Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Backyard & Beyond

   Friday morning Tackle Shop and I  returned to the Scugog River area with little to show for the effort but a couple bass, some interesting video, and a broken rod.
    It was a long, unproductive day where nothing seemed to work...even the GPW.

  I returned home around sundown and within the hour was in bed. After a well deserved rest I was up and about before the sun, wondering what to do for the rest of the day, when it hit me that I should further explore my own backyard rather than fishing out of town. I killed a pot of coffee while studying Google Earth's images of the general area and eventually came up with a game plan.

   Unlike the previous visit to the West Rouge River where I literally had to rappel in and out of the valley, this time with a little more research, I'd be able to "comfortably" ride right up to the water's edge. Within 10 minutes of riding, the "sterile" new subdivisions suddenly ended and I found myself riding a country road surrounded by  hazy multicoloured fields of goldenrod, clover, and asters, the constant hum of traffic suddenly replaced with the insistent chirping of crickets in their prime, cicadas, and the angry squawks of jays defending their territories from intruders.

   The road took a sudden left turn and started to descend into the valley in a series of switch backs where, near the bottom, to my surprise, I was confronted with a red stop light.

   As it turned out the stop light was meant to control traffic across a one lane steel bridge over the river. On the other side, towards the left the road wound it's way out of the valley and on the right there was a parking lot with a sign welcoming visitors to Rouge River Park. At the back end of the lot were several partially groomed nature trails leading off in different directions into the forest. I dismounted my bike and chose the trail closest to the river, taking my time so as not to miss any of the wonders of this new playground.

   I broke through the thick underbrush at the edge of the forest and faced a series of gentle riffles and runs of crystal clear water, this being a bit of a shock considering the frequency of severe thunderstorms and torrential rains over the past week. I'd hoped that the increased flow had sparked an early  migratory run of salmon, but  obviously miscalculated the impact those rains had upon the river. No problem, this was an exploratory outing and as far as I was concerned I'd already hit one out of the park!

   The river was running low and clear, hiding nothing in it's knee deep depths, and seemed devoid of life in quiet preparation of the frantic activity to come in the following months.On the other hand the river bank was alive with activity on this steamy September morning.
Viceroy Butterfly
Raccoon, dog, killdeer, blue heron

   Over the next few hours I found signs of life everywhere I searched  with two notable exceptions; fish and people. The groomed trail wound it's way through the valley occasionally allowing glimpses of the river, but any of the off shooting trails leading directly to the water were obviously seldom used and overgrown. The only sign of humanity at all was the occasional chatter of a vehicle crossing the distant steel bridge and the subsequent gunning of the engine to climb out of the valley. It never ceases to amaze me how these serene areas, so close to a sprawling metropolis, are so underutilized for their restorative properties. So much the better for those of us in the know, but I'm not so naive as to not believe that activity in the river will be directly proportional to activity on the river bank!

   I decided to leave this oasis of serenity just after noon. The temperature had climbed to 90 degrees with near total humidity and the long uphill pedal out of the valley left me winded and longing for central air and a cold brew. Before that was to happen I had one more stop on the agenda, check out a few more of the man made ponds along the Morningside Creek watershed. As opposed to the river, these ponds showed a presence of anglers with their discarded styrofoam worm containers littering the water's edge.


   All in all a successful outing. Not once did I feel the need to assemble any of the rods I'd brought with me even when confronted with a large school of "muddling" carp at the ponds. In the coming weeks I expect these quiet areas along the river to become a circus of greed with the uneducated vying for a trophy at any cost. I can't help that...but I've now successfully scouted out my own private slice of heaven, pretty much guaranteed to insulate me from the hordes and the subsequent slaughter.


  1. Well i cant get the video link to work, But what a great place and lots of wild life and insects, The old toad looks as though its been chewed and spat out haha,
    I will take another look at the video later, Just not available at the moment, Well TC is holding a good fish and the GPW is on his line, Ive been tempted to make on for the Pike haha,

  2. The photos of the little critters are wonderful'

    Good stuff, John.

  3. John
    Those are some awesome looking streams, those are the kind of streams I like to fish because they look untouched. Some of those images are worth framing. Great Post

  4. I can see it was well worth the peddling back up the hill. Too bad about the pigs that left the worm cartons, but they're everywhere.


  5. Hi there,

    First time seeing your blog, it's a great one, congratulation.

    And nice bass by the way.
    I use to fish for them as a kid, but there is none where I wet my lines now.

    Have a good day.

  6. Hi! Very nie day with nature around. I agree - photos are awesome!

    Could you e-mail me at ?
    I have a little proposition for ou.

    Jarek (Fishing in Poland)

  7. Wow those are some really great photos. Makes me feel like I'm right there scoping out those sweet streams. Great wildlife captures as well. Looks a great way to escape the beast of society and not needing to travel very far to do so. Thanks for sharing. Tight Lines.

  8. You seem to have a wonderful knack of finding those creepy crawlies.

  9. It is amazing what we can find in our back yards. Typically it is the tourist who take the time to find the unspoiled spots. Good on ya for looking at home first.