Beginning in 2007, three years following our mother’s death, my brother Cole decided the two of us should annually go fishing for a week each summer. The motion proceeded to pass unopposed, becoming law. In fact, during pre-marriage proceedings Cole utilized his unrivaled contract negotiation skills, persuading The Boss into agreeing to abide by The Fishing Pact of ’07* (see disclaimer). Article I, section I states: The Jahnman shall be permitted one (1) seven (7) day long fishing excursion every year forward. Additionally:
a. Said excursion shall be devoid of standard guilt trip encompassing week-long absence from betrothed
b. Phone calls from Jahnman will be granted cellular signal strength allowing—though not exceeding one (1) call per day
c. Betrothed acknowledges annual excursions shall be replete with alcohol and tobacco products
d. Location of excursion is subject to change annually
e. Jahnman agrees to resume all everyday responsibilities without question upon return from said annual excursions.
The inaugural trip’s plans were cemented before winter’s end that year. The stage was now set for years of unbridled sibling angling rivalry. Months of anticipation were spent pondering the fish to be caught at the first venue: Lady Evelyn Lake—specifically the outpost of Island 10, (http://www.island10.com/)
Set just over 300 miles north of Toronto, and accessible only by seaplane or boat ferried over the Montreal River then portaged over a small island before finally finding the lake, Lady Evelyn is the quintessential northern Ontario fishing outpost. Decades ago, the lake was filled with loggers trying to make a living removing outlying timber from the surrounding forest. They’d float the titanic trees down the lake to the channel (now dammed) leading to the Montreal River, and in turn downriver to mills for lumber and paper production. Many trees lay submerged, waterlogged and adorned with at least a dozen Rapalas of mine.
Scattered about the lake’s expanse are small summer cottages, old ranger stations no longer in use, and four outfitter’s camps. Having only visited Island 10, there is no telling what the other camps were like, but from the looks outside I’d say we chose wisely.
Ken Byberg and his wife Bev purchased the island, where a camp had already existed years ago but not in the grand fashion they wished. The Bybergs restored, and in some cases removed existing structures, ending up with ten rustic log cabins, (possibly the root of Island 10’s nomer) a central meeting house for community-style breakfasts and dinners every morning and evening, (also where they slept, upstairs) and a separate lodging area for employees. All dwellings came complete with wood fireplaces, running water, a simple yet amazingly genius septic system, and working electricity every day from 7am until 11pm. Being able to turn off the generators for eight hours per day saved them a great deal in fuel costs. Here we were, over 300 miles from major civilization, roughing it. Right.
All new campers for the week were to meet at a dock on the Montreal River in the morning. After being ferried across the river and given a history lesson of the area by Ken in his makeshift barge, we all portaged on the aforementioned island for a minute before being loaded into separate speed boats and taken from one side of the lake to the other, where Island 10 sat. Everyone formed an assembly line and unloaded luggage, fishing gear, and palates of Molson, Moosehead, and Labatt's from the boats to dry land before being assigned their group’s cabin for the duration.
We scored cabin 10.
The island is small; all the cabins are in close proximity, but not close enough that you can hear one another’s conversations, at least until the booze comes out. We walked up the trail from the docks to the cabins and saw our address posted on the back of the second one we came to. Home sweet home.
Fishing report to follow.
*I married a wonderful and understanding woman who never gave a second thought to me leaving her for an entire week to spend time fishing with my brother. Though part (e) of The Fishing Pact of ’07 is entirely true, all other parts may be slightly embellished for testosterone retention purposes.
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