In the heart of Itasca County, in the middle of what most of us would call “Up North,” there is a little lake right up against Highway 38 called Kremer Lake. It’s visible from the road and I’m sure most people winding their way along who are brave enough to take their eyes off the “S” curves are probably aware that it’s a pretty little lake.
That is indeed what first caught my attention about Kremer Lake, but I was further intrigued when I found that it's managed as a trout lake.
You see, even though it’s only 76 acres, Kremer Lake is 86 feet deep.
Most trout species perish in water temperatures above 77°F and they are said to be unable to grow in temps above 68°F. The optimal temperature for trout to thrive is right around 60°F.
So, because Kremer is deep and clear and cold, trout survive and grow there.
Access to the lake is by foot only. The trail is not long, but it is steep and twisting and there is a small area at the end of the trail where people fish from shore.
I tried that last year.
The technique involves light line, a pretty heavy slip sinker, a plain hook, a nightcrawler, and the longest possible cast one can make without flinging the bait off the hook.
Then you sit and wait.
While you wait, you wonder if you’ve cast out far enough to get your bait into deep enough water to be in the right water temperature and whether a trout will find your lowly nightcrawler lying on the bottom.
In the meantime, you do get to admire the beauty of the lake.
Because Kremer Lake is surrounded entirely by National Forest, there’s not a single cabin on the lake. All 2.17 miles of shoreline is dominated by towering White Pine, enormous Norway pine, and majestic Balsam Fir.
I did not catch a fish out of that beautiful little lake last year, even though I sat and enjoyed the view from shore for nigh unto three hours.
So, in my vacation preparations this year, I resolved to take my kayak along as doing so would allow me to fish a much greater area of the lake and hopefully catch a trout.
Now, I have not used the kayak since approximately 2011 because I am (to be quite frank) growing old and fat and lazy.
There’s no other way to look at it, folks. It’s what’s happening.
The temple of the Holy Spirit I am supposed to be stewarding as for the Lord is sagging and in need of some rebuilding.
I’ve started exercising and I am making a concerted effort not to eat myself to death, so dragging the kayak along fit into my “new, healthier me” plans.
Plus, there is just something so wrong about not being able to fish effectively because I am too fat. Priorities, boys and girls. Priorities.
So, yes, I wrestled that kayak down that twisted path and over the roots of the pine trees and plopped it beside the shore of that lake. There were a half-dozen folks (some wearing Hawkeyes hats) shore fishing who witnessed me do it and repeatedly offered to help out of what I initially considered kindness but now upon reflection surely could have been sympathy.
Then, I made another trip for the fishing pole and the bait.
And another trip for the paddle.
And, after some grunting and shoving and what I could feel as open-mouthed staring at me, I was out paddling on the lake!
For about 45 seconds.
Then, it was back to shore, back up the Trail of Tears to the truck for the life jacket I had forgotten, back down the trail, and more grunting and shoving and flailing with the paddle until, YES!! I was on the lake and actually ready to fish.
About the time I made that first cast, I noticed the Hawkeye fans had packed up and were leaving. Again, upon reflection, this was totally understandable because after a show like that, why would they stick around and risk possibly having to swim out in that cold, cold water to rescue the fat guy upside down in the teeny plastic boat?
Well, I did not tip over.
And once I got situated and comfortable, I noticed something.
Kremer Lake wasn’t just pretty.
It was gorgeous.
The water I was literally sitting on glowed this indescribable clear blue-green-aqua-turquoise-emerald color. The clouds puffed along in wisps of brilliant white in a bright blue sky. And those pines and firs stood in utter majesty around that lake guarding it like dark sentinels that whispered of the ages they had spent sinking their relentless roots into the rocky red soil.
I felt like I was sitting in the middle of an enormous 76-acre emerald set 86 feet deep into the throne of God.
And I realized He had created all this.
God spoke all of this into being.
This was not something that just accidently turned out to be grand and glorious and marvelous and awesome beyond words.
And I knew that life teemed in the waters below me and in the forests around me and in the air above me.
And all that life was dependent and reliant and intertwined with all the other life around it.
And it was no accident.
It was for His glory.
All of creation does testify to His glory.
Everything that has breath does praise the LORD!
And then the tip of my fishing pole twitched a little bit, and I let some line out, and a few moments later I held in my hand the gift of a silvery rainbow.
And there is reverence and awe.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, Hebrews 12:28 NIV