Alan's Message, President Wilderness North

Celebrating 30 Years of Wilderness North  –          

Family Time at Miminiska

With Megan off at cadet camp having adventures of her own in southern Ontario, Krista and I thought we should take advantage of the opportunities available at Miminiska and take Sierra (our 11 year old daughter) out for a few hours of fishing. We spent Sunday afternoon plying the outlet of Miminiska Lake and casting by a beaver dam near Shore Lunch Island. The bite was very light. We quickly learned that we needed to anticipate there was a walleye interested in the presentation as it approached the rocky bottom and try setting the hook without really knowing there was anything there. Many times we were rewarded with a catch. We even reeled in a Sauger as well –an uncommon occurrence here at Mim.

It is moments like these that I realize how fortunate we are to live and work in such an amazing environment. I am becoming increasingly aware of the importance of this kind of quality time with my girls. I guess that comes with ageJ Watching Sierra’s face light up as she reeled in a catch got me thinking about the need for us to do our part introducing kids to fishing. Sadly as this video from BBC News shows, angling is fast becoming a lost past time.

Many of my lasting memories of my dad are the times I spent fishing with him. He had a passion for angling. I clearly remember being about four or five, bouncing across Lake Erie with my sister in the covered bow of Dad’s 16 ft wooden boat and 35 hp motor….We were a bit scared of motoring through what seemed to be ocean sized waves as a result of the storm that caught us unawares. I think the challenge of boating through the storm and Dad’s ability to manage the situation made this one of those ‘defining moments` for me.  When I turned nineteen, there was the occasional time I spent recovering (from the night before) while in the boat. Needless to say, there wasn’t much fishing going on for me but it was still nice to share in the moment. My Dad was a man of few words, but, those are the times he shared his wisdom and life experiences.

On Sunday there was a rod broken (no one’s fault), a broken line or two and a few close calls with the occasional `wild cast` made the break inevitable. I caught myself before telling Sierra that the tug she felt, as we drifted toward the rapids above Mim falls, wasn’t a fish, but the bottom of the lake. It was going to sound similar to the orders commonly spoken in our house; like clean your room or put your dishes away. Sierra is a far better fisher than I was at her age and she has a pretty good cast. Thinking back to the life lessons I learned from my Dad, I kept these thoughts to myself, and let her learn the difference between a real estate tug and a bite on her own. With that lesson under her belt, we are going to work on her affinity to hold the fish for the camera next time we take a couple hours off. LOL it was fun to watch her try.

Fishing, like other outdoor activities, is great because it has that ability to take us away from the familiar, see things differently, and I think, it makes us better people by broadening our perspectives. Bringing this story back to what we do here at Wilderness North, I asked Tyler what he would recommend for young anglers. He suggested smaller, slightly less expensive gear. Kids tend to be rough on equipment in a boat, especially rods. For really young fishers, they tend to play with reels a lot, adjusting drag, handles, etc.; when they get a bite, they lose it because things are out of adjustment. This is the only time Tyler recommends a closed spincast reel. Kids have very little sensitivity in their hands, so a stiffer rod is better than a really light one. As they develop their skills of detecting and setting the hook, the stiffer rod tends to help do the job for them.

There is considerable information online about introducing kids to fishing. I would recommend searching the topic if you’re thinking about how to get your kids off the couch, away from their electronics, and into the outdoors. If you want to get a child hooked forever on the outdoors and spend the best kind of quality time available anywhere, book a fly-in trip, you won’t find a better place to connect.

Here at Wilderness North we will work at developing packages that are suited to families over the next several months. These new packages will take into consideration cost and introducing other activities to help keep kids active and engaged while in the wilderness. All of us should do our part to get youth interested in the outdoors and to keep the sport of fishing alive for generations to come. As the old proverb goes “give a boy a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a boy to fish and he’ll feed himself for a lifetime” If you have any ideas to share, stories of your own, or thoughts on how we can help introduce kids to the wilderness, post your comments below or send me an email.

As always it’s great to hear from you

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