Total km: 15km
Number of portages: 4
Total Portage distance: 1098m
Having missed out on a trip farther south than Buzzard Lake, I decided to throw out an easy one amongst my friends and see if anyone was interested in going to Vixen Lake in the Kawartha Highlands. Unfortunately I didn’t sell it well enough and decided I would just make this a short August jaunt to re-charge my batteries with a solo trip. I set out from Long Lake at a leisurely pace, confident in my gear and genuinely happy simply to be outside.
I found the portage south where I had left it, about four kilometers from the Long Lake access point, and loaded up for the easy carry. This path is nice and wide, having seen many feet and a few wheels over the years. It’s easy to see how people with an ATV or just good ol’ fashion elbow grease manage to get their pontoon boats over the 342m trail and to the small dock on Buzzard Lake. The blue, clear water beckoned as I set out in the mid-morning sun.
The northern section of Buzzard Lake is largely open and wind can make paddling it a bit of a hassle when you’re solo so I headed south after taking just enough time to appreciate the view and wave to little kids camping with their parents on the northern sites. I took my time to fish the northern bottleneck where I had been successful in June, not being disappointed with a few small bass. Just enough to wet my appetite for things to come! As I passed the site I had occupied for two days earlier this year I gave the usual courteous hello to a lovely lady in a fishing kayak. Her reply floored me.
“Your voice sounds familiar, do you have a Youtube channel?” she asked after replying to my hail. I swear they could see my smile from the International Space Station! Genuinely I was astonished that someone had taken the time. Tina, if you’re out there I STILL tell people about meeting you! We talked for almost an hour (seemed only a few minutes) as the wind pushed us around, trading fishing tips around the lake, discussing the new routes around Kawartha Highlands, and admiring her new-fangled fishing kayak (a Hobie Pro Angler kayak for those who are interested, its catamaran triple hull provided stability and pedal propulsion meant you could pretty much fish all day without taking hands off our rod). It was one of the (read “only”) high points in my life as a internet entertainment producer. Once again, Tina, you made my 2015.
But life had to go on, and I left Tina to try for some trout while I headed down a little path next to the creek which feeds Vixen Lake. It was a little rough actually, but well trodden and short. I put the canoe down by a beaver dam and took some time to gather up some of the abundant lumber around the end of the portage. I was staying on an island, and knowing that this was a well-used part of the park figured it would be better to gather wood while it was just lying around. Pushing out through the weeds down the creek into the lake, I looked at the sheltered bay awaiting me and though “Hey, that looks like prime bass territory.” I had cut my chops fishing just on the edge of weeds like these and was hopeful. One cast was all it took before I was rewarded with a fishy compatriot. Pleased with myself, I headed straight for my site to set up camp.
The little archipelago upon which site #440 is located is scenic, if not a little busy. My neighbors to the east were there in a motorboat, but effectively hidden from view unless we were both in boats or exploring the proper parts of our respective islands at the same time. I found next to no lumber on my site, which I had expected. The site itself is wonderful though, with tonnes of living space, no fewer than three separate places to drag up a boat, and two great swimming areas. I had a little rock to the western side of the picnic table that I called “The Dock”. It was about a 3 foot deep pool next to a point of rock which was wonderful for fishing, swimming, and reading. As I was about to dive off though, I spotted one of the bigger snapping turtles I’ve ever seen meandering the waters, which put a damper on that activity.
The most wonderful part of the trip was the mid-afternoon weather and fishing. It was one of those lazy afternoons that only Mark Twain could properly describe. Also, if you’re looking for 1-2lb bass without even trying, the northern islands of Vixen lake in August are your jam. There was a good smattering of rain at dusk, but other than that this was as great a one-night trip as one could ask for.