The annual spring trip to Kenauk has come and gone. While the usual crowd of ner do wells headed out for 3-4 days, I was only able to get away for one night which meant a one full day of fishing (Thursday) and a few hours the following morning.
For those who don’t know Kenauk is a fish and game preserve managed by the Fairmont chain of hotels as part of its Montebello Resort. It is located close to the Ottawa River about and hour and a half from Ottawa itself. Kenauk maintains several individual chalets on lakes that it manages – most with rainbow and brook trout.
Given the compressed timeframe, I made sure to get an early start Thursday morning, made it through the check in process at the main gate and up to Muskrat Chalet by 8:30. After unloading food, clothing, etc. and some brief greetings and inquisition as to the past days fishing it was off to Collins Lake hopeful for some cooperative brook trout. Fishing had been good – which is what I wanted to hear!
The weather forecast had changed considerable through the week and by Thursday the sky was overcast, there was a steady, cool wind and the air temperature was probably in the 5-9C range. The surface water temperature was around 13C (56F) which bode well for active fish.
I quickly assembled my gear by the road, shouldered my float tube and made the short walk to the launch point. Launching quickly, I headed to the rocky shore where I have had past success. Fish being what they are, they weren’t there or weren’t interested in feeding. It took a while to get going but after about an hour I got my first not so agressive hit and then my first hook up. The timing of the first fishing activity was consistent with others experience from previous days when the fish seemed to turn to feeding around mid morning.
By the time of my first fish I had kicked my way to the far end of the lake to a shoal area that reportedly had been a good producer earlier. As it turned most of our success on this day also came on the shoal or along the drop off.
While the weather was cool and the occasional burst of rain made it necessary to pull on the hood of my fishing jacket it didn’t seem to bother the fish and by around 1pm I had landed around a dozen fish. My largest was probably in the 14 inch range but others had landed a few approaching 18 inches.
By this time the cool wind and rain was having an effect so we decided to head in to warm up and grab some lunch.
We returned to the lake for some late afternoon fishing. The activity was not as busy as the morning but I still managed to land a few nice brook trout before heading back to the chalet to prepare our steak dinner (did I mention we rarely suffer in the food department on these trips?).
Most of the fish caught by myself and others were taken on bait imitation patterns. Various patterns and colours seemed to work. Despite the overcast conditions which some suggest favours duller coloured patterns, I had most of my success on a yellow Hamill’s Killer although this particular brookie went for a black leach pattern.
Friday morning and the sun was now shining. Nice for the fisherman but as it turned out, not so pleasing for the fish. We fished for a few hours after breakfast and managed to coax a few fish to take our food imitations but without the success of the previous day.
Most of the chalets at Kenauk are situated on a fishable lake. In the case of Muskrat Chalet, while it is situated on a lake, the trout lake linked to the chalet is Collins Lake which is about a 10 minute drive away.
The deal is that when you rent the chalet you also get exclusive access to the associated lake. Check out from the chalet is typically 10am on your last day and you are to be off the water by 11 if another party is coming in – sometimes one can stay longer if the chalet will remain unoccupied.
Friday morning when we arrived at Collins we found a guide preparing for his fishing guests to arrive. He had commandeered the two row boats which presented a problem for one of our party who did not fish from his own float tube. Despite some subtle reminders of the rules on our part he wasn’t inclined to wait until we had officially relinquished the lake. So for a time after his party arrived we fished the lake together. Interestingly he was quite diligent to point out that when it was 11 and time for us to get off the water. It was an interesting experience – the first of its kind and one that hopefully doesn’t repeat itself.
Despite that, it was great to get out for even a short time at Kenauk.