Fly Fishing Healing on the Albany

FLY FISHING IN NORTHERN ONTARIO

Contributed by Gervais Jeffrey

I’m just back from a joint fly fishing venture with our American counterparts at  Project Healing Waters.  We went on a fabulous fishing trip in Northern Ontario.

This adventure starts on the morning of July 19th. I travel from Ottawa to Thunder Bay with 2 other participants, Marina and Mercier.

On arriving, we meet at the Thunder Bay airport with the US trip leader, and proceed to the Prince Arthur Hotel for an overnight stay. We finally meet Carl, our Canadian participant, who is from Timmins.

settling in

We get all settled into our rooms then we gather in the hotel lobby.We are to finally meet the rest of the US participants, Tom, John, Ed and Bruce. Then we go to dinner and continue to mingle until we part ways around 9 pm after a long day of travel for all of us.

There’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep before getting up, bright and early, the next morning for the flight. It will take us to our final destination at the Miminiska Lodge where we will be fishing for the next six days.

fly fishing
Raising the flags

Finally arriving at our final destination, we get settled into our assigned cabin and rooms. We then got all our fishing rods ready for our first evening of fishing.

Right after a healthy dinner, some of us went out fly fishing and scouting around the lodge. It didn’t take too long for some of us to hook our first fish of this upcoming memorable fishing trip to come.

I stayed behind in order to get the tying room ready for making our own and special flies in the days to come. We all retired early that night due to the travelling done and the early starts of those previous days before arriving to the camp.

fly fishing
The Healing on the Albany group
first day

On our first morning after an excellent breakfast, we had a small flag raising ceremony to underline the camaraderie and friendship of being brothers-in- arms. The American and Canadian flags flew for the entire time of this great venture.

From that morning on, we visited and fished various parts of Miminiska Lake and tributaries. Each and everyone of us caught our fair share of walleye (pickerel for Carl) and northern pike.

the big catch

The largest walleye was caught by Marina, a whopping 261/2 inches, and granted her the walleye Master Angler pin. As for the largest northern pike caught, this was a nice, 371/2 inches catch by John.  Unfortunately it was missing a small 2 1/2 in for qualifying for the northern pike Master Angler pin.

fly fishing
Marina with her catch
fly fishing
John with his catch

Those dreams days came to an end.  Early morning of the 26th July, we all boarded the plane that brought us back to Thunder Bay.

Upon our arrival, we went to the Prince Arthur hotel where our American counterpart had to stay an overnight before returning home. For us Canadians, we had to kill few hours before our own departure, either for Ottawa or Timmins.

This gave us the time to have our last lunch as a group and to say our goodbyes before going our separate ways. Each of us departed with memories that will remain for the rest of our lives. We all hope to meet each other again on the water somewhere.

fly fishing
Ready to catch the plane

In conclusion, I would like to extend our sincerest thanks to Allan and Krista Cheeseman. They provided the opportunity for Project Healing Waters (US) and Project Healing Waters Canada to live the exceptional experience of fly fishing in this pristine water. Thanks also to their Miminiska staff who gave us exceptional service when we were at the lodge.

Thank you very much for caring those who serve.

about gervais
fly fishing
Gervais Jeffrey

Gervais Jeffrey is the national director of Project Healing Waters Canada. He retired in 2012 from the Canadian Armed Forces, at the rank of Warrant Officer, after 41 years of service. Gervais has been volunteering with the program since 2010. He opened programs in Quebec and Montreal. He has moved to the Ottawa area and is now working to expand the program within Canada.

Niagara Veteran Event

niagara veteran event

Trout Unlimited Canada and Soldier On arrange a Healing Waters event every year for veterans. This year’s event was in Niagara.

The Niagara Veteran event was planned by the local Chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada.

The Chapter hosted 10 injured soldiers for this Healing Waters event in September.

Over three days the veterans learned about fly casting and fly tying.

A highlight was a lesson from Bill Spicer. Bill is the host of the New Fly Fisher television show. The popular series airs on the Fly Fishing Network.

Volunteers throughout the three days included experts in fly casting.

The soldiers always respond very positively, and some return another year.

As seen here, Chapter member Gary Kosinsky, teaches a soldier how to tie a fly to use the next day to catch trout.

Niagara Veteran Event
Gary Kosinsky teaching a soldier how to tie a fly
Niagara Veteran Event – Press Coverage

Local media publication, the St. Catherine’s Standard, features the event in an online article.

thanks to all

Our thanks go to all the participants and volunteers. We hope to see many veterans return next year.

Kedgwick Lodge Outing

kedgwick lodge outing as told by gervais jeffrey

Our Kedgwick Lodge Outing began around 10.00 am on the morning of June 7, 2017. Gino Savard and myself, Gervais Jeffrey, are hitting the road. Our destination is the world-renowned Kedgwick Lodge, established in 1886. The Lodge is on the shore of the famous Restigouche River, located in New Brunswick. It is also the home of world class Atlantic salmon fishing.

canadian veterans

Project Healing Waters Canada members have been invited on a Kedgwick Lodge outing for a weekend of fishing. Six Canadian veterans are taking part in this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, fishing in the privately-owned pools on the Restigouche River.

Kedgwick Lodge Outing

Soon after our arrival at the Lodge, Gino and I are directed by the staff to our room. We are told that we will be having a quick lunch around 16:30 pm, just before our evening fishing session.  So we take our time to get our fly-fishing equipment ready before meeting the other participants.

At lunch time we are welcomed by Danny Bird, the Lodge Manager, who tells us the history of the Lodge. Danny also gives us the details of the weekend to come. We are told that we will be fishing from a canoe and with two Micmac guides.

micmac fishing guides

Since the beginning, it has been a tradition that the guides have to be from the Micmac community, and that there are two guides per canoe. So Gino and I are to be guided by Tony and Tommy for the entire weekend. Both of them are seasoned guides and have been employed by the lodge for many years.

Kedgwick Lodge Outing

I can tell you they know the river inside out; when we move from one pool to another, they have no hesitation about the direction and the way to get to the new location. Their advice is essential in order for us to have a chance to fight the mighty Atlantic salmon. If Tony tells you to use this fly, you’d better listen to him otherwise you won’t catch anything!

excellent fishing weather with great results!

We have excellent fishing conditions, plenty of bright silver fresh fish in all the pools, and everyone has a chance to connect with one of these beasts during this fabulous weekend.

Kedgwick Lodge Outing
Gervais, Roby, Wayne, Charles, Andrew and Gino

Danny Bird, Lode Manager, says:

“Our first party of the 2017 season is remarkable. Great memories have been made today for 6 former members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Through Project Healing Waters Canada and Veterans Connecting With Atlantic Salmon, our special guests released a total of 10 big fresh fish (plus a few that were lost). They caught some nice trout, enjoyed perhaps some of the best salmon fishing in North America and some stress-free time in ‘Paradise'”.

In conclusion, I would like to express my sincere thanks to Mr. Goodyear, the main owner of the Kedgwick Lodge, for inviting us and hosting us for this weekend. I don’t want to forget Andrew, who put this adventure together, and his father, Danny, who made sure that we were at home at the lodge.

To all the lodge staff and guides – thank you very much.