LABRADOR: Big Brookies, Remote Waters
Southern Labrador is the last best place for big native brook trout, fish whose genes trace an unblemished line back to the retreat of the glaciers. How big? Four-pounders are about average, 7-pounders are common, and a 10-pounder or two is taken every year.
In 1955, when Lee Wulff first flew his floatplane over the raw, trackless tundra and discovered the lacework of interconnected lakes and streams of the Minipi and Eagle river drainages, the region's only human visitors were a few itinerant native trappers and caribou hunters. Aside from the scattering of seasonal fishing lodges that have popped up in the past 35 years, nothing has changed to this day. About 80 percent of Labrador waters have never been fished.
They're all fly-in operations (floatplane and helicopter) out of Goose Bay. The season lasts barely 12 weeks, from mid-June to mid-September. Anglers are allowed to kill just one trophy trout a week-otherwise it's all catch-and-release, the way Wulff wanted it. Flyfishermen take trout after trout on Muddlers, Royal Wulffs, and deer-hair mice. Best of all, hatches of big mayflies occur regularly in the summer, and even the 8-pounders will readily slurp in a dry fly. Trophy-sized northern pike and Arctic char offer a change of pace.
Accommodations range from comfortable to luxurious. But outdoors, it's remote and wild, and even in midsummer the weather is dependably lousy, just as it's always been in Labrador. Just the way it should be. For more information, go to www.canadaoutdoors.to/labrador.htm.