Thursday, February 2, 2017

Disappointing Season

I sit here looking out the window as the snow falls.  Canadian groundhogs have predicted an early spring and I can only hope that is true.  I can also hope that this year's tripping season is better than last.  I had a few trips planned last year of which only one panned out. 

My annual spring fishing trip with my Dad was also to include my uncle and brother-in-law.  We had planned on taking the trailer up to Brent on Cedar Lake and fish the lakes north of Cedar on day trips.  I usually plan the trip for the first week in May as we haven't had any trouble in past with ice conditions.  Last year was different though.  We were scheduled to head in on the 3rd.  While most lakes were free of ice, or almost free of ice by that time, the Brent road remained closed do to snow and wasn't scheduled to open until the 6th.  While this normally wouldn't be a problem if it was just the two of us as we could easily reschedule, my brother-in-law had booked off time and couldn't change it at the last minute. 

So days before the trip I had to scramble to find a spot along Highway 60 where we could get a site.  Luckily I was able to secure a great site at Rock Lake right next to the beach.  We fished a lot of the lakes off of the highway corridor, some of them stocked, but didn't have a great deal of luck.  We caught a couple of nice Lake Trout in Source and I got a really good Splake in Jack Lake.

Splake.
This year we are planning to head back to Brent.  To avoid any late ice or closed roads I've booked a week later.  I've done a trip with Dad out of Cedar a few years back and fished the smaller lakes to the south of Cedar I've never fished the ones north of the lake off of the road.

Ambitiously I had planned two solo trips in May last year.  The first was to be before the Victoria Day weekend out of Tim Lake.  The plan was to head down the South River into Craig and through North Tea into Lost Dog and out Kawawaymog.  The second trip was suppose to be after the holiday weekend and leave from Rain Lake heading into Bandit then up to Devine and out the Tim River to LaMuir, White Trout then Islet and back to Rain Lake.  Unfortunately due to personal reason I was unable to partake in either of those trips.

I did get over to Achray on Grand Lake for 10 days in early June.  I took the trailer and set up at a great beach front site.  From there I did some great day trips in areas that I hadn't been before.  I was able to get travel authorization to head up to Radiant Lake where I did some birding and a little day trip out of there around the George lakes system.  It was on that day trip that on the portage from Big George Lake to the Petawawa River I came across a fire that had recently occurred on the portage trail.  In talking with a colleague later I found out that a few weeks earlier some campers started a fire to get warm and it got away from them burning the whole top of the hillside.  Thankfully they were charged.

Remains of fire on Big George to Petawawa River Portage.

One of my other day trips I did was out the Brigham Lake access area where I headed up stream to St. Andrews Lake and then looped around through Marie, Length, Cork and Opalescent lakes.  It was at the end of the portage coming from Length to Cork Lake that I found a nice laminated Redtail paddle.

Nice Redtail Paddle, Cork Lake.
August was soon upon me and time again for my annual summer trip with my Dad.  This year we headed south of Smoke Lake to Big Porcupine then down the Hollow River into Dividing Lake and back out Smoke.  It had been years since I'd gone out of Smoke Lake and camped on Big Porcupine.  It was a nice trip and despite low maintenance portages it was a much easier and more relaxing trip from what we had done the previous summer.

All my trips for the coming season are planned and are either booked or will be over the next couple of months.  My solo trip this year is the Rain Lake trip that I was unable to do last year.  I'm looking forward to this trip but my only trepidation is the portage from Stag Lake to the Tim River.  I haven't heard good things about it so I'm not optimistic.

The August trip is still up in the air.  I've given my Dad a list of possible routes to mull over.  I'll be able to book it next month so still lots of time.  Right now the top two choices are heading out of the north part of the Park, either out of Brain Lake or the North River.  The Brain Lake trip would take me to the only access point in the Park that I haven't been to yet.  The trip out of the North River would give us a couple of days to relax at Radiant and given the time of year hopefully get some good shore birding done.

The trip log from last summer's Dividing Lake trip is now up.  I'm planning on getting more logs up from Dad's journal from the 80's and 90's as time permits.  Until then may the wind always be at your back and the sun upon your face.  Happy Paddling!