Fishing shirtless in the tropics of Lake Winnipeg

Our shirtless guys on the Red River where Tyler landed the fish with a flik of his foot, left to right, Travis Noble, Jack Campbell, Tyler Dusanek and Drew Richards all of Winnipeg. What a great bunch of fun loving guys.

Welcome fellow outdoors enthusiasts.

I guess it was last Tuesday when I urged “old red” down the steep access lane to Lake Winnipeg’s ice at the east end of Sandy Hooks’ #519. About a quarter of a mile out, I noticed a large grey shack with a truck by the door so I followed the snow tracks to them and hailed the anglers inside.

The door popped open and a guy of average height, rugged strong physic, dark brown hair and a deep base voice invited me in. As I stood by the door he plopped down on a bench at one end of the shack taking up his rod while opposite him was a shorter, muscular, round faced, always smiling chap who raised a hand in welcome.

The deep voiced fellow, Shawn Cummings from Lac du Bonnet said he and his buddy, Jeff Watson of Winnipeg had permission from locals Rick and Nick Turkewich to use their shack. As we struck up a conversation I couldn’t help but admire the gigantic pike mounted on the wall of this well-appointed shack.

With the smell and warmth of a wood fire crackling in the small stove Shawn gave us a story.

Last summer he and his girlfriend, Shannon Mulvanuy, were boat fishing on a hot sunny day at Pointe du Bois. Shannon was lying in the bow of the boat rod in hand while Shawn slumbered in the back. Suddenly she sat up sharply as her rod end plunged into the water. Shawn half asleep, grasped the situation with mild interest. Shannon rose to her feet hauling up hard then lowering her rod to reel in the lines’ slack. Soon the head of a 2’ pickerel broke the surface, its’ thrashing tail sending sprays of water into the air. Shawn leaning over the side of the boat took on the air of a dispassionate observer. He admired Shannon’s rod play for a good 10 minutes as she at last brought the huge fish to the side of the boat. It was only then when his gaze met her glare that he realized he should be helping.

“What are you waiting for Shawn, get the net,” she cried. Stumbling on tackle boxes, food coolers and his lady’s’ feet he got their net and landed her prize. Tired, Shannon lay down in the boat to catch her breath murmuring, “thanks for getting the net this time honey.”

She was referring to a few weeks earlier when trying to land a 3’ jack “slow with the net Shawn” had caused her to lose it.

Downstream of Netley Creek on the Red River all manner of tents and shacks were spread out for miles on the ice last Saturday and I was in a predicament. I needed a small fishing story to finish this weeks’ column.

All afternoon I visited folks from shack to shack asking but to no avail. Finally, when talking to chap from Steinbach who was fishing out in the open, we saw a guy coming out of a big metal shack with his shirt off. We looked at each other laughing and he said, “looks like a story there.”

I jumped into “old red” and threaded between shacks until I was alongside the monster. Just then the shirtless guy came out again.

“Hi,” I called as I stopped the truck and walked toward him.

“Hi, come on in” he returned. Inside sat three other guys, also shirtless. All of them seeing my hesitant expression began chuckling. The first guy I met, Travis Noble introduced me around to Jack Campbell, Tyler Dusanek and Drew Richards, all of Winnipeg and explained they worked in a factory that was very hot and were so used to it they liked to keep their shack hot too.

Travis had a little story saying earlier they had told Tyler he had a bite on his line as he was on his way to the stew pot on the heaters’ stove. Tyler flicked his line up with his foot and the fish you see in this weeks’ picture popped out onto the floor of the shack.

By the way for of our Canadian and U.S. anglers, most jump off spots onto the ice of Lake Winnipeg’s south basin, east Lake Manitoba and Shoal Lake (north of Stonewall) are ok but Warner Road at Matlock is blocked so try Ralph Ave.

Well, we’ve got some great weather friends so “get fishing” and enjoy! Bye for now.