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McNeil: An Exhilarating Walleye hunt

(credit: Chicago Park District)

(credit: Chicago Park District)

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Editor’s Note: This is Dan McNeil’s column for the Chicago Tribune, written from Eagle Lake, Ontario.

By Dan McNeil-

EAGLE LAKE, ONTARIO — I didn’t gain much fishing knowledge from my father, Roy McNeil, who used to wake up his chubby son before sunrise to drown minnows and insects.

My dad never owned a boat and he didn’t have the resources to travel far in search of trophy bass. I forever will be grateful, however, that the transplanted Arkansan put the fishing bug in my young brain.

And the old boy imparted some wisdom by which I always have lived: The only way to catch fish is to put a bait in the water. It was my responsibility to share that axiom with my sons, who received it and also regard it as the only undeniable truth in the great outdoors.

While Chicago was experiencing record heat over Memorial Day weekend, we were triple-layered in heavy, weatherproof clothing, battling rain, wind and temperatures in the low 40s. Because of the mild winter, I assumed fishing patterns would be well ahead of schedule so we bumped up our annual pilgrimage to Eagle Lake in Northwest Ontario.

Wrong. While winter wasn’t as typically bitter-cold here, water temperatures remain in the mid-to-upper 50s. That’s well below the range for the fast-action program my 21-year-old son, Van, and I prefer.

For the rest of this column, please click here.