While looking through notes and photos from the past year for a traditional year-end column in the print edition of Michigan Outdoor News, I found I hadn’t written anything about an excursion to Lake Gogebic in September.
The lake and its surroundings are an outdoorsperson’s paradise, from bear and bird hunting and fishing in the fall, snowmobiling and ice fishing in the winter, turkey hunting and fishing in the spring, and berry-picking and more fishing in the summer.
It’s possible I let the story slide because, while it was a great trip, it wasn’t one that an outdoor writer might consider as one of his finest moments.
The visit was organized by the Michigan Outdoor Writers Association, of which I am a member. MOWA gatherings always include at least one day of outdoor excursions that range widely, depending on the meeting location and time of year. Planned activities for this fall meeting included hunting as well as the usual fishing, along with other outdoor opportunities, such as hiking, trail-riding, boating and more, so the planning crew built in extra days on the usual three-day trip.
I was anticipating bird hunting and maybe some fishing, as well as the opportunity to launch my stand-up paddleboard in Lake Gogebic, but while unpacking I discovered I’d brought all of my gear except one important item: my shotgun.
Thankfully, two MOWA members with extra guns and gear helped me out. Tom Lounsbury invited me on a bird hunt and noted black powder expert Dennis Neely let me borrow a double-barreled muzzleloader.
In true MOWA fashion, we were skunked while bird hunting, but we covered some new ground. As advertised, we found Gogebic country is popular among fishermen, bird hunters and color tourists in the fall, and the bear hunters probably outnumbered any in the other groups.
I didn’t get a chance to fish, but many others did. Several were headed out on the lake when I launched my paddleboard before daylight on Sunday morning. I treat my paddleboard excursions as hunting/fishing scouting missions, so I covered a large part of Lake Gogebic’s north end, looking for spots to fish and hunt for ducks and geese.
I came to the conclusion that I needed to take another trip to Gogebic – or two, or three – to get the full effect. Right about now, the area is gearing up for snowmobilers. It’s a good time to be there. Pack your fishing rod, of course, and don’t forget your shotgun.