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That big lake trout

Updated: May 1, 2022

A few times a year, back in the eighties, we’d all go down for family gatherings of various sizes to the Howard family camp at Breeches lake in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, on what was originally the Wolfe County Fish and Game Club founded in the early 1900s.

Breeches lake is a nearly 1 1/2-mile long lake, quite deep and set in glorious mountainous scenery.

Now we had casually fished this lake for several years with little to show for our efforts as weekends at the camp were mostly devoted to playing cards, getting back in touch, and drinking and eating way too much.

But on a sunny Sunday afternoon, Robert Masse and I - Robert was an acquaintance and the then-husband of my longtime friend Barbara - decided to do some trolling to test our luck on the lake.

Now Robert, a shortish but stout character sporting a pencil mustache and goatee, was not known for any particular ability as a fisherman and in fact, was a slightly clumsy fellow in general with the annoying habit of continuously cracking his knuckles.

After about 30 minutes, he announced for the 6th or 7th time that afternoon that he had snagged his line. So as I was running the motor, I put it in reverse and started backing the boat up to see if we could free and save the lure.

Of course, he had way too much line out and as we kept backing up I noticed we weren’t getting as close as we should have.

At that point, I noticed that his line rapidly was moving away from us at an angle.

As I screamed at him “C’est un poisson!” (It’s a fish!) his rod tip violently plunged straight down and I told him to clutch up his reel to start bringing in his line.

Robert, who’d been involved in weightlifting earlier on in his life, had a decent pair of arms on him fortunately and after some ten minutes, we netted a gorgeous, glistening, and magnificently colored twelve pound lake trout, the largest by far I'd ever seen in person.

Needless to say, we started stomping around our little fourteen foot boat, screaming and hollering like crazed banshees which I'm certain could be heard by all the lodges within miles, Breeches Lake being known for its great echo.

Anticipating our heroes’ welcome back at the camp I squeezed every ounce of speed from our tiny five horsepower outboard motor, arriving with Robert standing up in the front of the boat with the trophy held up above his head like a conquering Viking before we even docked, as the stunned and cheering women folk, having heard our shouts as we headed in, came running down the slope from the veranda that gave out on the lake.

The absolute look of pride on Robert’s face at that very moment was worth all the endless hours I’ve spent fishing over my lifetime.


Excerpt from my upcoming e-book “Recollections from my time on earth” - Snackable short stories.

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