Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Fire and fishing failures

  • Print

Marchand Provincial Park
Woodridge Provincial Park
Birch Point Provincial Park
Moose Lake Provincial Park

I've always taken pride in my camping skills: pitching a tent in the rain - child's play; starting a campfire – no problem; barbequing the perfect steak, a cinch.

That was the case up to this weekend, when my friend and I had all sorts of problems getting a fire started. My pride was slightly dented.

After a successful camping trip to the Turtle Mountain area on the May long weekend, we headed to the southeast corner of the province last weekend, running away from the storm clouds that had engulfed Winnipeg.

The primary destination was Moose Lake Provincial Park, sandwiched between Lake of the Woods to the east and Minnesota to the south. The itinerary also included several smaller parks along the way: Marchand, Woodridge, and Birch Point.

Marchand Provincial Park is located on the edge of Sandilands Provincial Forest, 90 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg. It's not well marked and we almost missed it. The park consists of a dozen picnic tables and several fire pits shaded by a grove of jack pine and that's it. However, a signpost across the highway from the park indicates that Marchard serves as a staging point for the network of trails that radiate through Sandilands. Hiking, horseback riding, and off-road vehicle trails cut through the dense pine forest.

After the quick stop at Marchand, we continued southeast on Provincial Road 210 towards Woodbridge Provincial Park. I wasn't expecting much after reading that the park was one of the smallest in the province and basically only a highway rest stop. As we approached the town of Woodbridge, we were on the lookout for this microscopic park.

I had the park programmed into a GPS and as we approached the tiny indicator flag on the GPS screen, we were a little shocked. Woodridge is less a park and more of an overgrown field. Two derelict picnic tables sat in a field of grass and dandelions that was in serious need of a landscaper. An abandoned fire tower watched silently from the back of the park.

We took a few photos at Woodridge and then high-tailed it towards Moose Lake. The lake is 190 kilometres from Winnipeg and surrounded by thick deciduous forests and the only eastern white pine trees in the province. Moose Lake represents the extreme western range for this species in Canada. A small campground rings the southern shore of the lake.

Birch Point Provincial Park is just 10 kilometres down the road from Moose Lake and provides boat access to Lake of the Woods.

This past February, I travelled to the Northwest Angle of Minnesota, just down the road from Moose Lake, to gather information for a travel article I was writing. While I was enjoying a couple cold ones and playing pool at one of the local bars, I ran into some snowmobilers from Moose Lake. They raved about how beautiful the lake was and how the walleye and northern pike fishing was excellent.

With that in mind, this past weekend we rented a canoe from the Silver Birch Resort on Moose Lake and paddled out to do some serious fishing. The resort owner had pointed us in the direction of a "hole" in the lake, where he said anglers had been pulling out walleye with ease.

We reached the fishing spot and I cast my lure. An hour went by with no luck, not even a nibble. I reeled in my line and cast out my lure on last time, hoping for a lucky strike. As I began to reel it in, my rod began to arc. I had hooked something big.

Unfortunately, I had no such luck. All I had snagged was something on the bottom. In my struggle to free the lure, I only succeeded in breaking the rod in two. Thus ending a disappointing, but relaxing, afternoon of fishing.

That brings me back to my struggle with lighting a fire. When we came off the lake, we decided to get a fire going. After almost a half hour we were having no luck whatsoever. The wood was too wet.We found some dry wood, but it wouldn't catch either.

Ready to admit defeat and give up, the kindling finally caught and the fire roared to life. Pride was restored, with only a minor dent.

Week 2 of my adventure has come and gone: 7 parks down, 70 to go.

Drop me an e-mail at manitoba.atoz@gmail.com if you have any stories you want to share about Manitoba's provincial parks. 

Parks in this blog post:
 


View A(sessippi) to Z(ed Lake) in a larger map
Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

Ads by Google