Wild Northerner Magazine Summer 2017 - Page 34

BY SCOTT HADDOW

Wild Northerner staff

It doesn’t take much to open a world of discovery when outdoors this summer with the family. It can start with something as simple as lifting a rock.

The shorelines of lakes, rivers, ponds and streams are some of the most nature rich areas to explore outdoors and ideal for kids to get dirty and have endless fun in.

I take my family on several camping/canoe trips each summer. Their favourite thing to do is explore shorelines and islands. It is always different and there is always something new to see.

My kids arm themselves with small dipping nets and use their minds to search the shorelines for neat and unique things.

They have been doing it with my wife since they were able to walk. They have gained valuable knowledge about nature from their exploring.

They have keen eyes for small creatures. By walking the shorelines, they have discovered many new friends such as frogs, crayfish, snakes, leeches, turtles, fish and insects. They love holding them and getting a closer look at what makes these small creatures a big marvel. Nothing gets a bigger reaction than when one of the kids lifts up a rock and a crayfish goes scattering about or a frog leaps into the water with a splash.

We have walked up streams and found pools with otters swimming around. That's the beautiful thing about exploring shorelines is that you never know what you will see next.

They also find all kinds of items from humans, from trash to fishing lures to coins. We pick up the garbage and try and leave the place better than how we found it.

Exploring shorelines is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to enjoy an outing outdoors with your family. Most people don’t have to travel far to find a water source to explore.

You don't need much in the way of gear either. Some small nets, water shoes and a backpack with snacks and water. This will turn anyone into an outdoors shoreline explorer.

I would advise against wearing sandals. When you're walking/hiking shorelines and stepping in and out of water, it is best to have your feet protected. Sandals are nice for relaxing in, but not good for exploring, especially if you step on a broken branch or sharp rock.

There is no right or wrong way to do this kind of outdoor activity. You just need an inquisitive mind. It’s great exercise for the body and mind. It’s a great way to connect with kids outdoors.

If you move around any rocks or logs, just remember to place them back as they are habitats and homes for creatures and we don’t want to disrupt their lives too much.

Don’t forget to pack a fishing rod or two. Shorelines are perfect sites to fish.

Casting from shore is as good as any other method for fishing and hooking into some fish and fun. Keep the rod tips high on the retrieve to minimize snags.

I’ve caught trout, bass, pike and walleye from shore. It’s a great way to get the whole family involved in a neat and exciting outdoors activity without much stress and effort.

Get out there this summer and explore the shorelines of some of your favourite lakes, rivers or streams.

It’s a world of discovery and fun waiting.

Searching shorelines reveals treasures of nature