Weight Vs. Need, Fishing, Leave No Trace

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This is the transcript from our podcast episode on Fishing and Leave No Trace.

Pamela: Hello, and good day, eh. Welcome to the Super Good Camping podcast. I’m Pamela.

Thomas: I’m Thomas.

Tim: And I’m Tim.

Pamela: And we’re from SuperGoodCamping.com. We’re here because we wanted to inspire other families to enjoy camping adventures such as we have with our kids. Today, we wanted to talk about a couple of things. We’re going to revisit weight versus need when you’re backcountry camping, and also talk a bit about fishing. And if we have time, we’ll get into Leave No Trace. So I’ll turn it over to Tim to talk a bit about weight versus need.

Weight Vs. Need When Backcountry Camping

picture of backcountry cooking with a bugaboo pot cooking over a pocket rocket burner
Backcountry cooking over a single burner

Tim: All right, I will refer to my notes because that’s how I work. I’m all about the post-its! Chuck asked, and we visited this on the last episode where we discussed weight versus need. Having rethought it a little bit, and in discussions with Pamela and Thomas, do you really need it? For sake of argument, Thomas, and I had a chat about covering our butts for firestarters. We take backcountry-wise anyhow, we take a click torch like a barbecue starter, we take waterproof safety matches, and he and I usually have Flint in a knife, do we need all three of those? Nope, we could probably get away with just the Flint knife. I like the waterproof matches because they’re way easier than gathering up little bits of dried-out moss and stuff. And I can light, a little heavier bit of stuff. They’re not heavy. And we can take two or three packs so that if one bag hits the water, we’ve got two other packs in other bags that are dry. So that’s one, maybe I’d leave the click torch behind, the barbecue lighter. But the rest of it’s fine. If you’re front-country camping, take a whole bunch of clothes, if it fits in your car, who cares? If you are backcountry camping, a particular piece of clothing to take would be pants, the ones you get from Costco or Mountain Equipment, but they zip off. So they can be pants, and they can be shorts. And since you’re in the backcountry, stinky is sort of the norm. So it’s no big deal that you only have one pair or possibly two pairs with you. And they do multipurpose so there’s that much less that you’re carrying. Also, knives, I guarantee I carry at least two for the backcountry. I take many more for the front country. I take a whole bin of cooking stuff. But backcountry, you’re looking at a fillet knife in the hopes that you’re doing some fishing, which we’ll get to in a minute. And then the other two options are a buck knife, like when you’re a kid in Scouts, or if you’ve got a multi-tool that has a knife in it, you can use that to whittle some wood down and get some shavings for starting your fire or make yourself a pokey stick thing to hold up the middle of your tarp because you couldn’t do a nice ridge line. Swiss Army knife, you know, again, it’s a multi-tool, it’s got a screwdriver for when something gets broken, you can fix it, it also has a knife in it. So do you need all of those? Nope, I will always take a filleting knife because I’m hopeful that I’m going to catch some nice bass or ideally, a nice brook trout. And usually, a multi-tool or Swiss Army as a backup just to have the other multiple things to pry open something or fix whatever. There’s the revisit on whether weight versus whether you actually need it. So I’m going to take a second here and turn this over to Thomas and let him take a run-through on the front country and then the very different version, backcountry fishing gear.

Thomas: Just a quick note on the weight versus need in terms of the multi-tool. Some multi-tools will have a set of pliers in them, which is very useful, including with fishing when you need to pull something out of a fish. So when I take a multi-tool, I tend to take one with pliers.

Tim: That and when we pack for the backcountry, in particular, we do have a communal thing for both of us. But we also do pack individually little bits that I have to lug mine and he has to lug his so I might take a Swiss Army knife and he might take a multi-tool.

Front Country Fishing Vs. Backcountry Fishing

Thomas: Fishing front country versus backcountry. Front country, you take everything. Take things that’ll catch this fish or that fish, your specialty lures, your fancy, whatever, whatever.

picture of the best fishing lures to take camping
Take all the fishing lures when you are car camping!

Pamela: Rubber worms. Yeah. Every fishing item that you have that you could possibly ever use.

Tim: I’m pretty sure there are four tackle boxes downstairs. Take bobbers, pliers

Thomas: Take all your gear with you when you are car camping. Yep, backcountry that’s a whole lot of weight to lug around. So we tend to take something a lot smaller. We will take something like maybe six different lures maybe, three or four bobbers which are often just in smaller pockets because they’re small and they’re light and they’re bright colored so you know where they are. We each take a rod generally, when we’re doing backcountry it’s collapsible.

picture of a man fishing in a lake while he is backcountry camping using an Abu Garcia fishing rod
Fishing in the backcountry versus when you are car camping

Tim: You can take a cheap one that you buy at Canadian Tire. We have decent rods Abu Garcia and a collapsible Shakespeare rod so that it packs up smaller. How do we rig them in the boat? We use very small bungee cords.

Thomas: Yes, very, very small bungee cords. We wrap one around the handle, and one around the upper end of the rod. They are wrapped on the cross bars of the canoe where the seat is attached so that it stays in the canoe. When we flip it upside down, we can generally just leave them in there, as well. When we’re portaging it they generally stay there.

Tim: That way they’re up and out of the way. We do the same thing with our paddles.

picture of a man beside a canoe while backcountry camping on a portage with paddles and fishing rods rigged inside the canoe with bungee cords
Rig your paddles and fishing pole inside the canoe with small bungee cords for easier portaging when you are backcountry camping

Thomas: Yes, it’s less stuff to carry, but it also makes it super easy to find them. When we go out fishing after we’ve already set up camp. We don’t actually have to look around for them. We always know where they are. They’re always already at the canoe.

Tim: Also, the Park Rangers know where they are. I want to point out there’s a great resource. It’s called Fish ON-Line. It’s an Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources web resource. You can figure out how to get your fishing license. You can see what stocking occurs as far as fish goes for what lakes, and what other species are naturally present. It’s a great resource. Thomas and I ran into a bit of an issue last year in Killarney where I had done a boatload of reading and somehow I missed the words “fish sanctuary”. I knew that because of the acid rain from Sudbury, the lakes were in bad shape. They were still coming back as far as fish goes. The lakes had been essentially killed. I knew that some of the fishing was off-limits in some lakes during certain periods. But I didn’t realize that there was no fishing at all in some of the lakes. Actually, it was the only time we’ve been in the backcountry that we’ve actually run into Rangers. They came one morning and there was a bit of a to-do about us fishing where we weren’t supposed to. Thankfully he was a good Ranger. They didn’t charge us. We hadn’t caught anything which was unintentional, but use that resource to check whether you can fish there or what things are in season and what aren’t. It will also help you if you’re backcountry camping to know what type of lures to take with you. Yeah, I think that covers fishing.

Leave No Trace Camping

If it’s okay, I would like to address a philosophy called “Leave No Trace”. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before. With the world that we live in these days, I see a stunning number and array of posts about people finding crap in the backcountry or finding themselves in situations that shouldn’t exist. Speaking specifically for Thomas and me, we went to a lake in Killarney last summer. It was two portages to get there. That was very long. It was a lot of work to get in there. It was the only site on the lake and we showed up at that site to find a frying pan on multiple steel grates, leftover propane canisters, plastic bags of food, and leftover bits from somebody doing a Jiffy Pop popcorn. It was quite sad. It’s a lot of work to get there and I get that you’re taking heavy things and you don’t want to lug them back out. So do some research. Realize that you’re going way in there and that that’s a bad thing to leave things behind. It’s supposed to look like you were never there. That’s part of the deal of being in nature. Part of enjoying that wonderfulness is that you leave no trace behind. You pack it in, you pack it back out. Pamela and I were talking earlier, well I was talking and Pamela was listening.

Pamela: I’m good at that, I have lots of practice. 😉

Tim: I love to talk in case you haven’t noticed. At Ontario Parks, for the backcountry, there are these yellow garbage bags that you can take when you sign in or at the access point. It’s bigger than a grocery bag. It’s a little heavier duty. Thomas and I pack out at least half of one of those and often a full one of stuff that we didn’t take into the backcountry. That’s crazy! That’s insane. And it’s worse now. I saw a post by Kevin Callan where somebody had packed in a case of cola and left it there. They left a bag of food and I think there were fuel cylinders as well. I’ve seen pictures where somebody’s like “oh well, that’s great they built a lean-to”. Yeah, not so great, they cut down trees to build that lean-to. Live trees, not dead brush. In the backcountry (not in the front country), by all means, collect that up and use it for your fire or build yourself a deck out of dead stuff. Don’t cut down live trees, man. I understand that people are new to backcountry camping or are getting in thinking “anybody can do this” because if you choose the right place, yeah, anybody can do it. But be respectful of nature. Be respectful of what you’re getting yourself into. Don’t operate outside of your abilities. Do your research. Treat nature well and respectfully and it’s gonna treat you well.

Pamela: Even front country camping, we always have to clean up our campsite. That includes collecting bottle caps, bread tags, and juice box straw wrappers everywhere. Which is wrong. We are all about loving nature and taking care of the environment and to see things like that is sad. That’s part of the joy of camping for us is that it engenders love and respect for our environment.

Pamela: That’s it for us for today. I’m Pamela

Thomas: I’m Thomas.

Tim: I’m still Tim

Pamela: We’re from SuperGoodCamping.com. We would love it if you would email us. Our email address is Hi@supergoodcamping.com. We’ll talk to you again soon. Bye.

Tim: See ya!

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