Fishin’ in the dark

By: Kimberley Hartwig, Community Journalism Trainer

Lazy yellow moon comin’ up tonight
Shinin’ through the trees
Crickets are singin’ and lightning bugs
Are floatin’ on the breeze

You and me going fishing in the dark

I used to hear this song at a country bar back in Saskatoon and I would always think to myself, “Who the heck goes fishing in the dark?”

As it turns out, that’s a good time to go snare fishing.

What’s snare fishing you ask? Well, snare fishing is when you attach a wire loop to the end of a long stick and catch fish with the aforementioned tool. Yes, that’s right, people actually catch fish this way. Quite a few, as it turns out. Unless you’re me and you give up after 10 minutes of not seeing a single fish in the water and instead decide to go sit by the fire because you’re cold and your $5 rain boots from Superstore don’t really hold up. Because did I mention this happens at night? And that you’re supposed to hold a flashlight in one hand and your “fishing rod” in the other? Yeah, I’m going to need a bit more practice at that one.

Turns out fishin’ in the dark is a real thing. Who knew?

This was actually my second go at fishing in Nibinamik. The first time I went out was for an ice fishing derby. I had friends who used to go out ice fishing. I always thought they were crazy. “Why on earth would anyone willingly sit in the cold, fishing rod dangling over a tiny hole in the ice, waiting for a fish to bite?” I would think to myself when they told me their plans. It is very cold, just as I had expected (and once again my boots did not hold up), but it is, as it turns out, pretty fun. It’s also very exciting when you do finally feel a bite and get to reel in a fish. Then it becomes terrifying as this fish you caught starts flailing around on the ice and you have to figure out how to get this darn hook out of its mouth (the answer is to ask someone else to do it).

I caught this. Photo by Adrianna Oskineegish

The third time I went fishing it was just regular fishing. (According to Google this is called “angling”. Did you know there are like 20 ways to go fishing? Turns out there are!) I did actually try fishing with my dad when I was younger. It wasn’t real fishing though. It was catch and release fishing and it was in a little pond specifically stocked with fish for little kids to catch so they could feel special and accomplished. If you are a parent, I don’t recommend this type of fishing if you are trying to get your kids interested. I certainly wasn’t.

When going fishing, make sure to bring along children who know how to take the hook out of the fish and adults who know how to make fire and bannock.

This time, I went out with a family from Nibinamik down to a place called Sexy River (no, there’s not a good story) and went fishin’. I was determined to catch a fish and, after reeling in a few twigs and getting my line stuck a few more, I caught FIVE whole fish. Now, only one of those fish was good enough to eat but goddamn if it didn’t taste like victory. Now that I am obviously a master fisher, the next step will be for me to learn how to fillet the fish. Lucky me, I won a set of knives when I was out ice fishing. They’re camo patterned on the handle so I assume they’re for huntin’ and fishin’ and the like. And, as a happy surprise, I also won a fishing rod and tackle box from when I went snare fishing.

There’s no turning back now, the universe clearly thinks this is my destiny.

“Sexy River” got its name from English speakers not being able to pronounce the original name, Zageh siikaweh-siipiing, which means Many Fallen Trees River. See, I told you there wasn’t a good story.

You and me going fishing in the dark
Lying on our backs and counting the stars
Where the cool grass grows
Down by the river in the full moon light

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