One of the reasons that spurred my friends to start exploring our home province was the desire to find offbeat fishing locations—especially for elusive stocked trout. With an old angler's guide and a weak rural internet connection, it's still pretty easy to sleuth out a new fishing hole. There are no real secrets, unfortunately.
But in the good old days, the relationship anglers built with lakes and rivers was a deeply visceral one. Fishing spots were passed down from generations as treasured secrets. They were a source of pride. Sometimes they were found by risk-taking, hard work or knowing the right people. More often, they were found through family and longtime friends.
A few years ago, I set out to find a relatively obscure trout lake in one of my favourite forests. I like to think you can still find a lake to call your own these days. It still takes the right kind of nerve and a whole lot of patience.
There was very little information available about this place without digging through some obscure webpages and comparing the information with satellite maps. The only reputable hint to its location was vague at best and left a lot of room for guess-work. With a four-hour drive into an unfamiliar location, the uncertainty made the whole trip a bit of a hard sell.
After spending the night at a nearby recreation site, I took a drive to find an opening in the woods that might lead to the lake. There was an unmarked trail with no signs whatsoever. I almost turned back before the lake revealed itself. It was quiet, peaceful and completely deserted. If I caught a six-pound rainbow trout, I would die happy.
Whether off-shore or on-shore, spring or autumn, I have not had a single bite in the dozens of hours I've spent fishing this lake. I may not be saying much since still-water trout are not my forte. But with shoddy information, I can't help but wonder if I'm even in the right place.
This was not my super secret fishing lake, but it could be for someone else.