Posted: Wednesday, June 20, 2001

It was our first family fishing trip of the year and everyone was doing their best to get all our gear located and loaded. Sorting through the fishing tackle used for ice fishing that we normally don't use for summer fishing.

Making sure the smaller kids have the proper foot wear, a hat, and warm enough clothes, and an extra jacket in case the wind picked up or someone got wet. Now taking 4 children fishing out on a lake can be a real challenge but one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever been involved in.

Each one of my children is special in their own way and sometimes I am amused by the unique individual traits they possess. My youngest daughter and also the skinniest member of my family is our picnic gal. Every sandwich in the whole world suddenly tastes one hundred times better if you eat it in the boat, by the tent or any place in the world besides our kitchen table. I could tell her we are going to climb a mountain in the dead of winter on the coldest day and her only question would be, "Can we take a lunch?"

So now we had to be sure and include lunch, and something to drink on our fishing trip. Alea may not fish a whole lot some days as she has also been known to sleep on the bottom of the boat for several hours as we haul in fish.

My two older daughters Jessie, and Kim were busy helping me locate and find everything we need, as Travis who is the youngest ran around excited because he had invited his friend Michael to go too.

Finally we had everything loaded and began our trip to Elephant Lake where we planned on motoring to our favorite fishing hole once again. Everything was going great as we unpacked and began putting things in the boat according to where everyone was going to sit. The three smaller kids sit by me so I can help them with their poles, bait, etc.

I go to plug in the fuel line and discover I brought along the wrong fuel tank! Great! Now what do we do? Should I quickly run home and get the right one? The mosquitos are bad on shore and I did not bring oars, only a canoe paddle. I cut the end off the hose and tried to plug the hose on the fuel lines but this method didn't work very well. We made it out around the corner from the boat launch and set anchor. Disappointed also by the fact that we are taking along an uncle of mine by the name of Jim Von Haden for his first trip to Elephant Lake.

We decided to make the most of our trip and it wasn't long before we were catching fish. We maneuvered our boat with the canoe paddle, a stick, and our landing net! The fish were biting well on shrimp, and smelt I got from my trip last all to North Dakota. We caught over 70 Kokanee that probably averaged 12 inches but never caught any rainbows at all.

I survived my blunder of not bringing the right fuel tank along by finding a hole close to the boat launch that I had previously fished. The trip was a very successful one and we had a lot of fun. Michael Thornton caught the most fish he has ever caught in one day and Alea got to have lunch in the great Alaska outdoors. Travis got to fish with his best friend michael and Kim got to be part of our "making the best of every situation" team. And uncle Jim... Well he got to fish with a family that powers their boat with a landing net, a broken piece of 2x2 and a canoe paddle! I wonder why those people were staring at us when we powered our boat to shore!

Our next two trips I did get the right fuel tank and we had two more very successful trips to Elephant Lake. A beautiful lake full of hungry fish that don't really care how you get to them.

See you next week!

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