Here’s a true story. I just got back from a week in Anticosti Island off the coast of Quebec. And in which fishy pursuit did I partake, you ask? None. No, this time I left the rods at home in favor of a rifle and trudged through scrub-pine and swamps in search of French-Canadian bucks. But just because I was without rod didn’t mean I wasn’t quick to ask about the island’s fisheries upon arrival. Turns out during the summer months the many rivers of Anticosti have loads salmon and sea-run trout in them. However, I was told during the fall and winter, the rivers were void of life.

But I am relentless, posing the question of what I might catch in said rivers every time I crossed one with a new guide or local I hadn’t asked yet. The answer was always the same. Nothing. As luck would have it, I was instructed to hike along one of the rivers to reach a tree stand on our second day, and me being me, I had to personally inspect each pool for signs of life. About a mile in it happened: a tiny flash of silver caught my eye. It was minnow (or perhaps salmon fry) no longer than 3 inches, but it didn’t matter. I won. I proved them wrong. I found a fish!

I watched the little swimmer for five minutes, briefly forgetting the task at hand, when I looked up and there not 25 yards away stood a 4-point buck on the edge of the woods. He was staring right at me. Before I could even touch my rifle sling, he snorted and I swear it sounded like “you moron.” His tail went up and into the thick cover he bolted.

I looked back at the minnow and quietly said “you moron” to myself. I never bothered to ask about or inspect the rivers for the rest of the week.