In Search of "Walter" and "Trophy Fisherman"!!


I've had many anglers/clients contact me and tell me "I just want to catch trophy fish, do you fish for big fish??", and of course my reply is, to hang up the phone!  OK, not always but there are times when the questions are obviously coming from a person who really knows nothing about fish or fishing, in my opinion anyways.  There are also those that claim to the world that all they catch are trophy (big) fish, and in pictorials displayed by them they do in fact show some "bigger" fish than normal, but I do have to question their ethics in making such a bold statement.

There is absolutely no doubt that we are all in the search for "Walter", and I have no idea why the uncaught biggest fish in the world would be named as such but so be it, Walter is good enough for me!  I think the difference in our "trophy" fishing is just what each of us would consider a trophy fish.  I've expressed myself on this site , as usual, more times than I can remember and enough to bore some people in the fact that every fish I catch is a trophy, and, many of the clients I take out are of the same opinion.  I have had my fair share of what I consider "Walter's Cousin" during my fishing experiences and yes, they are a helluva lot of fun but, I cannot call myself a "trophy fisherman" because, I'm not after just big fish!  And, for someone else to come out and say that that is all they fish for is big fish, is a bit of a untruth??  I have no idea how you can stick a hook into a huge body of water and "just" fish for the big ones, am I missing some fishing secret here?  So, these alleged "trophy fisherman" never ever, ever, catch a small fish?  I think what it boils down to in many cases is simply arrogance, the human ability to pump ones self up so they convince themselves and hopefully others that they are in fact, well, the best of the best!  These are the same anglers you meet at the lake who can only talk about "the big one that got away", because they'd be to embarrassed to pull out that nice 2lb rainbow that someone else would so proudly display as their trophy fish.  They are also the ones that would keep fish alive in their live well so they can drive around to various places and show off and give away their "Walter's" of the day!  I think these ones are called poachers??

My search for Walter comes and goes, depending on what lake I'm on. If its Kalamalka Lake then Walter is definitely a possibility, and I guess its on that day that I am a trophy fisherman?  I've had Walter actually break me off, 25lb test, in this lake, so I know Walter is in fact there.  But, I don't go home after Walter evades me, there are other "trophy" fish in the lake, and while not the 30-50lbers that I was just fishing for, still alot of fun for the angler to catch.  Shuswap Lake most likely has its Walter's but, I haven't had the pleasure of scraping with him/her yet.  Sure, my best from the lake has been a 16lb rainbow and a 20+ laker and a 14lb bull, all trophies in my book, but not in the Walter category, simply because I know there are bigger ones in the lake.  Was I a "trophy fisherman" when I caught the bigger ones??  Not likely, I lucked into them trolling the usual stuff I do, trying to catch anything at all, as usual!  Its right about here that the trophy fisherman would say that they " target big fish" and again I have no idea what that means.  I am guessing that there comes a time in some anglers lives that they feel they have caught so many fish, that they are finally in a situation where all they will go after are what they consider trophy (big) fish.  And, I guess in their defense, some anglers are in fact in the position to afford to "just" go after those big fish, because in some spots the big fish will far outnumber the smaller ones.  I, luckily, am not in that sort of financial position, and I get to enjoy all that good ol Mother Nature has to offer to me in the way of fish, big or small, sport or coarse, they're all good for me!  Hey, have you even caught a Northern Pike Minnow on a fly rod??  Don't knock it until you've tried it!  How about a wee laker of say, 5 lbs, on light spinning gear, good luck!

All I'm trying to get at here is just another rant about how one anglers opinion can differ so much from another, to the point that it becomes an argument rather than a discussion.  I recently got some pics from some fly guys who caught some beauty bows at the mouth of the Adams where it dumps into Shuswap.  While I didn't see any "trophy" 10 lbers displayed, what I did see were ear to ear grins on all the anglers, proudly displaying their trophy fish, and then releasing it, now that's a trophy fisherman.  Another picture that comes to mind of a real trophy fisherman was a pic I took of my grandson proudly holding his first 10" kokanee. absolutely priceless!  So, the next time you alleged "trophy fisherman" are talking to us lesser anglers at the launch or where ever it is that you like to spout your stuff, just remember the nature of the sport, fishing, to try and catch fish.  I don't recall Webster's dictionary saying anything about a trophy having to do with the biggest anything, but "a possession that is evidence of accomplishment", might sound lame but it hits the nail on the head!  Webster's also unfortunately doesn't mention that some "trophies" should be released!  That's my hookset on it anyways!