Byng Island (July 21, 2007)

July 23, 2007

Byng Island Conservation Area is at the mouth of the Grand River in Ontario, which empties into Lake Erie. It is regarded as one of the major fishing areas in the Great Lakes, and is just the other side of the river from Dunnville Ontario.

It was also our first camping with Erin. This is also the site of Jacob’s first fish he caught on his own.

We booked the site a week or so in advance, and had a fun drive down trying to find the place. It is not enough to just say “Dunnville”, you sort of have to know your way around. Anyways, after a little searching we found the campground, and were really pleased with the cleanliness and organization of the place. It is also quite busy, and there were many seasonal camping families there with semi-permanent setups. The seasonal campers looked like they were all having a great time.

Erin’s family brought along a couple of tents, one being a large dinner tent which ended up being their main tent area. We parked a couple of sites down under a nice tree, which made for some nice shade during the day. No need to run the air conditioning on this trip!

It was a lot of fun to have everyone there with us, and our boys were thrilled to be camping with their cousins. After dinner, Scott and I agreed to take the kids fishing down at the docks, which was a lot of fun.

Everyone is fishing!

The competition for fishing rods was heavy and earnest, as there were many smaller fishing boats roaming up and down the river and they all had fish on them. A couple of 14 footers even started trawling closer to our shore, which concerned the kids because they thought that the fishing boats might land our fish. I was concerned too, not because they were so close but because they weren’t getting any bites. As you can see from the photos, it was evening and the sun was setting. I guess the fish knew what we were up to.

Jacob casting

Anyways, everyone got a chance working the rods to the point that it was starting to get dark, and we were all thinking about heading back for the nightly campfire. Jacob was helping pack up the equipment when he suggested that he make one more cast. This is after an hour of no contact fishing. I am not sure why he brought up the idea to stay behind. He cast out into the river, and then very quickly reeled the line in to pack up. The hook got to about 6 feet from shore when all of a sudden he had a hit. We could tell it wasn’t like the multitude of snags we had been picking up all evening because his line was actually moving.

Within about 2 minutes Jacob had caught his first fish.

Jacob\'s first catch

It was a very exciting time, and we took just enough time to catch a quick photo before we sent it back home to hang out with it’s fish friends.

That night we all sat by the campfire at Erin’s site with the kids telling stories and roasting marshmellows. Unfortunately the sad state of wood at our site prevented us from getting more of a smolder going.

After the kids went to bed, Scott and I tried to light the fire at our trailer’s campfire ring. It only took an hour, a bunch of lighter fluid, and some liquid courage to create a nice smoking smouldering mound that vaguely resembled the tailpipe of an old 1950s roadster with a head gasket problem. Everyone else, which would be the folks with the actual smarts, decided to stay at Erin’s nice warm fire and watch the flames dance in the cool night air. Well, at least Scott and I kept the mosquitoes out of the area.

The boys stayed up a little later and went on a couple of excursions through the local forest and through the other camping areas, which got to be a little difficult as it got darker. I am not sure how we found our way back.

The following morning was a wonderful time, and I took the kids on a walkabout tracing the steps of our little moonlight adventure the night before. Surprising how different things can look with a little light on them.

It was a nice country drive back home from Dunnville, and we all though that we should go back again next year.

Fishing off the dock was fun

Next year we are going to see if these two want to come back too!

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