June 20, 2019

Adirondack Adventure (Summer Suckers!)

Alex and I had time for one final adventure before I was going to be shipped back up to Nunavut for another month of great work. We decided on heading south to the Adirondacks for some hiking and a chance at a pretty rare fish. The weekend started with an early morning and the 5 hour drive to the mountains. We found a couple geocaches on the way and visited one of the 12 abandoned missile silos in the area. We also went for a short 1 hour hike to the top of Rocky Mountain and took some quick pictures before heading down and driving out to a very special lake...

We had to make quite a trek to get to said lake, the hike in was only 0.75 miles but we had to do 20-25 miles of dirt road with my car to get to that point. The road was in great condition except for the last few kilometers where even I was surprised by my car's abilities.

Enough beating around the bush, the reason we were heading to this remote lake was for a rare species of Sucker, the Summer Sucker! They can only be found in a handful of lakes high in the Adirondacks and have adapted to their mountain habitat. Namely, they spawn much later than regular White Suckers, in early summer believe it or not lol. Apparently, they have diverged enough to become their own species, the only species of fish endemic to NY.

After finally arriving at the lake, Alex brought a quiet splashing noise to my attention in the nearby brook. The Suckers were spawning! At that point, I knew they it would be hard to get a solid bite but I knew that our odds had just shot way up. Until this point, no one we knew had been able to successfully catch this species, despite many attempts. I quickly set up a basic split shot and worm rig and got to work tempting the fish. Eventually, one slurped up the nub of worm and I set the hook before it could spit it out like so many others had. I had caught my Summer Sucker, possibly one of the rarest fish I've ever caught!

Bugs were out!

After I caught my fish, it was Alex's turn. I re-baited the hook and she worked on the fish. The bugs were pretty bad so she wore her bug net which prevented her from seeing quite as clearly as I could (I removed mine to get the fish). That being said, after a solid effort, she lifted out her Sucker as well :) I believe I caught a female and she has a smaller, but prettier, male.

I can't believe we were lucky enough to catch these guys spawning, it has to be a pretty rare event. We left for home early, both satisfied with our catches.

June 17, 2019

River Redhorse!

I don't normally write posts about individual catches, but this one was special and we caught many other species during one awesome session near home in QC. I was with my friend Leo and it was one of his first times multi-species fishing, having only caught common gamefish in the past. We pulled up to the spot and noticed the water was a bit high and quite fast, I had my doubts but we casted our lines anyway.

It didn't take long to get the first bite! Leo pulled up his lifer Mooneye. Not long after, he also caught both Silver and Shorthead Redhorse, and I caught two big White Suckers. Bites were coming fast and we were having a pretty stellar day.

After catching a whole bunch of mixed species one after another, I set the hook into something bigger... much bigger. As I fought it into shore, I tried figuring what species it could be, maybe a Carp or a Catfish? It certainly had a stronger fight than anything else we caught that day. Once I had it near shore, I saw it was a Redhorse! In fact, it was my lifer River Redhorse, and right near home too :)

Not long after, Leo succeeded in getting a second one. I couldn't believe our luck, I had fished this spot a few times before with no luck, but now we had two of them!

After a while, the bite slowed down so we moved to another spot where Leo would have a shot at a Longnose Gar. There were plenty in the river but he couldn't get any to stay on the hook so we had to be satisfied with a bit of microfishing. Leo caught another handful of new species and I caught this cool Rosyface Shiner. Not a lifer but I don't see them too often.

June 14, 2019

Gaspésie Road Trip

Our road trip out to the Gaspésie peninsula did not yield many new species, but the breathtaking views made up for the lack of fish and I still think it's worth writing about. This was a shorter trip, Alex is working full-time now so she took a long weekend and we had a total of 3 days to complete a good 28 hours of driving and touring.

It started with a stop in Matane where I hoped to find some Lumpfish before we set up camp for the night. The Lumpfish were nowhere to be found but I did see plenty of Sand Lances and even managed to scoop one up by hand! I later managed to get one on hook, adding the American Sand Lance to my list :)

After that bit of fishing we set up the car for the night and went for a quick walk on the beach before going to bed. We woke up to a gorgeous view over the St-Lawrence gulf, happy to have chosen another great free camping spot.

No fish of interest were caught on our first full day out on the peninsula, but we did get some great hiking done and I finally saw my first Moose! It had been a running gag that I had driven across Canada and still had never seen a Moose until now :p Other than the ungulate sighting, we saw a ton of waterfalls during our hiking and ended the day by visiting an aquarium. Unfortunately, that aquarium was the closest I'd come to seeing a Lumpfish.

The visit to the aquarium pretty well summed up the day (other than some failed fishing attempts we won't mention), so we made camp at yet another beautiful stop on the side of the ocean. Day 2 was really the day of beautiful sights, The eastern portion of the peninsula is truly a spectacular drive with many great natural wonders. Other than the many viewpoints along the way, some of our favourite stops included Forillon, the Emerald River, and the Rocher Percé. Here's some of the pictures we took along the way:

Even looks good through my cracked windshield!
The "tip" of Quebec
The Emerald River
The classic Rocher Percé
The final day of the trip mainly consisted of completing the drive back home, but we did make a stop to do some fishing in St-Anne-des-Monts. At the pier, I finally managed to land a decent sized fish! This cool-looking Shorthorn Sculpin: