Fly Fishing Healing on the Albany


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.

New Program Coordinators

New Program Coordinators are always a ‘good news’ story here at Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Canada. So it’s therefore exciting for us to announce that four new volunteers have joined us in the past couple of months.

new program coordinators
Dave Mountain, New Program Coordinators
Dave Mountain, British Columbia
Tom Adamchick, New Program Coordinators
Tom Adamchick, Petawawa, Ontario
Ed Goguen New Program Coordinators
Ed Goguen, Nova Scotia

Their contact details are available on our website here.

A very warm welcome is extended to all. Thank you for offering your help.

More volunteers means  more opportunities to help our veterans participate in fly fishing and fly tying activities throughout Canada.

If anyone is still thinking about helping, please consider having an informal chat with a member of the Project Healing Waters Canada staff. We are able to advise about what we do. Furthermore, we can tell you where  and how you can help.

We look forward to meeting and seeing Dave, Tom, Terrence and Ed on outings in the coming months.

Marc and his Fishing Rod

This post is in both English and French.

Marc and his fishing rod
Marc and his fishing rod

Canne à pêche de Marc

Cet après-midi, une petite visite arrive à la maison. Un bonhomme de la région d’Ottawa. Marc Lamontagne est venu me rendre une visite. Il faut dire qu’il avait une excellente raison de venir à la maison. Marc est un membre des FC qui souffrent du syndrome post traumatique, en 2012, je rencontrais Marc pour la première fois dans une aventure de pêche à Thunder-Bay On. Marc et moi participions au projet Healing in Albany. Nous étions les invités de la compagnie Wilderness North et ce en compagnie de militaires américains et autres canadiens. Ce fut une excellente semaine de pêche que nous avons eu.

Marc and his fishing rod

Pour faire une histoire courte, Marc a reçu un beau cadeau de la part d’un des participants américain. Une belle canne à mouche de façon personnel eh oui comme on dit custom. Une canne de 9pi 4 sections soie #5. Harold Durham est un vétéran de la guerre du Viêt-Nam qui a fabriqué cette petite beauté. Les bandes de couleurs qu’on voit, représente les médailles que Marc a reçu durant son service militaire. LA rouge et blanche, médaille de service, rouge blanche et noir au centre, Médaille service spécial, La rouge blanc et vert, Étoile de campagne Afghanistan et la dernière beige, rouge, noir et blanc, Médaille du Sud Ouest Asiatique. Remarqué aussi les poissons qui sont aussi tissés dans le fils de montage. Il s’agit d’une canne à pêche très beau et spécial!

group, wilderness resort
Group at Wilderness Resort

Une excellente façon de vous dire merci pour le service de Marc dans son pays.

Marc and the Fishing Rod

Well I thought that I would be having a quiet afternoon at home. No, an old friend of mine showed up from Ottawa for a visit. Marc Lamontagne is a Canadian veteran who has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. I met Marc two years ago when I was invited to participate in an adventure with Wilderness North Resort in Thunder Bay, ON. Marc and I, along with other Canadian and American veterans were hosted by this resort for a week – talk about the excellent fishing time and camaraderie we had!

To make a long story short, Marc’s visit was to finally receive a gift that I had got for him from Texas. Yes, from Texas. Marc got it from Harold Durham, who is a Vietnam veteran, and he made a customized fishing rod especially for Marc. He sent it to me so I can present it to Marc on his behalf.

Marc finally came to receive this little beauty. It is a 5w 9ft 4 pieces rod.

Marc, his fishing rod
Marc’s fishing rod
Marc's fishing rod
Maker’s Name – Harold Durham
Harold Durham
Harold Durham – with a great catch

The ribbons that you see represent the medals Marc received during his military career. The red and white is the Long Service medal.

Marc's fishing rod
Red and White – Long Service Medal

The red, white and black is the Special Service medal.

Marc and his fishing rod
Red, White and Black – Special Service Medal

The red, white and green is the Campaign Star for Afghanistan.

Marc's fishing rod
Red, White and Green – Campaign Star for Afghanistan

The beige, red, black and white is for South West Asia.

Notice also the fish that are inlaid with the thread.

Marc's fishing rod
Beige, Red, Black and White – South West Asia Medal

This is a very handsome and special fishing rod indeed!

Marc and his fishing rod
Marc’s Complete Fishing Rod and Ribbons

A great way to say thank you for Marc’s service to his country.