Sunday, August 06, 2017

A Week in Quebec

I went fishing last week with my buddy--and Terry's cousin--Joe. We had booked a week of fishing for Northern Pike and Walleye with Caesar's North Camps. We've been fishing with them on an annual basis since our youngest boys were 10 years old--some 24 years ago. The camp we chose this time was one we hadn't been to before, Lac Nancy, named after Oliver's wife. The lake was reputed to have some very fine walleye and pike with the latter going up to the 50" mark.

Well, to make a long story short, we didn't find that 50" pike but we did find some of the largest walleye we've run into. While we have found one or two individual walleye that were bigger than the 6.5 pound, 28" one that I caught, the size of the "average" walleye we caught on this trip as far greater than that we've found elsewhere. I'd say half of the fish we caught we would have had to throw back because they were over the 18.5" slot limit. Only about 10% would have gone back because they were too short, less than 14". Everything else--and we caught 165 walleye--was in the slot an could have been take to fill our limit. We chose--and Oliver ruled--that we could only retain what we could eat and that, for us, was one pike and two walleye.

We arrived early on Friday after driving 610 miles from the Aerie to the village of Clova and flying another 30 minutes north to Nancy's Lake. After unpacking our gear and rigging our lines we were on the water and out exploring this new--to us--body of water. We covered the entire shore line of the roughly 2x1 kilometer lake and found there were few weed beds that looked like our normal pike haunts so we opted to concentrate on walleye. After lunch we found a spot that, while unremarkable in that it was 100 meters from the shoreline and out in the open water, produced a couple of nice walleye and even a pike. Joe marked that spot with a bouy so we could find it again. Good thing he did, too. We fished that spot almost exclusively over the week and caught all but one walleye and one pike within 5o meters of that bouy! In fact, on Saturday, we caught 70 walleye and three pike in that area.
Cabin at Nancy's Lake

View from the cabin of Nancy's Lake

Our meals for two nights: one pike and two walleye.

The one Northern Pike we killed. About 30 inches in length.
We spent the majority of our time fishing 3/8 oz. jigs with various and sundry colors of 4" plastic split tails. The fish seemed to like the black and the orange/yellow colors but we caught some on just about every color in our tackle boxes. Jigging meant we fished without any wire leader so important to catching the toothy pike but we still managed to get seven nice sized pike (30+ inches) to the boat. We did lose a couple larger pike early in the battle when they got the jigs too far into their mouths and they easily snapped our 6 and 8 pound test lines.

We kept the one pike because Joe wanted to see if he could filet it so as to eliminate the Y-bones. He got most of them.

The weather was pretty cooperative in that we had 60-70 degrees every day and 50-60 degrees at night. Two separate storms kept us off the lake after dinner Sunday and Tuesday evenings. One produced a lot of thunder but no lightening, the other produced lots of lightening and plenty of accompanying thunder. Both storms produce 2-3 hours of torrential rain. The Tuesday storm also kept us off the water after lunch as the pre-storm winds produced rollers of 1.5-2 feet and even lots of whitecaps on the lake. The only other rain we got was on the final Friday as we awaited the plane to fly us out. That storm blocked out the horizon with the rain being so heavy. We couldn't even see the island some 750 meters away. This rain also delayed our flight by almost three hours as the Cessna could not fly.

Rich with a 6-1/2 pound walleye that measured 28" in length.

Joe with a nice walleye that easily would have been over the slot limit of 18-1/2 inches.

Another big walleye.

And yet another huge walleye.

Joe with the largest Northern Pike we managed to boat. I'm guessing it went around 35 inches.

We did, eventually, get back to Clova and the truck at 2 PM for our 13 hour drive home. We managed to get back to the Aerie around 2:45 AM despite the heavy rain we ran into south of Ottawa and all the way down through Elmira. I hate driving in the rain at night.

Division of labor:
  • I did most of the driving northward but we split the long ride home about 50-50. We also split fuel costs.
  • I piloted the boat the entire week.
  • Joe, who purchased and packed the groceries, did all the cooking. (He had it easy this week as he only had to clean three fish.)
  • I did all the washing up after meals.


JDP said...

Living The Dream!

threecollie said...

Outstanding catches! You look a little sunburned there.

joated said...

Threecollie, I tried to keep my head, ears and arms covered as much as possible. Didn't want to anger my wife or the dermatologist! Still, lots of sunlight got reflected off the water and got me on the nose and, as you note, the chest.