Superior's North Shore, in and around Pukaskwa National Park, is rugged terrain. It's a landscape dominated by high rolling hills, rushing whitewater rivers and trout. The lakes in the park, and many surrounding it, teem with healthy populations of wild brook trout.
But many are difficult to reach. Air Dale Flying Services, based out of Wawa, Ontario, operates a rustic fly-in outpost camp on Missing Lake, a sparkling spring-fed gem nestled among towering hills near the southern perimeter of the park. This region was a favourite of my father's and when I was a boy he brought me on several memorable trout fishing trips. Missing Lake stood out as one of the few we'd never fished, and this trip was planned to rectify for me that and instill in my own young son, Brendan, some memories of his own.
After a long, cold winter, exploring an awakening forest, rank with the rich smells of damp earth and wet cedar, and fishing a crystal clear lake for wild trout, is much anticipated. This is something any trout angler understands. We flew into camp the third week of May, flying due west of Wawa and hugging the shoreline of Lake Superior. My young lad stared agog out the plane's window as we soared over the craggy landscape. I could only smile inwardly, remembering my own first trip with my dad.
Banking sharply to the right, the pilot pointed to a small patch of blue saying, "That's it right there!" He circled the lake and banked again, preparing to land. We both saw it at the same instant -- in a small bay next to a beaver lodge, a large fish swirled as we dropped onto the lake.
Taxiing to the dock, we spied the camp amidst a grove of cedars on a rocky point at the north end of the lake. After a quick check to ensure everything was in working order, the pilot wished us luck and took to the air.
Missing Lake is deep for its small size, and with pockets of stubborn snow remaining in the bush, the water was cold. Casting the shorelines with small spinners and spoons produced several nice trout, but our best action was found in deeper water. In one corner of the lake a small creek filtered in. Drifting over this area in 20 feet of water with a simple split shot, hook and worm, we caught numerous firm, thick-bodied fish. And a trout angler was born.
For those interested in a trip to Missing Lake, a four-day fishing adventure packages are available, including round trip flight from Wawa and a fully-equipped housekeeping cabin with boats, motors and gas. For more information visit www.ontariowilderness.com.