I stood staring in wonderment. The mist drifted across what could only be described as a twenty acre mirror. Not a ripple. The sun, just up and rising slowly from behind the verdant maples to the east, shot arrows of brightness out over the placid surface of my lake.
Yes, my lake. My lake because the only reflection I could see upon it was my own. My lake because I had been granted what amounted to exclusive access to fish upon it. My lake because standing on that shore at six in the morning there was not a human sound to be heard: it could have been my entire world for those precious moments.
And my lake because I had been sworn to secrecy!
Oh yes, I’ve got a secret fishing hole, aren’t you all jealous now! No? Hmm, I suppose not. There are after all about a billion lakes, ponds and rivers to fish in Haliburton County and I’m sure you local fisher-folk almost all have a favourite water, a go-to bay, a secret spot that is never boasted about, never mentioned, not even when you’re recounting tales of epic piscatorial conquests whilst, how shall we put it? You are buoyed up by a nip or two of the hard stuff.
To me though, a boy from the city, a fly fisherman used to jostling for a spot around a muddy puddle with a rabble of rubber clad urbanites, the picturesque idyll that I stood before on that morning was nothing short of a miracle.
Picture this: (I’m gonna go all statistics-mad on you now but stick with me) my previous home,
London has the highest population density in . Around 4700 people live in every square kilometre. Compare that to Minden Hills, which has a population of about 5500 squeezed tightly into 847 square kilometres. You can see where I’m going can’t you. Every time I swung my fly rod I’d catch someone in the eye with a size 14 barbless hackled nymph! Great Britain
I’m not saying that I couldn’t fish in
, or that I didn’t enjoy it but one thing’s for sure, there were no secret fishing holes. I fished local reservoirs and lakes with the fly and I dipped a bobber and worm into local canals and dykes. I even waded up the remoter urban stretches of the River Wandle, a supposed favourite angling haunt of Admiral Lord Nelson, no less. But even his ghost had got tired of the constant interruptions and upped and left. London
I did find one or two quiet spots: little havens of tranquility where vehicle noise and pedestrian traffic were mercifully forgotten for a few moments. I treasured them. I noted their exact whereabouts. Then I returned, only to find someone else fishing in them.
And so you see, my lake, which is not my lake at all but a small piece of heaven loaned to me by a very gracious owner, is something akin to paradise on earth.
As I stood there in the first light of morning a loon beckoned me into my boat. I took a moment longer to linger then slipped out onto the water, almost ashamed that my ripples ruined the plate glass perfection of the lake surface.
I paddled quietly for a while, just looking. An osprey dipped towards the surface and then changed its mind; a beaver bobbed sedately past; a motorboat sputtered into life and four guys clutching beer bottles careered into view! Only kidding.
I made my first cast into paradise and a small bass flashed at my dry fly. I made a second and got another fish, bigger this time. And so the next two hours passed in similar fashion. Two hours of perfect peace and fabulous fishing.
Yes, this lake is my secret lake. I won’t be telling all my fishing buddies of its charms. I won’t be boasting about it when drunk. I’ll even take a different route each time I go, just in case I’m followed. And, if that sounds kind of selfish to you, I say: Go find your own uninhabited utopia, there’s sure to be one out there in our wonderful wilderness.