The great outdoors beckons. For many people, the call to adventure and discovery is irresistible. Sometimes, the more exciting the adventure, the better. Aaron Fischer, a clinical engineering specialist with Saint Elizabeth Healthcare in Northern Kentucky, knows that feeling.
Having made fishing trips to both Alaska and Canada, Fischer knows a thing or two about adventure. Although he most likes spending time with his two young daughters, there are those times that making a trek into the wilderness is in the cards.
“As early as I can remember I enjoyed the outdoors. I would go fishing with my father at a very early age. There are farm ponds and streams all over where I grew up that we would fish in,” Fischer says.
While those local waterways served their purpose, the family did not restrict their fishing to same-day jaunts. Trips to more distant fishing destinations have been, at least in part, a family tradition.
“My father and uncles have been going fishing in Canada every other year for the past 15 years. This past August I was able to join them,” Fischer says. “The Alaska trip was my uncle’s idea. He just retired and wanted to plan a trip. All my uncles and father went on the trip along with all but one cousin – 16 of us total.”
Heading north of the border proved to be an enjoyable experience once the fishing began.
“The trip to Canada was great; getting there wasn’t that fun. We flew from Cincinnati, Ohio to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Then we drove about eight hours to outside Winnipeg, Manitoba. We stayed in a cabin that night and flew out on a float plane the next morning. It was a two-hour flight on the float plane to a remote part of Manitoba,” Fischer says.
“We were one of two cabins on the entire lake that was about seven-miles long. The accommodations on the lake were better than expected. We had limited solar power and plumbing. The weather all week was perfect mid-70s and sunny most days. The fishing the first two days was a little slow, but once we found some spots, it picked up. We fished for Northern Pike and Walleye. My best catch of the trip was a 40-inch Northern Pike. My uncle managed to land a 46-inch Northern,” Fischer adds.
Fishing in the Last Frontier
If Canada wasn’t enough of an adventure, heading for the vast expanses of Alaska was. There aren’t many better examples of a “fishing story” after this kind of trip as Fischer learned.
“The Alaska trip was a once in a lifetime trip. Getting the entire family there on the same trip was unbelievable on its own,” Fischer says.
“We went at the end of September, which is about the end of the fishing season, so we had to prepare by packing plenty of warm and waterproof clothes. Luckily, we only needed it in the morning. We had some rain but it was quite a bit warmer than usual for that time of the year. We didn’t visit much in Alaska, we flew into Anchorage and spent a day there before heading to the outpost,” he says.
Fischer says that the next morning, the group flew about 150 miles southwest to Iliamna Lake and took boats down the Kvichak River to an outpost, which is called the Alaska Sportsman Lodge.
“This was not a roughing-it type trip,” he admits. “We had guides that went out with us each day, chefs prepared meals, generators for power, Wi-Fi, and beer on tap. Each day started with a hot breakfast, then we got ready and met at the dock around 7 a.m. where we split up in groups of four for the day,” Fischer adds.
“Each group went to a different location for the day; most consisted of flying out on float planes. We would fish until about 4 p.m. and fly back in time to take a shower and have a meal; followed by drinks around the fireplace. We fished the Kvichak river, which was loaded with large rainbow trout. I landed a 27-inch [trout],” he explains.
Fischer says that another very interesting locale they visited was Brooks Falls in the Katmai National Park.
“We had to get there by float plane,” he says. “As soon as we landed, there were three brown bear on the shore. The guides paid no attention to them and told us to jump out and they wouldn’t bother us. We were a little hesitant, but got out anyways, and sure enough they looked up but went on their way. They had a ranger station there where we had to go through bear school before going in the park. We fished and hiked up stream all day.”
He says that the group did encounter a couple dozen brown bear in the process, getting within 50 feet or so.
“Fishing here was difficult; the water moved quick and we didn’t have much skill yet,” Fischer says.
“Another location was what they called ‘the coast.’ It provided the best sights while flying. We flew over glaciers and mountains. This spot was the easiest fishing. It was a slow moving stream filled with silver salmon,” he adds. “It was grassland surrounded by ice-capped mountains.”
“The last spot we fished, they called ‘the narrows.’ It was an area where one lake fed into another via a narrow stream maybe a half-mile long. We caught mostly Arctic Char here, which had a neat orange coloring on them, and Dolly Varden [trout],” Fischer says.
Some of these fishing trips have introduced new techniques and methods of fishing to Fischer.
“Most of my fishing experience has been fishing in local farm ponds off the bank. When I went to Alaska it was my first experience with fly fishing which took some time to get used to, but I enjoyed learning the techniques. Even though I didn’t get very good at it,” he says. “I have also been deep sea fishing in Florida as a kid. The most memorable part of the trip was seeing the multiple sharks that were caught. They were smaller, maybe 3 feet, but it was a neat experience.”
Still a Biomed First
When not casting a line, Fischer can be found on the job at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. The health care system operates facilities throughout Northern Kentucky.
“I work in the clinical engineering department for St. Elizabeth Healthcare located in Northern Kentucky,” Fischer says. “We consist of six hospitals and dozens of offsite locations. My title is clinical engineering specialist. I primarily work on imaging equipment; my main focus being ultrasound, CT and general X-ray, but I have been starting to work on MRI as well. I have been in biomed since 2004 when I started my first co-op and [have] been with St. Elizabeth since 2009.”
Fischer also makes use of the mobile version of the MedWrench platform; in particular for finding solutions and offering help to others in the forums.
With a name like Fischer, there could be no other pastime for this adventurous biomed.
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