June 23, 2014 Share

Quebec’s Leaf River – World’s Best Brook Trout Fishery?

Originally Published on “From the Docks” NBC Sports

At the northern limit of the tree line in Quebec’s wild north, is the Leaf River. Based on what I experienced there last week it just may be the world’s best brook trout fishery.

I’m not a numbers guy, but to give you a brief glimpse of the Leaf, consider this: while standing on the same rock last Tuesday, I had brook trout strikes on 42 consecutive casts and landed 39 fish between 1 and nearly 4 pounds! The next day, at a different location, this time tossing a black Woolly Bugger (size 8 barbless), I had a bite nearly every cast for close to a half hour.

Most of the brookies landed ran a solid 2 to 3 3/4 pounds, and came in a variety of color phases ranging from a subtle tan with light spots to a brilliant orange with vibrant spotting. Per my guide, Travis Green, the lighter fish were likely sea-running trout that had not been in the river long.

We also ran into big wild Atlantic salmon. The first fish I hooked (and subsequently lost) ran 13-15 pounds, as did the second fish (which I landed). We also caught a number of fish between 5 and 8 pounds.

Lake trout to 12 pounds provided a number of thrills, especially when they tried to make a meal of a hooked brook trout.

The Leaf’s source is Minto Lake, located near the eastern edge of mighty Hudson Bay. The river then flows northeasterly for over 300 miles until it eventually dumps into Ungava Bay near the Inuit community of Tasiujaq. The river was running about four feet low during my trip, but we still had plenty of water to land a float plane and run most anywhere. Leaf River Lodge run 30-horse Yamaha jets on its boats to run in shallow water. Most fishing is done from shore, however.

The Inuit call the Leaf “Kuugaaluk” which translated means “large river.” And it is, offering miles of prime trout and salmon habitat in a beautiful setting unique to the far north. The area is host of one of the world’s largest caribou herds, and we encountered wolf tracks and black bear tracks in several places.

The Leaf is one of the most remote locations I have ever fished. The nearest town is probably Kuujjuaaq, roughly 180 air miles to East/Northeast. We drank sweet water right from the river.

For more information, visit www.leafriverlodge.com. Owner Alain Tardif has been in the outfitting business for years and understands the needs of anglers. Transportation costs make this remote destination expensive to experience. However, in exchange you’ll enjoy trout fishing simply not available elsewhere.