Pontiac’s Wild Side: Bryson Lake Lodge
“We’re proud of our lodge here in Pontiac’s beautiful, forested hills.” Denis LeBrun, owner-operator of Bryson Lake Lodge smiled, sweeping his hand to indicate what should have taken in the sparkling waters of Bryson Lake. “Actually, you can’t even see our lake at the moment! Know what? It’s the first time I’ve ever seen the lake totally obscured by mist.”
My husband Eric and I were mesmerized by the ethereal landscape. We’d driven north 89 km from Fort Coulonge, through the forested hills and past lovely lakes and, as we approached the lodge, mist started to swirl around us, obscuring our destination, Bryson Lake, in unearthly beauty.
Amid this enchanted landscape, we entered the log lodge, to find a smiling, gracious welcome from Denis. He explained he and his wife and business partner Laurel Lebrun purchased 140 square kilometres of forested territory back in 1993, an exclusive domaine which only their guests are allowed to hike, fish, paddle, relax – and hunt.
Denis recalls, “I was looking for a property because we love nature, fishing, and hunting. My father and I had come fishing here for years and we discovered the lease was up. We jumped at the chance to purchase it. Laurel, family and friends worked hard to build this lodge, update some cabins and build others. We love it: it’s our life.”
Plenty! Denis explains, “Fishing is fabulous here and what’s important is our lakes have four fabulous species to catch. Lake and brook trout, walleye, and pike are all here, meaning that your $30.00 fishing licence you buy here lets you get the maximum daily quota of all four. That’s a big draw for fishers.”
Eric and I loved the cabins: we stayed in #12 on the mainland near the lodge. Howe'ver, Denis took us on a tour of the lake’s cabins, and #5 spoke to our penchant for solitude. It’s one of several located on one of the many islands dotting Bryson Lake. “Our kids built some inukshuks on the point, near #5,” he said. Believe me, they’re there and they add a welcoming touch to the gracious white pines and rocky shoreline.
There’s plenty for families to do. There’s a kid’s playground, a treehouse to play in, and videos to watch. “I just love taking kids fishing, particularly if they’ve never done it before.” Denis’ laughter is infectious and I can just imagine how youngsters would enjoy fishing with him. When I caught all seven – yes! seven! – brook trout, he actually giggled with delight as I hooked my catches. He, Eric and I ended up laughing quite a lot... and still caught fish. (I thought fish might be frightened by laughter... evidently not.)
If hiking’s what you enjoy, there are three treasure-hunt trails of different lengths where you answer skill-testing questions to decipher clues to the treasure. Fun – and kids can search for the toy mushrooms, squirrels and other things the LeBruns have placed in their enchanted forested trails to keep little ones amused.
So go: regardless of whether you want to fish, relax, or yes, even hunt – the LeBruns offer a spectacular “outback Pontiac” experience.
Special notes to the wise
Call the LeBruns for directions when booking, because your GPS will show two road accesses – and there’s just one, because of a washout. Don’t be deterred: give them a call and go.
And yes, although I’m not a hunter, here you can hunt for such wildlife as bear and moose, in season. I admit to being a bit taken aback by the hunting pictures on the website but, you know what? I do eat meat. I do eat game which friends of mine have hunted. Therefore? When operators like the LeBruns offer respectful, well-planned hunting opportunities, I certainly realize I need to go “look in the mirror” and realize that I need to be supportive of careful, responsible hunting and hunters. “We’re proud of our hunters,” says Denis. “These people hunt for game that they will eat and use, and that’s very important to Laurel and me.”
What to take?
This is a truly “rustic Canadian lodge” so take all your food, beverages, snacks, water, as well as linens and towels. Cottages are equipped with full kitchens (fridge, propane stove, microwave, dishes etc) and also have a wood stove (wood supplied). Oh, and also take books, sketchpads, your kayak... Truly, Domaine du lac Bryson Lake lodge offers you... awesome relaxation.
When you go
Domaine du Lac Bryson Lake Lodge: www.lacbryson.com
Outaouais Tourism: www.outaouaistourism.com
Pontiac Tourism: http://tourisme-pontiac.com/en/