popular events of the summer unfolds Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. with the Calumet-Keweenaw Sportsmen's Club Kid's Fishing Derby at Swedetown Pond, Calumet. Free to the public, it's a fun day of herding kids. Club members and volunteers put together a cook-out picnic lunch, teach kids to fish, bait hooks and free snags. All fish are weighed and measured and every kid wins a prize. Last year's event attracted 175 kids and the derby grows every summer. The Calumet-Keweenaw Sportsmen's Club, Calumet Township and Whitetails Unlimited pooled resources to stock the pond with hybrid bluegills for the event. If you'd like to volunteer or donate a prize, just show up.
For all you animal lovers, the 13th Annual Blessing of the Pets and Open House will take place at the Phoenix Church Museum on Sunday from 1-3 p.m. Father Corbin Eddy and Reverend Sue Church will perform the blessings. WW&W Wildlife Correspondent Paris Hiltunen reminds all Keweenaw deer, bear, moose, wolves, coyotes and small game that the blessing isn't just for pets and all wild animals are welcome to come as you are.
Jim can be reached 24/7/365 at jjunttila@ chartermi.net.