My first two casts of this morning and three of the first four produced topwater fish and within five minutes of launching Billy Rosner's canoe on the Vermilion River, we had caught and released three different kinds of fish (largemouth, smallmouth, northern pike). We caught a dozen fish before we drifted out of sight of the launch area.
I won't claim that the action stayed quite that frantic. We caught fish throughout the day, though, with the bulk of mine attacking an XCalibur Zell Pop and most of Billy's nabbing a BOOYAH Blade spinnerbait. We floated about six miles, making a couple of modest portages along the way.
The river, which flows from Lake Vermilion to Crane Lake, near the Canadian border, is mostly placid, but several stretches of crashing rapids break the river's run. The water is dark but quite clear. Boulders, sand, gravel, current, downed trees and many different kinds of vegetation provide great habitat for smallmouth bass, which are the most prevalent game fish, and the smallies obviously stay very well fed.
Along the way we saw a few mature bald eagles. Occasionally Billy sees black bears or moose. We did not see any other fishermen -- and that on a beautiful June Sunday. That's the norm, according to Billy, who spends a lot of days floating the Vermilion River every summer.