There’s a narrow outlet called Drunken Creek by Silver Harbor on the southwest side of Lake Winnipeg. Oh, the new home owners in the area would probably want the creeks’ name changed to something nicer but the families who settled the place scoff at the idea.
Well, that’s where I wound up early last week and saw a chap tailgate fishing off the bank with two boys. I pulled into the grass beside them and asked how the fishing was. The father, Ravi Gupta, a quick witted fellow, shook his head saying they were still fishless after a day’s angling. “But tell him about last summer here when we caught all those perch dad,” Ravis’ eldest son Jayden, a likable, excited string bean of a kid put in. “Yes,” Ravi took up the story, “A school of perch swam into our fishing area and as fast as I could bait the boys pickerel rigs and get them back in the water, two more would strike!” “We caught and released a whole bunch but kept some for lunch,” Little Lennox, Ravis’ thin brown haired youngest added. As I left them Ravi pulled up a catfish. I laughed as he spread his arms to the sky with mocked displeasure on his face.
A few days later I was in Selkirk and met David Gilbart. Now here is a guy who has been a committed angler all his life. We happen to be looking out over the banks of the Red River as we spoke and I could see the fondness in his eyes for the river. “When we were kids, my friends and I spent every moment we could around those banks, fishing if we felt like it or just horsing around. More than once we came home wet having fallen into the water but we always seemed to explain our way out of it to our parents.” His love for fishing in different places has expanded now. Not long ago he was fishing with his father Wes on the Winnipeg River. It was hot with the blinding sun reflecting off the water. Around noon the men began to think the fish had gone to the colder, bottom waters when David felt his line was snagged. He tightened his drag and hauled in some line. It wasn’t snagged. Father and son looked at each other questioningly as David continued hauling and reeling in. Then it broke surface, a long, gigantic walleye! It came close to the boat rolling lazily on its’ side, then erupted, thrashing, sending sprays of water into the air. Tail high it dove for the deep, David’s line screaming off the reel. He loosened his drag a bit, letting the fish run. With not much line left on the reel, thankfully the fish stopped. Experienced angler that David was, he started again slowly purposely hauling and reeling in. This time when the fish rose by the boat they could tell it was tired. Dad netted the pickerel into the boat for a picture then released it, making sure it could swim.
A week or two ago I drove east of Seven Sisters Falls on the 307 until I reached a favorite little spot of mine by Caribou Creek. There’s a small dock and parking lot there and when I pulled in I saw a guy with his family fishing off the dock. I got out of my car and asked this fellow who looked like no stranger to the outdoors with his graying handlebar mustache, rugged features and powerful stance if he had a fishing story for us. It turned out, he, Arnie Brown, was from Rankin Inlet and remembered a close call when he and a friend had been out fly fishing. With bare rock bottoms, the waterways in Rankin Inlet are very clear. They were bringing the float plane into dock after fishing and Arnie standing on the planes’ float, rope in hand, jumped for the dock missing it by “that much!” In seconds, he found himself up to his neck in ice cold water. Right beside his head was the dock and on the other side, the planes’ float was coming to meet his face. Instinctively he dove under the freezing water and looking up he could see the underbelly of the plane. He swam under it to the dock, crawled up and shivering, tied the plane off. The things that happen to people when they’re just trying to have a little fun fishing! We’ll see you by the water –till next week-stay cool.