Aurora Borealis, caribou and wide open spaces. Nunavik is the absolute dream of fishing and adventure enthusiasts. Its tundra and taiga regions are home to innumerable lakes and majestic rivers where large numbers of salmonids and other giant fish swim! The source of livelihood for Inuit for thousands of years, it was not until the 1950s that the region welcomed its first outfitter vacationers.
More precisely, it was in 1953 that the Helen Falls Outfitter became the first official outfitter in Nunavik. Located on the shores of the George River at the foot of Helen Falls, pioneer outfitters selected a prime location. Indeed, Helen Falls is the first hurdle salmon encounter on their migration to their breeding grounds. They can be found at this spot in very large numbers.
A unique place had to be found, because the destination wasn’t chosen for its comfort! The installations at the time were sparse and rustic, mainly composed of tents without running water. Despite this, from the very beginning, the outfitter attracted rich and influential men. The Helen Falls Lodge outfitter is still active today. The facilities have greatly improved since back then of course, but people still come for the same reasons as they did in the very beginning! This welcoming fishing camp is one of the world’s most popular destinations for Atlantic salmon fishing.
It was not until 1969 that a second outfitter recognized the incredible potential of the region. This time, it was Inuit who set up Arctic Adventures, an outfitter that is still active today. It is said that the Payne River Fishing Camp, located directly on the 60th parallel north, is the best fishing area for Arctic char in North America.
Then, in the 1970s, the imposing herds of caribou became a significant attraction and many more outfitters were born. Of course, we no longer practice caribou hunting today, but we can still observe the herds: an unforgettable experience!
While many visitors came to the area for hunting, it’s for fishing that they come back year after year. In addition to Atlantic salmon and Arctic char, brook trout, sea trout and lake trout are also fished in the area. And don’t for a second think that since the North is more and more popular for customers, that the area has lost the charm of yesteryear. It remains one of the few places in the world where you can fly over the territory and not see the slightest trace of human occupation for miles. The real wilderness!
Decades later, outfitters offer their visitors a unique and internationally renowned experience. Comfortable accommodations, gourmet meals and spas are now offered to guests, including more and more families. And this modernization on the part of outfitters was done without ever compromising on authenticity!
It’s impossible to talk about the history of outfitters in Nunavik without mentioning Inuit culture. A trip to Nunavik is also an opportunity to explore this ancient culture. Forming 90% of the regional population, Inuit are renowned for their great sense of hospitality. They will be happy to invite you to share in their daily lives, their lifestyle and their traditional know-how. Let them tell you their story!