Birdshot and backlashes - new owners at Shig-Wak Lodge

by Bob Cary

Where does one take grandkids fishing when they come to Ely for a visit? One answer is to let them pick where they want to fish, which is what we did last week. The grandkids, Alex and Isaak Sommer from Walker, Minnesota, opted for Little Long Lake. Why Little Long? Because they were up in previous years and had a great time filling the stringer with sunfish, a species in good supply at Little Long.<BR><BR>Thus it was that we arrived at Shig-Wak Resort to pick up a boat and motor previously reserved. Four of us piled into the boat - grandma Edith in the bow, Alex and Isaak amidships and grandpa in the stern with the motor.<BR><BR>The problem was, when we were there before, it was springtime and the panfish were in the east end of the lake on the sand flats adjacent to the lodge. Now it was midsummer and the chances were the panfish had migrated elsewhere.<BR><BR>Dick Owings, new owner of Shig-Wak Resort, with his wife Linda and son Austin, had a suggestion. He recommended a bay toward the west end of the lake and a good suggestion it turned out to be. “Lots of sunken trees in the bay,” Dick advised. “Sunfish hang around there a lot.”<BR><BR>We had no difficulty finding the bay and the sunken logs.… or the sunfish which were mixed in with a few bass. If a person can find them, sunfish are great for kids because they are not shy about biting. Indeed, we loaded up the stringer with sunnies which were clustered in eight feet of water below the boat. The kids could see them and even watch them bite. In two hours we had supper, which was the goal.<BR><BR>Back at the dock, we spent a few minutes talking with lodge owners Dick, Linda and Dustin Owings. They are living their dream, which originated in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, from where they purchased Shig-Wak over the internet. Since the heyday of resorter Arlo White, Shig-Wak has had a sort of topsy-turvy history, but the new owners intend to restore it to its former prominence.<BR><BR>They have upgraded the grounds and the 10 cabins, have clean boats and new motors. But most of all, they bring an outgoing, friendly atmosphere to this once-popular Ely-area hostelry.<BR><BR>However they do not intend to re-establish the dining room which was a fixture in the old Shig-Wak. Cabins are strictly housekeeping, a least at this point. The resort, when we were there last week, was booked out.<BR><BR>The Owings are feeling their way into their new surroundings, furnishing canoe trips to outlying lakes and hiking trips on the Bass Lake Trail. The sand beach fronting on the lake lends itself to family-type vacations. A big asset is Little Long itself. This is not a heavily-publicized lake and local folk with summer homes prefer it that way. But it is an excellent fishing lake with both largemouth and smallmouth bass, sunfish, crappie, walleyes and northern pike.<BR><BR>In the winter it is noted for hook and line tulibee fishing, but this is not heavily publicized, either. Little Long is close to Burntside Lake with all species including lake trout, bass amd walleyes. Bass Lake, Hobo Lake and Low Lake are all excellent for bass and panfish, and High Lake is a topnotch brook trout lake.<BR><BR>Dick, a former employee with Eastman Kodak, is 53. Linda is trained as a massage therapist and is considering opening a massage business at the resort. The Owings have put their root s down and intend to become a solid part of the Ely scene. The Echo wishes them the best of luck in their new venture.<BR><BR>