While most of the wild trout waters featured in Bob Mallard’s book, Squaretail, are in Maine and throughout our country, he does tell you about his fishing adventure on the little Minipi River in Labrador.
That story brought back a wonderful memory I have of fishing the Little Minipi with my 16-year-old son Joshua. That story is in my book, A Lifetime of Hunting and Fishing, published by North Country Press. Here is that story.
Harvey and Betty Calden are veteran sporting camp owners who offer the very best in hospitality and outdoor experiences, focused on hunting and fishing. Tim Pond Camps in Eustis, Maine, was always Betty’s project while Harvey focused on their camps in northern Québec and Labrador. In August of 1999 I took my son Josh, when he was 16, to Harvey’s Little Minipi Camp in Labrador and we had a phenomenal experience, catching over 50 trout over 5 pounds – topped by a 7 pound brookie and 7 ½ pound Arctic char.
The views of Little Minipi Lake from the Lodge and the home pool, only a five minute walk – were great, but a short boat ride across the lake put us on the river. And Josh kept all the guests well supplied with flies – wooly buggers and mice worked best. We fished about a mile of the river, enjoying a variety of weather, and caught big fish every day. We lost as many fish as we landed, and saw many more rises and strikes, and we were into heavy fish constantly.
We also caught some small trout – two and 3 pounds! Fishing the honey hole was a favorite, about a half-mile down the left side of the river, where we caught most of our char. My last two fish from this pool were brookies that took me right into the backing on my reel. I landed a 6 pound trout here that spit out a fly our guide had lost over a month before when his client broke off the fish.
One of the guests, Marty Faley of New Jersey, was stunned with a brookie over 10 pounds on his first day of fishing here. The 26 inch beauty had a girth of 17 inches. But just because all fish are released, you should not think that you can’t have a beautiful mount. In fact, Marty commissioned a wooden carving of his 10 pound trout from Maine’s own Gene Bahr, one of the finest wildlife carvers and artists in the nation. Gene has fished the Little Minipi himself and can duplicate the colors of your fish precisely. Give him a few photos and measurements, and you will have a trophy for the wall that will last through many generations. Your family will still be talking about your fish 100 years from now!
Although brook trout were our targets, we caught a few Arctic char – just starting their spawning run up the river – and northern pike which put on a real acrobatic show and strong fight. Josh took top honors with a 7 ½ pound char while I landed a 10 pound pike. We caught the Triple Crown – trout, char, and pike – on two different days. Our Newfoundland guide, Marvin, was very protective of the fish, and made sure every fish was released alive and well, after slipping out the barbless hook.
On Thursday, Josh put on a show at the boulder pool, keeping me running for the camera as he pulled in fish after fish. Josh’s excellent casting ability was impressive to all the anglers at camp, and allowed him to reach pools none of the rest of us could cast to. Finally, after a couple of hours, Josh took a break so I could fish!
Our last day was a rainy deluge, but Josh and I persevered to enjoy the finest day a father and son could ever hope for – five trout each, all over 5 pounds. At the honey hole, my last two fish were six and 6 ½ pounds, and Josh’s last fish was a 6 pound beauty that rose to his mouse. I got all of mine on the wooly bugger, flies that Josh had tied the night before.
Motoring across the lake on our final trip back to the lodge, we looked back to see a full rainbow spanning the lake – a magnificent end to a spectacular trip, a lifetime memory for both of us.