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TRUCKSTOP - By Rich Tatarka

“You’ve got a fish on Pole Number 2.” I told Mrs. Tee as she emptied a water bottle into the Short Wolves’ (Corgi’s) water dish up near the front of the boat. (We each are allowed 2 fishing poles on Canyon Ferry and hers are #1 & #2 and mine are #3 & #4.) “Copy that.” She replied, “Be there in a sec…” (You’re probably wondering why I didn’t just grab the pole and start reeling in the potential fish.) Simple answer actually. To do so would have violated protocol set forth by the Geneva Convention. Everyone remembers that famous Convention which was held of course in Geneva, Minnesota, land of a bazillion lakes, in the Spring of 1917. Rules set forth that spring still governs the way we fish whilst in our boats today. One of the rules is there is a fine line right down the center of the boat. Port is on the left side of the line and Starboard is on the right. The Port side on our boat belongs to me. Whereas the Starboard side belongs to Mrs. Tee. Starboard side duties include boat control and steering, lure color selector, (cause Port side Guy is colorblind), live well water level, boat snax, care and maintenance of the Short Wolves (Corgi’s), 2 of the 4 fishing poles, and of course the shared duties of the net should we happen upon a walleye larger than the 1.9 million that inhabit that particular lake and are slightly shorter than the bait we’re using… Port side on the other hand belongs to me and my duties are the other two poles, electric trolling motor deployment, thunderstorm proximity alarmist, chief fishhook/fish disengaging specialist, fish finder/navigator, and Worm Boy. Worm Boy is the guy that must put all the worms on all the poles because certain crewmembers are too squeamish to do the proper pinch technique. These particular walleye will not hit a full-size worm. One must attach said worm to hook, then with your thumb and fore-finger pinch it in half. Never should the back half of the worm be put back in the worm can. Ever. It is tossed overboard in order to appease the “Fish Gods”. Anger these guys and your chances of walleye flavored fish tacos for dinner next Tuesday are greatly diminished…

The “Short Wolves” water dish filled, Mrs. Tee moseyed to the back, picked up her pole and started reeling. “Need the net?” “Maybe, this one feels kinda girthy.” I grabbed the net and moseyed over to where she was standing. (What with the hundred or so tiny walleye one deals with every weekend, excitement levels remain rather low and the “Mosey” level of speed is more than enough to deal with what is more than likely another fish with, yet another filet deemed too small for a proper fish taco…) About then, her pole made the sound of line leaving the reel, which we had not heard in a while. Sheryl commenced to reeling and gained back some of the line this fish took from her. (On our boat one of the duties of the “Net Guy” is to give the other guy words of encouragement such as keep yer tip up and such…) “Maybe it’s a Carp.” “It’s not a Carp, it isn’t Carpy acting.” She was right, usually when we hook a carp with our walleye rigging the darned carp will commence a big circle around the other 3 lines that are in the water thus making a rather large tangle. “Might be a trout.” “I don’t think it’s a trout either.” She said. “It’s not acting trouty…” She was right again. Trout usually encircle the other lines like the Carp do but at a lot higher speed. They also come to the surface and start jumping and this fish wasn’t doing that either. Mrs. Tee would reel it in a ways, then the fish would un-reel and head back to the bottom. “Might be a Christmas Tree.” FWP and the local Walleye Clubs put a couple of hundred used trees in the lake every spring to give the perch somewhere to hide so the walleye don’t eat them. Every once in a while, you snag one and you swear you’re bringing in a state record walleye. “No, it is definitely a fish. You got the net ready?” “Yup. Net’s ready.” One of the problems with Canyon Ferry is the algae blooms that are here all summer long, compliments of the 100,000 or so nitrate and phosphate producers that live upstream from Canyon Ferry. It’s so thick that whatever fish you’re reeling in you don’t see until it gets right to the boat. Well, this particular fish finally relented and suddenly my net wasn’t big enough. I had to do a double scoop and with it mostly in the net I brought it aboard. 32 inches of walleye instead of the usual 8 inches was a bit overwhelming… We put it in the live well and after a while the adrenaline wore off and we were able to take some pictures. Then we had the discussion of what to do with it. “You know, there’s probably enough fish there for about 200 fish tacos…” “Nah, lets catch 400 little ones instead and let this one go,” Mrs. Tee suggested. The problem with that idea was this fish was caught in a spot that was 30 feet deep or so. Then the epic battle and the water temps real high, the fish was already swimming sideways in the live well. It wasn’t going to make it if we turned it loose. “I say we put it on the wall in the living room. Get our favorite Taxidermitologist Guy to do us one more project before he retires.” “Good idea.” Mrs. Tee said, “Long as yer buyin’…”"Sure, and next weekend you get to be Worm Boy for a day," I suggested...

And there you have it. A big walleye story. Our third big one here on Canyon Ferry since about 2009. So now its back to 8 incher after 8 incher after 8 incher for about another three and a half years before another big one ends up in the boat. But you never know… Could be tomorrow, up to the Fish Gods I’d say…

Until next time,

That Is All.

Rich T

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