Johnny and Billy Cain Outfitters - Leaf River Estuary Lodge, Tasiujaq, Nunavik QC, Canada
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Conservation

Conserving the Rich Fishery

The Inuit people have great respect for the land of their ancestors and the wildlife on which they depended. Conservation is necessary and natural. The Leaf River Estuary Lodge is committed to the protection of the ecosystem of the Leaf River, its estuary and the surrounding lands through the responsible management of sport fishing for Atlantic salmon, sea trout, and Arctic char.  Although the char and Atlantic salmon are abundant at the present time, and provide world-class sport-fishing opportunities, they are vulnerable. The lodge also provides employment for residents of the nearby village of Tasiujaq.

 

Leaf River Salmon - Click for a larger versionThe Leaf River Salmon: In the Western Hemisphere, the Leaf River is the most northern river in which the Atlantic salmon breed. To protect this vulnerable population, the Lodge has a strict "catch and release" rule for salmon.  Like all salmon, those of the Leaf River feed primarily in salt water but return to the fresh water to spawn. How far upstream this takes place is not known, but it could be as far as 200 miles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arctic Char - Click for a larger versionThe Arctic Char of Leaf Bay: The range of the Arctic char extends north to Baffin Island and beyond. The Arctic Char of Leaf Bay are large and healthy, making them an ideal objective for sport fishing by fly rod or light spinning tackle.

Like salmon, the Arctic char feed primarily in salt water. During the short summer season, from mid June to mid August, the long days of sunlight make the salt water turn green with plankton, giving rise to a rich food chain. The Arctic char reach this bounty by swimming downstream from the fresh water lakes where they have spent the winter. During the summer feeding frenzy the char grow rapidly and store sufficient reserves to last through the remaining 10 months of the year.

 

 

 

 

Bearded Seal - Click for a larger version

 

After the summer feeding, the char swim back upstream, where they spawn, and then remain relatively dormant until they return to the salt water in June. During the summer feeding, char will readily strike streamer flies, imitation shrimp (e.g., "wooly buggers"), spinners and spoons. Because they are fundamentally a salt-water fish, sufficiently strong and fast to avoid the seal and beluga predators, the char, like the salmon, put up an impressive fight when hooked. It’s a matter of debate which is the stronger fighter, the Arctic char or the Atlantic salmon.

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