Rember When...By Scott Ehricke - July 1, 2009
It really never mattered where we went on the river, I was just so happy to be fishing, and being out on the water. I knew then, that this is why I was placed on this earth. To fish, and to catch fish. We used to fish the area from the old Fremont Bridge, up to Red Banks quite a bit. We always did ok. My uncle would usually out fish me, but hey, I did not care, I was happy to be
After what seemed like 10 minutes, we had this walleye in the boat and boy it was a beauty. My first walleye ever, and it was close to 25 inches long and full of eggs. I know this because my uncle told me so. I think about it now though and kind of chuckle that this walleye was full of eggs in mid-may, but hey, I was a kid and he told me it was full of eggs, so it was. We looked at this fish for a few minutes; he pulled out his old 110 camera, and told me to hold it up for a quick photo. I was grinning ear-to-ear, and so glad to be there, and now I caught my first walleye, what else could a kid want. He snapped a picture, but he had no flash bulbs, so it did not turn out real good, and then he took that fish from me, and threw it back into the mighty Wolf River to be caught again.
I asked him why he did that, and he turned to me and said something I will never forget. He said "Scott, by letting that one fish go, the fishing gods will now bless you, and they will allow you to catch plenty more. Always let those big ones go, they are the reason we have walleyes here and those females deserve to make more." I did not understand that at all. Hell, I caught the fish, I wanted to take it home and show my folks, and friends, but no we have to throw it back in.
After that fish, we pulled up the anchors, pull started that old Johnson, picked up the minnows and the bucket and headed back down river. It was so cool to see how the river was lit up with people and shacks everywhere, and tons of people fishing from shore. It was like the sun never set on the river that night. We got back to the landing and my uncle knew someone there and they asked how we did. He told them we slammed the whitebass, but "Scott here caught a hell of a nice walleye." I was so proud!
Now that I am older and a little bit wiser, I understand what he meant that evening. The females are our future, and I respect that. I have caught thousands of walleyes over the last 25 years or so, and I also have kept a few big females as well that I felt would not make it. I do release a majority of the fish I catch, and when I do release a big female, I always ask the walleye gods to allow me to catch plenty more. I love this sport, I love this lake, and I love to fish. That is what it is all about folks. The memories, the laughter, taking kids fishing and bragging them up to your buddies and friends, and also practicing conservation. Do not get caught up in all the politics of fishing. Rather think about a time when it was fun, and remember what it was like to just fish.
Take a kid fishing, have fun, and you may just get a partner for life!