Angler nets walleye —

Did you ever wonder how one can tell how old a white-tailed deer is?

The answer is in its teeth. If you harvest one of these animals this fall, open its mouth and pull out a lower incisor with the root attached. Then contact the Pennsylvania Game Commission and ascertain a laboratory address. There, the tooth will be cross-sectioned for determination.

According to officials at the PGC, “The age of the deer can be estimated by replacement patterns and tooth wear. Up to 10 months old, a deer has up to five teeth, premolars and molars on each side of its lower jaw.”

In conclusion, it was noted, “Experienced deer-agers may venture a guess beyond two and one-half years for the age of an animal.”

— — — — —

If ever there is one place two Latrobe anglers make a point of fishing every fall, it’s the tributaries of Lake Erie.

Steve Gordon and Mike Ruby are just two of many area anglers who have their eyes set on catching steelhead from these waters.

The first place everyone seems to want to fish is Walnut Creek. This, at least, has the greatest reputation.

So, there should be no question that this is where the local duo began their mission. What was ahead of them were circumstances they may have never entered their mind.

There were so many leaves in that body of water that not only they, but other sportsmen and women, were hauling in the multi-colored offspring of the trees around and maybe some distance away from this basin of water.

“We had begun our efforts at 6 a.m.,” Gordon stated. “Since we found ourselves hauling in the ‘stemmed beauty of fall,’ we decided to walk upstream. That was no easy task. Sometimes we even had to tread water.

“Having neoprene waders on and walking on shale, we felt that chances may be better well above where everyone was fishing. But as we got about a mile upstream, we not only encountered more leaves, but other challenges we never could have imagined.

“Looking ahead,” he said, “there it stood in front of us, a cliff to climb, which we did, by the way, and then a fence to make our way over. From there it was to a parking lot where we then decided to go back to the car.”

Again, Gordon was up against more frustration. He tried to take his waders off, to no avail. Even Ruby pulled and tugged, but it wasn’t to be.

At one point, the two even went behind a restaurant to give it a try since parts of Gordon’s anatomy were being exposed, and he didn’t want to be seen in such a manner.

“One thing I learned is that you can’t buy privacy in this town.”

It became a laughing matter for both!

After that “adventure” was solved, they motored to Trout Run, North Pier, South Pier...all of which had obstacles that were against them finally ending up at the Sloppy Duck, a restaurant and bar located adjacent to a marina where high-end boats had docked along a wall with the water depth three to 10 feet beside it.

With frustration behind them, and perseverance and determination ahead, Gordon began to pray. “Dear Lord,” he said, “let me catch one nice fish…”

Using a blackeye jighead and a white Leland Crappie Magnet plastic attached, he cast out into the dark water. No sooner did he do that then he got a tremendous hit.

Hauling the fish in, netting and measuring it, he exclaimed, “I caught a 27-inch walleye weighing eight pounds! This equals the biggest fish I have ever caught!”

He ended up keeping it. Gordon caught a 32½-inch northern pike and another 19½-inch walleye that he later released.

It just goes to show you, prayer does work!

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