Posted 9/22/21

PROUDLY SPONSORED BY STANLEY TIRE AN OUTDOORSMAN’S BY MARK WALTERS Salmon in a Canoe Hello friends, As many of you are aware I enjoy doing outdoor related sports in a canoe. This fall no one in my …

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Salmon in a Canoe

Hello friends,

As many of you are aware I enjoy doing outdoor related sports in a canoe. This fall no one in my inner circle has a bear tag so a week where I am usually hunting bear or helping someone to harvest a black bear is open. Two weeks ago I made the decision that I was going to head over to Lake Michigan and try to catch a salmon out of my canoe and that is what this column is about.

Thursday, September 9th High 77, low 53

I chose Sheboygan to be my fishing grounds and I have to admit I was very excited to attempt to tussle with the salmon of my fantasy world while being pulled around on the big lake. Now here is some reality, behind the scenes, facts.

Upon arriving at the landing and marina at Sheboygan I realized that I had forgotten my salmon tackle box “flasher flys/spoons.” I could not find my headlamp and the big reality; you have to pull hard on a kayak paddle 100-percent of the time to have your lure putting out the right presentation to get a salmon or trout to strike it.

So, it is like 2:00 pm and I am at a 6 boat landing so I could take my time rigging my canoe with rod holders a propane light setup and laying everything out so I can net or gaff a fish and ride out high seas. This style of fishing which I have never witnessed with another person in a canoe is suicidal, death to your knees. I straddle a cooler like riding a horse and my knees pretty much hold me up and ride out each wave.

Fishermen that are coming from fishing always talk to and give me good info because they see me as zero threat. I spoke with one fella that had caught about an 8-pound rainbow trout and he actually gave it to me. Thoughts went through my mind, couple of pics of “my trophy”, a vivid imagination and I could live another day. In all honesty, not one time in 32 years have I lied in this column, and I was not going to start today.

So, the rainbow stays in a cooler at the truck, and I begin paddling an pulling crankbaits. One is a Rebel double jointed, orange crankbait that was just given to me while I was in Canada by my good buddy Pete Hagedorn who is 83 and giving away some of his gear.

In the end I am pulling two cranks, have no electronics and am in the world of charter boats doing circles in shallow water and I am not catching any fish. I did a journey up the Sheboygan River and was I ever impressed with the way this city is laid out and watched as dozens of fishermen were casting from shore or soaking spawn sacks hoping that the fall run of spawning chinook were upriver.

Just before dark I lit my lantern and was paddling out to sea with waves at about a foot with one rod straight back and the other to my right on a planer board. To me it is very obvious that I am the most talked about subject on the water by other fishermen because I am like a dinosaur, my species is extinct.

All was perfect in my world, and I was in the fifth hour of paddling when by God I hit my number one goal and that was I had a strike on Pete’s crank with the planer board. Before you get too excited you have to get the canoe turned around and going down wind and then you fight your fish. I could not have been more pleased when I landed a 5-pound coho close to dark. I was so happy I pulled a cold can of Pabst Blue Ribbon out of my cooler and watched day become night.

I resumed paddling hoping for a 4-year-old King but tonight that was not meant to be.

I had been on my knees for 6 hours when I got out of the canoe and hobbled to The Chevy Hotel for a wonderful nap in the backseat. Late in the evening and I have to admit, this time I was not very comfortable, there was a knock on my window and a flashlight in my face, a male and female Sheboygan police officer wanted to know what I was doing? I told them fishing salmon in my canoe and to look in my cooler. They were very cool, and I want everyone to know that a year ago when some fools were anti police, I was pro police and always will be.

I came back to shore in the dark and left the next morning in the dark with the exception of my propane light. I really thought I would hook into something big that would pull me miles out to sea for several days, a fantasy that I often have, but instead I put 6 more hours on my knees, hit shore, loaded up and when I reached Fond du Lac I was so tired I had to pull over like right now and sleep in a Culvers parking lot. Live till u die!

The lighthouse at Sheboygan is a popular place to fish!