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Napken Lake Chronicles: Border Unlocked - Last-Minute Miracles 2021

September 3 – 10 2021 Napken Lake

Canada Border re-opens after pandemic shutdown. Canadian Remote Fishing trips resume!

With Napken Lake now in our sights, the day the border opening announcement was made we called Hearst Air to see what might be open for a Canadian remote fishing trip this year. To our great surprise and happiness, there was a slot at Napken Lake for September 3 – 10! 

Book it!!! 

Lot’s of excitement getting ready for the trip but shortly before we were to leave, one of our fishing buddies and previous Napken lake trip member passed away. 

Napken Lake Chronicles: Trip 3 Part 2 – Northern LightsThis trip was dedicated to our friend and fishing buddy, Russ. Russ and I spent a full week on the waters of Napken Lake back in 2016. It was his first time on a remote fishing trip and he was thrilled. He was 84 years old at the time and it was an honor for me to share something as special as these trips with him. He lived a great life and we’ll miss him. 


We nearly didn’t make it across the border, a few tense hours.

If you recall, for a long while a negative covid test was required to enter Canada. We had all taken our test on the Monday and then left for the Canadian border on Wednesday morning. 

When we left, 2 of us had already received our negative results but the remaining 2 had yet to receive anything. We simply assumed we would get the results before we got to the border. 

When we arrived in St. Sault Marie on Wednesday evening we still had no results for Larry and Bruce. So we were forced to get a hotel on the U.S. side of the border instead of crossing on the Wednesday evening like we usually do. No problem, we should have the test results in the morning!

Morning arrived and still no results.

Uh Oh
no fishing

We had until about 10am before the results that we did have for Mark and I would expire. So, we started looking for a place in the upper peninsula of Michigan to get a fast PCR test done. 

A couple of sites did exist but didn’t have the availability to take us in. Each of the places we visited on the American side of Sault Ste. Marie sympathized with us but wouldn’t accommodate us. 

We were running out of options when the last place we visited gave us a telephone number to a small clinic about 30 minutes away that “might” be able to fit us in. This was our last chance. We were just about to resign ourselves to turning around and going home.

Grabbing my phone, I called the number. I gave the lady who answered the telephone a very sad story of 4 fishermen who were sitting within spitting distance of Canada, desperately wanting to cross the border but couldn’t and she said “Come on down”!

Saved by the bell

We turned in her direction at the speed of light, had the 2 tests taken for Larry and Bruce, got the results and zoomed back to the border where we got across with only minutes to spare on the 2 tests that Mark and I had gotten earlier in the week!

Whew! So huge thanks to the nameless lady who helped us out!

Napken Lake Chronicles: Border Unlocked - Last-Minute Miracles 2021 The rest of the Canadian Remote Fishing adventure:

The remainder of the trip went well. Within a couple of hours of landing on the lake on the Friday, Mark landed a 41″ and a 43″ northern pike. What a great start to our week. 

The first 2 days were nice as far as the weather was concerned but on Sunday we had a change – rain, cold and heavy wind became the norm but wow, the fishing only got better. 

I was alone so didn’t have a good way to get a picture , but I did get a nice 41″ northern pike in the boat during the week. Many pike greater than 30″ were caught and many more that didn’t break the 30″ barrier. However, we were extremely grateful to have been part of a trip that nearly didn’t happen!

We’ll be back in 2022!

Napken Lake Chronicles: Border Unlocked - Last-Minute Miracles 2021

Napken Lake Chronicles: Border Unlocked - Last-Minute Miracles 2021 Napken Lake Chronicles: Border Unlocked - Last-Minute Miracles 2021

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