The ingenious birch bark canoe was the means of all travel just a few centuries ago here in the Great Lakes State. Native Americans used it in many ways. The giant war canoe for raids and to move entire villages south for the winter, or the small canoe for access to remote back waters. The engineering of the Birch Bark Canoe was simple and entirely made of natural material found in the forest and was quickly adopted by European fur traders to navigate this Great Lakes region.
The Birch Bark canoe was easy to repair, light, and it's draft was only inches even with 2 tons of pelts on board. The French entrepreneur DeLaSalle was first to build a large sailing ship above Niagara Falls in 1679. Le Griffon, as it was called, sailed into the upper Great Lakes. It sunk in a northwest September storm never making a round trip. The Griffon lasted 2 short months. It was back to the canoe for another 100 years.
The small canoe, as short as 10 feet or less, allowed a single person to reach wild rice and trout as well as beaver or otter found in small streams and inland lakes here in the north. A brave could build one in a few days.
In the waning days of summer, when the beaver dams are complete, the resident beaver begins to build his winter lodge. This flooding by his dam will make many of my good fishing spots to deep to wade. The answer is still...the canoe. These back waters of the beaver can flood out acres and a half mile of river. A hidden canoe in the under brush is the ticket to fishing these deep waters. After Labor Day when the river traffic quiets down, I will leave a canoe at a working beaver dam. The canoe covered with ferns and catkins remains hidden until I return to the flooding on a nice warm afternoon for a leisurely day of fly fishing. With the flow of the stream non existent in the beaver pond, it is easy to sit quietly, watch and listen for the trout to feed. A canoe allows me to stay absolutely undetected as fish, fowl and fury creatures come and go. A beaver kill is gorgeous in the fall with the forest ablaze with yellow aspen and red maples. It is hard to believe with seven billion people on the planet that I can be alone with the trout...all day. No complaints here.
Sweet Is The Lore That Nature Brings