A fly-in fishing trip provides much more than fish catching, but a good mess/bunch/bucket/kettle of fish always adds to the enjoyment.
This past season we did an eastward sweep of Canadian provinces while getting to fly-in destinations. With autumn just three weeks away and the nearby fall fisheries about to ramp up, thoughts of distant fishing trips focus mainly on places to think about and plan to visit next warm-weather season.
An earlier column keyed on our first trip to Esnagi Lake at White River in western Ontario in June. That fish outing, on the American Plan no less, also provided the most views of moose seen on any fishing fly-in trip during decades of runs to Nakina, Cochrane, Gogama and points east. We saw six moose that week.
A mid-summer run to reliable Gogama proved productive for both walleye and northern pike on a small lake east of the main route (144) between Sudbury and Timmons.
Partner Rod Watson, basically a bass devotee, used crankbaits where most northern lights shine on lead-head jigs or casting spoons. The fish count was better than average, but the more impressive outcome was the increased sizes of both ‘eyes and pike that came to landing nets and filleting knives.
Granted, a Finesse jig and a Dardevle spoon still take their share of walleye and northerns, but an assortment of Rapala Fat Raps and similar crankbaits might be worth asking Santa to bring as presents for next year’s fly-in fishing trips.
Weather can be a factor on northern fishing trips. Canada’s northern-shield rock formations often get cooler or warmer than at home in Western New York. But wind is an even greater concern. Lakes and bays with narrow channels and fair wind protection should be considered when planning a trip. Dressing for the weather, bringing the right foods, bug repellants and fishing gear are all important; winds can make or break a trip planned for wide open waters fished in a smaller boat.
For that reason the Gouin Reservoir in northern Quebec made things relatively comfortable during a fly-in stint last week. Air Tamarac provides a fly-in service from Clova, Que., along the 60-mile reservoir. Our cabin (No. 46) on the reservoir faced hefty southwest and northwest winds for half of the trip. However, we always had a place to fish — and catch fish. The trip is a ride. Nearly 200 miles of the run north of Ottawa is done on “dirt” roads that are basic gravel but ripple ridden. All considered, at least one trip with Air Tamarac might be worth taking for the great views, super accommodations, and the fishing.
Friends have shared accounts of a fishing trip to Alaska and a South Africa hunt, two outings that will be included in a future column or two.