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Lee Wahlgren

Big fish and even bigger fish stories from Canada

The Canadian fishing trip for the PHS Sportsman’s Club is now
completed and now we are all unpacking. The Green River Lines picked
them all up at Sullivan’s at one o’clock on May 31 and headed north. On board was the PHS club plus eight DNR officers and a group from Missouri. Several adult fishermen from Princeton also joined us. Vern Sondgeroth fished with his two grandsons as did Brian Ford with his daughter, Brooke.

They got to Black Bear Lodge Saturday at noon. All their gear was
transported to the cabins and then they met at the dining hall for
safety and camp instructions. After five o’clock supper, they all
loaded up their boats and headed out to try their luck.

Sunday after breakfast, they were at it again. After six hours of
fishing, many came back with walleye and northern pike. Since they had a late ice out, the walleye were scattered and they had to work harder to get them.

Aaron Carrow captained a boat with two ladies aboard, Hailey Hilmes and McKenzie Cain. They were followed by the a second boat with the watchful eyes of Morgan Lilley and Corey Buck. Miss Cain got the biggest pike of the day with a 32-inch slot fish. Slot pike are 27-35 inches and they have to be thrown back. They usually weigh about 5-9 pounds. I haven’t got the days separated, but Brooke Ford matched her last year’s pike by landing a 14-pound pike and a couple days later, her Dad Brian, caught a 15-pound pike.

Another great achievement was accomplished by Wyatt Burdette, the grandson of John Kirgan. When a fisherman catches a walleye over 5 pounds, a pike over 10 pounds, and a lake trout over 10 pounds during the week, they receive a triple header pin. Great job, Wyatt!

During the week, our group caught eight pike over 10 pounds, four of which were 15 pounds or over. The week before, our friend Ken Funfsinn from Mendota, caught a pike weighing 15.6 pounds. I caught a live clam
(4 ounces).

One of my biggest thrills was fishing with Brian Brutcher, a former athlete from PHS. We have been friends since the ‘70s. This Canada trip has been on his “bucket list” for several years. When he finally retired, he found time to go with us this year. We caught a few walleye and Brian caught several slot pike but Thursday, we decided to try for lake trout. We can’t keep them due to regulations, but they
are strong fish and fun to catch.

We circled a sunken island several times and then Brian yelled “I got one.” His pole was nearly bent double as he kept a tight line trying to keep the fish under control. Twenty four minutes later, Brian
guided the trout into the dip net I hoisted the fish into the boat and
Brian let out a yell. I wished you could have seen his smile. Way to
go, Brian!

During our week at camp, we were treated with several sightings of wildlife. The two we look for the most are moose and bears. Dr. Jon McCutchan took several pictures of a bear swimming from one island to another. Brian and I saw a moose doing the same thing. As usual, loons and beavers were plentiful. We love the eerie loon call.

How quickly the week passed. Friday evening and Saturday morning we loaded the bus. We were on the road before 10 a.m. By the careful driving of Captain John Smith and Justin York, the bus pulled into to Princeton at 6 a.m. Sunday. Now we have to wait 51 weeks before we head north

Local note: Spring Valley Walleye Club will have clean-up at Barto Landing this Saturday, 7 a.m. to noon. Helpers would be appreciated. Lunch will be provided.

Lee Wahlgren is the BCR Outdoor Columnist. Contact him at pdub52@gmail.com

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