Fathers/Daughters canoe trip...
fishing trip in Haliburton, August 2013

Kevin and his son Owen have frequently joined myself and my son Devin on various canoe trips over the years, typically in May, focused on trout fishing or hiking. But since I also take my younger daughter Joane on canoe trips, Kevin has received more than a few requests from his daughter Ella to take her on a canoe trip too! So, we finally planned a canoe trip at the end of August in 2013, to introduce Ella to canoe tripping, and earn some daughter points (which maybe in the right light are also marriage points!)

As this was Ella's very first canoe trip, I wanted it to be very easy and fun. Kevin and I love to fish, so I choose Gun Lake in Haliburton. I've camped on that lake many times, and the bass fishing is fantastic. It's also a very easy and short distance from the Wren Lake landing, yet there are no boats on the lake. There are some very nice camp sites too, and of course you can (and should) make a site reservation online. There's just a short 100m portage at the dam, and then a 350m portage from Raven to Gun Lake. Raven is a busy cottage lake, and you do still hear boat traffic on it from the south end of Gun Lake.

Joane and Ella

The weather was perfect on arrival, and both Kevin and I were looking forward to some productive bass fishing. After several years of taking the boys out for May trout fishing trips, without success, I was looking forward to some fast and furious big-bass hauls! Both the girls enjoy fishing too, so lots of fun was in the cards.

As this was Ella's first wilderness experience, I wanted to make sure she was comfortable and having fun. I've been taking Joane camping since she was four years old, so everything went smoothly. Ella immediately had fun, and before you knew it, the girls were in the water having a blast.

Joane and Ella swimming

Ella is a bit of a picky eater, so I was a bit worried how she would adapt to the dehydrated meals. She did bemoan the upcoming chilli repeatedly, so there was certainly some incentive for us all to catch some fish to augment our dinners!

Each two-some had their own tent. It rained the first night a bit, which created some challenges. For years, I've used a "plastic bucket" for all my tents: basically, a hand-cut and fitted construction-grade plastic sheet with the side lips turned up under the fly to fit the footprint of the tent. The idea is prevent water from getting under the tent floor, and pooling up into the tent. I've had problems in the past with tents and water pooling, even with good manufacturer's tent footprints. My "bucket" approach has worked well generally, but the problem is that if any water drips off the fly into the bucket at all, then water pooling is made even worse! This happened that night to both of us. But, the weather was good the next morning, so it was easy to dry out the minor amount of water accumulation on the tent floor depressions. I will have to rethink my bucket solution: why they don't make tent floors from solid heavy plastic is a mystery to me (I'd prefer to deal with condensation rather than water pooling when it rains.)

kids and the fish

We managed to book the large group camp site, which normally cannot be reserved by small groups. But, if you call the park close to departure and the site is available still, they will let you book it. Just don't call the CAMIS reservation line... call the Haliburton park office directly. It was nice to have this site, as the peninsula afforded lots of easy fishing locations right from camp. The girls were very happy catching small bass non-stop. Kevin and I of course were looking ahead to some proper sport fishing for the lunkers! I have had great success fishing at the north end of the lake along a small island. We tried that again, with modest success. But, we had the best luck fishing the cove to the east of our site. Lots of shallow bays provided excellent targeted casting opportunities. The girls were less interested in fishing from the canoe, so Kevin and I left them on shore at the camp site in the cove, and stayed within eye sight, then fished the area.

Gun Lake camp site

We managed to catch an excellent string of bass, and the girls had tons of fun fishing and playing along the camp site shore. Asides from the fact that I don't mind cleaning bass and enjoy them as a meal, I also really like fishing for them. As far as fishing goes, there's nothing more rewarding that choosing a targeted cast to a special location with the some anticipated shoal topology, and landing a big bass. Kevin and I both had a ton of fun covering the bay, targeting all the "hot spots". Kevin got the prize for the largest fish on the last day with an expert targeted cast using a scented frog lure.

Some nice bass

This father/daughter trip was a lot of fun for all of us, and I'm sure we'll be getting requests from the girls this year to take them again.