This log documents our Lake La Muir “Punishment Trip” September 9 -12, 2005. It was a four day loop trip out of Opeongo, through Happy Isle – Merchant – Big Trout –La Muir – Deeryard – Hemlock and Blowdown, then back through Merchant and Happy Isle Lakes.
The intrepid crew: Dan O., John C., Ian E., Rob R. and Rowena E.
The guys and I have been tripping into Lake La Muir since the 80's and have some fond memories of those trips. Other memories aren't so fond and that's why we call it the "Punishment Trip". The portaging is pretty heavy and if you add on top of that .. bad weather (including snow and rain) .. and in some cases inexperience .. there can be some real discomfort. The last time we went in was in 1995. As I approached the big "40", I guess the challenge was to see if we still had it in us to do the "Punishment Trip" to La Muir.
The fishing has always been good but was degrading steadily with the influx of people coming in by pick up truck and fishing in tin boats for the freezer. We were afraid that this great resource would be fished out.
The Good Old Days - Early 90’s.
We departed the Opeongo dock at 8:00 a.m. and boated up to North Arm and hit the Happy Isle Portage (2180 M) in 30 minutes.
We had fantastic weather and we travelled without stopping to fish on the way in. We had a quick lunch break on the end of the Merchant Lake portage. The Merchant to Big Trout 1850 M portage is a winding path but well maintained and for the most-part is down-hill.We did a day's total portages of 4370 meters. The water was down in the creek to Big Trout. That meant some poling and in and out of the canoe. The Beaver dam was also still in place and had to be carried over. The marsh on the way out was beautiful with Herons and other wildlife. We saw a cow moose from a distance.
The water was down in the creek to Big Trout.
The wind was up once we hit Big Trout and it was a bit of a tough paddle to get to the site. Most of the sites close to the Merchant Portage were occupied. We finally chose the site on the point coming out of the La Muir portage. It's a nice flat site with new benches and a good fire pit.
We set up camp and did some fishing, getting one Lake Trout in the 3 - 4 pound range off the downrigger in 35 f.o.w. on a Williams Dartee with red flashes. It was released to fight another day as we had steaks for the first night.
It was the first trip for the Hennessy Hammock. I upped the tarp coverage with a Nylon Silicone impregnated 7’ X 10’ tarp. This was just to keep things dry under the tarp. There were no problems and I slept like a baby each night.
The day started beautifully it was warm and the water was like glass. We hit the lake and started fishing.
The plan was to travel to La Muir. However, we decided to stay put as the weather was great and the fishing good. Also, everyone wanted a rest day.
We put a number of good fish in the boat from 1.5 - 4 pounds with some great fights. Most were released but some of the smaller ones were kept for eating.
We put a number of good fish in the boat.
Some of the smaller ones were kept for eating.
Here’s what the Trout were eating.
There was lots of great scenery and quite a few trippers passing through. Very few fishermen though. The Big Trout side of the hill visible from the Western shore of La Muir would be a beauty to see in Fall colours. There were beautiful sunsets and nice warm evenings.
The hill visible from the Western shore of La Muir.
Beautiful sunsets and warm evenings
We packed up early and broke camp. It was a good trip down the bay and a nice landing at the portage. We hit the portage to La Muir. It's in pretty good shape with a winding trail for 2590 M and some nice spots along the way with large trees and a beaver dam.
We camped on the site closest to Presqu’ile Bay. After settting-up camp, we hit the water for some fishing. The action was fast right off the site with three 3-4 pounders caught in rapid succession.
The wind on La Muir is always a problem. This day, the wind set up as usual and was howling down the lake towards the Hogan portage, at 60 kph's plus.
Half way through the troll we saw the Park’s yellow Turbo Beaver overhead. It passed us then banked steeply and landed in front of us. Quite the sight to see. Two CO’s stepped out on the pontoon and asked us to approach. They asked that we remove the downrigger so as to not damage the pontoons. It was a nerve wracking procedure with three in the canoe plus a barking dog. Luckily we all had our licenses and permits etc. They checked the fish asked us if we had live bait and where we were camping. Satisfied, they pulled out and took off.
At the start, I was a bit put out by the fact that we had been checked in such a manner. But upon reflection, we were following the rules so had nothing to worry about. I also felt glad that they were patrolling and that they were looking after the resources but would rather they'd showed up Monday and flown us back to Opeongo. Also, this little visit messed up our troll so no more fish were caught.
We pulled into the island that end of La Muir to wait out the wind as it was now white capping and blowing very hard. We waited there until almost sunset and then pushed off for our site. Needless to say we were unable to fish on the way back but we had one in the boat from earlier for dinner.
Total of 2590 meters of portages for Day Three.
A nice little after-dinner-bonfire
We broke camp and headed across La Muir with the downriggers on. We picked up three nice Lakers on the way, 3-4 pounds. All were released as we didn’t want to portage them all the way home.
6 portages today!!
The weather was hot and humid with little wind. The portages were in good shape so we made fairly good time.
Logging is going on in the area of Deer Yard Lake and you could hear the skidders and chainsaws in the background. They have also built a huge gravel logging road that crossed the Deer Yard to Hemlock portage.
We also passed a couple groups heading in to La Muir. By this time we were on the home stretch, so we pushed hard and didn’t fish much.
The total time from La Muir was approximately 7 hours of tripping. All in all a great trip with the best weather I think we have ever had on a four day in September. Basically, we needed one or two lures and caught plenty of fish. One other thing we wanted to do was try some Brook Trout fishing which we did. The results were good and warrant further “Speckie” hunts.
This beauty was caught on a “Larry Nixon” crank bait Green and Gold. Apparently it was fat and tasty.
Total Portages for the 4 days = 13970 M.