It is with a very heavy heart that we regret to inform our readership of the passing of two of our cherished guests. Both Mr. David Chism and Mr. Roger Ingerson left us leaving many great memories in their wake. These intrepid fishermen would migrate to Aikens Lake each year to ring the new season. Being the first folks off the planes in late May offered Roger and Dave the opportunity to be the first anglers to entice their favorite quarry to take their baits. Much rhythm had been established between our staff and our ''Opening Guests'' over the years. These pleasant folks ensured a smooth start to our year.
Roger Sheldon Ingerson had been coming to Aikens for almost twenty years. His exploits on the lake were always shared with family, namely his son Doug and his brother Chuck. ''Big R'' was a huge fan of trolling! He'd spend complete days, with a content smile on his face, incessantly trolling up and down the Back Bay or Stange Bay with his favorite lure in tow (Rap#F9-11). Roger was also an unofficial Junior-Guide Instructor. Having spent many years mastering the spring bite on Aikens, we often sent out our novice guides to learn the ropes with Roger. His calm, smart and friendly approach to educating our neophyte operators instilled many good lessons upon them. Many of our present guide crew have tricks in their tackle boxes that can be traced back to Roger's teachings. It's good to know we carry on his legacy! Roger and Doug were a highly prized pair for the guides for other reasons as well. They spent 7 days fishing and always looked forward to their shorelunches. But, days 5 and 6 were a treat that the guides would scramble to be the fortunate ones to be with them... Ribeye steaks flown-in with Roger's cooler, expertly prepared by Doug over the open flame. I can taste it now... Roger left a lasting impression upon all those fortunate to have crossed his path. His career in aerospace design often had a group of folks mesmerized on the B&T porch when he shared the sights and sounds of his eventful life. It's comforting to know that his hard work still helps to protect us today. His humble and modest approach towards others made him an exceptional listener always willing to gain his fellow man's trust. Roger, they sure don't make them like they used to!
Mr. David Meredith Chism was also passionate angler in his own right. Whether it be chasing down large-mouth bass in his home state of Arkansas or plotting his attack on monster pike at Aikens, Dave was always prepared. Never fazed by the cooler Canadian May weather, Dave would head out rain or shine equipped with his tan rain suit, his white sneakers and his favorite casting rods. His lovely wife Kitty is a huge walleye fan and never missed the morning bite. After an enjoyable shore lunch Kitty usually chose to return to the lodge to read her book of choice next to the fireplace and get cozy with a warm blanket. That's when Dave got serious about his pike fishing. Accompanied by his guide, Dave would pepper the weedy bays for 5 hours non-stop. The Johnson Silver Minnow, the Slug-Go, the Rattlin' Rap, or Little Lucky Blue (Rap #F5) all had their fair share off time in the water. His prowess with a baitcasting rod was evident; the skill set of a life-long angler. He'd only pause to soak in the remote beauty of the landscape, rehydrate with a bottle of water, nod to his guide and back to the task at hand. This quiet man made people in his presence appreciate what we so often take for granted. Dave had an incredibly charming personality and it was truly a pleasure to spend a day in the boat with him.
These two fine individuals will be sorely missed. Their friendship and kindness will not be forgotten. We stand proud to have shared many smiles with each of them. Our paths crossed thanks to our mutual desires to commune with Mother Nature and to once again cast upon her limpid waters. Their legacy at Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge is a long one and will not be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ingerson and Chism families during these trying times and we will be thinking of them come Opening this year. We'll make sure to troll one for you Roger and we'll heave a cast for you Dave. Thanks for the memories!