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August 10, 1997
Peter Brewster writes:
ON THE GEORGE RIVER: We're having a heatwave; an Ungava heatwave.
This is the weather you least want up here ... very hot (33-34C.),
and consequently very buggy.
The only saving grace is that our heatwave came equipped with a
southwest wind which booted our tail down much of the 90km. of Indian House
Lake and made the transition from the upper river to the lower river relatively
painless. If the north wind we had at the the start of the lake had persisted
it would have been a long, hard go.
The final kilometres of the big lake rolled off easily this morning,
and we ran a lengthy and interesting outlet rapid down into a small unnamed
lake, home of George River Lodge owned by Pierre Paquet.
We had met Pierre's wife Christine on the train from Sept-Isles to
Schefferville. She was travelling up to the lodge with one of her Bernese
mountain dogs, which she trains, and we promised to drop in as we flew by on
the George River rollercoaster which begins in ernest below Indian House Lake.
It's a stunning place. Pierre built the main structure himself out of
big spruce logs, creating a natural and visually beautiful home away from home
for the fishermen and hunters who visit. Most are Americans, he told me, but he
has had clients from 15 different countries.
Pierre is a compact, easy-going character with a ready grin, but he
has the quiet, capable air of a man at home in the north and able to deal with
whatever comes along.
The fishing in his territory is for Atlantic salmon (suffering, like
everywhere else, from reduced numbers), lake trout, and exceptional numbers of
brook trout. Hunting covers mostly caribou and black bear.
Guests fly in from Schefferville. From mid-June until mid-October
Pierre Paquet can be reached at 418-585-3477. Other times 418-877-4650.
North of the lodge the George is at its best, and the journey to
Ungava Bay begins with a seemingly endless rapid (several kilometres in length)
which carves through gorgeous landscape.
Racing along, we put up an enormous black bear that had been close to
the water's edge. He ran along parallel to the canoes, fur rippling in the
sunlight, before turning off through willows a metre and a half high as if
they didn't exist.
Shortly after this I nailed a lake trout of about 9 or 10 pounds,
which formed the basis for supper a couple of hours later.
Here on the lower river the term "cold filtered" from the TV beer
commercials takes on a new meaning. The water is sparklingly clear, any
sediments from the upper river having been absorbed by the great length of
Indian House lake. This is wonderful water, to see, to dip your cup in and
drink long and slow on a hot day, and to fish in.
And from now on, with the solitary exception of a carry around Helen
Falls, it is all downhill for 280 kilometres to the sea.
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