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An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 7-10-2013

by Mark Walters

Shultz Lake, tips, memories and advice

Hello friends,

I always write two columns on my fishing trip to Canada because there is so much information and because I use a good ten-days of my life on that yearly adventure in one way or another.

This week, I will write about some of our most interesting experiences and what works for us over the last 31-years, as we experience a complete getaway thanks to my friends Pete and Elizabeth Hagedorn, owners of Chimo Lodge and Outposts

Saturday, June 15th
High 71, low 48

On our first day in the Canadian bush, I was fishing with my daughter Selina and close by my friend, Jeff Moll, who was fishing with his son Grant. From out of nowhere a bald eagle was overhead, dropped almost straight down to the shoreline and the next thing we knew a loon swam into the water and started wailing a mournful cry. Loons nest on the shore edge as they cannot walk on land and I believe that the eagle discovered the loon’s nest and ate either its young or egg. Within seconds of the attack, a raven appeared and stayed near the nest for a good half hour.

For at least four years, we have been witnessing incredibly, steady fish catching, especially for walleye. If I could only take two lures on a Canadian fishing trip they would be the bottom bouncer (weight 1.5 ounce) with a night crawler harness on it, and the Red Eye, which is a spoon type lure. I like the “Musky” Red Eye but the smaller size will catch you more walleye.

Thirty years ago these two setups were winning our daily and weekly fish bets and they did this year as well.

Something else that we do is have our kids join in on our work load. When we start the trip, we take a deck of cards and start with an ace and go up as high in numbers as we have people. This year we had six- people in our gang including two 12-year-olds and a boy that was 15. Everyone in camp gets their own workday and that means all cooking and dishes.

On your workday you are responsible for cooking two quality, and filling meals and doing the dishes. The group of men in our gang, in one way or another, numbers about 12, we have raised or are still raising about 35 boys and girls. We have always taught our kids to work and to be responsible for their actions. When we start an adventure, we shake hands and when we end it, we do the same.

Teaching our kids to help out makes life much easier for everyone involved.

Something else that we do, especially this year, is to teach our kids how to handle a fillet knife and cleanly remove the fillets from a fish. My 12-year-nephew, Dylan Walters, can take the fillets off a fish without any waste and clean the fish-cleaning table in the blink of an eye.

This year we had two members of our group have large hooks become embedded in their flesh. Any fishermen or woman should have a hook removal kit in their boat or at least in the cabin. A quality, side cutters that you are confident will cut through hardened steel is the difference between ten minutes of stress or a possible flight out of camp.

A fishhook embedded in the flesh is an instant buzz killer. On the other hand, the relief from the hook being removed is just as fast. Try to make sure you have some type of antiseptic in camp as well. If a hook mishap does happen, someone has to take charge.

After spending fifty-years in a boat, I can tell you all kinds of things that I have done wrong, as far as, to my long-term health. Sun protection is no accident! Carry and use a 50 spf sunscreen. Wear a wide brimmed hat. Not only will this advice slow down the aging of the skin it will help prevent you from being burnt out that night in the cabin.

Anyone over 50 knows that we used to be able to smoke in high school. Could have a beer at the local pub during lunch hour if we were 18 (or looked at least 16) and what the heck was a seat belt?

Once upon a time someone invented the wheel and we have progressed ever since. Take care of yourself and maybe you could be heading to a paradise on earth like Shultz lake for 30 or 50 years and enjoy every minute of it just like I have.

Set the hook and keep your line tight! Sunset.