June 08, 2021

Backwoods Trout Fishing - 2021

 No lifers here, this is a short report about some of the fishing I was able to complete in April and May of 2021. Covid has still put a damper with crazy travel restrictions, but I decided to make the best of it and use the opportunity to get back into exploring back lakes for Brook Trout.

A lot of people ask me for these spots, but finding them really couldn't be much simpler. All I do is look for higher altitude lakes that look deep enough to hold trout. Then I choose the ones that aren't accessible by road to ensure they haven't been fished out. Using this procedure, I figure I have about a 50% success ratio, but I certainly got lucky this spring!

I started my time off before fishing season opened, so Alex and I did some scouting and took a day trip down a local river, the Tomifobia. The water level was perfect, just high enough that we rarely had to portage. That being said, it was a bit muddy so we didn't see any fish. Here's Alex working to clear a logjam while I attempt to move the tree from shore.

By the next weekend, season had finally opened! We made our way to the Outaouais region to spend an overnighter on a lake I knew could hold a rare population of landlocked Arctic Char. The lake required a decent portage to get in, and we were met with some pretty unfavourable weather. High winds, rain, and even hail slowed our progress. We waited out the worst of the weather and kept on fishing. The bite was slow, we couldn't seem to find the fish regardless of the technique used. Finally, on our third loop of the lake, something attacked a small jerkbait I was casting around laydowns. It was a beautiful wild Brook Trout, making all the effort finally worth it!

The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. We didn't catch (or even see) any more fish, and spent some time on a short hike exploring the area. Nevertheless, we were plenty satisfied with the excursion.

Next, I headed out to the Townships to try and put my buddy Alexis on some new salmonid species. It would be a tough ask, but I knew he'd have a shot at Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Landlocked Salmon. We never saw the salmon, but he missed a Brown and caught his first Rainbow so it was a marginal success! I also took advantage of the day trip by finding a brand new patch of wild garlic and keeping some Fallfish for the freezer, which was actually pretty tasty :)

Another day trip took me back out to the Outaouais, this time with my good buddy Carl. As usual, the goal was to explore some more back lakes in hopes of finding wild Brook Trout. The first lake was a flop, but the second produced some of the nicest wild brookies I've personally ever caught! I caught a beauty male and female pair just by casting a spinner from shore. I also lost a third fish to some fallen timber that pulled just as hard as the other two!

We even cut the day short and stopped to pick some fiddleheads on the way home! I now had a full limit of garlic, and more fiddleheads than I could count, making for lots of tasty meals.

I still wasn't fed up yet though, so I planned one final day of back lake fishing with a friend from school. This time, it was a lake I had fished many times before and wanted to see if it still produced. I was dismayed to find new cabins on the lake and a few stashed boats, but we tried it anyway. The fishing wasn't as great as it used to be, but we caught 7 decent little brookies to round off the break :)

Oh yeah, and I picked some stinging nettle on the way home to add to my collection of wild forage in the fridge. It makes a pretty tasty omelette when prepared in an eastern European fashion with feta cheese.

On my last weekend off, I took a break from fishing and went for a mini road trip with Alex. We drove out to Charlevoix and took in the sights.

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