the "Inland Empire" of the
There are few places on the planet that offer
the abundance and variety of fishing that the
Canoe Country region does. The ways to fish are
almost too numerous to mention; wading small
streams, float tubing small lakes, canoeing,
renting a small rowboat, hiring a guide to take
you fly fishing, or
hiring a guide and his/her boat to try to land a
state record walleye.
The list of species is also a long one ...
walleyes, of course, the aggressive smallmouth
bass, our voracious northern pike, deep cold
lakes filled with lake trout, and the many
streams and lakes filled with both stocked and
native rainbow and brook trout.
You can make this a solo excursion where the
only other living things on the body of water
you're fishing are the ones that live there ...
squirrels, bald eagles soaring overhead, moose
wading in the shallows near you, and the loons
calling across the lake. Or you can make it a
family trip with several people in boats
anchored off a rocky reef ... waiting for the
movement of your slip bobber to signal the start
of a walleye feeding frenzy!
No matter where you go the best thing you can
do is to ask the locals where the fish are
biting and what they are biting on. Unless
you're a recent Dale Carnegie graduate you won't
get their best-kept secrets ... but you'll
certainly save yourself a lot of fruitless
searching. The quickest way I know to get some
good information is to spend a little money in
whatever shop you're in. These folks earn their
living by selling things to visitors so ask them
what to use and then buy a couple ... pick up a
map, or some live bait, and a couple of cold
drinks. Rent your watercraft from them if
possible ... or ask them who they'd recommend.
You'll be amazed how helpful these locals will
be ... it only stands to reason. And make sure
you stop back and tell them how you did ...
because this is how they keep abreast of the
current fishing conditions. And a hearty Thank
You on your way out the door will go a long way.
As always, no matter where you fish, you need
to respect the rights of property owners on the
waterways. Stay off lawns, docks, and private
roads. Always ask for permission to cross what
might be private property. And whatever you do
DON'T LITTER!! This is the cardinal sin! Pick up
any trash you see ... even if it isn't yours.
This will endear you to other fisherfolks and
nearby property owners.
If you are thinking of hiring a guide during
your visit you should try to do this from home
before you come to our area. The best guides are
booked weeks and months in advance. Many
visitors get hooked on our area and have annual
reservations. If you haven't done this please
inquire about a guide when you hit town ... you
might get lucky and find an unexpected opening.
Be sure to talk to your guide before the day of
fishing so you'll know what to expect, what to
bring, and be able to talk about how you want to
fish. You're paying the freight so be sure to
get the type of excursion you want. If you want
your son to cast for the active smallmouth but
your guide wants to sit and watch slip bobbers
for big walleyes it will be disappointing for
everyone ... most notably your son!
Your next stop, when you hit town, is to make
a sweep of local tourist information centers,
Chambers of Commerce, and bait and tackle shops
... talk to folks and pick up any of the
handouts these places offer to visitors. This
will give you enough information to start your
search for active lakes, places to rent a guide
or a watercraft, and access points.
Roger Hahn, Editor