To Honor Son, Father Wants To Save Gull Lake Walleye

Jay Duckson's 18-year-old son, Berkley, was killed in a snowmobile accident in February on Gull Lake, John Lauritsen reports (2:20). WCCO 4 News At 6 - May 15, 2021

Video Transcript

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ERIN HASSANZADEH: The Minnesota Fishing Opener is here and for a Twin Cities dad, it's bittersweet. Jay Duckson's 18-year-old son, Berkley, was killed in a snowmobile accident in February on Gull Lake. Berkley had a love for the outdoors, especially for fishing we're told. John Lauritsen shows us how Jay is using his son's memory to help Minnesota lakes and walleyes.

JAY DUCKSON: Berkley really, really had a zest for life. One of those guys that just creates fun, creates excitement, creates an aura.

JOHN LAURITSEN: Berkley Duckson even helped create a fishing team while at Minnehaha Academy, recruiting friends and sponsors to make it happen. But in February while home from college, the 18 year old died in a snowmobile accident. He was Jay Duckson's only child.

JAY DUCKSON: I always look for positives. What good is going to come out of this.

JOHN LAURITSEN: Shortly after Berkley's death, Jay was thinking of ways to honor his son. Knowing Berkley's love for the outdoors and for fishing helped him come up with an idea pretty quickly.

JAY DUCKSON: It was a challenge to him to catch a walleye on Gull Lake. It just became obvious to friends and family that a foundation that helps people catch more walleye.

JOHN LAURITSEN: One of the first people Jay called was Dan Eigen, also known as "Walleyedan." He's a Gull Lake fishing guide and a favorite of Berkley's. As fate would have it, Dan happened to meet Berkley just hours before he died.

DAN EIGEN: I just said, "Hey," and he's like, "Hey." And he turned around and he said, "God bless you."

JOHN LAURITSEN: Dan himself is going through a battle with cancer. He believes a Save The Walleye Foundation can help inspire.

DAN EIGEN: Whatever it may be that betters the fishery or the Gull Lake chain, I mean it's got to be a good thing.

JOHN LAURITSEN: For now, the focus will be on increasing walleye habitats while encouraging families to do what Berkley loved to do.

JAY DUCKSON: So when you go fishing with your grandfather or your father or your son, you can catch a walleye.

JOHN LAURITSEN: John Lauritsen, WCCO 4 News.

ERIN HASSANZADEH: Pretty special. The Save the Gull Lake Foundation has already raised thousands of dollars. If you want to learn more on how you can contribute, visit wcco.com/links.