McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Trout fishing outside of NJ
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Rusty Spinner
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McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:29 am

I spent 11 days travelling and fishing the McKenzie River, the Quartzite River and the Come Back River as well as the lakes in that system on the McKenzie in Labrador, Canada with 6 close friends. Pictures won't do this lodge and staff justice; the experience far exceeded my already high expectations. This was a once in a lifetime trip that included renting a 15 passenger Ford van, driving 22 hours north by northeast to Labrador City, and flying in to camp on a turbo De Havilland Otter floatplane to our remote lodge on the shores of McKenzie Lake just above where the lake narrows back into a river. Available on the fly are brook trout, landlocked Atlantic salmon (Ouananiche or "river leaper" per the local Innu language), northern pike, lake trout, and whitefish. All fish 100% native and wild and all but the 4 pike we killed for a shore lunch were C&R on single, barbless hooks.

Lodge website: http://mckenzieriverlodge.com/en/

Some photos....
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Rusty Spinner
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Re: McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:32 am

Caribou trails are all that is used to walk along the rivers between fishing spots.
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Those are bear claw marks all over the window. Bears are a nuisance for the camp and they have both a shotgun and a "bear dog" that does amazing things to keep camp safe.
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Rusty Spinner
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Re: McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:36 am

The Quartzite River near where it enters the lake
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The shear amount and variety of stoneflies was amazing! Goldens made up a huge amount of my fish on certain days.
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The say you "come for the brookies, but you come back for the Ouananiche" and nothing further could be true. They leap the second they feel the hook and often upstream in your direction which makes keeping them tight and not losing them tough on barbless hooks. They are an amazing fish!
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Rusty Spinner
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Re: McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:37 am

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Re: McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:42 am

The Quartzite River, another unbelievable gem. I landed my best brookie here and without a net as the guide was across the river and up fishing with my buddy. We often had double hook ups which was a blast. There was some running after fish, especially the big lakers and Ouananiche. I could spend the rest of my fishing days on the rock to the far left.....
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The brookies were truly amazing and fought hard every time. You would too if your life consisted of being chased by huge lake trout and northern pike all day and night. :shock:

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More pix coming as I have to resize everything for this site. :? :lol:
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Rusty Spinner
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Re: McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:54 am

Stones!
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Some of the brookies had survived battles with bigger fish and/or eagles and ospreys....
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Re: McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:56 am

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My juvenile whitefish allowed me to have the first Grand Slam of the lodge's season with all 5 species coming on the fly rod. We would have sight fishing for large whitefish in the lake a couple of nights later to dry flies and another buddy scored his and became the 2nd to the Grand Slam for this season.
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Re: McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:04 pm

Pike ceviche that we made with help from Julie, the camp chef (we ate like kings)
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We only had one night like this, but it made the entire trip better. Highs around 80 that day even though we had snow on the ground still in places. :shock:
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The canoe fleet, equipped with reliable engines got us up and down the lake to our three main fishing rivers. Two are 18 footers and two are 20 footers.
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Re: McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:13 pm

Our bear dog, Zula
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Random pike on the fly. We could have put up double digit pike numbers in an hour if you just wanted to poke the back bays in the canoe, but they weren't our target except for a single morning for our shore lunch.
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Re: McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:27 pm

Burt Gillis, head guide who helped convert the lodge from a caribou and bear hunting lodge to a fly fishing lodge after it sat idle for about 4 or 5 years. That was 12 years ago.
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23 year old guide, Sabrina Barnes is one to watch for in the fly fishing industry. There is a growing buzz about her mad casting and fishing skills and she's young. She was one of the nicest people I have ever met and highly qualified as a guide in this tough location when it comes to wading. She had just netted this salmon for me.
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Re: McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:29 pm

Some of you know Rick Axt. Here he was after an epic battle that included him falling flat on his face but making a great comeback. Yes, I have video :D
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Re: McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:33 pm

I wanted to get a lot of shots of the brookies as I plan to have a replica made. So some of these are headed to my taxidermist, Jersey Jay's.
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My best brookie, a 22.5" fish and the best landed of the trip. Fairly sure I dropped one larger earlier in the week on the McKenzie River. This one came from the Quartzite River and I had to land it by hand as I had no net and the guide was upstream with his.
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There is something wrong with this picture :lol:
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Re: McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:35 pm

Last photo post.....

One of my lakers, held by guide "JP" (John Paul, a French Canadian as were two of the other 4 guides). All guides spoke very good English and the two non-French Canadians spoke French well when they were working things out together at night or in the mornings before we headed out. I think we will all miss each other very much. We had a special week with these people. The Trout Louts role that way.
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That's all for now.....
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barkeater
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Re: McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Post by barkeater » Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:20 pm

Wow! That looks like a great trip. Beautiful fish and beautiful country.

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Re: McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Post by Twism86 » Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:57 pm

Thanks for sharing Brian!!! Pictures and the trip look amazing, Im going to have to start saving now for something like this!
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Re: McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:28 pm

Twism86 wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:57 pm
Thanks for sharing Brian!!! Pictures and the trip look amazing, Im going to have to start saving now for something like this!
It's not cheap, but worth every penny! I can't say enough great things about the lodge, the fishing and the staff. It took us nearly 2 years to get to this point, but the planning was worth the wait. Now to hit the lottery so I can do it again. After all, I have a kid heading off to college in just over a month. :mrgreen:
"A sinking fly is closer to Hell" - Unknown

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Re: McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Post by cappy » Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:55 pm

Outstanding! Trip of a lifetime for sure. Thank you for the pictures and illustration.

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Re: McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Post by lightenup » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:16 pm

:P :P :P :P :o :D :D :D :D

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Re: McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Post by Razorbacker » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:08 am

Incredible!! Thanks for sharing!

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Rusty Spinner
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Re: McKenzie River Lodge - Labrador trip

Post by Rusty Spinner » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:55 pm

Razorbacker wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:08 am
Incredible!! Thanks for sharing!
Glad others could enjoy them as well! I can't say enough great things about the lodge and staff.
"A sinking fly is closer to Hell" - Unknown

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