Tales from the Floatplane
Part of the goal when I created Northern Jacks was to create resource for people who were looking for more information on Fishing Trips. As I was thinking (struggling) about what to write next I had an idea, no that’s not good enough – I had an awesome idea! Why not check in with some trip veterans and dig into why they spend their hard-earned money and time to spend a few days trying to catch fish. Putting together a fishing trip takes time and patience but I know there are groups out there heading into their 30th or 40th or even 50th trips so there must be something in that Canadian shield water.
My first guest may not need an introduction if you spend any time on fishing forums, Chris Brock! Chris was super helpful when we planned our first ever fly in and when we did our trip to Ogoki Lake in 2018 I was lucky enough to meet him in person Ogoki Trip Report. Without further adieu here is the interview
Chris – thanks for taking the time to do this. I know you are an avid “tripper” so its greatly appreciated. First question what was the impetus for your first trip?
Thanks for having me Andrew – this should be fun. My Dad's 60th birthday was coming up in late January. In the fall, my Mom suggested "why don't you plan a special family fishing trip". I had never done a fly in trip before, I knew nothing about it, but from October to January I scoured the internet and then chose a fly in destination. My Dad, my brother, my cousin and I have been addicted to fly in fishing ever since then.
How many trips have you been on?
It has been quite a few over the years so my count may not be perfect but roughly 35 trips in 17 years!
Wow – that’s a lot. I know its probably hard to pick one so what are the 3 best trips you have taken and why?
All the trips have been time well spent and a ton of fun, but the most memorable ones for me seem to be the atypical ones.
Echoing Lake stands out. It wasn't a typical trip where pike and walleye are the main targets. We found a spot where we could catch chunky Lake Trout at will all day long and a spot where pike of all sizes wouldn't stop biting. The group of guys and the host were great. We had a luxurious lodge but stayed 3 nights in a remote, rustic plywood shack just for good measure.
At Trident Lake the main target is the brook trout in the in and out flowing Esnagami River. That's a scenario I'm not accustomed to, but it was a blast canoeing and wading the river but still having a lake to motor around in and get your walleye and pike fix.
My family's first trip to commemorate my Dad's 60th was life altering. It was our first fly in, single outpost cabin, big lake, big river, it blew our minds, Abazokitichuan Lake on the Albany River.
If you could only pick one – what’s your most memorable trip experience?
That's a tough question, there's so many. But here's a funny one. We were confident there was nothing to hit so the 4 of us in 2 boats were running full throttle up the Albany River. I just happened to be looking across at the other boat with my Dad and cousin when they hit an unmarked gill net and they went from about 20 mph to zero instantly. The look on all of our faces when that happened still makes me smile today.
If you were to list the most important things to consider when considering a trip what would they be?
I'd say try to figure out what's important to you. Catching 100 medium sized walleye a day isn't important to me although some guys would absolutely love that. I like big water with lots to explore, portage lakes, multi species and the potential for big fish, other non fishing bonuses like pictographs or abandoned gold mines. If trippers know what's important to them, then they can choose a destination they will likely enjoy.
With doing 35 trips over the years I am guessing there are some lodges or outfitters that you are fond of – care to name a few?
I think they are all generally great. What people do not realize is how expensive it is to run a remote camp. Everything must be flown in and out and planes are very expensive to operate. I think it's a bargain what the outfitters charge compared to the quality of the fishing and the quality of the whole experience going for a week on one of these trips. Generally all the outfitters aim to please and try their best is what I have experienced. Yes, there is going to be hiccups on a trip and you get what you pay for but most of the outfitters seem to be cut from the cloth and do their best.
Are you doing any trips in 2021?
I've got a 5-year-old son. I am happy staying home and being with him as much as I possibly can. I'm less inspired now to take off fishing for a week but there is a couple of trips in the works.
I mentioned the first trip I ever did was because of a suggestion from my Mom to plan a special fishing trip for my Dad's 60th B Day. Like I said, I scoured the internet for months to find the best destination. I'm going pat myself on the back because 35 trips later, I think I DID pick the absolute best destination. Now it looks like my friend Jason is going to acquire that same camp after it has been untouched for years and we'll get the chance to go back in August.
My friend Mark Cassidy is also looking like he's going to score a super interesting camp that has hardly been fished and I'll be able to go in September.
2021 is looking great!
This one is a bit tougher – as I mentioned in the kickoff these trips take time and money, but you (and me) seem to be “hooked” on them. Why do you think that is? If you were doing a sales pitch to someone who has never been on one what is it?
Obviously by having to fly into a lake, that ensures there's limited access and less fishing pressure and better-quality fishing. There are also the intangible aspects. The sense of adventure, the sense of remoteness and the comradery amongst the group are big parts of these trips. Once the plane leaves, you're basically disconnected from the rest of the world you have to fend for yourself. For those that haven't tried it, it's a very cool experience.
In closing a few rapid-fire questions:
1) Favorite Species to fish for
2) Favorite Camp Drink
3) Favorite Camp Meal
4) Bucket List Lake?
5) Lake you want to go back to the most?
1- As of now, it's Sturgeon. 2 seasons ago we spent quite a bit of time targeting them and had success. I can't wait to fish for them again. We fished from shore beside a campfire, it's a lot of fun.
2- Rye and caffeine free Diet Coke on the rocks
3- Whatever Adam Dempsey’s cooking
4- Lac Evans
Thanks so much for taking the time to do this Chris! You have been a great resource to our group and hopefully we see each other on a lake soon – I owe you a rye and caffeine free diet coke. Ideally on a fly in lake one of these days!
No problem Andrew! I love talking about this stuff. Yes, hopefully our paths we will cross paths on a trip again, keep up the great work with the website, cheers!
Authors Note: I hope everyone enjoyed my first attempt on the "Tales from Series" I hope to do many more and I am open to different experiences for sure (Tales from the North, Tales of Paddling, Camping and so on) If you are interested in participating feel free to reach out - I can't guarantee I can accommodate everyone but will try! firstname.lastname@example.org