Paradise Cove, Duane Hell and Fishing

Paradise Cove, Duane Hell and Fishing
Paradise Cove, Duane Hell and Fishing
Paradise Cove, Duane Hell and Fishing

Our day began early Friday, August 17 2012, with pre-fishing the day before the tournament of the Gary Roach Walleye Classic held on August 18 and 19th 2012.

The day started out cool with a morning temperature of 50f, a little cold for this time of year. Water temperatures dropped 10 degrees from highs of 75f to 65f in a three day span. Oh those cold fronts not only affect us but the fish react to it as well.
At the docks of Paradise Cove, I am greeted by Mandy, daughter in law of Duane Hell, who is delightful, friendly and super helpful, today she is looking after the marina and any questions the guests have. She always has a big welcoming smile for this resort. Mandy and her husband Cory Hell are avid anglers therefore she is quite knowledgeable and will answer questions and gladly give some fishing tips.

As I board the boat I am introduced to Duane?s fishing partner Clark Barr (Porky) he is also an expert fishing guide for many years in this area. He is also the organizer for the River Hogs fishing tournament that is taking place on September 22, 2012, the proceeds go to a charity and Minaki?s July long weekend fireworks. 

Climbing aboard the Lund Pro series with a 250 hp Mercury engine, and captain?s chairs, you know that you are in good fishing company; we proceed through the waters towards Big Sands. These pro guides are pre-fishing and seeking out  the marked and unmarked perfect fishing spots, all in pursuit of the right sized Walleye of course. The huge  lake/ water system is manned by other pre fishing anglers all scouting the best schools , ridges, peaks and drops, water temperature and depth are the deciding factors. Pre fishing is a science and learning the habits of a walleye is the keys to success.

After 5 or 6 spots we decide to drop lures, I am delighted; temperature is now 74f sunny, mildly windy and water temperature of 69f. We use bottom bouncer walleye live lures, Duane using leaches and Clark using night crawlers, now I?m still not at ease with live bait but am slowly appreciating the fact that walleye think they are a delicatessen. 

The first one within minutes of dropping lines was caught by Duane, nice size to 17 7/8 inches, the second was mine but it was too small to keep. Clark?s first catch was a 23 inches. Nice! The bottom bouncers turned out to be a big hit with the walleye within a short time each of us caught our limit. Duane catching the most, Porky second and I close behind.  

Now every angler?s worst nightmare, I?ll explain,  I?ve been fishing for awhile and have learned quite a bit but so appreciate all the knowledge that this team has, but their patience was tested as the worst did happen. Yes, I managed to entangle my line really well with Duane?s, OMG! Luckily for me he has good knitting abilities! And within a few minutes of solving that issue, my line entangled in the trolling propeller! Oh no! Well at that point certain things can happen, my thought is I could have been thrown overboard,  or cast in exile to an island or even worse the silent treatment the rest of the day on the boat. Hmmm, well none did happen and as I slowly learn about these anglers, their mannerism is of patience, compassion and understanding. Phew, Thanks. He solved that issue quickly and efficiently with a little effort and line care, all fixed. Thanks

Fishing with Duane is interesting as I learned a lot about his fondness and history of Minaki. His routes begin sometime ago in 1947 when his grandparents first came up from Walhalla, North Dakota, in fact  14 families from this town settled in Minaki for summer retreats. Be friending one of these families I spent 2 years visiting and staying in both beautiful Walhalla and picture perfect walleye catching Minaki.  
Duane shared some interesting and fun adventures as a child growing up at the lake, instilling a passion for Minaki. The original family cabin and property was sold in 1974 much to his unhappiness; however he had at this time relocated to Seattle, Washington to open up and run a successful Door and Millwright business called Duane Hell Construction Company. His passion for Minaki was still in his heart and in 1985 proceeded to find and purchase Paradise 1.  

Originally, trying to purchase his families first site but the new owner wouldn?t part with it. He found the new site naming it Paradise Cove 1 and began renovating the old camp site, promoting it as a fishing and hunting camp. Well liked by all, hosting groups from Wedding parties, company or family get togethers, fish and game clubs, bachelor/bachelorette parties etc.  At this time the large and majestic Minaki lodge was in operation, but Duane concentrated on the niche of cabins for fishing and hunting destination.  His next purchase was in 1988, the Paradise 2, building new modern cabins. These modern cabins all have lake views with 4 bedrooms 2 bathrooms. All super clean, well maintained and well laid out.  Paradise Park was purchased in 2003.  

Paradise Cove?s staff are locally hired residents and with his expansions invests in the local economy.  This resort provides clean and comfortable resort accommodations with cabins, a lodge, RV parking, world class fishing and hunting for all.  

I truly admire is dedication and his passion for Minaki and the surrounding area, Minaki is alive and well, and waiting for you, come check it out!!

By Genevieve van Oers

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