Something Fishy

Something Fishy
t Doesn't Get Much Better

Monday, June 27, 2011

It's not all about catching fish

Why travel 2,500 miles to fish? We have good fishing right here in Indiana. So, why spend the money and time to travel so far?
Different people have different reasons, but for most it isn’t just to catch fish. Putting fish on the stringer is a goal, but not the only reason for the trip.
Among a number of trips I have made to the northland, was a trip to Woman River Camp in far Northwest Ontario for a week’s fishing with three other Hoosiers and a couple of friends from Tennessee. It’s a long drive--nearly 24 hours driving time each way., And with the price of gasoline, it’s costly.
Making the trip were my son--in-law, his father, his uncle, my brother-in-law, and a friend. We all caught fish, and they were great eating from the just  caught from clear, cool Canadian water. My brother-in-law Paul Cooper fried them golden brown along with potatoes and other fixin’s/ Ah, wonderful.
I caught my share of fish, but the numbers were not great nor were the size, although the Woman River and the associated chain of lakes can produce numbers and lunkers. So why travel so far?
  Some people make such trips in hopes of a 50-inch musky, a huge northern pike or a 10-pound walleye, but that’s not what beckons me to a far-away fish camp.
It’s the camaraderie and the wilderness experience.
Woman River  and similar camps have beautiful scenery, solitude, the chance to see eagles, listen to the haunting call of loons, and observe a cow moose and her calf. 
 splashing through the brush.
Of course, I love to catch fish (and eat them), but a trip with friends is the north woods is more than fishing.
It’s sitting by a crackling fireplace and listening to Mike Fields talk about all the crazy lures he makes with hooks, spinners and costume jewelry he buys at yard sales. He creates some of the stangest looking lures one could imagine. A respectable fish would never stike most of them, but they do. That makes Mike happy.
It’s Paul telling about catching big walleye on Indiana’s Tippecaone River, determining how to apply techniques and catch them on Woman River. He did. He’s a good fisherman and an excellent cook as well. We ate well, really well.
Son-in-law David recalls how pike struck his topwater buzz bait a few hours earlier, while he puts off reading a textbook. He’s enrolled in a master’s program at Indiana University and missed a class to make the trip. He was the youngster among the old codgers enjoying the fire.
His dad, Charlie tinkers with an old fishing reel that has been covered with salt water in Florida. He’s always fixing something. He’s one of those folks who have difficulty just sitting and relaxing. At the same time, he speculates to his brother Mike how Kentucky will beat Tennessee in football, and probably basketball.
Mike changes the subject to this fall’s deer hunt and invites us to come down for the hunt. “We really have a lot of deer and good places to hunt. I’m sure you could get one,” he adds. “There wouldn’t be a lot of walking,” he suggests, thinking of my less than cooperative right knee.
Sid, a die-hard bass fisherman making his first trip to the north woods, ponders how he is going to catch a big northern pike, using his his normal bass catching methods. He figures some of the same techniques will work on agressive pike, which at certain times will hit almost anything.
As the sun sets below the pines across the lake, I sip a bit of bottled Kentucky liquid corn, and doze off briefly in front of the warm fireplace. I wake up when Sid puts another log on the fire, eat one of Paul’s homemade chocolate chip cookies, and look forward to fishing another day with friends.
Catching a fish is a bonus.
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WOMAN RIVER CAMP -- The Woman River system is a multi-species fishery consisting of good populations of walleye and northern pike. There also are lake trout, whitefish, smallmouth bass, burbot and tasty, plentiful  yellow perch (cousin of the walleye).
The Woman River system is a well-sheltered easily traveled waterway stretching north for over 50 miles, and consisting of countless bays, islands and fishing structure. Woman River Camp also has seven portage lakes where there are boats available.
The accommodations are excellent as is the equipment and hospitality.
For addition information on Woman River Camp go to website:, or call toll-free 1-866-FISHWRC.

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