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  1. #1
    Senior Member ggreaves's Avatar
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    EGL Bass Opener - Fish Frys, Black Flies and Pizza Pies

    Here in Ontario, Canada, we are fortunate enough to have a wide selection of places for summer paddling and fishing. There are several provincial parks with "car camping" on beautiful lakes. Algonquin park is a very popular backcountry summer destination with a great trout fishery for those willing to put in the effort to portage their canoes several lakes away from the day trippers and weekend campers. Through conservation efforts over the last century, they've managed to minimize the footprint of bass, pike and other "invasive species" on the trout lakes and it's a sought-after park relatively close to Toronto with thousands of lakes and canoe routes to explore.

    This year, the EGL hammock campers decided to go after some spring bass for the opener. The destination chosen was Noganosh Lake Provincial Park near Port Loring, Ontario. Noganosh is a "non-operating provincial park", meaning it has no fees or services or, in this case, access roads into the park. It's a little over 3 hours from Toronto and is accessed by paddling on the Pickerel River to Smoky Creek, then taking a series of portages around rapids and beaver dams to reach the park interior. Once there, you'll find a beautiful series of lakes, bays, and primitive campsites which, compared to Algonquin are a lot less traveled. 7 people made the trek this year and the plan was to have the first group go in on Thursday, paddle like hell to get the campsite designated on our map as "Campsite Deluxe" before the season opened on Saturday which would bring a flurry of people from the city to try their luck for the
    largemouth and pike which patrol the waters there. "Deluxe" in this case meant the campsite was on an island and had a privy, or as we call them here... a thunder box. Others would meet us there on Friday and Saturday.

    Thursday

    I arrived at Flemings Landing around 9am and found Keewaykeno and Highboy 76 waiting for me at the boat launch. After a few minutes of organizing my gear, the 3 of us were off on our way down the Pickerel River keeping an eye out for the first portage into smoky creek. The portage, while not long, was muddy and just clouded over with mosquitoes and black flies. The late and wet spring this year has made water levels high and the bugs worse than they've been in a while. Once onto Smoky Creek, you wind through a marshy area for a few kilometers until you come to a beaver dam with about a 5 foot height. Some slide their canoes over loaded but we chose to empty ours and portage around the obstacle. A short paddle later and you come across the last portage before the park interior lakes. It's an easy, flat 400ish meter path that leads to the last section of smoky creek before opening up on to Smoky Lake. There is a fly-in resort on this lake which was completely deserted when we paddled by. After an hour or so paddling down the lake, we navigated the narrows between Smoky and Noganosh Lake. "Deluxe" was another few kilometers down the north south channel of the lake.




    Once we landed, we realized that it was perfectly situated for minimizing bugs because the channel funneled a constant breeze onto the northern point of the island where we set up our camp. I've been "going to ground" for a little while and decided just to sleep on an air mattress inside my Eureka No-Bug-Zone netted tarp. It's a great piece of gear to have if you enjoy getting out between spring and late july when the bugs can really put a damper on the trip. It has enough room inside to set up chairs and make it a communal hangout away from the swarm. Luckily, because of the breeze we didn't need to do that on this trip. The rest of the day was spent laughing, eating and (for me at least), relaxing. The day ended with a beautiful sunset.




    Friday

    On Friday, we slept in and woke up to another beautiful day. Today we were expecting Jiblets, Jimmay and BigGreenMoose to join us. I spent the morning fishing. With bass season still 24 hours away, I've heard tell of huge pike on noganosh and I started trolling and casting looking for them. I came up empty. So I started casting into weed beds and caught a few medium size large mouth bass which had to go back in the drink. Highboy and Keewaykeno had similar luck catching bass but the friday pike eluded us. Dehydrated lasagna would be my dinner on Friday. When I got back from my morning fishing, Jiblets had arrived and we checked out the reflector oven he made. He did a great job on it and being aluminum and folding flat, it's a great addition to any canoe trip. Jiblets planned to make some deep dish pizza in front of the fire. Having been on the receiving end of his cooking for a few years now, I was really looking forward to this and knew it would be delicious. However, his no-knead dough recipe needed a full 24 hours to rise properly so we wouldn't be eating any on Friday. Later in the afternoon, 2 more canoes rounded the point with Jimmay and BigGreenMoose paddling. The island, while nice, only had a relatively small area to set up camp. Usually, we spread out a little bit but it wasn't possible this time. So, the collective chorus of snoring rivaled the racket the bullfrogs were making all night. The night ended with a campfire and lots of laughs and food shared before we turned in to get ready for bass fishing in the morning.




    Saturday

    I spent the morning looking for bass for the evening's fish fry. After 2 hours of catching sunfish and some smallmouth I had to throw back, I returned to the campsite for lunch. Just after, Chard, the last of the group to join us came around the corner in "Lipstick", his red Chestnut Prospector. We greeted him with the obligatory "whoo buddy!!" and helped him get unloaded. We were now 7. I took off later in the afternoon fishing again and caught 2 nice size largemouth bass. I found a spot where I could pull one out with pretty much every other cast. Since, with a conservation fishing licence in ontario, you're only allowed 2 keepers per day, I headed back to camp and put the stringer in the water to wait for dinner - hoping that Chompy, our resident snapping turtle didn't find them before I returned to clean them. Jimmay was the hero of the day and brought back 6 really nice size bass. He had a monster pike in the boat but he jumped out after removing the hook (so we're told). If you see a pike swimming around Noganosh with a spreader in it's mouth, say hi to the one that got away. Highboy and I cleaned the catch and had a nice size bag of fillets ready for the pan.

    I used my 5" Firebox stove on this trip and it did a great job on our fish fry. Highboy brought some Garam Masala powder and black pepper we added into the Fish Crisp for a really tasty batter. His hot sauce blend made the meal perfect. Nobody went hungry. To be honest I was counting on having fish for dinner and I was short a meal on this trip if we didn't catch anything.



    Jiblets started a roaring fire and we finished off a perfect day (second longest of the year!!) cutting up and having laughs before people drifted off in their hammocks.



    Sunday

    Another perfect weather day. This time, no breeze at all. We got up a little earlier than usual and everyone started packing. With paddling / portaging / driving it was a 12 hour journey home for me. Jiblets pizza dough, finally ready, was put in a deep dish pan and into the reflector oven. I've stopped being surprised at how good everything he cooks tastes long ago. I can honestly say this was among the best pizza I've had anywhere. The location made it that much better. Jiblets planned to hang around a little while longer - cook another pizza and then make his way out. The rest of us loaded our boats and re-traced our path north and east again back to the boat launch. I think it took me about 3.5 hours to get back to the car. Once we loaded up and a few people had a swim, we shook hands and all parted ways until the next EGL hang later this summer.

    Hopefully some others can chime in with pics of our alleged fish and that pizza... Never thought to take any.
    A lotta ins... lotta outs... lotta what-have-you's

  2. #2
    Senior Member KeeWayKeno's Avatar
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    Still amazes me how great that trip was at the height of bug season. Nice trip report ggreaves! I'll add some pics as soon as I can defeat the glitch preventing me from uploading them.

    Next stop ... French River, eh?

  3. #3
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    deeply regretting i didnt make it. That looks deluxe to me. Of course Chompy was there hahah

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bubba's Avatar
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    Wish I could have been there. Nice to see 76highboy out! Thanks for the report and pics G.
    Don't let life get in the way of living.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Niagara's Avatar
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    looks like the usual good time was had by all! great title ggreaves!

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Exellent trip report Greaves!
    This was my first real paddle since last august so it was f#!&$n awesome to be back on the water!
    I was a little tired physically but no back pain. Booyah!
    Ready for another paddle and hang.
    Most likely the french in august.
    No signs,no fees,no rules,nobody. My kind of campsite.
    See and understand the obvious and the mysteries will disappear.

  7. #7
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    Great trip report, and thanks for the overly kind words about my cooking.

    I really need to take some pictures on these trips, but I did get some of the DIY reflector oven and pizza. I'm very happy with how the oven turned out, and am very surprised how well it baked.

    Deep dish pizza may become a regular meal for layover days. That was quite the breakfast.
    20190623_083038.jpg20190623_091514.jpg

    Saved half of that pie for the drive home. It was just as good cold.

    Jimmay, thanks for all the fish, GGreaves for cleaning them, 76 Highboy&GG for cooking. It's so nice to chow down on fish, and not have to do any of the work.

    'till next time,
    Jiblets
    Last edited by Jiblets; 06-27-2019 at 14:37.

  8. #8
    all secure in sector 7 Shug's Avatar
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    Looks mighty fine. Love when the sky gets that pinkish-reddish-salmon color on the lakes.
    Shug
    Whooooo Buddy)))) All Secure in Sector Seven

  9. #9
    Chard's Avatar
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    What a wonderful getaway and a great trip report Ggreaves.

    Noganash proved to be quite accessible, scenic and a nice change of pace from more familiar waters. Despite being the height of bug season, with all of the cursing, swatting and DEET that entails, it was a glorious weekend.

    One of the highlights for me was navigating the two creeks that connected the Fleming's Landing/Kawigamog and Smokey Lakes. Just me and the lily pads, the trees and ten million mosquitoes. The landscape was beautiful, with a drier and somewhat more rocky feel that Algonquin. Looking around I could really sense the land's transition from the Highlands of the east to the rocky Georgian Bay just a few score of kilometers to the west.

    Of course the best part was meeting up with old friends and enjoying some time under the whispering pines. As I paddled up to camp, helping hands were ready to assist and within a few moments my canoe was up on shore and my gear whisked up to the main campsite. I was made to feel right at home as always. Everybody, with the exception of 76Highboy who I had met on the water a few minutes earlier, was there; Keewaykeno sporting his suspenders and pipe looking all the part of a happily retired logger from the 1930's. Jiblets' clean shaven face was a surprise (the things people do for family). In contrast, Ggreaves whiskers seemed to have gotten a little longer but BigGreenMoose hadn't changed at all (some people have all the luck). Finally Jimmay, bent over his portable radio transmitter with it's wire antenna draped from the trees above, looked like a backwoods Radar O'Reilly. All of them look very content sitting around on a lovely summer afternoon.

    Finally there was the food. I've been accused of being a bit of a trout snob, and to be honest, few meals can rival freshly caught brook trout, but I was lucky enough to enjoy not one but two absolutely fantastic treats. First was the bass mentioned in the posts above. The skill of Jimmay's fishing and Ggreaves and 76Highboy's preparation, from cleaning to cooking, produced plate after plate of delicious fried fish. Even with seven of us, everyone managed to get a good share of the piping hot treat. I'm a convert. Let those brook trout swim free; as long as I've got Jimmay, Ggreaves and Highboy around, when someone says there's bass on the menu, I'm running for my plate!

    The second culinary wonder was, as is to be expected, from the mind, kitchen and workshop of our resident tinker-chef-bushmaster, Jiblets. As we were packing up and preparing for our paddle home, Jiblets, with a new, ultralight DIY reflector oven was able to turn a tupperware full of dough and a few bags of home freeze-drying foodstuffs into what I have to say was the best pizza I think I've ever eaten, anywhere. Before you roll your eyes and scoff, let me tell you that even the grease running down my fingers was more delicious than any of the so-called pizza-like fare I've had in restaurants. The bubbling cheese, the tangy sauce, the spicy homemade pepperoni all covering a yeasted deep dish pie crust fried on the bottom to perfection. PERFECTION I SAY!!!!!! Watching that little pizza bubbling away in that reflector oven brought a tear to my eye. Unfortunately, like most great things, as soon as it appeared, it was gone. Into my belly. More please!!!

    Good times had by all. Next adventure; the French River down to the Georgian Bay during the dogs days of summer.

    PS. The quality of all of your smartphone photographs really has me wondering why I bother to bring twenty pounds of camera gear into the bush.
    Last edited by Chard; 06-28-2019 at 15:29.
    Survival is about getting out alive, Bushcraft is about going in to live - Chard (aka Forest-Hobo)

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  10. #10
    Member NOBOZax's Avatar
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    Nice report and great photos That pizza oven looked really interesting and the pizza looked delicious. Thanks for sharing

    Sent from my LM-V405 using Tapatalk

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