Rainy is a well-kept secret

Last weekend was my annual fishing weekend with my brother-in-law, Tom Foster, and his son, Ben, here on Rainy Lake.
My son, Brendan, who came in from Calgary, joined them.
Tom and Ben live in Waterloo while Tom has a cottage on Healey Lake (near Parry Sound), which has more than 30 miles of shoreline.
This traditional weekend has been on going for almost 10 years, with firstly my two brothers-in-law arriving to fish and later Tom bringing his two sons.
My brother, Don, traditionally has been our guide for one day of fishing on the north arm of Rainy. In our first two outings, Don and Harry Bell were our official guides.
That first year, they took us almost to the Manitou Sound to go after large northern pike. It is a day that always will be remembered because at the end of fishing, we had brought into the two boats almost three dozen trophy-size northerns.
We were fishing for some smaller northern pike for a fish fry and eventually landed enough for supper. It was a fishing trip we all remember fondly having caught so many trophy fish in a short period of time.
We have gone back several times to try and duplicate that successful day.
A decade ago, walleye were hard to find in the north arm. Today, walleye are much easier to find while those large northern pike are scarce.
On Friday in rain, and dodging thunder and lightning, we travelled to the north arm to catch a feed of walleye. Thankfully, the air temperature was a little warm because the driving rain left our boat soaked.
My brother, Don, took us to his favourite walleye haunts. And on one of the first stops, he boated a 27.5-inch walleye.
Over the course of the day, we were able to boat a 23-, 24-, 26-, and a 30-inch trophy. It was a memorable trip and it will be hard to duplicate a catch like that again.
Pictures have captured our success. The trophies all were released back into the lake in hope that another fisherman’s day will be made by catching one of those fish.
We often have undersold Rainy Lake as a fisherman’s lake. We have encouraged tourists to travel west to Lake of the Woods or north to Lac Seul or Red Lake, or to fly-in camps with the promise of trophy fish.
Yet Rainy Lake constantly now produces trophy bass, walleye, northern pike, crappies, and even perch. Silver musky challenge fishermen in the late fall.
Dreams are filled. Smiles and great memories are created day after day of fishing. Rainy Lake is a well-kept secret to outsiders, but to those who have caught one of its trophies, the lake is forever remembered.
It may have been caught in torrents of rain and high winds. Yet you don’t remember the bitter conditions of the day. You don’t remember catching limits of fish.
But boating a trophy walleye, northern pike, or smallmouth bass are remembered forever.

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