As part of our ultimate fishing excursion series, this year we visit Mekoos Outfitters. Mekoos outfitters are located approximately 3 hours north of Montreal and Ottawa. The last 27 kilometers (16.8 miles) consist of unpaved road, however the road is so well maintained that it can easily be navigated, even by car. The outfitter sits on 346 square kilometers of exclusive territory and hosts 135 lakes.
Since 2004, Mekoos outfitters is owned and operated by the Dumoulin family. The Dumoulin family and their staff pursue objectives of sustainable development, ecotourism in four seasons and ensure that proper management of native wildlife is supported, allowing you a harvest of exceptional quality.
We arrived at the outfitters late in the afternoon under cloudy skies and frigid temperatures. The unusually low temperatures for this time of year, are not ideal, but still more than adequate for riding and fishing. After we settled in to our accommodations, we met with Sebastien Dumoulin, Owner of Mekoos Outfitters. Sebastien gave us the rundown of the “Mekoos” and helped us plan our itinerary for the next few days.
Mekoos outfitters can accommodate up to 100 guests and offers three types of lodging accommodations: rooms at the main lodge, on-site cottages and off-site lakeside cottages for the more adventurous type. The rooms in the main lodge are exceptional spacious and can accommodate 3 persons, offering a double and single bed. The outfitter also offers 9 on-site rustic-looking cottages that can accommodate from 2 to 16 persons. You will also find 2 remote (off-site) cottages that can accommodate 2-6 persons. All cottages feature full amenities and pet owners can rejoice as you’re four-legged friend(s) are welcomed here.
For those of you that “getaway” means getting away from the kitchen as well, no worries the Mekoos has you covered with their “American Plan” which includes lodging and all meals. While on the subject on meals, let me warn you, bring loose clothing, as the food is not only exceptional but also plentiful. The Mekoos is proud of its dining room, which is headed by an experienced chef who can satisfy even the fussiest palate. Breakfast, lunch and finally toped off with a “five star” four-course dinning experience with an enviable wine list. Surprisingly the Chef can also prepare you your fresh catch of the day if you wish to have it as an entrée. If you are planning on a day-long adventure on the trails or lakeside, the chef will also offer to prepare you a picnic basket saving you the need to return to the main lodge for lunch, how’s that for service! However, if you would rather be your own chef the outfitter also offers a “European Plan” which includes only lodging.
The Mekoos is primarily an outfitter, so it does offer different plans and rates for fishing and hunting packages. The packages offered: Fishing (Pike, Walleye, Lake and Speckled Trout), Hunting (Small Game, Black Bear, White-tailed Deer and Moose). The rates depend on the activity you will be doing, number of persons and duration of stay, for complete rates we encourage you to visit the Mekoos website: www.mekoos.ca.
The Mekoos is also an exceptional location for families wanting to vacation in the marvelous surroundings this wildness area can provide. Substitute your child’s cellphone and/or gaming device by a set of binocular’s or possibly even a fishing pole, introduce them to nature, it does the body good! The Mekoos offers many activities for the whole family to enjoy and spend quality time to together, because of course isn’t that what life is all about.
For us off-roaders the Mekoos is situated on the “Summum Trail” which offers 475 Kilometers (296 miles) of magnificent trails to discover. This new trail system was created with the combined efforts of the following outfitters: Notawissi, Mekoos and Fer a Cheval in 2010. For more information on the “Summum Trail”, please visit: www.sentiersummum.com.
After two days of having to deal with Mother Nature’s bad temperament, we awoke to a crisp overcast morning. Once the breakfast ritual was complete we proceeded to load up The Honda Pioneer 1000-5 with our gear, as it was time to ride. We hit the trails with our guide Sebastien with speckled trout fishing on the agenda for the day.
This area provides for some exceptional trail riding with clearly marked trails, which consist mostly of hard packed surfaces. Once we got closer to our fishing destination however the conditions suddenly got more interesting. We faced water, mud traverses, roots, stumps, rocky terrain as well as tight passages. The Pioneer 1000-5 handled these conditions with extreme ease. The steering always felt tight and precise and suspension seemed to soak up anything in its path. The Pioneer 1000-5 was nimble enough to allow us to squeeze through some tight passages and it was also reassuring to know that if needed, the 999cc engine would come to life with a simple tap on the accelerator. As I mentioned in my review of the Honda Pioneer 1000, I love to drive it in MT (Manual Mode). The manual mode gives you more driver-focused control in my opinion and definitely enhances the overall drive experience.
The Pioneer 1000-5 also provided us with more than ample storage for all of our gear when we folded down the Quick-Flip seats. In the cabin we where comfortably seated and always felt in control as we navigated over the various trail conditions. Overall the Honda Pioneer 1000-5 is in its element in this type of excursion, a pure pleasure to drive, nimble and responsive especially in MT mode.
As the picturesque décor revealed the body of water in front of us we were eager to get out on the lake. We grabbed our Honda BF2.3 outboard and fishing gear from the Pioneer 1000 cargo bed made our way towards the dock. Once secured on our boat and with one pull the BF2.3 outboard easily started and we were on our way. For the size of body of water we were fishing in, the BF2.3 was an ideal outboard. It provided for adequate speed and maneuverability, precise throttle control and best of all its lightweight and compact.
Great thing about trout fishing is that it doesn’t require a huge investment in gear and tackle to take up the sport. We had a basic line and spinning reel setup with a sliver and bronze “Lake Clear” lure and worm bait on a trailing hook. This setup worked great for us as we managed to pull out some monster speckled trout.
After a great morning of fishing we anchored the boats in the middle of the lake and had lunch and of course exchanged old fishing stories that seem to get better every year. Once we had our fill of food and stories we proceeded back to shore and spent that afternoon exploring more trails before calling it a day. After a day well spent trail riding and fishing, we enjoyed a few cocktails and great food amongst friends.
The next morning after yet another hearty breakfast, we were ready hit the trails once again. Before we had a chance to leave camp, Sebastien stopped us and told us to meet him at a nearby lake for lunch; he said he had a surprise for us. Intriguing indeed but in the meantime we had riding to do. Since this was our last day we wanted to explore this area as much as possible and also enjoy our seat time in the Honda Pioneer 1000-5. It seemed that every trail we hit was crafted just for us as every turn unveiled its own vista for us to explore.
After an extensive riding session we pulled into the lake area where Sebastien had instructed us to meet him. A magnificent lake with a sandy beachfront would be our lunch area for today. Sebastien had invited some of the guest from the lodge and he and his staff were now busy preparing a wonderful shore lunch for us. Fresh Trout and Walleye were on the menu along with some great side dishes. Not a bad way to spend a few hours and end our trip!
There are those that live for speed and racing. I have nothing against them and I respect them fully, however this is what UTV off-roading is all about for me. Exploring new areas, setting out on different excursions and spending quality time with friends and family.
In closing, this is also an opportune time to mention that Mekoos outfitters also offer UTV rentals. This is a great service for someone who doesn’t want to haul their own unit or possibly someone who doesn’t own a UTV and would like to try one. It’s highly recommended to reserve your unit when booking your trip.
I would like to take this moment to thank Sebastien Dumoulin and all his family and staff for the most gracious welcome and hospitality. If the adventure I briefly described sounds like something you wish to partake in, I highly recommend that you check out Mekoos Outfitters.