First Stop, Coopers’ Minipi Lodges!

I have been to Coopers’ Minipi Lodges a number of times over the years and each trip was memorable in its own way. I have caught some wonderful trout and held in my hand the biggest trout I will ever see and watched it swim away. One trip late in the year I caught some beautiful Char on their spawning run at the brook at the top of Char Cove. Fishing in wonderful places for wonderful fish is not hard to be memorable! I cannot think of a favourite trip or adventure to share, they are all special but I think the first trip to Minipi was like a gateway drug leading to an addiction to big trout on a dry fly’!

I was guiding for pheasants in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, in the late eighties when the client who was to become a friend asked me if I would like to explore Labrador the next summer with him for a company that booked anglers for different destinations. I started packing that night!

Late summer 1990 I was on a plane headed for Labrador, first stop was Coopers Minipi Lodges and the new Lodge built on Big Minipi Lake. We were in a float plane and now off to the camp! The camp was beautiful and very comfortable and we settled in and got ready for a long day.

The next morning after breakfast we loaded up the boat and departed to an unknown to us destination. It was a long trip down this massive lake and the boat had two motors to speed it up and for safety. After an hour or so we arrived at the outlet from Anne Marie and started to fish. We were soon rewarded with some beautiful speckled trout I size of which I had never seen before.

We worked our way up the river stopping to fish at great looking pools and were rewarded for our effort, I don’t believe the pools were named at the time. One pool was named and that was our destination we were to arrive at, a pool called Halfway which was halfway from Anne Marie and Minipi. We had taken a long time to complete the journey to Halfway so we ate a quick lunch and agreed not to fish on our way out. The trail was rough and disappeared at times but we arrived at our boat and started our return to camp.

Dinner was late as the cook had no water so after finding the problem and resolving it we enjoyed dinner and after relaxing in front of the fire we relived the day and got ready for the next leg of our journey the next morning.

The journey continued and we visited other Lodges but our stay at Minipi was the highlight of my part of the journey. That trip up the river was my first taste of Labrador and I have returned to relive that day many times and all have been special and have great memories but that day we caught 11 trout that weighted 66lbs

Almost  three decades later I would wager that that record to me is broken every year by two anglers at Minipi but it isn’t about numbers is it!

 

Lee Wulff’s Labrador Streamer

In 1976 at the ripe old age of 22 I attended a Trout Unlimited banquet in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Lee Wulff was the guest speaker.  At that banquet Lee showed a film called “Three Trout to Dream About,” which was filmed in Labrador. After seeing that film, I knew that one day I too would fish Labrador.

In 1982, I started calling and talking to various outfitters in Labrador.  After a long conversation with Lorraine Cooper, I decided that Coopers’ was where I would have to go.  On that solo flight to Goose Bay, I met on the plane and spent the week fishing with Dave Brandt.  Our friendship has continued on ever since and we have fished the waters of Minipi more times that I can remember.  Through the years I had the privilege to spend time with Lee and Joan Wulff at various functions.  At one of those meetings over 25 years ago Lee tied for me a Labrador Streamer that he had talked about in the film that he showed back in 1976.  I am quite sure that this had to have been if not the last, one of the very last of these he had ever tied, because not many people were very familiar with this pattern.

I set a goal on this trip in 2014 to catch a nice Minipi Brookie on this fly. If I did I would retire the fly. If I lost it, it would lay at rest in Labrador on the Minipi River where it should be.  I managed to catch an nice fish.  Then another one.  Then I hung up on a Labrador Love Stone and gave my Labrador Streamer its final resting place as it should be in the bottom of the Minipi River.

Thank you Lee Wulff for discovering this wonderful fishery, and many thanks to Coopers’ Minipi Lodges for helping to preserve this wonderful fishery so that I can continue to come back year after year and enjoy this wonderful place called Labrador. Now at age 60, I look forward to the time I spend on the waters of Minipi.  See you in 2016.

Minipi Virgins No More

For as long as I can remember my husband Dave has always wanted to go to Minipi. With wide eyes and excitement, he described how he’s always wanted to catch a trophy brook trout! In fact, the brookie was our first trout species we caught on a fly rod!

We were lucky to book the last week of the season this year. It was time for brookie nookie (spawning) so fishing was a bit tougher. Challenge accepted!

With my first cast on Little Minipi, I caught and landed the biggest brookie of my life! I was in awe over all 7 1/2 pounds of its masculine spawning colors! Feelings of excitement, amazement, disbelief and pure exhilaration consumed me! He was a beautiful specimen, I was honored to catch & release him.

The rest of the week was whipped cream with cherries on top (catching even more brookies). You couldn’t slap the big smile off my face! Anne Marie Lodge is beautiful, comfortable and inviting. Even better were all the amazing guides and lodge staff that made our experience memorable. The guides are amazing! They’re all fishing veterans and are full of knowledge and great tips to land that fish! They’re patient, offer guidance when needed, and all have a great sense of humor – I laughed all week!

Well, after a week at Minipi, we caught brookie fever/Minipi mania! We’re already planning our return for dry fly action and are soooo excited to return!

For now, we leave the trout to procreate to keep our fishing dreams alive.

“Minipi: where the brook trout are measured in pounds, not inches”

Here’s a few photos from our trip! Click to view full size.