Outdoor Notebook: Sinking boat mystery during a trip to Canada
One recent morning we were getting ready to fish for muskies on Ontario Canada’s Lake of the Woods. Our group included my fishing and hunting companion, Tom Twesme (The Osseo Jinx), his good friend, Don Wolf, who lives in Chippewa Falls and this scribbler. From our cabin we were able to look out the windows at the large boat docks. Tom said, “There must be something going on off the end of the docks!”
We could see some debris floating in the area and several people were walking out to the end of the docks. Our boat was moored about 12 feet off the end of the docks. It did not take long for us to get out to our boat and insure that it was safe.
What we saw when we got to our boat sent shivers up and down our spines. Our boat was fine. The boat that was moored off the end of the dock was upside down and partially sunk in 12 to 14 feet of water. A single rope had been tied from the boat to the dock.
It was an inboard outboard water ski boat with the engine and transom under the water. Of course everyone wondered what had happened to sink a boat of this size. By this time quite a crowd had gathered. We went fishing.
When we returned to the resort the water ski boat was gone and we were left still wondering what had caused the boat to sink and how they got it out of the water. The story we were told was that it was in a place where the dock crew could get at the boat with their equipment. A tractor was used to move it into shallow water where the automatic bilge started. Between the bilge pump and the fellows with pails the boat was floated onto the trailer.
All of us were still speculating as to what could have caused the relatively large boat to sink off the end of the dock. The most frequently heard speculation was that someone had forgotten to put the plug in before the boat was tied up for the night. There were other theories but we were all wrong.
The boat was an inboard outboard that makes for a nice wake when water skiing.
During the day the people were operating the boat on water they were unfamiliar with. Lake of the Woods is a huge body of water that is nearly one mile long and a mile wide with in excess of a million islands. The people with the water ski boat, as mentioned earlier, did not know the lake and got hung up on some shallow rocks. The rocks tore some of the boot lose where the drive mechanism comes out of the transom of the boat but this had not been discovered until after the boat sank. This caused water to flood into the boat and sink it as well as tip it over.
Lake of the Woods is a huge body of water and is well known as a walleye lake but also well known to have a trophy musky population. We were there to have the opportunity to fight a large musky. We saw a good number of muskies that followed our lures back to the boat. Most of them were not in the mood to hit the lures but just give us a thrill.
We fished six days and the largest musky we caught measured 46-inches.
Longtime Northwoods outdoors personality Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.