Published July 23, 2010, 08:12 AM

Looking forward to Amisk return

The hard rain of morning has ceased, so Laurie and I slip into the old Lund boat, I fire up the engine and while we motor to Warehouse Bay she pulls the plug on the boat, draining the rainwater from it — a trick she taught me when I met her in Alaska 28 years ago.

By: Bernie Kuntz, Outdoors, The Jamestown Sun

“…when a dream is gone, hope is gone, and life can become drab and without purpose. As long as a dream is ahead, there is always something to look forward to…to see the Far North rivers of the Canadian shield.” — Reflections From the North Country, Sigurd Olson

The hard rain of morning has ceased, so Laurie and I slip into the old Lund boat, I fire up the engine and while we motor to Warehouse Bay she pulls the plug on the boat, draining the rainwater from it — a trick she taught me when I met her in Alaska 28 years ago.

We are back at T & D Cabins on Amisk Lake, Saskatchewan — Laurie’s third trip to this lake since I first brought her here in 1988, and my 39th since 1967.

Rafts of white pelicans line the bay, the sun emerges from the clouds, and a light breeze makes it a perfect fishing day. And the fishing is good. We cast Dardevles as we drift in the light breeze, then troll back with floating Rapalas. In a bit more than three hours we catch and release about 20 northern pike up to six pounds, and we take five walleyes up to 25-1/2,” all but one released.

Later, Laurie surveys our rented cabin and states, “If you don’t like a cabin like this, you haven’t spent enough time in a tent … you’ve got a ‘frig, running water, gas burners, electricity, comfortable beds.”

The next morning we return to the same bay a few miles from camp, and the fishing continues to be splendid. Laurie hooks a fish after a hard strike, and when she brings the fish near the boat I can see that it is a big walleye. I am able to net the fish — a 29-incher that weighs nine-pounds! Laurie is delighted.

“I have never caught a walleye bigger than that, “ I tell her. “Congratulations. I will have a replica mount made for you for Christmas.”

“Thanks!”

On a trip to this same lake a few weeks earlier, I didn’t catch a walleye over 22.” Today I land a pair of 25” walleyes on Dardevle Imps — one in five-of-diamond pattern, the other, copper. Then I catch and release two that are 26” — both taken on a Rapala Husky Jerk. After 15 pike caught and released along with nine walleyes, most of them also released, we return to camp.

The next day we follow a strong east wind to the same bay, fish for two hours and after catching only one walleye and one pike, decide to quit and retire to camp. It is too difficult to handle the boat in such a stiff wind.

The wind blows for two days so we stay in camp, then get back onto the water on Thursday of the week. A pike just under 30” slams my blue/nickel Imp and is deep-hooked so I am forced to keep it. This is the first pike we have kept on the trip.

“Very pretty fish,” Laurie says as I string the pike and tie it to an oarlock.

“You are the only person I’ve known who called a pike ‘pretty.’”

“Well, then I always have considered you attractive, so maybe that says something.”

Minutes later a pike almost knocks the rod out of my grasp — it is a 31” fish fooled by a green-and-white Devle Dog. Then on four casts with a small red-and-white Cop-E-Cat spoon I catch three walleyes that are about 10” long. I release each of them.

Fishing slows until Laurie nails a 27” walleye on a gold Imp. “Ten-inch walleyes, then a 27-incher … the more I fish this lake the less I think I know about it.”

Our last day of fishing is the second day in July, and things have slowed considerably. No walleyes — most of them probably have moved out into the lake. But the sun is shining, clouds drift across a blue sky, pelicans fly overhead and loons are calling from a corner of the bay. We catch about 10 pike, keeping only the 10-pounder that swallowed a Rapala.

Laurie already is adding items to the “Amisk Lake trip list,” and is looking forward to returning. It goes without saying that I am doing the same.

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