With a few stray days off work which seem harder to come by as of late than in the past some last minute plans were made to head to the Canadian back country. I hooked up with Wes in Thunder Bay and we headed NE to the Jellicoe area and ended up pitching a tent at Pasha Lake Cabins. We had three days to fish and planned to do a little bit of everything while we were up there.
We started by fishing one of the smaller lakes around Jellicoe with some limited Success. From what we heard there was a deep water live bait bite. If anyone reads my reports from Sodak they know that this is not how I prefer to fish. We opted for artificial in the form of large oversize 5 inch grubs as well as storm wild eye swim shads fished in about 10-12 foot of water. We caught about half as many fish as some of the other boats but our fish came in the quality department. All of our fish were from 18 inches and up to 24. A small river nearby offered great numbers that evening pitching current seams with #6 Rapala Rippin Raps in golden shiner and Chartreuse. This river offered some of the darkest walleyes I had ever been able to catch with all black backs and Gold bellies. Fish in the river were falling back from a set of rapids from the spawn and it seems that any entry into a backwater bay of the river was stacked with fish.
Day two had us on Onamen lake fishing shallow rock. Again a few guys we talked to were preaching live bait and 15fow depths we fished a few small islands in 4-7 fow pitching 5inch swimshads as well as oversized grubs once again on 1/4oz jig heads. Ripping Raps also turned a few fish. Fish were concentrated on boulder to sand transistions and at times you could see your bait go over the top of a large boulder fall off……….and WHAM fish on. We did not catch a fish under 20 inches with our largest going 27 as well as numerous pike to keep us interested between groups of walleyes. The second cast of the day was a fat 23 for me in 4 fow and I knew that we had hopefully discovered an underutilized pattern. Fishing without electronics as well as a trolling motor brought me back to the days of my grandparents cabin up near DL fishing out of a duckboat with a 6 horse motor. Fishing with one hand backtrolling a smokey old two stroke with the other.
Day three we targeted lakers on the Nipigon River. As far as scenery goes this river had it all; 300 foot rockfaces covered in cedars, as well as waterfalls that were still capped with ice. Water temps on the river were in the mid to high 40s and we fished lakers in about 50 fow. With a standard walleye spinner with beefed up hooks we were able to rig a frozen smelt on a 2 oz bottom bouncer down to the depths. A nice big TAP 1 minute in told me I had something cooking on the other end. A high 20 inch laker around 10 lbs on a med-heavy walleye rod is quite a fight and a lot of fun. Over the course of 3 hours we caught 12 lakers with out live bait techniques anywhere from 5-12lbs. This was a lot of fun and the scenery all around us made it a very unique outing on the water. Running the current back down through the narrow passes was also a hair raising boatride for a short duration.
I have great fishing right out the back door in SD but to get away to Ontario for a short reprieve was a nice option to do something new and fish a few new bodies of water. Ontario wildlife and walleyes is a great drive to option a lot of people should give a try. I fished only 3 days and it cost me a few hundred dollars to do when camping. I will be back out in my home waters over the next few weeks when I can. Hope everyone has a chance to get out and wet a line, – QB