I feel like the word “adventure” should be my middle name. I know that sounds super cheesy, but I’m always up for a good expedition to the land of exploring something new about your surroundings and ultimately, about yourself. Over the years, I’ve really honed in on mastering the outdoors adventures, into nature. I have a feeling that one day, I’m just not gonna come back to the city at all.
So that’s why when Keen Canada reached out to ask if we’d like to try their Newport Sandals on the water, I immediately booked myself and Daniel in for a full day of kayak fishing with BAER Fishing Adventures. I’m not sure if I even ran it by him first, I just decided that’s what we were gonna do. I love being out on the water, but these days, I’ve been getting back into fishing again. I used to do it a bit as a kid, and even tried it again a couple of years ago and successfully caught some salmon out in a river in British Columbia. So I figured, what better way to test out these amazing shoes than with my brand new fishing rod and some beautiful scenery? My friend went fly fishing recently and she told me about this fly rod comparison since she knew I wanted to buy a new fishing rod. I haven’t tried fly fishing yet but maybe in the future I will!
Now, I’m a huge fan of Keen shoes – I take them all over the world with me and don’t really trust any other shoes to get the adventure job done, quite as well as they do. I was excited though, as I had never tried the Newport Sandals before. But with their durable rubber toes offering extra protection and the fact that they’re fully waterproof, they’re perfect for in and out of the water. They also offer a secure fit with the bungee lace system, so you won’t lose your shoes and they’ll actually fit you property without any extra effort or anything else “tying” you down (yeah, I went there).
I also love the fact that, as with all Keen shoes, the sole has enhanced traction which is great for grip in the water, on wet or slippery surfaces. Celebrating their 15th anniversary this year, they’re bringing back some throwback colours and even ones made with hemp.
If you’ve never been kayak fishing before, I would highly suggest it. We headed off on our adventure for the day with our new shoes in tow (I feel like the puns could just keep rolling in here, but I won’t subject you to it) with an early start. Grand River was our destination, which twists and turns for 280 kms. Being the largest river in Ontario, it’s source is near Dundalk, ON and it flows out into Lake Erie, ON.
Floating down this river, you’ll see many species of plants and even animals like Whitetail Deer, Bald Eagles, Hawks, Racoons, Blue Herons, Canada Geese, Turtles and so much more. And then there’s the fish! If you enjoy spotting wildlife, you may be interested in trail cameras; whether you’re looking for the purpose of using it for hunting or simply observing wildlife in their natural habitat, you could take a look at this wireless game camera buyer’s guide.
One of the coolest parts about BAER Fishing Adventures is that they have guides who are super knowledgeable, but also can work with every level of experience. Whether you’ve been fishing before or never tried it, all you need is a base level understanding of kayaking and a love for getting out onto the water. Along the stretches of Grand River, you and your guides could catch species like Trout, Northern Pike, Walleye, Catfish and more! During Spring and Fall they tend to target Steelhead (Rainbow Trout) and in Summer, it’s generally Smallmouth Bass. Every cast you set has the potential to hook into one of the many Grand Rivers species.
Our guide, Barna suggested a catch and release technique on this particular river, due to it’s delicate ecosystem. I’m always excited to fish either way, as long as a high level of respect remains for nature, your surroundings and the potential food source you’re catching. Understanding the impact that you can have on your environment is paramount to maintaining this respect. And that’s what I love most about companies like Keen and BAER, alike.
We spent most of the day out on the water honing in on our technique, soaking in the beauty around us, and laughing. Barna and I spent a lot of time singing country songs to Daniel while he tried to paddle away in horror. Halfway through our adventure, we stopped for a light and healthy lunch on the bank of the river. That’s where we truly got to test out what our Newports could do, by jumping into the water and onto the land to dock our kayaks and set up our picnic. With the sun shining down on us, we sat and enjoyed some more laughs and explored some of the land around the river.
It was nearing the end of the day, and we hadn’t caught anything – but mostly due to the conditions of the water from a storm the night before. They were a bit too murky and cold. We passed many other people along the way who were shore fishing, and upon inquiring, we found out that they were also dealing with similar issues. But either way, we were pretty darn happy just enjoying the day. Daniel did manage to snag a bite on his line at one point, but it was short-lived. I like to believe that we caught a lot of memories though. Yep, cue the cheese.
All in all, it was one of the most incredible days I’ve had in a long time. My constant need to be out in nature is only amplified by the incredible people I have with me, and the gear that makes it possible. I’ve since taken my Newport Sandals up into Northern Ontario and into the water once again to fish in a canoe in a river near Lake Superior and portage along the way. I honestly can’t wait for my next adventure, with Keen Canada by my side (or on my feet… technically).
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Catherine Sugrue, CNP
*Please note that this is a sponsored post – our disclosure can be found at all times by clicking here.
Photos by Catherine Sugrue