I like fishing for the places fishing takes me.
It’s no secret that fishermen follow the fish, which means that a lot of fishermen travel a lot. It’s fishing that brought me to Thunder Bay and beyond to the uttermost wilds of Western Ontario. This is a land of rushing blue streams (the water is actually bright blue), gray granite bluffs and tall pine forests. Driving on the empty highway is a wildlife experience. You might just see a fox slip through the grass, or a mother moose guarding her calf.
Hop in a small plane and you’ll see more. After flying to Thunder Bay and driving to Atikokan, I boarded a 4-seater seaplane headed for the infinite lakes of northwest Ontario. Within five minutes of taking off from one lake, I saw two black bear trudging through the woods, completely unbothered by the buzz of our plane engine.
All of Canada is on the verge of endless wilderness. This is what sets Canada apart, and why a short seaplane journey can take one from a land of big nature and a few small stores to a land of big skies packed with stars and nothing but trees and water.
The lake I landed on has a name—Lake Sanford—but such a name offers little to distinguish the beauty, shape, and natural peace of this one lake over the other several thousand. The water is pure (pure enough to drink, which I did) and the lake is deep (up to 500 feet in places, gouged out by ancient glaciers.)
Living at the edge of such a lake—if only for a few days—does good things for the harried city soul. Up here, there is no distraction other than the fish living in the lake. Everything is pure and real—when night falls, you sleep and when morning comes, you fish.
In fishing, as in life, patience is a virtue. I know that after my second day on the lake when I began fishing at nine in the morning. Only at nine o’clock at night did I catch my first fish, a reluctant green walleye of two pounds which made a nice lunch the next day. It was worth the wait.
Everyone goes fishing for different reasons. Some are in it for the fish, others the sport, some for the beer and others for the escape.
After my weekend in the wild, I’m fairly certain that I’m in it for the lakes.