35th Wffc Bih 2015

World Fly Fishing Championship 2019

ARCTIC CHAR FISHING ON UNGAVA BAY


(peaceful music) (airplane drones) – [Colin] Canada’s far
north, one of the last true wilderness
destinations in the world. Part of the Arctic
includes the region known as Nunavik, which is the
northern part of Quebec. Nunavik means great
land in the language of the native people, the Inuit. With over 171,000 square
miles of pristine land, inhabited by more
polar bears, musk ox, and caribou than people,
you can understand why it’s called the great land. I’ve traveled to
this magical place on the edge of Ungava Bay
to visit the Inukshuk Lodge. Built of steel to withstand
the forces of nature here in the Arctic, this
lodge has a spectacular view looking out onto the Bay. (peaceful music) Even better, it has
access to some spectacular Arctic char fishing. – Gun it!
– Got it! – Got it.
– Yeah, we got it. – That was cool! – [Colin] These are char
that average 12 pounds in size with some going
well over 20 pounds. – Big one there! – I’ve got 20
pound test on here. – [Colin] In this
saltwater environment, these fish are aggressive
and super strong, a true test of an angler
and their equipment. – Get on!
– Got ’em – Got ’em.
– Nice job, Colin! Right at the side of the boat. – Oh, just such strong fish. And that would be a char. – Oh, you got ’em!
– Got ’em! – Nice!
– That’s a big one. – [Colin] Come join me on
my adventure to Nunavik and one of the last best
places on the planet. (upbeat music) – [Announcer] The New Fly
Fisher has been made possible thanks to Nunavik Tourism Orvis Sporting Traditions, Rio Products, Superfly, fly fishing made easy. – [Colin] Our adventure
begins in Montreal, where my camera man Jeremy
and I board the plane for the two and 1/2
hour flight to Kuujjuaq. (peaceful music) We disembark in Kuujjuaq
to stay the night, which gives us an
opportunity to look around. This small town of
approximately 2,800 is the transportation
hub of the Nunavik and it is located
on the Koksoak River which flows into Ungava Bay. First thing in the morning,
we’re back at Kuujjuaq airport for a short
flight to the lodge. As we flew low over
Ungava Bay, we were amazed by the varying colors of
the ocean and the land. (peaceful music) We even spotted a pod of
bright white beluga whales. After landing, we
grabbed our gear jumped on ATVs and then settled
in to our accommodations. In every direction, the view was nothing
short of spectacular. The Lodge is owned and
operated by Paul Ostiguy. Paul is passionate about
the region, it’s people, and the unspoiled wilderness. – I bought Inukshuk
Lodge because ever
since I was a child, I was always drawn to the
wilds of northern Canada and it was an opportunity
to have an Arctic char camp and also collaborate
with the Inuit. There’s an added bonus,
an added experience of fishing in this
part of the world. We have the giant George
River about 10 miles that way, we have the Whale River
about 25 miles that way, both great Atlantic
salmon rivers. And every river within
the next 20 miles of here has char runs and
sea run brook trout, abundant sea run brook trout. So you can realistically
expect to catch three species while they’re
feeding in salt water, Arctic char, Atlantic
salmon, and brook trout. – [Colin] On our first
trip out in search of char, Paul and Bert took
us to some islands that were a few miles off the
shoreline out in Ungava Bay. Here the Arctic
char would come in with the rising tide,
hunting prey items. The char have not yet moved
back towards the rivers and are busy feeding
in Ungava Bay. We cast out towards
shore with sinking lines and slowly stripped
in our flies. It didn’t take long
for us to connect with the first char. – [Paul] He’s on it, yeah,
yeah, got it, you’ve got it! – [Fisherman] Yeah, nice! – Whew, that was cool! – [Paul] Nice take and
fall right into the boat. – [Colin] Oh look at this fish! This thing is just
– Just pure power – [Colin] (grunting)
They’re so strong. Need to get him up, head up! There you go.
– There you go. – [Paul] Fish in the water! – Yes, yes!
– Well done, Colin. – Thank you, sir. That was so cool, seeing
that fly and him following, I gave it a little pull and
he (biting pop), awesome! Look at that, is
that not beautiful? Look at that, just gone! That was cool, so very cool. Let’s get another one. – [Colin] At the end of
a very satisfying day, we headed home, ready
for a great meal. But on the boat ride home, you
never know what you’ll see. Minke whales, ring
seals, polar bears, even cute little lemmings
at the boat launch. The main forage of Arctic
char, sea run trout, and even Atlantic
salmon in Ungava Bay is a combination of
sea lance and shrimp. Sea lance are distributed
throughout the world. Here in the Arctic,
they form an important food source for sea birds,
whales, and of course, fish. Most of the char we spotted
were chasing schools of lance, sometimes even driving
them up to the surface. Arctic shrimp, referred
to as northern prawn, or Pandalus borealis,
are a major food source for many creatures and
fish in the Arctic, however, we used sparkly
and full green wooly buggers with great success as well
as Schultzy’s S3 sculpin, all of which resembled shrimp. Just below the surface,
there were massive schools of lance all around our boat, which the char targeted
as these hapless bait fish got pushed in towards
shore as the tide came in. – He’s right there,
beside the boat. Got him! (grunting) (laughing gleefully) It’s a good sized one too. So I spotted the fins,
that’s what I saw was the white fins moving and
he was going by a rock. Oh, that’s a good size one. – I got ’em. That’s a char. – That’s a char, oh
yeah, that’s a big fish. Okay, let’s let this guy go. (peaceful music) The Inuit of Nunavik
are an extraordinary and exceptionally friendly
people who have lived off the land for
thousands of years. During my trip to Nunavik,
I had the great pleasure of meeting an
extraordinary Inuit, by the name of Johnny May. Johnny is a hometown legend,
a role model and a hero. During his 50 plus years of
flying a plane in Nunavik, he has made numerous
rescues, deliveries, and medevacs, often in
horrendous weather conditions. He has saved lives and
helped those in need, but that’s not what Johnny’s
most well known for. Since 1965, every
Christmas, Johnny has flown his plane low over
Kuujjuaq to drop candy and presents to the children. – What I do is, we
get a lot of candy and we throw it out the
door of the airplane there and the people gather in a
certain area around town. It’s quite an event. – [Colin] So when I found
out Johnny and his family had a summer camp
near Inukshuk Lodge, I had to go meet the
man with a huge heart for community and this land. Johnny took time
to explain to me why the Arctic char
are so special. – You know char you can
eat several times a week, you never get tired of it. Salmon, it’s much richer,
one meal maybe a week, you’ve had enough of salmon. But char, you can
just keep on eating it and it’s like you say,
it’s great tasting fish. – [Colin] The next day
we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast and headed out to
catch the next rising tide. Here in Ungava Bay, the
tide range is massive, up to 50 feet at certain
times of the year. The char follow these
tides and use them to corner prey, like
lance and shrimp. (peaceful music) – It’s out.
– Oh it’s a big one too. Oh yeah, good fish! – [Paul] Two following mine too. – [Colin] Big fish! – [Paul] Big big fish. – Again, followed
it right to the boat and I did what the guy
told me to and that was I gave it a little– – [Paul] Do they have shoulders? – [Colin] Yeah. When he’s using that current– – [Boatman] Look at that, wow! – [Paul] Oh that’s a big fish. I saw it coming through
– is their a net here? – [Paul] Yeah, you know what, you want me to get the net? – You can if you want.
– I’ll get the net. – [Paul] Yeah, if
he holds the boat. – [Colin] Large over
reel very important here and good drag. (grunts) Okay if I can get his head up
Paul, we can try right now. See if we can get him up. – [Paul] They’re
just too strong. These fish have been
feeding on lance for a month in the ocean. I saw that fish take,
I knew it wasn’t gonna be a two minute fight. – [Colin] It’s a beast. – That was awesome. – [Colin] It was. – [Paul] Did you see it
come and take the fly? – Oh yeah – [Paul] I love it, love
it, never get tired of it. – [Colin] Usually it
the smaller one gets it. This time the bigger one got it. One, two, three, scoop! – That’s a big fish, look how
fat he is, look how fat he is. – Good job.
– Thank you. – Yeah, well done.
– Thanks. (tense music) And off he goes,
just like that, gone! The flies we successfully
used were quite diverse, because we had to
experiment a great deal to assess what the
Arctic char were taking. We used long strip
leeches in various colors to imitate the sea lance but
only had limited success. Usually the fish would
only follow these flies to the boat, but not strike. The two top producing flies
were totally discovered by a combination of luck
and analytical reasoning. The first pattern was a
large green wooly bugger with a reflective chenille
body probably a size one aught. The second fly pattern is
known as Schultzy’s S3 sculpin, which was created for
small mouth bass fishing in Michigan waters. We believe that both
flies, when slowly twitched back to the boat
resembled Arctic shrimp with their silhouette
and action, which is why the char were
so aggressive on them. We had many fish take right
at the side of the boat on these patterns. It was so much fun! (peaceful music) (peaceful music) – The types of wildlife
that you can expect to see visiting Ungava
Bay are seals, whales, numerous types of
ocean sea birds, occasionally belugas and
occasionally polar bears. The Arctic char in
Quebec get larger maybe than anywhere
in the world. The genetics are
here for large char. The Arctic char reach
up to 30 pounds here and due to the fact
that they’re feeding so heavily in the ocean
in such abundance, their strength is
second to none. (operatic music) – Hey there, look, lot of fish! – [Colin] I see ’em, I see
’em, I see ’em, I see ’em. – Big one there. – Okay. – [Colin] Hang on,
don’t move the boat. – [Boatman] In neutral,
I’m staying right here. – [Colin] Got one,
got one, got one. It’s not the big one,
but it’s still great. – [Paul] (grunts) Awesome. – Oh look at the big one
there, following around. See him? Oh look at this,
this is so awesome. – [Boatman] Ungava Bay, baby! – [Colin] Catching char,
seeing polar bears, and belugas, and all types of
great wildlife here (grunts). – [Boatman] Double-header,
first one on top. – I got 20 pound test on here. – [Paul] Eight weight
rough, eight weight gear? – [Colin] No, this
is a nine weight. – [Paul] Just savage,
absolutely savage. – [Colin] (grunting) Come
here, like that beauty. Got it set up, got it
set up, there you go. – [Paul] Nice char, nice fish! I’ll put him on top. – [Colin] Okay, I’ll step
back, you wanna bring him in? Go ahead. – He’s a nice, he’s
pretty looking. He’s in nice shape, look. – [Colin] Oh that’s beautiful. – [Paul] Look at
that fatty, look! – [Colin] Oh wow! – [Paul] Wow! (upbeat music) – The equipment I brought
for this adventure was all top quality in order to
meet the physical demands of salt water and
these strong fish. We used nine foot
for nine weight rods with fast action
tapers to help us cast full sinking and sink tip lines. To these rods, we matched
reels featuring quality drag systems for
fighting the char. Like any saltwater fishing, you need to have
lots of backing. I had 200 yards of
50 pound test backing on each of my reels. The char were generally
deep down in 10 to 15 feet of water, cruising
the rocky shoreline, so we used full sinking
lines, type five or six, which typically sink at five
to six inches per second. The other line, which I
preferred, was a 24 foot sink tip in a type
6 sinking head. This line was easy
to cast in the wind and got down quickly to depth. To our sinking lines, we
attached six to eight feet of either 15 or 20
pound heavy mono leader. You don’t need a tapered
leader just straight heavy mono or tipping
material right to the fly. – [Paul] Good, got ’em. It’s not a big fish
(grunts) but it’s swimming. (Colin grunting) – Ungava Bay. No one is allowed
to be bored, okay? – Nope – [Paul] Nobody’s allowed
to be bored in Ungava Bay. Keep your eyes open.
– What a powerhouse! – [Paul] Someone said
it’s not that big a fish. We’re all tipped
to the other ones. Look at this guy,
oh, he’s beautiful. (grunting) – [Colin] This is why 20
pounds of leader are critical. So you can put the
muscle to these guys. It’s alright, it’s alright, I’ll get him away
from the motor. – [Paul] Other side. – Other side, yep, okay. I’m gonna let him, I’m
gonna reverse him now. Ready? (grunts) There you go, ha ha! This is so much fun! – You’re not bored yet? – No! (laughing) – [Paul] Crystal
clear, look at that. (peaceful music) (dramatic music) – [Colin] Got ’em, got ’em – Nice!
– It’s a big one. – [Paul] Good job, Colin. Wow, how exciting when you
see ’em come right to the top. – I can’t even tell you
how exciting that was. Holy mackerel! – [Paul] What a blast! What a blast! – And I couldn’t get
him, he followed the fly three times and I couldn’t
get him to take it. – [Paul] There was like
six big ones together, wow. (grunting) – [Colin] He’s coming back,
no, no, nope he’s not ready. Whoa, Whoa! – [Paul] Such power! – And this is not a giant, it’s still, it’s a
good one, but wow, these char are so strong. I just see that fish take it. – [Paul] He couldn’t
have been any more than just a couple of feet under the surface, just
slowly following the fly and with Colin working
the fly just a bit, enticed the fish, bang! He’s a fine, thick char, I
mean this is a nice char. – [Colin] This is beautiful. I’m putting the wood to him, he’s coming in towards
me, there he goes. You really, absolutely, have
to have a larger of a reel. – [Paul] Get him up, get
him up, heads up, head up. Get a foot, Colin. (groaning) Good job Colin! What a nice char! That’s a char! – (laughs) Right at
the side of the boat, twitch, twitch,
twitch, (tongue click) Nunavik is a very special
part of the Canadian North and someplace every angler
should aspire to visit. Far more than fishing,
this magical land will capture your heart
with it’s raw beauty and spectacular wildlife. Our thanks to Paul
Ostiguy for inviting us to Inukshuk Lodge. To learn more about
his destination or others in our
series, visit us online at www.thenewflyfisher.com (peaceful music) – [Announcer] The New
Fly Fisher has been made possible thanks to
Nunavik Tourism, Orvis Sporting Traditions, Rio Products, Superfly, fly fishing made easy. (upbeat music) (plaster cracking)

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