The Canadian fly-in trips were great times. One memory that just came to me was when Dad caught a nice 39" pike and was so proud of it. He took a pencil and marked on the wood frame of the bunk bed: 'Don Stauffer (we both are named Don) the date and 39" pike'. Gary & I found it a day later and changed the size to 29". We were outside when we heard his remark about the change....!!
Here is the morning shot of the dock. Nice, we had 3 boats and a spare!
Chris is ready! Hey Chris, what is that empty coffee can on the seat for?
Jim up at the bow while Chris speeds towards the fishing spot. A little bit of spray along the side of the boat. The weather is a little damp but we are going fishing.
They are almost there. With the whole lake to fish, the three boats end up fishing the same general area. It is more fun to fish together so we can poke fun and see what the others are doing. This was the only sandy beach area we found. One day, it was our swimming/bathing hole.
This time we have four loons fishing around us. Must be a great fishing spot!
Bill and I are close by to move in if necessary. Actually, we probably were here first and the others just drifted over. We were using spinning rods and jig with curly tails for the walleyes. Gary liked to use a silver Johnson's weedless spoon with a white long pork rind that was a killer for the pike.
Not too big, but eaters. Some day you are just happy to have something to eat for supper. Towards the end of the trip, the supplies are running low and we get hungry and want fish!
Hold it! What is that? Doesn't look like a walleye to me. A whitefish I believe. No way! Don't make a sucker out of me!
Bill and I are old hands at cleaning fish. The small room behind us is the generator room. Maybe a generator will be in it next time. Back to cleaning the fish.
I love my Rapala filet knife. It does the job and is flexible enough to work around the rib cage.
There are two or three fish mangled...must have been Bill's!
Bill, Gary, Mike, and Jim are ready to eat. Where are the fish?
Beer battered fish that were swimming around a couple of hours ago. Can't get much fresher than that!
Gary and Mike are on K-P duty. What a great job. Little did Gary know that these skills would prove so useful in 4-5 years!
Speaking of Gary. After Gary finished up in the kitchen, he walked down to the dock. He thought it would be fun to get his fishing pole and cast off from the dock.
I can hear Gary's thinking. "I'll just get my pole and get one right off the dock". First I have to reach over and get my pole. Oh, it is over there on the other side of the boat. As Gary steps off the dock with one foot on the dock and one foot on the boat seat, the boat starts to gently drift away from the dock. Gary is now doing a graceful split. As the distance from the dock and boat increases, so does the angle between Gary's legs. It is like a ballet of sorts. He stretches out, but can he stretch back? As the angle becomes more, Gary is forced to make a decision, "Can I stretch back to the dock w/o losing my balance?" NOPE!
Lucky Gary. He doesn't have to take a bath tonight. He already did!
Mike shows off Gary's catch. Sorry, Mike, but everytime I saw you fishing you were catching pike. Just because this picture shows you holding up walleyes, we all know the story. After a week of fishing with Mike, we decided on a new nickname for Mike. Now and forever more in the future, he is known as Mikey-Pikey!
We tried to just keep the eating size walleyes and release the bony pike. Now that I watched how to bone pike on You-Tube, I will keep a few pike next trip.
Every once in a while we would catch a perch. We weren't fishing for them but they would just hit our jigs as we tried for walleyes. Gary is holding one of his 'yellow bellies', in fact it is the only thing on his stringer.
With all the left over fish, I decided to make Fish Chowder. I have an old recipe from Aunt Sherrie in the Sylvan Lake days. We had corn, potatoes, onions and milk. Not quite everything I needed but we improvised.
We ate good up north. Nothing fancy but plenty of food.
We did come across a wild woman of the north. No, it wasn't 'six-pack Mary'! This female was a rough and tough wild thing. She was not too shy about coming around six men, who had been out in the wild for a week. We weren't too sure how friendly she was so we kept a close eye on her.
A she-wolf! She must have come to the island in the winter and now was trying to make a living on a pretty barren island. It was exciting to see a wolf so close. She was in terrible condition and scrounging around for anything to eat.
The trip was coming to an end. We had a great time and even caught a few fish. It was fun to fish with someone new every other day. It was a time away from home, away from pressures, and a time to relax.
We have now cleaned the cabin, drank all the beer, bagged all the trash, and packed our gear. Nothing else to do but wait. As we waited and thought about our trip, we were already thinking about another trip.
We never know when the plane will come for pick-up. You are told to be ready early.
Off in the distance, we could hear a Beaver. Yes, it was our Beaver.
The plane just skims down over the tree tops and gently sits down and motors over towards our dock. The pilot does a great job of getting all the camps in and out efficiently.
We have to un-pack the plane with the next crew coming in first and then load up our stuff. We just have time to tell the next crew about the fishing. We point out the hotspots and give all the information that we were given upon our arrival. And then.........
We start motoring out to take off. Take-off is much more exciting than landing. When you are taking off the lake, you are heading, as fast as you can, towards the end of the lake. As the end of the lake approaches, the pilot is trying to get lift-off. The water friction is holding you down and you see the trees and shoreline approaching fast. Are you going to make it?
Suddenly, the plane jumps in the air and you can almost feel the pontoons brush the tree tops as you continue to climb.
What a great trip. What memories. I tend to think of these trips often and remember that I'm building memories for the future!