Bill York

It all started on my grandfather’s farm when I was 10 years old, during the Great Depression. When my chores were done, I dug some worms, got my cane pole and headed for the old mine pond.

Maybe three hours later, I had my stringer full of chunky sunfish and bluegill. My grandmother was always pleased.

In the Navy, I sometimes saw dolphins and porpoises surfing our bow waves. Occasionally we spotted a whale. Once we saw a pod of Orcas.

Bill York with trophy Muskie on Leech Lake MN.Bill York with trophy Muskie on Leech Lake MN.After taking one trip to the Great Slave Lake in the Canadian Northwest Territory, where I caught 155 lake trout in a week averaging 21 pounds, my future vacations were set.

Over the next thirty years, I was able to arrange my vacations and fish for freshwater trophies in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Canada.

I also fished the Columbia, Deschutes, Lewis and Fraser rivers in the Pacific Northwest. I caught a 90-pound white sturgeon in the Fraser River.

Rivers in British Columbia provide Chinook, Coho and Steelhead salmon in lengths that will boggle your mind.

Years ago, I caught rainbow trout in Lake Lanier. Soon after Lanier was stocked with stripers, the trout were gone.

I’m not fond of saltwater fishing, but while on vacation in Destin, I entered a local tournament and caught a 50 pound Cobia in a trench within sight of our gulf-side motel.

I had many customers who had farm ponds where I caught big mouth bass. In one pond, I hooked the biggest snapping turtle I had ever seen. It was a magnificent creature, possibly thirty pounds. With my tongs, I carefully removed my hook. The turtle could bite my finger off. For a moment I considered turtle stew, but I decided to release it back into its world.

Trophy Northern Pike – Wolverine River.Trophy Northern Pike – Wolverine River.The photograph of the northern pike is always in a museum in my head. Fishing the Wolverine River in Nunavut, I caught the fish twice in four days. The fish was recognizable by three scars behind its dorsal fin. The Indian guide I was with had caught her before and named her “Big Momma.”

Three strokes have stopped my traveling but good memories remain. Canada has a catch-and-release law, so they will always have great fishing. 

Bill is a 92-year old WW II Navy veteran and retired President of York Furs in Buckhead. You can contact him by email at