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Kayak Fishing Adventure at Fireside Lodge
Tom's First Kayak Fishing Adventure
My first kayak expedition of the year was a huge success! I was lucky enough to have today off and I could not have asked for better weather. It was about 22℃ this afternoon and not a cloud in the sky.
I learned an important lesson during my first season at Fireside Lodge: days off are not to be spent sleeping or lying around watching tv. Especially not when there is so much to do and see outside here. Ever since my first season I have always taken advantage of my one free day of the week. The best part is that I rarely plan them. Often I make my decision in the few seconds after I wake up. Usually my goal is to get all my weekly chores done before noon. That means laundry, cleaning, errands in town, etc. After that I have the rest of the day to explore, fish, canoe, kayak, run, bird-watch, hike, swim...you get the picture.
Today I decided to do a bunch of these activities all in one trip. I was feeling ambitious this morning. I got up at 6:00 AM, and did not particularly feel like going to town, so I decided that instead of my usual chores I would clear some of the bush around my trailer. It’s tough work, but it’s also a great way to get the blood flowing in the morning. And I’ll be honest, operating a chainsaw makes me feel like a big man! It only took me an hour or so to clear the area I wanted. I think I’ll make some kind of rock garden, or maybe I’ll plant some trees, or both.
After a quick lunch, I packed up all my stuff and headed for the lake. I set a fairly ambitious goal for myself. I wanted to see if I could kayak from the lodge up into Big Vermilion Lake and back through the Twin Falls and Ament Bay portages. I estimated the trip to be about eighteen kilometres (eleven miles), with three short overland trips. I set a time goal of six hours, allowing two hours for fishing and portaging. Here’s how it went...
I left the lodge at 11:30 AM and paddled for twenty minutes to the first portage. For those of you who know Little Vermilion Lake, the trail I used goes from Back Bay over to Portage Bay in the Upper Arm. The trail is about 200 metres long. There was ample evidence (droppings) that both moose and wolf use the trail. I then paddled over to Twin Falls, stopping to fish for about fifteen minutes. I caught four bass in that time. I reached the falls at 12:30 PM, and had a look around. There was a Bald Eagle hunting on the Big Vermilion side. I spooked it as I walked through the trail and it flew off, but I managed to get a great look at it. cool. I set off into Big Vermilion at 1:00 PM.
It was about 3:00 PM when I arrived at the trail leading back into Little Vermilion. I reached Ranger’s Point in the lower arm of the lake by 4:30 PM. I ran into Bill Stayer, one of our guests, near Silver Minnow Bay. We chatted for a moment and then went our separate ways. His was only one of two boats I saw all day.
After leaving Bill, I thought I’d try to find a beaver stick or two with the intent of making hiking sticks out of them. If you’ve never seen a beaver stick before, they are just limbs that a beaver has chopped off a freshly fallen tree, or saplings taken from the underbrush. The neat thing about them is that the beaver strips all the bark from the stick, which leaves a smooth surface, perfect for a walking stick. I found dozens between Silver Minnow Bay and the lodge, but only three were the correct length and diameter. I put them up to dry in the boat shed. I’ll save the next step, applying poly-urethane to protect the wood, for a rainy day.
The highlight of the trip was the hour or so I dedicated to fishing. I managed to find a stretch of shoreline with a tapering drop off into deeper water, which is a great place to find pre-spawn Smallmouth Bass. Using a white twister tail (it’s my exploring bait...every species will hit it, and the single barbless hook makes for uncomplicated releases which is especially important when kayak fishing), I made a cast towards the shore. Bam! smallie!. Second cast....Wham! A bigger smallie! Third cast nothing, same for the fourth, fifth, sixth..... Then on the seventh cast...Boom! 36 inch Northern Pike! I brought it up to the kayak for a quick measurement, then let him go. I had a ball! I caught about 50 smallies for the day, most of them on that one stretch of shoreline. What a thrill catching fish from a kayak!
I cruised into the Fireside Lodge bay at about 7:00 PM, only an hour later than I anticipated. I unloaded and put away the kayak. Only then did I realize how exhausted I was. My arms and shoulders were like jelly. I know I’ll be sore tomorrow, but today sure made it worth it! What a trip...I can’t wait to do another one soon. It is 8:30 PM as I finish this entry, and it is definitely time for bed!
See you soon,