Every Shoreline Tells a Story

Freshwater lakes on the Canadian Shield
Gerry Cariou
By Gerry Cariou

Gerry Cariou is the Executive Director of Ontario's Sunset Country.

Last Updated: September 7, 2023

Spending Time Out on the Water

As the Executive Director at Ontario's Sunset Country, I have the good fortune of getting a lot of time out on the lakes in the region. With over 70,000 of them in this part of Ontario, I'll never get to visit them all but whether I'm there for fishing, photography, or just plain relaxation, when I'm not working, a day on a freshwater lake in Sunset Country is time well-wasted. For paddlers, this part of Ontario is a paradise! there are more flatwater canoe routes here than anywhere else in Ontario. 

Shoreline at Dryberry lake in Ontario, Canada

Catching a trophy fish or some walleye for shore lunch is part of the experience, but just being on the water is the highlight for me. The photo opportunities are around every corner and capturing them is a major part of my day on the lake. This article is being written with the intention of taking you out on the water with me for the day so you can see what I get to see. Read on and let's spend some time on the water together and enjoy the boat ride!

White pines are a common site on many lakes in Sunset Country

As the photo above shows, islands and giant white pines can be seen on many of our lakes. If you're here to fish, the rocks plunging into the water could indicate a "hole" is nearby so I often stop in these spots and look for walleye. Throwing a popper or jerk bait at that small rock usually means there is a good chance I'll catch a pike or my favorite fish, a smallmouth bass. Some of these spots turn into hotspots I come back to another day. Finding the fish is part of the fun especially on a beautiful day like that one was.

Smallmouth bass fishing

In addition to fishing, just exploring the lake and looking for pristine wilderness sand beaches is another favorite activity of mine when I'm out on the water. On some of the larger lakes, the number of beaches you can have to yourself is nothing short of incredible. Often, I do this with my son Matthew and he loves to go for a swim. The solitude and feeling of joy from sitting on a beach in the middle of nowhere and with no one else around is truly something else. A picnic or shore lunch of freshly caught walleye can also be part of the mix. Taking your family to one of these beaches is a great way to spend the day in Sunset Country.

Wilderness sand beaches in Sunset Country

Chasing the Sunset

When you spend a lot of time on the water, the opportunity to see the magnificent sunsets that define our namesake "Sunset Country" are numerous, to say the least. The evening boat ride consists of some fishing (usually jigging for walleye) and then finding the spot from which to frame the day's setting sun. Often you can find an island to silhouette or a giant white pine. Sometimes I look for open water so the effect is the sun sinking into the lake.  

Sunset on Ontario's Lake of the Woods

Chasing sunsets is indeed one of my favourite activities when I'm out on the water, besides fishing I guess. Many people I speak to at sports shows during the winter months tell me the fishing here is fantastic but it is the beauty of the wilderness, the lakes, the clean forest air, and the sunsets that are the most memorable. Thanks for spending a day on the water with me. I hope you enjoyed being part of something I get to see quite often.

Oh and the call of the loon, don't forget that!

Common loon and her young at sunset

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