How pike and patriotism made for the best Canada Day ever

By 6:30 A.M. on July 1, 2020, I already knew it was going to be a good day. I was standing in the sun on the deck of a cozy log cabin, a mug of coffee in my hand, looking out over Esnagami Lake in northern Ontario’s Algoma region. I’d soon be gliding across the pristine waters, chasing walleye and northern pike with my fly rod—all while a global pandemic gripped the real world far to the south.

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But even with all that, I could never have guessed it would soon—very soon, in fact—become a once-in-a-lifetime day. There would be big fish, great food, fellowship and outdoor adventure, with one unlikely moment piling on top of the next, building to a remarkable and unforgettable conclusion. It would be, quite simply, the best Canada Day ever…