Anglers who cast their lines into Rainy Lake this season might be surprised by what they catch–that is, if they can outsmart a fish.
A unique species of three-headed walleye never before identified in Rainy Lake or any other body of fresh water was recently discovered by the Rainy Lake Wildlife and Aquatic Conservation Association (RLWACA).
The unusual fish was caught and submitted to the RLWACA in mid-March and officially identified yesterday not as a one-off mutant but as an all-new species of walleye that may become the fish of the future.
The fish was caught by angler, Brent Burkinson, who couldn’t believe his eyes when he reeled in the walleye one Sunday afternoon on Rainy Lake.
“I was out ice fishing and not catching much but that’s okay–fishing is really about getting away from it all anyways. So, I was relaxing, having a beer, when all of a sudden I got something on my line,” he recalled.
“I jumped up, reeled ‘er in, pulled ‘er up–she put up quite a fight–and just about crapped my pants,” added Burkinson.
“At first, I thought, ‘Am I drunk? I only had three beers. Am I becoming a lightweight in my middle age?’ But then I closed my eyes and said, ‘Okay, breathe through your nose–like your therapist said, Brent,'” he recalled.
“When I opened my eyes, I counted ’em–one, two, three heads. Whew, I wasn’t losing it after all,” said a still-relieved Burkinson.
The RLWACA have indicated that although this is the only specimen of three-headed walleye identified on Rainy Lake so far, there must be more out there.
The new species has been deemed a sort of “superfish” by the National Scientific Research Council of Canada (NSRCC), which told the Times that anglers will find the three-headed walleye to be “smarter than the average pike.”
One NSRCC spokesperson Trinity Hedman said that she feels the “Version 2.0” of the common walleye will give anglers a true challenge on the lake in the future, as not only can it see with two extra sets of eyes but process information at three times the speed.
“If we go by the limited data that we have, I believe its intelligence approaches that of a Boston terrier,” she noted.
“This will definitely affect fishing. Whether anglers see this challenge as a good thing or bad thing, time will tell,” Hedman added.
While Hedman speculated the new species has evolved over time as a survival response to the technological advantages enjoyed by the 21st century angler, Burkinson had another theory.
“Climate change,” he stated. “Definitely climate change.”