Photo: Stephanie, Guy Darrens’ wife, with a pickerel she caught on Dauphin Lake.
Last week my instincts told me it was time to visit anglers on Gull Lake and Shoal Lake, which are known for great perch fishing. The grey, cool, breezy day seemed to have little affect on some folks at Gull Lake last Tuesday as they sat on overturned pails nursing baited lines in ice holes. Children played tag in the snow as I moved from one ice shack to another getting to know folks and in time met Alexander Embrechd with his son Robin from Steinbach.
Young Robin looked much like his father who was of average height, thin, strong in movement and expression with short brown hair, beard and mustache. They like everyone else on this amazing lake took great pleasure in showing me how many fine eating perch they had caught that morning. In the middle of last week I got onto the Red River ice off the “CIL” road by Selkirk.
Some ice anglers who love for this pastime, have brought their hard wall shacks to this river bend for decades. I watched old friends greet each other with friendly waves while setting up as I urged “old red” toward to a fairly new shack.
A young athletic looking chap emerged from his hut as I got out of my truck. He had just got there so while his shack was heating up our new fishing friend, Dacota Mayer from Winnipeg said, “let’s jump into my truck, I’ve got a story.”
He began, telling how he was summer boat fishing with a buddy on Macara Lake who had caught a huge jackfish. Bending over the side of the boat, he called to Dacota to come help with “them”. The “them” didn’t register with Dacota until he came alongside his buddy ready to tease him for not being able to handle and 3’ jack by himself. He was stunned to see the gaping mouth of an even bigger musky tearing into the jack.
They tried to grab the musky, why, they’re still not sure and once or twice they came close by grasping its’ slippery tail. Eventually their hands weakened as they fumbled over each other and the monster, freed, disappeared beneath the dark water.
We sat laughing over the story noticing the window in his shack had become clear which meant the shack was warm so he went in to fish and I went for lunch.
On the weekend I was close to that other terrific perch fishing spot, Shoal Lake north of Stonewall but never made it. I met a truck obviously returning from the 93N church jump-off spot and waved it down. There wasn’t another soul around so we stopped in the middle of the road to talk. I introduced myself to Darren Guy and Kerry Yanke of Poplar Point who revealed the only way to get onto Shoal here was with sleds. I judged Darren and Kerry to be in their 30s, both had brown hair under toques. Darren was heavier muscled while Kerry was thinner in body and face. Both had funny stories.
First, Darren got a kick out of telling me how when they first started fishing together, his wife Stephanie, would walk beside their truck as he drove out onto ice for fear of being caught in the truck if it broke through. That was until she started catching fish. The next time out she was behind the wheel first telling Darren to get a move on. Then it was Kerry’s turn.
His mood became soft as he told how a few years ago the two families including his very young daughter, Taylor, were ice fishing here and he noticed she was losing interest. He got an idea. He had Darren distract her then pulled up her line, put a jelly bean on the hook, dropped it in the water then shouted, “Taylor, I think you have a fish.”
She rushed to her line pulling it up squealing in wide-eyed joy, “daddy I caught a jelly bean!”
“Yes honey you can catch jelly beans as well as fish,” he lied with an innocent stare.
Back went her line into the water as fast as she could get it there. Holding her rod, she did a little dance in excited expectation but guilty dad couldn’t bear his deception and came clean offering her the whole bag of candy. Loving Taylor forgave him. Bye for now.