It was great to travel by bushplane, so low to the ground that we had fantastic views of the rugged and beautiful terrain we were crossing. I had never seen so many lakes in all my life - stretching off to the horizon as far as one could see. The combination of green vegetation and the deep blue lakes was amazing as our Beaver droned along at its...more
We were there to fish and we certainly did plenty of that! The usual routine was to rise at about 6:30 AM, grab a few snacks and immediately head out on the water in our five outboard motorboats. Each boat headed off to whichever part of the lake they thought was best, based on our experiences this year and on previous history. This was followed by...more
It was interesting each day to watch how the Herring Gulls kept an eye on our fishing activities. They were smart enough not to follow our boats around because, based on past experience, they knew we would be returning to Grey Owl Camp to cut-up our 'keepers' on the filleting board beside the second Cabin. With a 26-inch wing span, Herring Gulls...more
I immediately noticed that the trees in this part of northern Saskatchewan were much more slender than those I was used to back in New Brunswick on the Atlantic coast. Although the soil there had also been severely affected by the Ice Ages, the fact they were not growing on the Canadian Shield seems to have made a difference. On my walk to the...more
One sunny and warm afternoon, while the rest of the guys headed out on their quest for fish, I decided to stay behind and check out the surroundings of Grey Owl Camp. My short walk through the forest soon brought me back to the shoreline, one made up entirely of crystalline rocks that spewed up billions of years ago as the earth formed. The...more
The ice had gone out of Oneman Lake only 2-3 days before we arrived, so the water was still quite cold. At least that is what we blamed for our mostly failed attempts to catch huge Lake Trout or Northern Pike as on previous company fishing expeditions there. No amount of radar scanning or changing bait or fishing techniques seemed to be successful...more
I have done a lot of flying in my various world travels, but not nearly enough of it in floatplanes! There is no hassle of security checks when you board one of these things and you might even get to sit up-front with the pilot as guys in our group did on each flight. It was even more fun knowing that I was dealing with three of the most legendary...more
I always took my binoculars and bird-book with me when I went anywhere, so I was able to enjoy a few extra sightings whenever there was a lull in the fishing action. On two or three occasions, I was able to spot Common Loons (known as Northern Divers in Europe), the iconic bird of Canada's wilderness with its haunting cries echoing across the...more
In truth, I'm not really a big fisherman - I just like to get away to strange places! Oneman Lake did not disappoint as the weather was great and so were the guys from work who joined me on this wilderness adventure. For me, just getting away to experience the remote northern reaches of Canada was reward enough - everything else was just a bonus....more
Because fishing was the main order of business on this trip, the custom was to rise at about 6:30 AM and immediately head out onto the lake for some early-morning fishing. We took a few snacks along to ward off the hunger pains until returning to the camp by about 10 AM. It was then that whoever was on-hand began the serious breakfast preparations,...more
Grey Owl Camp was well out-fitted for cooking - having two BBQs on the deck of the main camp as well as a gas stove inside (along with another one in the smaller second cottage). We had also brought along a deep-fryer to cook our various fish catches in oil. Usually it was the same bunch of guys who did the cooking and they did a great job...more
Thompson's Camps, the outfit that provided our overnight accommodations, also had a large restaurant building a short way down one of Missinipi's gravel streets. We had a planned early fly-out to our fishing camp that first morning of our trip north so the bedraggled crew was up by about 6:30 AM after our late-night carousing to see what was on for...more
The third aircraft we needed to use in order to reach Oneman Lake was this DeHavilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter. Realizing that they were on a roll with their earlier Beaver and Otter models, the company placed the Twin Otter into production in 1965 so they could achieve both increased safety and carrying capacity. With its two modern turbo-prop...more
By the time our 4-days of fishing was over, we had used up enough of our supplies that only two airplanes were required to get us home again. First in was our old standby built in 1968, C-GQOQ shown approaching the the boat dock area at Grey Owl Camp. On landing, it was loaded to the hilt once more with most of the gear required by a group of...more
The drive north to Missinipi was made in four crew-cab All-Wheel-Drive pickup trucks, three of which were company-owned.Of the thirteen of us on this fishing trip, one guy drove across from the office in Winnipeg, Manitoba while the remaining twelve of us from the Regina office drove straight north to Missinipe. The first truck left Regina at about...more
Forest fires are a constant summer threat in Canada and 2008 was no different - especially in Saskatchewan which received very little rain in late Spring. As a result, when we were enjoying the fishing at Oneman Lake, there were about 240 fires burning in the province, the vast majority being located in the huge northern wilderness areas. We spotted this one while out fishing as well as a few more on our flight back to Missinipi at the end of our trip (4th photo).
The 2nd photo shows what forest fires do to the landscape in the north - the left island has normal growth while the background mainland has mostly tree stumps remaining and it also 'jumped' over the water to burn the right island as well. The 3rd photo shows a closer view of the burned island - it happened about 2 years ago on an earlier fishing trip as the guys were getting worried about both the smoke and whether it was going to jump over to Grey Owl Camp island as well.
With the numerous lakes, rivers and streams this far north, the fires are normally left to burn themselves out, with water bombing and other fire fighting methods being employed only if a settlement is in danger.
Another game that was quite entertaining and less dangerous than 'beer-darts' was 'ring tossing'. This involved two heavy carpeted boards, each with three holes into which two teams of two members would throw heavy metal discs so they would slide into one of the three holes. The throwing alternated from one end to the other (with one member of each...more
'Beer-darts' is a sport I had not heard of until going on this trip. Members of previous expeditions soon introduced it to me and (although I only tried it twice) it turned out to be an enjoyable way to pass part of the evening hours after all the fishing had been completed for the day.Teams comprising any number of members (usually two, three or...more
As always, the 2008 version of the company fishing trip started in the southern Saskatchewan city of Regina and involved a long 8-hour drive almost directly north to our first overnight stop - in the small hamlet of Missinipe on the shores of the Churchill River (it flows east and empties into Hudson Bay at Churchill, Manitoba, which is famous for...more
Although Oneman Lake is privately-owned, that only means other buildings cannot be erected on its shores. It is still open to the general public for their use as a waterway and for fishing if they happen to be passing through. On our second day on the lake, we encountered this American husband/wife team from Oregon and they stopped to have a chat...more