Members of the Grand Forks Builders and Traders Exchange recently took their 65th spring fishing trip. As they have for the past several years, the Builders and Traders stayed at Amason’s Obabikon, an island fishing camp on the Ontario side of Lake of the Woods near Morson, Ont.
According to Pat Heffernan of Grand Forks, one of the trip’s organizers, the weather was great, but the fishing was not as good as some years.
Heffernan said 38 people attended this year’s trip, which included the seventh annual George Gardner fishing tournament, an informal competition among the Builders and Traders group participants.
Gardner was a longtime organizer of the annual fishing trip who died in February 2008 at the age of 94. He made the trip every year, including the spring before he died, and I had the privilege of being in the boat with him on a beautiful early June afternoon in 2007, when he caught the last walleye of his life in Miles Bay.
The fish, which he caught on a 40-year-old Zebco 33 reel, measured 22½ inches.
“I’m through,” George said after he caught the fish, setting down his rod with a satisfied look on his face. “I did alright today.”
This year, Heffernan said, organizers only offered prize money for the top walleyes and northern pike and not other species such as crappies, perch and smallmouth bass. Anglers also caught several smallmouth bass, he said, including some in the 18-inch class.
Winners in the two categories — all from Grand Forks — were as follows:
Steve Eickman, 26½ inches.
Steve Mack, 26½ inches.
Mike Peterson, 25 inches.
Pat Heffernan, 24½ inches.
Kevin Westburg, 24 inches.
Mike Compton, 24 inches.
Brett Erickson 40½ inches.
Jim Kasprick 30¼ inches.