High Heels to Hip Waders

View More Articles

Article Category: Fishing

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.

In 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.

  • Don’t forget your boots at camp and
  • Always check before you put them on. Why? Because you may find that one of them have been claimed as a residence by a huge spider.
  • Sometimes the first pair of boots you can find for a trip to the outhouse on a 40 below night aren’t the best choice – green rubbers offer no warmth at all in the snow
  • Scratchy wool socks worn to bed on a cold winter at the cabin are the perfect accessory to ear plugs put in to ward off snoring sounds of your invited guests.

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.

Similar Articles

Worm Tricks for Walleye

Using worms as bait is often scoffed at by most anglers now a days, but this tried and true bait still works to catch the lunkers. Worms are the most versatile bait in the walleye angler’s arsenal. Crawlers work in the cold water of spring and fall, and during the hottest days of summer. They catch walleye in rivers and lakes. These fish like the smell, look, and feel of a worm. Yet many anglers, weaned on television fishing shows and endless super-lure infomercials, consider live-worm fishing passe, even vaguely dirty.

Read More ...

Winter Walleye
Winter Walleye Movements

Simple article describes how walleye change their home-range when winter sets in as well as the fish change their eating habits. Sometimes walleye establish a smaller home-range during the winter, usually only a fraction of the size of their summer range. On smaller lakes walleye generally stay close to most traditional structures such as steep-breaking humps, deeper portions of long points and deep saddles.

Read More ...

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.

Read More ...

Walleye Trips to Lac Seul

Michael Bilsbarrow, a Patricia Region resident, shares some common strategies and angling methods practiced and perfected on the Lac Seul reservoir. These tried and true techniques consistently land trophy fish off of this gargantuan body of water. Local knowledge is no doubt a great asset when it comes to fishing a big lake like this one and most fish camps and resorts on the lake offer guide services. On your first trip to Lac Seul you would be well advised to engage the services of one for at least a day or two.

Read More ...

Walleye in Autumn

Writer explains just why the walleye bite can be so good in the autumn months. He also details various tips/strategies for angling and landing good sized fish in changing conditions on the lake. During the months of September, October and november; in the Upper United States and Canada, patterns develop that may land you your biggest/best walleye of the year. If you follow the progression of the season, you may catch big hog walleye up until the ice forms.

Read More ...

Trolling Up Moonlit ‘Eyes

Walleye really turn on at dawn and dusk. the walleye’s unique eye structure gathers light better than a squirrel-on-steroids gathers nuts, and this gives the walleye a huge advantage at low light times. It’s like walleye are wearing night-vision goggles while they are feasting on those helpless little yellow perch.

Read More ...

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 More ...

Trolling for Top-water Muskie

When I started fishing for muskies, I spent countless hours casting big bucktails, jerkbaits and top-water plugs over shallow weed flats without so much as a promising follow. It was suggested to me that I try trolling… “”Troll for muskies in four feet of water?” I commented. “I’ll be hanging up in weeds all day.” Initially, I got caught on the weeds, and lots of ’em. Every couple of minutes I had to stop to remove dense green cabbage from my line and lures…

Read More ...

Trolling Crankbaits For Bass

Trolling crankbaits is a great technique and teacher when it comes to finding bass. Pay attention in class this summer and you’ll graduate with honours in crankbait fishing from Bass U. Fish are creatures of habit. They follow behaviour patterns that keep them safe from predators, physically comfortable, and well fed. It’s a matter of life and death. If a bass is having its best luck feeding on top of a reef during a west wind, you can be sure it will be there every time those conditions occur.

Read More ...

Travelling Light in Northwest Ontario

Gord Ellis, shares a small story and some great tips on how to pack/prepare for an extended trip canoeing/hiking or at your favourite fly-in destination, here in “Canada’s Heartland”, the Patricia Region. Carrying a 7-foot one-piece spinning rod is obviously out. So is that big tackle box. It’s unwieldy and often requires an extra portage. Scale way down.

Read More ...