A fierce tug at the end of my fly line jolted my arm, the reel spun, and the line ran out. The fish swam deep, broke free of my hook and was gone before I even had the chance to dream about how-big-it-might-be.
Reelin' In the Big One
The appeal of the world’s biggest brook trout, at 31-inches and 14 1/2 pounds, was enough to lure this fly fisher to the Nipigon River in Nipigon, Ontario last summer. Though the record breaking trout was caught in 1915, there are still some big fish in the river, and I hoped to land one.
Gord Ellis Senior lands a Nipigon brookie - Photo by Gord Ellis
With Ray Rivard as my Nipigon River Adventures guide for the day, we drove our boat upstream and beneath the river’s highest damn. Torrential rains had fallen on the region in the weeks prior and water was flowing over the top of the damn. High water like this disturbs the resident fish and we knew the catching would be tough. Again and again, the brookies of the Nipigon tasted my fly, and then schooled me on how not-to-land a monster fish.
Fishing in the Wilderness
Ray Rivard looks out over Lake Superior from Lloyd's Lookout neear The Quebec Lodge.
But sometimes the fishing is not about the fish. The solitude and wilderness that surround the Nipigon are spectacular and awe-inspiring. The river is 48km long and anywhere from 50 to 200 kilometers wide. The watershed is considered the headwaters to the Great Lakes and is the largest body of water flowing into Lake Superior.
At times, the flow was so gentle and the river so wide, that it was easy to forget this was a river. I easily got lost looking into the deep canyon, rocky shoreline and thick Boreal forest, which is home is home to a few Ontario species at risk like the American White pelican, Peregrine Falcon, woodland caribou, Eastern cougar and wolverine.
I cast my line into a faster moving run. While the fly drifted around the end of the boat with the current, I couldn’t help but scan the horizon; I wanted more than anything to see a wolverine. My eyes returned to the water as the fly landed in the optimum position. I held my breath hoping for a bite then recast while scoping the land again.
The Quebec Lodge is comfortably rustic, and tranquil. The 1930s log cabin is perched on a hillside overlooking Lake Superior’s Nipigon Bay. Enjoy a sunset hike to an outstanding viewpoint, relax on the patio with a glass of wine, and plan tomorrow’s adventure.
A rustic stay at the Quebec Lodge in Red Rock
Kayaking, hiking and mountain biking in Nipigon
Epic Adventures kayak guide and Nipigon native, Michael Elliot is an excellent source of area information and offers customized kayaking, hiking or mountain bike adventures.
Each guided paddle trip includes a one-hour lesson where you’ll learn basic kayaking techniques and water safety.
Most trips depart the Nipigon Marina, paddle downstream to the river’s back channel to the calm flat water of the Nipigon Bayou and eventually end near the native paintings on the cliffs in Nipigon Bay.
Mike Elliot tests the trails riding the terrain at Shuniah Mines near Thunder Bay.
Epic Adventures 807.887.1008