At North Shore Lodge the resident “Fillet Master” was George Nelson. He always used a stiff blade, wore a metal mesh glove on one hand, and preferred a burlap sack rather than a cutting board. He also used a different fillet method than I use today, but I will credit him for much of what I know about cleaning fish. Pictured here is the 5# smallmouth bass I caught while guiding that day (June 1, 1983)……you may have seen it hanging in the lodge. I had contemplated frying it up for shore-lunch that day……thought better of it. George had a dry sense of humor and would only let the guests he liked watch him clean fish.
While I’m thinking of George, this next picture documents one of the few times I ever knew George to fish. After work he and I went out musky fishing. Lo and behold this one followed to the boat and then bit his red and white dare-devil. I don’t know who was more surprised, the fish, George or myself. The back of the photo has written on it “37# musky, caught by George, landed by me”. This was in 1976, my first year working there, and probably the first musky I had ever seen. Well, pretty easy catching those things! By the way, the size limit back then was 28 inches, and catch and release wasn’t what it is today (more evidence of that later).
After the last post Susanne was critical of my choice of the photo of her holding a pike. I believe she may have said something like “What a terrible picture”. My only defense is I don’t have many to choose from, but here’s a few more that I think might be better…….and reflect a bit of Eagle Lake back then.
Muskies were always a big draw for people coming to Eagle Lake. It was common to fish for walleyes in the morning and then spend a few hours tossing for pike and musky in the afternoon. Below is a nice one caught by a guided boat from another lodge. Since I knew the guide (Willy Danielson…..there’s a photo of Willy holding a musky in the lodge here at VBL) I pulled up and asked him how things were going. That’s when the guest pulled this thing up from the bottom of the boat (sorry, no catch and release that day). By the way, afterwards I fished that spot where they caught this fish many times, over many years, and never saw a musky.
O.K., I will only torture you with one more “dead musky” photo. This one caught by Louise Finkler from Toronto. I believe the fish weighed 34 pounds, and was caught on a windy, cold September day at Coleman’s Reef. Caught on a small buck-tail…….I think the fish was almost as tall as Louise! Gary was the fanatical musky angler of the family, but doesn’t seem to be disappointed with her achievement. A few years later Gary would be running the boat with Louise’s brother on Georgian Bay (great lakes) when they boated a 55 pound monster musky! Always the bridesmaid, never the bride!