Great Lakes

FALL RUN: Steelheading Near The Great Lakes

The calming sound of the water breaking over the rocks cools the air. Frost begins to crawl around the propane tanks shortly after the sun tucks itself underneath the horizon line. The warmth of the fire dries yet another pair of leaky waders. Smoke warms my lungs in the same manner that whiskey warms my stomach. The air lays crisp as the trees hang dry. Widow makers lay overhead and wake during the night while the wind sings me to sleep.

This is the closest I’ve felt to home in the past four years. The tranquility of a river amid a late fall run, paired with the company of an old friend. We head out, floating endlessly into paradise. It may not be the Skeena tributaries we’ve dreamed of fishing together since we first met. However, this remains one of the Great Lakes’ finest rivers to swing for steelhead.

Eighteen miles of water between the put-in and pullout with steelhead peppered among each run. A cooler full of food, an armful of camping gear, a few beers and a fine whiskey. Life is lived in a soft simplicity, a type of minimalism only found in nature. This is my escape, a place where I can finally be myself, away from the overpopulated prison commonly referred to as the greater metropolitan Toronto area. There’s a rush of relief upon leaving the city. The disconnect from nature makes those months away feel like years…

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