MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota fishing opener is just two days away, and for a Twin Cities dad it will be bittersweet.
Jay Duckson’s 18-year-old son Berkley was killed in a snowmobile accident in February on Gull Lake.READ MORE: MN Weather: 6-8 Inches Of Snow Possible In Northern MN This Weekend
Berkley Duckson had a love for the outdoors, especially for fishing.
“Berkley really, really had a zest for life,” said Jay. “One of those guys that just creates fun, creates excitement, creates an aura.”
Berkley 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’s only child and as the fishing opener approaches, he misses Berkley more than ever.
“I always look for positives. What good is going to come out of this?” said Jay.
Shortly after his 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.
“It was a challenge to him to catch a walleye on Gull Lake,” said Jay. “It just became obvious to friends and family that a foundation that helps people catch more walleye.”
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, Eigen happened to meet Berkley just hours before he died.READ MORE: Minnesota Weather: 6-8 Inches Of Snow Possible In Northern MN This Weekend, Cold Temps To Follow
“I just said, ‘Hey,’ and he’s like, ‘Hey.’ And he turned around and he said, ‘God bless you,'” said Eigen.
Eigen himself is going through a battle with cancer. He believes a “Save the Gull Lake Walleye Foundation” can help inspire.
“Whatever it may be that betters the fishery or the Gull Lake chain, it’s got to be a good thing,” said Eigen.
For now the focus will be on increasing walleye habitats, while encouraging families to do what Berkley loved to do.
“So when you go fishing with your grandfather or your father or your son, you can catch a walleye,” said Jay.
The “Save the Gull Lake Walleye Foundation” has already raised thousands of dollars.
For more information on how people can contribute:
Frandsen Bank & Trust account info
7429 Excelsior Rd, Baxter, MN 56425
7303 161st Street, Rosemount, MN 55068
Account Name: Berkley Duckson Memorial Fund
Account number: 1110498094
Routing Number: 091901202