Original Broadcast Date: November 26, 2016
“This Fish’n Canada episode could very well be the greatest adventure I’ve ever been on,” says Angelo, introducing today’s episode. “It certainly has the potential to be the most gratifying experience of my career. On the other hand, it could be a total disaster.”
Ang is referring to this trip is with his grandson Nik. He’s the love of Ang’s life and a very cool thirteen-year-old kid. Although they spend a lot of time together, this is the first time Nik and Angelo have actually gone off on a wilderness fishing trip on their own without any form of adult supervision—no parents and no other kids, no support team to fall back on!
Like most kids Nik’s age, given the opportunity to spend a day outdoors fishing, he will jump all over it. But that’s just one day. This will be a week, and he’ll be disconnected the whole time.
Nik says, “I hope I meet my grandpa’s expectations. I don’t want to let him down. Nobody told me how I’m supposed to behave around him this week. Is he my good old granddad or is he that famous fishing TV guy? I guess I’ll have to figure that one out myself.”
“I still can’t believe I’m here doing this,” continues Nik. “When Grandpa first told me he was taking me on a fishing trip and they were going to shoot it for the Fish’n Canada show, I almost exploded with excitement! I was pumped!”
THE NORTHERN ROCKIES LODGE
The team was headed to Northern Rockies Lodge, British Columbia, situated at the far, northwestern corner of the province, very close to where it meets the borders of the Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
It didn’t really matter to Nik where they went. All he knew was they were going fishing really far away. “I just hope I catch a big fish and impress the heck out of my Grandpa.”
The front yard of Northern Rockies Lodge is the take-off point for hundreds of kilometres in all directions. Here, a float plane is not just the best, but the only means of transportation. With over twenty fly-in fishing destinations available, the fishing promises to be dynamite! The lodge has an RV park, a hotel, a general store, and a restaurant. In these parts, this is truly an oasis.
It sits on the Alaska Highway, a road designed to join Alaska to the continental United States, cut right through the heart of B.C.
THE ALASKA HIGHWAY
Plans for this road actually began in the late twenties, but it wasn’t until the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the threat of a Japanese invasion in 1941 that it became a reality. 10,000 men from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction in March of 1942 and completed this 2700 km (1700 mile) road seven months later. An amazing feat of wartime engineering!
To say that this road cuts a swath through the unending wilderness is a gross understatement; it is some of the most beautiful unending wilderness in North America. Bison, bear, moose, and deer are typically always within sight of the highway along its entire stretch.
ULTIMATE FISHING ADVENTURE
Muncho Lake, the backyard of Northern Rockies Lodge, is one of the most scenic lakes in the country, as it is surrounded by stunning vistas at every turn.
“This incredible scenery is taking my mind off the fact that I’m totally unplugged from the rest of the world and all of my electronic devices,” says Nik. “This is a first for me. How many kids my age get to fly in floatplanes, going out to different lakes to catch fish in some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world?”
With a setting so beautiful, and a situation wherein Angelo finally got some one-on-one fishing time with his grandson, this trip truly turned into the ultimate family fishing adventure.
“I’m not sure how Nik feels at this point in time,” says Ang. “But for me, I’m having Déjà vu overload right now. I’ve thought about this scene from the very first day Nik was born. Somehow, I always knew we’d end up here in a place just like this.”
As far as how the fishing turned out for the Viola boys? It was nothing short of spectacular.
Their first fly-in was to Maxhamish Lake. This was this lake, in fact, that prompted this entire episode: A couple of years ago, Ang, Pete, and Roy Armes from Cooper Tires were talking, and Roy mentioned Walleye in British Columbia. Our boys instantly gave Roy the twenty questions and found the story so interesting that they had to set it up.
So you’ve now guessed the intended species as well—B.C. Walleye. Yes, there are Walleye in B.C., and yes, they grow big. Ang and Nik caught fish after fish and, believe it or not, had a hard time catching small ones to keep for a shore lunch. Once Nik, under grandpa’s tutelage, picked up a feel for dragging a jig, he was setting the western Walleye world on fire!
Since the lodge is a fly in and out service, it was back to Muncho Lake for an exquisite dinner and a well-needed sleep, because the next day was big fish day!
The following morning had Nik pumped up with excitement. After all, he just laid a beating on the Walleye yesterday. This day would be Lake Trout day—yes, you read it right: Lake Trout in B.C.
THE BIGGEST FISH OF MY LIFE
This flight took them to Long Mountain Lake, where it is said giant Lakers lurk. We’re guessing what they say is true because Nik and Ang trolled up some gorgeous fish dragging EGB spoons.
Ang explained to Nik the uniqueness of the EGB in its small triangle swivel where the line attaches. “It’s a patent that still can’t be copied,” says Angelo.
The highlight of this already exceptional trip was Nik’s personal best fish ever: a gigantic Lake Trout pushing thirty pounds!
“That’s it! I did it!” says Nik. “I caught the biggest fish of my life and Grandpa is very impressed, I can tell. I love him so much for bringing me. It’s a trip I’ll never forget and I can’t wait for school so I can tell everyone what I did here this week. I hope as I get older and better at fishing, Grandpa will take me on more of these trips. For that matter, maybe I’ll become a regular on this show.” After a pause for consideration, he adds, “Hey, I can always hope, can’t I?”
“No doubt you’ve heard me say this before,” says Ang. “But I just need to remind you one more time. If you’re a parent, a grandparent or an adult figure in a child’s life, and you haven’t already experienced what you’ve been watching today, then for the child’s sake and yours, do it! It’ll affect both of you in ways that you could never imagine. I promise you, it’ll take the wrinkles out of your soul. Thanks for sharing this special episode with me and Nik.”
- Northern Rockies Lodge
- Liard Tours
- Destination British Columbia
- Northern BC Tourism
- The TRAIL of ’42 – History of the Alaska Highway by Stan Cohen – Pictorial Histories Productions & Sunrise Studios