Who owns that fish?

Hi guys and gals.

There was no reason to think our camper-angler friends at Norris Lake wouldn’t give us an entertaining fishing story when I was there last weekend until I got side tracked by a lovable loon. I idled slowly through the dusty gravel lanes stopping occasionally to talk fishing with folks and almost missed something special. At the end of the pier I noticed two young guys fishing with a pal who happened to be a loon squatting between them. This goose necked, rapier beaked, swept back winged creature in a dark brown, black coat of feathers was acting almost human! It quickly became evident that “Herbert”, we’ll call him, liked people. Herbert clearly seemed to have no patience for Alex and Tyler Robinsons’ ability to catch fish. I watched as he looked up sideways at Alex then Tyler then seemingly in exasperation jumped off the pier and disappeared under the water coming up with a small fish. He wiggled his head squawking as if to say, “see, this is how you do it!” It soon became apparent he considered campers his buddies and the Norris campground his summer home. Campers told me he would waddle or fly from one camp lot to the other picking up morsels of food, checking out the campers and sometimes just sitting beside them for company. At night he would honor some boat owner by perching on his boat for the night. Persnickety, smart Herbert, the Norris Lake mascot, if you come to camp here he’ll probably come say hi!

I mentioned last week anglers who fish in still waters seem to be luckier than others lately. Fish hiding in still waters happened again last Thursday with folks on the Winnipeg River by the Powerview Dam. On the south side there is a large fairly flat rock outcrop harboring a little bay. There I met Bernard Mendoza from Steinbach who was catching one fish after another while everyone else along the bank weren’t getting a bite. Not long ago I met a very interesting chap by the name of Shayn Peitash of Beausejour with a fishing story of theft-as far as he’s concerned! Shayn was a tall well built guy with short brown hair, a strong jaw and tight lips set as he cleared his throat before each sentence. He was riverbank fishing with dad on the Red years ago when nature called. He asked pop to watch his line while he had a quick talk with a willow bush. Coming back, he saw dad reeling in his line with a master pickerel on the hook. Shayn felt it should be his fish but dad insisted he would keep it to have it mounted. Shayn didn’t want to cause trouble so the fish wound up on “dads’” wall. Days later Shayn went to Sunday school and when the teacher asked if anyone had a summer story, Shayn jumped up and told how dad stole his giant fish. The teacher was convinced Shayn was lying about the size of the fish and that father had taken it but Shayn stood his ground and kept on insisting his story was true. Finally the teacher got mad and threw Shayn out of Sunday school. Father and son still argue over who owns that fish!

A few days ago I met a very unusual character. He was tall, portly and one of the nicest guys I have ever come across. He put you in mind of a very cool Santa Clause with his snow white beard and hair, spectacles half off his nose and a talent for telling one story after another in a hearty bellowing voice. He’s Larry Gillings from Monominto (I bet you can’t find where that is) and he told of a time fishing on the Red upstream of Selkirk when he saw a bunch of small frogs by the waters’ edge. He caught a couple and set them on his double hook pickerel rig, cast out and immediately got a strike of two jackfish. Larry sat in his chair astonished at the frenzy before him. The jacks mindlessly attacked the frogs pushing each other away by reflex. The water became frothing foam. Larry being a joker by his own admission yelled at the jacks, “To heck with you guys, you figure it out!” Well, they did, they took the frogs, slipped the hooks and left!

See you next week.