Lots of laughs, fish and friendly competition at Quebec’s La Réserve Beauchêne


My next-door neighbour Jon Baker is a fishing nut. So, too, is another neighbour, Pat Trudell, who lives five houses down from my home in Aurora, Ontario. So, whenever I head out on one of my far-flung fishing trips, it’s not without feeling a wee pang of guilt for not bringing them along—even though they’ve caught way bigger fish than me down in Mexico.

So, when the chance came to stay and fish at an outpost cabin at Quebec’s famed La Réserve Beauchêne over this past Labour Day weekend, I knew exactly who to invite. Unfortunately, they couldn’t come, so I settled for Jon and Pat.


We drove up to Beauchêne last Thursday afternoon by way of North Bay, Ontario, before cutting east into Quebec, and for the next four days made our home at the Birch Lake Outpost, some 30 minutes by backroad from the Réserve’s main lodge. In all, we fished five lakes and caught all of the featured species: brook trout, lake trout, northern pike, smallmouth bass and walleye.

Admittedly, we concentrated mostly on the bass, as they were most receptive to our offerings during the long weekend’s topsy-turvy weather. I would have spent more time trying to coax hits on the fly from the native strain of brookies on Taggart Lake (see bottom photo), but there was no way I was going to fall behind Pat and Jon’s fish counts. That’s right, what’s a boys’ fishing trip without a little friendly competition?

And compete we did, right down to our last night, Sunday, with a final outing for bass on Birch Lake. Who ultimately won? Well, I’ll save the sordid details for an upcoming issue of Outdoor Canada magazine. Suffice it to say, the three of us had a helluva fun time—well, maybe not so fun for Pat when his rod flew out of his slippery hands and into the drink, precipitating relentless ribbing from yours truly and Jon. (Sorry, Pat.)


There’s nothing quite so gratifying as having the chance to spend four days completely off the grid (thank you, Rogers, for not having cell coverage in Quebec), especially amid the dramatic, backcountry Shield setting afforded by a special place such as La Réserve Beauchêne. And even more so when you can wet a line with some good buddies. Thanks for all the laughs, guys.

Pat & Jon


Beauchene brookie: Yours truly with one of Taggart Lake's wild native trout
Beauchene brookie: Yours truly with one of Taggart Lake’s wild native trout

Groug Shot