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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.