The group of (from left) Steve Little, Keith Sharples, Darren Ratcliffe, Elliot Sharples-Gordon, Will Sturgeon and Richard Gordon made the trip this year. Photos courtesy of Gordon family and friends
The group of (from left) Steve Little, Keith Sharples, Darren Ratcliffe, Elliot Sharples-Gordon, Will Sturgeon and Richard Gordon made the trip this year. Photos courtesy of Gordon family and friends
A local group of Noblesville outdoorsmen returned to Canada this year to fish after a two-year hiatus because of COVID-19. Richard Gordon and his family have made the trip for decades, and they were glad to go back late last month.
It is a 20-hour drive to Red Lake, Ontario, a spot six hours north of International Falls, Minn. From there they took a quick 15-minute float plane trip to Trout Lake and Cat Island Lodge.
The group was smaller because of timing and border restrictions, but joining Richard Gordon was Darren Ratcliffe, Keith Sharples, Elliot Sharples-Gordon, Steve Little and Will Sturgeon. The fishing this year may have been the best the group has ever experienced.
Each year for three decades the group has had a competition for the largest northern pike and the largest walleye caught each day over four days, and then a champion trophy is awarded to the one who catches the largest of each fish for the trip. Amazingly, the group as a whole caught more than 200 walleye, 100 of them being bigger than 20 inches in length.
Steve Little caught the largest walleye, measuring out at 26 inches and weighing around 8 pounds. Northern Pike are the larger, more aggressive fish. The group caught around 100 pike of more than 30 inches in length. Twenty-five of those were longer than 35 inches and weighed more than 15 pounds.
This year’s big fish champion was Darren Ratcliffe, who caught a 41-inch trophy fish that weighed in at around 25 pounds.
Everyone is hoping to get the entire family group of around a dozen anglers, including three generations, back together for the annual trip next year, which is usually over Father’s Day weekend.