Flyfishing Nunavik from Inukshuk Lodge

It cooled down overnight.  Then at around 4 AM the rain started.  I’ve been getting up before 7 each day but the rain kept me zipped up in my mummy bag on my top bunk dreaming of Arctic char.

 

The other reason to stay in bed was that the first high tide of the day wasn’t until noon which means we couldn’t launch the boats until 10 AM at the earliest.  We took a leisurely morning around camp.  During that time the rain stopped but was replaced by wind.  We had to break out the map and find a place to fish that was close and somewhat sheltered.  We also had to fish near camp because staying out all day wasn’t an option because the next high tide isn’t until 1 AM.  Within two hours of high tide is the only time we can launch or pull out the boats.  So today was only a short four-hour excursion.

 

It turns out there’s an unnamed river that pours into Ungava Bay a mere couple miles away from Inukshuk Lodge.  We took the whitecap smacking boat ride there and it was a beautiful spot.  We all got out and fished.

 

Simon and the Wildcats Fly Fishing boys made a few quick casts at the lake then went for a hike upstream which began with some rough bouldering and bushwhacking.  I opted to skip the hike and fish the stream mouth.  I landed several of these gorgeous brookies.

 

We went back out on the main ocean and it was rougher than when we left camp at 10.  It was so windy that fly fishing from the boat wasn’t feasible.  Burt suggested trolling but I wasn’t up for that so after we scanned for polar bears I hopped off on shore and started casting from a high rock on a point.  Both other boats did troll around in sight of me mainly to help keep watch.

 

The water was crystal clear but it was still hard to see into it with the smashing waves.  All I could see was a fast drop so I let my flies sink for at least ten seconds each cast.  Then I’d sort of strip and jig it out of the depths and up the edge of the rocks on the drop.  I thought I saw a flash from the deep where I estimated my flies to be but didn’t feel a bite.  I sped up my retrieve and there he was.  A big Arctic char and right near the surface he surged and devoured my purple egg sucking bugger.

 

This was a fight!  I was balancing in a precarious position to begin with.  The char took off like a bat out of heck.  This was the first fish of the trip to take me right to the edge of my backing.  I’m sure this fish was strong from all the splashing waves and heaps of oxygen.

 

By now Burt saw me hooked up and he carefully maneuvered the boat close enough to communicate.  He wanted to know if he somehow had to find a way to park the boat and help but I already saw place to slide the big char in for a landing and told him I was ok and asked him to shoot some pics.

 

I had a lot of confidence in my plan to land this char by myself but things got hectic.  The char was hooked on my dropper and my point fly was trailing behind.  As I lifted the fish to slide him up my point fly got stuck in a rock.  The fish had his chance to escape but when he took off back out to sea he unsnagged my point fly giving me full control again.

 

The next time I brought the Arctic char close I made my move swiftly and was soon holding him proudly by the tail.  This is a nice one of about 8 lbs.  This fish was less silvery then the char we’ve been catching and more colorful.  This is likely due to being near the river mouth where perhaps this char has recently been in freshwater.

 

By the time I released this beauty it was time to return to camp before the tide dropped so much we couldn’t beach the boats.  It was a bummer to call it a day at 2 PM but dealing with these giant tide fluctuations calls for it.

 

We made an effort to fish from shore around Inukshuk.  So far no one has managed to land a fish from shore at camp.  I was feeling very confident I’d get it done tonight but a ton of seaweed drifted in and it was hard to strip a fly without getting hung up on it.  We all cashed it in late afternoon and enjoyed a night of relaxing around the fire.

 

The weather looks bad for tomorrow at the moment.  If we can’t take the boats out we are determined to land our first char from shore out the door of the Lodge.  Until tomorrow. . . .

 

A special thanks to my friend Paul Ostiguy the proud owner of McKenzie River Lodge in Labrador and Inukshuk Lodge in Nunavik.

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

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