Yukon ‘Duck’ Fishing

It was chilly morning at the far south end of Teslin Lake that mid-August morning, a reminder that it was going to be an early fall. There were a few of them that year; waterfowl were starting to gather in larger groups as they prepared for the annual migration.

I had been fishing the area of the lake to the far south, near a place called Father Boyd’s Cabin. There had been a set of mallard ducks there all summer.

The drake, I noticed, had been very protective and willingly dive-bombed the canoe several times. On the east side of the lake there was a reed bed that produced lunch-sized lake trout, so I decided to cast a few times, in the general area, in hopes of catching one.

This particular day I caught far more than I bargained for as that silly drake decided my spinner bait was fair game. The faster I reeled it in, the faster he chased it – and, you guessed it, he took the bait.

Now I have caught many a good fighting fish in the Yukon, but this full-sized duck was a real match. The fight was both on the water and in the air.

One might think the fight would be over, once landed, but let me tell you differently …

With tackle flying all over, a barking Tannis, the fearless cocker spaniel, at the far end of the canoe, and the writer getting beaten severely and very unsure how to bring this whole situation under control, all the while being concerned about the welfare of this crazy duck.

So, now that you have the picture, I needed to ask myself, What are the regulations on fishing for ducks? Look as hard as you like and there is nothing in the Yukon Fish and Game Act, with the exception of harassing the wildlife.

At this point and time, it was the duck’s “word” against mine. Judging by the commotion, I would say the duck was winning the argument; it was not looking good for me.

Finally I was able to get a coat over “Larry the Duck” as he became known. Covering his head seemed to quiet him somewhat. Now, how to remove a hook was another lesson to be learned.

The wound was not all that bad after I got the hook out. It was the wound that was to be inflicted on me next that I am sure was worse.

I leaned forward to get a closer look, and I suppose Larry had one last chance at revenge as he must have found a hole to peek out of his prison. His aim was near deadly as he hooked his own fish, grabbing hold of my cheek, and left me with a welt as he flapped out of my hands and out of the coat holding him.

The lesson to be learned is this: check where you are casting as Larry still has a “Cheek to pick” with any fisherman that thinks he can “Duck Fish”, especially on his lake.

So, be forewarned, fellow anglers. Larry is likely still at large.

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