Shore Lunch with a Bald Eagle
As we left the breakfast area that morning and headed back to the cabin to gear up for the day of fishing, our pilot/guide Billy Labonte asked the question: “Larry, do you and Brenda want shore lunch today?” Jokingly I replied, “If you bring the fish.” That got a good laugh; shore lunch, of course, typically includes fresh fish – but you have to catch them first.
We flew to Kitchener Lake, just a few minutes to the south, and landed about 10:00 am. Kitchener is a big piece of water, probably eight or ten miles long and three quarters of a mile wide; it has two inlets near the upper end, one in the middle — and one outlet; the fishing is at the inlets and outlets. We beached near Stalk Creek inlet and for the next hour and a half caught rainbows as fast as we could get our lines back in the water. About 11:30 Billy suggested we move up and across the lake to the Sheep Creek inlet, try our luck there, and have shore lunch.
Sheep Creek comes in on the opposite side of the lake, and is a bit too far to simply
taxi there, so we took off in the Super Cub and flew about 50 feet off the water. Brenda got ‘first water’ and quickly caught two nice fish that were the basis of our shore lunch. The rest of the fishing was catch and release.
Interestingly, as the fish preparation got underway, a bald eagle landed in the top of a nearby pine tree to watch the process. Billy commented that as soon as he walked away the eagle would swoop down and pick up the scraps. I grabbed my camera to capture the action; it was just as he said.
Perhaps every guide has a different recipe and method of preparation for shore lunch. Billy’s was very simple; what he calls his “secret” recipe is just butter, garlic and lemon pepper. The skin is left on and that side cooked first; then he flips the fillets, removes the skin, sprinkles on more seasoning and gives the other side a couple more minutes to cook – WOW!
Shore lunch, on the gravel beach of a remote lake, with beautiful weather is a very special experience. We had other shore lunches this week, but shared only one with a bald eagle.