Fishing builds friendships: Janesville couple's Pickerel Arm Camp delivers again
I got home from a Canadian fishing trip last weekend and started catching up on my reading. Sunday's Gazette outdoors column by D.S. Pledger told about how signs of autumn can be seen as early as this month.
Maybe that was part of the problem. Lee Edwardson, who with his wife, Julie, owns and operates Pickerel Arm Camp on Minnitaki Lake near Sioux Lookout, told me last week that it was almost as if fall arrived early to that region of Ontario, Canada. The weather has been cool. The fish have been holding in deep water. If his September guests were there, fishing their usual spots, he figured they'd be enjoying success.
We caught plenty of fish and feasted on walleyes every night. But we didn't catch nearly as many as the amazing total of big walleyes we boated when we fished out of Pickerel Arm's base camp two years ago. Joining me again were two of my good friends—Bill Simmons of Janesville and Brian McGraw of Muscoda. Joining us for the first time were Mark Lanser and Terry Connors of Janesville and Dale Herion, who lives between Janesville and Edgerton. All are experienced fishermen, and it was great to strengthen old friendships and build new ones.
Other than me, everyone seemed satisfied as we reflected Friday night on the week's catch. Maybe that bountiful catch of 2011 spoiled me. Or maybe it really was the weather. We caught most of our walleyes—including 43 topping 20 inches—in water 20 feet or deeper.
I kept notes from our 2011 trip, and other than two spectacular days to start that excursion, the number of big walleyes we caught the rest of that week was on par, day to day, with this year's trip.
As I've reported after previous trips, Lee's parents, Dick and Judy, bought the camp in 1974. Lee started spending summers there at age 3 and took over when illness struck his late father at a young age. Judy still spends summers at Pickerel Arm, and last week Lee was entertaining his sister and other relatives while juggling his regular camp responsibilities.
This fall, Lee and Julie and their two sons, Chase and Andrew, will return to Janesville. They'll spend the winter here, while the boys again attend Madison Elementary School.
I will say this—when I next return to Canada, I plan to fish out of Pickerel Arm. I've fished about a dozen different Canadian lakes and out of a dozen different resorts through the years. The Edwardsons have nine cabins at the base camp and use charter planes to fly anglers and moose and bear hunters to remote cabins. I've never done a fly-in, but judging from their base camp, the Edwardsons run a good resort with the best accommodations I've seen.