This week, like last week, I am writing about my seven-day fly-in fishing trip to Shultz Lake, which is 63 air miles northwest of Red lake, Ontario.
Wednesday, June 20
High 92, low 63
For the first time in at least 15 years, we are experiencing extreme heat on this trip, which has among other things, caused the lake to be very low, and forest fire potential to be high. Back around 1995, we were on this lake when a fire burnt the south end, and it was crazy to watch as for several days the fire approached.
What was crazy about that story is that when the fire hit the south end, we took boats down and watched the area where we bear hunt burn. The following day half of our crew was flown out by helicopter. I stayed with a couple of other guys to help firefighters put sprinklers on the cabins and hook up water pumps.
The whole deal was really intense and just before things were about to go really bad, a thunderstorm put the fire out.
Today I headed down to Bear Lake with the entire crew in three boats, which is about a 7-mile ride. I would be fishing with my friend Bob “Bobco” Pearson from Denham Springs, Louisiana.
Like every day on this trip, the walleye were very hungry and literally without any effort, we caught 37 in just over an hour. We began working our way back to the gang, which was two lakes up, and preparing for a shore lunch.
A funny thing happened as Trent Schuster, who is my 26-year-old nephew, was winning our daily northern pike bet with a 34-incher. I am hyper as heck, and had to throw casts with my old reliable “Musky” Red Eye as my brother Tom cooked walleye fillets and all eight of us ate nothing but walleye.
Just as I was about to pull my lure out of the water a very sickly 34 ¾-inch northern slithered into the shallows. Everyone saw it. I did a figure eight, the fish grabbed it and WHAMO, I beat Trent for the coveted gator-of-the-day award.
I also pulled ahead of my old buddy Bobco, who was winning the walleye-for-the-week bet with his 26-incher, as I landed a 27-incher. Bobco and I have a very funny rivalry, and I really enjoyed putting salt in that wound, so tonight at camp I really poured it out.
I have been coming here with family and friends since 1982 and today was my day to cook. In other words, the other six days I watched someone else cook and do the dishes. Every year we have a fish boil and so far it has never fallen on my cooking day. Today it did, and am I ever glad that it did.
Here is a quick rundown. In the largest pot you can find boil a bunch of red potatoes in very salty water. Then add a lot of onions, and for the last 12 minutes put in several pounds of walleye fillets.
Pour this into a strainer and serve with rye bread, a vegetable and a bunch of melted butter. This meal will now be served in my house several times a year.
Last week I wrote that my good friends Pete and Elizabeth Hagedorn, who created and owned Chimo Lodge and Outposts since 1975, have sold it to my new friend Chris LeBlanc and his family. Today Chris had a couple of pilots fly a brand new Lund boat in for us, and that certainly put a smile on our faces.
Tonight after an excellent dinner, I made the mistake of wrestling with Bobco. Imagine a mink and a grizzly wrestling. I was the mink, and the grizzly reformed my skeletal structure.
On the last night of this incredible annual adventure, Trent was fishing with his dad, Dick Schuster, and his second cousin Landon Woodruff. Landon caught a 24 1/2-inch walleye and Trent caught a 27 5/8-inch beauty which beat my 27-incher for big walleye of the week.
Last year Trent was winning big northern for the week and I beat him on the last night, so he had sweet revenge.
In my opinion, fly-in Canadian fishing trips are about as good as it gets. Though it is exhausting to get to your destination. The next seven days are pure relaxation and the no cell service is like an incredible gift as the total getaway creates a true vacation.
I am already planning next year in my mind and how I can beat Trent Schuster in any and all fish bets.