One Woman, Four Men, Eight Days Fishing in Canada

Written by on August 17, 2014 No Comments

Once upon a time, Mark decided to take his son, Arthur, his nephew, Terry, his good friend, Jack, and me, to Canada to go fishing. The location Mark chose was Kasba Lake in northern Canada.  For months prior to our August 1 departure, new fishing lures arrived in the mail to my house about every third day.  When it came time to pack, Mark realized, “We have more lures than we can possibly use in eight days.  And if we took them all, they’d weigh more than the 50 pound limit we can have for luggage.”  Packing was a lot of fun.  I think we weighed our bags four times.

To get to Kasba Lake one must either first fly or drive to Winnipeg.  Since Mark and I had spent a small fortune on fishing lures, some of which remained home, we opted to drive.  Lucky for us, Jack had spent his money on a brand new Chevy Traverse, so Mark, Arthur and I loaded up in that and drove and drove and drove to Winnepeg.  There, we met Mark’s nephew, Terry, and hopped onto an airplane that took us further north.

Selfie before boarding the first plane.

Selfie before boarding the first plane.

The plane looked something like this.

Mark about to board the first plane.

Mark about to board the first plane.

We took some small plastic bottles with us to take the edge off.

A wee nip to take the edge off the flight.

A wee nip to take the edge off the flight.

Two hours later, we arrived at Kasba Lake Lodge.

Arthur and Mark in front of the lodge sign.

Terry, Arthur and Mark in front of the lodge sign.

At the lodge we were fed a yummy breakfast.  Note the fine accommodations.

Awesome breakfast before heading out into the hinterland.

Awesome breakfast before heading out into the hinterland.

Afterwards, we helped load up the float plane.  Luggage went into the floats and into the back of the cabin.

Loading up the float plane at Kasba Lake Lodge.

Loading up the float plane at Kasba Lake Lodge.

This is a view out the window of the float plane.  There seemed to be more water than land.

View out the window of the float plane.

View out the window of the float plane.

The pilot, Larry, told us the airplane had a great engine that would allow the plane to continue flying even if something went wrong.  How ominous.

Larry, left, our pilot.  That's our friend, Jack, on the right.

Larry, left, our pilot. That’s our friend, Jack, on the right.

While Jack sat in the co-pilot seat, Terry, Mark and I sat in a middle row seat, and Arthur sat in the back with the luggage.

Arthur, sitting with the luggage.

Arthur, sitting with the luggage.

About twenty minutes after we took off, we landed on the water and tied up to a dock in front of our outpost cabin, which was our home for 8 days.  It’s on Tabane Lake.

Kasba Lake Outpost Cabin.

Kasba Lake Outpost Cabin.

The cabin was made of plywood, with a screened-in porch decorated with a lot of duct tape.  Duct tape held the glass onto the front door, duct tape held the bits of screen together where a bear had punched it in a year earlier, and you can see duct tape on the ceiling in the photo, below.  The cabin consisted of one main room with 4 bunk beds, a stove, fridge and sink.

Inside the cabin.

Inside the cabin.

The bathroom was a tiny affair.  The shower dripped the entire time and the one side was so flimsy it could probably be pushed down by a hoard of black flies.  But, as Mark said, at least we had indoor plumbing–on a previous trip, we had an outhouse.

Bathroom at the Kasba Lake Outpost Cabin.

Bathroom at the Kasba Lake Outpost Cabin.

Food and beer had been left in coolers and in the fridge.  We soon learned that in Canada, a case of beer is only 15 beers, whereas a “flat” of beer is 24.  We had to order more beer via satellite phone with Larry mid-week because of our wee misunderstanding (as in, “Bring in a flat, Larry!”).  Indeed, Larry flew in mid-week with beer, dish soap and other essentials, not including mustard, which Jack watered down so as to last longer. We were the last group to use the cabin for the season.

Our meals consisted of burgers on the grill, steak, and fresh lake trout, amongst other tasty food, compliments mostly of Chef Jack, with help from Arthur.  I must say that the Arthur-Jack rub on the steaks–consisting of Tang, coffee grounds, orange peels, and Mesquite rub–was simply amazing.

Fresh lake trout for dinner.

Fresh lake trout for dinner.

I soon discovered that some men snore at an amazing volume, and with the drippy shower as accompaniment, it was a bit too much for me.  I slept on the porch most nights.  The citronella candles mostly kept the mosquitoes at bay, adding their own symphony to the air.  The lovely cotton liner provided to line the sleeping bags actually stayed in place the first night.  After that, not so much.

Heavy sleeping bags and bag liners anyone?

Heavy sleeping bags and bag liners anyone?

Our eight day stay consisted mostly of fishing, of course.  Arthur hadn’t caught too many fish in his life, so we were all excited when he caught his first lake trout…puny little thing that it was.

Arthur with his first lake trout.

Arthur with his first lake trout.

And when Terry caught his first northern pike ever, it was cause for celebration.  But not as great a cause as when his second-ever pike was 41 inches.  Of course, Mark would later beat this fish by two inches.

Terry with his big pike.

Terry with his big pike.

In addition to fishing in the lake, we also explored three streams, one of which had killer rapids that tried to flip Terry and Jack, another of which took most of the way to get to, and another of which was kinder and gentler.  Everyone caught at least one grayling, none of which cooperated for photos.

Exploring a small grayling stream.

Exploring a small grayling stream.

The first few days of fishing were warm enough for a nifty dip in the lake.

Floating in the water.

Floating in the water.

But mid-week, the temperatures dropped and the warmer clothes came out.

Bundled up in 7 layers of clothing.

Bundled up in 7 layers of clothing.

Between bouts of fishing, I fell for a few of the local critters, including this rabbit, which may or may not be an arctic hare.

My rabbit pal.

My rabbit pal.

The rabbit did something I’d never seen before:  it took off swimming across the lake.  I held my breath the entire time it was swimming, knowing that a big pike wouldn’t hesitate to eat a rabbit.  Luckily, it circled back and returned to land about 500 feet from the lodge.  We still have no idea what it was doing.

Rabbit swimming in the lake.

Rabbit swimming in the lake.

I also fell for the resident jays.  They showed up the first evening and searched around the hull of our boats.  It didn’t take them long to find some trail mix that had accidentally fallen over in the bow.

Jay on the dock, about to check out the two boats for food.

Jay on the dock, about to check out the two boats for food.

I quickly discovered that the jays loved the nuts in the trail mix, but not the raisins or M&Ms.  That worked out great for me, because the raisins and M&Ms were my favorite.  So, I shared the rest of my trail mix with the birds.  I put some on the boat…

 

ACanada - jay with nut on boat

 

…and I put some on a burning barrel.  Jack took up the sport, sharing his walnuts and peanuts by making small piles on the ground.

Jay with its mouth full of nuts.

Jay with its mouth full of nuts.  That’s a caribou antler in the foreground.

Other birds we saw included a boreal chickadee, a redpoll, common loons, an arctic loon, eagles, gulls, arctic terns, three birds I will have to get identified by my Alma College birding pal, and this shorebird.

Greater yellowlegs.

Greater yellowlegs.

I also took time to shoot the smaller things…

Spider web.

Spider web.

…including the lichen and other macro-life.

I took a liking to the lichen.

I took a liking to the lichen.

And let’s not forget the fresh blueberries!

Yum!

Yum!

Of course, bears like berries. And we did see some bear tracks on another island.

Tracks of a small bear.

Tracks of a small bear.

In the arctic, the sun doesn’t set in August until around 11 p.m.  Most nights, it was worth staying up for the sunset.

ACanada - sunset

And sometimes, there were still things to do.

Arthur working on a reel.

Arthur working on a reel.

The week went by in the blink of an eye.  The fishing was fast and furious, especially for pike.  The overall size of all three species of fish–lake trout, pike and grayling–was smaller than Nueltin Lake and smaller than at the main lodge, where, at Kasba Lake itself, one lucky guy got a 36-pound lake trout.

Arthur, Mark, Jack, Terry.

Arthur, Mark, Jack, Terry.

But the numbers of fish kept things interesting all week.  As did the weather.

Calm day in Canada.

Calm day in Canada.

And Mark caught enough fish to get boo-boos on his fingers.  Poor fella.

Mark's wounds from pike.

Mark’s wounds from pike.

On our last evening at the outpost cabin, the men smoked cigars, and we all tried to finish off the rest of the expensive beer we’d paid for.  That meant four beers per person.  Burp.

Men smoking cigars.

Men smoking cigars.

The next morning at 7, Larry flew in to pick us up in his plane and take us home.  It was rainy and the plane’s engine wasn’t as loud as when we took off from the lodge, making me a bit worried.  My worry gene was correct, and if you go to my FB page, you’ll see the hairy video flight back to Kasba Lake Lodge, where a cylinder blew on the plane.  Aaaahhhh!

Float plane after we arrived back at the lodge, and after the cylinder blew.  Note the oil in the water.

Float plane after we arrived back at the lodge, and after the cylinder blew. Note the oil in the water.

Larry keeps a sign on the cockpit of his plane that says that “Tipping the pilot helps him remember where he left you.”  Upon landing safely with a blown cylinder, I gave Larry a nice tip!

Tipping the pilot highly recommended.

Tipping the pilot highly recommended.

After another great breakfast at the main lodge, we took the plane back to Winnepeg, which involved a stop-over at Lynn Lake to refuel.  At Winnipeg, we said good-bye to Terry, and Arthur, Mark, Jack and I headed to Jack’s car for the loooong ride home.  This is a parting shot from Kasba Lake Lodge.  Thanks, guys, for the great time!

Jack, Terry, Arthur, Mark and me at the lodge.

Jack, Terry, Arthur, Mark and me at the lodge.

Leave a Reply

css.php