While sitting here at my desk I loaded up the Outdoor Blogger Network and saw the latest writing prompt, “Best Wild Places” and one place came to mind. That place is Gun Lake.
Throughout my childhood I always remember my father talking about his trips to Gun Lake and his word always made it sound like a shrine to nature itself. After years of hearing my uncle and him talking about the natural prowess of the water I decided it was finally time to hit the water, after 17 years. The time spent on Gun Lake in Barry County, Michigan will always bring a smile to my face.
During an anxious truck ride to the lake all I could hear from the two experienced anglers was stories of legendary fish that have been caught and released in the lake and of fish lost. Moving closer and closer to the lake I watched as my uncle’s Triton slowly swayed behind his Ram, counting down mile markers until the exit came. After a long 45 minute drive we finally saw water and other anglers.
Though the day proved to be tough it quickly proved to become one of my favorite lakes rather instantly on the merit of the kind of people we encountered and the beauty of the sun moving across the waves. With 2,700 acres and more largemouth than I care to count we only boated a few that day but thanks to being with my father, my uncle, and all of their experience the fish we landed were all ones worth talking about. After hours on the water it was time to pack up and head home, but one can only be away from Gun Lake for so long.
For the remainder of the 2010 season I felt a craving to hit the lake again but with only a 45lb thrust Minn-Kota and a dead 200 Johnson on the back of a 20′ bass boat it would have proved hard to cover water. Early in the 2011 season though we sought to remedy this issue with the use of an 18′ Quantum Fish-and-Ski, this became our vessel, our home.
Most of the 2011 season was spent in that shiny red Quantum, on the stained water of Gun Lake with my father on the front deck and me on the back. All throughout the season Gun Lake became our testing grounds, thanks to our friends in the industry we learned new tactics and styles that we would have never used but have now become a part of our regular arsenal. The steep drops, the humps, the flats, and the channels all became separate testing grounds and benchmarks for every piece of equipment; if it didn’t fit on our home lake then it was a scramble to go just about anywhere else.
The whole 2011 season seemed to be summed up for us in a single trip, the last trip. On that final day of our season the day was truly tough but proved to be something special. Though we had dropped many fish and even my first possible walleye we took the time to stop and just look, the result was gorgeous. As my father dragged an Assassinator buzzbait through the water I grabbed my camera and snapped the final scenic picture of the season.
Perhaps my favorite thing about the lake isn’t the fishing, it’s the scene, which has inspired in oil paintings done by my fiancée.