In the fall of 2001, I started a very interesting (but brief) fisheries biology contract up north. My first day on the job was certainly memorable! It was September 11th, and needless to say there wasn’t much talk of fish netting when I got to the office!
To make matters even more bizarre, I was told that I needed to go back to my apartment and pack my bags. I was needed on the field team heading off to the far reaches of northern Ontario. Our destination? Yep you guessed it – Liddle’s Miminiska & Makokibatan Lodges.
Our task for this particular trip was to conduct an assessment of the Walleye populations in Miminiska and Makokibatan lakes. After a very long drive up to Nakina (north east of Thunder Bay) from Sudbury, we completed the rest of the journey via float plane. What was exciting about this trip, as compared to my previous float plane adventure (mentioned in my last blog post), was the fact that we actually were able to stay at a real fly-in fishing lodge!
Thank goodness for that – the weather while we were there was absolutely horrifying – in fact we had to extend our stay by a couple days due to a serious storm. All in all, I must say however that the experience was totally amazing!
Our 4-man team was split into two teams of two – one team (the one I was on) stayed at Makokibatan, while the other crew flew over to Miminiska. Based on conversations with the other guys, it sounded as though they had a similar experience to us – that is to say great hospitality/food and evidence of a VERY healthy (and hefty) Walleye population (not to mention all the Pike and other species).
What’s funny is that we ate the same food as the staff (ie not the REALLY good guest food), yet I was still blown away by how amazing it was. It became pretty evident that the Liddle family knows a thing or two about running a fly-in fishing lodge!
Sadly I didn’t ever get the chance to wet a line myself – but it was certainly fun chatting with (and living vicariously through) the guys who were there for their fishing adventure.
Hopefully one day I will be able to return to one of the Liddle family’s lodges – this time with ‘work’ being the furthest thing from my mind!
If you are thinking about planning a northern Ontario fly-in fishing trip definitely keep Liddle’s in mind. Be sure to check the photo galleries on their site if you are looking for a little more inspiration.
And of course, stay tuned for more of my fishing adventures – I promise there will be some that actually involve sportfishing!!
(Image courtesy of Liddle’s Fishing Adventures)
Technorati Tags: liddles, fly-in fishing, walleye, pike, brook trout, float plane, fishing lodge, wilderness fishing
Written by BigTrout on February 23rd, 2007 with no comments.
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It’s funny to say this (and a little embarassing), but in all honesty I still have yet to actually go on a real fly-in fishing trip!
I think when it comes down to it, a big reason for starting this site in the first place was to live vicariously through those lucky souls who do actually go on these fishing adventures!
That being said, I still do have some interesting experiences to share when it comes to remote wilderness fishing. I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in some cool aquatic biology/fisheries fieldwork during my twenties, not to mention an exciting trip to the arctic with my father when I was 8 years old.
For this post I’m going to share an interesting fieldwork experience up near Marathon Ontario that took place back in the fall of ’99 (oh, how time flies!).
I had just started working for an environmental consulting firm that summer and was lucky enough to be asked to join one of the field crews for some fall assessment work. I say “lucky” because that’s how I felt at the time, but believe you me I was questioning my luck very quickly once the project began!
Our work that fall involved conducting an aquatic assessment for a gold mining operation (Hemlo). Unfortunately we were under-equipped, under-staffed and the weather was AWFUL! That being said, there’s no doubt that it was still one of the most memorable experiences of my life!
In order to reach some of the remote bodies of water we were working on we had to employ the services of White River Air (North to Adventure) – a family owned operation based in (surprise, surprise) White River Ontario. The business has been overseen by three generations of the MacLachlan family, and I must say it was a real pleasure dealing with those members of the clan I happened to meet (and fly with)! I can only imagine the sort of hospitality they bestow upon their fly-in fishing guests!
As we discovered, the fishery in the region is absolutely INSANE (ie awesome!!!!) – sure, we had to use nets for our testing, but still it was a great opportunity to see what sort of monsters were lurking in some of the lakes we visited. That being said, I can honestly say that we probably didn’t catch most of the ENORMOUS pike that encountered our nets – typically the only evidence of their presence came in the form of massive holes they left. In my minds-eye I imagined submarine-sized northerns simply swimming nonchalantly through the mesh without a care in the world. In actuality, there was something else going on…
One of my most memorable memories from the trip (I’ll share a few others in a minute) involved pulling in one of our nets – definitely the most exciting part of the job – and watching as a MONSTROUS pike (probably the biggest I’ve ever seen) casually swam up to the net and grabbed one of the suckers that was trapped in the mesh. No word of a lie, the sucker itself had to have been at least three to four pounds! Needless to say, we were left with one less sucker and a nice big hole in the net as evidence.
We encountered this pike behaviour a number of times as we pulled in our nets, and I think we even managed to catch a few of the smaller pike in the process. Clearly, the vast majority of our holes were caused by big pike who decided to enjoy the buffet laid out before them.
Some other highlights from the trip:
- Taking in the beautiful vistas of the northern Ontario landscape during my very first flights in a float plane
- Witnessing many many Lakers surfacing in a lake where there was no previous record of this species (we also caught many in the nets)
- Pulling in massive ‘dinner plate’ whitefish from several of the lakes
On one of the lakes (incidentally one that was absolutely stuffed with huge fish), North to Adventure was just in the process of building an outpost cabin. You can be sure that I dreamed of one day returning with rod in hand to enjoy a real wilderness fishing experience! Alas, this hasn’t yet materialized – but there is still lots of time!
Based on my work experience in the region and my dealings with the great folks at North to Adventure, I would highly highly recommend you consider them for your next fly-in fishing adventure!
I’ll be sharing more of my experiences from the beautiful north in upcoming posts on the blog, so DO stay tuned!
Technorati Tags: fly-in fishing, flyin fishing, fish biology, field biology, fisheries, pike, walleye, whitefish, north to adventure, white river air, wilderness, northern ontario, environmental assesment, hemlo
Written by BigTrout on February 14th, 2007 with no comments.
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Sadly, I’ve only watched CBC’s ‘Wings Over Canada’ program once or twice myself, but I thoroughly enjoyed the episodes I watched (certainly didn’t hurt that one of the episodes involved fly-in fishing).
For those of you unfamiliar with the show, it follows the adventures of Canadian bush pilot, John Lovelace, as he travels to various interesting places in this beautiful country of ours.
When I first put together CFF I decided to check out the ‘Wings Over Canada’ website. It’s a cool site with some interesting goodies. One page that’s particularly interesting for us fisher folks is Johns Top 10 Places to Fish in Canada
Here is an exerpt from the page:
Exploring these waters is what I am all about. In the eighties, I flew 1,000 hours in the wilderness backwoods of Quebec and Ontario looking for those perfect out-of-the-way fishing holes. In the nineties, my attention turned to western Canada’s mountain alpine lakes and the coastal areas of BC. Now, with the Wings Over Canada TV series, this obsession has blossomed into a full-time job which has amounted to another fifty thousand air miles into even more fishing areas in Canada’s hinterlands.
For this column, I though it would be fun to highlight my ten personal best fly-in fishing locations in Canada. First of all, they all have one thing in common: they are hard to get to. You will either have to have access them in your own float plane or arrange a charter. Also, some are close to overnight accommodation and others are camping only.
Be sure to check out John’s top 10 when you get a chance, and have a look around the WOC site while you are there.
Technorati Tags: wings over canada, fly-in fishing, float plane, cbc, john lovelace, fishing hotspots
Written by BigTrout on February 13th, 2007 with no comments.
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I’m happy to report that CFF is essentially back up and running! Sorry for the lengthy delay!
This version of the site will have a blog homepage where I will add periodic updates, news, fly-in fishing articles etc. We will still also have similar directory pages as before.
All outfitters who advertised with us will now be guaranteed free advertising for life – plain and simple (although those who made larger initial commitments will get more exposure). Just so you know, this version of the site will remain active indefinitely!
Once again, my sincere apologies for letting things fall by the wayside so badly.
Written by BigTrout on January 29th, 2007 with no comments.
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