Got the call back in February that CCMT (Cliff) is turning 50 this year and a fly-in trip was on the books. It didn't take long for me to be "in"! Four of us would be heading to Clova Quebec, using Air Tamarac https://www.tamarac.ca/fishing-charlotte-features.php
After much planning and messaging back and forth, it was finally here.... departed "The Shwa" on May 30th, 6:30am. Two vehicles made for a much more comfortable ride up with stops in Mallory Town, a quick drive around Ottawa and across the swollen Ottawa River via ferry, we were pointed north with our next stop being Mount Laurier. Lunch and a flat of worms in the very good outfitters shop in Laurier and we were back to heading north. Here's where thing got "interesting"....
About 50kms north of Laurier, we hang a right and make our way to a "town" call "Parent". Parent is 189kms of gravel/sand road, mostly used by logging trucks. We drove through periods of rain and sun, that made the drive very much like driving on slush. Blind turns, nasty hills kept our attention on the road for the 2 /12 hours to Parent. There's a gas station/grocery store in Parent, but they don't advertise price per litre cause, well, where else are you going to re-fuel?
From Parent, it a short 79kms west to our destination, Clova Quebec. This "highway" is called the "Inter Quebec Highway" and was by far, the worst road on the drive. Sand, gravel and large rocks make up this converted logging road. They weren't that frequent, but there certainly were logging trucks using the road and that meant that you really had to pay attention throughout the entire time on the gravel.
We arrived in Clova at approximately 6:30pm. Checked in the Air Tamarac and was directed to the multi-use facility, the train station/restaurant/hotel front desk. We had made arrangements to have two rooms booked into the "hotel" as our flight out was on Friday, May 31 at 11:00am. The hotel is a converted school house and was filled with fishermen from all over North America. At $25 per night per man, it was clean, comfortable and even had a TV for us to watch the first Raptor/Golden State game. Sure it was in french, but was a fun watch.
Up early on the 31st, a quick walk over to the restaurant for breakfast (food was excellent here!) and off the Tamarac.
Here's a pic of the train station/restaurant/hotel front desk!
Upon arrival at Tamarac, we were told that our flight was on time and we could start the weigh in dance. We were a little over and after a small extra fee, we were ready to take off for the 45 minute flight to Lake Charlotte.
I must say that our pilots both in and out were fantastic. We couldn't really tell when we left the water or when we touched down. Fantastic flights!
Our flight toke us directly over the Guin Reserve, known as a world class pike fishery. It's freakin huge! Here's a pic taken after we had already flown over 1/3 of it! Everything you see in the pic is Guin.
Our destination is north of the hills you see on the horizon.
Approaching Charlotte. the large body of water on the left side is there other outpost lake, Herbert. Apparently, a Pickereye factory. Charlotte is just barely viewable on the right.
Approaching Charlotte from the south.
Docking up at our cabin....
Sorry for the sideways image!
The fish cleaning hut...
A few shots of the onside of the cabin.... this place is rated a "3 star" by the outfitters. I can't argue that as it had the following as standard...
12 volt system to run lights and RUNNING WATER in both the fish house and cottage. Propane powered on demand hot water in kitchen and SHOWER/BATHROOM sink! Propane stove, Fridge/freezer and chest freezer, propane lights and wood stove. Brand new Merc 9.9 on Princecraf boats. LUXURY
After a quick load in and rod re-assembly, we were on the water by 1:30pm.
Now, I haven't really mentioned the elephant in the room, but mother nature had a big impact on our trip. It was cold and it rained, every day. Temps only reached double digits the one afternoon the sun came out for a few hours. Most mornings were below 5C. We were prepared for the weather and on the up side, we say now bugs the entire stay.
So, on to some fish pics. We decided that the two boats would head in opposite directions to scope out the lake. Ken and I picked up a double header of 20 inch eyes on the first pass through the island pass.
More fish pics....
As I mentioned, we had one afternoon when the sun came out. the main lake was sitting in the 42-44F, but the bays were slightly warmer. FnS suggested that we hit the bays for pike, hoping that the warmer water would have them in the shallows... well, he was dead on! Found a large by, water temp was almost 49F. We were in two ft of water. Tossing a Sliver minnow with grub, I had a couple of follows that got the blood pumping. Banging the Sliver Minnow of the shore line, I must have banged a few right off the head as they were exploding in the short water and b-lining it out to deep water. Then I got hit hit hard. Felt it take the lure, dropped my rod tip to let it take it, then set the hook. All hell breaks loose in the skinny water, it flet like top water bass fishin, for 40 inch fish! After a couple of runs, FnS grabs it by the tail, into the boat, and the lure falls out of it's mouth. My new PB pike! Measured 39 inches. A few pics and measure up and back she goes. Had a smile on my face for the rest of the trip!
One thing I neglected to mention, the ice went out on this lake on May 24th, a full three weeks beyond normal according to the outfitter. Had we had warmer weather, we would have put a real hurtin on those pike, they were everywhere in the shallows warming up.
A few random pics....
CCMT managed to grab this shot with his cell phone... pretty incredible if you ask me!
Here's a pic of the thermometer the morning of our departure.... pretty typical really....
Arriving aback at Tamarac for a final pic, before we start the long 11 1/2 hours home.
Conclusion, we would not hesitate to use Tamarac again. Sat phone in the cottage was a nice touch, but everything they said they would provide or do, they did perfectly. Nice people who really did a great job of making our trip first class.
Can't recommend them enough.
Hit me questions if you will, happy to answer!