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Looking for Ghosts in Woodland Caribou

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Looking for Ghosts in Woodland Caribou

Red Lake Outfitters

Introduce yourself to 2,000 kilometres of Canadian boreal wilderness, lakes, and rivers in the Woodland Caribou Provincial Park. Relax and enjoy the solitude and serene environment home to many animals like caribou, lake trout, and northern pike. Discover something new each time you visit.
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A rainbow deflected in the waters of Woodland caribou provincial Park

A Canoeing Fishing Trip Unlike Any Other

Visit the unique and protected boreal landscape of Woodland Caribou—a provincial park made for the angler who loves to canoe.

The bush plane took off and I saw below an ecological masterpiece, a rich tapestry of old-growth conifers, a scattering of birch and poplar, and elongated bands of exposed bedrock amid a labyrinth of lakes, rivers, and creeks. Also below, but still unseen, ran the elusive herds of ungulates the park is named for. I kept my eyes peeled. 

Angler’s Paradise

Our 12 days canoeing in Woodland Caribou took us across the park from the northwest to the southeast. Along the way we paddled past the best native pictographs I’ve ever witnessed, portaged through fantasia-like black spruce forests, slept under starlit skies, and cooked up fish fillets for almost every meal.

The landscape here is prairie-boreal – a much hotter and drier environment than most of the boreal forest stretched across the top of the province. It’s not at all like the neighboring Wabakimi or nearby Quetico. Even the fish population is different. The park has the typical walleye and pike lakes, but it also has plenty of lake trout water. In fact, each day of paddling brings you such a mixture of angling possibilities that it’s truly an angler’s paradise.

Grey Ghosts

Another bonus of the park is the possibility of spotting a caribou. Woodland caribou are unlike the more commonly known barren land caribou. Forget the image in the classic movie Never Cry Wolf where actor Charles Martin Smith runs naked through a massive herd of caribou across the irregular tundra. Woodland caribou are forest dwellers, living in small bands, scattered across a massive chunk of boreal forest ranging from the Yukon to Newfoundland. They’re nicknamed "grey ghosts" for good reason – it's more than a rarity to spot them. They’re extremely uncommon and listed as an endangered species – threatened with extinction.

One of the largest herds roams Ontario’s Woodland Caribou Provincial Park. You’d still be hard pressed to have one of the hairy beasts jostle past you, nostrils flaring, while you run naked through the woods, though. In this 1.2 million acres of wilderness, only a couple of hundred caribou wander the forest.

Kevin Callan with a plate load of Lake trout fillets in Northwestern Ontario’s Woodland caribou provincial Park.

With that said, it’s still one of the best places to search for one. Regrettably, I did not spot a "grey ghost," but was able to paddle and fish to my heart’s content within the  unique and protected boreal landscape of Woodland Caribou  a provincial park made for the angler who loves to canoe.

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