The fourth generation!

 Jake's first fish
 Jake with the greedy pike
Known for its wildlife, great golf course and scenery, Riding Mountain National Park is also an angler’s paradise. The gem of all the lakes within the park though, is Clear Lake. Over the course of my life, I have always found time to visit this beautiful park. One of the most popular tourist destinations in Canada, the majority of people that launch their boats use it for watersports such as tubing and water skiing. The Lamont family has a long history with this region, having made the Wasagaming town site a summer destination from the early 1950’s. My dad grew up on a farm near Margaret, Manitoba so Clear Lake was the number one resort destination for people in southwestern Manitoba. I have a picture of my relatives visiting there in 1946. I spent some early years there camping with my family. One of my favourite memories occurred during the summer of 1970 when I spent a week there camping on my own. I wanted a place to train in preparation for a university basketball career. Every day I ran miles and miles along the back roads around the lake. In the evening, I would wander down to the town site to roller skate at the outdoor park or take in an outdoor movie at the drive-in theatre. It was a great place for both solitude and interaction with a myriad of young people who flocked there (and still do!)

 Julia and Jake checking out the Visitor's Centre during a little down time.
When my cousin, Peter Lamont from Oakville, started returning with his family ten years ago, it was a must to keep the tradition going. This July Peter had his grandchildren along, a fourth generation returning to the park and yet another generation to enjoy this incredible destination. Peter’s grandson, Jake, had a burning desire to catch a fish. His dad, Chris Betts, had taken him out in a canoe, but Jake was still to land a fish. I had agreed to bring my boat along on this week long family vacation so I could get Jake his first fish. Which, of course, meant the pressure was on. Finally the day arrived! We had agreed to head out the second afternoon after arrival. First though, came an an inspection for Zebra Mussel. Once done and the certificate received, we launched the boat at the east end of Clear Lake near the golf course. My original plan was to fish for walleye but after watching Jake struggle with a rod, I knew that probably was not the best idea if we were going to catch fish.
So off we went to the west end of the lake and a huge sandy, rocky reef that held a ton of northern pike, a fish usually ready to bite a crankbait. I had fished this pattern a number of times in the past and it didn’t let me down this time either. No sooner had I got the lures out behind the boat, that we had our first bite, a vicious strike that doubled my rod over in the holder. 

 Fish time!
To make a long story short, Jake had his first fish, and the pressure was off. Over the course of the next hour and a half we lost some fish, landed some and good times were had by all. It was the last fish of the day, though that really punctuated a great afternoon. Jake had been reeling in another fish, when his mom Kelly, who was reeling in the other line yelled that she had a fish on too! What was so unusual about this double header was the pike had grabbed both lures at almost the same time. Now that is a greedy fish, but of course pike are noted for that. 
What a way to end the day! Wow, and I mean wow!! 

As the week went on, we had another afternoon scheduled for fishing with the grandkids and this time Julie was coming. Julie was five years of age, and one of the most dynamic young people I had ever meet. I was really looking forward to having both Jake and Julia in the boat. It was a beautiful afternoon when we launched the boat at the main boat launch just south of the main town site.

As we headed out on the water, I was fooling around with my second depth finder to get my GPS working properly. Meantime my other unit, my new Humminbird 899 was lighting up like a Christmas tree! We were in 21 feet of water and it was showing some weed growth, but it was also lit up with baitfish and big marks all over the place.

 This was four minutes from the boat launch and the crankbaits were going down. In two hours of fishing we had four doubleheaders and landed too many fish to remember. It was some of the most intense action I have had and what a thrill for the kids. Unfortunately they will probably be spoiled for ever. Our biggest fish landed was close to 40 inches, a nice solid pike that put up a memorable battle.

 Kelly gets the big pike of the day!
 Julia enjoys the action with her dad

After getting everyone safely back to the cabin, the grandkids spent the next three hours painting pictures of their great afternoon. Here is what they painted.

This is why you need to take a kid fishing………………………………