The Last Guide: A Story of Fish and Love by Ron Corbett is a nostalgic look at the history and lore of guided fishing in and around Algonquin Provincial Park in north-central Ontario, Canada, and more specifically about Frank Kuiack, the last guide.
Ron Corbett, a reporter following a lead on recent DNA testing of wolves in Algonquin Park indicating they were of the red wolf species instead of the previously assumed timber wolf, was referred to Frank Kuiack. Kuiack was as knowledgeable as anyone about the wolves in the park, Corbett was told, so he set up an interview.
When Corbett arrived at the sixty-something-year-old man’s house, he could tell immediately from the canoes in the yard and the fishing gear in the house that Kuiack had been a guide. Corbett asked him when he had retired and Kuiack surprised him by saying he wasn’t retired; he still guided.
At the end of the wolf interview, Corbett asked to go fishing with the older man. Kuiack said he was booked solid until the end of the season, and he would take him then.
It wasn’t until near the end of this multi-day fishing trip that Corbett learned his would be the last long guided trip. During the course of the trip, Kuiack’s story unfolds and we see why the spry sexagenarian was planning to only take short day trips for fishing from then on. Interspersed with Kuiack’s personal history are the biographies of the famous guides who went before him.
This is an enjoyable read for anyone who likes reading nature stories or biographies of down-on-your-luck but resilient people. Four Stars!