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Pukaskwa Park Brook Trout - Another One From The Archives


solopaddler
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Back in May 1989 a friend and I chartered a float plane to fly us and our gear into a tiny lake on the perimeter of Ontario's Pukaskwa National Park on Superior's north shore. Pukaskwa is wild and beautiful country and the interior is mostly untouched. Since the park was created many years ago no planes are allowed to land in it and no motorized vehicles are allowed in its interior. Not that there are any trails anyhow. This makes accessing the interior difficult but very worthwhile.

 

Our goal on this trip was a small lake within the park which we suspected held brook trout. Of course we didn't know for sure, but the adventure is the thing!

The lake we landed on still had a skim of ice on it, it was very early in the season! From there we dragged our loaded canoe up a rushing river until we reached a headwater lake.

 

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From there we portaged through soft waist deep snow for several hours to reach another small lake, this one within the park.

 

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Our quest was still not over. From there we bush whacked over to our chosen lake, a deep, narrow water filled cleft carved out of the bedrock.

 

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It didn't take us long to determine the presence of trout. They weren't giants but the lake was teeming with them! An out flowing river was also chuck full of trout with every tiny plunge pool we fished coughing up numerous speckled beauties.

 

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What was really interesting was the remains of a VERY old camp we found set back on a rocky point. Obviously it was a lake that people flew into before the park was created. An old rotted cedar strip boat lay there probably untouched in over 40 years. Two old bed springs were leaning up against a tree with a large and pretty irate porcupine jammed in between them. He was just hanging out.

 

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Before the trip I talked directly with the Park's superintendent about our proposed trip. He advised me strongly not to do it. In his words "It's very rough terrain and I can't tell you if that lake even has fish. It's very risky!"

 

Fortune, as they say, favors the bold. :)

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Awesome story Mike. I love reading your adventures! Too bad we get older & little worn down for that type of adventure. I used to sit on a 5 gallon pail on Simcoe all day for a feed of perch. Oh & I walked 2 kms to get to my spot. A little older now - On Tuesday I have an outfitter booked for a trip. A ride out with his Argo, heated hut, & a 1 night stay at his Inn. Yah I can only dream of a trip such as you just shared.

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Awesome story Mike. I love reading your adventures! Too bad we get older & little worn down for that type of adventure. I used to sit on a 5 gallon pail on Simcoe all day for a feed of perch. Oh & I walked 2 kms to get to my spot. A little older now - On Tuesday I have an outfitter booked for a trip. A ride out with his Argo, heated hut, & a 1 night stay at his Inn. Yah I can only dream of a trip such as you just shared.

 

I agree about getting older. I feel old myself looking at these pictures. But I can still do it. :)

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That's hardcore!

 

Just curious, what piqued your interest for that specific lake with so many in the region?

 

By that time I had been fishing for brook trout in and around Pukaskwa Park for several years, it's awesome trout country! I had gotten to know Michael Jones who was the park superintendent at the time fairly well. He told me about several other lakes within the park that I fished over the course of 3-4 years. Just staring at the map this one looked amazing but like I said no one knew anything about it. What I was specifically looking for was a lake of substance very close to the park boundary. It had be adjacent to another lake outside the park that I could fly into then bushwhack in. There's no other way to access the interior in many cases and not a lot of lakes that fit that bill. This one jumped right out. The thought of fishing that lake festered in my brain for over a year before I finally planned the trip and pulled the trigger on chartering a float plane to fly us in there.

 

I used to do a ton of that back in the day. Unlike today air charter was dirt cheap. We could choose any number of interesting lakes, strap a canoe onto the pontoon and fly in. We used to pay anywhere from $175-$300 each to do that. Unfortunately those days are long gone now! :)

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Thanks fellas! :)

 

 

Wow. Love the glasses Mike!
It was an awesome Thursday lunch break read. Thanks for sharing. How long was the whole adventure?

 

We were in the interior for 5 full days. Spent some time fishing the lake we flew in and out of as well and it was filled with small trout too. :)

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the thought of doing this without GPS is probably whats most impressive IMO

 

those are some sweet specs...and trouts you got there :)

 

That's a good point actually, although it's not overly impressive or anything. For years I only used a compass and a 1:50,000 series topo to navigate through the bush. I use a gps these days but still always carry a compass. It amazes me how many of the younger generation have no clue how to use one.

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That's a good point actually, although it's not overly impressive or anything. For years I only used a compass and a 1:50,000 series topo to navigate through the bush. I use a gps these days but still always carry a compass. It amazes me how many of the younger generation have no clue how to use one.

 

A small side note to that thought, you reference the inability of younger folks to use a compass, which is a shame...

 

My father recently was attempting to aim a satalite dish up at the cottage and was very disturbed and upset when he realized that he had misplaced his hand held compass...(he has not used the compass in close to 20 years due to owning a GPS since 1993)

 

anyways...when my father messaged me asking if I had seen his compass, I quickly replied...dad...your iPhone 5s has a GPS and compass built into it. Ever doubting he says "how will I ever know if it references true or magnetic north"...to which i respond, "press the settings button in the app...you can choose". He didnt have much to say after that lol

Edited by AKRISONER
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A small side note to that thought, you reference the inability of younger folks to use a compass, which is a shame...

 

My father recently was attempting to aim a satalite dish up at the cottage and was very disturbed and upset when he realized that he had misplaced his hand held compass...(he has not used the compass in close to 20 years due to owning a GPS since 1993)

 

anyways...when my father messaged me asking if I had seen his compass, I quickly replied...dad...your iPhone 5s has a GPS and compass built into it. Ever doubting he says "how will I ever know if it references true or magnetic north"...to which i respond, "press the settings button in the app...you can choose". He didnt have much to say after that lol

 

Funny. I struggled getting our sat dish at my camp in QC pointed in the right direction - and I had a compass and know how to use it. Still couldn't get it right. Then my daughter downloaded this sat finder app to her iphone and using that I figured it out in 2 minutes. Just amazing technology. Ironic eh? LOL!

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