I am going to hunt and fish hard this week, going after those big hybrids gathering in the rivers that feed Truman Lake. They whipped me pretty bad a couple of weeks ago when they broke off five big lures in swift water because I didn’t have the line strength I needed. Now I have taken out the strong stuff and intend to jerk the jaws right off of some of them, fish which range generally from five or six pounds to 10 or 12 pounds and sometimes all the way up to 15 pounds.
Lots of folks call them wipers, fish that are created in hatcheries, crossing white bass and stripers. Where I find them this time of year, they come to a current above the lake. If you land a couple of big ones, and you know how to remove the red meat from the filets, you produce enough white, tasty meat to feed quite a crew.
When it starts getting cold later in the week, I will go hunting with the crossbow I bought last year. But I may not hunt deer much; I likely will try to kill a turkey with it. It is much easier to hunt turkey with a crossbow than a regular bow because you can aim that arrow, or ‘bolt’ like you aim a shotgun. I cannot believe the accuracy of the crossbow at 40 yards, because of that little scope that is used, with the green dot to center on the target.
I loved to hunt with a bow years ago, but that ended when I got something a doctor called a “frozen shoulder.” I can’t figure out how I froze it, for cryin’ out loud… it was in the middle of the summer. It finally went away after a few months, but then the right one got out of whack while it was waiting for the left one to come around, and I couldn’t pull my bow with either one.
I had to finally accept the fact that even though I am smarter than I ever was, I just ain’t physically what I was 30 years ago. The smartness amounts to coming to the realization that you can’t run more than 30 yards anymore, and the realization that you don’t have to, because walking will eventually get you where you need to go. The patience I have never had in my younger times, is still not one of my strong suits, but you can sit down against a tree and be more patient when you are darn near worn out. The urge to see the other side of the mountain subsides when both legs tell you they want to stay where the rest of you has set.
My ancestry, a good part of it, came from Canada, the French long-boat people who made their living trapping and hunting and fishing. One of my great grandmothers was said to be a Cree Indian. In Canada, they no longer refer to the Ojibway and Cree, most of them living on reserves scattered here and there, as “Indians”. They are called “indigenous” people, more of the political correctness crap we have to live with today while civilization spirals toward the gutter. What good has that new name ever done any of them.
Since I have that fraction of my blood with Cree Indian red and white cells, I feel like maybe I can speak up about what I see happening up in northwest Ontario. First of all, the Canadian government, in an attempt to make life better for the Indians, is allowing them to do about anything they want. And that is about to destroy the fishing in many of the best Canadian waters.
The Indians are granted permission to set gill nets in any number, anywhere and keep all the fish they want, to eat or sell, of any size. And you can see what a tremendous blow it is to walleye, bass, northern, crappie and muskie fishing all over Ontario. The places on Lake of the Woods which once were great places to catch big walleye and bass and crappie in October, are now depleted of fish that are of any size whatsoever. Where I once caught perhaps walleye from 20 to 25 inches in length, we have been unable to land a 15 incher for two years, and where we once caught 40 or 50 crappie a day, we now are lucky to boat a half dozen. Big northern pike seem to have disappeared.
I talked to a few of the local guides at Kenora, who say they still can find great fishing, but it has to be where the Indian gill netters do not go. I will never ever return to the Lake of the Woods in October to fish, but there are fly-in lakes and even remote places of Lake of the Woods where good-sized fish remain.
The Canadian government cut limits for U.S. fishermen drastically, and ignore the Indian problem. They feel they have to allow Indians to do anything they want. If they choose to trap, to hunt moose or bear or ducks, they can take all they want, any time they want. They have not made life better for the Ojibway and Cree. Those people, once proud and dignified people, are now given most everything the government can give them, including free health care and regular entitlement checks. Amongst them, there is a tremendous alcohol problem.
I recall fishing and hunting bluebills on Lake of the Woods with an Ojibway guide probably 35 years ago, and he was a delight to fish with and be around. One of the local fishermen said we should not pay him at the end of one day, but rather after we were finished hunting and fishing. We ignored him, and paid our guide after one evening because he said he needed it. The next morning he was so drunk he couldn’t even get in the boat.
Liberal governments, and Canada’s is about as left wing as any can get, destroy people with entitlement programs, but you would hope the Ojibway and Cree would try to ensure that fish and wildlife are not impacted by their existence. Pride seems to be gone with many of them. In the reserves that I see, they live in little houses that often are about the size of a large shed.
There are plenty of good people from both tribes who have tried to change things, to no avail. The Indians are poor politicians. The Canadian government won’t help them much, just hand them a regular, insufficient check to buy whiskey with, and watch them slaughter fish and wildlife at their will, and watch them die young from alcoholism problems.
If you want to get one of my books or a copy of my 96-page, full-color outdoor magazine, just call Ms. Wiggins, the executive secretary at the executive offices of Lightnin’ Ridge Publishing Co., and ask for me. That number is 417/777-5227. Ms. Wiggins has been away from her desk for awhile as her mother got shingles and she said she needed to help her put them on her roof before it rains.