by Walt Kononenko
Cas Smerroskie, Walt Kononenko, Lamar Kahler
Our fishing adventure begins when Walt Kononenko leaves his home in Richboro (north of Philadelphia) at 6:00 PM Thursday evening and drives up to Cas Smerroskie's home outside Shamokin, a 3 hour drive. Cas and Walt load up Cas' truck then relax the rest of the evening with a couple of beers and after a short nap are on the road again by 1:45 AM. We pick up Lamar Kahler at his home in Ashland before heading up to Interstate 81. From now on it's super highway driving up to the Canadian border, the halfway point up to Domaine Poutrincourt. The entire trip one way to the lake is 900 miles from Cas' house.
As usual, we stop for coffee and breakfast at the Penncann Reastaurant at Harford, PA (outside Scranton) off I81N. Then drive north again. We all take turns driving, each driving for about 2 hours or so. We got up to Champlain, NY, and filled the truck with gas, $66.00 @ $3.15/gal. Next stop would be the Duty Free Shop to pick up a bottle of Presidential Jack Daniels and a case of Labatt Blue beer. We also exchanged US currency into Canadian. To our dismay the exchange rate was parity, $1 US to $1 Canadian. Big change from previous years. Then we cross the border after going through bordercheck and are on our way north again.
We head toward Montreal and turn east on route 30, which bypasses Montreal's heavy
city traffic. This route 30 joins route 20 east and parallels the St. Lawrence River
on the south side all the way to Quebec City. We turn off and head north again on
route 55 at the Trois Rivieres exit, stop for lunch at Subway restaurant and cross the
St. Lawrence River on a beautiful suspension bridge. We continue north by-passing
Trois Rivieres on route 55 and on the route 155 to La Tuque. We had some rain showers
from Montreal to La Tuque then the rain stopped and the driving was scenic as always.
The drive up to La Tuque is extra scenic because it's along the Maurice River all the
way to La Tugue. Then it's a straight drive to Chambort on Lac St. Jean. Once we reach
Lac St. Jean we head for St. Felicien to Mikes Restaurant. This is our favorite
restaurant in Quebec. We go in for dinner while there is a lot of activity with road
closures in St. Felicien that day. It seems that a motor speed boat event was underway
for the weekend. After our dinner we head up to La Dore. Here at La Dore we get a room
at the motel for the night ($85.00 Can with taxes) and fill up with gas. To fill the
tank the cost is $96.00 Can. That's at $1.15 Can per liter. Note that 1 US gallon = 3.79 liters
Day 1, Saturday, July 1, 2007.
We were up early and had a hearty breakfast at the motel's restaurant and were on the road to Chibougamou before 7:00 AM. We got to Domaine Poutrincourt at 8:15 AM and greet Eric by the dock. It felt great finally reaching Domaine Poutrincourt after the long drive. We find out that our cabin will not be available until after 11 AM. Cas feels annoyed that fishing time is being wasted, but Eric graceously offers us our boat so that we can start our fishing and that they will bring all our equipment to the cabin later. We checked in with Andre and find that Andre was down with the flu. We payed what we owe plus the fishing licenses plus on top we see that the federal and provincial taxes were quite high, 13.5%. Andre told us that this year the visiting sportsmen have to pay the taxes, since the laws were changed for this year, compared to previous years where these taxes were not required since they were eligible for refunds when we would return to the States. Anyway, after taking care of business we took our assigned boat with our fishing gear and we were off fishing.
On the way over to our cabin # 3, which is about 3 or 4 miles away across the main lake Walt caught a good sized pike (26") on a 7" straight black & gold Rapala. It was already hot and around 1:00 PM we arrived at our familiar small cabin. We had hot dogs on the grill with baked beans and a cool beverage of our choice. We moved our stuff into the cabin and then we were off fishing again, now going up Normandin River for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening. We went beyond the falls and fished as far as to the Honey Hole, but the fish were not coorperating. It was windy and sunny all afternoon.
Fish caught were 6 northern pike, 4 walleyes and one whitefish. Just to let everyone know, the mosquitoes were there to welcome us when we got back. Cas was the obvious target during the filleting. That evening the sky and the stars were unbelievable brilliant. The sky was so clear and the stars, the constellation and especially the Milky Way were lit up across the entire sky. I have never seen so may stars and galaxies. What a sight!
Day 2, Sunday, July 23, 2007
Morning catch 3 pike and 4 walleyes.
We had a tasty fish dinner - 5 walleye fillets grilled with stewed tomatoes, streamed rice and baked beans. Delicious meal. After the meal we went out again. We fished very hard all afternoon and the fish were not cooperating. Cas caught a couple of walleyes (1 keeper). We went back to our Hot Spot on the big lake and also to the islands across the lake. There was a little bit of excitement when Walt 'caught' a rock with the Rapala lure. The lure hooked itself on the rock with a good chunk of the rock somehow broken off and acted like a big one during the troll. The rock was reeled in like a good-sized fish. We then jigged with worms and trolled to 8 PM with only Lamar catching a small walleye, which went back into the lake for further growth and development.
The fishing was a disappointment. The fish were not interested in any lure, not even the worms. In situations like this Cas brought out his "mistake lure", the lure he bought at the Harrisburg Sportsman Show years ago. Unfortunately this 'Tiger Lure' never caught a fish, but Cas traditionally throws it in and as he says - "it looks beautiful, but somehow it must only scare the fish". With no success with the orange/yellow/black tiger lure Cas then takes out the largest lure in his tackle box - the largest DAREDEVIL they make, a 6-inch by 3-inch metal colored chartreuse with red dots and with huge treble hooks and quite heavy. Anyway, Walt for fun decided to try it out before finishing up the uneventful afternoon/evening on the lake. Walt throws out the lure on a steel leader and was reeling in the lure toward the boat and started to do figure 8's just to see how the lure looked in action in the water when a 'huge' pike attacks the lure. Walt yells out that a pike attacked the giant lure and threw the lure back into the water. The pike attacked again and clamped down on the lure. With all the thrashing and splashing going on around the boat the pike still was not hooked. He was attacking the metal part of the lure and forgot about the hooks. Finally, on the third attack the pike held on to the lure and Walt figured that the pike finally got hooked, so he pulled back hard to set the hook. Just when Walt was pulling the pike let go of the lure, making the bent stored energy of the bowed rod fling the lure right over our heads and at the same time somehow the lure came loose and flew some 100 feet behind us. We were stunned and could not believe what just happened. We lost the pike and the giant Daredevel lure. It took some minutes before our heart rates came down to managible levels. How's that for excitement to a very slow afternoon. We headed back to the cabin and relived the events of the day over with Jack Daniels and Crown Royal.
Day 3, Monday, July 24, 2007
Today after our usual breakfast we headed off to the Back Bay. We started off goint north of our cabin fishing the small bays. Cas caught the first pike by casting toward the banks in the bay. Short time later Walt also caught a nice one on a Johnson spoon. It was surprisingly very windy in the Back Bay. Even Cas had a hard time controlling and manuvering the boat. The day became quite hot, clear and windy. We fished the long runs along the islands and as usual we had some luck in catching a few pike and walleyes. This morning we had some action with 5 pike, 6 walleyes and 1 whitefish.
After our late lunch/dinner we decided to fish the Normandin River, which is right next to our cabin. The trees along the river do a good job in blocking the wind. Unfortunately, the fishing in the river was not good. We tried trolling, casting and jigging our favorite spots and nothing. This was pretty frustrating to experienced fishermen. We think we know the lake and river pretty well and, yet, we were not getting much action, only Walt caught a small walleye and a 20" pike. It was getting late and we were getting ready to return to the cabin.
As one can imagine, the unexpected can happen at any time.
Walt was getting ready for the last cast, in order to straighten out the line in the reel. At the end of the line was a floating Rapala. As Cas started to go back, we let out the line in a slow trolling pace, when suddenly we hooked a northern pike. We brought it in, it was a typical 18" "teenager" pike, handsome and not that threatening. Cas used the net to bring the pike in. Once Cas brought the net inside the boat he started to unhook the pike. The pike was pretty calm in the net. To our surprise the 'calm' pike started thrashing wildly in the net and we still hadn't unhooked him. Cas tried to get his hand out of the way but one of the Rapala's hooks slammed into Cas' hand. The pike meanwhile freed itself and lay at the bottom of the net while one of the treble hooks got buried beyound the bard in the back of Cas' middle finger. Cas was obviously in pain and as in case like this, Cas tried to press the hook further through the skin to expose the point and bard. Cas' skin is so tough that the hook would not penetrate through. Even using pliers to push the hook through didn't work. Finally, Cas gave up trying to push the point through and using pliers he backed out the hook, barb and all. As one can imagine there was blood all over the boat, the fish, the net. Man, Cas is one tough dude. The funny part of this is the following morning, Cas showed the place where the hook was pulled out and you could hardly notice any evidence of a wound. By the way, we threw the teenager pike back into the water. What an ordeal.
Day 4, Tuesday, July 25, 2007
This morning Lamar woke up with a blown up lower lip. What in the world caused this? Lamar thought that it was due to sunburn. Walt thought it could have been from an allergic reaction to something he ate. The weather has been clear and pretty hot so far and also pretty windy. The face is exposed to the weather for 12 or so hours a day and maybe Lamar was right, it's probably the sun and wind.
In the morning we went back to the Hot Spot on the main lake. This time we seemed to have better luck. This morning we caught 13 good sized walleyes all by jigging. We also caught 1 medium-sized pike by trolling. Another interesting sight was the racket and performance of two loons in the middle of the big lake not far from our boat. One loon chased the other for about 5 to 8 minutes all the while with wings flapping and loud clucking all the time. What a sight. What a commotion. We also saw quite a few family groups of loons on Lac Poutrincourt during this week, more than any time before. What an interesting bird.
After our satisfying meal we went to the Back Bay for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening. Again, the day was clear, windy and hot. We trolled and jigged. We caught 3 pike, 3 walleyes and one good sized sucker. This is the first time we came across a sucker in the lake and it was pretty healthy with good weight. He was put back into the lake.
This day was not too bad fishing considering we caught 16 walleyes and 4 pike.
Day 5, Wednesday, July 26, 2007
Day 6, Thursday, July 27, 2007
After our typical breakfast of cereal and coffee we were off to our Hot Spot on the main lake. On the way to the Hot Spot Cas caught a walleye trolling. Again the day turned out to be clear and sunny with some wind. We would get the boat positioned upwind then drift over the deep water by jigging worms. We fished hard and we caught another walleye and Lamar caught a pretty nice sized pike using a worm. After the initial success the action cooled off. We crossed the lake to the islands on the west side and positioned the boat to drift parallel to one of the islands. Starting the drift in weeds and in 2 to 4 feet of water we immediately hooked up with a nice walleye. Drifting parallel to the island and into the deeper water did not give any more hits. We returned to shallow water again to start the drift by jigging with worms and immediately we caught another walleye. So, we found that the walleyes were concentrating in the shallow water. After catching about half dozen walleyes the action stopped. Walt again tried casting "Mickey Mouse" with the flyrod without any success. Went back for lunch.
After lunch we went back to the same islands where we had some action earlier in the day, We fished for an hour without any bites so we decited to troll further south on the big lake toward cabin 6. Trolling Walt hooked up with a nice walleye and a pike where the seagull were guarding their nesting site. On the way back around 7 PM we caught another pike. Again the day was long and hot with hard fishing.
Day 7, Friday, July 28, 2007
After breakfast we fished the Normandin River all the way up to Lac Baude. This day turned out to be Lamar's best day, catching 5 pike. Normandin River between the Main lake and Lac Baude is very scenic with many inlet bays and some pretty good deep sections. We trolled most of the way catching the pike and a few walleyes. Once we reached Lac Baude the wind was unbelievable. On the river the boat is protected from the wind and once you enter the open water on Lac Baude there seemed to be a contant wind from the southwest. We fished around the islands once and decided to head back to the river. We slowly fished downstream back to the cabin. This year the Honey Hole only produced one walleye. For the morning fish count we caught 7 pike and 4 walleyes.
After lunch we returned to the Normandin River and fished up to the falls. Walt tried again the flyrod and had a strike, again without a hookup. As it was getting dark we returned to the cabin mentally and physically beat.
In the evening we relaxed, talked about the week at Domaine Poutrincourt, about the fishing, the weather, the positives and negatives. We finished up the few beers in the fridge and started to pack the fishing gear for the next day's return home.
Day 8, Saturday, July 29, 2007 - travel day
We had a tough week at the lake. The first day at the lake was a late start getting to the cabin.
Then the unusual hot weather for the week was something we did not expect and this probably affected the fishing.
The week was unseasonably hot and the fishing was challenging for walleyes.
We could not locate and catch the walleyes like we did in years past.
The pike were there in the usual spots.
The trip to the lake was more expensive this year compared to previous trips with the additional expenses of gas, new provincial and federal taxes and the fishing licenses.
The cabin was OK, but general maintenance was needed and in fairness, it was
proceeding during the week with work being done on our dock, the boardwalk and
the toilet system. We should also note the good things about the lake and that
it is a good location, it's large and wild, it has the walleyes and northern pike
in good sizes and it's a beautiful place. We enjoy coming back to this lake and we
are all familiar with it - it's part of us to some extent. We will return again
hopefully by bringing the grandkids when they get a little bit older for a
taste of a great fishing adventure in northern Quebec. And finally, it is a
great place for three friends, who have had many outdoor adventures over the
years together, to spend a week together fishing and just enjoying the wilderness experience.
Hopefully, we'll continue to plan and explore more fishing adventures in Canada and elsewhere.
Lamar's trophy pike - released back into the lake
Link to Andre and Eric Cauchon's website, outfitters for Domaine Poutrincourt
Links to our previous trip reports to Lac Poutrincourt
our Trip report 2002
September 14, 2007
photos by Walt Kononenko
Back to Walt Kononenko's main home site