It has been a bit of a different year out on the ice. We didn’t get any decent ice until a recent cold snap, then snow, the warm weather again…yikes. While I have been out on Lake Winnipeg twice in the last week, it is pretty tough to get around in a vehicle out there right now. For true mobility it’s either snowmachine or Sno
|Susan Geres with her trophy|
Not many will be able to match the story that Susan Geres has been able to tell over the last month since she caught her fish of a lifetime. Geres, and husband Roger are avid anglers, who live in Langenburg, Saskatchewan. Roger works at the potash mine nearby. Since it is shift work, the two of them spent almost every spare moment fishing. Since they live a reasonable drive from Lake of the Prairies that is their favourite destination. This winter Susan Geres says they were disappointed with the late start to the ice fishing season because of the warm temperatures. She also believes it changed location of the walleye in the reservoir. Many of their traditional spots were not producing so since the cold spell they have spent a lot of time moving around trying to find fish. Finally they found a spot with some fish activity.
“We were in about 25-26 feet of water using my favourite hooks, (I love PK Flutterfish). We were seeing a little more action on the Marcum LX-7 than normal for this year. We had caught a few that were small but then a big mark showed up”
Geres got that fish to hit but missed it. She quickly reeled up and put another half a minnow on. “I let it down and touched bottom lifted up and bang he's back!”
With this big fish now hooked up on six pound test, Susan called her husband over to help land this monster. When I talked to Roger on the phone, he mentioned that he didn’t want to tell his wife how big the fish really was in case she panicked.
When she finally saw the fish down the hole, she almost fainted. Roger got the fish on the ice though and the rest is history
“We just looked at each other like it wasn't real and I almost started crying I was so happy! We couldn't believe how big it was! We have seen big fish in pictures but this is the biggest we've ever seen in real life.”
The fish was caught later in the afternoon when the activity level on the reservoir usually picks up. The fish measured out at 79 centimetres (31 inches) with a weight of 6.12 kilograms or 13.5 pounds. Both Roger and Susan agonized over whether to keep the fish or not. Roger knows how valuable this fish is in the gene pool and he says they always release the large fish. However, with this one as a fish of a lifetime they decided to get it mounted.
I mentioned to Roger the work of Paul Janz at Flexfish. He does some of the best replica work anywhere and I explained I had three replica mounts from him that I use in my school presentations. They are incredibly lifelike and have plastic fins and a soft texture to the skin.
Check them out at www.flexfish.ca
Cynthia Nerbas, who works for Asessippi Parkland Tourism says it goes down as one of the largest walleye ever caught on the lake. Nerbas says it will help highlight their big ice fishing event to be held February 27th. For more information visit http://f.asessippiparklandtourism.com/ice-derby.html
Last year a 71 centimetre walleye won the first place prize, which this year is $12, 500.
Long-time friend Ken Kansas, who lived for years on the shores of Lake of the Prairies, says a walleye of this size is fairly rare on this body of water, though big female walleye this size have been caught in the past. Kansas is a biologist with Manitoba Fisheries. Kansas says it is nice to see that this particular fish has a good length to girth ratio. For years the bigger walleye in this lake have been long and skinny but an improved forage base is increasing the number of heavier fish. Don Stokotelny, from Dauphin, has guided on the lake for years, and confirms this probably is the largest walleye caught on the reservoir in a long time. He was well aware of the Geres fishing exploits. These two have caught many big fish on the reservoir, most of them pike. In fact Susan has a 47.5 inch pike to her credit.
Roger says those are pretty big benchmarks to try and beat!