Rolling On the French River

August 15, 2008

I had a fabulous time at Crane’s Lochaven Lodge in Canada. The road trip, however, was brutal.  We left at midnight and drove straight through the night.  I tried, but failed, to sleep in the car.  My father and brother, on the other hand, did fall asleep, but it was while they were driving. That was pretty scary.

Sue and Ed, the owners of the lodge, are wonderful hosts.  My father and brothers have been going for several years now, so our family is pretty well known there.  I was very moved to see this tribute to Mark hanging on a wall in the dining hall.

I was also moved by the beauty of the French River.

The weather could have been better (it was cold and wet), but we weren’t there to sunbathe.  We were there to catch fish.  And catch fish we did – small mouth bass, large mouth bass, rock bass, perch, catfish (which we gave to the owners for the Friday fish fry), sunnies, walleye and pike.  I was ecstatic when I caught this pike, even though it was too small to keep.

Then I caught this one – the “Trophy fish” of the season – an astounding 41 and 1/4 inch, 16 pound Northern pike.

Ed’s son demonstrated the proper way to hold a large fish for photographs.  You get a better idea of the pike’s size this way.

What a thrill!  Never in my wildest imaginings did I think I would catch a fish like that – on a worm, no less.  My father and brother were casting with heavy poles and expensive lures, and, after I caught the big pike, the guide suggested that they might want to see if they could get their money back for the lures.  Heh.

I had no interest in having the fish mounted, and was told that pike aren’t good eating (apparently, they’re gamey tasting).  I wish I had released the pike, but I wasn’t thinking clearly at the time.  I was in shock.

Anyway, Ed wanted it for advertising purposes, and offered to give me other fish fillets to bring home in exchange, so I let him keep it.  However, he neglected to follow through with his part of the bargain.  When I questioned him about it as we were leaving the island, he said he forgot, and promised to  make it up to me.  My father and brother are going back next month, so they’re going to remind him of his promise.

We visited the place where Mark’s ashes were scattered.  It was his favorite fishing spot.  After shedding some tears, I dropped my line and silently asked Mark to help me out.  Believe it or not, that’s when I caught the monster pike.

We had a guide for three of the days we were out on the river, and, most of the time, Jerry called my brother, Mike (Mark’s identical twin brother), by his correct name, but every once in a while, he called him Mark.  It was weird, especially considering that he knew nothing about our family.

Speaking of Jerry, he makes a mean “shore lunch.” A fire is built and the freshly caught fish are cooked up along with potatoes, baked beans and coffee made in a can.  Everything was delicious.

After Friday’s fish fry on the deck of the lodge, it has become a tradition for whichever guests and staff members feel so inclined to jump off the railing into the river.  There was no way in hell I was going to do that, despite everyone urging me to do so since I had caught the biggest fish, so one of my nephews volunteered to do it for me. He enjoyed it so much he did it again, and got one of his cousins to take the plunge with him.  We had so much fun.

Tomorrow morning, I leave for Rhode Island. I sure have spent a lot of time on the road this summer.   It’s been great.

I have loads of stuff to do, so I’ll catch you on the flip side.

Song of the Day: Proud Mary by Tina Turner

12 Responses to “Rolling On the French River”

  1. Jeanette said

    Wow! Congratulations on the great catch!! Too bad you didn’t get to release it. Sounds like you had a great time on your vacation.

  2. Yay! I’m so glad you had such a great trip. Congrats on your trophy fish!!

  3. Sasha said

    That’s some fish, Stephanie! You looked so tan a relaxed and like you had a great time, too. 🙂

  4. Sam said

    No leg cramps, I presume?

  5. yaketyyak said

    Sam – I did experience leg cramps while I was away, but not in the car, thank goodness!

  6. LA said

    Whoo hoo! That is SOME fish! Well done! The pics are great, the only way I’ve seen you, Ms Traveling Pants! Have fun on the next trip. ~LA

  7. Michael said

    That’s some big fish! And what a beautiful area. I wouldn’t have been the least bit tempted to jump off the railing, but I probably would have encouraged anyone else to do it. Anyway, I’m glad you got away and survived the trip.

  8. alvin said

    Big fish, girl, so glad that you had a wonderful time. And I wonder, do fish think that worms just fall out of the sky? Say for instance if I were on my way to work and I saw a worm just floating by, I would surely think something was amiss. And eating it would be the last thing on my mind. But then again, that just may be me. Hugs sweetie.

  9. Dee said

    I had always falsely assumed that when you wrote about this camp on French River in Canada, it was some other French River I didn’t know about that was close to the NY state border. When I followed your link, I saw it was *that* French River. I grew up fairly near there and didn’t think you would have driven all the way up there (no wonder the drive was brutal!). So many of the residents love fishing, boating, hunting, ATVing, snowmobiling, etc. Glad you got some good fishing in and hope the owners remember about their part of the trade for the big winner you let them keep.

  10. karenfromphilly said

    I enjoyed showing off your trophy fish to the fisherMEN at my house!

  11. Wow! Congrats on the fishing. You looked like you were having a good time.

    mz. em

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