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    Trout Fishing: Dumoine 2011

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Insurance on Sat, Jan 28, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

    TroutFishing is a sport for young, old, rich or poor.  The pull of a line and an exciting retrieve are the thrills that drive anglers to boats and shores with all the weapons they can afford.  But it’s the time in the boats, getting to the shore, and the stories that are the soul of fishing.  This is the story of fishing in Quebec, economy class.

    Quebec is a vast province, but getting to remote regions doesn’t need to cost a fortune.  The Dumoine region is accessed 2 hours north of Ottawa, a day’s drive from Boston, and only 4-5 hours from upstate New York.  Our fishing expedition took us another hour across primitive roads, roughly 30 km from Deep River, Ontario where there are great outfitters and less campy fishing opportunities available.   There are also fly-in opportunities out of Rapides des Joachims on Air Swisha, just across the Ottawa River in Quebec.

    The licensure requirements in Quebec have two levels: the province (Quebec license) and the “Zone Ecologique de Control” (the ZEC).   The only real trick is deciding which ZEC to fish; once you do this, you’re limited to that zone.  If you’re in for a week, a one week Quebec license and two three day ZEC licenses is a good way to see more country, though a week in a single ZEC is still more water than you could possibly visit in the course of a week.   A ZEC map available at the outfitters in Deep River is worth the investment; the reverse side lists the known species to each lake.  Ours was mostly a brook trout show, though pike, walleye and lake trout are plentiful, and we caught all these on appropriate water.

    Brook Trout cannot compete with many favorite anglers’ favorite catch, bass, nor its co-habitants, pike and walleye (cousin to the perch), as these fish will decimate the small fry trout before they mature.  Thus, once a lake has been infested with these species, trout cannot survive.  This is the basis for important and tight regulations never to introduce live bait (minnows) into trout waters.  If you’re going to fish with minnows, catch them yourself in the water you’re going to fish.   Don’t contribute to the eradication of a great fish.

    During Quebec’s separatist movement in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, Americans and many English speaking Canadians found Quebec less than hospitable, and fishing by outsiders declined.  In addition, the Dumoine region was clear-cut logged, changing the landscape substantially.  Today the forest is mostly new-growth poplar and birch, but old growth white pine, spruce and white cedar remain in a few pockets.

    A more welcome regulatory structure makes fishing regions more accessible again to outsiders.  The old logging roads are the upside to the logging operations of the 1970s.  Many lakes, formerly accessible only by extensive wilderness traverse (paddling across water and portaging - - walking around in the woods with a canoe on your head) are today readily accessible by 4-wheel drive vehicles.  Secondary unimproved logging roads, accessible by 3- and 4-wheel ATVs will get you even further in.   As with any wilderness travel, the further you‘re willing to go in, the more wildlife and fewer humans you’ll see.

    Accommodations are primitive, if you’re on a budget.  But primitive is a relative term.  Our camp is owned by the Dumoine Rod and Gun Clu and includes a gas fridge. 3-burner stove, bunk beds, and a screened porch looking out across the lake.  We were delighted to find a fine folding card table and folding chairs where we wiled away non-fishing-hours playing cards.  Having spent enough rainy nights in our youth stuck in a tent trying to heat water to make rhaman noodles soft, we were living large.  The little tricks we’ve learned over the years to maximize comfort make staying at Camp Cullen as comfortable as the Ritz.  And the Ritz can’t touch the view …or the sounds of owls and loons in the short solstice night.

    Part of the allure of wilderness camping is the richness of life, even in a place with a growing season of about 60 days.  On the final mile in we spotted a large snapping turtle laying eggs in the road sand by a beaver pond.  That evening, as we fished our own Lake Cullen, we were shadowed by a beaver whose lodge was just around the corner from ours.   A black bear sighting, wolf prints in the mud, watching a loon grab the trout one of us had just released (apparently he hadn’t fully recovered) were other wilderness encounters we won’t soon forget.

    The bugs of Quebec deserve more than a footnote.  Bug spray isn’t enough, though the Native Americans’ use of bear grease was the best they had.  Full head-nets are a must, and a sleeping canopy net can make the difference between a good night’s sleep and a bad one.

    A good, but fairly typical day was our third.   We began with a delicious hot breakfast then paddled our boats to the landing where the truck was parked.   We headed to Lake Benwah, which has only native trout and is closed after a certain number are taken.  We caught and kept three fine native brook trout from this mile long lake.  After Benwah, we explored two other lakes known for large pike, but were skunked.  Back at camp by mid-afternoon, Peter made a fire to fry our fish, and I went for a swim.  About halfway to my island destination two loons came in for a close look at the splashy, noisy swimmer on their lake.  Later, washing down campfire trout on crackers with a cold Canadian beer while waiting for our evening fish, I wrote in my journal.

    My hardest decision for the day still vexed me: would I go with a gold Phoebe, or silver Kastmaster against the pike that night?

    Here's a video slideshow of my trip, enjoy!

     

    Geoff Gordon

    Tags: Dumoine fishing, fishing, trout, trout fishing, dumoine, quebec fishing, fishing blog

    The Grand Canyon

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Insurance on Thu, Jan 26, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

    The day before our Sedona Trip, my family decided that we should see the Grand Canyon. Now it’s worth mentioning that my family, like the countless before us, fell into the vacational quagmire known as ‘mindless sightseeing.’ Not one of us had any particular interest in the Grand Canyon, but we all felt compelled it see it by the almost tangible feeling of expectation breathing down our necks with its hot, rancid breath. So we went anyway. Ultimately I’m glad we did, but it always bothers me when I see things just to say I’ve seen them.

    It’s also worth mentioning that I didn’t bring a camera for unfortunate reasons known in clinical psychology circles as ‘terrible decisions’; all these pictures are courtesy of other photographers. These are not my photos, and I deserve exactly no credit for any of them. I’ve added them so our visually inclined readers can slug through my words without feeling the need to jump off the Canyon rim.

    If you end up visiting the Grand Canyon yourself, there are many great things to see (see below). But for me, the most enjoyable part of the visit was the 3 hours spent hiking around the rim. Hiking is particularly enjoyable here because there’s ALWAYS a breathtaking view, no matter where you are (unless you choose to hike with a sleeping mask, which I don’t recommend). It’s also great because the vegetation and rocks provide great shady places to stop and eat or just rest.

    Grand Canyon Hike

    This is what it looks like when you hike.

    Even so, the shade is really unnecessary because of the dry air, which has so little humidity that it feels like 80 degrees when the temperature is supposedly near 100. Hiking in the crisp air and wind made for one of the most comfortable hikes I’ve been on (temperature-wise).  Note that the same will NOT be true for your car. The hot Arizona sun will heat the interior of your car to blistering temperatures in only a few hours. Be sure to crack a window, or you might burn yourself on your seat belt when you return like a witless simpleton (see: me).

    Grand Canyon Hike

    If you’re not faint of heart, you’ll also enjoy visiting the famous (or infamous, depending on your personal comfort level with heights) ‘Grand Canyon Skywalk.’ This is a glass-bottomed U-shaped structure that reaches out over the canyon unsupported from below. While the views are amazing, you’ll probably find out whether you have more faith in human engineering or gravity.

    Grand Canyon Skywalk

    There are also lots of off-site things to see if you get the opportunity.

    One of the coolest places (in my opinion) is called Antelope Canyon. It’s a long drive away from the Canyon, but truly incredible if you have eyes or an interest in irregular geometry (strangely, the ‘chaos of irregularly iterated fractals canyon’ just doesn’t have the same ring). The rock formations in this canyon look both carved and smooth, with edges and warped surfaces. If you visit around noon, you can see the ‘light of God’ at the bottom, like in the picture.

    Antelope Cavern

    'Light of God' or just really cool optical physics? Both?

    If you can make it (it’s a long drive), try visiting the Hoover Dam. I particularly liked how the Hoover Dam is a marvel of human engineering placed smack in the middle of some of nature’s best engineering.  If you couldn’t tell already, I’m a huge fan of contrast and corn dogs (you probably couldn’t tell the second part).

    Hoover Dam

    The Hoover Dam simultaneously gave me feelings of empowerment and vulnerability. Humans as we know them have only been crawling around for a few thousand years, whereas the Colorado River has been carving the Canyon for millions of years; regardless, we’ve managed to erect a structure to regulate all that natural change in a geological blink of an eye.

    On the flip side, when I see the Hoover Dam, I don’t see a dam …well, I do see a dam, but I also see a battle between the concrete it’s made of, gravity, and the billions of gallons of water constantly pressing against it. It’s here today, but gravity isn’t going away any time soon; nature always wins in the end.

    Despite its touristy ‘street-rep,’ it’s definitely worth your while to make at least a stop here. It’s the one place on Earth where you can take a picture anywhere under any conditions and have it look awesome. Poor photographers (see: my family) don’t need to worry about lighting or scenery. The Grand Canyon is popular for a reason.

    Corbin Foucart

    Tags: Arizona, Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon National Park, Antelope Canyon, Colorado River, God, grand canion, grand canon, grand canyon attractions, grand canyon sights, grand canyon sites, Grand Canyon Skywalk, grand caynon, Hoover Dam, hoover dam tours, skywalk west rim, west rim skywalk, United States

    Sedona, AZ: Our Hiking Trip

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Insurance on Tue, Jan 24, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

    The following account is the tragic tale of how my foot was introduced to Echinocereus fendleri, known to biologists and Jeopardy contestants as the “Fendler Hedgehog Cactus.” But because I am haunted every night by the ghosts of Shakespeare past, I feel obligated to start at the beginning of the story.

    My uncle and his family used to live in Sedona, Arizona because, like our family, they tend to accept “familiarity breeds contempt” as a central doctrine and move around frequently. Either that or he’s a repressed linguistic compensating for his semantic yearnings by moving to places that rhyme.

    Whatever the case, we decided to travel to Arizona to visit with them and more importantly, to hike. Sedona is one of the agreed-upon most beautiful places in America. It boasts towering mesas, red sand, fresh air, and depending on the season, tourists wearing all the seven major varieties of the “awful polo.”

    Sedona

    We spent two days in Sedona after visiting the Grand Canyon (which is another story for another post), so naturally the bar had been set high. However, Sedona did not disappoint; I, unlike WolframAlpha, think that Sedona is cooler than the GC.

    Our first day involved some intense road-tripping and poor verb creation. We traveled 3 or 4 hours to Sedona by car. Depending on your personal affinity for driving and how much you like playing “I spy” (ignore the libelous ‘warning’ to avoid playing in cars; the directions were written by ruffians), I would recommend long drives as part of your trip. The Arizona desert is possibly the most gorgeous landscape to drive through. Rock formations smeared with vibrant reds and oranges as well as a variety of plant and animal life will make the drive well worth the while.

    Sedona az


    We actually got the opportunity to drive part of the way through a thunderstorm, which was also something everyone should be able to see. The winds whip the rain into pseudo-twisters that whip back and forth around you; quite a remarkable sight!

    Once we arrived in Sedona, we hiked as much as we could. ‘Hiked’ is a loose term here; there were other people on the trail with backpacks they could drink straight out of and goofy improvised ski poles, glancing at us with disdain as they shuffled past. I suppose they were the ones that were actually hiking; we ‘vigorously walked’ the trails around Sedona. It’s really unfortunate that I was at the stage where I would never take pictures of anything (because I thought that worrying about a camera ruined the experience). The Sedona trails boasted some of the most stunning scenery I’ve ever seen. If you ever have the opportunity to walk these trails, do so. Ski poles or not.

    sedona hiking

    For the most part, these trails are very safe and well marked; but on the last day, I wandered off the path and stepped right on a cactus (a Fendler Hedgehog Catcus to be precise, see above) wearing only sneakers. I may or may not have said some unspeakable things; words that I didn’t even know I had access to. Which leads me to my most important recommendation: WEAR BOOTS.

    fendler cactus, sedona The Culprit. Looks sinister, doesn't it?

    Despite this painful turn of events, I watched an Arizona sunset from a Mesa, which is when I once again felt an irrational urge to scrapbook. Oh well, such is life. Next time, I’ll bring a camera. For now, here's a YouTube video posted by someone who had the sense to bring one.

     

     ...Stupid Cactus.

    Corbin Foucart

     

     

    Tags: Arizona, arizona trips, Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon National Park, Hiking, Jeopardy, Sedona Arizona, sedona az, sedona az tours, sedona hiking, sedona resorts, sedona tours, sedona trips, things to do in Arizona, tours in sedona, Trail, United States

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