Northwest Ontario
Fishing, Hunting & Travel Map

High Heels to Hip Waders

I work in an office and most days I wear dress clothing which often includes high heels. But when I get home and it's time to take them off, they sit along side my other footwear which includes, among other things, a pair of Gortex camouflage boots and a set of hip waders. This makes for quite the variety of footwear!

Living in Northwestern Ontario, I have been very fortunate to experience the sights and sounds of the great outdoors. I'm proud to say that I have been able to participate in many outdoor activities including hunting, fishing, trapping and bait fishing.

Boots for Fishing & Hunting in OntarioIn my boots, I have experienced many adventures riding a 4-wheeler over miles of human uninhabited lands, felt the breeze in my face as we raced down the lake, followed a stubborn procupine who refused to slow down to allow me to take his photograph and felt their warmth as I sat in a bear stand waiting for the great creature to show his presence.

Sitting around a campfire, I've listened to the mournful cry f the loons on the lake, cursed at the repetitive call of the elusive whip-poor-will, listened to the wolves howl directions to each other across the lake, watched with wonder the blinking of the fireflies, marveled at the multitude of stars shining in the night sky and observed with awe the dancing colours of the Northern lights.

I've enjoyed harvesting and savouring the many bounties that the land has to offer: ripe juicy blueberries and raspberries, delicately flavoured Chanterelle mushrooms, tasty fish - north pike, trout, bass and my favourite - walleye - from our area's plentiful lakes and wild meats such as grouse, moose, bear and lynx.

My boots and I have been fortunate to admire the many birds and animals. I've watched moose feeding in the streams, seen a pine marten chase a rabbit down the road, chuckled at the antics of the squirrels trying to hide mushrooms in the trees, caught glimpses of wolves, laughed at the playful frolicking of a family of otter as they swam alongside the boat and witnessed lynx trying to hide themselves behind brush in the hopes that I wouldn't see them. I've watched owls and hawks search for mice, seen eagles soaring over that water and scoop up a fish for dinner and fed whiskeyjacks from my hands. Let's not forget the persistence of the cursed mosquitoes and no-seeums. When they're around, I'm definitely glad to have my boots.

In my hip waders, I've walked through swamps and creeks in search of minnows and leeches. I've worn them in the canoe and had the opportunity to silently paddle up to a cow moose resting on the bog. She was so intent on keeping an eye on her calf at the edge of the trees, she didn't hear us in the water. When she finally realized that we were there, I was about 3 feet from her and was positive her intentions were to join us in the canoe. I'm not sure whose eyes were open widest in surprise - hers or mine! On the flip side, my hip waders have been filled with water trying to open up a culvert plugged by beaver. Do you know how hard it is to walk in boots filled with water and attached to your belt loops?

Wearing another pair from my varied footwear collection, a set of water shoes, I've swam in the lake with beaver not more than 25 feet away, slapping the tails in protest of me invading their territory. But did you know that leeches can still get into water shoes?

I have learned some very valuable lessons from my footwear as well.

But still. when I'm sitting at my desk, you will occasionally catch me daydreaming of trading in my heels to fill some other boots. I wonder if I have to go shopping?

This article by Ruth McMillan was originally published in the Ontario Fur Managers Federation magazine - Winter 2011. Volume 16, Number 1.

You may also be interested in:

Read Full Article High Heels to Hip Waders
A PRTC staffer shares stories of her many outdoor adventures in her varied footwear collection.
Read Full Article Night Walleye Fishing
A complete overview on how to maximize your effectiveness while angling for walleyes at night, from what bait to use to where to cast, even how to troll or where to anchor. This article will explain it all in detail. The option to fish at night can be a great equalizer in times of bad weather. Day or night, wind is always a killer, but cold fronts on the other hand don't have quite the adverse on walleyes at night. If fishing is tough during the day, one of the best plans is to fish at night.
Read Full Article A Hunting We Will Go
Local hunter tells the story of how he came across an over-sized buck while out hunting a friends farm land, deep in the heart of the Patricia Region. As I stood looking down at the full bodied, skinned out animal (which completely resembled the proportions of a human being), I wondered where the other guy in their party was! It was spooky to see something so similar to a man lying there while the northern lights (or jiibayag niimi’idiwag) streaked across the sky. This was the first, and only time, I have witnessed a multi-colored Aurora Borealis. Reds, blues, yellows, and greens sprinkled through the night air. The spirits were speaking on this chilly evening, and I shuddered in fear.
Read Full Article Trolling Spinnerbaits - Trophy Muskie
Trolling spinner baits allows you to quickly probe prime locations, such as weed-flats and break lines, searching for actively feeding fish to enticing neutral ones to strike. Muskie trolling spinnerbaits allow you to quickly probe prime locations, such as weed-flats and break lines, searching for actively feeding fish to enticing neutral ones to strike.
Read Full Article Surface Swimming Jigs For Bass
Spring through fall, bass anglers need to try fishing the weeds to catch the big fish. Swimming a jig over the weeds in this fashion reduces snags and makes the situation a lot less trying. Ask most bass anglers how a skirted jig should be fished, and they'll say that it's meant to be flipped or pitched then slowly bounced and crawled along bottom or through heavy cover.
Read Full Article Canada's Hog Walleye
Northwestern Ontario is the "Hog Walleye capital". This article gives tips on how to select the best locations for fishing up these behemoths, as well as which presentations seem to work best. "If you are one of those fishermen who is still looking at the empty spot on the wall of your den or office reserved for your trophy walleye, then my own personal plan for putting those odds in your favor may interest you..."
Read Full Article Berry Picking in the Patricia Region
Berry picking in Northwestern Ontario is a fun way to enjoy nature, venture away from the lodge and pick some fresh berries that can be used for many different recipes. Blueberry pie, raspberry jam, strawberry shortcake! The opportunities are endless. Northwestern Ontario is abundant with wild blueberries, as well as raspberries. While picking, it is important to stay bear safe. Learn how to can/jar your fresh berries, and enjoy them year round!
Read Full Article Water Clarity (Bass Fishing)
This article contains critical information regarding water clarity and how it relates to catching elusive small and largemouth bass. It is broken down into sections based on visibility and what tactics to use. In truth, water clarity can be one of the most important elements in locating small and largemouth bass, especially when you correlate it with time of season.