Camping for us has become an annual ritual and every year we look forward to discovering new landscapes, not to mention the opportunity to disconnect for a few days. In our home province of Quebec, we are fortunate to have the Laurentian Mountains as our backdrop, and several areas surrounding the province consists of breathtaking valleys and mountain peaks with spectacular views. This year, we set to embark on a fishing trip that was roughly four hours away from Montreal. Our destination was the Laurentides Wildlife Reserve, which is a government-protected site that spans over 7,861 square kilometres (3,035 square miles) and that is bigger than most European countries. Within this area, there are over 2000 lakes and summits that reach heights over 1000 feet. The fishing season starts early May and ends in September, during that time, the quantities of fish are measured by declaring the amount you catch each day. Everyone is limited to fifteen per day and once the maximum number has been caught (which ranges in the hundred of thousands), the fishing is done for the season. This process ensures that the fish population of the lakes do not suffer from overfishing thus preventing substantial damage to the ecosystem. The reserve offers a number of fishing and accommodation packages and guides are available for people who are new to the activity. For this year’s trip we decided to leave our tents at home and spend our time in one of their rustic cabins. Some people in our group weren’t too keen with sleeping in tents and they were relieved when we told them we wouldn’t be sleeping outside! But as a group, it was our first time fishing and we were completely clueless. Luckily, we had a guide on hand to give us some pointers on how to hook our bait, where are the best places on the lake to fish, what kind of fish we should expect to catch, and most importantly, how to throw our reels in to get a good distance.
Our guide also stressed that it was important to be prepared for a full day in the canoe. Not only did we need to wear the right clothing but we also needed to pack the right foods to keep us going. Fishing is a waiting game and the fish have all day, but we don’t. There also isn’t much room inside the canoe, so we had to be strategic with what foods we needed to bring. There were a couple of no-brainers to bring along like water, fruits, trail mix, and granola bars but we also added beef jerky to the mix. This snack combo was a great source of protein and had us feeling full throughout the day. One of the most necessary tools for any fisherman to have is a tackle box. Inside, you’ll find items such as extra fishing wire, spoons, hooks, and of course, bait. Since the boxes are pretty big we were able to throw in all our snacks, including KRAVE jerky. Since everyone had a tackle box of their own, it was easy to stuff their sealable packages inside. Throughout our day at the lake, we hooked on our bait to the rods and we reached inside our tackle boxes for a piece of jerky. We wondered if the fish might enjoy having some but the grilled sweet teriyaki pork jerky was too good for us to give up for bait, let alone to share with others from our group! After a day of fishing we headed back with our guide to learn how to clean and gut the fish we had caught. The fish we caught were lake trout and are a part of the same family as salmon. The guide suggested we cook them on the barbecue by wrapping them in aluminum foil and stuffing them with chopped onions and garlic. In total, we caught thirty fish, which was more than enough to feed our group of eight!