Monday August 14, 2017 



The Morning Son

Ontario walleye highlights of trip to Canada

Chris Wood, Trout Unlimited



ad, look! I followed Wylie’s arm and saw a big bald eagle perched in a tree. It was one of 10 sightings that week. Wylie, 13, has grown taller than my 6’2”. When we go back-to-back, it is only a mother who remembers her first baby, and his hyper-competitive brothers who refuse to allow their older brother to be taller than I.

He is a quiet kid, and, as is likely the case with all first kids, I worry about him. Perhaps because he is always the first; first to go to school, first to play a sport, and this year, first to go to High School. Perhaps because he is so careful and never went through the goofball phase within which my own brothers claim I remain. Perhaps because he simply keeps such close counsel. He’s a very good baseball player and athlete with broader shoulders but similar features to mine. Until this fishing trip to Canada, unlike his younger brothers, he had rarely been overnight alone with just me.

We were on the fourth day of our trip to Shabuskwia Lake in Ontario Province when Wylie spotted the eagle. Walleye and pike were the catch of the trip with an errant yellow perch and white sucker. We fished for seven days with my old boss, Mike, two of Mike’s nephews, and kids aged 21, 17, and another 13-year old.

Chris Wood and his son Wylie hold a golden pike caught in Shabuskwia Lake, Ontario.

Although I love to spin-fish, I stubbornly insisted on fly-fishing for walleye. The pike were a lot more willing on the fly than the walleye, initially. Three tricks improved my productivity. First, I used a full sink line with a weighted clouser-minnow. After Wylie mastered the art of jigging with a twister tail, on the fourth day, I sheepishly added the end of a twister-tail to my clouser. That worked well. But the superior innovation was sweetening the streamer with a little leech. Purists would turn up their nose, but for catching dinner, it worked.

We slept two to a room, and fished two to a boat. At bedtime, Wylie would say, “hey Dad, think we should go to sleep?” I would wake, and remove the book perched on my chest, and we would turn off our headlamps. Other than having the Canadian fish police fly-in to check our licenses, and then losing our way before Wylie remembered a feature on the lake and guided us back to camp, we fell into a set-routine. Breakfast. Make lunch. Clean up. Fish-hard. Play catch in the evening. Have dinner. Clean-up. Plan for the next day.

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