Posted tagged ‘walleye’

Honest-to-Goodness True Fishing Stories.

May 3, 2014

Fishermen tend to be full of shit.

I can tell you this from first-hand experience.

We’ll talk about the one that got away.

Or we’ll only show you photos of the big ones we caught, while holding the fish in front of the camera lens to make it look huge.

We’ve all done that.

But what we don’t tell you,  are the countless times we’ve gone out for the entire day, and gotten skunked.

And what you don’t see, are the dozens and lame-ass minnows we get,  that we throw back and don’t talk about.

But I think it’s time to come clean.

To break precedent, I’ve decdided to showing of my less-than-spectacular catches.

And these photos are true.

Honest to God.

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Trophy Pike.

Small Pike IMG_6741

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Another trophy.    (And come to think about it, this wasn’t the smallest pike I got, either)

trophy pike DSCN7672

 

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Trout fail.   This huge monster is the net result of driving 90 minutes each way, and paddling the entire day.

At least I didn’t’ get skunked, though.

Small Trout IMG_1680

 

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Trophy Walleye

TrophyIMG_7413

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Small Walleye IMG_2844

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Okay…I can’t lie.  My fishing guide caught this one.   He wins.

IMG_2851 Even Better Trophy

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Anyone who’s gone after perch, knows how easy they are to catch.

And how sad it is…when you can’t even got one large enough for the frying pan…

Small Perch IMG_3053

 

This one’s the best.   I was casting for trout, and I got a clam.

Clam

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My Latest Fishing Vacation in 13 Words.

September 8, 2012

Sunrises.

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Moonrises.

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Sunsets.

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Eagles.

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Storm.

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Loons.

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“Bacon, please?”

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Pike.

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Walleye

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Tollers.

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Shore Lunch.

Random Photos From My Latest Fishing Trip

July 15, 2012

Flying in and out of Kaby Lodge, this is what most of Northern Ontario looks like from the air:

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Some days the weather was great:


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Some days it wasn’t:

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Lotsa beavers.

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Here’s a photo of an adolsecent bald eagle (though not with the best of lighting).

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Chipmunk falls.    Not only a great place to stop for lunch, but also a  good fishing spot.

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The lake is teeming with walleye.   On a typical day, I’d catch 25 ?  30?  40?  (I dunno….literally DOZENS…I’d lose count!).

Most were in the 17-18 inch range.  But this was my biggest one, at 22 inches:

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Here’s a typical stringer for our shore lunch.   We would eat shore lunch every day, and keep a few for the freezer for home.

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Here is a typical shore lunch.   Which I love.

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Half the fun of staying at the lodge was playing with the two dogs, Jasper and Riser, who are obsessed with retrieving sticks, especially Jasper.

I like how Jasper is fixated on the stick.

This is considered perfectly normal behaviour for Duck Tollers.

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The younger pup (Riser) would keep stealing the stick from Jasper.  He was being a little shit, and he knew it.     Jasper would then yap incessantly at him to give it back.   This game went on and on…those dogs crack me up.

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The lake has lots of pike too.  People catch them well over 40 inches.    I didn’t get any monsters like that this time.   But I did get two respectable-sized ones, 29 inches and 30 inches.

Both fish were caught within 30 minutes of each other.   It was one of my best afternoons.

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This pike wasn’t huge, but I’ve never seen one with teeth as large as this, for a fish that size.

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Not all of them were trophies, though.    But still fun to catch.

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I had a lot of fun.   So did the Bear.

We will both be coming back.

The Critters I Saw On My Last Vacation

August 7, 2011

The first critter to greet me when I got off the plane was the resident Duck-Toller, who invited me to play with her…um…tree.

If you know anything about Duck-Tollers, this is considered perfectly normal bhaviour.

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While on the water, I saw a lot of loons.   Beautiful birds, but not that uncommon.

Every Lake in Ontario has to have its resident loon.  It’s a Provincial By-Law.

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In campgrounds and parks,  the moose are used to people and you can get really close.

But here, in the real bush, they’re skittish and you’re lucky to come within a few hundred meters of them.

The photo doesn’t do this justice, but this among the biggest moose I had ever seen.   I estimate his antler rack spanned~ 6 feet.

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Next, is a bald-eagle-critter.

It’s not often you get this close to one in Ontario.    I tried to throw him a fish, but he didn’t take it.

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This Bear-Critter made a regular appearance at the dump every night at ~ 8:00 PM, when they threw the garbage out.   He reluctantly tolerated our presence, as long as we kept our distance.

And seeing how he considerably outweighed me, I did.


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Let’s not forget the fish-critters, like this small Northern Pike.

Normally, I wouldn’t be excited about a pike this small, except that I had caught him right off the dock, after supper.

It gives you an indication of how good the fishing is on this lake,  if you can catch them like this without really trying.

Here’s a more decent pike-critter.    Not a trophy, but still respectable, by any books.   It was 30 inches…and I’m guessing ~ 7-10 lbs.

Here’s a close-up of its toothy maw.   If I were to title this photograph, I’d call it “The Last Thing a Minnow Ever Sees”.

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Of course, we also caught walleye, which are nice-looking fish, viewed from the side…

…but when viewed head-on,  GAWD, they’re UGLY!

Also of note, is that these toothy critters have razor-sharp gills which can slice you like a knife, if you pick them up the wrong way.

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Of course, I had the last laugh, though.

It’s called “SHORE LUNCH”.

Another Northern Ontario Adventure with the Bear, Part II.

July 13, 2010

(Continued from Part I)

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Flying over the Algoma District via bush plane,  north of Superior, it amazes me how many lakes there are.

This is only one small corner of Ontario, but there are hundreds of lakes here, if not thousands.

If you ever looked at map of Ontario, and wondered what’s in those blank areas between the highways, this is what it looks like:

There is plenty of evidence of logging…the area is crisscrossed with logging roads.  This is a fact of life, pretty much anywhere you go up North.

But there are also large undisturbed areas of boreal forest.

Some of the bigger lakes might have a fishing or hunting lodge on them, only accessible by plane.    But there are countless smaller lakes, far from the main waterways, that are harder to get to.

I often wonder how months (or years) go by before these areas even see a human being.  Aside from the odd trapper checking their trap line by snow-mobile, I suspect a lot of these places don’t get that many visitors.

This is pretty serious wilderness.  There’s no cell phone coverage.    There’s no internet.  The  nearest McDonalds is 250 km  to the South.

If your plane crashed and you were stuck here,  it would be virtually impossible to get out by yourself.  The nearest paved road could be 20-30 km away, and you’d have to cross swamps and rivers.

And even in July, this place can get cool enough that you’d have to worry about hypothermia    A local told me that that people rarely survive more than 5 days after being lost in these woods.

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But if you’re a fisherman, this place is PARADISE!

All these unspoiled lakes, TEEMING with fish!  Very much like it used to be hundreds of years ago.

And that’s why people have built hunting camps and lodges in these areas….veritable oases carved out in the bush to cater to fishing fanatics like myself.

These fly-in camps provide you with your own motor boat, cabin with hot showers, fresh bed sheets, and breakfast and dinner cooked by certified chefs.

Now, people will probably ask:  “Friar, if you love the wilderness so much, why don’t you just camp out on your own, and do this?

Well, my answer is: been there, done that.

For years, I’ve driven and/or canoed for hours, only to find crowded campsites filled with yahoos,  on marginal lakes that have long since been fished out.   (Even 8 hours North of Toronto).

Not to mention dealing with the damp and cold, the heinous bugs, the lack of toilet facilities, keeping a fire going, cooking in the rain, and worrying about food and fish guts in bear country.

Don’t get me wrong…I have no problem with wilderness camping.    There are times I want to camp.  And times I want to seriously fish.  But it’s hard to do both at once.

Here, all I have to do is show up and fish.

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But you have to be careful out here.  The  lake can get choppy at times (one day there were 3-4 foot whitecaps with 30 mph winds!)   Every once in a while,  people die up here.

But other times, the water can be like glass.

And the fishing….OMG…THE FISHING!!   It’s like being a kid in candy store!

Down south, it’s considered a “good day” if you catch 1-2 walleye.

Up here,  if you find a good spot, you can catch 10-20 in an HOUR.    One one day, my guide and I estimated we got 50-60 between the two of us.

(Anyway, after the first few dozen, you just stop counting).

(This is PAY-BACK TIME for all those other crappy fishing trips where I got skunked!)

Of course,  we didn’t keep all those fish.  It was mostly catch-and-release.   (Besides, you’re only allowed to have four in your possession).

And I like to let the big guys go (like the ones above).  They’re the big breeders,  I want them to go back and make even MORE fish for me to catch later.

And there are plenty of smaller, frying-pan-sized ones for shore lunch.

And if there’s a better way eat freshly-caught walleye, I dont’ wanna know about it.

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There were tons of pike, too, but I didn’t’ catch any big ones.    My guide claims a 40-inch monster followed my lure, though.     A 9-year-old kid sitting next to my dinner table had caught a 36-inch “gator”.

Other highlights of the trip included getting caught in a wicked thunderstorm.

Precisely during lunch time, of course (that was FUN.)

There was the odd wildlife sighting, like moose:

Not to mention the bears at the garbage dump on the outskirts of the camp.

This is apparently an evening ritual:  the staff throws out the day’s garbage, and the bears patiently wait for the food to arrive.

Some people have commented to me that this is negligent.

But they have to understand that this isn’t a Provincial Park where a garbage truck takes everything away.   This is in the middle of nowhere..there’s no other place to throw away the trash.

And from what I’ve seen, the bears and the camp seem to have reached a mutual understanding.  The bears stay near the dump, dont’ come into the camp.

Both parties keep a safe distance from each other…and the staff does a lot of yelling and flailing their arms…to let the critters know we humans should be avoided.

Anyway, it seems to work.

What I also liked about the camp was one of the dogs:   a Duck-Toller obsessed with sticks.

She reminded me so much of my sister’s Duck-Toler, Tipper. (Except Tipper is obsessed wtih rubber balls).

So I had found a play-mate, another dog to corrupt.

I had my share of “Zen” moments, too.   Like sitting on a rock at 9:45 PM…catching walleye from shore (something unheard of down south)…

…and  watching the golden sunset reflect off the scraggy black spruce trees.

Or just sitting on a calm-glass lake,  and catching fish-after fish.  This rock produced about 12-15 walleye in an hour.

These happy memories are burned into my head, which I can now retrieve at my leisure, for years to come.

And isn’t this the whole point of these trips?

Been Fishin’…

May 18, 2010

With Friar’s Mom, after work.   

First time in a canoe together, since her bicycle accident last year. . .

We got some, too. 

Fishing while Striving for Excellence

September 6, 2008

My Mom always says:  “No matter what you do, do your best“.    So at the end of the day, you’ll know you’ll have given it 100% and you can feel good about yourself.

So last week, when I decided to screw up a fishing day,  I followed Mom’s advice.

CAN, and WILL.

Yes, I believe I CAN and WILL screw up today BIG TIME.

It began in the morning, when I was using my electronic fish finder.    Later, I decided to change fishing spots, and started the motor and proceeded ahead at full-throttle.

Then I heard a CLANG!….and turned around to see what made the noise.

I was rewarded with the sight of my  fish finder going Blub! Blub! Blub! and disappearing beneath the waves.   (I had forgot to remove the sensor that was attached to the side of the boat).   When I had gunned the engine, the rushing water yanked it off (along with the LCD console) and swept the whole shooting match overboard.

Sigh.   $200 down the drain.

(Friar, you ASSHOLE.)

Well, no sense crying over spilled electronics.   Let’s make the best of the day.  So I opted to try the other end of the lake for some more walleye.

30 minutes later (going full throttle), I decide to take a short-cut between two islands.

(Can you predict where this is going?)

BANG!  CLANG!!!  CRUNCH!!!

Nobody said anything about any rocks.

Awww.

Just.   Freaking.  Great.

I stopped the boat, and looked at the prop.

Oboy, I had dinged it pretty GOOD.  The precision-engineered hydrodynamic-screw blades were transformed into an Op-Art sculpture of rose-petals of jagged metal.

But, turns out it wasn’t totally catastrophic.   The motor still ran smoothly, and the prop still seemed to work.

Well, sort of.   (At a significantly reduced efficiency).    Whereas before hand,  I could go 30 km/h, now I could barely make 10 km/h.

Okay, change of game plan.   It’s too far to go to the other end of the lake with a compromised motor.    But no problem, I’ll stick around this cove here, much closer to the lodge.  I wanted to go there anyway.

So I started to fish, trolling around the cove, and I caught a few modest pike in the process.

At this point, I was quite pleased with myself.   Look at how I had two setbacks, yet I still found a way to salvage the day, and make the best of it.  And I managed to do this with minimal swearing and temper tantrums.

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.   Don’t worry.  Be happy.  Dancing elves.  Rainbow fairies. (…Look how positive and pro-active I was!).

This was all fine and good, until it was time to head home, and I re-started the engine.

Sputter sputter sputter.

Uh-oh.

I checked, and I was almost out of gas.

Normally, I’d have been okay.   But you see, the busted prop meant that the motor burned much more gas than normal.   This had never occurred to me.

(Friar….you INCREDIBLE ASSHOLE!!!)

So, let’s re-cap:

Alone on a boat.  In the bush.  Miles from the Lodge.   Where nobody can see me.   And I’m almost out of gas.

At least it’s raining and the wind is picking up.

Hmmm.  Might be an “interesting” evening, tonight.

I coaxed the engine to start, and trying to squeeze every last bit of gas to the engine.

If I can just make it out of the cove, onto the main lake, that would increase my chances of being seen.

When I got out of the sheltered cove, I realized that a gale had been blowing on the lake.

Fortunately, there were 3-foot whitecaps.

(No, this wasn’t the actual photo!….This was from another day, but you get the idea).

WHAM!  WHAM!  WHAM!   The3-foot waves slammed the 15 foot boat.  It was a great roller coaster ride.

(Actually, if this had been a ride at Six-Flags, it would have been a lot of fun).

Now…if only I can make it around to that next point, I’ll be within sight of the Lodge.

WHAM! WHAM!  WHAM!    The gas sloshed in the empty tank, and the motor died again.

Sputter, sputter, sputter.

Now I was being blown ashore where the waves crashed against the rocks.

I pulled the rip-cord, and the engine started again.

…500 more yards…I

Sputter sputter sputter.

Engine dies.   Restart it again.

400 more yards.

WHAM! WHAM! WHAM!

Sputter sputter sputter.

Engine dies.   Restart it again.

300 more yards.

(By now, I had images of that cartoon, where Sylvester keeps desperately trying to start the engine, just before he goes over the falls.)

That’s when I finally got a break.   There were only four boats on the water that afternoon.   One of them happened to passing by on the way to supper.    I flagged them down, and they towed me back.

Aftermath:
Damage to prop and the driveshaft:   $150.

Loss of fish-finder: $200.

Laughter at Friar’s expense at the dinner table:   Considerable.

Not to mention that I almost ended up being a Gordon Lightfoot song (the Wreck of the Edmund McFriar…?).

Moral of the story:
If you’re going to screw up, then you might as well go ALL THE WAY.

At least it makes for good stories afterword.

P.S.
Later that evening, they showed me the prop.   One of the staff said was the most damaged one they’d ever seen, since they started to work there.

(YESSSSS!!!!)

It’s always great when you’re best at something,  isn’t it?