Unbelievable Bear Harvest and Amazing End-of-Summer Fishing
Bittersweet. That's about the only way to describe this time of year. As I type this, Michelle is packing up the van and loading the kiddos. Hard to believe, but it's that time of year. The end of summer is here, school starts Tuesday, and the Thompson family is once again spread out over two countries–the US and Canada.
Hey everyone – we are still here. We have some BIG groups in camp this week and bear baiting has started so computer time has been limited. Working on a report now, but will be a few days before I'm ready to publish.
The short report - The heat is having an impact on the fishing, however guests are still finding fish. Walleye Dream trip is absolutely amazing as well as Onaman. Bear baiting has started and there is plenty of upgrades happening around camp.
"We" ll take Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and if you can sneak it in, we'll go out there Wednesday as well!” Those were the tongue-in-cheek remarks from Darwin Vicker and his crew of "Larrys” when they arrived on Saturday. Although they were half-way kidding, if we could've arranged it, they would have fished Onaman Lake every single day.
"There's one!" Those were the words I uttered after hooking a trout while fishing with Jeff and Dave (Michigan) on Pasha Lake last night. With all the strength in I could muster in my left arm, I tried to reel in the scrapper, but it was useless. I sheepishly handed the rod to Dave and asked if he'd reel it in.
Why? For those of you out of the loop, I have some very unfortunate news. On May 16, 2015 while demolishing the old cabin #6, I sustained a massive tear to my left bicep. Distal bicep tendon rupture, as it's known in the medical world. The injury resulted in a complete (read the rest at Best Ontario Fishing).
· Weather continues to play a major role in finding fish
· Signs of increasing water temps (read how to find fish in transition on Target Walleye)
· Water temps on Nipigon remain at record lows; brook trout bite through the roof
· 48 inch pike killed by a prop
· New lake explored, Chad-style
· Dave & Julie Moore do it again
· Onanman continues to produce mind-boggling walleye results
Once again, this week's weather has been a head scratcher. For Sunday through most of Wednesday, we were plagued with cool, overcast, drizzling weather that hampered the efforts of our innocent guests. Also once again, finding fish was not the difficult part. The challenge continues to arise in finding a consistent bite and combating the sometimes unforgiving weather conditions. Regardless–someway, somehow–Pasha Lake guests always find a way to persevere; but I'll have more on that later. Thankfully, by week's end and at the time of this report, we are in a warming trend. Thursday brought high skies and much needed, yet unusually warm weather. And, according to the long term forecast, the trend will continue for the foreseeable future. Not to be a Negative Nelly, but with the warmer weather, the bug hatch is in full swing (Click Here to read the rest of the report)
Bitter cold weather and frost started off the week and has left some of us scratching our heads. You know when pike get lock jaw, things are going to be challenging. And that definitely coincides with the fisherman's reports on Sunday and Monday. As of late however, guests are slowing uncovering the formula for the solid fishing that we've grown accustom to here at Pasha Lake Cabins.
What's exactly happening, we'll I've put my thoughts together below. Read on.
Loose schools of walleyes at depths all across the board tell me their annual return to summer feeding grounds has started. But these wild weather swings we're having- snow one day, 70's the next – has certainly shaken up the migration. That said, finding walleyes and active fish hasn't been the big challenge, it's been finding a consistent bite. As an example, on one of the guests favorite lakes just north of here, on the exact same day, one cabin was catching walleyes in 20ft of water using jigs while a short distance away, another was pounding shorelines with crankbaits. Both produced action and both reported that covering water was the only way to find consistent action. They'd bag three or four fish and then have to move; "stick and move" as it's known in the angling world.
Pike – they too are starting the transition from their shallow haunts to fertile feeding grounds, namely emerging weeds. Guests are noticing an increasing absence of shallow cruising trophies despite the sucker spawn which is in full swing. The smaller males are still plentiful and active, but they'll be leaving the sandy shallows in the next week or so. Trigging aggression strikes by burning spoons in the shallows seems to be the best method to boating fish. But don't forget, pike can turn off just as fast as they turn on this time of year, meaning a jerk, twitch, pause, pause combo with a slender profile crank is a great back up plan to lethargic pike. Regardless of what is used, patience, perseverance and persistence will boat fish.
Brookies – Lake Nipigon too has had some wild weather in the last week or so. Once plentiful warm water in the shallows has been quickly replaced by extreme cold water, courtesy of a persistent northeast wind. Once their preferred warm water cools down, the brook trout will vacate those areas faster than a pike can slice through monofilament. Guests are still catching fish, proven by Jason Dye's 22 bag limit for the week, but searching out the necessary temperature variance can be as, if not more, frustrating than finding fish. It's tricky, but Gus (our Lake Nipigon guide with over 40 years experience) has a few tricks up his sleeve and continues to do well despite the unfavorable conditions.
Bugs, Roads, Lake Levels and other need to know stuff –
The bugs are unusually tolerable for this time of year. In fact, I got my 4 wheeler buried in the mud yesterday while getting minnows. When I went to recover it 6 hours later in mid afternoon, I was mildly harassed by a mosquito here and there. That's very uncommon given this is the first week in June. We've also seen the black flies attempt to hatch (evidence by the bites on my Caleb, Cavin and Carmyn's neck and ears) but a couple mornings of frost earlier this week has put a quick end to that. For people traveling to Ontario in the next few weeks, I recommend plenty of bug spray, thermocells and my favorite bug prevention technique, a Bug Tamer jacket. They are bar none the best way to deal with the bugs during the peak hatch. (If you're interested in getting a Bug Tamer, I'm currently working with the company to get special pricing, click here and we can have one shipped right to your door step.)
Overall, lake levels are down, but the rivers seem to be up… figure that one out??? We've had some pretty significant rainfall as of late, so I would imagine levels will be slightly up from late May. Do plan accordingly though. If you're using motors in shallow water, it's absolutely vital you make sure they are functioning properly. Watch your cooling vent to insure its spraying water. We've all ready dealt with 3 motors that sucked debris into their intakes, making them inoperable. Also, shallow water exposes those rock hazards Ontario shield lakes are famous for.
Roads - Thankfully, there is a plan in the works to start logging up the 801. That means the road is in better shape than it's been in years. Believe it or not, they hauled in gravel to fix some of the really bad areas. Everything from HWY 11 to the Bailey bridge is smooth sailing (term used loosely) and from their north, it's not quite as good. I was surprised to see the road conditions, especially given the brutal winter and massive snow accumulations. There were very few plugged culverts and the beavers have left the roads alone. Kinghorn is in decent shape as well.
Oh, one more thing. How could I do a weekly update without mentioning Onaman Lake? It opened Monday and has lived up to every anglers' dream. Monster, fat fierce fighting walleyes that violently shake your rod to point of splitting. It's as crazy as it sounds. Every group that has been there to date has experienced nothing less than walleye ecstasy. It's simply that good!
I'll be gathering photos from this week later today and tomorrow. For a week that started out slow, we've sure ended on a good note. Yesterday alone, Cabin #6 landed a 29" walleye and Cabin #8 a 26". Pictures to come.
For the first week of June, things are not too shabby around here. History tells us the best is around the corner. Stay tuned and until next time….
Its officially here! The 2015 open water season has begun with the ice off for inland lakes. Stay tuned as we bring you pictures from this weeks adventures to include the inaugural trip for our newest staff member, handyman / guide Jonathan Stephens. We'll also continue to update you regularly on Lake Nipigon ice conditions. It's a great day to be lov'in on Northwest Ontario!
DO NOT BRING POULTRY OR EGGS FROM THE US TO CANADA UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
New Fish Species found in the Region of Pasha Lake Cabins
I often get asked questions regarding what colors to use and the best techniques for catching fish. For example, my "go to" presentation for walleyes is a simple bright colored 1/4oz jig, tipped with a minnow. For pike, I may use a Johnson Silver minnow hooked with a white ring worm and for specks, a small Rooster tail, usually in pink polka dot or some variation of the same. This past week however, for my fishing repertoire I experimented with a new technique for a completely new species. Hang in there for a few minutes and I'll explain.
Any of you who know me, or have ever fished with me, know that I'd rather shove bamboo poles under my fingernails than troll for fish. Now, granted, there are times when trolling will boat you some big fish, lakers in July on Nipigon or pike on inland lakes in the spring, but it's an understatement to say it's not my presentation of choice. So when good friend and expert fisherman Ganady called me up last winter and said he wanted to book me for a few days in September, I was amped. Ganady too hates trolling and would rather pull a goose egg than troll for fish. My kind of guy!
The Tuesday before he arrived, I awoke to 4 inches of snow on the ground. Oh boy I thought, what are we in for this weekend? But soon, the foul weather gave way to gorgeous, bright blue fall skies as temperatures etched toward the high 70's (or 25 for you "eh" sayers). A nice bonus was the vibrant fall colors that engulfed the landscape. Up to that point, we hadn't had a chance to take in fall's beauty, as the torrential down pours, cold and wind had kept most of us sane anglers in doors. Now, with a blissful fall day bearing down on us, we headed to a little known location that some might refer to as a casting mecca.
Our target, of course, were pre spawn white fish. They are a blast to catch, easy to target in the fall and being Ganady had never focused on them before, I thought it would be fun for him to expand his angling horizons. I knew it was going to be a good day when on the very first cast (Michael, one of Ganady's cohorts) accidently hooked a 3lbs brook trout. Translation? The fish were active and were aggressively feeding now that the weather had stabilized and cleared. And boy, did that prove to be true, as the boys hooked whitey after whitey throwing everything from spinners, to spoons and even a jig. In fact, I got bored watching them reel in so many that I ended up going after some walleyes, just for fun. At days end, the crew had plenty of white fish for their smoker and Ganady checked another block on his fish species list.
After such a good day of fishing, it was obvious the fall migration had begun. Consistent with my desire for casting for pike, white fish and brook trout, I have always, and I mean ALWAYS wanted to jig or cast for lake trout. I've tried many times, but have never been able to dial in a consistent pattern. Then I found out (through a little birdy) that specific Lake Nipigon reefs are big time attractors to pre spawn lake trout. I verified this information through several sources. Once confirmed, I threw my good friend Tom Peterson and Scott Pearson in the truck and made a bead line to the area with high hopes abound. Disappointed, we were not! It took us a while to find them, but once we did, there was a small stretch where we were hooking up with every cast. In fact, we had a triple on at one point. Mind you, this is not for walleyes! This is for lake trout. And not just any lake trout, these are LAKE NIPIGON LAKE TROUT! Biggest of the day was 35lbs (that's not a typo). Check that block! See the pictures under the Pasha Lake 2014 gallery... click here.
Of course with all this fish catching going on, I'd be remise if I failed to mention the Lalonde crew from Midland, Michigan. These guys have been coming to the Pasha region before dirt was invented. Yes, if you counted all the stars in our universe, it wouldn't compare to the number of times they've been here.
Scott's 35lbs Laker
Steve Lalonde's WDT Bigg'in
Ganady - Angling Legend
And their longevity and experience has treated them well. For umpteenth time, they've managed to put together another vacation full of angling AND (I might add), grouse action. Their favorite lake? None other than the walleye factory, Onaman! I forget the number of times they went there, but it's safe to say it was a lot. And to hear these guys boast that Onaman Lake is the best it's ever been, that is quite a statement. To top it all off, I got to spend a day with them on the legendary Walleye Dream Trip, were walleyes were pouring the boat like Niagara Falls. But with all that fun, there might have been a few hiccups. Namely a reel that was spooled by my trolling motor ("raise your hand if...), a diesel engine that didn't take kindly to burning water and maybe a broken rod here and there, but hey, it wouldn't be adventure fishing if that weren't the case. The main thing is this group of tight knit guys, hefty on experience, spent another memorable week together, enjoying all we have to offer and fishing (and hunting) that is second to none.
(warning.... segue coming up....) In other news... Long time guest and archery moose hunting fanatic Mark Downey harvested the second biggest Bull Moose in Pasha Lake's history. His gorgeous 54" bull was a magnificent representation of the thriving moose herd in our area. Mark and his crew have been hunting with us for many years, and this bull is undoubtedly the biggest taken among the many several he's brought back to camp; several consecutively I might add. Not to be out done, longtime friend, but first time Pasha Lake moose hunter Father Don Hendrick and his crew from Brampton Ontario harvested a beauty 45" bull. And Gary Bright from South Range WI, ended up bagging his first moose resulting in a checkmark on the "get a bull moose with my bow" line on his bucket list. After processing the animal, they spent the rest of the week enjoying some world class fishing.
Which brings us full circle to the opening paragraph where I discussed a new fishing technique for a completely new species. The word "species", however, maybe a little misleading. In fact, I wasn't fishing for fish at all. That said, few will argue that Onaman Lake has big fish, but the following incident that took place brings that thought to a whole new level.
While guiding last week, I witnessed something few of us have ever experienced. Now granted, it was cold, the wind was blowing and we were well into a long day of fishing. I will concede further, our hands were a bit numb and dexterity, as we generally know it, was somewhat limited. And yes, fishing had slowed a bit, which is why we decided to move to a new local. But what happened next was out of this angling world. Dave (a crew member from Propeller Fine Homes visiting Pasha on their annual work retreat), thought he'd try a new fishing technique that involves being so startled by a fish biting your hook, that you just throw your hands up in the air and toss your fishing rod into the water. After you do that, you shriek in terror as your pole (hooked with a fish I might add) slowly sways back and forth, ever sinking closer and closer to the bottom.
Remember now, that things were a tad on the cold side. Also remember that I hadn't seen that technique employed before, even though I've been fishing since I was 4 years old and caught thousands, if not tens of thousands of walleyes. So as I glanced over and witnessed the scenario unfold, I was a little slow to react. But after the screaming of a grown man subsided, I realized I need to jump into action. I removed my hands from my armpits (a method used to warm hands that have long since lost all feeling), grabbed my fishing pole and proceeded to drop my jig in the direction of the now ¾ sunk fishing rod. At the same time, I employed Dave to throw out a marker buoy, attempting to mark the location of the submerged rod. Dave, consistent with his new found technique for angling, then threw the marker buoy out, but felt the weight (the item necessary to anchor the buoy to the bottom) was too cumbersome and left it sitting in the boat. I quickly redirected his thinking and politely (not so much) asked him to toss the weight over as well. To make a long story short, my efforts to drop my jig toward the sinking rod, resulted in our lines twisting no more than two times. Yes, just two wraps and we were able to grab his jig and retrieve the rod. A big relief for Dave who was then barraged with a thorough Pasha Lake style ribbing.
Now I write the above in tongue-in-cheek because it was truly a funny incident and I know Dave and all the guys from Propeller will read this. But I also write about it because in encapsulates what we are all about at Pasha Lake Cabins. We are about fun, adventure and access to spectacular fishing and hunting. Dave's event is one that will be remembered for a life time and I'm proud to say I was part of it. I'm even happier to say Pasha Lake Cabins provided the venue for this crew to enjoy action packed fishing, build comradery and having lasting memories for years to come.
To close things out, we welcome once again the Pasha Lake gun moose hunters and we wish everyone avid success. The weather looks good and there are plenty of moose around to provide some action. Stay tuned as we get ready to close out the season and start looking forward to what 2015 will bring.
September for me is always a bitter sweet time of year. On one hand, the bulk of our little family packs up and heads back to northern Wisconsin. There, daily activities surrounding football, school, gymnastics, confirmation and everyday life (not including fishing and hunting) takes up the majority of their time. For me, I remain at this little paradise I call Pasha Lake Cabins. I do so, surrounded by the best of all Ontario has to offer and by the inevitable changing of the seasons. I love fall! Few could argue that there is a better time of year for fishing and hunting, but at the same time, I sure miss the little rug rats and of course, Michelle!
The past few weeks can be summarized in one word, "WOW"! For those paying close attention to the bear hunt, you know the long days and even longer nights have resulted in a whopping 20 bears being harvested. With 6 more hunters to go, we are on track to have another bang up year of what Uncle Ted Nugent calls "Rug Steaks". Our current bait inventory shows we've used over 24,000lbs of bait. It's no wonder we've been able to put hunters in front of bears time and time again. If the current trend continues, 2014 will be another season of 100% opportunity rates, and 90% success rates. The biggest bear of the year was a dandy plus 400lbs taken by Kevin B (see pic here), with several others tipping the scales at plus 300. Next week, we welcome the return of the Matt Grey crew from Ohio. On their minds are bears AND wolves. Stay tuned...
But I won't let our fisherman take a back seat to all this talk about bear hunting success. They too have been able to experience the pinnacle of all things outdoors, namely walleye fishing. One needn't look any further than Onaman Lake. I have tooted my horn over this massive body of water for years. And every fisherman to brave that water comes back saying the same thing, "that's the best walleye fishing" I've experienced in my life. As the old walleye saying goes, "one is lucky, two is a pattern". If one person where to go to "the big O" and say it was awesome, that'd be one thing. But time and time again, fishermen after fisherman are floored by the quality and quantity of fish Onaman produces. Its staggering to say, but it's starting to rival our famous Walleye Dream Trip. It's that good!
For those of you who've inquired about my recent trip to Alaska with my six year old son Cavin, we had an absolute blast. That untamed wilderness has forever been on my bucket list of must do's. When this year's opportunity arose on short notice, we couldn't pass it up. Our trip coincided with the best two weeks of the year for the Silver Salmon run, and for as little as I knew about fishing egg sacs, we did pretty darn good. The biggest of the trip was a beautiful 14lbs that Cavin snapped up on a #4 Meps spinner in fluorescent Yellow. I mention the lure because he snagged it in the Kenai river fishing for pink salmon the previous day. It turned out to be the hot lure of the trip. So hot, it help contribute to the over 90lbs of fresh Coho our family shipped home. Lots of fish and a look at some beautiful scenery. Check that block!
Despite the good fishing and the beautiful landscapes of Alaska, I was relieved to find that my urge to fish the waters of the Pasha Lake Region never wavered. To me, it solidified a fact that I all ready knew to be true, our area has some of the best damn fishing available in North America. Between its remoteness, pristine waters and unmatched variety in fish species, there is a life time of exploring and endless memories of what fishing should be. And the bonus? It's right in the lower 48's backyard!
So what lies ahead in the coming weeks? For one thing, the archery moose season opens in just over a week. With the amount of moose sightings being reported by fisherman, our archery guys should pack a few extra arrows. (Check out some of our trail camera pics from a week ago) But before moose season, small game, including ruffed grouse and wolf, opens. As with the moose, the birds this year are on the "up cycle". We haven't seen this many birds in years. It's almost to the point of being annoying, as they try to lay claim to the logging roads, forcing fisherman to navigate an obstacle course of upland birds while traveling to area lakes. And one quick glance at any of the trail cameras on our bear baits tells us the wolf population is thriving as well.
Additionally, some of those dormant lakes that we avoid like the plague during midsummer, start teeming with walleyes and pike as they move shallow in preparation for the cold water. One of those lakes has all ready turned on, and traditionally gets better as we progress into the fall. And who could forget about the white fish? Any significant barrier on one of Lake Nipigon many tributaries will be boiling with the surface eaters as they begin their spawning cycle. Easy to target and a whole whack of fun to catch!
Yes, as we round the final corner of the 2014 open water season, we see the end is drawing close. The kids are back to school, the fall colors have started to pepper the landscape and the water temps are on the decline. Despite all these seasonal changes, one thing remains the same. The fishing here at Pasha Lake Cabins is as strong as it's ever been. And no matter how cool things may get temperature-wise, the opportunities for top shelf hunting and fishing remains red hot!
For those of you wondering where we've been the last two weeks, I've got one word that will make everything crystal clear - BEAR! Or should I say bear hunting prep mode or endurance bear baiting. Whatever you want to call it, the soreness in my first morning steps reminds what we are doing is requiring a lot of back work. And one look at our trail cameras tells me what we are doing is working well, really well!
The last week in July marked our spin up for another bear season here at Pasha Lake Cabins. After having over 18,000 lbs of bait shipped earlier in the year, we were well positioned to starting our feeding regiment once again.
If you remember back to 2013, the berry hatch was like nothing we'd ever seen. I, for one, was very anxious about how'd we compete with such a seemingly endless nature food source. That anxiety however, was quashed within hours of the opening bell, when I looked in the shop and saw 3 bears hanging, all over 300lbs. And with every subsequent bear that rolled in, I soon had completely forgot about the competition.
Fast forward to this year, and what a difference! We are on the tail end of a marginal berry season which has equated to very active bear baits. If the 2013 pre season baiting results are any indication of what we can expect for 2014, grab the 5hr energy drinks because sleep won't be an option. With over 60 active baits, hunters are in for one heck of a shootout. Big bears, small bears, lot's of bears and many sites have multiples coming in.
But with all this bear talk, it'd be easy to forget about fishing. Well, not really, but fishing remains very good going into these "dog days" of August. It seems to be a popular belief that fishing, especially walleye fishing, tends to slow down midsummer. That may be true for trophy pike, but walleye fishing? No way!
One only needs to look as far as our regular August guests. Many of which have left their mark on fish infested waters once again in 2014. In fact, I'd go so far as to say August is now officially Pasha Lake Cabins, "Regulars" month. With so many booking the same week ever year, we are considering adding them to our family tree. It's not tough to figure out how good fishing is with so many groups booking the same August time, year in and year out. Take the Brian Kofal group for instance. For one week out of the last 6 years, they've called Pasha Lake their home. During this year's home coming, they put yet another smack down on the fishing. Rather than me giving you the details of their stay, I'll just take an excerpt from the email Brian sent me post trip. It reads,
Sat evening - 30-40 walleyes largest was 20"
Sun - Onaman (horrible wind/waves) - 60-80 walleye largest was a thick 24"
Mon - 150-180 walleye largest was 22 1/4"
We actually left a large flat with 17-22" fish biting one after another to find some larger fish and later came back and found them still there
Lost one large fish couldn't get it to the surface for a look in over a minute
Tue - 60-70 walleye largest was 27" (my largest ever)
Wed - 100-125 walleye largest was 19" (found them thick at the first island on the north end and at the pool after the fast water on the very south end)
Thur - 60-80 walleye largest was 22.5" (one around 25" knocked off in netting process at the boat and lost two bigger fish that we never got close enough to see)
Blueberry patch is unbelievable.
Fri morning - 20-25 walleye largest was 20 (inches)"
Looking over the above, I'm not sure I can do better justice in talking about our fishing. The proof is in the pudding.
So as we round the corner into this Friday's Bear season opener, the fishing remains strong as ever, the bear baits are getting shellacked and tail end of summer is going to be one for the record books. Stay tuned starting this Saturday August 16th as we begin to post the results of the first days of the bear hunt. Man, I am pumped!!!
I'm going to take a little different approach this week. A side step, if you will, from my usual writings where I discuss the great fishing at Pasha Lake Cabins and the awesome guests that make it happen. For this week, I'd like to spot light one of our regular guests, a person that has become what I consider a close personal friend, a phenomenal fisherman and a budding young man who has a great future ahead of him in the fishing industry. Departing Saturday with his dad, and another AWESOME year fishing under their belt, I thought it would be fitting to focus on him for this week's update.
Being from the Oak Harbor region of Ohio, Jonny Fickert might well have spent more time growing up on Lake Erie, than he did on dry land. Jon Senior, his dad, fished the big lake just about every day the weather would allow (and still does). When he wasn't working at the local water treatment plant, it was a sure bet you'd find Jon fishing, with Jonny not too far from his side. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Jonny entered this world holding a fishing pole in one hand and a "may fly" rig in the other. It's not a stretch to say in his super early years, a big part of young Jonny's life was centered on fishing, specifically for walleyes on the big waters of Lake Erie.
I first met him when he as about 10 years old. That was nine years ago, so my math puts him in the ball park of 19 now. He was a young whipper snapper who, at that early age, had a noticeable passion for angling. He was relentless in dragging around his dad to all of our lakes, where they'd routinely fill the boat with multispecies including pike, perch, walleye and trout. It was truly fun to watch this dual spend time together, catching fish and doing what every father/son combo dream of doing.
It wasn't long after I met Jonny that he began productions on videos and posted them on some web site called YouTube. YouTube??? What the heck was that? Hard to believe, but I was just learning about this site back then. In fact, few of us really understood what the site was all about. But Jonny, even at that young age, fearless and with a good grasp of video editing and PC skills, fully understood and was able to build up an impressive followership. His videos, while entertaining, were also informative and fun to watch. There was that young kid teaching the world what he knew about fishing. It was cool!
It took a while for me to catch on to what he was doing. In fact, I'd routinely get calls asking me when Jonny was going to post his next video. "When" I'd ask? I didn't realize that Pasha Lake was being featured in quite a few of his videos. After feeling rather uninformed while receiving multiple calls about his work, I jumped on the web and started watching. I must say I was pleasantly surprised as he was able to truly capture the essence of what we are all about here at Pasha Lake Cabins; adventure, good fishing and enjoying an action packed vacation.
One of his more popular videos was filmed on a little known remote lake, where Jon and Jonny stopped to eat shore lunch. While Jon was cooking away, Jonny grabbed a fishing pole and started catching walleyes at will, right from shore. It was fun to watch him call out when the fish would bite. The video was wildly popular back then, with many people wanting to know where it was filmed.
Unfortunately, as Jonny transitioned to high school and ultimately graduated, his time became filled with adult responsibilities. He took a job at a duck call manufacturer near their home and started working on a Lake Erie charter boat. Trying to earn his license for chartering, in additional to everything else, Jonny was forced to put the videos on hold, especially true as he entered college and continued to work.
Interestingly enough, just recently Jonny completed his GeoJourney course, a hands-on based college elective that uses remote locations to teach students the skills necessary to make a living in the outdoors. The 10 week course led him to all four corners of the US, where Jonny learned everything from outdoor survival to mountain climbing. I can't think of a more perfect student for such a course. Especially having grew up learning lessons that only Lake Erie could offer.
Working his way up through the ranks on the charter boat, I wasn't surprised to learn that Jonny recently achieved the highest rank in the business and is now an official "Charter Captain". He passed the required licensing courses, and after a job change to a more popular and busier charter service, Jonny has been officially given his own boat. I think a hand raised toast of "Congratulations" is in order.
Through the years it's been fun to watch Jonny grow up and improve on his fishing skills. He's been able to take what he's learned back home and turn it into days upon days of fruitful fishing here in the Pasha Lake Region. Every year they show up, I find myself getting a little excited on what their new adventures will bring them. This year, it was over a dozen lakers landed on Jonny's newly honed skill of trolling dipsy divers.
So if you find yourself near the Oak Harbor / Port Clinton area of Ohio, with a yearning to fish big walleyes, I recommend you look up Jonny. The skill he's acquired in 19 years of living on the lake is unmatched by anyone in his age group. He's a personable guy with great fishing knowledge and knack for locating fish. He's tenacity for angling is impressive and he's a great resource for being successful on that mammoth body of water. His new employer is none other than the wildly popular Sea Breeze Charters, with Jonny having earned the official title of Captain Little Jon; a fitting name for Jon's passion that's for sure.
Of course I couldn't finish this report without throwing in a few current events. So here goes... weather is gorgeous, bugs are slowing dying, the walleye bite will burn you right now it's that hot and the lake trout (especially for seasoned guys like Jon and Jonny) apparently can't eat enough. Regarding the laker bite, one would only need to ask my 10 year old son CJ who landed his first lake trout ever yesterday. Official measurements are 40" length, 26" girth, estimated weight of 34lbs, not too shabby!
Enjoy the pics from Jonny's adventures in 2013 as well as this year. I've peppered in a few other pics from last week's guests as well.
"grab the stringer, it's back!" - Anyone who's familiar with Pasha Lake Cabins and our waters wouldn't be surprised. People new to our adventure style of fishing can be a little taken back. (see the video uploaded to the web page ... click here.)
The backdrop - while fishing on a quiet little lake in the Pasha Lake region of Ontario, an innocent family was going about their business of catching walleyes and pike. The lake is relatively close, and one that is a great producer of multispecies action. While that in and of itself isn't unusual for our parts, what makes this lake unique is its series of smaller lakes connected by neck downs and channels. From top to bottom it's over 6 miles in length and it produces well for us annually. In fact, we have some "regulars" that fish this lake multiple times during their two trips to Pasha every year.
On this day though, the uniqueness of this lake was ratcheted up a level when the Owczarski family was floating along, minding their own business. All of the sudden the stringer holding one of their walleyes started to shake violently. Upon peeking over the side of the boat, Tyler couldn't help but notice a rather aggressive northern pike trying to swim with a "t-boned" walleye in its mouth. The brain processes took a second to kick in, but he came to soon realize that walleye was his walleye. And that walleye was on his stringer. So what to do when a pike is trying to steal your daily bag limit of fish? Of course, instead of trying to shoo it away like an unwanted rodent, you attempt to net the dang thing! And that's exactly what happened.
Let me clarify what I just wrote. A pike, a strung-up walleye and a landing net. The pike grabs the walleye out of nowhere. The angler scoops up a pike that hadn't seen a lure, and had been enticed by nothing more than a fish on a stringer. I don't know about you folks, but that's a pretty unique event in the angling world. I'd say that's pretty good fishing.
But things didn't stop there. Enter the next generation anglers. Last week we saw many young faces accompanied by their families, all with the one goal of getting our "next gen" fisher people hooked on fishing. What better way to do that than a trip to Pasha Lake Cabins - specifically Onaman Lake and the surrounding bodies of water. On Tuesday of last week, I had the good fortune of finding myself on the water with long time guest Adam R and his daughter from eastern Wisconsin. This was Amber's first trip to Canada with her dad and he wanted it to be a special one. After given Onaman a go by themselves, they came back and advised me they'd like a little help. Never turning down a chance to fish that pig walleye infested lake, I jumped at the chance to get a long side them in a boat. It didn't take long before the rods starting bending and smiles started flowing.
At one point, big waves and a finicky motor forced me to do something I rarely do - throw out an anchor. From there, Adam, Amber and myself mounted a stationary attack by long casting and swimming sucker minnows back to the boat. The walleyes couldn't handle it, doing back flips in pursuit of the enticing quarry, giving us a constant barrage of bent rods and pictures of a life time. On several occasions we saw aggressive walleyes following the hooked fish we were catching. Amazingly on one particular occasion while unhooking a walleye, I turned to measure it while at the same time tossing the jig over the side of the boat. Glad I looked back, because unbeknownst to me, there was a 2nd walleye waiting directly underneath the boat. As soon as the jig hit the water, it grabbed it and tried swimming away with my pole. I've had plenty of doubles in my life time, but this one takes the cake.
Not too far from where we were entangled with walleye after walleye, the Paul family was on their maiden voyage to Onaman. Things started a little slow for them, but after I showed them a few places to focus on, the Paul boys put a "smack down" on some big walleyes. Big walleyes meaning one, true to the letter 30 incher and a second a half inch shorter, or 29.5. Throw in some typical mid 20's and that's not a bad outing for a first trip to those crazy waters. Congrats Pauls.
Lake Nipigon is where it's at. Few can argue with that statement. And if there were ever two anglers that could tame those waters, it would be the Jeff and Dave duo from Michigan. These guys, while very quiet in demander, are the who's who of fishing that big water. Each year they come here, I'm absolutely amazed at the quantity and size fish they put in the boat. Few could lay claim to their successes out there, what these guys do is truly amazing. Their secret? Patience, perseverance, experience and ability to go where others don't. In any given year, these guys come back with catches that most of us only dream of. (Note: most of the photos you'll see from this week are from these to die-hards).
Lastly - family fun and good fishing. We have a tradition in July and it involves the Bob T family from the Duluth area. Every year they pick a super nice day and both of our families meet at the swimming beach on Pasha. With Bob as the designated driver, we make a day of tubing, skiing and yes, a throw back to my former life, bare footing. That was no different this year. On Friday of last week, there was beautiful blue skies and calm waters. The kids (and really that's what it is all about) had a blast as Bob pulled them on the tube and they got to watch the old man ski. It made for the perfect day of camaraderie, fun on the water and a different twist in the many ways we find to have fun around here. My only hope is Michelle doesn't post the results of my first step off L
For anyone reading this, the question inevitably circles back to the same one - How's the fishing now? Folks, the fishing is good, the walleyes are biting, the pike can't get enough and the trout are on the hunt. Weather is Gorgeous (with a capital G J) and there couldn't be a better time for all around family fun, great fishing and enjoying all we have to offer.
As I sit here reflecting on the last two weeks of fishing, I can't help but chuckle. We've been blessed to serve a variety of people from all over the US and Canada, all with different expectations and diverse personalities. I think of Doug Richards (Saskatchewan) and his wife and friends, Tony Biasuzzi from Guelph, Ontario, close personal friend and long time guest Brian Skaggs, first timers Jeff Baxter from the Kansas area, Randy Giles and his son and all the "regulars" that made another go at the past two weeks. Yes, we've seen and served them all, but regardless of personalities or where they're from, one common thread binds them all together. They came here and experienced the best we have to offer in all things fishing. The last two weeks have been nothing short of amazing when you consider the multi species angling opportunities Pasha Lake guests have had the opportunity to target.
One of my top memories from just over a week and a half ago was Gene Richards. She was a "bush girl" through and through, having grown up in northern Ontario and settled into a life of cattle ranching. But missing from her bucket list was having caught a walleye. Let me restate that! She grew up in Ontario, with some of the most prolific walleye fisheries known to man, yet had never caught one marble eye. That changed the day I jumped in their truck and aimed ourselves in the direction of the famous big walleye factory, Onaman Lake. Now my memory from that day may be a little cloudy, but I know one thing for sure - we weren't there very long, before Gene's rod bent over and she began to chirp and giggle. What she didn't realize is that she just hooked into a 29.5 inch walleye. First walleye ever and a trophy to boot!
But the story doesn't stop there. Yours truly laid it on the tape, but guess what? In the excitement over the big fish, I forgot to "squeeze the tail" before slipping the big gal back into the water. On the ride home, Gene mentioned she thought she should be indoctrinated into our famous Trophy Club. So I pondered the statement and, never missing an opportunity to give a thorough ribbing, I said in the straightest face I could, your induction will have to go to a "committee meeting of the elders". The cab of Richard's brand new Silverado erupted into laughter, but the decision was obvious. Fast forward to the next night. At the Tuesday night all camp fish fry, we quieted the crowd and surprised Gene with her official Pasha Lake Trophy Club Hat. (if I hadn't spaced the tail squeeze, it would have surely surpassed the 30" mark).
If trout fishing was the only way a man could feed his family, then John Perri and his crew of southern Ontario diehards would be fat and sassy. Having never fished Lake Nipigon, they'd heard story after story about big, fat, fierce fighting brook trout. So when we sat down in the front the Philps big screen TV located in our office, I pulled up Google Earth and started giving them my best two cents. What I didn't know at the time, was these guys already knew how to catch trout, I just needed to tell them where to fish. And oh boy, did they catch fish. By week's end, they had boated impressive bag limits of trophy caliber brook trout, lake trout and white fish to boot! I was pretty honored when, during a long conversation, John couldn't believe the trophy fishery we had, just at the base of our door step. From the Nipigon River to the main basin part of the lake, these guys nailed it!
But just when you thought all the angling fun was only for adults, in steps a gentleman (term used loosely) by the name of Skaggs... Brian Skaggs. To be a "Skaggs" means many things, things that I got to hear about, over and over and over again. But it also means that family fun is the name of the game. In total, they had a fishing crew of 15 people, with the bulk of them being children under age 14. What happened during their stay is what father son fishing trips should be made of. By mid morning Sunday (their first day on the water), they had all ready landed enough walleyes to feed all their party members that evening. By the end of the week, they had landed enough walleyes to feed all the Greater Toronto Area, the upper Midwest and then some. A fantastic crew of father and sons, we are already looking forward to what 2015 will bring them.
Finally, in one of the most unique experiences I can remember, we were honored to accommodate a couple from the country of Japan. Kazy & Yoko Oshimi were traveling to the US on vacation when a friend recommended Pasha Lake Cabins for fishing. Since they were in the upper Midwest, they decided to just stop in and inquire. As Kazy put it, the next "48 hours" were "the best of his life." On the first day, I brought them out to a small lake that had been producing well for a couple of weeks. There, Kazy landed his first walleye ever, a feat he was tickled to achieve. The next day at Onaman, he could barely contain himself after catching 22, 23 and 24 inch walleyes in droves with Yoko taking pictures just as fast. Having fished in Alaska several times, from what I could gather in lost translations, he couldn't believe the caliber of fish he was catching on super light gear. In the end, I don't remember the biggest of the day, but my guess is it didn't much matter. They were excited and can't wait to come back with their friends. Know any good translators?
Yes, as I watch the daily truck loads of fish entrails leave the our lodge for their final resting place, I can't help but look to the good Lord above and give a little wink. For we truly are blessed to be on the door step of what many have called (and will continue to call) the most prolific and diverse fisheries available in North America, if not the world. If you ever see me on a mountain top beating my chest and screaming this fact at the top of my lungs, don't be alarmed, just feel free to join in.
As always, until next time!
PS - please go to the 2014 picture gallery to see all the pictures from the last two weeks (click here)
Not the typical way that you start a weekly fishing report, but trust me, I am going somewhere with this! But first, let me get the fishing stuff out of the way.
Last week started with many new faces, eagerly attending our Pasha Lake Cabins New Guest Orientation. In the meeting, we discuss how things operate, current fishing trends and techniques, and weather among other things. In addition to bringing people up to speed on current events, it also puts them at ease knowing we are truly here to make sure they have a good experience.
To say the fishing kicked off with a fizzle last week would be an understatement. Wait, let me clarify. Fishing was good, weather sucked! Three days of torrential rains left people in their cabins, peeking through the blinds, wishing and praying it would end. On Sunday, though, despite heavy down pours, I accompanied long time guest and good friend Dick Hassler and his crew of 9 to Onaman Lake. We refused to let the rain keep us from exploiting that opening day bite on that famous BIG WALLEYE fishery. It turned out, rain didn't matter. Within less than a minute of stopping, Justin and I hooked into the first of MANY 23 - 24 inch walleyes. And those weren't lifeless logs we were pulling in, they bent fishing rods to the point of breaking. I remember thinking several times that if this gal doesn't take her foot of the gas pedal, my fish stick is doomed! Biggest of the day was a FAT 27 incher.
Many miles to the north, a fresh new group (Steve Brightwell from Missouri and his 5 cohorts) were learning the meaning of "it's always an adventure", a common saying heard among the veterans of Pasha Lake Cabins. As they slogged through a ½ mile of wet bush, I can only imagine some of the thoughts running through their heads. "What the heck did we get ourselves into?" or "are we going to make it out of here alive?". If only they could've known what awaited them on the other end of the trail; a super dark stained lake, teeming with walleyes in 4'-6' of water and catchable with nothing more than a simple 1/4oz jig and minnow. When they made it back that night, they were begging to go back, but only when the weather was a little nicer.
So you've got to be asking yourself at this point, what does pizza delivery have to do with fishing? Well, hold on a sec, I'll get to that!
Last year, I was introduced to a young couple from New York state, Dave and Julie Moore. They booked with us after seeing one of the many fishing shows we've filmed here at Pasha Lake Cabins. They were hooked on the idea of catching trophy coaster brook trout on Lake Nipigon, a task that I wanted more than anything to fulfill. With the late ice that year and unbeknownst to us, my go to speck spots were still buttoned in, making travel unsafe and preventing me from holding up my end of the bargain. We opted for the safer pike fishing, for which we were handsomely rewarded, but left them thinking about what could've been. (Insert note: less than a week later, I experienced the apex of all things brook trout fishing. I sooooo wish they could've of been there).
So in 2014 when they called me up, I told them this was the year! And that it was. Dave landed his first speck ever and shortly thereafter, was treated to a line peeling, rod pumping, boat turning lake trout that had us all jacked as we watched the battle unfold. Seeing the shinning glisten of Dave's reel as it was expediently being evaporated of its fishing line, I turned to Jason and said "you'd better get on that motor and start chasing this thing". All Dave could do was watch in horror as his line kept coming closer and closer to the termination point. Without missing a beat and in a true angler's style, Jason revved up his I-pilot and started following the laker like a cop chasing a bank robber. The only thing we were missing was lights and sirens, but I don't think it would have matter because it was obvious the fish had no intention of yielding. Strategically, and after several minutes had passed, Jason positioned the boat for a head on collision with the monster fish. Seeing the opportunity I slipped the net underneath her and Paparazzi bliss soon followed. The prize? A 16 lb. lake trout with a 14 inch girth!
Ok, so what is this talk of Pizza and fishing? Well, as many of you are aware, the 2013 motor on my big boat blew the #2 cylinder (On purpose I've opted not to mention the name of the manufacture to protect the innocent). This is important to the story because I was unable to guide out of my big boat. Enter Colin McMillan and his two twin boys, Nathan and Nolan. With my boat down, they hired a backup local guide to take them pike fishing on Lake Nipigon. It seems my motor curse followed them to the lake, as the boat they were fishing from also experienced motor problems. This left them stranded 17 miles north of where their truck was parked.
That night after the all camp fish fry, Michelle came to me and said, "Cabin 3 isn't back yet". Knowing Colin and the boys were in good hands, I told her not to worry, they probably had good fishing and would arrive safe and sound any moment. When the sun hit the tops of the trees and they still weren't back, Michelle's (and mine I might add) anxious meter skyrocketed. She immediately jumped on the horn with Ontario Search and Rescue and with that, the wait began.
As dawn broke the next morning, the engine on the Bell 407 Search and Rescue Helio #45 ignited its engine causing the chopper blades to begin turning slowly. Within minutes all safety checks were complete and the bird was in the sky looking for signs of our tardy fishing party. I had an inkling on the secret hole they were fishing, but was unable to convey that to the rescue boys before they departed. It didn't matter though, as by 7:30am, the chopper touched down on an exposed sand bar in the middle of a bay. When the officer on the board jumped out the bird carrying a piping hot pepperoni pizza, he looked at everyone with a big smile on his face and asked "Anyone here order a pizza?".
A little tired, somewhat bug bitten and with a tint of newly dawned pink from the sun on the previous day, everyone turned out to be just fine. In fact, they were more than fine. Between the chopper ride, the middle of nowhere pizza delivery and catching two 40" northerns, everyone was pumped. Happy to be safe, but pumped nonetheless! Thank God, He kept everyone safe!
This week, absent any search and rescue missions, the fishing should continue to be red hot, especially for walleyes. With warming water temps the best is truly yet to come. Right now, we are in a bit of a weather system, but once this clears, things are looking GREAT for the rest of the week.
And with that, early arrivals are eagerly waiting for me to finish up so I can go "talk a little shop". I better sign off for now.
"Close to a hundred?" I asked.
"If it wasn't a full Benjamin, it easily could've of been", Jim replied.
"And how many over 24?"
"I'm being very conservative if I say 15"
"Come on... 15??? There???"
Unshaken and looking me dead in the eye, Jim said "no doubt".
About the same time Jim's slug fest with fat walleyes was taking place twenty miles to the north, Larry, Gary and the rest of the Browning crew rumbled down the 801 toward new waters. Surprisingly, this lake is one they haven't fished in their tenure at Pasha Lake Cabins. Having never been indoctrinated in the PLC Trophy Club Hall of Fame, Gary had no clue what lay in wait for him in this new real estate environment. When they pushed the boat down the bank to the dark stained waters below, the excitement meter rose to new levels. Not 20mins later, during the first trolling run, Gary boated his biggest pike ever; a beaut of just over 41 inches. Welcome to the club Gary!
From a bird's eye view, 15miles to the northwest of the Brownings, you may have noticed a father and son team (Robert and Matt E. from the east coast) laughing like little school girls. The giggle fest happened 24 hours after their arrival, while catching brook trout of the caliber seen only in videos, or, of course, at Pasha Lake Cabins. But that wasn't going to be the end of their trout pursuits. Each subsequent day brought them to new waters and new fishing prospects. They even braved the waters of Lake Nipigon, despite the ice burgs that still lingered from hours earlier. Although they didn't land a monster there, they were still rewarded handsomely for their efforts - two 16 inch plus, full blooded, true to the word, coasters! But wait! In an ironic twist of fate, on their last and final day of fishing, the dual headed to a secret little lake just a stones throw from the front door of their cabin. And there they found what they had been looking for all week. Brook Trout that stretched to 20"inches and over. Not one, not two, but a school of them that were herding minnows like a sheep dog in his glory. The proof is in the pudding of the gorgeous speck that will be hung indefinitely in a house somewhere in Vermont.
Looking 30 miles to the south, it would have been easy to pick out two crusty old veterans similar to the dual in the block buster hit, Grumpy Old Man. These two northern pike fanatics (Ken and Gary from the Nuss crew), couldn't decide if they are more ornery with each other, or the pike thrashing up their homemade lures. In their 5th year of chasing trophies in our Esox lucius (Northern Pike) infested waters, it didn't take long before they boated the first of two plus 40" trophies for the week. Most people would be ecstatic with that achievement, but these harden anglers are always trying to one up everything. The rest of the week was not to be however. After Travis (Ken's son who will be returning for his annual September trip) boated one of the fattest 38 inchers human eyes have ever seen, the dual was plagued by nuisance pike after pike in the upper 30's. Most would say that's a nice problem to have. They blamed the weather but I couldn't help but notice a smirk and wink, here and there. Hmmmmm????
But the Nuss veterans had two young rookies nipping at their heels. New to our program here at Pasha Lake Cabins were two southern Ontario implants, the Sorbian father and son team. During the time leading up to their stay, these guys made one thing abundantly clear; they were interested in nothing but "BIG" Ontario Northerns! Something they lack in their home waters. It turned out to be as simple as ask and you shall receive! The very first day Sorbin hooked into the biggest pike he's ever laid eyes on. He was pretty animated when he returned that day, scratching his head, trying to figure out how a pike could tear through a 60lbs fluorocarbon leader. The next day they went back a little more prepared, he upped his leader strength and closed the deal on a 40".
If God had a computer program that instilled the nicest, most easy going personalities one could ever encounter, He would have downloaded into John Maser and his two sons. Current residents of eastern Wisconsin, these guys experienced several "firsts" in their long history of fishing. Their stay included a long hike through the bush to go fishing, the "best fishing" they've ever experienced and of special mention, the first time John ever hooked into a trout. Every day they came back to camp, raving about the scenic lakes, how good the fishing was and wanting to know what was in store for them the following day. From crazy trout & walleye numbers, to even crazier adventures, one thing is for certain, this father and sons team had the trip of a life time. See you next year guys!
Yes, if you were to come up with a theme for last week's fishing, it would be centered on two species. Northern Pike and Brook trout. For the most part, people could've cared less about walleye fishing, something that hasn't happened in as far back as I can remember. To cast was to catch. To cast big was to catch big. But don't forget finesse. Trout are beautiful little animals, but delicate and small presentations are the name of the game. Also, honorable mention goes to the weather. In the history of Pasha Lake Cabins, I don't believe we've ever had a string of gorgeous weather as we did last week. Every day was literally 75 and sunny, little breeze, no bugs and prefect for being on the water!
This week it looks like the weather will catch up with us, giving the first significant storms of the year. With that, water temps should continue to increase at a much noticeable rate. Warm waters trigger heaving feeding in all species, especially those cold water finicky walleyes. I predict that to be glaringly apparent on the waters of Onaman as it opens to all angling this Sunday. Not to worry, I've arranged it so ill be the first to wet a line there this year, and will give all the gory details of our first outing in next week's report.
Well, the wind in my sails for writing is deteriorating fast and many anxious fisherman are starting to show up in droves. I'm sure walleyes and specs will be the name of the game this week. I'm personally looking forward to the new faces and adventures that await them.
The wind started to pick up as Mark hooked into back to back walleyes, both nice eaters stretching to 17 inches on the estimation scale. As I looked around, I thought to myself there is no way we can still have hard water on any inland lake. A short time later, we wrapped up a fantastic first day of walleye fishing, and upon returning to Pasha Lake Cabins, I was astonished to see our little lake, still with a significant ice pack.
"Ok, I thought there is no way the ice will survive the night!" Then I woke up the next morning to get minnows, there it was. Like a stubborn head cold that won't go away, ice pack was still bouncing off the shorelines, seemingly in no hurry to disappear.
Getting back from the minnow haul, I started thinking about the Swartz group from West Virginia. They had a pretty "rough go at" it the day before. When they arrived at their lake, it was still socked in with ice, yet they were able to skirt the edge and get to some soft water. That same wind that chilled Mark, his son Stephen and me on a different lake further to the north, ended up blowing the ice pack into the landing where the Swartz group was suppose to go. So with some ingenuity and perseverance, they literally broke a trail to shore, only they were forced to a completely different area, several hundred yards from the main access. With a brisk hike to get to their vehicles, everyone was safe and they headed back to Pasha Lake for the day. They were tired, windblown and a little nervous, but still managed to boat a couple of fish.
Then next day, memories of their adventure were still fresh in their head when I offered to take them fishing for the afternoon. After learning how well we did (limiting out and then some, the day before) they jumped at the opportunity.
Six of us headed to a new honey hole I stumbled on 24 hours earlier. In reality, it was near a mud flat I found years ago, one that has been a consistent producer for me in the spring. This year was different though, with the high water, we had to make some significant location changes to find active fish. In no time after arriving we laced into the first walleye and were rewarded handsomely for the rest of the day. The pattern revolved around 22 to 28fow, over mud, using bright colored jigs and mud minnows. My guess was they were feeding on bugs or bait balls of shiners, a hypothesis that was confirmed later that day when we cleaned fish. (It was the same thing in 2013.) About mid day, the northern pike figured out something was up and shouldered their way into our actively feeding walleyes. It took us a while to figure out the walleyes sought shelter in the adjacent deep water, while the toothy aggressors wreaked havoc on our jigs and minnows. At day's end, our fish bag contained 6 limits of walleyes, some jumbo perch and a variety of eating size northern pike. The biggest fish of the day was landed by first time walleye fisherman Steven Swartz, a 12 year old native of West Virginia. It was a fitting end to the day, given his 13th birthday would be 24 hours later (see the attached picture).
Hard core doesn't even begin to describe the Cody Broaddus group from the Cleona, Pennsylvania area. These guys are about as battle harden fisherman as you'll find on the North American Continent. This was unmistakably clear as the scrolled through their phone pictures, showing me multiple species trophy catfish, PA walleyes, musky, pike, white bass and fish I'd never seen or can't even begin to pronounce. I tip my hat to these guys, they make my time on the water look like amateur hour.
Saturday May 17th when they arrived at Pasha Lake Cabins , there was no hope of accessing inland lakes, so I sent them to a little known river access. It was an area that has been friendly to some of Pasha Lake's seasoned veterans in the past. Given the unusually high water, I was on the fence as to how well they'd do, but my options were pretty limited. I should've known better to doubt these guys, they came back with an impressive bag limit of better than average size walleyes, many they had photographed were upwards of 20". They didn't get a ton of them, but it sure kicked off their trip on a good note.
As the ice pack continued to recede on area lakes, I sent them on a test run to a trophy pike lake that I figured was ice free. I was wrong, it was still 75% covered! But when life hands you lemons, what do you do? Simple, you make trophy pike out of them. In the little water that was accessible, Jack started noticing logs near the shoreline. "Logs???" he thought. Nope, those were big female pike resting on their haunches, no doubt in recovery mode from the spawn. Seeing that, the fisherman started picking pike they'd cast to, trying to entice a reaction or feeding strike. And wouldn't you know it? Jack finally got a big 40"er to bite, boating her after a short, but fierce battle. And with that little episode, the first Pasha Lake Cabins Trophy Club Hat of the 2014 season goes to none other than Mr. Jack Alt from Palmyra, Pa. Add to their day several other respectable pike, given the circumstances; they had a very good day.
As if they weren't happy with their adventures to up to that point, yesterday the crew headed to a now ice free lake that treated them to bag limit, after bag limit of walleye. Most regular people would've been happy, but Jack just had to one up everything by landing a 28" blue walleye- one that will forever be displayed on the wall of his man cave back in PA. Nice job guys!
We are just days into the 2014 Pasha Lake Cabins open water fishing season, and, not surprisingly, things are starting to shape up for another block buster year. It's hard not to appreciate the handy work of the good Lord!
For those of you who've read this far and are getting anxious wondering if I'll mention ice conditions on Lake Nipigon, fret no more. The lake is still 95% frozen. The weather man is predicting 70 degree warmth, starting tomorrow and for the next 5 days. I'm no environmentalist, but I'd say heat like that will melt some ice out there. For those of you who continually force me to cough up a Nipigon ice out predication, I'd say Labor day would be a safe bet!
Finally we've arrived. We're ice free, the fish are biting and the weather is fix'in to get gorgeous.
Stay tuned and of course, until next time.....
Fishing was AWESOME yesterday and we are now ICE FREE!
As we gazed out over the 90% still frozen Pasha Lake, we could do little but shake our heads. So we gathered in the office, slammed a map down on the table and went to work. The boys gathered around and we started game planning. The goal was to give each group a primary and secondary northern pike lake. Having a back up was necessary in case the primary was inaccessible.
"This has been a stellar spot in the past, but I doubt you can get there because you have to cross the lake" I said about one of my favorite spring holes. "Here, I know you can get to here!" as I pointed to a river neck down. With each group we eagerly formulated a plan, hashing out the likelihood of getting to the locations with the current ice conditions in mind. After about an hour or so, all of us had our marching orders and were loading gear.
Mark and I headed to one of my favorite summer areas, notorious for big spawning gators. Astonishing to me was when we arrived to launch the boat, it looked nothing like how it usually does. Water levels are the highest I've ever seen them, with much of the bush being flooded. The landscape has changed drastically. Not surprisingly, with rivers this high, they are absolutely roaring. It was kind of neat, though, to see the remnants of yesteryear's logging days floating by at a steady pace.
So with pure grit and determination, and winds approaching the 30mph range, we set the boat afloat and went on our merry way. The 20 minute drive was refreshing as we were treated to a grandiose waterfowl show that included Buffleheads, Hooded Mergansers, Golden Eyes, Teal, Wood Ducks and some bread and butter Mallards. It was as if they were laughing at the two knuckle heads driving down the river in the boat. They'd fly in front of us for a ways, land and look back. At one point I think I saw one laughing.
As we closed in on our destination, I noted again, the landscape was completely different. Creek accesses looked like raging rivers, and places of familiarity where well under water. Knowing that high water in the past has made for tough fishing, we made our way up a once impassible feeder creek that we traditionally access from land. Boat control was difficult in the current, but the habitat looked extremely appealing. As we approached the point of no return, we found a quiet eddy where we could rig our rods. And with that, we wet the first lines of the open water 2014 Pasha Lake Cabins fishing season.
The day was not to be however. With cold temperatures, crazy wind and not much time to go searching for fish, it turned out to be a dry run. Much needed though, was the fact we had to work off the winter rust and straighten out the kinks. We'd of stayed a little longer had the fish cooperated, but that was not the case.
When the crews reconvened last night and starting comparing notes, the other guys found fish in one of my default spring locals. They also ascertained, and not surprisingly, some other spots have a couple days worth of ice left.
All in all, it's about what I expected. Fish are where they need to be, and once we're rid of that last bit of stubborn ice, we'll be able to get there. Two days left maybe? And come Sunday, we are in for some unseasonably, and needed I might add, warm weather. That warm up pattern is predicted to take us deep into next week.
After an anxious last 24 hours, traveling and getting the camp opened up, I can officially say we've kicked off the 2014 open water fishing season. It's glaringly apparent that we will have to begin this year like we did the 2013 season, focusing on free flowing rivers. The lakes are still socked in with plenty of ice, despite the restless wind and rain the last 48 hours. Pasha Lake's shorelines area ice free, gaining significant soft water real estate last night and again today. If fact, as the sunsets right now, I am staring a much more open water than even this morning. With the warmer temps predicted for tomorrow and the next couple of days, it should help tremendously. I am still holding out for my May 15th ice out for inland lakes. Cross your fingers!
As for Lake Nipigon, we have a ways to go. I checked the satellite imagery again this morning, and it was tough to see if there is break up due to the cloud cover, but I have low expectations. I do plan on fishing the Nipigon River in the next couple of days, so I am excited to see what species are currently active there.
Stay tuned, I'll continue to post daily if possible.
After a much needed sabbatical, I am happy to report I am back in action. As many of our regulars know, after wrapping up the moose season, we took some time off to be with the family and to finish working on our home. It was nice to recover from the VERY busy and, more importantly, VERY productive 2013 fishing and hunting season.
Some of the more memorable highlights include a late May ice out, a stellar bug season (if I can use the words "stellar" and "bug season" together) yet another year of phenomenal fishing and a bang up bear and moose season. I get the excited jitters just thinking about what's in store for the 2014 season.
But, before we get there, I want to update all you hard water fanaticals on current ice conditions. In fact, I asked local, Tom Alton (Pasha's winter fishing guide) to send us an update on current events. This is what he wrote below...
Not as much snow in the bush around here , as there was two weeks ago. Still able to drive anywhere with a 4x4 truck, the ground is freezing a bit slower due to the early snow and thaw. Ed was stuck in the mud bad the other day trying to access Onaman from the north. (no one has been in north end yet)
There is 6 to 10 inches of snow over most of the area, right now. But there is a storm forecasted for tonight and tomorrow that is expected to bring a foot or more snow with strong winds creating drifting .
The ice conditions are hard to read this season with about half of the lakes freezing early (1st week of Nov) and the rest freezing just about two weeks ago.
The lakes that froze early should have a foot of ice on them by now. These were the more shallow, smaller lakes for the most part.
Kenogamisis lake was frozen weeks before Wildgoose lake, I chopped holes with an axe on Wildgoose and found 6 inches near shore and about 4 inches 100 ft from shore.
Some of my hardcore friends have been catching walleyes north us all week.
From past experience:
I would be targeting the smaller splake/rainbow trout lakes, ATV or truck access. Early ice splake bite is always on fire!!!
could fish smaller walleye lakes as well , taking extreme caution to avoid shallow mud bottoms and areas of current.
Going to take a break from hunting tomorrow I think, If the bad weather forecast comes true.
Will give you another snow/ice update after storm....
Sounds like things are starting to heat up in the frozen paradise surrounding Pasha Lake Cabins. Once Tom gives us the green light, we will start offering 3 & 4 day excursions that will include food, fishing, accommodations and guide. If you want to jump on the list, I'll need your dates and contact info so we can start coordinating groups
Packages will include:
4 days accommodations in one of Pasha Lake Cabins Deluxe Cottages - complete with 4 bedrooms, 8 single beds, full kitchenette, radiant in floor heat and spacious living area.
Food - Hot breakfast, cold lunch and hot dinner provided in your cabin.
Daily guide service to hot producing lakes for walleye, splake, lake trout and northern pike.
Free Long Sleeved Shirt - Pasha Lake Shirt.
Total Cost is $349 per person, with a 4 person minimum rate.
Not included - transportation to and from Pasha Lake Cabins, transportation to and from lakes, portable shelter, fishing license or tax. For transportation, we do have the option to meet in the Duluth area and carpool.
Lastly - next time you're in your local sporting goods store, check out the Trigger X life size display of yours truly. The photograph was taken on Onaman Lake earlier this year!
Hey - its good to be back and I look forward to spending some time on the ice with you and your crew!
By night's end, we had 5 hanging bears, two that tipped the scales north of 350#'s. In a year of countless achievements, Pasha Lake Cabins broke yet another record with 5 bears harvested in one night.
"Six hundred and eighty walleyes? I gasped.
"Yep, 680 and a couple of years ago it was over 900". Jim J confirmed.
The Living Word Christen Center from Brooklyn Park, Mn in their 12th year had the 2nd best year on record. Note worthy is the fact their group size was smaller than past years, however they landed almost as many fish.
The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of late nights, early mornings, awesome bear hunting and even better fishing. It's what we are all about here at Pasha Lake Cabins, providing a unique experience and enjoyment of all things NW Ontario has to offer. Our guests are truly blessed when it comes to access to this area. The resources here are as good as it gets... period!
I have so many stories from the last two weeks that I'd like to share, but I think writing a 1000 page novel maybe a bit much for a weekly report. So I will focus on just one - one that captures what we've come to expect when serving our guests.
An avid hunter and recreational fisherman, Scott T from the north metro of the twin cities booked a bear hunt. During his stay, he's encountered just about everything one could hope for. Several nights while in the stand, he's been surrounded by wolves, and even caught a glimpse of a couple. Then two nights ago, he finally got a crack at a bear. While that is special in and of its self, what's really exciting is the bear walked within 5ft of his ground blind. And this was no small bear! He said its back was higher than the window on the blind... THAT'S BIG! That night while heading home in the dark, he stumbled upon a bull moose that was traveling on a logging road. He followed it for several hundred yards, eating the rocks it was kicking toward him, before it sauntered off into the bush. On another occasion, he witnessed a showdown between a skunk and a 5ga bucket. Apparently the bucket was wrongfully placed on the trail, and the skunk was having no part of it. Thankfully, nothing, or nobody was sprayed during the incident. The icing on the cake? You probably all ready guessed it, fishing on area lakes and catching as many walleyes as one could want.
No doubt about it, Scott's story is a special thing and the smile on his face proves it. For me, it really exemplifies what we are all about here at Pasha Lake Cabins; adventure, fun and memories that last a life time. Scott's story plays out week after week, guest after guest. Of course the experiences are different, but the result is always the same. We truly want each guest to have an awesome, unique experience. Our mission is to provide each guest with that opportunity.
And never is there a better occasion for an awesome experience than when fall comes knocking. As cooler evenings start to prevail, our water temps will slowly etch down. This in turn triggers the onslaught of game fish feeding heavy in preparation for the gloomy, leaner times ahead. When they go on the feed, it's a tremendous opportunity to catch, not only A LOT of fish, but trophy fish. A potential that sky rockets come mid September.
So there you have it. As we close the final chapter on the 2013 summer fishing season, we look forward to the offerings and trimmings of what fall brings. Great opportunity, awesome fall weather and an all around fun time to be in the Northwest Ontario bush. Don't put those rods away yet, instead throw them in your gun case and aim'er north.
Some call it a slow down. I call it a little below average
Putting things into prospective, even a small slow down in August, still rates high among the guests at Pasha Lake Cabins. Sure, things aren't like June and July this year, but honestly, how could you sustain that kind of fishing success? It was simply unreal.
Depending on the waterways, some fish have slid off their early summer shallows into almost a fall like pattern. Guiding on a local lake yesterday, we didn't land a walleye shallower than 28ft. Yet, on other lakes familiar to our guests, they were catching very respectable fish near 5ft weed lines. Dark water and current tend to draw the walleyes shallow, while clear lakes with no flow-through have driven them to deep water structure. Thankfully, once you find the fish, they don't seem to be too picky on what they will and will not eat. Success has come for just about everything, jigging (like I did yesterday), bottom bouncing with crawlers and Carolina rigging with leeches. I did note however, after switching to a heavier red jig (to get to the bottom faster) fishing slowed for me while others in the boat stuck with brights and were having better luck.
With the 1st of August well behind us, that only means one thing. BEARS! The last 3 weeks have been an epic bear baiting agenda that is paying off handsomely. Currently we have over 40 active sites with several areas yet to be baited. Additionally, we've unloaded close 8000 lbs in crushed granola, snow cones and candy and that figure doesn't account for pie fillings, popcorn or fish guts. Things are setting up to be another block buster year for our hunters. Season opens this Thursday, August 15th. We will post pictures and updates frequently.
Interesting story from last week - It came as a big surprise to Michelle and I that a long time Pasha Lake guest booked with another local outfitter whose rates are a touch cheaper than ours. Unfortunately as his week played out, he began to experience motor problems on his personal boat. In the past, he would've simply stopped by our repair shop and we could have had him up and fishing in no time. In fact, that very thing happened. On Tuesday, another guest plugged the cooling intake on his motor and we were able to fix it that night. That's the enormous benefit of having a full time mechanic and complete workshop on site. Pasha's fix it man, Barry, who can fix just about anything, is invaluable when it comes to repairs. Instead , the guest threw in the towel, cut his week short and headed back to Minnesota.
The point? There will always be cheaper, but given the example above, is it really less expense? At Pasha Lake Cabins, we've bent over backwards to offer extra services such as a repair shop, license issuing, bait, ice, guide service, Onaman boat rentals and the list goes on. We have everything here so you can concentrate on enjoying your vacation, catching fish and taking in all NW Ontario has to offer. Given the example above, I'm fairly certain the gentleman would've preferred to be catching walleyes than driving south on HWY 61 with a boat and motor that didn't work. It's difficult to put a price on that!
This week we are in full prep for the bear harvest. As I write this, Barry and Scotty are cleaning out the shop and getting all the equipment ready for what we anticipate will be another action packed season. Weather has been cool in the mornings but nice by midday. Fishing is still excellent and small thoughts of the upcoming moose hunt are starting to grab our attention.
First off, my apologies. Last week's crazy festivities and marathon fishing runs left me running on empty when it was time to post last week reports. Great fishing, really HOT weather and a festive camp life appropriately sums up how things played out. It is now Tuesday and I think I am semi recovered, however given the fact we've welcomed back Babe Winkelman and his Good Fishing crew, things are hopping once again.
To start last week, the weather was downright gorgeous. It was plus 80's for the first half of the week which, admittedly, caused some anxiety that fishing may fizzle. That, turns out, was NOT the case. The Hursh crew from Poplar, WI and their family and friends of 30 or more proved fishing is still HOT as ever. On Monday, they hosted an all camp fish fry on "Hursh Island" where party members where tasked with catching their own eats. As it played out they were able to feed, not only their own, but other anglers fishing the lake at the same time. There was enough fish and other eats to feed a small army.
The above goes to show why July is my favorite time of year for fishing. There is something for everyone. The kids can swim off one side of the boat, I can hammer walleyes on the other side, and Michelle can sit in the boat and read. Great weather, good fishing and fun with family and friends! That's my idea of a good time.
Speaking of having a good time, I'm of the thinking that enjoyment is what you make it. From time to time we'll have a guest complain about pervious stays and past fishing with other outfitters. When that happens, I'm reminded of the folktale where an astute farmer crossed paths with two travelers.
The first traveler asked, "What are the people like in the next town?"
In reply, the farmer asked, "What were they like in the town you just came from?"
"Liars, cheats and scoundrels", snapped the traveler.
"They'll be the same in the next town".
The second traveler arrived a short time later and asked the same question "What are the people like in the next town?"
Again, the farmer replied, "How were they where you just came from?"
Traveler, "Honest, hardworking and generally awesome!"
"You'll find them the same in the next town" the wise farmer said.
The point? I can write until I'm blue in the face about how good the fishing is here. And it really is, that's not an embellishment. But the ultimate deciding factor of how good things are at Pasha Lake Cabins is the end user, the guest. Fortunately for us, 99.9% of our guests understand this and when they arrive, they have the time of their life. Not only in awesome fishing, but in enjoying our remote location, soaking up the scenery and making the most of everything we have to offer.
A great example of pure PLC enjoyment is the Twiggs/Fickert crew of Ohio. Between the two parties, they've achieved legendary status when it comes to longevity and good fishing. You may know one of their party members as "Jonny". Yes, the famous Jonny from all the Youtube videos where he showcases Pasha Lake Cabins fishing. Last week they put together another historic trip, complete with outstanding fishing, remote adventures and enough wild life sightings to start their own petting zoo (Jon SR was up close and personal with a young bear on the Onaman Trail :). Jonny even made his way to the Walleye Dream Trip where, yes, he filmed yet another PLC fishing video. He promised a release date in the very near future. In the end, there was plenty of boasting about how good the fishing was this year!
This week as mentioned, we've welcomed back Babe Winkelman and his film crew for Good Fishing. As I write this, Babe's co-host Wayne Enger, with camera guys in tow, is filming on our famed Walleye Dream Trip. The crew opted to book our Walleye Dream Trip Outpost Camp and will be staying there until Wednesday. I fished with them Sunday night and these guys were absolutely floored! I won't tell you anymore, you'll have to tune in this winter.
Weather... WOW what extremes! From 90+ to mid 50's, tons of wind and even more rain, we're getting everything up here. The weather man promises things will stabilize over the next couple of days, which we need. Not for fishing, but for sanity sake!
Coming off the euphoria of last week, I was wondering how this week would play out. After all, it 's going to be tough to beat a week where 7 Pasha Lake Cabins Trophy Club hats were handed out. This week, we didn't quite get to 7, but family fun, tons of fish and some VERY happy guests sure made for memories of a life time.
Once again, Onaman Lake produced the quality of fish I've been raving about in all my weekly reports. It's downright mind boggling how this lake can continue to produce, week after week after week. And not just a group here or a group there , EVERYONE is coming back absolutely astonished at the size and quantity of walleyes. Dare I say it is becoming the Walleye Dream Trip - Junior? WDT-J? My vote is ABSOLUTELY!
Or better yet, if you have a name you'd like to call the fishing in Onaman, a unique name you don't mind us coining for the indefinite future, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If we chose your Onaman Lake slogan I'll be more than happy to send you a Pasha Lake Cabins T-shirt.
Interesting enough, a long time group of PLC decided to splinter this year. Half went on a fly-in with a different outfitter and the other half stayed here as usual. After returning home and comparing notes, the fly-in guys surmised the variety of lakes and fishing offered by Pasha Lake Cabins far outweighs the mediocrity and option-less choices of a staying at an outpost. Not only does it sound like the fishing was marginal, lacking the creature comforts of 24/7 power, indoor private plumbing and on demand service made for a, sometimes, frustrating experience. Also, when the weather wasn't cooperating, they couldn't go to any other lakes. They were simply stuck in the cabin. Yuk! When the weather is unfavorable here, I can send people to small lakes and rivers where they can still catch fish. That is priceless!
"I can't believe this is living up to the hype. My past fishing trips have resulted in disappointment after disappoint from over promised fishing". Those are the words used yesterday by Craig E while fishing on the Walleye Dream trip. After ripping in walleye after endless walleye, Craig was amazed and pleasantly surprised that the trip delivered, and from what I could tell, far exceeded his expectations.
Craigs day began with a shaken lodge owner (me) after a small craft wind advisor was placed on Lake Nipgion earlier in the morning. I approached the boys and said, if we're going to go, let's do it now. Without hesitation we were on the water and found ourselves in walleye bliss. Craig and his dad (George) fished for a couple hours (and landed countless walleyes) as I kept peeking at the tree tops. Eventually Craig asked if it was getting rough, to which I replied "we're living on borrowed time fellas". With that, there was a request to see if I could deliver on a trophy gator, which I welcomed the challenge with open arms. A small change in venue resulted in boating a, on the mark, 40"er after only 3 casts. Two pike later, the winds forced us to aim'er home. Good thing we did! Great day of fishing cut a little short, but Craig and his dad were VERY Happy Campers!
Not much change since last weeks water temps report. More fish than should be allowed are being boated by our guests. Water temps are perfect for family beach fun and GREAT fishing.
Hard to believe, but it was Sunday morning and not a sole was around. I got up early, packed all my gear, laid out game plans, sat there and waited. Those Vets of Pasha Lake Cabins know Sunday usually brings anxious fisherman, eagerly lined up waiting for their marching orders. But this day, you could hear crickets chirp for miles. It was eerily quiet. What happened next was straight out of the movie Jaws, where the relentless shark pursued his quarry until ultimately meeting his demise. (I can just picture Chief Broody's face as his sinking boat was circled by the surfacing Jaws time and time again! Da, Dump... Da, Dump... Da, Dump!!!)
Well maybe we weren't pursuing salt water sharks, but our guests sure had their run with Jaws like pike and walleye in the fish infested waters of the Pasha Lake Region of Ontario. In fact, this week smashed a perviously held record of the most inductees into the Pasha Lake Trophy Club; 7 new members. The old record officially stood at 4. What a week!
Big time In Depth Outdoor fans and hard core anglers, Darwin V and his crew made their debut at PLC this week. Traditionally this group of 8 guys has spent their time camping in another province twice as far and 10x infested with bugs. But this year, they sought the comfort and warmth of a bed and dry cabin, they did not, however, sacrifice fishing. From what I could gather, their fishing here far surpassed previous trips. Not only in quantity of fish, but also in quality. Onaman, and no surprise there, was their biggest producing lake of the week and left them with dreams about next year. Some made the trek 3 times, while others enjoyed good fishing on the smaller inland lakes. They've all ready booked and started formulating a game plan for next year. Trophy Hats - 1 (Onaman Walleye!!!)
Then there is Mike E... hard to speak about Mike and his crew, other than the fact they are trolling gods! Let's see if I can count high enough... 4 fish 30lbs or better from lake Nipigon, enough walleyes from area lakes to feed a small army and to cap the week off, trophy Splake. If I am doing my math right, they landed in access of 200lbs of fish in just under a week of fishing. Hmmmm, that sounds like A LOT of fun. Trophy Club Hats - 4 (Lake Nipigion 3 Hats, Splake - 1 Hat).
38" Musky. That was Bob's biggest as he reminisced about fishing trips of years gone by. Jim then piped in with this biggest fish, a 38" PLC area pike, from a few years back. Then, both their memories slammed head-on into the Walleye Dream Trip. Their personal bests were smashed as Jim landed a 40" pike not a half hour into the trip, topped only by Bob's 42" pike less than 5 minutes later. These guys have been coming here collectively for over 20 years and, not only have they landed tons of fish, now they can pound their chest over new personal bests! Trophy Club Hats - 2 (both Nipigon Pike)
State of the fishing - Water temps have climbed to almost their annual max, with the surface being seen as high a plus 70. Walleyes, depending on the lake, appear to be relating to 10 - 15fow, of course near structure such as connected points and now, detached humps and sunken islands. Weeds are still producing active fish, with wind direction playing a key role in any daily outings; the stronger the wind, the tighter to shore active fish will be. Interestingly, we were crushing 24"+ walleyes over shallow weeds while fishing for trophy pike. We had on Johnson Silver Minnows (of all things) tipped with plastics, such as BFish's 4" Moxi. On one occasion, a beefy 25"er completely inhaled the spoon, I've never seen anything like it in all my years of fishing. Very cool! Also, we've completely transitioned off the Brook Trout and local guides and guests are targeting big water Lakers. One only needs to look at catches from this week to understand how special a fishery Lake Nipigon really is. Finally, big pike are everywhere AND nowhere. Inland lakes are producing spotty results, but Nipigon is still very good.
Side Note - On my bucket list, when I get a chance, ya right, is to find a jigging bite for big lakers on Nipigon. I played with it a little last weeks with no luck, but have committed to doing it on my days off and when good weather permits.
Wrap Up - Walleye fishing, Onaman Lake, Lake Nipigion and local lakes are as good now as they've ever been. The Walleye Dream Trip is in full swing. Our kids are swimming daily, shore lunches are filled with plenty of fish, good times and great people. Things are pretty special in our little corner of the world, anyone who visits us knows exactly what I'm talking about.
Weather is shaping up to be warm again, and the bugs, well, the bugs still suck! Warm weather, dedication to our guests, OUTSTANDING fishing and a whole whack of fun! That's what we are all about at Pasha Lake Cabins.
Scratch.... Is that a broken record? Nope, that's the flaming red hot fishing in the Pasha Lake Region of Northwest Ontario. Seriously folks, this is getting borderline ridiculous!
As we started last week, I can remember thinking to myself, how can fishing get any better? But now that I look back, I was asking the wrong question. I should've asked, how long can this crazy fishing last?
Handed to me last night was a well thought out point system created by the Bill Conklin group of Ohio. Bill has been coming here for over 3 years and competition among his group members to gain points during their week here, is fierce. As an example of possible points earned, a 39" and larger pike gets you 5 points, a 26"or bigger walleye the same. Smaller fish are awarded points on a sliding scale. One is left to imagine how many points were earned collectively among their group given the fact that I handed them two, not one, but TWO Pasha Lake Trophy club hats this year. By weeks end they landed two pike 40" or better, multiple plus 20 walleyes and that doesn't even include the MONSTER that eluded the net and left them shaking in their boots. Next year guys... you'll get her!
"Take care of business" - words used by Justin B in reference to fishing the Pasha Lake region of Ontario. If you remember back two years ago, Justin downed an IMPRESSIVE 360# boar during his bear hunt. A touch shy of 24 months later, he's out on Onaman Lake crushing 24 and 25 inch walleyes like they were pop cans! Justin has truly been bitten by the bug of all things possible when it comes to fishing and hunting in this region. Congrats kind sir, you boated some impressive fish this week. In fact, shortly before he departed home, he was quoted as saying "this has been the best fishing of my life". Justin, I agree!
So what is causing all these fish to jump in the boat like Asian Carp? The preferred method of choice has been the jig and minnow, although we are starting to pull spinners around on a crawler harnesses, both seem to be equally effective. Depths are ranging from 5 - 15 feet of water, but there is some variance depending on what water ways you're fishing. For instance, Onaman Lake is producing action from 5 - 10, but smaller lakes are seeing walleyes in the weeds as shallow as 5fow.
The big pike bite is also on. With water temps getting warmer every day, the big females have started their slide to deeper haunts, especially breaks near weed beds. They can be however, and frustrating to anglers, be as shallow as 5feet in depths of 60fow when there is a significant bait fish run. That happened a couple of times last week where guys trolling shallow for lakers hooked into a ginormous gator patrolling the upper water column for feed.
This week we welcome July and both Canada and the US independence days. You can find us down on Lake Nipigon come Monday enjoying some water fun, fireworks and, of course, good fishing. Weather wise, things are very pleasant although we could afford to have the bugs to take a vacation.
Oh, and almost forgot. The Walleye Dream Trip is a go! I was up there on Tuesday and the fish are slowly starting to stage in their preferred summer locals. It wasn't exactly WDT caliber yet, but it should only get better in the days ahead.
More veteran groups are in transit as I write this and we welcome some Greenhorns as well. Stay tuned as this week plays out.
The rubbers rubbed my leg raw once again, you'd think I'd learn to wear pants when putting them on. It was 5am 12 days ago and as I slipped into my minnow gathering wardrobe, I gave much thought to the days that lie ahead. For I was headed into what was then, and historically has been, Pasha Lake Cabins busiest week of the entire season.
For those anxious bodies out there, I do apologize. I missed my deadline for the previous week's report, but rest assured, it was for good reason. What I am about to report will make your head spin.
I've owned Pasha Lake Cabins for 8 years now and I have never, not once, been as floored as I am now. Bar none, the last week and a half has been the best angling I've ever seen. It's been a constant barrage of BIG walleyes, brookies and HUGE Pike. And the biggest contributor to that? You've probably all ready guessed ... Onaman Lake followed only by a minuscule second place, Lake Nipigon.
Last Friday through yesterday, I've been in the thick of it, guiding groups like second year guests Larry, Gabe and Marissa Post. Then with third year guests, Brian Skaggs and Mr. Wonderful himself, Chris Caliendo. In that short time frame, we've landed trophy pike and mind staggering numbers of HUGE walleyes, including a 30+"er landed by Joe S of the veteran Mark Purtell crew. People, it has been simply amazing. I get chills just writing about it.
The absolute neatest thing though, may surprise you. It does come from a huge fish being landed, although there has been plenty of that. Nope, it comes from a "changing of the guard" if you will? For in camp this week there has been a small army of the next generation fisherman. And while there are still plenty of old timers around, being able to spend time with kids ranging from 4 - 17 years old has been downright awesome! A huge investment took place in the last 10 days, and that's with all those kids who learned what fishing really is. It's not about catching a gazillion walleyes (although it really helps), it's about spending time with family and friends and enjoying a resource that we all hope will be around for 1000's of years to come. With the awesome crews we've had in camp these passed days, I think that message was clearly sent.
As I continue to reflect on the recent fishing adventures I can't come up with a way that fishing could get any better. From people who fish 6 days a year, to guys that fish 200 days a year, it doesn't matter. Everyone is catching fish and enjoying what we are truly all about.... Adventure, great fishing and lots of fun.
Looking ahead, this week we will begin trial trips of our Walleye Dream Trip. Once those walleyes establish themselves, we will begin running the excursions on a regular basis. If you haven't signed up yet, make sure you contact us after the end of this week, so we can start firming up the schedule.
Weather wise, it looks like mother nature may try to douse the flames of our red hot fishing, but I am sure in true Pasha Lake Cabins style, we'll find away to keep landing BIG fish and a ton of them.
Wanted to let everyone know last week was good fishing. Some lakes are still ramping up, but overall there were big fish landed in between some not so friendly weather patterns. Look for the photos soon. We are kicking off the busiest week of the year, so time is limited to do a warm fuzzy report.
Something special is starting to happen here in the Pasha Lake Region of Northwest, Ontario Canada and that's called Walleyes. Well, I spouse you could call it "Walleyes and Brook Trout".
But before I get to the walleye bite, I have to circle back to last week. In my week ending June 1 report, I promised juicy details on Lake Nipigon. And after spending several days out there, I can most certainly report the brookies are biting. 5 Days collectively landed our guests north of 50 brookies, the biggest was an absolute toad, landed by Mr. Kelloway himself, a 24"er. The cooler water temps still play a tremendous role in locating active fish. Find the warmer water and you'll find the fish. For the lure of choice, some say a Yakima Rooster Tail Spinner, some say a cleo, I say a white jig tipped with a white B Fish Tackle Moxi-cyllin cut in half. (Side Note: In 3 weeks of fishing, I've landed pike, walleye, brook trout and a sucker on the white Moxi - something's happening here!)
Lake Nipigon Brookies? As fantastic as that is, I can happily report dense schools of walleyes being found daily by guests. While I'll admit, things sure started out slow, it appears we've turned the corner. I anticipate walleye fishing only getting better in these typically walleye action filled June days that lay ahead.
Probably the most significant news this week has to do with Onaman Lake. The shallow trophy filled walleye waters have really turned on. I've been told there was a major bug hatch, and while I don't know if that has anything to do with the red hot bite, old faithful has once again lived up to her big walleye legendary name. Lake Black Friday at Wal-Mart, guests have been flocking to the lake in search for those hog walleyes. In fact, Jeff D of Alabama has been fishing Onaman for over 30 years. Now that he is retired, he booked two weeks and is out there EVERY day. So far, it sounds like 28" is the biggest, with a high probability he'll break 30" this upcoming week.
3 Solid days of fishing with me. That's what the Darrell K group wanted when they booked their June trip this past winter. After day 3, they have yet to kill me and in fact, it sounds like they are very happy. And why not? We hit two of my top 3 lakes and the fishing was outstanding. Cold was the understatement for Sunday, most likely due to the falling snow and mid 20's wind chill, but the walleye action was blistering hot. The boys limited out in 30 mins and a shore lunch with fire was needed to warm up. Day 2 we hit Nipigon, the winds still impacted us early, but by day's end, it laid down as we boated several quality specks, including Darrell's big one. Day 3, well, sometimes things go as planned and sometimes they don't. My typically hot walleye lake reluctantly produced spotty action and no predictable pattern. With a less than stellar start, we regrouped after lunch and started noting active fish near deep rock to mud transition lines. Once we cracked that code, we landed three 26" or better walleyes and plenty of eaters. In three days of hard core fishing, it's safe to say these guys experienced what we are all about - Action Packed Fishing, Adventure and lots of Fun.
This week we welcome back some crusty ol' Pasha Lake Veterans, including the Dave M crew from Eau Claire, the Hoekstra crew and more hard core Onaman fans. The last 3 days have been 80 degrees or better so let's make the call and say summer is here to stay.
Finally, don't forget to check out the updated Pasha Lake Cabin's blog... Michelle is posting daily updates on camp life and fishing
Pasha Lake & Lake Nipigon - multi species report - week ending June 1st, 2013
I am happy, no, let me rephrase that, I am completely AMPED when it comes to comparing this week with that of the not so weather friendly previous week.
Saturday the skies opened up, and for the first time in a long time, the sun warmed our faces as new guests flooded in. All of them with hi hopes of what the fishing week would bring.
Sunday was my first official day out on Lake Nipigon. I was honored to be accompanied by Dave and Julie from Mount Pleasant, NY who chose Pasha Lake Cabins as the venue for their wedding anniversary. We were in hot pursuit of brook trout and headed to one of my favorite locations to kick the season off right. Unfortunately, as we motored in on our hunting grounds, we were forced to start dodging ice bergs. And then we noticed, and couldn't believe, that most of the shorelines were completely iced in. Yikes!
Not to be deterred, we fished the only open water we could find, but quickly realized we'd have to change our game plan. After a couple hours of dodging ice and scouting for warm water, I tabled an idea for chasing big pike. Julie pounced on it lake a walleye crushes a B Fish N tackle paddle tail on a beetle spin. So onward we went.
Once we arrived at our new location, it didn't take long to start spotting pike in the shallows. It took even less time to start catching them. At one point, we were boating pike at will, with Julie landing the biggest of the day, a trophy 38"er that gave her a reel run for her money. She fought it like a pro, while I chased it around the lake with the trolling motor. Eventually the old girl wore down and I was able to slip her in the boat for a couple of pictures. And Dave? Well, Dave kept busy in the stern of the boat and one point he leaned toward us grumbling about how all the pike had "bent my hook". Dave - welcome to fishing big gators on Lake Nipigon!
Two days later, I found myself side by side with one the greatest fishing legends of our time, Babe Winkelman. Babe booked us for the second year in a row with his sights set on the BIG Nipigon brook trout again. If you'll remember from last year, Babe and Polaris Rep Bryce Wernsman hit pay dirt with the big brookies. Well, obliviously Babe couldn't get enough, so with film crew in tow; we headed out to what were now ice free waters. What a difference a couple of days make. As soon as we arrived at our hot spot, I missed one and sure enough, Babe laced into a nice 18"er. For the rest of the day, we pounded points and windswept shores. The trout were in tight, feeding on smelt and it seemed we could do no wrong. Boat control was tough once the winds picked up, but Babe's years of experience kept us in the sweet spot and by day's end, we had boated 40+ brookies, the biggest being 26".
And then there's "Hootch". He's a self proclaimed brook trout fanatic. Rightfully so, Hootch put on a brook trout clinic this past week, fishing all over creation and landing some very impressive fish. As with Babe, the fruits of his experience paid off handsomely which are backed up by his pictures. Nice fish this past week Hootch, it was fun to talk fishing with you!
So what about walleyes? Well, depends on who you talk to. The Pasha veterans are finding them all over the water column, with the most active fish continuing to be in rivers. It doesn't appear they've started to school up in big numbers yet, but we are seeing signs the bite is getting better daily in the lakes. In fact, one only needs to ask Jeanne Trudel, who landed a 29.5in, 9.5lbs walleye on a lake just over the hill from here. It was her biggest walleye ever and she's officially been inducted into the Pasha Lake Trophy Club. Congrats Jeanne!
Looking forward to next week, the weather man continues to bless us with favorable weather, although we're in for some cooler temps early on. I'll be on Nipigon pretty much all week and should have the juicy details come this time next week.
Until next time...
Wanted to let everyone know last week was good fishing. Some lakes are still ramping up, but overall there were big fish landed in between some not so friendly weather patterns. Look for the photos soon. We are kicking off the busiest week of the year, so time is limited to do a warm fuzzy report.
As we close out the first full week here in the Pasha Lake Cabins (PLC) corner of northwest Ontario, all I can say is "WOW". What a week.
Mother Nature handed us plenty of lemons. From ice, to a brutally cold "nor'easter" parked over us for 3 days, to downright awful winds, guests experienced everything imaginable. Yet, with sheer determination and an unrelenting devotion to angling, guests persevered and were able to land some impressive multispecies bag limits.
Kicking of Saturday's walleye opener, we're astonished as some of our favorite lakes still had ice pack floating. Unshaken, we turned to the local river systems, several tributaries that ultimately find their end in Lake Nipigon.
Second year guest and avid outdoors man Jeff Eldridge (Michigan), his crew of 3 and myself, hit a little known system that finds its beginnings in my favorite all time trophy walleye lake, Onaman. Armed with my notebook full of past fishing adventures and experiences, I bead lined to places with fast moving water. I felt male walleyes would be relating to those areas, feeding pretty heavy. The result? Throw that dang notebook out the window! It was useless!
Instead, we ended up playing cat and mouse, trying to locate active fish. Eventually, working from 35 - 25fow, I laced into a 17" eater and with that, we broke the ice (literally in some cases) for the 2013 walleye season.
I was however, and still am, a little thick headed. I've landed spring walleyes in deep water in other rivers and lakes, but never in this location. So with self deprecating stubbornness I forced myself to forge on, pounding shorelines, working multiple points, long line trolling and yet, always seemed to migrate back to the deeper water where we'd found the active fish hours before. By day's end, our efforts paid off by everyone catching multiple limits of walleyes, quite a few pike and some impressive jumbo perch.
Once back to the main lodge and comparing notes with other guests, there were definitely mixed reports. The common theme seemed to lay in focusing on river systems, deeper water and being able to brave the elements.
But, the big question that has tied up our phone lines and almost crashed my email, is what are the ice conditions on Lake Nipigon? The short answer... as of Thursday, the shorelines had mostly broken up, and the ice was receding, but a significant ice pack still kept us at bay. It should be safe early next week. Until then, I won't have specific details. But when I do, believe me, I'll back them up with pictures.
Come Saturday check out, there were some battle harden guests that earned the right to wear their angling stories as a badge of honor. The elements shook them up, but the fishing kept them coming back for more. Included in this week's report are multispecies pictures from groups such as Faught (father and son crew), from Hoad (another father son group) and from Jensen - winners of the NPAA donation.
This upcoming week we welcome Babe Winkelman for the second year in a row, the weather looks good and fishing should rev up, especially now that we are officially ice free!
Despite the 2-3 feet of fresh powder on the ground, Pasha Lake guests will not be stopped. Last week the Steve Sheppard crew from Southern Ontario put an ice fishing smack down on some local lakes. The cool thing? They braved the snow absent any form of motorized transportation. Yep, these hard core anglers relied on their snow shoes, ingenuity and pure determination to get the job done. Congrats guys!
Day One - was spent on a lake just 5mins north of the main lodge. It was a brutal cold front that lock jawed the lakers early, but by day's end they released several small ones and kept 3 with the best tipping the scales north of 3lbs.
Day Two - produced the most action. On one of our premier trout lakes, these guys iced over 60 splake and rainbows; with one horse of a speck that weighed over 3lbs. After a shore lunch fit for a king's army (and in true Pasha Lake style), they packed up the gear and headed to a walleye lake known for it's TREMENDOUS evening bite. Fail them the lake did not! (I think Yoda said something like that in Starwars?) They landed 9 walleyes before packing it in for the night.
Day Three - Since the close walleye lake produced so good the night before, they headed back the next morning and landed another 10 or so walleyes. Most were perfect for that day's shore lunch. After some good eats, the boys changed it up a bit and headed to known perch hole and, low and behold, it too was bang on! Several of the 20 - 30 perch landed reached past the 12" mark.
Special Thanks to Tom A. who's guide services proved to be invaluable once again. Tom books up fast, so if you are considering a trip, you should reach out to us asap.
Remember, we ice fish for most species, including walleye, well into April. Once the season closes in the upper US, there remains tremendous opportunities for a late season ice outing north of the border
Driving north on the 801 yesterday, I couldn't help but notice the changing leaves. Almost overnight the Pasha Lake region was showered in trimmings of orange, red and yellow. With falling water temps and even cooler air, it's a safe bet to make the official call... Fall is here.
I absolutely love this time of year. I still place July at the top of the list, but second only by a miniscule margin is fall. Why you ask? Its pretty simple. Most of the summer fam commitments are over meaning the boys get a chance to break loose and play. And with every one of God's creatures preparing for lean times ahead, boundless opportunities are within easy reach. Fish, especially the recently elusive BIG fish are putting on the heavy feed bag. Walleyes, pike, white fish, brook trout... all are easy to target. This time of year also means hunting. From birds to bears, moose and wolf we have a pretty big playground to work with and lots of playmates to ... um'um... find!. Yes, Fall is the grand finale of the current years outdoor pursuits, the last big push before winter rears its ugly, cold head. MAN I LOVE FALL!
So I had the great pleasure to meet a very unique crew from Southern Ontario this week. Their fly in trip was cancelled due to low water conditions, so they booked with us last minute. Ganady (Russian) and the crew are on the extreme end of hardcore fishing fanatics. They have been there and done that, with one tiny (or vary large) exception... Lake Nipigon. When he called me up and asked if I could take care of him, I jumped at the chance.
The day came and Ganady was very specific about what he wanted to fish for on the big pond. Brookies and pike were the top of the list and he could care less about the walleyes. When I explained to him how good the walleye fishing was, he hesitated a little and said we can fish them at the end of the day. I added that I had low expectations for the specs, but he insisted and we fished them. After two hours of washing lures, I coughed under my breath and may have slipped the word "pike" out, but I am not sure. Doesn't matter though, Ganady took the hint and on to chase swamp gators we went. Man ooooo man... fall is here. After the fourth pike that was landed over 40"s, I could tell we made the right choice. Biggest of the day was over 43" and Ganady was one very happy man.
Also this past week the Nuss crew from Iowa (www.nusschiro.com), returned for their 2nd trip of the year. Travis told me in emails and on the phone that he wanted new adventures this year. New adventures you say? Ok, so I sent him out on Lake Nipigon without a guide and surprising he returned. So I figured I take another crack at it and send him to Jonny Fickert's secret lake and wouldn't you know it? Travis made it back from there as well. No matter what I threw at him, he somehow managed to make it back to camp with sore arms, smiles and begging for more. They ended their trip on Onaman yesterday boating a 27" to cap the entire week off. I'll fix him next year!
Archery moose season opens today. Big fish are on the move. Air temps are cool in the morning and absolutely perfect by mid day. How could you ask for anything more!
As the bear season starts to wind down to the final hours, I have noticed a big void in my life. Namely, it's been FOREVER since I last wet a line or felt the tug, tug of a walleye. Yep, yours truly can't wait until I get back out on the water. And for good reason... FALL IS HERE! With that comes arguably the best walleye fishing of the season... big fish and big numbers!
Thankfully, my lack of water time hasn't impacted Pasha Lake Cabin's guests. Daily, people head out to lakes, catch crazy numbers of fish, head back to great cabin life and then do it again. This past week, the Bryan Kofal group from Wisconsin did exactly that. 2012 was a bit different for them however. Typically they come in the late fall for the annual walleye run, but due to schedules they opted for an earlier trip. It took awhile to adjust to the late summer patterns, but once they put it together, tremendous fishing was once again all theirs. Not only that, they volunteered to explore some new lakes adding a different twist to their vacation. In the end, smiles where everywhere and they couldn't book fast enough for 2013.
A neat story from this week also brings us to West Virginia. The Harris group, here on a bear/fishing combo, are use to angling for bass. With that southern draw of theirs, they can barely say walleye, much less catch one. But in true Pasha Lake style, we converted them from the dark side and showed them everything they were missing! I wasn't able to get out on the water with them, but instead, sat down and showed them how to rig a bottom bouncer with a crawler harness. Once they figured out how to keep the wire vertical, ticking the bottom occasionally, they caught walleye fever. Landing fish after fish, they soon learned what all the hype was about. Its safe to say, they'll never be the same fisherman again... in a good way!
Finally, IDO fan and follower, Chris from WI could no longer resist the urge to experience Pasha Lake Cabins. This past week, he hooked on to his Skeeter MX 1825, and aimed it north to our door step. While here, we treated him to the full PLC experience, not only fishing Lake Nipigon, but also a couple of our famous inland lakes. The bonus was using his Skeeter on Nipigon. With some detailed planning and little favorable weather, he made the trek to the north end of the lake where he and his, landed walleye after fat, healthy walleye. When I ran in to him that night, I couldn't help but notice the perma-smile on his face. And when the weather wasn't right, inland he went and game on it was. It's pretty dang neat to watch how these trips come together for people, week after week.
"Going's on" for the near future include water temps in the cooling mode bringing us one step closer to the FANTASTIC fall bite. It won't be long now and the white fish will make their annual spawning runs, the walleyes will put on the HEAVY feed bag. After that, life at Pasha Lake Cabins couldn't get any better. Stay tuned and keep in touch... were just getting started up here....
Its back on folks. One trip, 200+ walleyes and a whole whack of fun. Last week Pasha Lake Cabins guests had the fishing experience of a life time. If I have heard it once, I have heard it 1000 times, it's simply the best walleye fishing anyone has ever experienced. With average walleyes of 18" - 22", who could argue with that? The trip can be summed up in one word - Amazing!
As promised, on the WDT I show cased B Fish and Tackles Moxi Ringles and Pulse R's. It was pretty much a no brainer. The fish went wild over the action and life like profile of the baits. Tipped with a 1/4oz bright jig, I had a hard time keeping the walleyes off my line. It didn't matter color, although despite the muddy waters, I felt the natural colors worked best. I did find you need to swim the bait in order to trigger a strike, whereas using the real deal allowed the inexperience people, especially the kids, more room for error and more action.
With all the Lake Nipgion action, let's not forget the inland lakes! For a second, I thought we were back in the middle of June with all the walleyes the Dan Larsen crew from Rochester, Mn landed. Not surprising, Onaman was the producer of their biggest fish, with Dan personally catching a gorgeous 27" walleye on jig and minnow. In one of our other HOT lakes, they landed over 180 walleyes... and it wasn't the Walleye Dream Trip, which they did on Friday.
Who said Canada fishing isn't for the whole family? Bill Mueller from Michigan was able to sneak away from his storage business in Michigan and treat the family to two wonderful days on Lake Nipigon. In fact, they were so floored by the Walleye Dream Trip, they asked me to take them there two days in a row. Bill is an avid Michigan trout fisherman, has often fished salt water and has been to Alaska, but told me on multiple occasion, this was the most amazing fishing he (and his family) have experienced.
For those of you following our bear updates, the season opens on Wednesday and I am pumped about all the activity on the baits. It appears we have been able to pull those bears out of the berry patches and keep them coming to our feeding sites. It probably helps that we are putting out 80 - 100lbs of food out at each location. Our trail cameras are capturing all the action, 24/7, 7 days a week. There are some dandies coming in. Keep checking back to the web page as I'll be posting season highlights and happenings as things unfold.
This week we have the veterans from Living Word Christian Church from Brooklyn Park, Mn in camp. Also, long time guest and hockey legend Mike Sertich, the former UMD Hockey coach. Bear hunters start filtering in Tuesday, so buckle in and check back often!
In reading some of the current fishing reports on the internet, I can't help but notice a slowing trend. It seems the dog days of summer, more specifically, the heat, is starting to take its toll. The weather around the Pasha Lake Region of Ontario, however, has been drastically different. Last week we experienced lows in the mid 60's and highs, pleasantly in the upper 70's and low 80's. And the fishing? Not slowing down as far as I can tell. Daily, guests continue to comment about how fast and furious the action is.
Long time IDO follower and frequent poster Wade Boardman sent his father here for the 3rd year in a row. They were treated to a beautiful day touring Lake Nipigon and to walleye after walleye on one of our more popular "go to" lakes. Last night, despite the starting issues with his dead battery, Wade's dad, Paul,put 22+" class walleyes in the boat one right after the other. The lure of choice? A simple jig and minnow. Paul noted the deep water flats tended to be the key to success during their week. Once he dialed in that pattern, it was nothing but game on.
Last week also brought the boys back from Zion Luthern Church from Anoka, Mn for their 6th annual Men's Fishing Ministries. There weren't many new faces to this year's 12 man crew, but the newbies were treated to some of the best fishing of their life. They had a hard time wrapping their head around how they could catch fish in great numbers in so many different bodies of water. One of the highlights came when I spent a day on Lake Nipigon Mike Pemberton (from Barnes Plumbing located in Minneapolis (http://www.barnesplbg.com/)) and his two boys Christian and Jonathan. Being out on the big water was a whole new experience for them. Minus the larger than desirable waves to start the day, in the end, the weather cooperated fully and we were able to boat a whole pile of nice walleyes. The guide even got in a 40" pike, but were not saying anything.
My favorite last week involves Mr. Bear Bait himself, Doug Ratkowski from Rat's Bear Bait out of Saxon, WI ((715) 893-2266). His oldest daughter Samantha is completely blind yet she put on a fishing clinic, regularly out fishing the entire family during their stay. The girl is absolutely amazing. She only has to hear your name once and she'll remember it forever. Same way with dogs. One time in a room and she can navigate it better than you or I can. Put her in a fishing boat and watch out, she is a catching machine!
Lastly, for those of you who follow us regularly, you may have noticed a lull in my reports from last week. No sweat, we are still here. It's bear season around the corner and getting the baits up and running has meant long hours and less time for fishing. The season opens August 15th, but the bulk of the prep work is close to done. Bears are coming into the baits regularly. Now if we can get rid of those darn berries, it should be a killer season!
This week we have more veterans returning. We also have some fresh new groups who are going to learn quickly what the Pasha Lake Cabins experience is all about. I'll tease you with some of the pics I have received from last week and post the others as I start to get them back from guests.
It's a little know fact that at Pasha Lake Cabins, July doubles as Family month. The predictable, consistently warm weather not only allows for great fishing, mainly walleye, but also opens the door for beach and water fun. Also commonly misunderstood is the bug situation. The dry, hot temps kill off the little tyrants making the outdoors a whole whack of fun.
The Jesse Spiess family from Mankato Minnesota (Mankato Tent & Awning) chose July for their annual trip to Canada. Three generations of family, really good fishing and the option to spend the day at the beach, you just can't beat that combo. Last week, they brought it all together again for one of the best years yet. Jesse told me that he can't remember a season where they landed so many big fish.
And, I had the pleasure of a couple outings with the Spiess boys. The first trip brought us to new waters and mind staggering numbers of walleyes. The second day was spent on Lake Nipigon catching hog walleyes at will and getting a mid day swim in, out in the middle of nowhere.
Last week also marked the second trip of the season for Jim & Barb Nelson from Milltown, WI. On their day of arrival, Barb tied in to a 29.5 in walleye, her second trophy in as many years. Although Jim and I were happy for her, we couldn't help but snicker under our breath about how she ALWAYS catches the big fish. Last years 42" pike and, now, this walleye means Barb only needs a couple more trophies to join the elite Pasha Lake Trophy Club. Given her past performance, it won't be long before she joins the ranks of a select few.
Finally, the popular Pasha Lake Cabin's icon, Jonny Fickert made his annual appearance last week. I was floored when he told me he has never caught so many walleyes before. Given his profession as a guide on Lake Erie and all his past angling adventures, that's quite a statement. Last year before he left I told him about a lake north of us that produces well all year long. That stuck with him and when he returned in this past week, he made the trek. It turned out to be so good, he went there two days in a row. Jonny told me he captured his adventures on video, so look for his new Youtube episode soon.
In my everyday dealings, I am getting a lot of questions about how good the fishing has been as of late. I have to say that I can't remember a year where we boated so many big fish. Specifically the walleyes. It seems the quality of our fisheries continue to thrive. But just as important, we are seeing better fisherman and better tools to catch fish with. Whether its plastics such B Fish and Tackle's Moxi Ringles, or spinner blades like the ones from Jolly Roger Tackle or electronics like the Lowrance HDS units, there has never been so many resources to make sure you put fish in the boat. And when you put those resources to use on our waters, the odds are so predictably in your favor that hard its to imagine how many fish one could potentially catch.
Finally, we are part way through this week and the same patterns of lots of fish and BIG fish continues. This 29 incher came off a lake just south of us. Congrats to the Dean Larson crew from Saxon Wi.
Oh.. and almost fogot... the flow has been diverted, so we are close to being able to offer the Walleye Dream Trip once again. I was up there on Thursday. The waters are a bit muddy yet, but those walleyes should start filtering in there in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned for more...
The word enjoyment doesn't come close to describing the awesome feeling I get when introducing people to the sport of angling. Even better, is when people experienced bad fishing in the past and we show them just how good things can be.
This week, Tony Perri and his crew came to realize just how good things can get. Mario (his buddy) and Tony have been on many trips, but never experienced anything that resembled memoriable fishing. Trips have included fly ins, and excursions to areas that claimed "world class" fishing, but the end result was always the same... disappointment. In fact, during a conversation before he departed, he told me that if this trip was a bust, he was done with fishing all together. Sad to think about and begs the question, how many other people have experienced the same and have decided to throw in the towel forever?
Knowing this, imagine the relief when in one day of fishing the Pasha Lake Region of Ontario, Tony and Mario caught more fish then all the other trips combined. And they hadn't even fished the "hot" lakes yet. So when I spent the day with them on Monday and we boated walleyes pretty much at will, everyone was beyond happy. Tony even landed a 29"er midday, which pretty much convinced him this fishing this is all right. Whew... we saved another one!
Anybody that knows me quickly realizes that, not only do I love what I do, I'm also, what I call, a "habitual student". I love learning new techniques to find and boat fish, the main reason why I am a huge fan of IDO.
In my free time, clear my throat, I came across the going-ons with Shawn Flemming and Jolly Roger tackle. He posts some great info to the IDO site, and has really helped my spinner game. I haven't used the bottom bouncer technique much in the past, but implemented it flawlessly this past week and have been thrilled with the results. Unfortunately due to the logistics of my location, I haven't had the opportunity to use his spinners just yet, but hope to in the very near future. In the short term, his informative posts have taken my guiding abilities, and more importantly the experience of our guests, to the next level. Thanks Shawn for your info and great posts, please keep them coming.
On a different note, take one look at the weather and it's pretty easy to tell we are in the heat of mid summer. With that, brings exceptional walleye fishing on Lake Nipigon. And as the season continues to roll on, that fishery continues to get better and better. On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of spending the day with the Germick brothers from Tennessee. We headed to a little known spot that can be tough to get to, but usually worth the trip. When we got there, it was Katie bar the door as walleyes were jumping in the boat like Asian carp. Biggest of the day was a gourgeous 28"er, caught on a wanna be Jolly Roger spinner rig. The brothers and their boys had a blast and tell me it's the best fishing they've experienced in a long time.
To round out the week, I did get to spend the day with the family on a local lake where we caught as many walleyes as the wife and kids wanted. The trip was an absolute blast, complete with a ribeye shore lunch and the company of some close friends from Northern Wisconsin. (Sometimes I can't imagine how things could get any better.)
Next week, I want to get out and find some new spots on Nipigon. My hope is that I can implement some of the suspended walleye tactics Brad Juaire talks about in his IDO posts. Brad, wish me luck!
I have to admit it, back in April/May with all the extreme weather we were having, I was anxious about how the fishing would play out this season. And of course, not knowing what to expect means you expect the worst. But as this year continues to unfold, I have to admit, even I'm surprised. I know we have good fishing, but the last 3 weeks have been outstanding. An unforeseen, huge bonus has been the weather. The rains have stopped, the sun is out every day, the bugs are... well the bugs still suck, but everything else has been downright awesome.
Now that we are in July, the door opens to some of the best lake trout fishing our area has to offer , specifically, Lake Nipigon. But don't take my word for it, just ask Mr. Sidorenko of Southern Ontario.
He catches them frequently at home, but not in the 20lbs range. His wife's 25'er is slightly above average for the lake and he was thrilled to see her haul it in. And, long time guest, fellow Duluthian and accomplished laker guy, Lou Sibik, hooked double digit numbers during his stay. Lou didn't break the 20lbs mark but was very happy having hooked into 12 in one day.
And what about the walleye fishing? Two 30's in one week? Say what? You bettcha. Two BIG fish, two lakes and two VERY happy guests. Tina Lander from Grand Rapids, Mn landed a gorgeous walleye on one of our go to hot lakes. And, no surprise here, long time guest and fishing fanatic, Jim J. from Brooklyn Park, MN landed a HOG on Onaman. Interesting note - that's his second from Onaman in as many years. Check out Jim's first one on our Facebook home page.
Of course, my report wouldn't be complete if I we didn't throw in a few 40" pike to round the week out. The Scott Cunningham crew from Southern Ontario, the Decook group from Rochester and the Sitzman family from Iowa all rubbed shoulders with 40" swamp gators. In fact, Scotts crew of eight people landed 3 in one day on a lake that will soon be familiar to any IDO fan. You'll understand what I mean when the May show airs this winter.
Another great thing about July is the fact that the whole family can come to play and have a very enjoyable time. On Wednesday, our family joined the Bob Tahtinen group from Saginaw, Mn for a day of fun and relaxation on Pasha Lake itself. We spent the day tubing, skiing and I even did a throw back to my show skiing days, making a few barefoot runs. The kids and adults had an awesome time. Great fishing and family fun. How can you beat that?
Next week, I hear the weather man is predicting more nice weather. Since we have many PLC veterans coming in, I anticipate it will be another week of great fun, big fish and memories that will last a life time.
Until next time...
Location: Canada Water Body: Pasha Lake Region of Ontario Species: walleye Water Temp: 65 Technique: trolling
It's finally here! The walleye bite is through the roof, resulting in doubles, triples and face numbing smiles.
Last week's mid week cold front did little to impact the hot bite occurring in just about every body of water in the Pasha Lake Region of Ontario. From numbers to big fish, the last two weeks have been, by far, the most productive yet in the 2012 season.
Long time guests and hard core angling fanatics, the Jim Haller group from Southern Ontario put on a fishing clinic, boating multiple species. From 20lbs Lake Nipigon lake trout, to trophy pike and brook trout and mind staggering numbers of walleyes, they experienced what every angler dreams of in coming to Pasha Lake Cabins. It was simply the hottest bite yet for 2012. Before departing, one of the veteran group members told me, "this is the best year of fishing we've ever had here".
Not surprising, the hot lure last week was the original floating Rapla - F5 in orange and gold. Long lining the lure proved to be too much to handle for walleyes in 10fow or shallower. The pattern was discovered early in the week and was deadly most days. For the Haller group, it was the biggest producer of their trip.
On Wednesday, I headed out to Onaman with the Hassler group from Southern Missouri. They had heard all the hype and couldn't wait to experience the euphoria when it comes consistently catching walleyes disguised as pigs. And, oh boy, were they happy. In baseball terms, not only did we hit a home run, dare I say, we parked a grand slam. In all, we boated over 40 walleyes ranging from 16" to 28", with the bulk of them being in the 4-5lbs range. It was so good, for a second I thought we were fishing in October.
Also, as posted in last week's fishing report, you know that I placed my bulk order for B Fish and Tackle's Pulse-R Paddle tails and Moxi Ringles. As with most things you buy over the internet, I thought it would be weeks before I would see them arrive on my door step. That was not the case however. B Fish and Tackle shipped them immediately and as I type this report, they have all ready worked their magic over some unsuspecting walleyes. The point? B Fish Tackle makes effective lures, and has great service. Wish all companies had that blue print!
One of the hottest bites for me personally has been to use a Pulse-R Paddle Tail on a beetle spin set up. It hasn't matter if I was fishing rivers or lakes, casting or trolling, it's been devastating the walleyes. Like last week, using a bright colored jig with a Stewarts Pro-Blue or Oystershell color proved to be a deadly combination. Another good combo presentation was to swim a white Moxi Ringle on a 1/4 oz jig. The live bait guys edged me using that set up, but I blew their doors off with the beetle spin rig.
On a different note, we have postponed the Walleye Dream Trip until further notice. Unfortunately with all the rain, the forced flow from the Ogoki Reservoir to Lake Nipigon has been shut off. Absent that flow, those walleyes don't stage in the river where they usually do. It's kind of ironic, with all the rain and massive run off, we don't have the flow required to fish what is arguably the best walleye sanctuary on the planet. Hopefully that will change in the near future. Keep tuned for updates
My last update/story comes from the McClain group from Michigan. They have fished southern Ontario for many years and have settled on good fishing as catching 12 walleyes in as many hours. Last Saturday, they caught that many within minutes of a hitting the lake. And, despite my pleas for sleep, they insisted on leaving early in the morning and coming back late in the evening. But the results can't be denied. They hammered countless walleyes and told me before leaving, this was the most fish they had ever caught while staying in Ontario.
I have to slap myself... I can't believe July is knocking on the door step. If this hot bite continues in to next month, you'll find me in an insane asylum holding a fishing rod in one hand and a Moxi Ringle in the other...
In stark contrast to last week, the weather has been, dare I say it, too good? Yesterday marked the 4th day in a row with no winds and beautiful blue skys. There is no other way to describe it. It's been picture perfect coupled with very productive angling. Below are last weeks highlights...
About a month ago the phone rang and on the other end was long time guest, Steve Wesbrook from Wisconsin. He wanted to treat his wife Sharon to a NW Ontario wilderness vacation and good fishing. Given his great experiences here in the past, he asked if I could guide them a couple of days and help his wife catch her first fish. But he cautioned me, she hadn't fished much and probably didn't know what end of the rod to use.
When they arrived on Sunday I was excited about the weather forecast and what it meant for getting her on some early action. Most rivers now a days are stacked up walleyes so I opted to do the easy thing and get Sharon on fish right away. My choice of locations involved some fast moving water, made worse by runoff from last week's downpours. No problem though, the Minnkota Terrova 101lbs thrust trolling motor on the front of my boat was more than adequate to fight the strong currents. Add to that the I-pilot feature, with GPS anchor lock, and I was able to park the boat and focus solely on helping Sharon catch fish. The ability to sit in one spot, where you know there is fish and not have to worry about boat control is invaluable. With the "spot lock", I was with her every step of the way and the boat stayed in perfect position. While Sharon did learn some solid fundamentals, unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be for her until the next day. Steve on the other hand, told me that was the best walleye fishing he's ever experienced.
Other highlights from last week include a trophy pike bite that is starting to rev up on lake Nipigon. A last minute cancellation resulted in the Post group from Southern Minnesota having the most productive big pike day of the year. We landed several in the 10lbs range and one 40"er. The perch patterned X rap was the hot ticket of the day and will soon be added to the Post's tackle arsenal. Some how I was stripped of all mine by days end! Also, the trophy brook trout bite continues to be strong despite the hot weather and fast warming shallows. My pride and joy jig & twister tail presentation boated several big brookies.
Finally a shout out to B Fish N Tackle's Moxi Ringle. For those of you that regularly follow us at Pasha Lake Cabins, you know how difficult its' been for me to transition to plastic. Last week while fishing a small inland lake, I forced myself to use only artificial and was rather delighted with the results. I hooked the first walleye within 3 minutes of the day. After finding a pattern on windblown submerged weeds, I hooked 4 straight until a pike swam away with my new found producer. I was using my own custom made jigs and B Fish's Purple/Chart Tail.
That brings me to my next point. I have now placed a huge order for both Moxi Ringles and Pulse-R Paddle Tails. Since we consistently fish both clear and dark waters here, I opted for a variety of colors. I look forward to posting my results as this years fishing season unfolds. These will also be my default bait when we start our Walleye Dream Trip in a couple of weeks. Lastly, as promised, Onaman Lake is living up to its big fish legend. Enjoy the pics from last week's guests.
As any angler knows, controlling the uncontrollable is a lot like trying to catch fish on dry land... IT AIN'T GOING TO HAPPEN! So last week when Wednesday brought our 6th straight day of high winds and rain, the new guests in camp where, understandably, getting a little restless. It was hard believe the record breaking rains and flooding that was happening in Thunder Bay and throughout Northwest Ontario. It was ugly and there ain't no candy coating it! When things finally broke, there was fire burning in the tire tracks of anglers getting out to the lakes.
Despite the weather, I always look for the silver lining in any bad situation. 2012 marked the 3rd year in a row for the Nuss group from Iowa. Having stumbled on to us back in 2009, Ken and Gary have made Pasha Lake Cabins their home away from home. In fact, they plan two trips every year, one in the spring and one in the fall. What really makes these guys unique is that they downright shun walleyes in a relentless pursuit of trophy pike. These guys are so serious about pike fishing that they spend all winter hand carving their own lures. Serious anglers in an understatement!
Knowing this, when I saw their vehicle parked in front of their cabin on Tuesday, I was floored. Weather had kept these hardcore gator chasers beached in their cabin. That's the equivalent to Tiger Woods not playing golf. Michael Jordan not being able to play basketball. James Holst not fishing.... but they weren't held at bay too long. By week's end, they had boated some respectable trophies and over 150 pike on Onaman alone.
Conditions after that cold rain last week dropped our surface temps a little, resulting in loose schools of walleyes, but an ever increasing good pike bite. People who found success, didn't hang out in one area too long. I call it "stick and move". Also, Lake Nipigon Brook Trout fishing is through the roof and I am getting sketchy reports of Lake trout surface feeding on bugs. I saw a nice 20lbs'er when we were coming off the lake on Friday. Finally, Friday was a Pasha Lake Cabins record breaking day, it included 2 trout doubles and an absolutely gorgeous 22.5 incher that will be forever displayed in one of our guest's man-cave.
Looking forward, if the weather man is right (clear my throat) we are suppose to have consistently good weather this week. That should bring those walleyes into a predictable pattern. And since Onaman opened on June 1st, I am sure to be posting those Kodak moments of walleye hogs that lake is famous for.
When going into battle, the best thing to have is a variety of weapons to defeat your enemy. The more options you have, the better the odds of your success. And the more refined your weapons, the more confident you'll be when it comes to deploying them effectively. This weeks fishing at Pasha Lake Cabins glorified that very fact.
Early on, we were able to mass our forces and exploit (in a conservation sense) the unbelievable Brook Trout fishery, where catching 20" coasters is common place. Then, as the week worn on, weather forces mounted a counter attack and kept us in the bays, avoiding the nastiness happening in the main basin of Nippy. To put things into perspective though, the bays I am referring to are comparable to all of Mille Lacs. So, having to fish there can't be considered a hindrance.
Weather, as any angler knows, can have a huge impact on fishing. When you're stuck on one lake, that can be a very bad thing. But when you have 89 other lakes you can fish, your bond to find a body of water that produces, and keeps you fishing when, for instance, big water isn't an option. Knowing that, we deployed our small lake tactics and flawlessly executed an attack plan that boated A LOT of walleyes, lake trout, brook trout and some trophy pike to boot!
My "fav" story from this week comes from the Ross group out of Michigan. They were a two man team committed to fishing bodies of water WAY back in the sticks. They brought up a MONSTER of an ATV and utilized to get to places no normal human being should go. And when they got there, it was Northern Pike bliss. I am fairly certain that if they wanted to, they could have beached the boat, and walked across the lake on top of all the fish... it was that good! What really makes this story special is that one of the guys has a degenerative health condition and requires crouches to walk. But he didn't skip a beat when it came to fishing. In one instance they told me, "We don't care what it takes, just tell us where to go and we'll take care of the rest". And that's exactly what they did and were rewarded handsomely for their efforts. Way to go guys!
I could go on and on with stories like that, but of course the drum beat is sounding for me to get back to the troops and mount another days attack. However, I would be doing a disservice if I didn't mention the Browning and Wagner group, who collectively have been come to Pasha Lake Cabins for over 20 years. Jamie Wagner (seasoned angler from Lake Mille Lacs) boated her biggest walleye ever at 29" and the Browning crew's best fishing day boated them 96 pike. Not too shabby!
Looking forward, water temps are starting to creep in to the HOLY FISHING BATMAN area, where every species in our infested fish waters has one thing in mind... FOOD! Also, with warmer weather on the horizon and June knocking on the door, we are off to a FANTASIC start to an early season. I, personally, am completely AMPED for what next week and the beginning of summer will bring to our battle harden guests at Pasha Lake Cabins.