With great excitement, I would like to announce that I will be rejoining the Wilderness North team for the start of the 2013 season. I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish all new faces and old friends a blessed and enjoyable New Year. I hope you all had a chance during Christmas and New Year’s to finally relax with loved ones and good friends. In this fast paced world that rarely coughs up such opportunities anymore, holidays like these give us a chance to take in all that the year behind us has brought. And, of course, it is a time where we begin looking forward to the spring with much anticipation. It is often a time when fishing trips are coordinated amongst friends and the “hard-core” begin formulating their plans of attack for the upcoming season. This is also when the extended fall steelhead season ends, and I hesitantly hang up my chest waders and centre pin outfit in hopes for solid ice on the lake. Looking back on 2012, I am truly grateful for all of the experiences the past year gave me.
I am thoroughly pleased to be returning to Wilderness North. I look forward to working with some truly remarkable people once again, and devoting myself to helping our guests make their dreams of northern adventure a reality. During the last few years I have had a chance to test some new waters, so to speak. I ventured west for a while, guiding on famed Lake Athabasca for a season in pursuit of giant Lake Trout, Pike, and Arctic Grayling. With the booming oil industry and abundant employment opportunities in Alberta, I soon found myself settling in Fort McMurray. Most winter mornings meant a two hour drive to work, despite the fact that I lived only 10 km away. The city just cannot keep up with the influx of workers and congestion is rampant from the corner stores, to the shopping malls, to the streets. This was a far different atmosphere for someone who is used to boating to work. Needless to say, I soon began to miss working in the serenity of the outdoors.
Ontario reclaimed me in the summer of 2011 and I have resided in Port Dover, a small town on Lake Erie’s north shore, ever since. It has been great to reconnect with old friends and family, being that I grew up in another small town not far from there. As my love for fishing, the water, and the outdoors is always calling; I have spent the majority of the last two years enjoying Lakes Erie and Ontario, as well as several of their rivers and creeks. The Grand River and I have become quite well acquainted thanks to an old friend. Steelhead guru of the Grand, Jason Forde, has been kind enough over the last two fall seasons to share his 15 years of experience on the river with me. His in-depth approach to everything from the science of the river to the smallest of technical details has been inspiring to say the least. In fact, our last outing of the season was an epic one: with me setting a new personal best for steelhead, and Jason catching the surprise fish of the year -a hefty 28″ walleye. What a great way to end 2012! Seeing that beautiful Walleye come out of the water really began the transition for me to once again return to the wilderness of Northwestern Ontario. I know there are plenty of those beauties waiting under the ice on Whitewater Lake, eager to chomp down on the first offerings of spring.
I look forward to keeping in touch with all of you as we move closer to the 2013 fishing season. I have some exciting ideas to share with you in my upcoming columns on how I plan to make your adventure vacations a success, and of course, forever memorable.