Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Archive for ‘August 24th, 2016’

Fishing Malbaie River

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

42℉ at 4:00 AM, high of 65

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

I was excited and a bit nervous to go to the other side of the park to fish the Malbaie River. It was 5:30 and fairly light as I set out. I stopped in the parking lot to read the map to see where I was going. I drove north on 381 to the next entrance to the park on Rt. 60 west. There was no one at the entrance and I was happy to see the gate open. It’s a brand new paved road for a while, going through a huge area that was burned in a fire in 1999. At the top of a hill is a viewing area where you get a sense of how vast the park is. Normally you drive through the park on tree-lined roads where visibility is limited. Where this area was burned you can see forever.  I expected to see moose of a bear, but didn’t see anything. However, I say a big bear scat on the paved road, and when the road turned to dirt, there were moose tracks going right down the road. Hearing a loon call, I stopped at a lake and took a picture. It could have been a photography shoot. I love this time of morning with the chance to see wildlife. Lakes and streams have mist coming off, as the sun begins to light the trees. But I had fishing to do, so I pressed on. 

It took an hour to get to the stream. On the first bridge crossing, I took a couple of pictures. In trout stream terms, at least in the east, this is a big river. At the bridge it was running fast. I scouted the length of the river along the course of the fishable stretch of 7km, but who knows what is best when you are new to an area. You just take your best shot and go. I turned down a small road, figuring this might be more secluded, but at the end there was a very large parking area with a picnic table. It was also a trail head. There was a huge pool below a rapid, a place where Kelly would probably catch 30 fish……if they were there. Surely this spot was fished out, but I decided to give it a go. 

I was quite happy there wasn’t a film crew there as I tore the truck apart to find the right gear. This was the first time fly fishing on this trip. The vest was in the back seat. The waders were in the tool box, so I had to remove the tarp covering the bikes. The shoes were in the truck bed under the bikes. Having kicked up some grasshoppers at the visitor’s center, I looked everywhere for a box with grasshoppers and other flies in it, but couldn’t find it. Where is the net? Do I really need it for Brook Trout? Found it behind the back seat. My leader was a bit short as usual, but I need to get fishing. Finally I got into the gear and put on a Tom Thumb, the most versatile and popular fly in Canada. I only have one. Putting on little cheap glasses, I had a hard time. 

Finally getting down to the pool, I cautiously waded to the other side of the river. How deep is it? Is it slippery? Are there holes? How cold is it? Although the water is pretty clear, it is typically tannin-stained, so it isn’t always easy to see where you are stepping. I lost the Tom Thumb on a snag on the fourth cast. Lost another fly on a fish. Tried a Wolly Bugger. #@*#! I can hear Kelly giving me grief now! I tied on something that looked like a Tom Thumb, but wasn’t. Little fish liked it, but there were no takers by any keepers. Maybe it was the fly. Maybe the pool was fished out of keepers. I don’t know, but now it was 10:00 and Martha wanted fish for dinner. I made my way back to the truck and ate Martha’s sandwich from the restaurant yesterday and drank some water. I had brought my work glasses with loupes, so I put them on and tied on a Royal Coachman. Damn, I can see! If Brook Trout in Virginia like a Coachman, will Canadian Brookies like it? 

I walked down a trail leading downstream. There was a marker for a short, little access trail to the river. I soon learned this trail goes the entire length of the river with access trails every 30 yards or so. Geez, that’s nice! I went in at 47, but only a few little 4” fish. I tried #46, same thing. I went back to the truck and got the spinning rod and some lures. I was going to catch fish!! Now carrying the fly rod and spinning rod, I went down to #45. Wading half way across the river, I threw the spinning lure at a log on the other side. Reeling slowly, it hung. I couldn’t get across to get it, so I broke it off. Now I have been fishing for two or three hours and have lost a spinning lure and three flies! There were words. I fished the spinning rod for 20 minutes with no luck, so I went back to the fly rod. Little 4” trout loved the Coachman, sometimes hitting it just as it landed, but not so often as it drifted. I have not mastered the art of mending my line to get the perfect drift, so if this is what needs to be done, I am toast. I dropped down to #41. It was pretty flat water all along here, but I was running out of time. I would have to try this area. I waded across, fishing the far shore where the water was deepest. I caught 15 4” trout. Well, they are reproducing well in this river. There HAS to be a momma or papa somewhere! Then he hit. They don’t come out of the water like they do in Virginia, but this one was smart. He headed for a log. I didn’t trust my knot. I thought the line was strong enough, but I had bent the barb back so I could release all those little fish easier. How well was he hooked? I have watched the Master, Kelly, bring in big fish, and he is very patient. His rod is a 6-weight and has much more flex than mine, so I have broken off some big fish. I loosened the drag and kept my hand off the line. He headed for a big rock, so I pulled him away. He was strong, stripping off some line. I let him go. It seemed like 10 or 15 minutes. Several times I tied to get him to the net, but he would have nothing of it. Finally I was able to drag him to a sandbar and net him. He filled the net, matching some of the bigger fish we caught in British Columbia. I probably would have let him go, being such a beautiful fish, but Martha wanted dinner. I went back and fished another half hour, only catching little fish. Looking downstream for another spot, I decided it would be best to get back. It was 1:00 and Martha had no means of going anywhere from camp, so I decided to start back at 1:00.

Martine told me there was a fish cleaning station at the junction of 60 and 381, so I stopped there. It was a little room on the back of that visitor’s center, which was closed although there were a lot of park cars and trucks outside. I couldn’t read the instructions and I wasn’t sure how to fill out the card, but there was a scale to weigh the fish, so I did. There is also a big roll of wax paper so you can wrap your fish. How nice! I got back to camp about 2:30 and found Martha reading the travel book on Quebec. Uh Oh, we must be leaving! 

A Day of Fishing for Greg

August 24, Tuesday

Martha here.

First, let me say that we are now into our fourth week of camping.  It’s just hard to believe.  Knock on wood, we have had no major problems and we are still talking to each other.

Greg must have been very excited about fishing.  I think I heard him get up around 3:30 a.m. and drive away some time after 5 a.m.  

Not 5 minutes after he left I thought I felt the camper shake and someone step on the steps.  I called out “Greg, is that you?” and got no answer.  I tried to look outside to see what/who was out there (a bear? a moose?) but the windows were fogged up (40+ degrees this morning) and could not see anything, so back to bed I went where it was nice and warm.

Anyway, I hope Greg has good luck fishing.  It would be great to have a fresh trout for dinner, put some in the freezer, and give a trout to Martine, too.  She was a great help to us at registration.  And she was so excited that Greg was going to fly fish standing in the river.  The typical Canadian way in these parts seems to be from a row boat in a big lake.  She asked if he had waders and if he needed lures.  After explaining the 5K stretch of river he could fish, she put a big star where the best spot was!  

BTY, I tried out my poor French and said “Mon nom est Martha, aussi”.  Both Martine and the other Martha laughed.  Martine also told us that ‘Martine’ is the feminine of Martin and that she has a twin brother named Martin!

Tues., early evening

YES!!!!!  Fish for dinner!

I’ll let Greg tell you the fishing story . . . but we had Brook trout for dinner.

Kelly, how did I do?  Kind of looks like the trout you fixed for Rhonda and me when we met you and Greg in Jasper/Banff during Fish Across Canada.

Leroy, awesome . . . I think I can say ‘better than Graves Mountain’.  The trout was only 5 hours out of the water when we had it for dinner.

See pictures below, dinner fit for a king.  Brook trout cooked in foil with EOO, parsley, and lemon with Butternut squash cooked in foil with white and brown sugar cinnamon, and butter, and Uncle Ben’s 90 second brown and wild rice.  OK, a girl has to know when to cheat!  But an awesome dinner!

Heading for Grand-Jardins National Parc

63℉ at 6:00 to a high of 75℉

Monday, August 22, 2016

It rained hard all night, which brought the stream up considerably. They need rain here, so it is good. It is also quite nice that it came at night again and that it waited until the weekend was over. All those campers had a beautiful weekend. Now our section of the campground is pretty cleared out. 

Martha put the left-over tomatoes, peppers and onions into a scrumptious omelet.  Then we packed up and headed for Parc National des Grands-Jardins. We got an email from Fred, again inviting us to visit in La Malbaie. Hopefully we can do that after a few days in Grand-Jardins. We set off south on 73 and picked up 40 east just north of Quebec. It turned into 440 and then something else, maybe 381. It was stop and go with frequent stoplights. Then there were little towns. By noon we were looking for our turn north. Pulling into a town at the bottom of a huge hill, I told Martha to look out for a place to eat, jokingly pointing out the McDonalds. We both spotted a cute, little restaurant next to the McDonalds and pulled in. Traffic was heavy and I quickly had to decide whether to go through McDonalds or a dead-end parking lot, so I went through McDonalds. Chris Friend had recently posted about getting stuck in a McDonalds and having to remove a rail so he could get by. Very fortunately, there was enough room and a nice gentleman let us go past on the other side. It is always an adventure parking while you are pulling a trailer. We found room about a block away and walked back to a great little place called Chain son Pain Restaurant. 

They make breads, which were on display on the left as we walked in, and there was a line for that. In front of us was a line for lunch. Of  course it is all in French, but the young girl was patient, polite and helpful. Martha got soup and a chicken sandwich. I love a meat pie, so I chose that, which came with a salad. I also ordered a double expresso. When was I going to see that possibility again? I also got a square of blueberry-filled  strudel. I don’t know what you would call it, but I have gotten them in Charlottesville at a bakery off McIntire Road.  

It was crowded and the only place to sit was next to a lady eating a salad of cabbage, blueberries and peaches, so we sat down, saying the usual Bonjour. Sometimes God sends an angel to show you the way, and I’m sure this was one. Her name is either Lillian or Ellilian. She had just been to a big Buddhist meeting in Vermont and was driving back, saying she always stops here for lunch. Then she told us of a great place for seafood, where she always stops for dinner. Martha, who loves to dine out, quickly wrote it down. From Montreal, she spends her summers somewhere past Saguenay. Not being familiar with the towns or places, I couldn’t really tell where it was. She said we would love Grands-Jardins. And then she was on her way.

Driving up the mountains toward Grands-Jardins, the roads are very steep and the truck struggled in second gear. I watched the transmission heat up on one hill, but we finally made it. Two huge outcroppings of rock appeared before us. Half Dome has nothing over one of these. We waited in line at the Visitor’s Center as two ladies were working hard checking people in, giving information and answering the phone. One was Martha and the other Martine. Finally Martine was available and she couldn’t have been nicer. She actually got excited when I asked for a fishing license, showing me where to fish and what sections I would have the best luck. “What is the limit” Martha asked. She said 15! 15 Brook trout! Then she showed me where the cleaning station was and how to fill out the back of the permit for numbers of fish caught, kept and weighed, and where to put it. 

I asked Martha to come with me, as the stream is across the park, but she said she would be fine here and would take a hike somewhere. We set up in a great site with electric hookup and we were able to fill the water tank from a spigot. There was a sign stapled to the picnic table saying “You are in black bear country!” and telling you to clean up your food, not to leave any scraps and to move everything inside at night. Then we took a beautiful, little hike right from our campground. Martha didn’t get too far ahead this time, and let me go in front after a huge Blue Heron got up in front of us. These birds are so skittish, it is difficult to get a good picture. There were Moose droppings along the trail, or were they Forrest Caribou, which reside here?

It was quite cool and the wind was blowing pretty hard, so we decided against a fire and had dinner inside. Looking out the windows, all we could see was forrest all around us, although we are in the middle of a campground. There is a great shower house close by, I was excited about the chance to go fishing tomorrow, and keep some Brook trout!

 

JGW_3382

DSCN1770