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Published: Friday, 9/4/2009

Ecstasy: wilderness fishing trip

Terry Francis of Monclova proudly shows off a 41-inch northern pike he landed during a trip to Ontario. Terry Francis of Monclova proudly shows off a 41-inch northern pike he landed during a trip to Ontario.
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A wilderness fly-in fishing trip is a summer staple for many anglers, no matter what, and Terry Francis of Monclova is here to tell you that a 41-inch northern pike taken in a remote lake kind of makes the season complete.

He was one of a crew of six — fathers and sons, three each — who flew into Wilderness North's Makokibatan outpost on the sprawling Albany River system, which drains into James Bay.

The party included Francis and his son, Jason of Whitehouse; Evan and Carson Schuman of Dayton, and Russ and Garrett Howard of Cleveland.

“We caught 563 fish in a week, including many walleyes and pike,” Francis said. “All the fish were returned to the lake, except the fish we ate [for shore lunch].” Mostly the men used an old Canadian pike standard, Dardevles, “and a lot of Hot ‘N Tots,” the latter being popular trolling plugs for walleye back home on Lake Erie.

Francis caught his dandy pike, a 14-pounder, on another Ontario backcountry standard, a large Johnson Silver Minnow, this one tipped with a five-inch Berkley Gulp! plastic bait. Big walleye honors on the trip went to Russ Howard, who caught and released a 27-incher.

Francis said on a similar run last year, he took a 31-inch walleye and a 47-inch pike. Just right for summer dreaming in January.

For fishermen, a dream honeymoon would include some fishing, and Toledoans Joel and Jessica Babka did just that, fortuitously landing two of the larger king salmon taken on Lake Michigan this summer.

Jesse Ruiz, Jessica's father, said the angling newlyweds were on their honeymoon at Manistee, Mich., and decided to sign up for a salmon trip with West Coast Sportfishing there.

“After hours and hours of trolling around, just before sunset, Joel catches the first salmon, a male, at 24 pounds,” noted Ruiz. But, “within minutes Jessica pulls in a female at 26 pounds.”

“What a way to start out a new married life,” adds Ruiz. Rightly so.

Michael Trombly of Perrysburg won the Walmart Bass Fishing League's Michigan Division tournament on the Detroit River Saturday with a five-bass catch weighing 23 pounds, 11 ounces, earning $3,553.

Trombly said he caught his bass snapping a tube on the rough waters of Lake Erie. Robert Barta of Deerfield, Mich., took home the boater division big bass award, earning $455 for a 5-pound, 13-ounce bass he caught.

William Schwartz of Avon Lake, Ohio, earned $1,777 as the co-angler winner with a catch of five bass weighing 20 pounds, 3 ounces that he caught on a Gulp! Minnow fished on a drop-shot rig on shallow rock piles. Schwartz earned $227 as the co-angler Big Bass winner after catching a 6-pound, 1-ounce bass.

The final regular-season Michigan Division event, a two-day tournament, is set for the Detroit River in Trenton, Mich., Sept. 19-20.

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or dial (270) 252-1000.

The Ottawa Soil and Water Conservation District is conducting its annual fish sale for stocking ponds until Oct. 2.

Species being offered include bluegill, channel catfish, fathead minnow, largemouth bass, redear sunfish, and white amur.

The latter, more commonly known as grass carp, are Asian members of the minnow family, are sterile, and are used to control rooted aquatic vegetation such as pondweed and coontail, and floating duckweed, green algae and even cattails.

To receive an order form, call the district office at 419-898-1595 or visit it, 240 West Lake St. Oak Harbor.

A similar fish sale is offered by the Lucas Soil and Water Conservation District, with an order deadline of Oct. 5. For details call the district office, 419-893-1966, or visit it at 130 West Dudley St., Maumee.

Contact Steve Pollick at:spollick@theblade.comor 419-724-6068.



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