A fresh perspective in Muskoka
After spending her first 12 years in Toronto, Shannon Lane was ecstatic when her family decided to move to Georgina, Ont., a small town on the southeastern shores of Lake Simcoe. Lane, who is now based in Washago, Ont., had always longed to live among lakes, forests, fish, frogs and turtles. She left home at 18, and spent time moving around Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County before finally making Lake Couchiching her more permanent home.
In her early 20s, she studied to be a police officer, but something just didn’t feel right, so this fall, she’ll shift into Conservation Law Enforcement. In the meantime, you can find Lane with her horse Callie, out for long canters on trails in the Horseshoe Valley, or atop her stand-up paddleboard listening to tunes with her line in the water in hopes of catching a few fish.
Here, she tells stories about why she is heading back to school, what makes Muskoka home, and she teaches us how to assemble the perfect gear for a paddle board fishing trip.
Q: Was it an easy transition for you from living in the city?
Absolutely! I have always been drawn to the outdoors, nature and all things wildlife. As a child, I basically begged my parents to move out of the city. Muskoka feels like home. It’s where I’m meant to be, and it brings me so much genuine happiness living here.
Q: Your goal is to potentially become a conservation officer. What about the field intrigues you?
Being outdoors and surrounded by nature daily, protecting and preserving Mother Nature’s wonders and the wildlife that calls it home. I graduated with a Diploma in Police Foundations in my early 20s, however, following school something was missing and I didn’t feel like policing was for me anymore. After some soul searching, I’ve finally discovered that Conservation Law Enforcement was what I should be doing. Protecting and educating others about preserving the very things I love the most was what I really needed to do. And with that I’m heading back to the books for Fish & Wildlife Technology this September. It's never too late to follow your passions.
Q: You mentioned fishing from a stand-up paddleboard, that must take a lot of balance and focus. What made you start doing that?
I’ve always had a love for fishing and just being on the water in general. My boyfriend Daryl bought me my very first kayak for Christmas. After I caught my first Northern Pike out of the ’yak I was hooked. Paddle boarding intrigued me because of the added exercise, viewpoint (psst I see ALL the fish) and convenience of a lighter vessel — perfect for solo adventures. Fishing just came along with it naturally.
Q: What things do you bring with you when you go fishing?
I always have my fishing gearbox, which essentially is a tacklebox that holds a milk crate and is rigged with rod holders. I carry various tackle, pliers, fishing gloves and a weigh scale. I bring a couple of my favourite rods, a rubber net and an anchor attached to a long rope for stabilizing while I fish.
I also bring a smaller cooler with snacks and drinks, my PFD and GoPro/Bluetooth speaker radio.
Q: How often do you get out?
As much as possible! Usually, it’s a few times every week.
Q: What do you love to share with friends and family when they are visiting you in Muskoka?
All my favourite outdoor spots. The tiny secluded islands on our lakes are my favourite. The views are breathtaking and the rock formations make the water a bright turquoise colour. I also love introducing them to the abundant wildlife that inhabit the area. All things that swim, squawk, croak and call. Muskoka is a true gem and full of amazing areas to explore.
Q: If you’re traveling, how do you describe Muskoka to people you meet?
A Northern paradise full of lakes and small islands surrounded by the Great Canadian Shield and tall pine filled forests. A friendly and peaceful spot where relaxation, adventure, good food, great views and the best memories are made.
Q: What are some of your best memories of living in Muskoka?
Every memory. Around here you cannot possibly pick just a few...and I’ve rambled on enough. Muskoka is pure happiness.
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