Cooper's Minipi Lodges
In the 1950s legendary angler and explorer Lee Wulff discovered the Minipi Basin while flying in his Supercub float plane. Lee had discovered many incredible fisheries but the MInipi was the crown jewel - the best he had ever seen. Giant brook trout averaged over 5 lb. and were accompanied by the largest landlocked Arctic char on the planet. Northern pike are the top predator in these waters and will eat the trout and char unless they reach prodigious proportions. - and they do! Lee Wulff was extremely concerned that this unparalleled fishing area be protected. He made a deal with outfitter Ray Cooper to abide by a set of conservation practices that would protect the exceptionally large specimens in this watershed. That mantle of protection was passed on to Jack and Lorraine Cooper in 1978 and they have not only protected these unique species, they have worked tirelessly to understand them.
I have been fortunate enough to work with the Coopers and scientists including Dr. Richard Haedrich and Dr. Robert Behnke, the DFO, and Memorial University of Newfoundland. How the brook trout and landlocked char got so immense has been a mystery since first discovered. However, decades of research has resolved some of the mysteries.
The trout, char and pike feed on lake chubs and other forage species over the harsh Labrador winters. The brook trout here are not only the largest on Earth, but the longest lived. Specimens that were tagged in 1998 and 1999 as four and five year olds were re-captured in 2014 and 2015 making them 20 years old and counting. Most of the world record brook trout have been taken in the Minipi area since 1960. A number of northern pike records were also established when they were taken on dry flies as an incidental catch while fishing for trout and char.
I have fished and explored the vast wilderness of the Minipi since the 1980s. Today, it remains as when Lee Wulff discovered it with a few exceptions. The Coopers have built two beautiful timberline post and beam lodges - one on Big Minipi Lake and the other at Anne Marie Lake where Lee Wulff first landed his Supercub. Recently, the Coopers have added a Beaver float plane to make it easier to access remote areas in this vast wilderness. The fish are as big as ever. In 2015 I took a 9 lb. 10 oz. IGFA world record specimen and missed two larger fish - one that severed my 12 lb. tippet while engulfing my mouse pattern.
The season here runs from mid-June to the first week in September. It's good at all times, but different. After ice-out in June, the fish are ravenous but not quite as big as they get later in the season or as colorful. By July the flies , including large hexagenia, are on the water until early August. The brown and green drakes can be 0s or 2s, the size of small birds. Seeing them on the water is incredible. By mid-August the brook trout are spawning and more difficult to take, especially on top but are larger and more resplendent in their spawning regalia. By September, the char are congregating to spawn and are probably more vulnerable at that time than any other. The char can grow to over 15 lbs. and are truly mighty warriors and amongst the fastest and strongest of all the freshwater gamefish. Their aerial acrobatics can rival that of an Atlantic salmon.
The pricing at Coopers makes it one of the best values in the freshwater fishing world, especially having a float plane for fly-outs. Current rates are CAD5300 for the Big Minipi and CAD6300 for Anne Marie. These rates will be converted to U.S. dollars by May 2016 and, at current rates would be about $4,000 U.S. for Big Minipi and $5,000 for Anne Marie .Guide, tips and alcoholic beverages are not included. For more information, contact me or 877-266-7377 or Visit their website