Posts about trips we have made

Lac Bohier Postscript

Its been over a month since our trip to Lac Bohier – clearly I’m late in posting results from the trip.  This is a longer post.  If its too long – scroll through and enjoy the pictures.


It started with an email. Were any fly fishing club members interested in an opportunity to fish a remote part of Quebec for ouananiche (salmo salar ouananiche) or landlocked salmon and speckled trout? The lakes hadn’t been fished for over a decade and the new lodge owners were offering a special price to have people come in and help scout the area.

Ouananiche are the same species as Atlantic salmon but are not anadromous, make their residence entirely in lakes. They are smaller in size but rumor has it that the lakes we were going to fish contain fish up to 8 pounds. And, the record landlock salmon was caught in 1907 in Maine and weighed just over 22 pounds (10.23kg).

Brook trout (Salvalinus fontinalus) are also native to the area. The hope was that we would find some large speckles to with the ouananiche.

So, with high hopes four of us made the journey to the end of the road and a waiting de Havilland Beaver.

North Shore Area

In order to get to our launching off point, we decided to drive along the north shore of the St. Lawrence as far as Natashquan, situated in Quebec’s Cote Nord region. We made mental notes as we crossed numerous salmon rivers including the well-known Moisie. Information filed for a future trip perhaps.

Saguenay Ferry

One overnight and fifteen hours driving and we rolled into Natashquan a little stiff but anxious to load the plane for Lac Bohier.

Waiting Beaver

In short order the Air Saguenay DeHavilland Beaver was loaded and we were on our way, enjoying the view on a cloud free day.


About forty five minutes later the pilot indicated we were approaching Lac Bohier and moments later we saw the camp come into view before he brought the float plane down and taxi to shore where we were greeted by Francois who was to be our host for the next five days.

Preparing to Land

Unloading Gear

About the Camp and Lakes

Our base was Lac Bohier where the five building camp is situated but our fishing water included two additional lakes – Lac Parent and Lac Grossin and the two rivers connecting them to Lac Bohier.



We had access to two boats and two 20 foot canoes equipped with four stroke motors. Lac Parent also had a smaller boat that we could access via a short trail. As it turned out one of the 20 foot canoes was transported by helicopter to Lac Grossin a couple days later, giving us boat access to that lake as well.

Camp Canoe

So gear stowed and equipment prepped, it appeared we were ready to fish.

The Fishing

After a light lunch we were in the boats and on the lake in search of fish. We fished through the remainder of the afternoon, managing to locate a few brook trout but it wasn’t until close to quitting time that we had our first encounter with ouananiche. By this time our two boats had congregated near the mouth of the river leading to Lac Parent (Riviere Bohier, I believe). Roger yelled out that he had a hit. Out of the corner of my eye I say a fish jump and apparently slip the hook because he was gone. And this was not a brook trout. It was our first ouananiche and a decent sized one. Roger was annoyed and the rest of us were charged up for the next one. But it didn’t come quickly. George and I had turned our canoe towards camp and were trolling the edge of a drop off when I had a solid hit on a black nosed dace. The hook set and after a good fight, I managed to bring a nice sized ouananiche to the boat were George netted it. Estimates were about four pounds. Moments later George hooked into a smaller one – probably about three pounds, and that was it for the evening.


We woke to another great morning – clear and calm and were on the water by eight, taking two canoes to Lac Parent. Francois joined us for the morning. The plan was to leave the two canoes at the trailhead and hike into Lac Parent. Roger and Wade would start the morning exploring Lac Parent using the twelve foot boat at the lake while George and I would fish Riviere Bohier at Theo’s Pool and the mouth to Lac Parent.

The 15-minute hike in to Lac Parent is along a well-marked trail. George and I dropped down to the river at about the halfway point with Theo’s pool visible from the trail. George offered me the head of the pool while he would fish the middle and tail.

My fly of choice was an orange stimulator that seemed to be in agreement with the fish. If it wasn’t my first cast it was pretty close that the first brook trout hit my fly. And they continued fairly regularly after that. Most were not large but a few hit the 10-inch mark and I did manage to land one ouananiche as well. A couple times as a fish struck the fly I noticed the flash of a larger fish, which was a good motivator.

While I was kept busy with fish, George caught nothing so he moved down to where the river enters Lac Parent fairly quickly. After the action slowed for me, I followed to find him casting into a large pool below the riffles. Francois indicated he had hooked into several ouananiche earlier on. While George was busy at the river mouth, I decided to wade along the shore of Lac Parent. The bottom was sandy which made for easy wading until one approached the drop off where silt and decaying vegetation made it very slippery. Although I hooked into (and lost) one fish, I didn’t have much to show for my efforts so worked my way back to George and moved in to fish the far side of the pool while he fished closer to where Francois was preparing a fire for shore lunch.


Shore Lunch Preparations

We caught fish at a fairly steady pace, both brook trout and ouananiche. They weren’t large although some of the ouananiche probably approached a pound in weight.

George at Lac Parent

A rain shower started just before lunch and of course, I had left my wading jacket back at the cabin. Despite getting soaked the air temperature was pretty warm so it wasn’t too unpleasant. Shore lunch of fresh brook trout and smaller ouananiche was excellent.

After lunch we continued to fish the mouth of the river for a bit before heading back to Lac Bohier where we fished our way back to camp. While we caught a steady number of brook trout, large ouananiche continued to elude us. But regardless of the lack of big fish, dinner and the conversation that followed was terrific.

Friday morning George and I headed to the river connecting Lac Grossin and Lac Bohier (Riviere Grossin). The plan was to fish the upper pool in search of brook trout – hopefully large ones. We found the trailhead and started off towards Lac Grossin. Along the way we passed a trail mark that had double tape, which in hindsight was what Francois had mentioned for us to look for as the point to head down to the upper pool. But we continued on towards Lac Grossin for a while before we realized our oversight. Rather than turn around, we hiked up to Pierre’s Pool and worked our way down to water that looked very fishy. But alas, no fish were to be found. George even worked his way downstream to the entrance to Lac Grossin but with no success.

So after some effort, we decided to head back downstream to the unnamed pool. Once we got down to the river, we decided this pool looked much better. It was quite a bit longer and looked like it offered more fish potential than Pierre’s Pool. Sizing it up we decided that the far shore offered a better spot to cast. The water levels were low enough that we could work our way across.

As it turned out even on the far shore it took some work to find a suitable spot to cast with large submerged boulders making it challenging to get into the water and close enough to cast. George went first while I watched. He quickly had a hit near the surface but missed. A few more of these episodes and then he finally hooked into a fish. It was a brook trout but not a four-pounder we were after.

Having seen the action, I moved to a section of the pool further downstream. I tied on a stimulator and began casting to a small crease in the middle of the pool where I immediately had a swirl but no fish. I lengthened my line and cast closer to the far shore, yielding more action. Almost as soon as my dry fly hit the water there would be a swirl. Eventually the attacking fish managed to connect with the fly and the skirmish was on. While the fish were small, they were energetic. Several cooperated before I moved to the middle part of the pool that George had abandoned. I managed to raise a couple more small trout on a dry fly and then switched to a wooly bugger hopeful that I might attract some larger fish. I continued to attract fish but none of a significant size. But it was fun anyway.

We packed it in shortly after noon and headed back down the trail to our boat and back to camp for lunch and a short nap.

The late afternoon saw us trolling Lac Bohier once again with the same result, several small brook trout particularly near the outflow to Lac Parent. But no large fish.

End of the Day

Saturday. The second last full day of fishing. Time was flying by. George and I fished Riviere Bohier, Lac Parent and the river draining Lac Parent today. There was not much doing on Parent for me although George caught quite a few at the mouth of the river. We trolled to the end of the lake and discovered a trail along the right side of the river that lead to eight pools and Lac Sylvester (?) to the south. We bushwhacked for about 15 minutes along the trail eventually coming to a pool where we took a few casts. Because the trail was difficult to follow we decided to head back to Lac Parent. From there we worked our way back up to Riviere Bohier where we fished at the mouth for a bit before heading up to Theo’s pool. Despite it being mid day with bright sun, the fish were active. George was catching a brook trout per cast – almost at the head of the pool. Eventually I moved up to join him fishing a stimulator pattern. The fish were cooperative but I was caught completely off guard when a large ouananiche launched straight in the air with my fly in its mouth. Another jump and it was off. Despite our efforts we were not able to raise him again but since the fishing had been so good we decided to return towards evening to see what would happen.

We returned to camp for a late lunch and nap before heading out again, hopefully for another crack at Mr. Landlocked Salmon. Trolling along the way produced the request number of smaller brook trout. But Theo’s pool was a different story – even the smaller brook trout seemed to have gone to sleep. Go figure, they were biting like crazy in the high sun and now at dusk, nothing. So, after an hour or so we admitted defeat and headed back to camp for a fine beef wellington dinner.


While George and I fiddled around on Lac Parent yesterday, Roger and Wade headed up to Lac Grossin to do some exploring. One of the canoes had been relocated there the previous day and they took a depth finder with them and managed to check out most of the lake. Today if was our turn to check out Lac Grossin. After the short boat ride to the trail and hike in George and I were on the water by 9:30. We launched the canoe at the lower end of Lac Grossin and headed to the top of the lake to the pool Wade and Roger identified from the day before. One really had to be careful to watch for sand bars and rocks but we made it without incident – other than having a seagull drop a poop bomb on my hat.

Fishing in the morning was slow as we criss-crossed the pool. We had numerous hits but many got off before we could set the hook. Most of the fish caught were brook trout. In general, they were larger than the ones in Lac Bohier but still not more than a pound.

Around noon we headed back down the lake, stopping at another fishing camp to eat our back lunch and for a bit of a tour.

Lac Grossin Camp

A short break for lunch and we were back on the water heading to the lower pool. We arrived about the time the wind decided to pick up. It was blowing from the upper end of the lake down towards us. As a result we trolled with and into the wind as opposed to across the lake. Both of us began getting hits, particularly at the lower end of the pool and closer to the north shore. And here, the hits came from both brook trout and ouananiche. At one point I had a hooked into a large one but quickly lost it. This followed shortly by a second one that stayed hooked even after a dramatic jump. He continued to bulldog deep in the water as I worked him to the canoe. George retrieved his line and we began to think about how to land the fish, as we had no net. At George’s suggestion, I tailed the fish alongside the canoe. Despite my reservations due to my poor tailing technique it worked and we were able to boat a very nice ouananiche. A few quick photos and he was back in the water where he quickly disappeared. By George’s estimation he was around six pounds in weight.


The fly of choice was a cream coloured Hamill’s Killer with a gold bead – probably a size 8 or 10 in length. We were using full sink lines but I think the fish was caught fairly close to the surface near the pool edge drop off.

Steady fishing continued. George lost a good fish (probably a ouananiche) as did I when we managed to get our lines tangled. We did catch several smaller land locked salmon along with the requisite number of enthusiastic brook trout. I realized at the end of the day that I had failed to take an photos of the trout – probably because they were so plentiful. This was too bad as many of them had very striking coloration with bright spots and deeply coloured backs.

We decided to pack it in shortly after 4 and work our way to the landing spot where we managed to land and secure the canoe despite a strong wind pushing us towards the rocks. A 25-minute walk and we were back at Lac Bohier, to find our secured boat. We trolled our way back to camp, landing a few more small brook trout along the way.

As it turned out that was the end of our fishing as our outbound float plane arrived mid Monday morning which turned out to be another perfect day. The flight back to Natashquan provided some more great views before we loaded the Xterra for the drive back home. While we caught lots of fish we were less successful in locating the larger ones. They were there but we figured that with the midsummer weather they had moved to deeper water. All in all it was a great trip. We went into it with lots of uncertainties but we had a lot of fun, good fishing and Francois’ hospitality was superb. It was enough to wet the appetite for an encore performance.


Manitoba Parkland – Part 2

Its amazing how quickly a great fishing trip gets left behind.  Two weeks have gone by since we got back from Manitoba.  I had planned to get some photos posted but somehow work got in the way.

Rather than a lot of text, I’ll comment on a few photos. I have also compiled a slide show that includes a number of additional photos of fish for those who only really care about the fish.

As mentioned the first four days of our trip were spent with Phil Rowley who has been organizing twice yearly Prowling the Parkland trips.  This was our second trip with Phil and his team.  Without a doubt they are well worth the cost in terms of learning, access to lakes and general good fun.  Here is a photo of Phil giving us some early morning tips from the dock in front of the lodge.

The fishing was very good in the sense that everyone had shots at decent sized fish.  They weren’t jumping into the boat but with hard work and smart tactics (thanks again Phil) they could be had.  At different times pretty much everyone was on to good fish.  Here is Wade playing a nice trout.

The Parkland region offers lots of fishing options.  In addition to FLIPPR lakes there are other lakes within Duck Mountain Park and elsewhere that offer fishing opportunities that we just didn’t have time for.  One could spend a lot longer than the eight days we had and not get bored.

Most of our fishing was either with chironomids or streamers.  For us Ontario guys this was probably our first serious attempt at chironomid fishing.  The techniques Phil showed us actually worked!  And it was also our first attempt at fishing anchored from float tubes.  That seemed to work pretty well too although we came away with some ideas on anchor system design modifications.

And did I mention the fish?  We caught quite a few and quite a few large ones.

Our last morning was spent at Patterson Lake.  When we got there the air was still and the water flat calm except for trout rising to the surface.  The morning turned into a caddis fest – at least for the fish.  We weren’t as successful coaxing  them to our flies although we did manage to convince a respectable number of fish to take whatever we were offering – as caddis emergers?  Who knows. George and Roger did have some success with a few bigger fish.  We were all set for a shot of this 10+ pound rainbow when it slipped away from Roger.

After that George also lost a big brown after it took him into the brush along shore.  But maybe that was a good way to end the trip.  We know where he lives so next time ……


Fishing the Manitoba Parkland

Our spring trip to the Manitoba Parkland region has come to an end.  What a trip it was.  Eight days of fishing for trophy trout.  Over that time we fished six different lakes:


  • Patterson Lake
  • Tokaryk Lake
  • Pybus Lake
  • Twin Lakes
  • Persse Lake
  • Gull Lake


The first five are associated with the FLIPPR program (Fish and Lake Improvement Program for the Parkland Region). FLIPPR focuses on the development and maintenance of a trophy trout fishery in the Manitoba Parkland region.

In its 12th year the program has many successes to point to and the region is slowly being discovered as a top North America still water fishery.  Gull Lake is a brook and rainbow trout lake in Duck Mountain Provincial Park.


The first four days as part of Fly Craft Angling’s Prowling the Parklands Stillwater Seminar.  Phil Rowley offers a great seminar that is a combination of teaching and fishing.










The teaching component focused on chironomid techniques and the fishing gave everyone lots of opportunity to practice. The accommodations at Arrow Lake Outfitters and Ranch work well for the way the seminar is set up.  This was our group’s second time around.  Phil along with cohosts Bob and Karen Vanderwater provide a great experience that is highly recommended for both first time and fishers returning to the Parkland.

For the last half of our trip we moved up to Roblin, closer to the western FLIPPR lakes – Twin Lakes and its healthy population of tiger trout and Persse Lake as well as lakes in Duck Mountain Provincial Park.  We based ourselves at the Harvest Moon Inn.  The Harvest Moon worked out great and Roblin itself offers a variety restaurants and services for fisherman.

The fishing over the course of the eight days was great.  Each of the lakes offered their own challenges and rewards although the rewards for a couple of them were harder to discover.  I’ll post again with more details about the fishing itself.  Here is a shot of a Tokaryk Rainbow.


Getting Ready!

In less than two weeks four of us are heading to the Manitoba Parklands for a week in search of behemoth trout.  The lure of large rainbow, brown and tiger trout is one that brings some people to the region year after year.  We made our first trip to the area last September with results that tempted us to make a return trip.

Here is a link to a blog post by Dave Jensen from a recent trip to the Parkland area.  As if we didn’t need more encouragement.

A Week Late and …..

Work has taken me to Iqaluit, Nunavut in the Canadian Arctic.  I took a short walk this afternoon to Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park just outside town.  Here is the river by the same name.  Apparently it is a great place to fish for Arctic char.  But I am a little late.  Winter comes early and quickly.  Last week most of this ice was not here.  Maybe next time…

Winter Reading – A Growing Choice of Fly Fishing E-Zines

The sad reality in this neck of the woods is that local fly fishing is severely compromised at this time of year.   In some cases the season for legal fishing has closed or is close to being so. Even where it remains open, cold and ice are a major deterrent.  While steelhead are a possibility treks to the closest rivers are not insignificant so don’t happen as often as they might.

The net result is that we have moved into a season where dreaming/planning and fly tying have become the most significant  aspects of my fly fishing activity.

Blogs provide a great source of vicarious fishing sustenance but the other growing digital media that interests me is electronic magazines. Depending on your perspective you might not share my enthusiasm but from where I sit, they are definitely welcome – particularly during the hard water season.

I thought I would list some of the fishing e-zines that I have come across. The list seems to be growing every day so I am sure there are some great ones that I haven’t come across.

Catch Magazine – Because I like both fly fishing and photography, this is a favorite e-zine of mine.  Superior quality pictures and embedded video are the focus.

This Is Fly – One of the pioneers in the fly fishing e-zine world, this one probably caters first to a younger crowd but don’t hesitate to check it out even if you don’t think you fit that category.

Ten and Two – The Angler’s Journey – This magazine focuses on both fishing and the local culture.  The issue on fishing in Argentina had me hooked.

Streamside Canada – Local bias here but if you are looking for stories about Canadian fly fishing destinations, check this one out.

Rise Forms – A new arrival, this online magazine focuses on the literature surrounding fly fishing.  Poetry, fiction, artwork its all there.

Flyfishers Inc. – This one focuses primarily but not exclusively on New Zealand fly fishing – not a bad focus at all in my opinion!

Contemporary Sportsman – This one covers fly fishing as well as hunting sports.  The publisher is launching a new e-zine soon.  Called Backcast, it will focus on salt water fly fishing.

Several print magazines are introducing digital versions of their magazines to better serve their subscribers.  Among these are the following:

Fly Tyer Magazine – You can now subscribe to a digital version of this must have magazine for fly tyers.

Northwest Fly Fishing, Southeast Fly Fishing and Eastern Fly Fishing – This family of fly fishing magazines provides digital copies of back issues of the news stand magazines.

The Flyfish Journal – This is a relatively new print magazine.  The first two issues have had some great articles.  If your preference is digital, you can subscribe and have access to an electronic version.

I am pretty sure I have just scratched the surface of what is currently out there as far as digital fly fishing magazines are concerned.  And, no doubt more will emerge.

This collection will keep me going for a while but if you have others that you enjoy, share them.

Currents of Belize

I came across this video about fishing life in Belize.  I’ve never been but perhaps one day.  In the meantime, the story of this video gives a great insight into the people of Belize and their lives around the fish that attract so many to their country. The pressures of development are changing the people’s way of life – some for the good but not all. Hopefully a sustainable future will be found for the people who call Belize home.

Currents of Belize from McJ Digital on Vimeo.

Ausable River, West Branch

Last weekend we took a short trip to Lake Placid, NY. Coming from a fishing perspective, one of the best known features of the area is the Ausable River. Since this was not specifically a fishing trip, time on the water was limited. I did manage one early morning brown trout on the second day. The water was pretty high but falling. This week conditions should be great – typical.

West Branch Ausable River


Pennsylvania Road Trip

Last week we took a few days and headed down to Pennsylvania.  We had a couple objectives in mind – to experience steelhead fishing on the Lake Erie tributaries and second, to revisit Lancaster County with its prevalent Amish traditions.

The steelhead idea was more mine but my wife humored me.   This was all new to me and since this wasn’t specifically a fishing trip, I really wanted to see things for myself and maybe experience what it was like to catch a steelhead.

Thursday morning after breakfast we headed out from Erie to explore the creeks to the west of the city.  First stop was Walnut Creek – specifically the lower portion near the lake.  Since it was still early in the season, the water was relatively low and the fish had not advanced far upstream, the fishing was concentrated in this area.  Nothing like I had experienced before but somehow people seemed to make it work.

The few holes were well fished and after watching a few steelhead landed and more than a few lost, we continued on towards Elk Creek.

It was a little calmer in this area but that might have been related to the fact that the fishing, according to some was slower on the Elk.  After making not that this might be a spot where I could elbow in, we headed off to another spot on the Elk further upstream.

This was further upstream where the fishing didn’t seem to be as heavy but as we watched several fish were caught so evidently at least some steelhead had made it this far upstream.  I made another mental note to consider this spot for myself and did return here later in the afternoon.  I was able to work myself into a spot on the pool in the last photograph alongside a guy with spinning gear who evidently new how to fish.  I watched him land three nice steelhead in fairly rapid succession.  I chose to work a streamer through the area as the local fly shop owner had indicated they were working and this was a technique I could relate to.   Probably it was luck rather than my streamer experience but eventually I did hook into a steelhead and eventually land and release him.  It was probably in the 24 inch range but what a spectular looking fish and powerful.  Although I tried, there was no repeat and as the late afternoon wore on, I was becoming acutely aware that the layers of clothing I had applied were not sufficient to hold out the cold so I packed it in with the goal of returning the following morning.

Friday morning I was up before sunrise hoping to experience the pull of another steelhead before we headed southeast to Lancaster.  I arrived at the parking spot in the dark to find at least half a dozen vehicles ahead of me and most of their occupants were gone – presumably ahead of me to the river.  Oh well – I prepared as rapidly as I could and aside from tying a fly onto my line in the receding darkness, things went pretty smoothly.  I found a spot on the water amidst several other fisherman and although I saw one hook up shortly after sunrise, things were definately slower than the day before.  Slow for me meant no hits and no fish.  The morning fishing ended early.

Friday morning we headed down to Lancaster County for a few days.  Although I managed a couple hours fishing on the Tulpehocken River Saturday morning, the rest of the trip was touring and shopping.  The Tuplehocken is an interesting river.  It was late in the season but I found trout rising to Tricos but didn’t have any success in enticing them to bite.

Lancaster County is home to a large Amish population whose lifestyle is clearly evident as you tour the rural countryside. Sunday morning we toured the backgrounds looking for covered bridges and of course numbers horse and buggies.

Pine Grove covered bridge is the only double-span, double-arch bridge in the county.  It was first built in 1816 and then rebuilt in 1846 and 1884 after flood damage.

All together a great road trip.

More Newfoundland

I got around to processing a few more images of Newfoundland.

Cull Harbour was an interesting spot.  You got to it by a narrow bridge.

We spent an afternoon on a whale watching tour from Bay Bulls.  The whales didn’t disappoint.  We probably saw a dozen different whales in total.  They were in the Bay feeding on caplin and didn’t seem to put out by the boat.

Besides whales, we saw a lot of birds including these puffins.  The lack of a longer telephoto lens is evident.