Who is Tina?

It was a typical day at the fish hatchery. Fish roe and milt were stripped from live fish using compressed air. Before fertilization, the eggs are first disinfected because of concerns for disease. They are then moved into special tanks where they hatch into baby rainbow trout. Something happened on this day that no one ever noticed. One of those fish eggs mutated.

Did it have something to do with the treatment process for disease? Was something else introduced by accident? Did some kind of green ooze leak into the tank? Are we witnessing the first ever mutant ninja rainbow trout? Whatever it was that happened – on this day, Tina was born.

This is not Tina, but possibly an answer to another question:

Some people believe Tina is the the result of some transgenic trout experiment gone wrong.

Some people believe Tina is the result of a transgenic trout experiment gone wrong. (Researchers have developed transgenic rainbow trout with enhanced muscle growth that results in fish with what have been described as six-pack abs and muscular shoulders.)

My friend Mitch and I were sitting on some late ice early this spring sight fishing for these big Lake Superior rainbow trout when we first met her. We couldn’t believe our eyes. Very slowly she just coasted through the water underneath us. An enormous mutant. She must have been 12″ tall or more and well over 30″ long. Her belly was so wide and saggy it ballooned out wider than her back so when you looked straight down at her she just looked goofy. There was clearly something different about this fish besides her unnatural proportions. She did not look or behave like a normal hatchery trout. It was clear that she had a higher brain function than any other fish. This was Tina.

There are rumors that Tina was born with two heads and after one head fell off, she was left with twice the brain power and twice the normal body size of any other trout.

There are rumors that Tina was born with two heads and after one head fell off, she was left with twice the brain power and twice the normal body size of any other trout.

Again and again, she would circle through and slowly coast circles around our presentations without even moving a fin or tail. Already, each of us had iced a couple of nice rainbow trout, but Tina was too smart to fall for our tricks. Each time she came by nice and slow, she would look straight up at our presentation out of the corner of her eye – almost head cocked like a curious bird – studying them very closely. I wonder now if she was looking straight up through the gaping hole in the ice and studying me, looking me right in the eye.

We tried every dirty trick we new at the time to try to coax Tina to bite, but each time she would just study everything very slowly and deliberately. We ended the day with more questions than answers. And I have since made it my goal for this season to find Tina.

I know I have been close. Below you will find pictures of Helga and Henry – both large fish who were in cahoots with Tina and caught in recent week. They were interrogated at length as to Tina’s whereabouts. All that we could get out of them was that they knew Tina and she was still out there somewhere close by. Henry and Helga did not get the chance to go back and warn Tina. I’m not taking any chances. I will find her. If not this year then next when she continues to grow even more massive and further mutate.


Beautiful Spring Day on the Big Lake

It felt like summer for a day. And then it dropped about 30 degrees the next. Taking advantage of the nice weather like everyone else, we took a kayak and canoe out on the lake to jig for herring and lake trout. The fishing was okay, but the weather was better. A couple of herring and several lake trout made it into the boats. After fishing deep we ventured shallower and even managed a nice steelhead. The fishing should continue to pick up but seems to shut down during the drastic temperature changes. Although some seemed to hit it just right and had some pretty good fishing.

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Last walkable ice, first big rainbows

The ice was deteriorating quickly but we were determined to get one more day in before it was gone. Calm winds and steady temperatures were on our side. Action was not fast and furious, but we spent all day and there were just enough fish around to keep us interested.

Dead deer frozen in the ice

When I first walked out, I did not know what I was looking at and walked right on past.

Deer drowned in the ice

Less than 48 hours prior, the ice was borderline walk-able and this deer found out the hard way. It must have wandered out at night, broke through and couldn’t make it back out, dying of exhaustion and drowning. Sad.

Mitch with his first big Lake Superior rainbow through the ice.

Mitch with his first big Lake Superior rainbow through the ice.

Lake Superior Kamloops Rainbow Trout



Save My Dog Odin

Odin was born July 6, 2014 and came to live with me at 6 weeks old. His puppyhood is typical – very curious and energetic.

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In the fall of 2014 Odin had his first bird hunting experience. Odin has always been a “house dog” but loves to spend time outdoors. The following spring he was able to spend time (fishing) from the shore and also enjoyed laying in the boat given the opportunity.

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Odin completed two courses at Twin Ports Dog Academy. The first one was puppy class and the second one was obedience training. He also completed a retriever class at the Duluth Retriever Club. He continues to train with retriever skills. Odin continues to have high energy and enjoys running alongside a bicycle and ATV.

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Sometime over the summer of 2015 Odin began regularly vomiting bile. His vet suspected bilious vomiting syndrome – something that can easily be controlled but not curable. And most people claim their dog eventually grows out of it.

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It seems like Odin is always hungry. At one time I was able to feed him 2 meals/day, but as vomiting began I had to increase frequency to 3 smaller meals/day and now it is 4 to 5 depending on the day and number of vomits. He was also switched to Purina Pro Plan for sensitive skin and stomach (summer 2015). He does not get table scraps or people food (aside for occasional fresh chicken meat cooked for him and given to supplement his regular meal).

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The vomiting has only continued to get worse and the vet suspects something much greater is the problem. It seems no matter what I do with Odin’s diet and medication he keeps vomiting and it is difficult to have to watch every day. He has to work very hard to get the vomit up and it is now happening 3-5 times daily.

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Odin is requiring food in the middle of the night to avoid vomiting. The time following a meal (before he begins to vomit bile) varies from 2.5 to 5.5 hours this past week. Vomiting episodes are preceded by standing up, drooling, licking lips. The process is strained and he must retch a while to bring up the bile.

Other than the vomiting episodes, Odin seems “normal” and continues to have normal urine and stool output. He still is energetic and loves to go outside. He is probably gaining some weight with the extra feeding. A meal of ½ cup does not sustain him very long so rather than additional vomiting I give him ¾ cup to stretch it a little longer between meals. His daily 3 cups is now closer to 3 ½ cups.

At one and a half year old, I now have a very difficult decision to make. I am at my wits end and running out of options. The constant vomiting is destroying Odin’s esophagus and if I cannot resolve this, I will have to have him put down. The vet has left me with a few more options to send Odin to a specialist and have more tests and exploratory surgeries done to try and diagnose a problem.

I do not have the funds to pay for this.

So here is my decision. If I can raise enough funds, I will continue to put Odin through the ringer and keep trying to figure this out which will include sending him to a specialist to have an endoscopy done which includes biopsies as well as inspecting for any foreign objects and looking for any disease process that could be going on.

If I cannot raise the funds needed, Odin will be put down. If you feel like Odin still deserves a chance at life, then please consider donating to his cause.