Thursday, June 23, 2011

Father's Day

Last Sunday was Father's Day.  Although the bite continues to be hot, between seeing my dad and having the double pleasure of visiting my Uncle Jerry, who is in from Boise Idaho, I don't think fishing would have been any better.  As both my dad and I get older, you come to the realization that things will not last forever.  Thinking back these two guys have given me some interesting fishing experiences over the years.  Dad got me started fishing as we often fished the Eleva Pond for trout and crappies, the Buffalo River for carp, and as a special treat we would head to Marshmiller Lake near Bloomer Wisconsin for the slab bluegills.  April was sucker fishing in the creek below the dam and a few choice holes in the river.  Trout fishing in Eleva was usually relegated to the months of May and June as the Rod and Gun Club and the Wisconsin DNR would plant hatchery browns, rainbow, and brook trout into the pond and local streams.  I will remember one April, I suppose I was no older than 10 years old.  My fishing pole was an old 5 foot steel octagonal rod with a Pflueger level wind reel loaded with black Dacron line.  My dad had rigged it up with a sinker and hook, with a can of worms my brother Steve and I headed to the bridge on Hwy 10 that crossed the creek from the pond.  The creek ran through town so it was only about a block from where we lived at the time.  Well, don't ask me how but I somehow caught a northern pike that had come up from the Buffalo River and it was huge!  It was the biggest and meanest fish I had ever seen (compared to the suckers in the river), guessing it was at least 3 feet.  Not knowing what to do with it, Steve ran home to get dad.  Lucky thing northerns are pretty tough as I suspect my sense of panic was well relayed to my dad as it took about 5 minutes for him to get down to the creek.   Dad unhooked the fish, took one look at me and slipped it back into the water.  As it swam away my jubilation went as well.    Knowing my limits of expressing myself in front of my father, he sensed my frustration, explaining that this fish was not legal to keep for at least another week.  In hindsight it taught me a good lesson as I probably could have got away with carrying it home but those teeth were pretty intimidating.  BTW, the fish was only about 22 inches but I can guarantee it was much bigger when I caught it.

I had not seen my uncle Jerry (Zeke) since uncle Keith had passed away a few years ago.  I have mentioned how influential he has been in my fishing life and seeing him on Sunday was a pure pleasure.  I have previous posts of our fishing adventures in Alaska and Mille Lacs however it really started in the summer of 1965 during a visit to Boise.  Zeke was a dentist and I suspect he made an offer to my dad, bring Steve and Dave out for a visit, I'll fix their teeth for nothing and we can enjoy some time together.  Well the trip out was memorable as we went through the Black Hills, stayed in Cody Wyoming before heading to Yellowstone.  At that time it was popular to feed the bears and we saw quite a few of them.  Heading to Boise my brother and I got all of our cavities filled (still in today) and managed to find some time for fishing.  Zeke used this opportunity to teach me how to fly fish, something almost unheard of in Eleva.  Boise is considered high desert and because we were pretty young we stuck to fishing the irrigation canals that flowed through the area.  I suppose there might have been some trout in these waters however we caught mostly squawfish, a native member of the carp family which inhabits the western part of North America.  Zeke says they call them pikeminnows, a more politically correct term these days.  Today I still fly fish today using the same techniques I learned over 40 years ago fishing in Idaho as this nice dolly vardon caught in Alaska demonstrates.  With a little luck maybe Steve and I can retrace our journey of 1965 and try a little Idaho fishing later this year.

As for Father's Day, it was a good one.  My dad is not doing too well but then again just seeing him was a blessing.  Here is hoping for the chance to celebrate it again next year.  The weather has been wet and windy yet with a little luck I'll get to Mille Lacs on Saturday to catch him a few walleyes for supper, he'll like that!

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