We started out on what seemed to be a bright and sunny day, me practically soaking myself in sunscreen while Rob drove donning his new sunglasses. Of course, as luck would have it, by the time we reached our Island Lake destination the dark and grey clouds had rolled over us. Rob was thrilled because, as photographers know, the overcast days are those that produce the best light for photographs!
The area really wasn’t too busy (in all fairness, it was a Monday afternoon in July) but you could tell that Island Lake has a whole lot to offer its visitors. They have kayaks and canoes for rent at a cost of $15 per hour or $40 for the day. You can also rent electric motor boats that can hold up to 4 adults for $50 per half day or $80 for a full day. If you’re planning a family event and need to rent a pavilion, you can do so and even rent a bbq or picnic tent if you need one! As we were hiking along, we could tell that this was the location of many a party (there’s a volleyball net, enough said)!
There are a few trails to choose from if you’re looking for a good hike in the woods or alongside the lake. The Vicki Baron Trail follows the lakeshore, taking you past a wee little beach area, through forest and then into fields filled with flowers. Where there are this many flowers, there is bound to be bumble bees! I don’t believe that I have seen so many bees in one field since I was a little kid (let’s face it, when you’re a kid, you’re a little closer to the ground and perhaps a little more concerned with the fact that your hands and legs are in the bumble bees’ field of vision). We really enjoyed standing still and admiring the size and technique of the bees as they buzzed from one flower to the next, while listening to the harmony of at least three or four different singing birds. The birds were not into showing off for us and chose to swoop low into the tall grass or deep into the trees. Though, there were a few who seemed to taunt us (or follow us, to be less melodramatic), as we walked along the trail. As if birds and bees weren’t enough, there’s a variety of insects to check out along your hike. We were really lucky to spot a little white spider on the petal of a daisy that was in the process of devouring its prey.
Island Lake Spider eating fly
I first spotted this fly that I though was incredibly docile, and was allowing me to get really close for a shot. When I got really close however, I noticed the spider eating his head.
The rest of the trails in Island Lake Conservation Area take you through the upland forests. These trails also give you a glimpse of the conservation work that has been done in the region. Along the Memorial Forest Trail, you’ll find the Dods & McNair Memorial Forest which is full of memorial trees, donated in honour of friends and family members who have passed away. The Sugarbush Trail and the Link Trail are two other paths to choose.
We saw plenty of people fishing off shore and out on the lake. There are limits on the number of fish (depending on type) that you can catch and keep. They have an array of fishing equipment, bait and snacks on-hand at the rental shop, including rods and reels for rent. In the winter months, you can rent a heated ice hut and pay for the drilling of your very own ice fishing hole!
This place was a wee bit tricky to find—despite its lake being right on Hwy 10! Our directions took us WAY up North from our destination. Hurontario St changes into Hwy 10/ 24 BUT Hurontario St. starts up again just to the East of Hwy 10! So, if you so choose to check out Island Lake CA, be sure to follow Hurontario Street to Buena Vista Drive (the other side of Buena Vista Drive as it crosses Hwy 10 is called Broadway). Turn right on Buena Vista Dr. , pass by Lakeview Court on your left and then turn left at the next corner onto Hurontario Street . In essence, once you get to Buena Vista Drive , you have to snake over to the East to get back onto Hurontario Street . If you miss this important turn, then you’ll be heading way up into Ontario northland (like we did) in search of 673067 Hurontario Street along Hwy 10!
Special Packing Suggestions:
Macro lenses or micro tubes for close up pictures of bugs and flowers. An emergency poncho (in case the weather turns quickly like it did for us). Bug spray is a must-have!