Welcome to my fishing pals.
It seems our first cool snap and snow has spurred many of us on to getting our winter fishing gear ready. It’s only human nature to be apprehensive about the coming winter so let me and a new young fishing friend of ours, Dallas Morrisseau of Lac du Bonnet get you into that wonderful cozy mood of ice shack angling.
Here’s what happened to him in his shack last winter. With bright sunlight streaming through the windows of his wooden shack, there was the comforting smell and warmth from wood crackling in its’ small stove. Subdued music from the radio filled the shack. Dallas, a soft faced youth with long brown hair that fell over his forehead sat on a bench on one end of the hut holding a short rod whose line disappeared into the water of his ice hole. On a similar wall bench across from him sat his buddy, Jaden Maki, also fishing. Their heavy snowmobile boots clunked on the wood floor as they shifted about. Setting his rod on the floor, Dallas stood up and went to the window looking out across the sun bathed flat ice pack that reached out to the distant dark shoreline. Other shacks dotted the icescape. Pickup trucks lazily bounced from one place to the other . Then he heard a slight scraping sound. He turned and looking down saw his rod slowly migrating across the floor toward the ice hole. Dallas sprang forward grabbing his rod instantly sensing there was a small fish on his hook. He reeled in and sure enough a little pickerel popped free of the water.
Jaden teased Dallas about his inability to catch a “real” fish.
That stopped sharply as a loud splashing pierced the shack and a huge thrashing jackfish flew up half out of the ice hole water completely swallowing the tiny pickerel. Dallas reacted with lightening reaction grasping his line and dragging the jack up onto the shack floor. After he caught his breath he turned to Jaden and simply smiled sarcastically while pointing to his prize saying, “come on, try and beat that.”
See, winter’s great.
Now, let’s get back to open water fishing. Down along the Red riverbank last week I met Shawna Osueke and her fiancé, Steve Froese from Altona. They were sitting in lawn chairs all bundled up casting questioned glances at the ends of their rods which had not given a signal all day that the fish here were hungry.
Incidentally Steve is no relation to the Froeses’ who gave us the story a month ago about having his or her rod stolen. Anyway, Steve had a story for us that went like this.
He was boat fishing on the Red by Sugar Island and like this afternoon, wasn’t catching a darn thing. What hurt more was he could see the guys around him catching all kinds of fish. Finally a neighboring angler took pity on him and trolled over to him telling him to try putting the tail part of a white rubber twister onto a bright jig for bait. He did and in no time caught the beautiful 34” walleye you see in our picture for the week.
Our next story isn’t really a fishing story but it’s funny.
I was slowly idling around the Winnipeg Beach harbor complex in “old red” last Friday. In the still overcast morning, coming up to a park area, I noticed a pickup truck with one of those Northwest Territories white license plates in the shape of a bear on the front bumper. Rolling past I saw a tall fellow walking his big old yellow lab beside the water. I drove over and introduced myself asking if the truck with the NWT plate was his. “Yea”, a soft-spoken chap with a warm smile who said he was Ernie Brown from nearby Sandy Hook, remarked.
“You’re not going to try to steal it are you,” he joked.
“No, but it’s unusual,” I said.
“For sure,” Ernie laughed, “it’s an inside joke up north that if you have a plate like that you have to go to a guy who knows how to weld up a steel frame and bolt it to your bumper or the minute you get down south to Alberta or B.C., someone will try to tear it off your vehicle for a souvenir.”
Wow. Bye for now.