The best week of the year


So here is the scenario! It is a Monday in mid-June. Seven close family members and friends were flown into the Canadian bush via a floatplane two days earlier.

The goal of each member of the “Canada Gang” is to catch up on a year’s worth of long-term fatigue and just as importantly have as much fun as possible.

Oh yeah, we are the only people on an entire chain of lakes, have been coming here since 1982 and are very skilled at having fun.

Monday, June 15

High 71, Low 46

Just about every day of this adventure rain came in the afternoon and we had to keep the wood stove burning. Today was an exception and I was confident that my 14-year-old daughter, Selina, and I could catch a big northern pike if we really tried.

Generally, our big northern for the week is between 37 and 41 inches and our big walleye is between 27 and 31. Thus far, Selina has a big walleye at 24 and Ryan Moll has big northern at 31. Neither are big fish but there is still five days left of this howmuch fun-can-you-have kind of week.

So there is a bay called “Bob’s Bay,” named after my dad because he loved casting it for gators (northerns and muskies). I am throwing the “Muskie” Red Eye, which I believe is the largest Red Eye made and a very good lure. Selina is throwing smaller Red Eyes, and black and white Dare Devils.

We are using the wind and doing drifts, and Selina is catching plenty of walleyes and small gators. One of the best drifts is along a weedy shoreline and I had a big fish smack the Red Eye that started peeling the line off my drag at an incredible speed.

We were too close to shore for netting a fish, so I slowly idled the 9.9 Yamaha to deeper water where hopefully Selina would have a chance at it with the net.

This fish put up an incredible fight and when we measured it pushed the tape to 39.25 inches and would win gator for the day and week.

Something that is really funny is that our gang, which is realistically made up of at least 25 people between the ages of 14 and 77, travels all over together hunting and fishing. We have deer, duck and fish bets on every trip.

The following day, while fishing with 14-year old Dylan Walters and Selina, Selina would catch a 25-inch walleye that would win walleye for the week.

I play around a lot but one of the group members, 27-year-old Ryan Moll, is heading off to OTS “Offi- cer Training School” at Maxwell Air Force Base this fall and if he makes it will be commissioned as a second Lieutenant. Ryan has earned a spot at Selfridge Air National Guard base in Michigan to become an A-10 pilot and that my friends has our group pretty proud.

Every day on Shultz Lake is literally an adventure and each member of the group takes each day at their own pace. We do a lot of portaging to lakes that have boats on them and we catch plenty of walleyes and northern pikes.

At nighttime it is always close to 11 when we make it back to the cabin and well after midnight when we eat supper. Towards the end of the week, there is not a one of us that does not partake in the annual conversation of how cool it would be to stay for two weeks or at least 10 days.

Our very close friends, Pete and Elizabeth Hagedorn, the owners of Chimo Lodge and Outposts, are now in their late 70s and Pete is still an active bush pilot. The Hagedorns have been running this place, which they started, for 40 years.

I worked for Pete and Elizabeth as their camp manager and that is when I started writing this column back in 1989. As you can see, the folks that you hang with and the activities that you partake in are a big part of shaping your life.

At this point I could not be happier!


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