Posted at 11:00 a.m.
The Lac Blanc outfitter has bet on accessibility, due to its proximity — less than two hours by road from Montreal —, but also by its service offer, whether it be the many resort activities, its restaurant, its inn and its fully equipped chalets and its magnificent indoor swimming pool. You can even charge your electric car there! In short, we do not come here imagining that we are in a wild outfitter in the Far North. And it’s very good like that, especially if you want to learn to fish in comfort.
This is how we wanted to tease the trout by hiring the services of a fishing guide, an increasingly common option in many Quebec outfitters. “People often don’t really know what they’re getting into,” explains our guide Maxime Rondeau, fixing the electric motor on our boat.
Sometimes they’ll watch it on TV, it sounds easy, but three quarters of the videos were shot in the spring, when the fish bite the most. When you come with the family in July or August, the fishing is more difficult, that’s when a guide is really useful.
Maxime Rondeau, guide
A guide can also lend a hand to novices with fishing equipment; it can also help out those who fish occasionally — our fishing line was so old that it broke at the slightest jolt! “Most of the equipment is provided on site, explains Max after going to get us a rod to replace ours. So you don’t have to worry if you don’t have any equipment. In general, I provide pretty much everything you need. »
Max has been a fishing guide at the Lac Blanc outfitter for six years. He knows the estate’s 12 lakes well. For example, he knows that some of the sections of Lac Loutre, where he took us, have been flooded over the years by beaver dams. No need to go fishing there. He thus passes a few times over the areas where the speckled trout usually swim, until he can determine the place where it bites the most.
In less than two hours, we reached our quota of 10 trout – our guide was more efficient than us, but we console ourselves with the thought that we have brought out the best catch! “Here, we don’t hide to say that we stock our lakes, because people want to have a great experience,” says the owner, Gaston Pellerin. To respond to fishing pressure, we add 7,000 to 8,000 fish to our lakes every week. But in farmed fish there is quality, it’s like in anything. So I’ve been doing business with the same suppliers from the start, with whom you have to book at least a year in advance. Because if we don’t reserve, we won’t have the quality trout we need here. »
The outfitter therefore gets its supplies locally, only from fish farms in outdoor ponds. “Trout raised in indoor ponds will take longer to get used to their habitat, maintains Maxime Rondeau. The fish that grew up outside eats insects, it will feed on larvae, its environment is closer to that which it will find in the lake. We realize this when it bites at the end of the line, but also on the plate.
Lunch on the shore
After our fishing, we take the direction of Lac Vacances, where the famous meals are organized on the bank. Other fishermen are already there, and the guide Louis-Philippe Renière is busy behind the cauldrons.
“I fillet all the trout, it’s more fun to eat,” he explains to us, checking the cooking of the potatoes which brown in the duck fat and bacon. “I don’t give away all my stuff though,” laughs the one everyone calls Tony (!). But deep down, there’s no secret: it’s fresh fish, I roll it a little in flour, no spices, nothing else, and I just cook it with a little bit of canola oil. We just caught the trout about 20 minutes ago, it can’t get any fresher than that! »
“The customers have caught the trout, we’re going to get the fish while they continue to fish”, explains the sales manager, Daniel Grenier, just before we are called to the table by Tony. “We arrange the trout for them, they arrive here, they are almost ready to eat. And if they are in advance, Tony will involve them, it’s casual, as if we were at home. For those who don’t want to eat fish, hot dogs, hamburgers and even steaks can be prepared. »
About 20 meals on the shore have already been planned for June, mainly for long-time clients and for corporate events. “But there are always little holes in the schedule, he assures us. At the last minute, it is more difficult, it is better to know a few days in advance. But we still manage to find a formula to try to be accommodating. »
Customers who don’t get a chance to eat their catch shore lunch However, they can take comfort in knowing that they can entrust them to the good care of chef Yannick Gagné, who can prepare the fishermen’s fish in the kitchen for lunch or dinner. “You go to reception and tell us that you want to eat your fish at the inn’s restaurant,” explains Daniel Grenier. You reserve your place and we identify your fish, which you can enjoy at the table. It’s also possible to smoke half of our catch in one of the restaurant’s two smokehouses – anglers who drop off their fish at the end of the day can usually take them back the next day.
The restaurant also smokes its own trout, sourced from the same local fish farm that supplies the large 2- to 10-pound trout that are stocked in Roche and Théo lakes – the outfitter’s two “trophy” lakes. So you have to try the chowder and the smoked trout club, must-haves on the outfitter’s menu. Chef Yannick Gagné also takes the liberty of incorporating a few more refined dishes — the striped bass platter is a recent addition that is frankly worth it.
But it is not our goal to come up with many fine dishes. Yes, we offer some novelties, but we mainly focus on comforting, tasty and hearty dishes.
Daniel Grenier, sales manager of the Lac Blanc outfitter
A vocation that is absolutely not contrary to the quality promise of the establishment, which makes efforts to source supplies from local suppliers, in particular by participating for six years in the Bon appétit Maski event, which highlights producers in the Maskinongé region. This is how the outfitter’s kitchen offers meat from Le Rieur Sanglier, Yamachiche, spices from La Pousse santé, from Louiseville, or beers from the New France microbrewery in Saint-Alexis-des-Monts. .
In short, it is impossible to come back empty-handed, guaranteed!
The Lac Blanc outfitter offers a total of 70 comfortable rooms, with WiFi access, located in the main inn, above the aquatic center or in chalets that can accommodate up to four families. “We offer 15 chalets, 12 of which are identical, which we have renovated three times since 1994”, explains the owner, Gaston Pellerin.
Built in 2010 for the sum of 1.7 million dollars, the aquatic center is open all year round. Its magnificent indoor swimming pool built on the shores of Lac Blanc offers a spectacle through the impressive glass surface. Guests can also relax in the large spa and sauna; it is even possible to treat yourself to a massage, available on request. “Is the investment profitable? I do not know, because it is not palpable, recognizes Gaston Pellerin. But a lot of people come here because we have a pool, so it’s definitely worth it. »
Pedalos, paddle boards, canoes, rabaskas… the Lac Blanc docks have many boats, most of which are offered as full or half-board packages from the outfitter. For additional costs, it is also possible to treat yourself to a pontoon or autoquad ride. You can even take an aerial look at the estate by boarding a helicopter. You can also do clay pigeon shooting and even experience a real Roue du Roy, a traditional pheasant hunt organized every autumn.
The 3,553-hectare estate is obviously home to a number of wild animals — we were lucky enough to see a bald eagle during our morning fishing trip at Loutre Lake. But the outfitter has also set up a brown bear observation station, as well as a deer enclosure that cannot be restored to wildlife. “Most of the time, these are fawns that have survived road accidents and cannot be reintroduced into their wild environment,” explains guide Maxime Rondeau.
- 3553 hectares
- This is the surface area of the Lac Blanc outfitter