My fishing buddy Rob Gendron and I spent the first week of August fishing in Newfoundland-Labrador, Canada’s easternmost province. Rob, who fishes for Brook trout in Pennsylvania, was looking for a place to catch some big ones and suggested that we visit Three Rivers Lodge in Labrador. The Lodge is located on the Woods River system, consisting of braided river branches interspersed with large “pools” that could be confused with lakes (miles wide and long). Brook trout, Bull trout, Lake trout, and Pike occur throughout the system, providing high fishing diversity with a variety of approaches. One common approach had the guides out of the boat, dragging it upstream through riffles and small rapids while we cast in all directions. The guides were encouraging “anything green,” so we used olive Wooly Buggers and green Copper Johns.
When fishing for Lake trout we used large flies, like Christmas Trees and Dolly Llamas. We were told that we couldn’t keep any Pike smaller than 5 lbs. We thought this was a regulation of some sort, but it was actually the chefs who did not want to fillet anything smaller. The water was off the week we were there and, although the fish were not plentiful, large fish were caught.
The location is remote, involving a flight to Montreal, a charter flight to Schefferville, and an Otter flight into the Lodge. The lodge leases a Beaver and provides 2 or more fly-outs, including one option to the Outpost Camp for a night or two fishing “5th Rapid”. The main cabins are comfortable, as is the Lodge which has a dining room and a pleasant den with books, a fireplace, and a tying bench. The staff was great, and the guides worked hard to put us on fish.
In the third week of August, we migrated to British Columbia, the westernmost province of Canada, and stayed at the Tsylos Park Lodge on the Chilko River. A charter flight from Vancouver got us to a small runway near the Lodge and we were driven to the Lodge. The focus here is on casting dry flies to large rainbows. Drifts were repeated through named stretches of the River (Canoe Crossing, Bear Island, numbered rapids, etc.), often doing right-bank, center, and left-bank runs. Even though we fished the same stretches almost daily, the most productive runs differed every day or even hour to hour. Fish were often plentiful, but even during the lulls in the action, there was always the anticipation of hooking a nice fish. We also fished for Bull trout, casting streamers into channels while wading far out on soft gravel bars in the River.
A highlight of the trip was a 50-minute boat ride out onto the beautiful Chilko Lake (from which the River flows). We tossed streamers to Bull trout, some 30 plus inches, along the edges of muddy streams as they flowed into the Lake.
We caught large Rainbows, most of which were acrobatic, using a variety of large dry flies. Of course, the guides had their preferred flies, although I had success with one of my favorites, Chubby Chernobyls. However, Rob had the trophy fly of the week. Two years ago his area in Pennsylvania experienced an explosion of periodical cicadas, an interesting insect group with some population that appears only in 13 and 17-year cycles. They emerge in huge numbers, covering vegetation and the ground. He thought they would be attractive food for the fish in his home waters, so he designed and tied cicada mimics. He brought some to BC, where they caught at least twice as many fish as any other fly. Periodical cicadas are not known to occur in the area of the Lodge, but this unfamiliar, large, juicy fly seemed irresistible.
The location is beautiful, the cabins are comfortable, and the food is very good. Black and Grizzly bears wander through the area, but two Lodge dogs provided entertainment by chasing the bears if they got too close.
Anglers go to lodges seeking fishing opportunities, but also for adventures in beautiful, remote places. These two lodges at the opposite ends of Canada persevered through 2 years of Covid and provided us with their own distinctive fishing opportunities, beauty, and adventures.
- Jim Reichman