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An online space for outdoorsmen from CNY and beyond. Tell us about the one you caught or the one that got away.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A gem in the wilds of Quebec

A gentle breeze stirred the surface of the small lake as a loon swam alongside our small boat. The only sounds were the croaking of the heron along the shore or the subtle hum of our electric trolling motor. As we moved slowly along the deeper shoreline the steady tapping of our line indicated the Lake Clear Wobblers were vibrating as they should. Soon the sharp bend of the rod tip and a steady fight at the end of our line indicated that yet another brook trout had struck our offering.
My long-time friend and fishing partner, Mike Seymour, and I were enjoying great action fishing for brook trout deep in the wilds of Quebec. Although we were equipped to fish with other methods, including fly rod with sinking tip line and Wooly Buggers or Hornberg flies, casting spinners and other small lures or fishing worms with small Colorado spinner blades, we spent much of the time using the Lake Clear Wobblers since the action was so fast and we were having so much fun.
This was the scene for several days recently as we fished the small deep lakes at Bryson Lake Lodge situated in “the bush” of Quebec north of Fort Coulonge. In addition to fishing for brook trout we fished the big lake (Bryson Lake) for lake trout, walleye and northern pike while enjoying the scenery and attractions of Domaine du Lac Bryson. The 140 square mile property offers exclusive hunting and fishing territory to guests. In addition to the main lake which is over 15 miles long with many bays and coves, there are numerous ponds and lakes offering brook trout or pike fishing.
Even though it is remote and a considerable drive over a gravel road to reach it, the Bryson Lake Lodge property offers all the conveniences that you could want. Despite the image one might have of fishing camps or resorts deep in the woods of Quebec, these accommodations are well-built, modern and attractive. There are 15 cottages or chalets that hold families or groups of varying sizes. All except for the cottages located at the far end of the lake offer propane cooking and heat, running water, hot showers and electricity powered by generator during the day or battery at night.
The “shelter” is a new motel style unit with 10 housekeeping units, a large screened in porch and a lounge with a hot tub. The centerpiece is a recreation hall at the lodge with TV, internet, foosball, shuffleboard and many other games in addition to tables and comfortable chairs. There is a store for some supplies and fishing tackle although you have to bring your own food.
A large fleet of boats with motors give you easy access to the big waters of Lake Bryson. Smaller boats are cached at the nearby lakes for anglers who want to pursue brook trout or pike. You can either row or rent electric motors for plying these waters. Rentals of fish finders, fishing rods and reels are available as well as canoes, paddleboats, etc.
At the time we were there, the lake trout were transitioning from the shallows to the deeper water and our fish finder located many on the bottom. Denis LeBrun, the owner, said that actually catching them in summer is easier since they are concentrated in deeper holes. However one evening while we were fishing with Denis, we caught some smaller ones in relatively shallow water. Thanks to active management such as suggested minimum size of 21 inches and hauling in pebble sized rock for the spawning areas, the number and size of lake trout has increased in recent years.
The walleye typically spend the daylight hours in deeper water and move into shallow areas at dusk or under the cover of darkness to feed. Our best luck came on worm and spinner harnesses trolled slowly behind a bottom bouncer rig. We did catch some on jigs or Mepps spinners during daylight along the deeper areas adjacent to flats.
We were a little surprised to find that the larger pike were in deeper water than we expected. Other anglers were catching them by trolling. Using the expert advice from Denis, we went to a nearby bay where we were able to catch enough pike to complete the “Bryson Lake Grand Slam” (brook trout, lake trout, walleye and pike).
Because they have the exclusive hunting and fishing rights, Denis is able to negotiate with Quebec Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on a management program of limits and season as well as make improvements in the property. At considerable expense he has made the habitat improvements to spawning areas for lake trout, walleye and brook trout. Even though the regular limit is 10 brook trout, they have a quota of 5 trout per small lake to avoid overfishing.
To insure the quality experience of fishing in solitude you will be assigned a specific small lake as your exclusive fishing spot for that particular morning, etc. They are all great fishing spots but this is a way to rotate fishing pressure as well as give you the freedom and unique experience of having that area all to yourself.
The third component of a “Trifecta of Great Fishing Experience” is the people who run it. In addition to the great fishing opportunities, and excellent accommodations, Denis and Laurel LeBrun are super people. They are the most pleasant and accommodating people that you could ask for. They have owned and operated Domaine du Lac Bryson for 23 years after leaving their jobs with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. A lot of labor and money went into building a top-notch facility but their efforts also extend to making sure that your stay is exceptional.
Denis had been coming there since he was a youngster with his father but the original facility had been neglected and run down. He uses his experience with the fishing to put people into the right spots and using the right techniques to catch fish. They go out of their way to attend to every detail and personally make sure that your entire family enjoys their stay.
As we were preparing to leave, the first of the bear hunters were arriving. With  trail cameras and baited sites throughout the property there is nearly a 100 percent success rate. Nearly everyone sees bears but some pass up the bruins in anticipation of a bigger or special one. Moose hunting in the fall is also very successful and about half of the permit holders get a moose. The quota is set by Quebec DNR and Denis has separate sectors assigned that increase success as well as spread the harvest. A modern building with block and tackle, freezer, and walk-in cooler handles the big game.
Other attractions include canoeing, hiking, wildlife watching and small game hunting. Check the website to see the facilities and more information. Better yet, call 819-683-1790 for information and start making plans to have your own great experience in the big woods of Quebec.
Vernon Rod and Gun Kids Fishing Derby: The Vernon Rod and Gun club will hold a Kids Fishing Derby on June 12, from 6 – 8 p.m. Ages are from 1 – 15. Rain date will be June 19. It will be held at the Vernon Rod and Gun Club property on Stuhlman Road, across from Vernon Downs entrance. There will be hot dogs and drinks available for the kids. Prizes will be given out to all kids.
Inlet Bass Derby: The Town of Inlet will hold a Bass Derby on Sunday, June 28. Contestants will fish the waters of the Fulton Chain from Fifth Lake to Old Forge Pond for eight hours. Boats will depart after a livewell inspection from the Inlet town dock in numerical order of their registration. Winning will be based on total weight of five legal bass. Only two anglers per boat are permitted and only artificial baits can be used.
Each boat must have some form of livewell and no contestant is allowed to pre-fish the waters after Wednesday, June 25. The public is invited to watch activities from the town beach. Reservations will be accepted by mail until June 20. More information is available at:


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