I spent an enjoyable day Monday on Lake of the Woods with Curt Quesnell, a longtime Thief River Falls radio personality who retired last year and started a guide service, Curt’s NCOR Guide Service, this spring after getting his Coast Guard license. Quesnell now lives near Long Point north of Williams, Minn., and bases his guiding service out of Long Point.
NCOR stands for North Country Outdoors Radio, a brand Quesnell established with an outdoors radio program he hosted several years until retiring.
Without giving away too many secrets, we barely had a chance to get the boat on plane before Quesnell reached his fishing spot. Quesnell used his Minn Kota SpotLock trolling motor to hold us in position, and we bounced jigs and frozen shiners in depths ranging from 24 to 30 feet of water to land a mix of walleyes and saugers. Action was steady throughout the day, and we saw very few other boats during our time on the water. We kept a limit of walleyes and a couple of bonus saugers, and I had two heavier fish on the line that unfortunately shook the jig before I could see them. The fish came in all sizes up to 23½ inches, and we were able to sort through the smaller fish to come home with a very respectable catch for the frying pan.
After several days of strong wind, Monday’s relatively gentle conditions were a welcome change of pace.
Rainy River gets a lot of the attention when it comes to fishing Lake of the Woods Country in the fall — and justifiably so — but Quesnell prefers to stay on the lake. Wind is always the wild card up there in the fall, but when the weather cooperates, Quesnell says the action on the lake itself can be spectacular, without the crowds that sometimes converge on the river. Rare is the time he has to venture more than a few minutes from the harbor at Long Point Resort.
Best of all, fall offers some of the most productive walleye action of the season, and the best is yet to come.
To my knowledge, at least, Quesnell is one of the few small boat guides on the South Shore of Lake of the Woods. Small boat guides are more common up at the Northwest Angle, but most resorts along the South Shore of the big lake run large charter boats.
Quesnell runs a 21-foot Crestliner with a 300-horse Mercury four-stroke, supplies all the bait and gear — for people who don’t want to use their own fishing rods — cleans the fish and can accommodate up to three anglers.
For anyone looking to make a trip, the best way to get ahold of Quesnell is to message him via his guide service Facebook page.
I’ll have a story about our fun day on the water in Sunday’s Grand Forks Herald outdoors pages, along with additional photos and video on our website.
Boat swamped near Garden Island now back on shore at Long Point
After we got off the water Monday afternoon, I had a chance to see the boat Bob Brott of Eden Prairie, Minn., and his cousin Gary Soucie of Nebraska swamped in early August after the bilge pump on Brott’s 1974 Glasspar failed. The two men clung to the overturned boat as it drifted into Ontario before finally settling on a sandy beach in Oshie Bay on Big Island, which is in Ontario waters.
The two men spent two nights on the island before a Royal Canadian Mounted Police boat on a routine border patrol spotted the overturned boat — and eventually the two men — after moving in for a closer look.
The RCMP officers then gave Brott and Soucie a ride back across Big Traverse Bay to Long Point.
The overturned boat remained in Ontario for several days until Brott found someone to help turn the boat upright and tow it back across the lake. For the time being, it sits on a trailer in an off-the-beaten path area of Long Point Resort. Needless to say, it’s in pretty rough shape as these photos show.
You can read my August story about Brott’s and Soucie’s ordeal here.