100 lakes in 100 miles #TakeItToTheLake
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From fishing to island-hopping there’s an aquatic adventure for everyone in Lake Country
KAREN UNG FOR #TakeItToTheLake
“I think we can get a bit closer,” Jamie says, and we paddle as silently as we can towards a huge American pelican. Soon, we are just metres away from the giant bird, and he looks at us curiously wondering what we’re up to.
Stealthily, I get out my camera and cross my toes that he won’t fly away too soon. As we drift closer, the pelican bursts into the air in one fluid motion. He is surprisingly graceful for his size and is across the bay in seconds, propelled by his three-metre wingspan. It’s the first time I’ve seen a pelican in Alberta and over the weekend, I see many more plus cormorants, redwinged blackbirds, gulls, eagles, and loons. Lac la Biche is a designated bird sanctuary and home to over 200 species of birds!
Jamie Laird, a Lakeland local since 1997 and owner of Lakeland Expeditions Rentals, isn’t surprised by the pelicans, foxes, or large buck that walks through the Day Use Area. The abundance of wildlife and birds is one of his favourite things about living here. He recommends getting out on the water in the morning for the best wildlife viewing and I’m glad I have the canoe for the weekend.
Fishing is another popular pastime here. Fisherfolk are catching big pike and walleye on huge spoons. The five of diamonds (spoon) is a winner, according to the guys at the fish cleaning station. Jamie tells me how his five-year old son caught a 9.5-kg pound pike longer than him. I make a mental note to bring my medium action rod next time. Clearly, my ultralight trout tackle is no match for these beasts.
Evening finds us back at Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park. The sun is a ball of fire and the water is placid, so we take the canoe out one more time. As we paddle in to the sunset, loons hoot and laugh around us. It’s the perfect ending to a perfect day in Lac La Biche County.
Where to Rent Equipment
Jamie at Lakeland Expeditions Rentals has a fleet of canoes and 14-foot aluminum fishing boats, as well as camping and fishing gear available to rent at very reasonable rates. Call ahead (Mobile: 780-404-5756) to arrange canoe/boat delivery. In winter, rent a heated, furnished ice fishing cabin on Lac la Biche.
Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park also rents canoes, kayaks and SUPS from the campground office.