June of 2018 was the month of our biggest adventure so far. My girlfriend Alex and I planned a trip across Canada, adding 15,000km to the odometer and crossing through 7 provinces and 9 states. I added some much-wanted species to my list and earned myself the Trootmeister award :)
The journey pretty much started on the Niagara peninsula with an obligatory stop to see the falls. Crazy amount of tourists so it didn’t take us long to decide to switch gears and try for some fish. Primary goal was to get the Grass Pickerel that have eluded me for so long. Long story short, we failed and they continue to elude me. I did get a redemption lifer Rainbow Darter though!
We did see some of the elusive Ontario-population peacocks before heading up to the bigger Great Lakes.
Tried and failed for some Northern Sunfish before continuing on our way to Bruce Peninsula and Lake Huron. Did manage what I think is a Spotfin Shiner but nothing to write home about. The peninsula was awesome and it was great to take a ferry across to Manitoulin.
Didn’t do too much fishing during the rest of the way through ON but that didn’t take away from the beauty of north shore Lake Superior. The little bit of fishing I attempted yielded a small Pike and exactly 0 Round Whitefish.
The last stop before transitioning to Manitoba (MB) and the prairies was in Thunder Bay. Corwin (Amia Calva) gave me some key info for Lake Chub and Ruffe so I did my best to catch both of them. Despite being invasive, it was super cool to catch these Ruffe so far from their homeland. The Lake Chub mission was mostly a failure, I managed a juvenile with my dipnet but nothing on hook.
Our first real day in MB was nothing short of epic! We fished the mighty Red River just about an hour outside the province’s capital. My main goal was to get a Goldeye but Alex needed a lifer Drum and neither of us would mind some of the giant Catfish and Carp the area is known for. The fishing started off slow but once we discovered the proper technique the action was great. We both got nice Drum, and I had my 5/0 hooks bent out by some giants.
Around lunch, we gave the river a break and drove over to a stream where I heard rumours of a White Bass run. They were just random pictures I saw online and matched the background to Gmaps but it paid off! We both caught our lifers, both on master angler fish by the province’s standards.
We returned to the big river so I could make one last attempt at the Goldeye. I casted out as far into the current as I could and finally ended up setting the hook into something small after catching big fish all day. Reeling in was nerve-wracking but shortly later I was holding my lifer in my hands :)
We pretty much skipped through the rest of the prairies and made our way to the Alberta (AB) badlands. Didn’t fish much in the southern part of the province but did get a lifer River Shiner while I was trying for Flathead Chub (which I didn’t catch).
I know these aren’t fishing pics but I had to include some shots of the badlands because the terrain was so different from what I was used to. I’ll end this report here for now and in part 2 we will finally reach the mountains!
P.S. The world's largest dinosaur isn't real ;)