Accessible Bathymetry for Ontario Lakes

I am a firm believer in knowing as much about a lake as possible before heading out on the water. In my experience, doing my homework has changed the out come of many a days fishing; turning it from a likely bad or mediocre day to a raging success. Although it takes work to understand the waters you are fishing, the benefits are enormous. Correction, it used to take a lot of work… Now thanks to Navionics and National Prostaff, the hard part is done for you.

Historically, access to lake info would only come from experience, paper maps, or expensive GPS units with map chips. Then came the navionics app for mobile devices. As awesome as the mobile app was, it cost a bit of $ to own. Now Navionics and National Prostaff haved moved this data to a free online data delivery system. Although not so portable, the website can expedite the research process for finding new water or even help to enhance your understanding of your favourite “go to” lake. Although it doesn’t contain all the data the chip has, it covers most medium to large sized lakes with sufficient precision to make a big difference in the way you approach a lake.

So give it a gander and see if you learn a thing or two about the lakes you love.

Cheers from the Wild
Albert

http://nationalprostaff.com/navionics.php

Here is a screen shot from the website:
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One Year in the Wild…

WordPress sent me an alert today; Apparently it has been one years since my inaugural post on this blog. Time certainly does fly when your having fun, or in my case, when your catching fish.
Thanks to all my readers and followers for your patronage and bearing with me on the learning curve to a successful outdoor blog!
Cheers from the Wild
Albert

Thoughts of Springs Gone By

Seriously winter…. what happened to you?

You used to be cool.  You would come creeping around every November after deer season heralding Christmas, and bringing hardwater for ice-fishing or an excuse to dip south for some R&R.  Then like a flash, March would roll around and, poof! you would retreat back to the southern hemisphere….

But not this year, oh no…  That would be too normal.  Just to see how stir crazy you can drive us, you decide, what the hell, lets play a cruel joke by repetitive flash freezing and dropping sloppy dumps of snow at random times.

Let me just say, you can stop the joke now.  Its not funny any more…

Since winter is taking its sweet time to retreat this year, Ive decided to reminisce on springs gone by; specifically back to a trip to Algonquin two years ago that I have been meaning to write a post about.  We had a particularily good spring and the weather worked out perfect for us on this trip as did the fishing.  I know the trip pre-dates my blog, but a flashback is warranted due to the epic nature of the trip.

A group of six made up of myself, Dave (a regular on this blog) and four other friends decided to do an early season portaging trip to Algonquin Park to celebrate the esteemed ritual of the Bachelor Party for Dave before he took the plunge into matrimony.  As a survivor of many other urban bachelor parties, including my own, I was curious to experience what a backwoods party would be like. Even more curious as to how the brook trout fishing was some 50+ km into the heart of Algonquin.

After much preparation and figuring out how to transport a sufficient amount of “beverages” for such an arduous trip, the day finally arrived and we set out for the north side of Algonquin.

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Our launching point was from Brent on the north side of the park.

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After a relaxing night at cedar lake campground we roused our selves out of beer induced comas and embarked into the mists.

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Our trek took us across Cedar lake into the throat of the Petawawa.  As our trip coincided with the spring melt, river levels were high the waters were raging.  This made for stunning scenery and some spirited paddling.

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Little did I know that the worst was yet to come, because on the first day, “my inaugural day of portaging in Algonquin”, we were to face whats infamously called Unicorn Hill. Well, la di da, doesn’t it sound nice and cozy?  The name kind of lulls you into a sense of relaxation.. .. F that.  Unicorn hill consisted of a coronary giving, death defying, 3km hike uphill through a twisted path that served as a portage around a particularly long stretch of rapids.  This portage was definitely not for the faint of heart.  Maybe that’s why the crowds seemed to miraculously thin out after that.  After almost passing out a couple times and losing half my weight in sweat, we finally made it through.  Following that, we had a bit more paddling and a couple of minor portages and we finally made it to our campsite.  I was bushed but I was also there for a purpose, and nothing would stop me from testing the waters of the Petawawa with my rod.  I think it was at this point that things got serious and we actually started trying to figure out the brook trout fishing, because so far we were fishless and Dave still hadn’t caught the first brook trout of his life.

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We fished near the campsite with no luck and proceeded to hike further up he river.  Past schools of sucker and down some steep embankments we manged to locate a few decent holes.  Low and behold, Dave hooked up and we were staring at the first fish of the trip and of Dave’s lifetime.

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What a first it was!  It demonstrated some  amazing colour and patterns as well as being fairly girthy for a stream caught trout.  This was to be the first taste of trout we would have on the trip.

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Although the trout tasted good, it was not enough to feed 6 big guys after a hard day of portaging, and so the E and B were broke out with a chunk of cheese for good measure.

The rest of the trip went by like a blurr of good times and lots of brookies.  Id love to recount more details for you but I will let the pictures do the talking instead.

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Smaller trout, like the one pictured below, were common and plentiful.

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Our journey took us all the way to High Falls and onto the Nippissing River.  Possibly some of the most beautiful country I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing.

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Below the author is pictured cooking some of the delicious trout for the group.

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Brook Trout

The endless meandering waters of the Nippissing are something to behold.  In some sections it felt as though we were stuck in a time loop, paddling the same stretches over and over again.

This provided ample opportunity to pull out the camera.

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As much as I love to catch and eat brook tout, I have to emphasize that conservation is key.  Although we did keep some fish on this trip, the majority were caught on barbless hooks and were released with no real harm done.  Do your part to preserve these fish if you decide to venture into this section of Algonquin.  Collectively we need to recognize how special the brook trout in Algonquin really are and do are best to protect them.

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T’was a fine trip with a fine bunch of gentlemen and will not soon be forgotten.

Cheers from the Wild

Albert

P.S for those planning a trip to the “Gonq”, here is a link to the best map available:

http://www.algonquinmap.com/

Get outside…with yor kids! An Outdoors Charter for Kids

The provincial government has recently put together an initiative to promote outdoor activities among our youth in Ontario.

http://www.childrensoutdoorcharter.ca/

Finally! In my opinion the current generation of kids are missing out on the richly diverse experience that is our outdoor environment.

In support of this, they have developed a website outlining a vast array of activities children can take part in.  This is a good first step, and here is hoping they are able to implement activities, outreach programs and connect with other existing programs to actually get kids outside.

oh BTW, kudos to the website for including “Harvest something to eat”.  As a forager, I am happy to see this way of life promoted.

Cheers from the Wild

Albert

OFAH – Protecting Ontario’s Wild Heritage

A big shout out to OFAH and all the work they do to preserve Ontario’s wild heritage.

If not for them, I am sure I wouldn’t have much to write about on this blog!

http://www.ofah.org/fishing

Take a few minutes to look into what they are about and perhaps make a donation if you are so included!

OFAH

Round Lake – Early Season Stress Releif

Work has been tough lately.

I have been putting in long days at the office  for as long as I can remember with no foreseeable end in sight.  Not only is this tiring but its draining in every way conceivable.  Its times like these that a little stress relief is in order, so when my co-worker jokingly suggested a quick fish after work tonight I decided to take it seriously and jumped at the chance.  Enough of the late nights at the office,  I decided a break was in order (not to mention well deserved).

With that snap decision made, off I went to change and grab my gear and a half hour later we were at the launch pushing off in a canoe.

The trip was nothing fancy.

There were no huge expectations for trophy fish.

Just two dudes, a canoe and the lake.

Part of me wonders at how many world problems would be solved If every person got to experience this feeling on a regular basis.

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Ok. enough rambling, here is the report:

The afternoon was an exceptional one, with warm sunshine and a very slight breeze.  Temperatures were fairly warm and the evening was gearing up to be a good one.

The first fish (a small Pike) came a few minutes later on the fifth cast of my senko.  Nothing big, but definitely fun.  Fishing was nothing exceptional, but certainly decent enough to make the evening enjoyable.  We totalled around 8 bass for the evening, plus a horde of Rockies and that first Pike.  All fish were caught on a variety of plastics, crank baits and jigs in varying depths.  The fish were modest, with the biggest being between around 2.5 lbs.

It was interesting fishing as the lake is basically a deep bowl with 20 to 50ft drops right at the edges.  Really no weedy flats to fish at all so typical tactics don’t usually apply here.

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(Apparently I approve of this fish!)

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Heres a nice shot of me landing a LMB (Photo credit: Dave Hodgson)

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(Above Photo credit: Dave Hodgson)

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We were sure to take advantage of the beautiful scenery to be had on this quaint little lake.  Something Southern Ontario has in abundance.

Definitely one of the best ways I can think of to recharge the batteries after a tough week at work.

Reminds me of a saying:  “All work and no fish make jack a dull boy”  … or is it play? … no its definitely fish.

Cheers from the Wild

Al