I have been fortunate enough to have visited and fished La Reserve Beauchene in Quebec on three different and very unique occasions. My fourth visit in early July, 2015 was another exceptional opportunity that I just couldn't pass up … and that was to guide some visitors who were there for a large corporate event. My first visits to Beauchene several years ago included lots of fishing but I also assisted with some research and stocking efforts. My third visit, was while I was editor of the seasonal "BASSMAN Magazine" and I was there on assignment to write about this fabulous one of a kind fishing resort and it's world class bass fisheries. You can read about those experiences here.
This time, I arrived early Sunday evening after spending much of the day helping out at the Urban Fishing Festival at Fairy Lake in downtown Newmarket. The drive up to North Bay and then east to Temiskaming and down a dirt road for ½ hour couldn't come soon enough. Upon arrival my friend Mark Heaton (who leads the research and stocking efforts at Beauchene) was there to greet me.
As I gazed over the beautiful main lake, I couldn't help but wonder about the stark contrast from earlier in the day which began with the jam-packed festival and over 500 guests crammed along the shoreline of a small muddy lake dotted with apartments and buildings in the background. Here I was a few hours later in front of a pristine waterbody in a true wilderness setting where only the occasional Beauchene outpost cabin dotted the shoreline. Speaking of cabins … Beauchene's are truly outstanding … and the one I had was log on the outside and aromatic tongue and groove cedar on the interior. I would wake up each morning gazing thru two large bay windows at Lac Beauchene wondering what the big lake had in store for us that day.
That evening was spent around the campfire, getting to know the other guides and becoming re-acquainted with staff. The next morning Mark and I pre-fished together and caught some nice smallies while trying to put a gameplan together for when we'd each take our two guests out in the afternoon.
That first afternoon I had Ken, originally from Utah and Patrick who was now living and working in Newfoundland. The wind was quite strong so we fished back bays and in behind islands. Having a big main lake like Beauchene with plenty of places to get out of the wind and still catch fish is a real bonus, but guests there can also choose to fish from any one of 40 exclusive interior lakes. They typically have one all to themselves and each is carefully managed to ensure quality fishing. Beauchene manages not just their 40 lakes, but the 50,000 acres of private wilderness land around those lakes.
Both Ken and Patrick caught bass and northern pike and were anxious for the next day.
Patrick with his Personal Best smallmouth caught day one at Beauchene
The following day would start out with winds just as strong, coupled with a light and fairly steady rain. Fortunately it was still warm so I brought Ken now Big David to fish multiple areas in the main lake. Here, Ken improved from the day before and his stick worm and jig presentation caught several smallmouth bass.
Ken also landed a nice walleye that fell just under the 20 inch maximum size Beauchene allows for harvest. This one we would save for the shorelunch at noon.
To reach our shorelunch destination, we had a 45 minute boat ride thru some fairly rough water and a steady rain. When we got to the beach a downpour to beat all downpours ensued and for the next couple of hours all the guides did their best to cook up copious quantities of delicious walleye and trout along with homemade French fries, brown beans, and all the fixens for the guests. Trying to fit 20 guys and all their guides under a small tarp was almost comical and despite the heavy rain a good time and hearty shorelunch was had by all. The ride back however was definitely not a piece of cake as pouring rain and pounding waves that frequently came overboard, kept the three drowned rat occupants hunkered down anxious to reach home plate.
That evening after a long day fishing in the rain, Mark and I couldn't think of anything we would rather do than to go out fishing again, so that's exactly what we did. The rain had stopped and winds were swirling but after a couple of hours the lake lay flat and we enjoyed a peaceful and tranquil evening on the beautiful waters of Lac Beauchene … Peaceful that is until either the flat calm waters were disrupted by a big smallmouth smashing our topwater lures … or when the still night air was broken up by the howling of a lone wolf in the distance.
Before we knew it, our last morning on the water was upon us and once again Ken elected to stay with the same guide he had day one and two and the obligatory new lad onboard would be Pierre … who headed up construction projects for his company in his adopted province of Newfoundland.
To be honest, that last morning I was anticipating a really tough bite and my expectations were minimal. After an all day rain and wind the day before I dreaded the blue bird skies that prevailed let alone the major cold front that settled in overnight. Fortunately however, I couldn't have been more wrong as bass were on the feed bag big time! The day began very close to the main lodge when Pierre quickly hooked into his Personal Best bass that came from a Rapala Skatter Rap that leapt several times before it was finally landed.
Pierre with his Personal Best Smallmouth Bass
As the morning went on I was really impressed with how well Ken began to maximize the potential of the Trigger X Flutter Worms he was throwing. Gone was the jig required the two days prior in strong winds and on came a weightless Gamakastu wide gap finesse hook. He developed the confidence to cast at bass magnets like rocks and wood and to allow the bait to settle. After feeling the tick, or seeing the line move, he set the hook ... over and over again to catch bass after bass. In fact I actually lost track of how many bass he caught. Before we knew it however, it was time for the last cast of the trip and off we'd go back to the main lodge and on our way home.
Our short boat ride however was one that would not be forgotten anytime soon by its three occupants. I was looking far ahead and saw what looked like a pair of ears sticking out of the water. "Hey Ken, do you see what's swimming in the water way ahead of us?" " Is that a moose," he asked excitedly?" Indeed it was and it was crossing the mouth of Foley Bay and likely headed straight for the main lodge. I anticipated she had already swam a good kilometre so the last thing I wanted to do was frighten the big cow enough that she would turn around and head back from where she came from, so we stayed well back and behind while the guide and his two guests took out their cell phones and began to snap photos.
As the moose got up out of the water we all realized it was the perfect ending to a most memorable trip. It left little doubt that La Reserve Beauchene is indeed a very special place that's so much more than just an outstanding fishing destination and it never fails to leave you wanting for more.
For more information or to book a fishing adventure at La Reserve Beauchene, just visit www.beauchene.com