Josh Rouse: Neighbors take separate fishing trips to Canada, net similar results

Big Northern pike, walleye plentiful in Manitoba, Ontario

A pair of Topeka neighbors — Jerry Waldschmidt and Mark Carr — may have booked separate trips to entirely different parts of Canada, but they had strikingly similar results recently while fishing in the cool northern waters.

 

Waldschmidt and his friend Ned Albro, a retired teacher from Seaman Unified School District 345, made a 12-hour drive to Winnipeg before being flown some 300 miles north and east to Elk Island Lodge on God’s Lake in Manitoba.

“ ‘Back when God had more time, this is the lake he would visit for its beauty and fishing,’ ” Waldschmidt recited. “This is how the native Cree Indian guide explained how God’s Lake got its name.

Waldschmidt said the two were met at their airplane by their guide, who took their gear into their cabin and told them he would be waiting at the dock when they were ready to fish.

“Thirty minutes later, we were in a small cove and Ned was fighting a large Northern pike, much like the dozens of 30- to 36-inch pike we could catch the next five days,” Waldschmidt said. “The best comparison that I can make is catching these fish is much like catch a 5- to 6-pound farm pond bass.”

He said Manitoba is a barbless hook, catch-and-release province, and most of the fish they caught never left the water. They would pull the fish right up beside their boat and the guide would reach down and remove the hook, letting the fish swim away.

“While the pike is probably our favorite fish, trophy sizes of walleye and lake trout can also be caught,” Waldschmidt said. During the trip, he said he caught a 41-inch trophy pike and a 30- to 35-inch pike.

Because of the catch-and-release law, all species are judged by length instead of weight in Manitoba. Trophy sizes are 41 inches for Northern pike, 35 inches for lake trout and 28 inches for walleye. Waldschmidt caught his 41-inch trophy pike on the third day, which qualified for Master Angler status. The day before, Albro had caught a 40 1/2-inch one that was bigger than his trophy in every way except length, so he did not receive Master Angler status.

“Doesn’t seem fair,” he quipped.

Aside from the great fishing, Waldschmidt glowed about the lodge itself. Waldschmidt had also visited the lodge the year before with a group of buddies, including former Kansas and NFL football player Paul Oswald, a Hayden product. He said Elk Island Lodge offers a combination of far northern beauty and modern amenities. All cabins are individually heated with full showers, indoor plumbing and separate bedrooms. Each day started with a big breakfast, served in the lodge dining room.

For lunch, they would dine on walleye fillets, fried potatoes and beans prepared by their guide over an open fire on the shore.

The fishing ended around 5 p.m., with a three-course dinner and plenty of stories around the campfire before heading off to sleep.

“It is hard to believe one can be so tired after a day of just fishing and eating, but sleep comes easy by 9 o’clock,” Waldschmidt said. “Especially knowing you have only one thing to do tomorrow — go fishing.”

For more information on Elk Island Lodge, visit http://www.godslake.ca/.

Waldschmidt’s neighbor, Mark Carr, and his 15-year-old son, Culhan, made a separate to Canada, instead trying their luck roughly 1,500 miles away at Wine Lake in Perrault Falls, Ontario. It was there that Culhan caught a nice 26-inch walleye that will love on in fishing tales for years to come.

Mark and Culhan were joined by Mark’s brother, Kevin Carr, and some of their friends. He said they were trolling along in the portage lake — which requires taking an hourlong, 25-mile boat ride to reach — using mostly Z-Man Hula StickZ baits. The group caught several walleyes, some Northern pike and even some smallmouth bass during the weeklong trek to the Great North.

The Carrs were fishing with conservation licenses, meaning anything larger than 18 inches was thrown back into the lake to breed and provide trophy fish for future anglers to catch.

“I’ve been going up there since I was a kid,” Mark said, adding that he’s continued the tradition with his son every year.

I’m envious of both trips. They sound like an amazing time!

For more information on Wine Lake in Ontario, go to http://winelakecamp.com/.

BADGER SPOTTED IN MERIDEN AREA: Mike Lietz, an old friend of my family, said he had noticed an unusual critter roaming about in his brome field near N.W. 82nd and Topeka Boulevard for several evenings and decided to investigate. He said the creature would show up around 6 p.m. every evening and had short, stubby legs. Finally, he and his wife decided to get in the truck and go check it out. When they arrived, they found out it was actually a badger.

Badgers are somewhat rare in this area, mainly sticking around the grasslands in the central part of Kansas, according to the University of Kansas. They use their long claws and strong arms to dig for burrowing mammals to eat, but also will eat insects. Earthworms are actually a large part of their diet. They use their claws and strong arm muscles to burrow out dens to live in.

Badgers are related to otters, skunks, weasels and wolverines, and are typically highly aggressive, though I do have one report of a man who had a pet silvertip badger named Joe.

Quite a cool discovery.

BUFFALO RUMORED TO BE KILLED BY PREDATORS: I heard an interesting rumor last week of a farmer in the Tecumseh area whose buffalo had been killed by some sort of predator.

Hal Lockard, who works for The Topeka Capital-Journal and told me about the ordeal, suggested as possible culprits a pack of wolves, a mountain lion, space aliens or a monster. I’m not sure how likely the latter two suspects are, but I could perhaps see a pair of mountain lions being able to take down a full-grown bison.

A single wolf in this part of the country would be extremely rare, let alone an entire pack, but there have been several confirmed sightings of mountain lions coming through northeast Kansas in recent years.

When I attempted to contact the owner of the farm, he said “I have no comment” and hung up on me. Maybe it was a space alien, after all…

People always think the worst of journalists, I’ve noticed, but most of us genuinely just want to tell a great, honest story. Regardless, here’s hoping he reads this issue of the paper and finds out I’m just curious about critters.

OLD REEL COLLECTORS ASSOCIATION TO MEET IN BRANSON: The Old Reel Collectors Association will have its annual national convention Sept. 6-10 at the Chateau on the Lake, 415 N. State Highway 265 in Branson, Mo.

The 27-year-old nonprofit organization is comprised of experts in antique fishing reels, and the public is invited to bring old fishing reels, rods, lures or other antique equipment from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 9 to be displayed and auctioned off.

Only ORCA members can bid on the tackle, but 100 percent of the profits will go back to the seller, according to a release from the organization.

The event will also include seminars on reel collection and restoration and an antique fishing contest on Table Rock Lake.

An early Kentucky reel set an American auction record of more than $32,000 a decade ago, according to the release, and a British Hardy reel sold in England for almost $70,000 in 2016.

To learn more about ORCA visit their website www.orcaonline.org. Contact The Chateau on the Lake at (417) 334-1161.

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