by Mark Walters
The Best Week of the Year
So here is the scenario! It is a Monday in mid-June; seven close family members and friends were flown into the Canadian bush via floatplane two days earlier.
The goal of each member of the “Canada Gang” is to catch up on a years worth of long-term fatigue and just as importantly, have as much fun as possible.
O yeah, we are the only people on an entire chain of lakes, have been coming here since “82” and are very skilled at having fun.
Monday, June 15th
High 71, low 46
Just about everyday of this adventure rain came in the afternoon and we had to keep the woodstove burning. Today was an exception and I was confident that my 14-year-old daughter, Selina and I could catch a big northern pike if we really tried. Generally our big northern for the week is between 37 and 41 inches and our big walleye is between 27 and 31. Thus far, Selina has a big walleye at 24 and Ryan Moll has big northern at 31. Neither are big fish but there is still five days left of this how much fun can you have kind of week.
So there is a bay called “Bobs Bay” named after my dad because he loved casting it for gators. I am throwing the “Muskie” Red Eye, which I believe is the largest Red Eye made and a very good lure. Selina is throwing smaller Red Eyes and black and white Dare Devils.
We are using the wind and doing drifts and Selina is catching plenty of walleye and small gators. One of the best drifts is along a weedy shoreline and I had a big fish smack the Red Eye that started peeling the line off my drag at an incredible speed. We were too close to shore for netting a haug so I slowly idled the 9.9 Yamaha to deeper water where hopefully Selina would have a chance at it with the net.
This fish put up an incredible fight and when we measured, it pushed the tape to 39.25 inches and would win gator for the day and week.
Something that is really funny is that our gang, which is realistically made up of at least 25-people between the age of 14 and 77 travels all over together hunting and fishing. We have deer, duck and fish bets on every trip and one of the universal gang goals, other then my own, and I hope Selina, is for me to not win the bet “I love it, Ha! Ha!’ Everyone, maybe when I die.
An even bigger bonus would be the following day, while fishing with 14-year old, Dylan Walters and Selina, Selina would catch a 25-inch walleye that would win walleye for the week.
I play around a lot but one of the group members, 27-year-old Ryan Moll is heading off to OTS “Officer Training School” at Maxwell Air Force Base this fall and if he makes it, will be commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. Ryan has earned a spot at Selfridge Air National Guard base in Michigan to become an A-10 pilot and that my friends has our group pretty damn proud.
Everyday on Shultz Lake is literally an adventure and each member of the group takes each day at their own pace. We do a lot of portaging to lakes that have boats on them and we catch plenty of walleye and northern pike.
At nighttime it is always close to 11 when we make it back to the cabin and well after midnight when we eat supper. Towards the end of the week, there is not a one of us that does not partake in the annual conversation of how cool it would be to stay for two weeks or at least ten days.
Our very close friends, Pete and Elizabeth Hagedorn, the owners of Chimo Lodge and Outposts are now in their late 70’s and Pete is still an active bush pilot. The Hagedorns have been running this place, which they started, for 40-years.
I worked for Pete and Elizabeth as their camp manager and that is when I started writing this column back in 1989. As you can see the folks that you hang with and the activities that you partake in are a big part of shaping your life.
At this point I could not be happier! Sunset
THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Ormson’s SuperValu