Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hassle on Haynes Lake

 As I've written in the past, one of my fishing related passions is in the researching of new and under fished areas. Google Earth and Backroad Mapbooks have become indispensable tools in this quest, unfortunately they do not distinguish between public and private property, that's what signs, fences, common sense and courtesy are for. Such was not the case today.

  Just after noon today, Tackle Box decided he wanted to get out for a few hours but didn't want to travel too far. Our destination was a tiny pothole lake we'd discovered the year before, Haynes Lake. Only a 20 minute drive north of Toronto on a dusty side road, Haynes boasts an extremely healthy population of bass, pike and panfish. Earlier this year, on a return from another local lake, we stopped at Haynes to witness bass and schools of crappie cruising the crystal clear, cool shallows along the shoreline. During this stopover, a Natural Resources Officer mentioned the lake was over 50 feet deep and he'd witnessed a 20lb pike caught there the year before. What more could you want from a lake smaller than an average city block. Strangely enough there was no mention of this lake being closed to the public.
Haynes Lake As Seen From the Road

 There were only a few hours of daylight left by the time we met our friend Robyn Graves at the side of the lake. No matter though, because this was mostly an exploratory mission to chart the depths and figure out what else lived beneath the ice. I drilled my first hole twenty paces out from Leslie St. and found 22 feet of water with a clean sand bottom! Another ten paces out and 40 feet. This was certainly going to be interesting. After drilling a dozen holes along the northern shore in water ranging from 15 to 50 feet, I'd marked neither fish nor weeds, and I was starting to think that regardless of it's diminutive size, this lake was not going to give up it's secrets easily or quickly.

 It was at this point where the search came to a grinding halt in the form of sprightly senior and her dog. As we met in the middle of the lake and exchanged pleasantries, I was politely informed (with a definite undercurrent of threat) that the lake was private property and we would have to leave immediately. Of course I mentioned the complete lack of signs or fences indicating some sort of ownership and also the fact that the lake's shoreline was less than 10 feet from the road constituting right of way, but the old woman would not be swayed from her campaign to keep the lake to herself. Not wanting to get the authorities involved over a few fish, I was surprised how easy it was to convinced my friends to pack it in after just  45 minutes, considering one of our party rarely backs down from a challenge.
 I'm all for respecting peoples right to privacy and property. I believe in sharing experiences and information for the continued enjoyment for all. But I cannot condone the selfish hoarding of public resources, whether it be poaching or the illegal privatization of land. In Canada no one owns the water!

 In my previous 20 posts I've tried to inform, inspire, entertain and amuse. Up until now it never occurred to me to lash out because for me fishing is a relaxing pastime, not a reason to get wired. If I have offended or disappointed you by this rant... I apologize. If you feel strongly in favor or against outting the greedy, let me know, leave a comment, make your mark and be counted. Only the obscene will be edited.

16 comments:

  1. Hi John. Just dropped by your blog for the first time, and must say, that I am impressed.

    Is there a sub-divison on one of the shores of the lake? Where did this lady come from? To be safe, I would probably find out for sure on the private property issue. If you access it that closely from the highway, it would seem it would be open to the public. No signs, no fences, sounds like it is open water too me. Your right no one owns the water!

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  2. Hi Mel, thanks for the nice words.
    The woman lives in one of the three houses on a bluff overlooking the lake from the north. We later Googled the lake & the county lists it as an important natural resource.No mention of ownership though.

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  3. I love this blog so far, it's pretty informative, even for a non-fisher like me. I also love the Damon Runyonesque way you use Nick-Names, like Road Animal and Tackle Box.

    "A bad day of fishing is better than a good day of work." ~ Anon

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  4. Thanks David, I try to protect the identities of my friends, but more imporantly I'm protecting myself from their swelled egos.

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  5. I've been in this situation. I don't know how property works in canada, but in the US all water is public property, so long as you don't have to cross private land to get there. Also here in WI I know that 50 feet from the centerline of a road is state owned property, meaning it's public access. If the rules are the same, you would be in the clear.

    My guess is that this lake is a little gem, and these people claim that they own the lake to hoard it for themselves (I think that is what you were implying at the end.) I would do my homework and give it another try out there. It would an extra bonus to see the look on their face when you call their bluff.

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  6. Hello John. Mark from Northern California Trout. One of our friends out there in blogdom mentioned your site and I wanted to stop by and say HI.

    I have to agree with Mel & David. I think the lady was just trying to push you off the lake. I'd do a little more research and you just might find one of those "Gems in the city' kind of lakes.

    If you get a chance, stop by NCT and say Hi. Here's the link.

    http://www.shoretroutfishing.blogspot.com/

    Looking forward to your future posts.

    Mark

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  7. Hi fish7hunt, Mark. You're right, the lake's a gem & she pushed us off, but from my point of view the implications of an on ice confrontation with a senior would probably not bode well. This part of Ontaio is peppered with thousands of similar gems within a 40 mile radius and by posting as I've done, she's been exposed to my tens... of readers. Ha Ha, feel the wrath of blognation.

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  8. Hi John, I have been there this afternoon. Besides the roadside where you took the picture (I guess), I can't find any public access to the lake. Therefore I park on the roadside and cast out. After an hour, no bite at all. Do I miss any other access points? I don't have a boat and can only do shore-fishing. Any suggestions? Thanks.

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  9. http://www.richmondhill.ca/subpage.asp?textonly=&pageid=prc_fishing_in_richmond_hill

    says haynes is open to the public

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    Replies
    1. Yes Haynes is open for fishing but there's no parking on Lesley anywhere within sight of the lake.

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  10. has any one ice fished it the week

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    1. I haven't been there in 5 years and the parking problems will probably keep me away. You should try Bond lake on Yonge north of Stouffville Sideroad. Plenty of pike, perch, reports of a good crappie population and brookies. We marked a depth of 94 ft. near the center.

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  11. are we actually allowed to fish it and have you heard how thick the ice is

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    1. Again,I haven't been there in 5 years, but last I heard it was still allowed. No idea on ice thickness but the nature of pothole lakes is that they are the first to freeze and the first to thaw. Should have had 8" to 10" last week, use caution, floatation suit, spud bar and common sense. More info at; http://www.web2.mnr.gov.on.ca/fish_online/fishing/fishingExplorer_en.html

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  12. Replies
    1. I haven't been out fishing in 2 months and am slowly going crazy. That's why I've spent my time fly tying and blogging!

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