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.
“ ‘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/.