A Whale of a Fishing Tale: Teen Hooks Wallet with $2K in Cash, Returns to Owner

A high school freshman in Moorhead, Minnesota has a fishing tale and a treasure story all rolled into one.  And best of all, there’s a happy ending. 

Connor Halsa recently hooked a wallet full of cash while fishing for walleye on Lake of the Woods, and he returned it to the rightful owner, according to WDAY-TV

The lake is located astride the Canadian–United States boundary where the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba and the state of Minnesota meet.

While Halsa and his family were fishing from their boat, drifting along at a leisurely pace, when the teen thought he felt a fish take his bait. 

“I thought I had a huge fish, so I set the hook really hard,” he told WDAY.  

The fish turned out to be a billfold full of money – $2,000 in cash. 

“My dad said we should give it to the person, and I said we should, too,” Halsa told the outlet. 

They looked through the wallet and found a business card with a telephone number. Eventually, they were able to contact the owner, a farmer, Jim Denney of Iowa, who lost his wallet while fishing on the lake a year ago.    

“The water was really rough, and I was sitting on the back of the boat and it was rocking back and forth, and it worked itself out and slipped off into the water,” Denney told WDAY.

Denny said he didn’t realize he had lost his billfold until he reached into bib overalls for it so he could pay his final bill at the resort where he had been staying.

“They had to float me the money for the whole deal. That’s the (worst) feeling I ever had, didn’t have a penny on me,” Denney told WDAY.

The odds of Halsa snagging the wallet are really long. One million acres of lake. Seventy miles long, 70 miles wide, and he hooked a billfold the size of a deck of cards, the outlet noted. 

Denny recently made the trip to Moorhead to meet the Halsa family, who returned his billfold and his money. He tried to give Halsa a reward for returning the wallet, but the teenager refused, according to WDAY

To meet people like that, who are that honest, I tried to get them to take the money, and they wouldn’t do it,” Denney told the outlet.

“I tell you what, I have the billfold in my hands, and it is still hard to believe,” he said. 

Denny gave Halsa a new cooler inscribed with his name and also took his entire family out to dinner in order to thank them, according to WLS-TV

He also gave the teen a compliment, telling WDAY he “would take Connor as a grandson any day.”

Halsa told the outlet he learned some great lessons about himself and doing what’s right. 

“Yeah, to be nice to everyone and like give back to people. We didn’t work hard for the money, he did, so it was his money,” he said.

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