August 3rd: Flying to Edmonton with my fishing buddy Steve and new fishing partners Larry and his son Jason. From Edmonton we take a small plane to Yellowknife, where we overnight at the Explorer Hotel.
Checked out the local LCBO store to add to our beer supply. Did not, however, buy the Bug Repellent IPA brewed by the NWT Brewing Co. Dined in the hotel – Elk goulash soup, Chicken tagine and ½ litre of Duboeuf Beaujolais.
Day 1: Early rise to catch Air Tindi’s Twin Otter to fly 201 nautical miles north to Peterson’s Point Lake Lodge.
We are joined by four geologists – Graham, Jesse, Andreas and Rory – who are researching the planet’s oldest rock formations, Acasta gneiss. According to Wikipedia, “The Acasta Gneiss is a tonalite gneiss in the Slave craton in the Northwest Territories, Canada. The rock body is exposed on an island about 300 kilometres north of Yellowknife. The rock of the outcrop was metamorphosed 3.58 to 4.031 billion years ago and is the oldest known intact crustal fragment on Earth.”
The geos will be flown around in their quest for rock samples by bush pilot Dave Oleson, who looks straight out of Central Casting as bush pilot – but who is also an accomplished author and dog musher. See https://www.thriftbooks.com/a/dave-olesen/704052/
Margaret Peterson sees us off with our traditional breakfast of Taittinger Brut Champagne, bannock, devilled eggs, cheese and fruit. (This is my fourth trip to the lodge, same send-off breakfast.)
Arriving on the lake an hour later, we are greeted by Margaret’s kids, Chad and Amanda, and the guides, Grant, Chris and Jeff – and George, a Texan (who drove up from El Paso to Yellowknife!). George is an annual visitor, accompanied this year by his nephew, Richard
After lunch we have our first outing on the lake. My first catch, the line broke at the boat and I lost my favourite Five of Diamonds lure. Ended up with three lake trout; the biggest was 15 lbs. The lake record is 58 lbs. (Any fish you catch 20 lbs or over is marked up on a board in the dining room – so it gets very competitive.)
The lodge cook is Tanya Pearson but she’s more than a cook; she’s a chef who produces superb meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
A pre-dinner drink of Highland Park 12-Year-Old then a meal of smoked meat sandwiches and salad, accompanied by a bottle of Chapel Hill “The MV” Shiraz 2019 from McLaren Vale (the first of a series of wines we had flown up for our shore lunches and dinners back at the lodge).
Day 2: Breakfast: bannock and coffee. For shore lunches we stop at various spots on the lake where the guides fillet the fish (usually 3–5 pounders – the rest are catch-and-release), light a fire and Steve prepares the lunch. Today it is beer-battered lake trout, fried potatoes and onions and beans with a dessert of rhubarb squares. The wine: Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc 2019. Seven lake trout today, none over 15 lbs.
Dinner: roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and coleslaw. The wine: Marqués de Riscal 2016.
Day 3: Breakfast: pancakes and maple syrup with bacon. One fish all morning and two bites in all. Lunch: blackened fish and dirty rice. The wine: Greywacke Pinot Noir 2019 from Marlborough, New Zealand.
In the afternoon, caught one fish on a cisco rig, 15 lbs. Still not on the board. Dinner: spaghetti with Grant’s special bolognaise sauce, pecan pie with ice cream. The wine: Tenuta Frescobaldi Castignoli 2019.
Day 4: Breakfast: fruit smoothies, muffins and smoked trout. This morning I caught my board fish: 21 lb. lake trout.
Lunch: Steve cooked panko-crusted trout with corn. Dessert: banana bread. In the afternoon – one fish, 14 lbs. At least I’m on the board now.
Dinner: Steak with baked potato, corn, beetroot and Chinese coleslaw. The wine: Penfolds Bin 407 2008. Dessert: blueberry pie with ice cream, followed by cheeses – Le Pizey and Wildwood (Ontario).
Day 5: One fish before lunch. Steve cooked fish pasta, served with Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2021. Big breakfast: bannock, toast, smoked trout, oatmeal, sausage, tomato and egg. No action this morning. Lunch: fried fish with potatoes and onion. The wine: Montes Alpha Chardonnay 2018.
In the afternoon, four fish under 16 lbs. Dinner: chicken, scalloped potatoes, salad followed by lemon mousse roll and cheeses. Richard caught the big one today – 33 lbs.
Day 6: Breakfast: fried eggs, bacon, English muffins. Two fish this morning, one a 21-pounder.
Lunch: Steve prepared Wasabi Trout with potatoes and onions. Dessert: peanut butter cookies. Another bottle of the Montes Alpha Chardonnay 2018.
Four fish in the afternoon but missed a hog! A bone-shaking ride back to the lodge because of the high wind. Pre-dinner: Greek pizza.
Dinner: moose bourguignonne, Greek salad. Dessert: apple crumble with ice cream. The wine: Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Carménère 2007 (which I had brought back from Chile).
Day 7: Breakfast: fish cakes and homemade beans. Very windy today on the lake. The boat was like a bucking bronco in the waves.
Traditionally, on the last day of fishing, Steve brings from home the makings of Bouillabaisse – the stock, frozen shrimp, mussels and clams to which he adds the freshly caught fish. He also makes rouille, the sauce you add to the bouillabaisse. There was no accompanying wine because it wasn’t packed in the lunch box. (The lodge just lost a star!)
Dinner: chicken pot pie, salad, beer battered fish and French fries with Clos de los Siete 2018. Dessert: blueberry and Saskatoon berry cobbler with ice cream.
A very satisfying week’s fishing!
Other wines tasted, back in Port Dalhousie:
Rosewood Winery Discoteca 2021 (Niagara Peninsula)
Under a crown cap. 62% Chardonnay Musqué, 38% Riesling. Unfiltered and unfined, giving the wine a cloudy, straw-coloured appearance with lees at the base of the bottle. Be careful opening (have cloth handy!). A touch of sulphur on the nose that gives way to apple and citrus notes. Effervescent, light to medium-bodied, dry, apple and grapefruit zest flavours. Drink now. (86)
Rosewood Winery Neptune Riesling 2019 (Beamsville Bench)
Old gold in colour; funky, reductive nose of citrus fruits with a suggestion of oak; medium-bodied, dry, spicy, grapefruit flavour, mature, with a long fresh lemony finish. Drink now but can be held for 2–3 years. (88)
Rosewood Winery Patience Viognier 2019 (Stouck Vineyard, Lincoln Lakeshore)
Unfined and unfiltered. Lightly floral nose of white peach with a hint of oak; medium-bodied, dry, green peach flavour with a touch of bitterness on the finish. Hold a year or so to allow the bouquet to develop. (88–89)
Rosewood Winery Renaceau Vineyard Chardonnay 2017 (Beamsville Bench)
Unfined and unfiltered. Pale golden colour with a greenish tint; lightly toasty, spicy, apple nose; medium-bodied, dry, apple and apricot flavours; full in the mouth and well-balanced, ending on a note of spicy vanilla oak. Drink now or hold till 2023. (89)
Rosewood Winery Soupair Këwl 2019 (Creek Shores)
A blend of 60% Cabernet Franc, 40% Gamay Noir. Unfined and unfiltered. Deep purple-ruby colour; toasty, plum bouquet with oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, good intensity of mid-palate fruit; savoury, plum and cherry flavours with evident but ripe tannins on the finish. Hold till 2023–24. (89)
Rosewood Winery Looking Glass 2020 (Niagara Peninsula)
86.4% Cabernet Franc, 8.1%Cabernet Sauvignon, 5.4% Petit Verdot. Unfiltered and unfined. Purple-ruby in colour; toasty, plum and blackcurrant nose; medium-bodied, dry, well-extracted cinnamon-scented flavours of plum and blackcurrant with a firm tannic structure. Drinkable now but will reward cellaring for a couple of years. (90)
Rosewood Winery Night Moves Gamay Noir 2020 (Niagara Peninsula)
100% Gamay Noir, unfiled and unfiltered. Deep purple-ruby in colour; slightly reductive nose of cherries; medium-bodied, dry, fruity, cherry flavour with balancing acidity. Decant to allow the sulphur note to blow off. Drink now and through 2023. (89)
Flat Rock Twisted White 2020 ($20.15)
98% Riesling, 1% Chardonnay, 1% Gewurztraminer. Light straw in colour; spicy, aromatic nose of peaches; medium-bodied, dry, apple and lychee flavours with a touch of bitterness on the finish. (88)