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Moosebunk

Back To School Wallerels.

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Well...

 

It was aboard the Polar Bear Express headed for home that the summer holidays came to their end. A solid 30 days off broken down by 14 days of fishing, 9 days of travel and 7 days of rest left me pretty much in need of a vacation.

 

My girls had a great time out staying with my parents and family friends. It was in Perth that pretty much everyday they spent hours learning important life skills, a way to beat the heat and stay afloat if they ever fall from dad's boat.

 

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On the train I was reminded just how beautiful the James Bay area is, and when finally crossing the bridge at Moose River Crossing I also realized how one month away could change the river.

 

The levels were staggeringly lower than when I left.

 

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The railway and bridge has also finally been receiving some of its much needed repairs.

 

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Coming off the train I was greeted by a buddy. I asked how the fishing had been and I was told "slow." When I got home I saw Bren had been busy turning our backyard into a dump full of used lumber. I sighed and asked, "ahhhhh, what is all this stuff for Bren?" To which she replied, "I'm building the kids a tree fort."

 

Two days later coming off a long day at work and I couldn't believe my frizeakin' eyes... Bren had pretty much built a tree fort. And it was huge too. The next day I was back to work again and when I got home at 8:00pm it was done. The kids love it. The fort is nearly as big as their rooms. Bren tarped the roof as she couldn't find enough ply at the dump to finish the job, but of course it got curtains on the windows to give it that "girly" touch all three of them had been looking for.

 

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Over the next week I worked pretty solid. Every evening on the way home I wished I had my camera handy, for several days in a row I was witness to a number of the most spectacular sunsets I have seen. One night I raced home on the bike, grabbed the camera then drove quick with the truck back to the best view point, but, in just that short 10 minutes I missed capturing the amazing red, orange, purple and navy dusk. Recent travels had taken me to some scenic places which I admired quite alot, I think the Moose River was trying to remind that it can easily be as special a place as those.

 

During that first week's commuting I got three more reports on the fishing which 2 of the 3 were lousy. Water levels so low I wondered why, as usually that means better fishing nearer to home on the lower parts of the river.

 

 

 

I switched out the Honda motor for my older Johnson figuring the shallow river was about to give a good skeg beating to whichever gave the boat juice to go. September 5th with little expectations for fish I launched and took off to the only place anyone can really go nowadays.

 

The Moose River in summer pretty much ends about 10km up river from town. The tide this time of year only reaches to there, and even with a full high-tide the usual summer water levels are still to low to allow boats passage over shallow, narrow, rock shoals. (which basically are so numerous and stretch for the rivers entirety beyond this point) Unlike the spring and fall which can sometimes allow 100's of kilometers of still dangerous yet navigable waters, this time of year the town's boaters and anglers all ascend to the one spot on the river where I was headed for a fish.

 

When I got to my choice spot there wasn't another boat to be seen. But, there was another angler nearby whom I didn't recognize. I drove over to say hello but she took off.

 

We both kept an eye on one another for the next half hour or so. I was quick to find that my usual holes were too shallow to hold any fish, or, maybe she had caught them all already. Before long I gave up on the spot.

 

My friend had returned from the water and beached herself on the warm sands of her favorite shoreline resting place. On route out of the our fishing hole I tried one more time to approach and hopefully greet her.

 

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She was indeed friendly this time. In fact, in my years on the Moose River I had never met another angler of her kind so friendly.

 

I kept my movements slow and talked softly to the seal, most times saying hi and urging her to relax and stay-put. I was out of the boat and onto the sand, narrowing the gap between us.

 

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It was a cute courtship. She would be shy and look away or duck down, then every now and then she would peek over and give me the brief chance to snap a shot. She was so close to the water she could have ended the date anytime, but she hung around, often looking at me curiously.

 

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I was getting closer when I realized the picture I most wanted would require me getting around to her otherside. I wanted the boat shot with the seal. I took a long walk around behind her, praying she would not see the distance as opportunity for escape. I kept talking quiet and invitingly to the seal. She was so good to grant me this chance, and such a beautiful face I had never seen a seal with her colors. The trip around her paid off, she posed like a princess and I must have snapped twenty pictures while peacefully drawing nearer to her.

 

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Finally I ended up squatting beside her at about five feet away and got myself the seal photo I wanted.

 

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She gave me that, but when I edged a little closer, thinking maybe I could touch her, she gave three quick belly rolls and splashed into the river.

 

That was that and so I got to fishing instead. Heading over to a favorite hole about ten minutes away I no sooner dropped anchor and caught a first walleye. A weee dink of a fish.

 

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Just after that I had two bigger fish in a row come unpegged, one around the 4 pound mark. I forgot the net at home and played them out a little too long. I changed to a bigger hook in hopes of holding them on better. It worked, as the next fish I picked up was a decent size, and it came over the gunnel too.

 

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Another fish I caught had the blue slime. I took a pic to show it off. It was also the smallest eye of the day.

 

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Over the next two hours I caught and released 21 walleye. All came out of about two feet of stained and moving water. They were schooled up in one particular area and nowhere else really, and they only wanted one kind of lure. I know why a number of others found the fishing of late to be slow. I'll call it, "stubborn habits."

 

 

 

September 7th I decided to get the girls away. It was a sunday and a little gusty out but we toured up the river to the same spot for a couple hours fishing.

 

Along the river I did see an old friend. This seal has been around for years. He's a bigger male but this season looks to be a little thinner than usual. He's easily recognizable by the scar on his side, and his almost full greyish colored body. This was the seal that a few years back made several attempts to steal walleye off my line, and, he was also photographed in one of my older favorite seal shots.

 

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The girls were excited to see the seal so close up. We parked the boat on the sand beside him and I tried for a few more pictures, but Brutus wasn't comfortable with the company and he rudely left.

 

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When we got to fishing finally,we had a blast. The girls ended up boating 9 walleye and 8 fallfish for a total of 17 for the couple hours work. After my youngest daughters fourth fish she asks, "Daaaaad, can we go home now?" I said, "are you not having fun sweetie? What do you want to do at home?" Leah then replies, "play Barbie," to which Summer pipes up then and says, "LEAH! We're catching fish. We NEVER catch fish with dad. I don't want to go home dad."

 

So I guess I have one girl and one Tomboy then.

 

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We got two quick scattered showers but the girls kept having fun.

 

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It was nice to finally find the girls some consistent action. Most fish came easily on a worm and hook with a couple shot and the rod just resting in the holder. Summer enjoyed releasing the rod and setting the hook, while Leah pretty much just screamed for help every time she was forced to fight the weight of her gargantuan fish on the line. It was a quick outing but tonnes of fun, and we kept the 8 fallfish to freeze up for winter pike bait.

 

 

 

September 10th I was joined for another short afternoon fish by good buddy Agent Stevie Zebco of "Mission Fishin' Impossible" fame. The plan was get him some food for his belly. We left on a receeding tide with some good water for the travel up river.

 

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We fished for a brief while in this spot, a funnel of water between the shore and dry shoal of the river bottom. In spring I ride high in water anywhere from 5-15 feet higher than what it is now. Those rocks don't show at all and aren't even a worry.

 

The fish have little place to go when it's so low, so they school up in pools and swifts waiting for fall rains to set them free. Agent Stevie Zebco is a schoolyard bully with a chip on his shoulder for singling out wussy walleyes. On this spot and then later on the spot I fished with the girls, Stevie made sure he did some damage.

 

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I let him have his way with them for awhile before getting involved. His numbers were up when I turned on my inner anglinator and got down to some serious anglination. In little time, Stevie was the co-star in this show, and I was once again the big ticket.

 

I caught a nice 3 1/2 pounder with eyes almost bigger than its stomach. Taking the hook out I saw the tail of another small walleye sticking out of its throat. Knowing Steve's smaller walleye wouldn't do well to feed him and his lovely back home, I removed some of the waste he'd be needing to separate from the fillets later, and chucked his good meat in the bucket.

 

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We had a great but short time out on the water, picking up 16 fish and keeping four for Agent SZ.

 

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I tried again today for a couple hours on the water but came up short with only 3 walleye and a fallfish for my efforts. Even though it was a gusty "southwest" wind it sure as heck felt like the north. The leaves are half off the trees in the backyard and there's a real nip in the air. Yesterday's forecast was calling for a chance of mix rain and snow for this coming thursday. I'd welcome the rain now. All the seals have suddenly left the area it seems, and with the water getting colder I think even the walleye may have scattered a little. Unless it gets real wet to the south of us, and around here too, autumn's pike fishing days may not even happen, I need to get way up the river for them. Best put my rain-dancing shoes on, cause March is just too far away if I quit now.

 

Ahhh, there will be fall.

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Awesome as always Bunkaroo.

 

Way to seal the deal.

 

I have to say that I envy those kids and i think it's great that they will have such treasured memories for the rest of their lives.

 

Out of curiosity, what were you listening too?

 

Cheers,

 

S.

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I look so forward to your reports. Thanks Moosebunk once again for taking us along with you. I loves the forts we made when I was a kid. Im kinda sad that my son and his friends never really had that experience living in the city as they do.

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another fantastic report -- super cool seal pics too! :) The ones of your girls are priceless though...in the fort as well as the boat :)

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Out of curiosity, what were you listening too?

 

Tonnes of stuff on this IPod ranging from Tool, Led Zep, Blue Rodeo, Hip, Beastie Boys, Cool and the Gang, Brooks and Dunn, White Zombie, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Audioslave, Stevie Wonder, ZZ Top, Foghat, NOFX, Ramones, Cult, Pink Floyd, Naughty By Nature, Swollen Members, Coldplay, Primus... more, more, more.

 

250 songs in the palm of a hand man. IPods are too cool. :thumbsup_anim:

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great family report,funny how those little devils can look all cute and stuff by putting on a big smile eh :lol:

 

those are pretty cool shots of the seal beached by your canoe, and nice of the girls to build ya yourown place while you where gone too :P

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Great report and pics Bunk :thumbsup_anim:

 

Water level in the river sure looks different from the other reports you posted :w00t: but nevertheless a beautiful one B)

 

Loved the shots of the first seal and you did manage to get the pic you wanted but weren't you a little nervous to get up close like that??

 

Thanks for sharing

Leechman

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