My first fishing licence

I’m heading to Quetico Provincial Park at the end of the month on a research trip. For two glorious weeks, I’ll be their artist-in-residence, soaking up the sights at a little lakefront cabin.

Going to Quetico? Gotta fish, I’m told.

Why? Quetico has some of the best fishing in the world. As Park Superintendent Trevor Gibb likes to say, it’s possible to catch walleye, lake trout, smallmouth bass, and northern pike in the same day on the same lake.

Not that this fishing newbie wants to catch a pike. I’m not going up there for trophy fish or stories about “the one that got away.” I just want to throw in a line and pull out a dinner-sized panfish.

Don’t get caught

But first, I need to get a fishing licence. Or to be accurate, an Ontario Outdoors Card and a fishing licence tag.

You might say I wrote the book on fishing in Ontario when I worked in communications for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. (It was webpages, actually, and the Learn to Fish manual. But close enough.)

Let’s just say I know what happens if the fish police — enforcement officers — catch you with a stringer of contraband pumpkinseeds. I can see the headlines now:

“Quetico artist-in-residence netted for poaching pond perch.”

“If you teach a writer to fish…”

So today, I’m making my fish dinners nice and legal. I’m heading to my friendly neighbourhood Service Ontario outlet to pick up my meal ticket.

And because it’s been a while since I’ve gone fishing, I’m taking a refresher course. On August 17, I’m taking the Learn to Fish Program at Emily Provincial Park. So are my daughter and my grandson. First one to catch a fish wins.