“Then,” said Miller, “one of these years you’ll need to join us on one of our annual trips to Canada.” I agreed, but at the time neither of us realized it was going to be this year. Turns out the third member of his party dropped out unexpectedly less than three weeks from the first day of fishing. One phone call from Bryce followed by a five minute family discussion, and I dropped in. All in.
An hour later I had plane reservations to Minneapolis with the promise I’d be picked up at the airport and whisked away to Lac Seul, a 400,000 acre fishing paradise a dozen hours north in the province of Ontario, where the nearest town is Ear Falls. Town might be a bit of exaggeration. The description Bryce provided is of a place that not only lacks a stoplight, but is not likely to have a stop sign. My kind of town.
Our ultimate destination is the Evergreen Lodge fish camp, where our accommodations for a week of fishing include a furnished shoreline cabin that comes complete with a porch ideal for swatting mosquitos, dock, boat with motor and scavenging black bears. Judging from the photos, the place looks terrific and the lake (did I mention it covers 400,000 acres) exceeds the combined acreage of every body of freshwater I’ve fished on in my entire life!
Best of all, Bryce promises that it is full of walleye as voracious as the mosquitos along with plenty of northern pike, fair numbers of fat yellow perch, husky smallmouth bass and the chance to hook a muskie! In my entire life I’ve caught one pike which was pretty much a fluke at Flagstaff, Arizona’s Lake Mary and smallmouth, the total number of which could be counted using less than two full hands of fingers. A single trip to a creek on Maryland’s Eastern Shore for yellow perch required the use of most of my fingers and toes for counting purposes. As for walleye and muskies – I’ve dreamed about them, but never dreamed I’d have the chance to catch them.
As with bass fishing, it is clear that walleye fishing has morphed into a commercial monster of sorts with “specialized” walleye boats, rods, reels, nets, seats, shirts, line, jigs, harnesses, spinners, crank baits, spreaders, weights and more. Judging by the advertisements, I’m not likely to catch a fish without them. Sadly, it is the business and the hype rather than the actual fishing that has turned in this direction. I’ll play along with it when it comes to terminal tackle, although my curl tail grubs look an awful lot like the walleye models. As for the rods and reels, the outfits don’t look much different from the gear that already overflows my den and the corner of my garage, much of it acquired by choice and plenty more that arrived unannounced while doing some tackle testing and consulting for Daiwa.
I’m certain the gear that works for bass will be just fine for the walleye and the heavier gear will be satisfactory for most of the pike and all but the largest of specimens and muskies. Should I be outmatched from time to time – in my book that just makes for a more memorable and better story.
Walleye in San Diego
I suspect that many SDFish readers will be surprised to learn that a pair of San Diego County reservoirs were once hosts to the introduction of walleye. After receiving a large number of eggs from the Minnesota Conservation that had been taken from walleye in that state’s Detroit River, the California Department of Fish and Game planted 5,350,000 fry and 34,590 fingerlings in five Southern California reservoirs between 1959 and 1963. Locally, El Capitan and San Vicente were heavily stocked. The walleye survived in these waters as evidenced by at least a few cases grew to large size before being caught by anglers, but the species failed to reproduce, thus dooming the effort to failure.