A Superior Fish TaleWhen this photo came back from a trip last summer, I didn't think too much of it, just another crazy staged shot. I assumed (and you know what they say about making assumptions...) that someone had stashed an inflatable dolphin in one of their hatches to take out when times were dull. This was from a trip out to Michipicoten Island (about 25 miles off shore, from Wawa, Ontario) in Lake Superior. Not a place where times are likely to get dull, but, this was a fun loving group and what harm could a little inflatable dolphin have on a trip?
Staged photos are common place on long trips, as time away from "civilization" passes the imagination seems to grow stronger. There have been pictures of people hanging from cliffs by a finger tip (they were really standing on a ledge), helicopters landing on beaches nestled in the rocks without an inch of space to spare (ooops, that really happened), people doing handstands in floating kayaks (we're still trying to master this without help), and more tom foolery than you can imagine. Sea Kayak trip guides can be pretty creative people! But catching a dolphin on Lake Superior, no one would believe that.
The story gets interesting.
The guy in the red jacket was indeed fishing on the Lake, hoping to reel in a nice whitefish or maybe a little Lake Trout to grill up for an afternoon snack. He was paddling along, letting his line trail a bit, suddenly, a bit of resistance, he reels in and VOILA, a real "live" Lake Superior dolphin on his hook. Now that's a fish tale if ever I've heard one! You see, most of Michipicoten Island is uninhabited (a few camps/cottages exist on the south side of the island in Quebec Harbour, not a place you'd likely find an inflatable dolphin though). Chances are this dolphin had swum his way up from Agawa Bay campground in Lake Superior Provincial Park (at a guess, more than 100 miles away) or one of the other cottage communities south of there.
Catch and release is a common conservation practice of fishers along this coastline and the dolphin was released after the photos were taken, no harm came to the fish in the picture. So next time you cast a line in Lake Superior, be sure to have to camera ready when you pull in your line.
Submitted by Melissa Murray of Naturally Superior Adventures, a sea kayaking outfitter located near Wawa, Ontario, on Lake Superior. Photo by Tarmo Poldmaa
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