Jonathan's Favorite: A fishing trip on the Caniapiscau reservoir
Eeyou Istchee Baie-James is a great playground for visitors to marvel at. But it is also the place where thousands of people have chosen to settle. Whether it's for the high quality of life, the proximity of services, the landscapes that you can't get enough of, the accessibility of the outdoors...
We let those who chose Eeyou Istchee Baie-James speak for themselves and tell us about their favourite place in the region.
WARNING: This story is about fishing adventures on the Caniapiscau reservoir and is dedicated to making you dream of our northern lakes! Although the reservoir is located on category 3 land and is accessible to the general population, we do not recommend venturing out without careful and safe preparation. This group of people is composed of experienced fishermen and wildlife officers who are extremely well prepared for this type of trip.
For a safe and miraculous fishing experience, we strongly recommend contacting Mirage Adventure.
A STORY OF JONATHAN L.
“Eeyou Istchee Baie-James is a grandiose territory that never ceases to impress me for its incredible fishing quality. We have access to thousands of bodies of water that never disappoint. Every self-respecting fisherman has heard of the huge Caniapiscau Reservoir, located in Eeyou Istchee Baie-James, and its outstanding fishing quality.
This reservoir holds the largest expanse of fresh water in Quebec with an area of over 4300 km². A person who wishes to live a wild and isolated experience will be served! At this height, we are 745 km from Radisson, which makes it the furthest point accessible by road from a city in North America.
It's no wonder that, as an avid fisherman and lover of remote areas, I am drawn to this wonderful body of water! Every year, for 10 days, I gather with friends for a fishing trip on the Caniapiscau. Some of them travel from the "South" of the province to live the experience.
This is our fishing trip!
However, we do not venture on the Transtaiga road and on the reservoir without first preparing our trip carefully. From Matagami to our camp, we drive between 20 and 25 hours, on roads where very few services are available. Because the only two gas stations are at km 381 and at Mirage Adventures, we stock up on gas in Matagami. On average, we bring ten 5 gallons for each truck. This will be used for both boats and trucks during our stay. It is also necessary to foresee the management and the transport of our waste on the return journey.
We drive on the Billy-Diamond road, which is paved (and recently repaired) on a distance of 544 km. Then, we take the magnificent Transtaïga, a gravel road of over 600 kilometers. The long drive is pleasant despite the number of hours on the road as we can peacefully enjoy the landscape while preparing for our first fishing outing! The conversations in the trucks are all the same: "which lures will you try first?", "How heavy must your trout be for you to be satisfied this year?"... Fishing, for us, is very serious!
Arrived at our destination, the fatigue does not affect us anymore. We are hard at work to "build" our camp with kitchen tents, dining room tents, toilets as well as our personal tents to sleep. Let's just say that it is done quickly since we all want to be the first to throw our line in the water...
Usually, after 2-3 casts from the shore, a lake trout of an average weight of 6-7 lbs comes to reel in our line. During our stay, we will catch between 300 to 400 trout of this size (we cath and release all fish). For our group, this is just the warmup before we go out and find the big 20+ lb lake trout off the reservoir.
One of the things that impresses me every year is the transparency of the water. We can see the bottom in more than 15 feet of water on a sunny day. Sunshine does not necessarily mean heat! Even in the middle of summer, the water temperature can be close to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It is therefore not uncommon to heat our water on the stove to wash ourselves. The ambient temperature, during certain weeks, does not climb above 10 degrees. This means that we are really in the north of the province!
No matter what you fish with or how you fish, you will be successful! Catching a trout with a spinnerbait in 3 feet of water has been done before! The size of the trout is unimaginable, you have to see it to believe it. Some nice specimens over 20-25 pounds are being fooled every year by our lures. On the reservoir, we also find landlocked salmon, brook trout and pike.
Catching a landlocked salmon is a kind of bonus for us. It often happens that we do not target this species and that it surprises us with a fight worthy of salmon. This fish, with its tasty flesh in tartar, leaves no one indifferent.
In the summer, the sun sets late and rises in the early hours of the morning, at the 54th parallel. It is not uncommon to observe the northern lights dancing in the sky, while sitting around the fire.
The meals shared at the camp and the fishing stories we tell each other are precious moments. We would even like time to stop, to fully enjoy them.”