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Keep an Eye on the Weather, Fury of a Storm

 

I tried to go Walleye fishing on July 6, 2005 with my good friend Trevor McLeod. We headed out to Calling Lake, but when we arrived an ominous black cloud was headed our way. Rather than put the boat in, we walked to the shore to take a good look at what was going on. What was going on was that everyone was getting off the lake as fast as possible. This electrical storm was big, mean and on the move. It lashed out bolts of lightning repeatedly and marched steadily in our direction. As one guy was getting his boat out of the water the words, "It's shifting" escaped his lips. Nothing more. His eyes pointed in a different direction and I turned just in time to see a menacing, rolling cloud blaze in just above the treetops and drop onto the lake whipping the water to a boil. Instantly, gusts of wind ripped trees to and fro, followed by a wall of water. Trevor and I ran to the safety of his truck. We were soaked.

The wind intensified, leaves were showering down. The rain turned to hail. Gusts built on gusts and visibility dropped to 30 feet. Trees started breaking, branches were swirling in the air and leaves and hail bounced and scattered everywhere. We watched in silence. When the fury of the storm passed, we stepped out to assess the damage. Five inches of standing water filled the bottom of the aluminum boat. Trees were down everywhere and those ever-resilient willows... sheared off at the root or completely torn out. What had just happened?

We removed two broken trees from the launch and watched a young couple come in on their boat. They were caught on the lake when the storm hit. They made a run for the boat launch but were swept away. The boat, a 1700 Lund Pro Sport with a 115hp motor was no match for the ferocity when the storm fell upon them. The couple described their ordeal in detail, thankful to be alive. "We'd have went down for sure if it wasn't for the electric bilge!" he said. Both were shaken, stark white.

We asked about other boats and learned that two aluminums and a fiberglass were on the water when they tried to make the run in from Volkswagon Point. They looked at me with a cold seriousness in their eye and said, "if they got swept away, I'm sure they're all dead." My heart began to hurt

Two kids came down. "Thank God, the boat's still here!" they sighed in relief. Their boat was tied to a tree and had taken some damage. Big tree branches littered the bow and deck. Rainwater threatened to swamp it. It wasn't in good shape. "We'll help you put it on the trailer," Trevor and I offered. "That's not going to happen," they replied, "Trees are down all over the campground and no one can move. A fallen tree even squished a pickup truck." I couldn't believe my ears. Trevor and I started inland to the camp to help out.

The severity of the storm came clear the moment we walked out of the parking lot and onto the main access road. In both directions, fallen trees littered the route. We weaved and worked our way towards the campground access road. There we met a forestry outfit, who, in no more than fifteen minutes after the storm had passed, had mobilized with heavy equipment and a crew of a dozen men. The rescue and recovery operation had already begun. Something caught my eye and I said "Oh my God!" Trevor took notice and looked in my direction. In an area easily the size of a football field there was nothing, nothing at all. Minutes before a forest once stood. Fifty and sixty foot trees, all of them broken or simply uprooted. The devastation was complete.

We got word that everyone in the campground was OK so we turned our attention back to the boat launch and the missing boaters. What an amazing sight when we got back. It was a miracle. The fiberglass had come in, and just pulling up were the two aluminums. They all survived. I tried to choke back the tears I felt welling up. One of the aluminums that made it back carried a family: dad, mom, grandpa and two children, a boy and girl about three and five. The other boat had a grandpa and grandson. Their looks told the story. They spoke of heading to shore, hastily tying the boats up, while taking cover in trees that were breaking all around them. It was a harrowing ordeal.

Trevor and I helped out all we could and had seen enough. We got back into Trevor's truck and turned for home. Along the way we saw literally thousands of fully-grown trees broken in half or simply pulled out by the roots, reminding us all there is no match for the fury of the storm.


Previous Fishing Tips & Facts

(1) Selecting the right fly

(2) Road Trips

(3) The Roll cast

(4) Fly-fishing for Pike

(5) Walleye Tip

(6) Mountain Lakers

(7) Hints For Dry Fly Success

(8) Survival Strategies For The Silly Season

(9) Local Advise

(10) It's A Pink Year

(11) Ice Fishin Safety

(12) Third World Travel

(13) Casting Angles

(14) The Rocky Mountain Whitefish Rig

(15) Using Sinking Leaders

(16) The Pike Fisherman's Vest

(17) Walleye Tips

(18) Trophies Are In The Eye Of The Beholder

(19) The Right Tool For The Job

(20) Respect The Weather - Expect The Weather

(21) Approach

(22) Gearing Up For Ice Perch

(23) Do It Yourself Excersions

(24) Shots

(25) Atlantic Salmon Fishing Techniques

(26) Fishing Etiquette In Crowded Conditions

(27) Swinging Caddis Flies

(28) Selecting a Fishing Rod

(29) Pike Angling Retrieves

(30) Detecting The Strike

(31) Unmatch The Hatch

(32) Off The Grid Air Travel

(33) Practise

(34) How Deep Are They Biting?

(35) Netting and Landing Your Fish

(36) Texas Travel Tips

(37) Quick Tips for Triggering Strikes

(38) Be the Last Man Standing

(39) Water Temperature & Trout

(40) Visiting Reindeer Lake

(41) Stillwater Stratagems

(42) Those Crazy Cohos!

(43) Leaders & Tippets

(44) Big Water Strategies

(45) Small Stream Stealth

(46) DO I GET UP EARLY?

(47) ACCESSIBLE PLACES TO FISH

(48) Travelling Angler Tips

(49) Choosing The Right Fly

(50) They come out at Night - Our Friends that is

(51) Fishing at Night

(52) Having Troubles Catching fish?

(53) Having Troubles Finding Fish?

(54) Stay Skinny To Catch Fish

(55) Tips For Fishing With Kids

(56) The Wonderful Woolly Bugger

(57) Wading Safely

(58) Double Your Fun

(59) More About The Red River

(60) Rookie Rod Buying Tips

(61) Hook Sharpening

(62) Going Light

(63) Hopper - Dropper Rigs

(64) Tips For Buying A Pontoon Boat

(65) Fishing Tips and Facts for Sturgeon

(66) Three Flies to Live by

(67) Reading Rise Forms

(68) Tips and Facts for Early Season Success

(69) A Fly for All Seasons

(70) Ice Shelters – Seeing is Believing

(71) Effective approaches to working small streams

(72) Unburdening the Travelling Angler

(73) 5 Flies for Anyones Fly Box

(74) Road Trips

(75) Dry Flies for High & Dirty Water

(76) Tips For Dealing With Biting Bass

(77) Summertime and the Fishin’ Ain’t Easy

(78) Depth and Light

(79) Rigging Large Dry Flies

(80) Best Rod for Spring Angling

(81) Stream Etiquette for Floaters

(82) Tackling Whites Through the Ice

(83) Angling Tips for Finding Books

(84) Winter Smart Open Water Angling

(85) Fall Primer for Pike

(86) Packing Tips

(87) Tips and Tackle for the High Country

(88) Hunt them Shallow

(89) Polarized Sunglasses
The smart anglers’ advantage.

(90) Fishing Tips for Early Season Flyrodding

(91) Know Your Knots

(92) Alternative Thoughts about Ice Fishing

(93) Tips for Mexican Bonefishing

(94) Techniques for Tantalizing Grayling

(95) Understanding Fly Leaders & Tippets

(96) Catfish on the Fly

(97) Get Your Backswimmer On

(98) Reading the Sonar

(99) Insect Identification Made Easy

(100) The Sinker and Floating Plug

(101) GADGETS & GIZMOS for "OLD GUYS"

(102) Fishing Drop Offs

(103) Stay On Fish

(104) Landing The Big One

(105) Fighting Fish on a Fly Rod

(106) North Saskatchewan River - Be River Aware

(107) Backswimmer Pothole Trout Frenzy

(108) Hunt for Suspended Fish

(109) Reading Your Waters Before You Cast

(110) Setting Up Your Bait Casting Reel

(111) Fishing Journals

(112) First Casts of the Season are at a River Near You

(113) The Crazy Whitefish Days of Last Ice

(114) The Bait of Choice

(115) Shallow Water Jumbo Perch

(116) Getting Started on the Ice

(117) Plan an Ice Fishing Getaway

(118) Brookie Season

(119) River Fishing is Heating Up

(120) Become a Better Angler

(121) The Forgotten Pike

(122) Get Out Your Plugs and Spoons

(123) Slip Bobber is King in Spring

(124) See You at the Show

(125) Red Hot Whitefish

(126) Staging Walleye

(127) The Lure of Lake Whitefish

(128) Great Rainbow Fishing At First Ice

(129) A Simple Approach to Ice Fishing

(130) Big Pike Combo Approaches

(131) Gearing up for Fall Whitefish

(132) River of Gold

(133) Bottom Bounce Your Way to Success

(134) Small Stream Fun

(135) Consider the Spawn and Water Temperature
for Early Season Fish

(136) I Believe - The Glow in Glow Jigs

(137) Tricks to Improve Your Ice Fishing

(138) Trout Fishing is Red Hot

(139) Dealing With Fishing Pressure

(140) All I Want For Christmas

(141) Staying Warm on the Ice

(142) Hunting Big Browns in Lakes

(143) Where Did All Those Walleye Go?

(144) Keep an Eye on the Weather, Fury of a Storm

(145) Great and Affordable Fishing on the West Coast

(146) Lake Whites in the Summer? You Bet

(147) Prime Time for Lakers

(148) A Slip Bobber is so Much More

(149) Ice Fishing for Pike and Walleye

(150) Catching a Big Pike

(151) Purchasing a Rod

(152) Catching Rainbows through the Ice

(153) Gearing up for the Snow and Ice

(154) Gearing Up For Pike

(155) Getting the Most out of Your Fly Fishing Set Up

(156) The Bottom’s Up in Fishing

(157) Fish Where They’re Biting

(158) Three Standard Walleye Presentations

(159) Two Early Season Presentations for Pothole Trout

(160) Tackle Tips for Catch and Release Fishing

(161) Keeping Your Head Above Water

(162) HEALTHY BAIT CATCHES FISH!

(163) Beginner Baitcasting Tips