Algoma treasure

by Guest Author | April 1, 2012

Tantalizing conversations with an Algoma outfitter result in John Bennett and me pulling into Lauzon Aviation base near Blind River in late August. As folks come out from the home office to welcome us, I extend a courteous hand and ask “So, which one of you is the original Lauzon?”

All five faces raise their eyebrows and matriarch Rita Makela politely says, “We are on Lake Lauzon. It’s the name of the lake, not the family. We are the Makela family and the business has been here since 1959.” Suddenly, I feel like a tourist again.

After loading the float plane and lifting off Lauzon Lake, we see some treetops already tinged with colour on this late-August morning, adding to the splendour of the rolling granite landscape interspersed with brilliantly rippled lakes.

The DeHavilland Beaver settles onto Robb Lake and drifts so gently to the dock that I’m sure it has a mind of its own and knows its way home with or without pilot Ray Makela. Aside from a well-worn foot path between buildings, it’s hard to imagine this remote place ever being used. In the cookhouse, there’s a propane stove, oven, refrigerator, neatly organized dishes, cups, and spotless stainless steel pans.

“This stuff looks new,” says Bennett.

“It’s not, but make sure it looks that way when you leave,” replies Ray. “The bleach and mop are in the corner. Do the floors last.” We get the hint.

Trout quest
Never assume everything in our great province has been stocked, controlled, or managed for our enjoyment. “No, no, these trout were never stocked here,” Ray states proudly, “except for the rainbows. Stocked once and took off on their own.”

Robb Lake is typical of Algoma Region, with rock rubble and deeply shredded edges cut ragged by the last ice age. Our focus is around shallower underwater shoals that rise up from 125-foot depths. Trolling slowly along the lakeshore gives us a fix on these shoals. Bennett, in his infinite foresight, procured a dry-cell portable depth sounder, which proves paramount to our fishing success.

The lodge

Fly-in outpost camp includes bunk cabin with wood stove, cookhouse with propane fridge and stove, as well as wood-fired sauna. Flight is $203 each, based on party of four, plus $67 each per day and $47 per day for outboard motor.

Once we pinpoint structure, it’s just a matter of finding the proper lure speed and depth range where fish are feeding. It doesn’t take long. The first pass across an extended point results in a lovely lake trout of about 5 pounds, followed by a brilliantly coloured 31⁄2-pound rainbow.

We settle on a zigzag trolling pattern across or adjacent to reefs and points. Medium-sized bright-orange spoons are the ticket to catching the lakers and rainbows. I also brought a 9-foot heavyaction rod loaded with colour-coded lead-core line. This system accounts for 80% of our catches. With the warm waters of summer, depth control is key to getting our lures down to just above the submerged rock reefs.

Although we don’t boat nearly the numbers recorded by previous guests (50 to 60 fish weekends seem common, according to notations written on the cookhouse wall by spring anglers), we’re more than pleased with our dozen wild trout caught in the warm and bug-free conditions of late August.

Speckled rainbow
On the south end of the lake there’s an island that has “speck” written all over it, I think. Bennett, again with his crystal ball, brought in some live worms, and with the morning breeze just right, we make a drift past the island. These waters are so clear, we can see rock and log rubble 25 feet down.

On one cast, Ol’ Nessy herself streaks from the depths and smashes my little Mepps Black Fury and worm. If it’s a speckled trout, it’s a big one. My ultralight rod and reel with 4-poundtest line is put to the test by the aerial antics of what turns out to be a magnificent 5-pound rainbow.

With the help of Bennett’s calm coaching, I persevere and bring the tired lunker beside the boat. In awe, we snap a few photos and slip her back home. It’s an inherent respect that surfaces when angling the wild fish of Robb Lake.

Lauzon Aviation
P.O. Box 1750,
Blind River, Ont., P0R 1B0

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