Last week, and this week, just like the last 30 years, I am writing to you about my experiences with the Canada Gang. They are a bunch of family and friends who head up to Red Lake, Ontario, Canada each June and fly in to Shultz Lake by float plane, where we play as hard as we can each and every day.
We are flown in by the good people of Chimo Lodge and Outposts to a chain of lakes where we are the only people around, and as I witnessed again this year, when I hear my comrades fishing in another boat, they are always talking and laughing.
Thursday, June 20
High 77, low 53
Today would be day six at Schultz Lake. So far the wind has blown out of the east every single day. Something folks are not witnessing in the Wisconsin part of the world is that Ontario is extremely dry. There is low water and a tinder-dry forest, and if you are careless or unlucky with a cigarette or a campfire, you could start a forest fire that cannot be put out.
Last night was Joe Dushek’s bachelor party here at camp. Joe is marrying Ashlie Potter on Aug. 3, and we had an informal laugh-all-night celebration that ended a bit after daylight. Mr. Jeff Moll was being a bit wild and lippy, and late in the evening Joe, 25, and Jeff, 58, had a short wrestling match that was quite interesting to observe.
Today, I fished by myself the entire day, and that is a rarity on this trip. I trolled with a crawler harness and my big walleye for the day was 22 inches. In reality, what I did was hold onto a fishing rod, idle along the shoreline for miles, observe and live in the past, present and future.
One experience that was very cool came when I was thinking about this year’s bear season. I have a bear tag, as does my buddy Doug Cibulka, and we will be running baits together from my home. As I was thinking about what needs to be done, I saw what looked like a really good-sized black bear come out of the bush on the opposite side of the lake.
It was a bear that I figured was getting a drink, but I was wrong. It was actually swimming across the lake and in my direction, and I was down wind from it. I got my camera out, and let me tell you, was this bear ever mad when it realized it had swam near a human and was 100 yards from shore. I intentionally kept a distance, but was that bear ever making some interesting noises, as it was really ticked off.
Two days ago, a bunch of us made a 5-mile journey south and did a double portage to some lakes where the good folks from Chimo have a couple of boats. There is an incredibly beautiful creek between the lakes that we named Bear Creek back in the 1980s, because we used to hunt black bear on it.
About two years ago, my brother Bobby passed away, and today my brother Tom took a container with some of Bob’s ashes and built a beautiful temple with rocks and put Bob’s ashes inside of it where it should be safe. Long before Bobby passed away, he always used to say “Put my ashes in beautiful places,” and today Tommy did just that.
The fish catching on a trip like this is just part of the experience. The total getaway, adventure, laughter and looking forward to the next year are what brings us back. No matter if we are at a wedding, deer camp or a Christmas party, we are always talking about Canada.
There are 345 days until our return!