For Some Christmas Came Early This Year… Esnagami Wilderness Lodge - July 24 to 30, 2021

Field Journal


 The Night Before Christmas, is a poem that was first published anonymously in 1823, and then later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, who claimed authorship in 1837.

My personal version, which is loosely based on the original, was inspired by long-time friend and fishing partner Billy Stein, who as it happens was making his first trip to the lodge.

Billy, who likes to fish more than any human being I know, was like a kid at Christmas before (and during) this excursion, and likely didn’t get all that much sleep in the months, weeks and days leading up to it.

Therefore, I thought I would start off this version of the Esnagami Wilderness Lodge Chronicles with something a bit different – and hope that you will enjoy:

‘Twas the Night Before Esnagami

‘Twas the night before Esnagami when all through our home,

Only Billy was stirring, and all night he did roam.

The Jeep had been loaded last evening with care,

In hopes that an early start would soon get us there.

I was all nestled and snug in my bed,

While visions of Walleye’s danced in my head.

With me in my travel cloths, and Billy in his lucky cap,

I had just settled my brain for what would be a very short nap.

When down in the family room there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my bed and yelled: “Hey, what the hell is the matter!”

Away to the Jeep we flew like a flash,

And put the pedal to the metal as we made our mad dash.

The moon on the pavement looked like new-fallen snow,

But by the time we hit Brechin scarcely lit up the objects below.

When what to our wondering eyes did appear,

But an open Tim Hortons meaning that breakfast was near.

The person who served us was so lively and supple,

Our order was ready before you could say double – double!

More rapid than eagles one by one the small towns came,

And we whistled, and shouted, and called them out by name:

“Now, Bracebridge! now, Huntsville! New Liskard then Cochrane!

On, Moonbeam! on, Harty! on Long Lac then Geraldton!

From the shores of Lake Ontario to the top of the map,

While smoke breaks were requested, there was no time for that!

As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, rise up quickly on high.

So on to Nakina as more kilometers sped by,

With a Jeep full of gear, that would soon take to the sky.


And then, in a twinkling, I heard Tracy say,

“Get your butts on the scale, because we don’t have all day!”

As I stepped off the scale, and was just turning around,

Into the Otter went Greg with a bound.

In the blink of an eye the whole lake was in view,

And once we touched down received warm greetings from Eric and Sue.

It was then off to our cabin so we could unpack,

And with gear scattered everywhere planned our attack.

Billy’s eyes – how they twinkled, and his smile was so merry!

And while his questions seemed endless, that was my load to carry.

Once in our cedar strip, and with our stuff stowed away,

It was then out on the water to begin stalking our prey.

We first hit Fire Island as tradition demands,

And I watched as he casted, the rod tight in his hand.

A smile crossed his face when that first Walleye hit,

And he shook so hard with laughter, it seemed he was having a fit!

It was chubby and plump, and put up quite the fight,

Although I laughed when I saw it, but not out of spite.

With a wink of his eye and a twist of the hook,

It soon was back in the water because that’s all it took.

Billy spoke not a word, but went straight back to work,

And in no time hooked another with merely a jerk.

The week flew by so quickly but that’s often how it goes,

But the time together was priceless as we both came to know.

We then sprang into to the Otter, and to the staff gave a whistle,

And away we both flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard Billy exclaim, ere we flew out of sight—

“Tight lines to you all and may they all put up a good fight!”

Start Me Up!

(A small shout out to the late, and most definitely great Charlie Watts)

Rather than wait until the fat lady crooned a toon, I decided to kick this portion of the narrative off with our weekly “critter count.”

Billy, in keeping with his angling credo that you can sleep when your dead - not when you’re on a fishing trip – never closed his eyes once from Whitby to Nakina, other than when we overnighted in Geraldton that is, and I can’t definitely swear to that, although there were a couple of times during the drive when I noticed his head tilting forward, and while it looked like he might just grab a cat nap, he never gave in to what must have been near complete exhaustion.

In any event his constant vigilance ensured that no critters were missed throughout the entire week. So, without further ado I present to you the July 24 to August 1 “Critter Count:”

• 2 Red Foxes
• 2 Pigeons (obviously lost and looking for a statue to sit and crap on)
• 1 Ground Squirrel of one variety or another
• 2 Starlings
• 8 Sandhill Cranes
• 5 Bald Eagles
• A boat load of Common Loons
• More Mergansers than we could, or cared to count
• 6 Pelicans
• 115 Crows – 4 of which did not hop off the road in time. Not by our hand/vehicle I might add
• 1 herd of Cows
• 1 Turkey Vulture
• 2 Sheep (I gave them Kenny’s phone number), and
• 8 Horses including 1 Mini Horse

First Day

They Don’t Call It Big Ol’ Red for ‘Nothin!

Given the number of people flying into the lodge, the folks at Nakina Air Services decided to take all but one of the guests in on the first flight, and because I was somehow designated as the odd man out, I flew in with the groceries, a new fridge and the minnows.

At least there were no goats and chickens on board.

While waiting for me to arrive, Billy managed to find our cabin, which he visited several times when walking back and forth to and from the main dock, met most of the staff, and generally familiarized himself with the place, thereby saving me the trouble of having to give him the grand tour.

Billy, not unlike many of us – myself included – have a particular way we prefer to fish that is based in large part on where we do most of our fishing and whether that method, or methods, have proven to be successful.

Let’s just say that it took him several days** to realize that while casting “Big Ol’ Red” - his signature single blade, red beaded in-line spinner/snap swivel combo - around on Rice Lake usually produces, he weren’t in Kansas anymore, therefore some adjustments in both technique and tackle were going to be required in order to catch fish on a consistent basis, which when the changeover was finally complete, transformed him into a veritable fish catching machine!

Not surprisingly, with all the forest fires burning to the south and west of us, things were pretty smoky while out on the lake. So much so that we could feel it in our lungs and eyes on most days, today included.

The day started off rather slow by Esnagami standards with only about a dozen Walleye being caught during our inaugural outing. In my view it was rather disappointing as I was really hoping that the lake would put on her Sunday, or in this case Saturday best for Billy right from the get-go.

Not to worry though, because after dinner, and while our stop at Cemetery Point didn’t produce much, Fire Island gave him a taste of what Esnagami Lake is all about.

There were seemingly tons of fish around, with the majority, much to my surprise given the time of year and water temperature, being caught in 6 to 10 feet of water.

Did I happen to mention that anyone who happened to be using a jig/minnow combo caught the vast majority of the fish?

That being said, Billy, who is without a doubt an accomplished angler, was starting to catch on and vary his tactics ever so slightly by the time the evening was over.

Second Day

The Morning Sun Was Shining Like a Red Rubber Ball

Anyone remember that song?

Given all the smoke that is exactly what the sun looked like first thing in the morning and often times in the evening, and for the rest of the week I found myself humming that damn tune throughout the day much to Billy’s annoyance.

You’re Not Kenny!

So says Eric and Sue’s daughter Rowan anyway.

As most of you who bother to read these stories will know, I usually come up to the lodge with Kenny Gold. In fact, he and I had already visited this past June.

So, I suppose it did not come as a complete surprise, to me anyway, when Rowan stopped by our table during breakfast, looked at me and then over at Billy with a somewhat puzzled expression on her face and said to him:

“You’re not Kenny.”

Good thing I didn’t have a mouth full of something when that gem popped out, and it’s still up for debate whether it was Billy or me who was more relieved to know that he wasn’t Kenny.

Despite there being no doubt in our minds at least that Billy was actually Billy, there were a couple of times throughout the week when I inadvertently (most of the time it was inadvertent) referred to him as Kenny. I guess old habits are hard to break, and to his credit he did refrain from throwing things at me when it happened.

Our plan was to spend most of the day in Trout Bay, where Eric the Guide – not to be confused with Eric the Lund – had caught several trophy Walleye by trolling in a figure 8 pattern over 50 to 80 feet of water, using a deep diving Rapala Tail Dancer in a white/red shad colour.

Not having any of the aforesaid Tail Dancers, I managed to coax him into lending me both a 20- and 30-foot diver, although he recommended I stick with the 30-footer as it had been the more productive of the two.

Before heading to Trout Bay, I took Billy over to Tuna Fish, a favorite late spring spot for that other guy and me, and while we caught a couple, it really has never produced much once you get into July/August.

Once in the bay Billy opted to use an Erie Dearie to which he had attached a 4-inch plastic shad imitation, and while we both had a number of takes, the only fish we managed to land were in the shallow water on top of Trophy Reef.

Eric came into the bay with his guests – a family of 4 from Sudbury - shortly after we had arrived, and immediately proceeded to put their eldest daughter onto a 26 ½ - inch Walleye.

As we were not setting the world on fire when it came to Walleye, we decided to give Pike a try, and tested our luck in both Jackfish and the Cabbage patch. We did manage to get a couple of hits in both places, with Billy catching one about 20 - inches in Jackfish on what else?

Big Ol’ Red of course.

The weather was starting to look somewhat threatening, so we opted to bug out and fish a bit closer to home. It turned out to be the right call because not only did we catch a bunch of Walleye at “Turkey Dave” Point, including our first double header, shortly after we hit the dock a thunderstorm rolled in.

After a delicious turkey dinner we drove over to Gull Rock but only managed to scare up one fish. So, it was back to Fire Island, where the fish were still in 6 to 10 feet of water, and we caught all kinds including a few in the 17 to 19 -inch range – especially those of us who were using a straight up jig/minnow combo.

Third Day

No Shore Lunch for You!

Because of the fire ban currently in place, for the first time in my memory Eric announced that there would be no group shore lunch this coming Wednesday.

But for those of us who would be in desperate need of a Walleye fix come Wednesday afternoon, there was no need to fret, because Eric and Sue planned to host a fish fry in the lodge Wednesday evening after dinner.

Not only would there be a fish fry, but if your one of those glass half full, empty, or whatever kind of people, this meant that Eric would be taking Billy and me Pike fishing instead of cooking a full blown shore lunch in the middle of the day.

While we didn’t have much luck yesterday, the consensus was that because Trout Bay had been producing the biggest Walleye on a fairly consistent basis, we packed up our Tail Dancers, Erie Dearie and elected to give it another go.

But rather than head directly to Trout Bay, we made a few stops along the way.

First up was the Aquarium where Billy caught a small Pike. Then it was over to Whisky Jack, which instead of producing some Pike as expected, gave up one Walleye. Tuna was next on the agenda, where we pulled up another 3 Walleye.

Betty Falls was our final stop before Trout, and while we caught a few small ones, and Billy bested a 27 incher on Big Ol’ Red, who was if nothing else attracting some attention from the Pike, suddenly all hell broke loose for an instant when something slammed Big Ol’ Red so hard, it damn near pulled the rod out of his hands.

Rumour has it that there is 50 plus inch gator swimming around in those parts, who has been shearing off leaders, lures and busting a few rods for some time now.

I’m sure that others who have felt it’s rath have given it various monikers, as did we, but because many people seem to be so sensitive about pretty much everything nowadays, I’ll refrain from mentioning it.

Once in Trout Bay we managed to land several fish that included some 18/19 inchers together with a 23 ½. I got one on the Tail Dancer that while measuring just under 20 inches, fought like one twice that size.

The reason it brawled like a cornered Tiger was that both trebles were hooked in its back (I usually cut off the middle treble, but it was Eric’s lure after all, so modifications were verboten), so when you try to bring a pissed off Walleye in sideways it invariably gives a good account of itself.

While fishing in deep water was productive, there was nothing doing on Trophy Reef, and because the wind was starting to freshen, and some dark clouds were moving in, we headed on home.

A few showers came through in late afternoon, but the skies cleared just after dinner, and we made a bee line for – big surprise, drum roll, cymbals crashing – Fire Island.

The Walleye were still there in abundance, and for that matter had moved up even a bit shallower into 3 to 6 feet. Odd.

While Big Ol’ Red had been largely consigned to riding the pines, it was nevertheless fun to watch him cast out it out from time to time with a big minnow attached and see 4 or 5 Walleye come right up behind it for a look see.

And even though Big Ol’ Red was pretty much out of the picture, and despite my advice to the contrary, he continued to use a rather large snap swivel to attach a jig to his line which the fish clearly took as a personal affront and reacted accordingly.

But being the nice guy that I am, and someone who would never dream of saying “I told you so, I stopped fishing when I hit 22 (our total for the evening was 26) so he would have a chance to catch up, or at least try…

Btw – today was our first virtually smoke free day – and what a welcome respite that was.

Fourth Day

“Flub-Dub” I Was Splashn’ In My Tub Long About a Tuesday Night

When planning our trip, Billy expressed a desire to catch a Brook Trout, or perhaps even three or four, and while fishing in the Esnagami River was no longer available, there was always Wonderland.

Wonderland is series of artesian spring fed ponds that are only a short boat ride from the lodge. It’s both very beautiful and clearly out of character for that part of the world because in places it looks more like a coral reef than something you would expect to find in Northern Ontario.

It also holds some very nice Brook Trout.

Regrettably, the water level in the creek that runs up to the beaver dam you have to hop across to access the ponds was so low, short of getting into the water and dragging your boat a considerable distance through the mud, there was no viable way in.

Next time.

Trophy size Walleye had been surprisingly elusive to date, and therefore we decided to make our way back to Trout Bay yet again.

Having given the Tail Dancers back to Eric the Guide, Eric the Lund kindly lent me a deep running Flub Dub – which in case you didn’t know is a crankbait of sorts that, according to the manufacturer:

“…incorporates the attractive crank spin flash of a spinnerbait added to the enticing wobble of a plug.”

In other words, it’s a minnow shaped lure with a treble hook on the tail end and a spinner blade attached to the underside just back of the head. And it works, having caught me a 24 ¾ inch Walleye while trolling it over some pretty deep water.

During our previous visit to Trout Bay, my sonar was virtually black with suspended fish in certain areas (truth be told there were so many I checked to ensure that it was not in simulator mode), therefore Billy, who likes to try different things, asked me to find a spot where the fish appeared to be in abundance, so he could try and scare up something by vertical jigging.

And while I was somewhat sceptical at first, primarily because suspended fish can be downright finicky much of the time, I found him a spot where fish filled the screen and demonstrated yet again why one should “never say never,” because he jigged up his first trophy - a beautiful 24 ½ inch Walleye.

After catching a few more trolling in what had become our go to figure 8 pattern, Billy wanted another go at the Betty Falls monster, so the jigs, Erie Dearies and Flub Dubs were soon to give way to Big Ol’ Red.

We did catch several small ones, but just before we were going to pack it in, it was déjà vu all over again, because that denizen of the Betty Falls weed bed delivered another bone jarring hit.

Big Ol’ Red was definitely looking rather care worn, and while I kept my thoughts to myself for once, I wondered how Billy would fare if he actually hooked that big gator, in that his tackle seemed a bit on the light side for battling really big Pike, especially if they buried themselves in the thick weeds.

In any event on the way home we made a stop at Tuna Fish with only one Walleye to show for it, and then pitched a no hitter at Cemetery Point. I have to say that the absence of fish at Cemetery was somewhat puzzling as that area usually comes online in late July.

This evening a couple of things happened before we headed off to, and while fishing our favorite – well, you know.

The first was that we invited a grandfather and his grandson who were guests at the lodge to tag along with us as they were having a bit of trouble getting on fish, and while we suggested they fish the shallows, almost certainly because we were fishing there they politely kept their distance and stayed in the deeper water, where much to my surprise they did very well.

And while there were certainly fish in the shallows, we too decided to try the deeper water, and ended up catching most of our fish in 20 to 30 feet.

WE caught at total of 53 Walleye, which if one might hazard a guess had a lot to do with the fact that Billy finally ditched the snap swivel.

And while he had certainly caught fish up until this point, his transition to the “Esnagami way” of fishing was now complete and he undoubtedly had found his groove, because the smile on his face virtually lit up the evening sky as he caught fish after fish after fish.

After fish.

On a final note, a couple of Walleye I caught spit up some minnows that were still in pristine condition, which when I offered them up to Billy he was more than happy to recycle, and as luck would have it, they were just as good, if not better the second time around.

Fifth Day

“Harold Bueller’s” Day Off

As Eric was taking us Pike fishing today, I have to admit I was rather looking forward to moving up to the middle seat.

Now don’t get me wrong, my preferred spot is the back of the boat with my hand on the tiller – I think it just might be a control thing – but when the boss comes aboard you had better be prepared to cede any notion of retaining control you may have otherwise had.

On one previous occasion I suggested that perhaps he could just fish while I handled the guiding duties, but one look from him was all it took to convince me to move myself and gear up front.

The weather was overcast, with a bit of rain and light to moderate winds, or in other words - perfect Pike weather.

We started our Pike hunt at Liam’s Secret Spot #43 and from there we moved on to:

• The Aquarium
• Eric’s Secret Spot #612
• Betty Falls
• Eric’s Secret Spot #613
• Ice Creek
• Jackfish
• Cabbage Patch #1
• Cabbage Patch #2
• Eric’s Secret Spot #614
• The Sand Shoal
• The Rock and Former Stick
• Pike Island, and
• Caribou Straight

The only weed bed it seemed we didn’t hit was Last Chance, and Eric and I both admitted afterwards that it did cross our minds to stop for one last cast as we passed by on our way back to the lodge.

We caught at least one fish at each location for a grand total of 35, and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that each and every one – regardless of size - fought like there was no tomorrow.

And while we didn’t top 40”, of the 35, 5 were considered trophies, with Billy besting a 30”, 32 ¼” and 32 ½”.

Although I caught a couple on a large silver Williams Whitefish, the top lure was a #5 Vibrex spinner (if I recall correctly Big Ol’ Red was nowhere to be seen) with a blue body and silver or red blade. We also attached a white grub, and while Eric was not a fan of the spinner/grub combo, we were nothing if not stubborn about it.

I mentioned earlier that it would be interesting to see how Billy’s equipment would handle a really big Pike, and because of the way they fought, there were several occasions when it appeared to be touch and go as to whether he would be able to land the fish – which to his credit he did.

The best moment of all though came when he was fighting the 32 ½”.

The Pike dove under the boat pulling most of his rod, and very nearly some of Billy into the water. While the battle was raging Eric, who never misses an opportunity to pass along some helpful advice, suggest that he could get better leverage on the fish by keeping his tip up.

Billy, who by this time was damn near under the boat himself, was heard to mutter a few well-chosen words under his breath including a sentence that started off with: “I’d like to see YOU *&$##* try and…”

This was far and away the best day of Pike fishing I have ever had on Esnagami Lake, and we both could not thank Eric enough for spending the day chauffeuring the pair of us around and putting us onto so many fish.

Do You Believe in Miracles?

I do now.

While the day itself was off the charts, it ended in even more spectacular fashion with what I can only describe as a miracle. Yup, a miracle, because Billy had finally tired himself out, or if you prefer, hit the wall.

In practical terms this meant there would be no after dinner sojourn to Fire Island, and not only that, we both hit the sack just after 9pm!

Sixth Day

The Pace of Play

The morning dawned cool, cloudy, and very windy.

Because the wind was blowing in hard from the northwest, there were very few places to go that would not involve a trip across the open part of the lake.

We, together with a few others, opted to head west towards Cherry Bay, where we found some quiet water and even a couple of Walleye.

The fishing was very slow, but at least we had several Pelicans to keep us company, and given their body language – heads down, wings tucked in – they were obviously not thrilled about the weather either.

Around noon the wind appeared to have died down somewhat, so I decided to give Turkey Dave Point a shot, but appearances can be deceiving and after a couple of high-speed drifts with nothing to show for it, I putted over to Last Chance which was, given the wind direction, on the leeward side of Fire Island.

Billy did catch one small Pike, following which we moved over to No Fish Point, which certainly lived up to its current name.

At 3pm the wind really did die down and we were able to fish our usual spot off Fire Island, boating 15 Walleye in just under an hour.

The wind picked up again just before dinner, and as the pace of play had certainly slowed somewhat, we decided to kick back, and enjoy a couple of cocktails in the warmth of our cabin rather than get bounced around and partially frozen out on the lake.

Truth be told it had taken several hours for my toes to thaw out, so I was very glad to stay in and keep them tucked up under my blanket.

Day 7

He Was a Man on a Mission…

Unlike yesterday, the sun was out, and the water was flat, but it was still rather cool having gone down to plus 7 last night.

By not going out last evening we had had plenty of time to plan our attack for what would be our last day of fishing, and while you may think that we lack much in the way of imagination, and by and large have become one trick pony’s when it comes to where we chose to fish – we really don’t care what anyone thinks.

Fact is, the bigger fish were coming out of Trout Bay, so for that reason and another I’ll explain momentarily, it’s where we planned to spend part, if not most of the day.

The other reason for going to Trout was largely inspired by Billy’s annual fall family fish fry, and the fact that he was still a couple of fish shy of what he would need to feed his crew.

His plan was to take home 4 fish, all of which had to be a very particular size, but by the time Friday rolled around he only had two that fit his specifications, (in my opinion he had already tossed back any number that would have filled the bill) so as noted above, he was indeed a man on a mission.

Before heading out we stopped at the main dock to reload our minnow buckets, but horror of horrors – the cupboard was bare! No worries though because a plane would be arriving shortly with a fresh supply, so rather than hang around and wait, we told the guys at the dock we would fish locally until the plane arrived, whereupon they promised to deliver 2 buckets full as soon as possible.

Having minnows delivered to you while you’re out on the lake? Now that’s what I call service!

On the way to Trout Bay the chances were slim and none that Billy was going to let me sneak past Betty without stopping to make a few casts for you know who, but other than one rather non-descript hit, there was nothing doing.

We started off fishing our usual pattern, and as we trolled past the small island at the mid-way point of the bay, picked up one nice Walleye. Therefore rather than continue to troll aimlessly throughout the bay, we decided to work the shoal off the island with jigs and minnows – and it certainly paid off.

Fishing in 16 to 20 feet of water, in just over 3 hours we caught approximately 35 Walleye. I stopped after about 6 fish and had a great time just lining up the drifts while watching Billy have a blast catching a fish on virtually every pass.

One of his 26 fish was a very fat 22 incher that would be making the trip home with us, but when he tossed back a couple of very plump 18 inchers, I suggested that the Fishing God’s would most likely make him pay for holding out for another inch or two.

It eventually slowed down, so I moved over to Black Flag where he picked up one more. The clouds had started to move in and following one final stop for Pike at Blueberry Island – and a stop was all it was – we headed towards home. Once back in the vicinity of the lodge we made a couple of passes off Fire, where Billy picked up 3 more, bringing his daily total to 30.

It Was Game 7 - Bottom of the Ninth -Two Outs – Two Strikes on the Batter – Man on Base and Down by One…

Being our last day at the lodge and all, coupled with having missed the previous 2 evenings, there was no way we were not going out, so wind, rain and cold notwithstanding, off we went.

In addition to the reasons I just mentioned for going out on a rather unpleasant evening, there were 2 others that at least for one of us, were equally compelling.

The first was that Billy was still one take home fish short, with the other being that and he really wanted to bring his daily total to 50 Walleye.

It was kind of slow compared to other days, so when I had him at 8 to 1, I chose to put my rod down so that hopefully, with just him fishing, he would get to 50 sooner rather than later and we could get the hell out of there, dry off and warm up!

When he caught number 46, I advised him in no uncertain terms that I’d had enough, and if he didn’t catch one on the next pass, we were done.

Well, much to my chagrin, he caught one on each of the next 3 passes, and although it took another 2 or 3 to get number 50, there was no way I was going to leave him stuck on 49.

As for the final take home fish, he and I both caught several that in my estimation would have filled the bill, but Billy is anything if not stubborn, and would settle for nothing less than one that met his very precise specifications.

Somewhere around number 40 he caught a really nice, chunky 18 incher that would have fed a family of 4, and while it was not the exact size he wanted, as he held it in his hand while trying to decide to keep – or not to keep - the aforementioned Fishing God’s intervened, because without warning the fish gave a kick (or perhaps was pushed by an unseen hand) and flopped back into the water.

The point was further underscored by him not catching anything close to 18 inches for the rest of the evening.

In baseball terms I would refer to it as a swing and a miss for strike 3.

Sadly, Boxing Day - Otherwise Known as the Day After Christmas - Had Finally Arrived

It’s often said that all good things must come to an end, although I’m not sure why that is, and if I ever track down the person who said it, I’d like to – well - lets save that for another time.

Given Billy’s infectious enthusiasm and passion for fishing, I have to admit that although this would have been around my 40th visit, I was almost as excited as he was in the months and days leading up to what would be his very first trip to Esnagami.

Being able to share what this remarkable place has to offer with someone who would be experiencing it for the first time is arguably as good as it gets, and because you only get one chance to do something for the first time, if it clicks, as this trip did, the memories will keep you warm on even the coldest nights.

It was a fantastic trip on so many levels, and I’m sure it will take him a little while to process it all before the entire experience truly sinks in.

I would also like to offer up a big thank you to our mixologist in residence for the Vodka Gimlets (double lime of course), snacks and the spot-on Manhattan’s, cherries and all, made with an outstanding 18-year old rye.

And Billy, next time – and yes there will be a next time – there is still about 2/3 of Esnagami Lake that you have yet to explore, but until then, please try and get some sleep…

**Note: Billy and I currently have a friendly disagreement as to when he actually made the complete – the key word being complete - transition from how he normally fishes to the Esnagami way of doing things. My position is that it was not until the 4th day, while he insists it was no later than day 2.

I’m holding firm to my assertion that the “journal don’t lie,” and will therefore leave it at that.

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