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!

 

Wide Open Spaces – Minipi from the Artist’s persepctive

Well known painter, carver and guide Perry Munro describes Minipi as the ideal place for ‘journey people.’ Our web manager interviewed Munro after his stay at Anne Marie Lodge and learned about what entices him to paint the scenes of Minipi.

PerryMunro1What first brought you to Minipi?

I had no idea what I was first getting into. It was back in the mid 80s, I came up as part of a learning experience on availability of product for a company. I came up and fell in love with the place, been here pretty well off and on ever since.

Do you have a favorite spot on the Minipi watershed?

Well of course there’s always Lover Boy. The fish are there, it’s a pretty spot. I love the depth of the terrain. I’ve painted it and I’ve done sketches of it. It goes back through the different mountains of charcoal all the way back, gives a nice look to it. Lover Boy has a nice feel to it, it shows the Big Land, the space, the openness.
Munro Art

Is there anything in particular you look for when painting Landscapes? What caught your eye at Minipi?

Depth. The space. The space that you exist in. I don’t very often do a tight sketch of Minipi, things are usually big and open. There are journey people and there are destination people: There are people that come here to the big country, to Labrador, to catch the big fish. That’s what they want to do, 8 pounders! And they’re there – but they don’t come easy and they don’t come to everybody. People who get the most out of a trip to Labrador and to Minipi Camps is the person who comes with their eyes wide open. The journey people. They see the flowers, the beaver house…the merganser going by with 17 little chicks.

PerryMunro2Do you have a favorite memory from your time at our Lodges?

There’s so many events. One time I took off and went to Johnny Lake. I went in by myself, I had never been there before and I had a wonderful day in there. I remember that being kind of a special day. You always feel that sense of being one on your own in here. Jack, Lorraine and Rob have been very kind to me and have given me opportunities to feel that over the years. I can explore and I can paint and do sketches on my own without the guide, I can go and just enjoy the terrain. Sometimes it’s a slow process.

 

Minipi is largely about big brook trout, but do you have any words for fellow artists who might want to visit?

Sunsets. Sunsets and sunrises. Probably the most over-painted, over-photographed things in the world – but they are beautiful up there. If you’re fortunate enough you can get a chance to see the northern lights. Just sky. Sky and water. It’s just sometimes it feels like being on the prairies; it’s huge. Flying into (the lodge) you get a feeling about the last ice age when it scoured Labrador, all the lakes run the same direction. If you want to travel east to west on foot you’d be forever to get a mile. It’s a landscape that you don’t often see and it’s very wild. I’ve often said that we should thank the outfitters like Jack, Lorraine and Rob for providing this environment because without their foresight in having these places that we can go to we’d never see them. The Coopers’ take care of their guests and they do a good job – they’re working in a very harsh environment trying to logistically manage this whole event of your time you spend with them – the airport pickup, the behind the scenes, the toilet paper being loaded in the plane, there’s so much going on that you don’t see to make sure that your time there is wonderful. For you. Next week there’s somebody else, but for right now, it’s you.

Perry Munro Minipi Brookie

This brookie is one Perry caught while visiting Anne Marie Lodge in mid-July. Perry said he did not weigh this trout, nor did he remove it from the water besides to take this photo. As you can see by comparing Perry’s hand to the trout, the trout is quite large! We’re left to ponder if this trout would break our records.