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Found 12 results

  1. Has anyone ever caught a lake trout in the summer near Point Au Baril or in the open bay of Georgian. got a down rigger and i want to try it out but have no idea where to go thats close by.
  2. Hi gang, lots of un with my family and friends this passed spring and summer. Here's a video recap, I hope that you enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFb6Ed8WyRs
  3. Two days to travel home recently from work in Nunavut gave ample time to piece together this summer fishing report. Despite being away and busy so much, weather often dismal and dreary, it's crazy to believe that within the short windows found, how friggin' awesome the fishing has been here in the valley. It kinda made it tough to leave each and every time for other things. The lake trout were on fire, some of the biggest gar came out boiling and the muskie fishing erupted. Hoping that fall can keep cooking too. The story and buffet of pictures are served fresh below if anyone's at all hungry... http://bunksoutdoorangle.com/home-sizzlin-gar-greys-skis/ Thanks for reading gang... Bunk.
  4. April 11th kicked off the start to this years softwater season with a trib trip for some spring run steel. Man alive there was some angler rust to clean, yet the float dropped for a couple fish. One bow had to be a near dead dropback while the other cleared three feet atop the water before spitting the hook. That was initially some exciting but sad stuff to deal with, up until finally locking horns with this brute of a fresh locochromotive that ran line all over the map. Intense first fish and one serious fight of the season. Stoked! Thursday the 14th had a day to kill so I loaded up the float tube, couple pannie rods and a cooler. Some local locks and several other crappie shore spots, morning into afternoon there wasn't very much doing anywhere..? Gills, perch and local celebrities at the popular holes, handful of rando-loner craps elsewhere. Finally nearing dinner received the call I'd been waiting for, Summer's car was done. Having passed an E-Test and safety it was time to take my daughter's new Buick home to her. (old Buick - 2001 & 51000kms, but her first car anyway) Snuck away to seek out some big redhorse suckers. When initially finding them a couple years back I was totally unprepared and under-gunned. First thinking they were carp, after watching awhile it was determined the were in fact big redhorse... like six to eight pounders with the odd fishing looking like ten. Well, I didn't find them after bushwhacking awhile the other day but did find white suckers instead. Some of them kinda big in their own right too, like one that may have pushed the Ontario record. Took some home for bait at a later date and next morning Bren plucked a deer tick off my twit too. Bugger! Past Saturday an angler buddy I hadn't seen in ages took up my empty seat offer for anyone willing. Off to Lady O, Tony and I had plans to meet at 8:00am then be off the water by 3:00pm. Fish were a little slow at first and we both had some rigger rust to shed but, in relatively little time really the first rod fired about 9:30am and we were on the board. Four hours later, going seven for seven with several healthy fish hitting mid teens, Tony and I were both quite pleased enough to call it a day. Good company, solid team! Following day, on the Sunday, my mate Mikey and I toured back to the big lake to try for browns. Long haul once we got on the water there had to be 30 to 40 boats out that figured on trying the same. My first time targeting brown trout and Mike an avid trout nut, we were both on tilt to catch some of these fish. First hour passed and we watched many boats not move a rod except one. Making our way out a little deeper and still on the hunt the port-side board flew back and I was up. It was a "cracker" as any good Scot would say. By mid afternoon we were one of the last half dozen boats still trying and that's when Mike and I popped three more wee broonies in the 3:00 to 4:00pm hour. At 5:00pm we called it a day. Down with the browns! So... in the first week plus a day it's feeling like one helluva good start really. Not sure what's next or even how the spring and summer are going to unfold of yet but, if taking it each day at a time leads to more fishing like this, probably best to just stay that course for now. Get Fishing! Bunk.
  5. Hi guys. I recently purchased a cottage on Haliburton Lake and was wondering if anyone here has ice fished this lake before? Any tips or locations worth checking out? I can't wait to get out there! Thanks in advance. Chris.
  6. A SPECKLED NIP RIPPIN'! Up and at 'em!! Mikey and I muscled our way thru a long, fast full day ride from Ottawa to Nipigon in one straight haul. Having company alongside, the eighteen hours flew by, but when finally landing at the finish it was instant exhaustion. Arrived at the destination, through the darkness a fella walked up to the truck, I rolled down the window to greet, "gidday, names Bunk." "Yeah, I know," he replied, "it's Brian!" Nice to meet this fellow traveler again, Brian, his wife Maggie and I had hung out some on a trip taken once before. Some extra time in the late hours, the three of us enjoyed a few brews by the fire before settling to sleep. Day 1. MOTION SICKNESS. It was a cold, damp, though sound nights rest but both of us were feeling some effects of our big push day before. Mikey knew that I wasn't really into all this either; not yet anyways, and just so far going through the motions, kinda lacking energy and excitement. Little spring in either of our steps despite wanting to be there and eager to chase specks, whipped we put to the task of ferrying our gear out onto the lake to make camp for the week. This was my third trip out to Nipigon for 2015 and the plan was speckles, with some pike and hopefully a laker or two for Mike. Earlier in July on a trip half solo and half with Stevie Z, in very short time the laker thing had been accomplished beautifully, and so to was some great walleye fishing, a little piking and some birding. According to data through the tagging program this was not predicted to be one of the better years for bigger specks. Annual norms; which can be researched in greater depth at Alan Muir's Brook Trout Heaven, interpret that within some areas tested, Nipigon's specks trend through a 4-year cycle. This taken into consideration, along with my own similar although somewhat different findings from 08 to present, I wasn't overly optimistic that Mike and I would come close to bettering our best trips of the past. Taking time at camp I scoped out the area for signs of bear before eventually having all things set-up and in place for the week stay. Later turning our attention to the fish, throughout the afternoon few if any specks would be found, but the pike turned on fierce early evening. Mikey kicked off this first day of our trip with the best and it was just the motivation we needed. Two hungry fellas retired to the camp a little early for some heaping bowls of seafood chowder by the fire. An overall slow and lazy day, my heavy proof scotch served to quickly dim the eyes to any glowing embers that remained this day. Day 2. THIRTY PERCENT CHANCE. After big sleeps we woke to rustling winds. From out of the north, a marine forecast was calling for a gusty warning with 30% chance of rain towards the evening and into night. Judging by the trees gently swaying overhead, it was beginning. In no rush, by the heater inside the tent I warmed up, dried out my wet shoes and socks a little, and woke easy. A better day for energy, once riding out it appeared as though plenty weren't deterred by any weatherman. Speckers here, speckers there, bloody speckers out fishing everywhere. It was a zoo really, plenty just bobbing around on the search. Mikey and I stayed on the hunt. Trolling and casting various familiar shorelines it was apparent September in the north had yet to arrive. Most years past the poplar leaves would have turned yellow and been falling by now. There have been a few days in late August we have woken to frozen water in our cups, but yet the air at nights this season (except a couple nights ahead) were still expected to be well above freezing, and many days warming into the 20C's. Surface temps on the lake were mid 60's in the shallows, high 50's over the deep. The cabbage beds thick and full and only just beginning to decay in places. The whole season was delayed, it was obvious, and this kept the specks scattered off stage, while plentiful active pike ruled the shores. Along an almost forgotten path, Mike found our first. Much of our time in stealth, sneaking around fishing mostly secondary spots away from other boaters, we plucked speckles from here and there to make a good first full day of it. This one catch in particular, I have to thank Mike for photographing just perfectly. Full spawn colors, glowing clean and pristine, plump and halo'd, it is a priceless Nipigon gem of top quality. Earlier evening we were chased off the lake by that 30% rain and winds that switched and blew up hastily from the north. The prolonged warm weather front was about to take a backseat to a sudden plummet in temps, 50+ kilometer gusts and storms. Worried about the boat on shore I rested the bow on a small anchored sheet of submerged plywood, tied both sides and the nose tight and secure, then snapped on the cover. Retiring to the tent as the rain fell harder, I prayed for no northeaster that could bring along a wrecking ball. Day 3. OVERNIGHT HAMMER. Shortly after midnight the tent walls flapped hard. Outside the winds had turned straight down on us. Waves curling around the shoreline to reach the boat, thankfully all was fine. 2:38am sharp I woke again, the tent was really rocking now. Creeping out the door the rain had stopped. I turned the flashlight on the boat and watched as it rolled easy side to side but bucked pretty hard back-to-front with each wave that struck the transom. Standing aside the gunnel, I could hear the occasional grinding sound when the bow pushed forward or boat leaned right. The plywood was out from under the boat and the ropes had stretched some as well, now it lay on the shallow rocks. There wasn't enough force in any way for immediate worry, but overnight and through time I pictured a slow wear and tear. Pants rolled up over the knees, from under the boat I dug out any jagged or big rocks. There were a few, one in particular shaped like a perfect cube with sharp corners. The water level had risen too, so the ropes all needed readjusting, tightening, and the plywood bed replaced. Shortly after 4:00am the winds were ripping. Groggy and surely pissed off with Mother Nature I crawled from the tent, AGAIN!!! The work I had done earlier was holding but, the waves were really knocking on the transom so that the bow was rising enough to almost beat itself on the steeper embankment of the shore. There with the boat, a crisp 4 celcius, soggy in the spitting rain, I stood guard and rode out the next hour or so until the wind and waves let off some. Around 6:15am I inspected one last time. Only replacing the plywood it seemed as though the boat had survived the worst of it. I zipped up the sleeping bag rather tired. 7:30am and from outside the tent Mike hollers, "COFFEE'S READY!" Fingers pushing my earplugs deeply to the knuckles, I half muttered in disgust before turning away and falling back asleep. Over a late breakfast I revisited my night with Mike. "Dude, I had a great sleep," he assured me. A noon start we didn't figure on traveling far but as the day progressed the winds kinda-sorta shifted. Allowed a bumpy and safe passage, we plied lee-sides and tops spots before the breeze really tapered off come evening. Although head-achy and a wee hungover feeling, the lake getting stirred up from the storms did wonders for the fishing. No matter where we toured, Mike and I spent the afternoon laying an absolute hammering on the specks... Mike's favorite meal night we snuck in an earlier fajita supper to provide some extra nourished playtime afterwards. Running about, the specks had scampered off by this time, and the pike had returned to prowl. Before a frosty darkness ahead, under the setting sun, the days fish blaze kept hot while pike boiled on our lures. It was a long and tough one, yet for numbers it was one of the best we'd ever had. No fire, no scotch, only an instant GCS of 3. Day 4. SMOKIN' 'EM!!! Early morning frost rose to a calm mist. The best day forecast, we could hear quite early other boat motors already buzzing on the lake. Mike and I wasted no time as we had prepared to take advantage of glass waters with a full day. Starting off with specks, I wondered momentarily if I had hooked into a giant... I was sadly disappointed. First laker of the trip convinced Mike and I that maybe it was time to drop down some riggers and finally give 'em deep greasy slackers a crack. Game, we did, and it turned out to be a waste of a couple hours... well, except that it was a pretty chill way to wake and sip coffee while watching the sun clear out the clouds. Before morning's end we had the MNR pay us a visit too. Nice fellas, they checked licenses and our things over before we got on our way. The afternoon was spent miles and miles out on the lake. Mike and I searched out some pike grounds under blue skies and cruised some shorelines in search of specks too. Wraps, junk food and vitamin D kept us going strong during our exploration. When Nipigon lays down to allow full freedoms, it is heaven to roam. Chapped lips and burnt necks was worth the sacrifice. Early evening while casting a shallow, boulder-strewn point, several specks snapped hard at our lures, a thick 23 1/2 incher being the best of the bunch. Having never fished or caught specks on this point, it will certainly be revisited some coming year. The middle of this giant lake in view we guessed it best to start back to camp. Along the way, both had it in mind to stop at a few spots for other fish. Turned out to be a wise decision, one that made Mikey especially especially especially happy happy happy before we called it a day. Day 5. DYING BAGEY. Beside the food coolers come morn was some skat. Bear... not sure? Not unless it had the runs a little and was doing the walk-and-poop stroll on the path. There was enough there to be a creature beast substantial though, and I had most certainly heard something night before when heading off to bed. The wind had picked up again. The boat high and dry, the water levels dropped, the boat traffic didn't. With the way things were blowing though, most anglers were circling around nearby to one another and reachable speckie spots were thick with anglers. Much of our day was spent in search of specks and pike, and new weedbeds for pike. The morning trout bite was nearly non-existent and we did in fact struggle. The pike too were lock-jawed, and despite stumbling on the mother of all cabbage beds we couldn't tempt too many out from under the greenery. Finally by evening we had some action. A quick stop back at the launch to reinforce a cracked bunk and scrounge for some things, both Mike and I found ourselves gawking at one absolutely stunning, curvy brunette who was waiting by the dock. F the B trouts, this one was the gem catch on the lake. Ahhh man, we had to get out of there fast though, her boyfriend took notice of us and his arms were as thick as oaks. A second shot at the lakers we dropped heavy balls for a couple hours cool dunkings, and plunked two outta three greasy ones topside. A Matrix spoon down 58 did the hardcore, although we both could have cared less cause now we had women firmly on our minds. A choppy day turned into a gustier eve while we farted around for more specks. Drifting and casting alongside a lengthy shoal, my light rod took a little tap then bent slowly over on itself with a weight that turned scary. A big pike on a small meal was hooked, see it? Wicked awesome fun to play out, Mikey slid the net under and the fish made for a great finish. Day 6. RUN. Laying in the half morning darkness of the tent I listened intently once finding the right position for reception on the hand-held radio. "Lake Nipigon! Wind warning in effect. Winds SW 5K this morning, switching NW 15K with rain early this evening, then wind to north 25K this evening and overnight. Waves building to 1 then 1 1/2 meters." The "K" wasn't for kilometers either, and I didn't bother to wait hearing the next days weather. It was our second last day to fish, planning to have fished this one, the next, then leave the following. Once Mike was up I relayed the forecast to him and it was decided we break camp now and take all back to the launch, that way we'd at least have an exit if the lake got rough. By 11:00am we found the time to get out. For four hours we dabbled here and there for pike and specks but the bite was rather poor under quite ominous looking skies. Too bad really, because the lake was flat calm. One boat approached us early afternoon. Three American's in a rig much like mine explained they were looking for specks. Someone must have told them about the spot Mike and I were sitting on, but still, after they had told me where they had boated from and them unknowingly having passed by countless great fishing areas, I kinda nudged them back the way they came. Oblivious too of the pending weather ahead, these sailors would have some high seas to cross if getting caught miles from home as they were. While circling a new and incredibly perfect looking speckle structured island shoreline I noticed off in the distance the land disappear on the horizon. Moments later a couple islands got swallowed up too. Then, a little wisp of cold stood the hair up on the back of my neck and a swirly ripple of water danced off the bow. "Mike" I said, "we're getting out of here." A race back to the launch the weather was coming in quick. Our shorelines disappearing, the waves building up and the rain beginning to spit, as we rode in for safety Mikey called it. "Let's just pack our things up and head home today." Avoid a soggy night of high winds and rain to possibly just wake and pack everything wet... to his suggestion I agreed. Quick work of it all, six hours down the road in Mattice by midnight, Stevie Z opened the door to his home and we crashed out ti'll morning. By the following evening I gave Brenda one big happy Anniversary hug before putting another rip to Nipigon trip to rest. Good fishing, good friend, a good time. Bunk.
  7. Home a week from the Arctic there was no work lined up for ten days in late July. The girls attending camp then headed for Toronto with their mother, on a Thursday morning it was decided I would head out alone on a fishing trip. Nipigon in mind, that following Tuesday at 7:30am, I hit the open road. This was the result... CENTER LINE SOLO. My pencil arms, my foot of lead. Burn, let the engine dry, while the miles fly. This trip as mentioned was a quick decision, and the plan was to sorta and simply go with the wind. A sixteen hour and more drive ahead, bed made up in the back of the truck, I would drive ti'll crashing. It had seemed a long time since any significant last solo outing, so this one I was nervously excited for. I was surprised to see the Laurentian Ice Cream place in Deep River closed it's doors. In my travels, the stop has been a sweet staple along trail to North Bay for years. Onward through the rolling hills of Mattawa, Wayner's tall Temagami pines, them Earlton canola fields, Kirkland eskers, Dan's Smooth Rock taiga, Longlac a Lac Lakes, and all that Beardmore burn, the jaunt across Highway 11 covers some significant geography, and when passing through alone you're kinda forced to really notice much of it... for a long, long, bladder bursting time. On the road of life there are passengers and there are drivers, and if I could just kinda drive while sleeping spaciously in the passenger or back seat, that would be about a perfect way to go places. The Husky flag in Hearst was standing straight up, and while tumbling through to Longlac over the Province's longest boring straight stretch, the wind had me sideways at times. Blue Rodeo, The Band, Neil Young, CCR, Hip, Eagles, Floyd, ACDC then leading into Tool and the RHCP, all kept me energized and upright most of the way. It was only New Liskeard to Cochrane where I dozed off asleep behind the wheel for a couple hours. At home gas prices were all the way down to $1.18/L and $1.30/L for the premium. My Yammy drinks only the finest ethanol free single malt fuels so, the Lund tank was full and six geris were on reserve to rock a pale-ale Seafoam preserve. Being that I'd hoped to be heading close to 30 kilometers out onto the lake and find camping, packing gear a little light but hauling heavy fuel was necessary. Despite nearly killing myself a few times while waiting on roadwork or, having to urgently brake for same, I reconfirmed that below North Bay all drivers but me are aliens and those in Dodge Caravans, Hyundai Sante Fe's and Subaru Foresters should be dragged out of their vehicles to be executed in a horrifically gory roadside beheading. The center line as my Lord and savior, sixteen hours later I pulled into a truck stop at Nipigon, crawled in the backseat and pulled a blanket up over my eyes. Exhausted I lay ti'll 6:00am, sleeping like... well like a trucker, DUH! Dreaming of yellow lines that go on and on forever up to heaven. BEAUTY RIDE. Timmies in Nip couldn't make the double double any less sugar free, but the feathery redhead behind the counter who lost a tonne of flesh over the winter was sweet enough for me. After bathing in my truck side mudpit, spit rinsing my teeth and brushing the shingles from my roof, the Mickey D's trots onward to the lake were slooow and steady. On the way, fresh bear tracks in the morning muck, scat piles and one mangy looking grey wolf littered the roadside. Nature stuff at it's peak this fine morn, until right there smack dab in the middle of God's green earth some vandal sprayed his graffiti. At the launch I loaded up the boat. "A place for everything and everything in it's place," some smarty once said to me. Cause yeah, everything does kinda HAVE to go in the boat eh!?!? Just foolin'. It truly was a beauty day though, and not what I had expected after enduring a stormy Hell path the evening before. Full confidence by all things quadruple checked, inventoried and obsessively compulsed about, I parked the truck, emptied my bladder and turned the boat key. Hehehe we're off!!! I was doing it, getting out there. The pic above was taken approaching the Shakespeare Island and in my little world I was feeling big balled, foot loose and fancy free. Aha!!! 30 klick run out went quick and painless, didn't take me long at all to find what I was looking for either. Through the winter pouring over Google Earth, my topo software and any old reports and other online info available, I'd pretty much figured 75 percentish that there was a "used" and sorta safely protected camp on one little island off the Shake. Turns out I am awesome afterall. Late morning began setting up camp then broke for lunch. Come afternoon I was headed out to explore new digs and find what I call the "North Hump." The Hump a mythical and magical laker place teeming with beautiful and big unicorn sized lakers, hungry to feed on whatever jigs I offer. The lake so calm I easily found the place, even saw some of these unicorn lakers on the sonar, but they were a dream on the jig at this hour. Afterwards I went on tour for specks and found some of them willing to eat, and a small laker too. Now there's a start at least. Cruising I saw an actual school of uncooperative pike. Maybe they didn't like me calling them names when I cast at 'em. During the evening still out-and-about, I found the pike lock-jawed and speckles scarce so I called it a day. Plenty more time ahead. At camp the wood was rather wet and I made a crappy fire. Deer flies had been bad in the afternoon now the mosquitoes were absolutely horrendous. Thought camping way out here they wouldn't be too bad? It was then I realized I'd forgotten the Pic coils and didn't have a heckuvalotta bug juice either. I'd have to deal with it. After sunset, retiring to the tent I was jotting down some notes when I'd notice my leg was burning, then my wrist, then my ankle. Dang no-see-ums were getting through the screen and ravaging my lily white soft skin. Totally spent it didn't matter for long. DEAD CALM. Woke early with the mozzies on the screen so thick I think they were setting up tents on my tent. Not a quiff of wind in the air, the boogies in my nose were really thick and crusted thanks to a week of breathing smoke and ash up in the Arctic earlier in the month No Dristan or nuthin', I was wimping about through breakfast and my lunch makings as the skitters were drilling oil wells into my hands and eyeballs. Thinking of touring the small islands for morning troots, I wasn't ten minutes into that rip when around the corner from camp I spot one jackarze of a black bear duck into the trees along the shore just two islands over from mine. Methinks, FTW is a bear doing out here on these little slivers of land??? I'll tell ya what he's doing ya dummy Drew, (slapping my own face) he's coming to raise hell around the camp. Probably swam over from the Shakespeare in the night, maybe having caught wind of the fire or food or my delicious royal blue blood or sumthin? Afloat and just sitting there annoyed I weigh in on the situation... Bold bear??? No gun!!! No phone. Radio maybe has the range... Nobody knows quite exactly where I am. Bear eats food today or tomorrow, fine, the trip is over. Bear eats food the following day after that, windy north weather front and storm expected, I'm maybe stuck out here with a bear for two more days afterwards because I can't get back to the mainland... Ohhh, and bear eats me it'll suck and I will be eternally pizzed off I got eaten by a bear when I didn't have to be. How in the damn am I gonna sleep tonight? If I leave the camp will this tornado of claws and fangs start ripping into my life? With all in attendance at the meeting, every single one my imaginary friends present, it was a unanimous decision that we pack up and leave. With the help of everyone too, it took no time really, forty minutes or so. Gear in the ark on one flat lake I made haste for the Virgin Islands. Once arriving, I let all my people out, told them to get to work, and in no time Rome was built. Mid morning I was back to fishing and exploring. A full day of touring around the Upper River, Virgins and Bonner, a few OK specks and hammer handles were caught. Took a shirt off pic with one speckle, that I'd rather not share. Finding happening laker structure to jig was more difficult, and after trolling for a few hours seeing very little I gave up on that chore. Have to lie and say that it was a great day to be just chillin' in the boat taking in some sites and eliminating water though... No, it was a good day for it, serious. Water 60F I dunked my loins in a cool bath on the beach and vowed to just go with the stink from then on out. In such a short bit of trip I'd already used up a couple geris of gas and lost some ice, so I figured on maybe heading into town in a couple days anyways. Get me a shower, shave and some feathery redheaded Timmies lovin'. For now though, I still had time to rip around and cast about, so that I did. In the grasses and over shallow sand I found hordes of pike sunbathing but they were being real jerks. Try as I might, casting an army's arsenal of secret weapons, I did shoot a bunch of 'em down but they were mostly small. A fish about 38-inches was the best, and if I told you while the boat was just resting still awhile, that a high 40-incher cruised up to inspect my trolling motor during me fixin' up a weedless plastic, you'd probably think I was fibbin'. But I ain't fibbin', not at all, it happened. And also, if you're asking where the pics of the fish are so far I have to let you in on one other thing, there aren't many. This trip alone I used my new-to-me Nikon on the tripod 90% of the time instead of my usual Panasonic, and when I got home found a real treat on the memory card. My fewer timer shots were almost all blurred and shiznitty looking, and because I was only taking single photos of fish to release them quick and healthy, I lose. That's also why, in this report, to save face, you will see a number of photos that are pixelated. Didn't do that to be cool, but did that because usually the fish in the foreground wasn't clear and crisp in the photo. And that sucks when this happens and it won't happen again, and I deeply apologize to all three of those people out there whom might read this, and my parents. Eating supper I stood in the smoke of the fire but that didn't keep the bugs from excavating through my clothes to find the pipelines... STUMPS AND STONES. Breakfast all week is the same when camping. Everything I do in Nipigon on shore is meant to save time, prepare ahead and actually be restful to me. Upon waking up, I boil water for coffee first. Next, toast a bagel while frying up half a hamsteak and maybe an egg, and I make the most heavy bagel breakfast sandwich I can stomach. While the stove and pots cool, lunch is made, and that's usually sandwiches or wraps, with snacks like oranges, trail mix, jerky, cheese, granola bars, water and juice boxes. In less than hour; sometimes a half hour, the pan is cleaned, everything done, boat packed and I'm off. At the end of about a 10 to 15 hour day of non-stop fishing and touring around, I return to one of my pre-made frozen meals. Chili, stew or chowder is what's on the menu, and they're all frozen in aluminum take-out dishes, in a separate cooler, and ready to simply throw on the Coleman and mow down on. The weeks menu is always planned but, I add a few extra things in case I feel like a fish-fry, or get stranded and need a couple more days of food. Before ever departing on such trips the boat goes into the shop for fine tuning. At home, all batteries are charged, wiring inspected, bilge, livewell, sonars tested, screws tightened, trailer bearings greased and tire pressure checked... Again, meals are well planned out, with provisions. Geris clean with fresh premium fuel and Seafoam, spare prop and tools, ropes and anchor accounted for. Plan A, B, C, D, etc., gets discussed with the wife. Areas researched ahead of time, shoals, safe harbors, camp and fishing locations all mapped. Plenty batteries for radios and equipment... There's that and even more stuff to consider if wanting to be prepared, and even with all that, you can still never be 100% ready for what could happen out there on Ontario's sixth Great Lake. One year I remember going with one buddy's buddy and his boat. Before we even made Deep River his trailer lights weren't working. We get to the lake and his bilge wasn't working, and neither was his sonar. He had an 18 foot boat, cluttered and dirty, and it took two trips from launch to camp with the thing just jam packed full. There was so much crap we didn't need, including his talking down to me and pouty fits during a week when I put him on PB after PB. Decided after that if going back I'm going in my boat and with trusted friends, and because Nipigon is a big, moody lake, I won't just go there and fish it stupidly. But stupid was what I felt up to today so, I fished Forgan Lake, top to bottom and every which way sideways. Big lake was a blow anyways. This lake is a menace. Stumps, rocks, shoals, floating debris, current, funneling winds... as much time as was spent fishing I was looking out for obstacles. Been here numerous times to do some of it while passing through, but on this day the Lund got it's nose waaaay more dirty snooping into the filthy bowels of this beast. OK... so in these photos it doesn't really look all that bad. Anyways, got some speckeroonies in a couple spots but smaller ones around 18 to 22 inches, had to work too much for 'em IMO. Over some depth I searched out humps and drops for lakers, marked some, but after dropping tubes, bucks and spoons got fed up with it. Finally, come mid afternoon while trolling hard for pike, I got something rewarding in this nice one, which from structure city came up and smoked a Husky on drive-by three. Feeling like I'd pounded the Virgin's hard and sucked Forgan pretty raunch, I'd load up my bed in the shaggin' wagon that evening and head out for new digs. Next days plan, catch stuff. SHIFTING JINX. Woke in the middle of the night in a panic. Heart racing and adrenaline pumping. Pulled my earplugs out and laid listening. Last time I remember this kinda jolt happened it was because a bear was sniffing at the tent two feet away from my head. You can read about that if ya want, it's in this old report... 2008. "Karma Is A Bear." http://ontariofishingcommunity.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=20152 But I heard nothing. Nada zilch. Deadness. Total silence. The absence of sound. Blackout. Calm..... and back to zzzzzzzzzz before waking early to breaky. Tired start and needed lotsa fluids. Nearly overfilled my urinal in the tent overnight, spillage narrowly avoided. Paranoid I took that pungent bladder juice and splashed it out about the camp. That'll piss off those stinkin' Windigos from coming around at nights. Specks first for warm-up fun, 0930 hours and the laker troll began. Gretzky back, Jagr down over Lemiux to Bourque I scored four times in what it'd take to play three periods of no stoppage. One stick, one player, one jumbo-tron... Won a game for a change but with no real huge payouts, just some solid play. Hot sun bread crumbs, left a trail of floating orange peels to find my way home later and pointed the Lund out into the distance. The next eight hours was both a lazy but ambitious fish that just didn't stop. From camp to one far off Dead Poplar I inspected countless nooks and crannies along vast lengths of shoreline. Few specks, few pike, and a whole lotta peace and quiet under bright blue skies. Water temps reached 65F today, warmest it'd been all week, and the clarity in places was improving too. From time to time I'd spot some wood along shore that would end up in the boat for the evenings fire. The weedbeds on this trip were non-existent. Cabbage which would probably be at least a few feet by now, if not more, was only about 6-inches to a foot grown off bottom. This made for sucky piking, and when I did fish some spots that would normally hold the big toothies, I'd often see schools of suckers, whitefish and even specks cruising around without a care in the world. While fishing on the return to camp, I was surprised to find two girls sitting, laughing and drinking beers on a nice sandy beach, but no boat in sight. Obviously having fun, minding my business I cast nearby before waving goodbye. Heading back I dropped in at the launch to leave a few things in the truck. At the dock one older fella cleaning a greaser was all curious as to what I was up to out there on the lake. First he asks about the fishing as most do, then about my being alone. "You're camping out by yerself," he questions. "Well aren't ya scared of bears," he asked? Told him if I was scared of bears I'd never go camping at all. Parting ways I got back to my site and prepared the boat for some thundershowers expected in overnight. Back early, about 8:30pm, it was a chowder night. Good wood this time around too, I started up one beauty fire and while the meal cooked put the camera on a log and took a few stupid selfies. I'm fat... side, front and back profiles all prove it. Sitting a little in the smoke to keep the bugs at bay, chowin' on the chow, my noggin rises up to peer out at the lake when right in front of my eyes a black head is surfing across the water not anymore than three full stone throws away. My face surely turned ten shades of whites before standing up from my chair with my fire-pokin' stick and shouting, "GET OUT OF HERE BEAR!!! GET GOING!!!" Whacking my stick on the fire pit rocks the bear reaches the rocky shore and begins walking towards camp. Swallowed twenty gulps of chowder in one and threw the plate aside; cause even in a panic I can still eat The bear tucked into the trees but listening quietly I could still hear it walking through the woods, where it would certainly meet the easy trail leading directly into camp. Yelling over and over, and smacking the stick on rocks and trees, when my ear catches up with the bear again it sounds as though it's still headed my way. My axe in the tent I go and retrieve it, and zipping up the door stand and turn around. Stick in one hand, axe in the other, the bear enters the other end of the campsite at the trail head and we stand about four truck lengths apart. The bear is stopped and staring. "GET OUTTA HERE BEAR!!! GO!!! GET GOING!!!" Standing tall, weapons waving and screaming expletives is about all I got. Needed a megaphone or at least a missile launcher. The bear stands still on it's all fours for seconds, maybe a half minute not really sure, before it just kinda shuffles, turns 180 and slowly heads back the way it came. I wait. I can hear it walking further away. Before the sounds stop carrying back to me, at 9:30pm with little daylight left, the camp is then completely disassembled, packed up and in the boat within 25 minutes. There would be no way I'd get sleep or comfort here. At the launch other campers watch on from their fires as I roll in fast nearing dark. One fella hollers over, "man, that's the fastest I've ever seen anyone set up a tent, mine took me two hours!" Truck and trailer parked beside my tent now, while laying things out and covering the Lund I hear a woman's voice from otherside the boat call out, "when you're done there can I buy you a beer?" She is one of the women from the beach. Another storm is coming, but I'm thirsty as Hell, and it'll have to wait for one drink. THUNDER LOVE. She hammered down hard on me in the tent all early morning long, the thunderous claps and electric jolts felt beneath the sheets. Around the edges and in the seams, things were getting wet, dripping moisture onto the bed and piled clothes. Like a storm does, she just wouldn't quit either, not until completely exhausted and everything totally soaked in her wake. Thunderstorms are a beautiful thing from the comfort of home, but when you're in the bush for days, horny to get fishing, they're about as welcome as a naggin' wife interrupting your play time. Muscles were stiff this day, in a good been worked kinda way. People noise in the a.m was up and about, and I could do without it. Rain slowly showing signs of giving in eventually, I took the remainder of the morning to sneak into town for fuel, a shower and some ice. Andrea at the Petro-Can agreed with me, apparently the bears this year were a nuisance, and in town too. In a few hours the to-do list was complete and sadly missing the feathery redhead at Timmies, I was back on the road solo with only a fresh cup of caffeine. Rolling and trolling in the waves that afternoon, my eyes got heavy to the rigger noise humming a sweet lullaby. A sailor from Wisconsin was somewhere out there on the lake, the smallest little sailboat with oars and minimal gear he was just out there crossing the whole big sucka end to end and back, alone, no radio, no nothing but a note on his little Volkswagon saying if he's not back by such and such a date, call his wife at such and such a number and let her know such and such. Stuff like that just makes my nads shrivel. A dirty day pike inspection turned into a speckie run, and although earlier I'd popped a couple lovelies in front of my Thunder Bay beer buddy from the night before; and her father, I was on my own when hooking into this sweet fatty-freight train mid evening. After my late supper, Ashley, her mother Karen, father, grandpa and more extended family all invited me over to their fire. Sitting around in shorts and long johns, the girls teased me of being a southerner. Told 'em that by season's end their local Walmarts will be carrying this fashion on the shelves. Couple of brews, good company, the fella who jinxed me the evening before by bringing up bears while at the dock, starts talking about more storms coming and lightning taking down trees which fall on tents killing people in their beds. Dood's got some serious paranoia issues................. or does he? Ashley's dad wasn't too impressed with me, fishing out there alone, in the waves, no life jacket, standing up in the boat all the time to fish. Got every kinda, "this guy and that guy went overboard and died" story there ever was from around those parts. "You'd wantchyer wife to find yer body, so she'd get yer insurance money. Whad aboot yer kids?" As much as it was annoying he was kinda right. Always put a lifejacket on when nervous or worried on the water, but don't wear it for the every moment of the day out there fishing routine, that'd be overkill. Beat tired this day, with the tent wall lit up by the flashlight I made a short finger puppet film before instantly being crushed by an enormous falling white pine. WHERE THE WIND BLOWS. My Thunder Bay girlfriends were packing up and leaving me. Waking tired and to a late start I could see the wind was already up purdy good. Checking the marine forecast on the radio that repetitive monotone voice reported, Lake Nipigon, mix of sun and cloud, winds NW 10 knots this morning, becoming N 15 knots, building to 20 knots NE this afternoon. That's about 40km/hr I think, not including gusts... so maybe some waves I'd guess about 1.5 meters or so. Wasn't into that. To Forgan for pike. Over there the lake was still kinda mean too. Got blown around for six hours with NOTHING to show for it. A farwking skunk! Big ole donut. Worked this awesome area where I'd got the good pike earlier in the week but the fishing just wasn't happening. Again, crazy hazards in this lake and a big stupid wind, I gave up. Quitter. Trailered over to Jessie Lake thinking I'd run that lake to the river and fish into the evening. That wasn't happening either. Not too bad around the launch the winds were coming right down the pipe and the lake was kicking good in the belly. Didn't bother, instead called the girls at home then almost hit an owl driving back to camp. I rationed one beer a day this trip. Sometimes I enjoy one in the afternoon, sometimes with supper. The Thunder Bay folks offered me a few the nights before so I had two days of extras in reserve. That meant if I wanted, I could have three beers today for any of you math dummies. Also had a bottle of scotch... cause I enjoy a tin cup and neatly poured, few fingered single nightcap by the fire. FYI, it's not a case or more a day wheelchair or anything crippling like that, barely even a crutch, just a vacation two drink a day kinda thing. My neighbors from Sudbury Brian, Maggie and Marlo invited me by for a bevy there. Great people this gang. In for ten days I think they were on like day four already and still hadn't gone fishing yet. Loved the sun, campfire, their dogs and the pints. I liked them cause they were friendly and funny. In camp a new group had arrived while I was out fishing. Brian and Mags new them sorta already, told me they were from Bancroft. All had been hanging out earlier and sharing a laugh. Guess the O.P.P. had been by a couple days ago to launch their boat but, something happened and their truck rolled into the lake and completely sank. The cops weren't very happy about that I was told... This was one of the stories that gang was sharing. It was a relaxing night. Kicked my feet up in the lawn chair in the box of the truck and kept on with that same book I had started on route to Slave. Early to retire. 13th HOUR. Wide awake and out like a ninja. On a milk run by 6:00am that wouldn't finish until 9:00pm the Lund put in crazy time and miles this day, dodging rain cells and bumping into different folks all over the lake. Michigan lads staying on the lake were up early too. Saying "gidday," they were looking to try lakers. First timers with a rigger, never caught 'em before on this lake. Offered up some advice and locales to try and off they went. Nice guys they asked me by for a drink later but I wasn't sure... American's eh!?!? Joking. Little later ran into Phil and his daughter (maybe daughter-in-law) Shannon from Bancroft. Pretty girl, blonde, tanned, fit, curvy, fishing, say no more say no more. I had to get out of there but her dad did first, maybe cause I was popping specks out from under his boat. A group of cottagers who are the luckiest people on earth seemed to have been reading my mind part of the day, for they were beating me to every good fishing spot first. Nice people though. The lone sailor was spotted returning from his expedition and this made many folks who were annoyed by his action, suddenly happy. Most of the day I had the calm lake to myself, and so I took some big runs to the Macouns to explore. It was an OK tour but the fishing was blah. Couple small specks trolling shoreline were probably just lucky catches. Hadn't been there before and in low light conditions had to travel a little slower in this heavily shoaled area. 13th hour on the return home found the Michigan lads out trying for lakers. They had got one finally and were over-the-moon about it. Dropping the ball nearby it wasn't long and I was into fish too. Got the smallest laker I have ever caught, two fivers and a good one. It was a long and great day. My 5-day cooler with the frozen dinners managed to keep 'em cold seven days, but the trick is a cardboard divider with a towel over everything that is pressed in tight over the food. This night I joined Brian and Maggie over with Phil, Shannon and the rest of their family. Immediately Shannon and I were chatting about fishing, hunting and the outdoors. This girl is serious about her fish and game, and with two kids in tow she trailered her 5th wheel and boat up north, only stopping here for a few days before heading on to Lac Seul. That's just sickening awesome. PEACE. Rain pounding on the tent at dawn and another big N.E wind expected in the afternoon, I couldn't decide on staying or packing up a day early and heading home. 9:00am the sun breaks the clouds, rain stops and the air is still, so I crawl from the tent and whip up a little breakfast while Brian serves me up a few cups of fresh coffee. Figured then I'd just hang around and let some gear dry out at least. Go for a laker fish but have lunch and snacks packed for the day in case of staying out longer. Now under a warm morning sun, between 10:15 and 11:05 out on the lake I pop seven lakers from the rigger and land five. The Michigan boys were out again as well, sometimes trolling right alongside. It was hilarious to have the one rod continually firing while they looked on, bored and in wonder... From then on I had followers. Wherever I went the Michigan boys would putt over to me later. So I took 'em for a rip and let them watch on while I picked specks from here, there and just about everywhere. Truth be told, there was a wicked good speck bite on and even the snot rockets too. Lost lotsa lures but, myself and eventually the Michigan doods were into them. Everyone happy. Hot speckie sweet, you know what I mean. As much fun as I was having it was a good thing it was nearing weeks end. This final day my right ball for no good reason started chaffing me, and in the boat I went moobies up too after I slipped on some pike slime. Crushed my Pringles chips, hip and elbow when that happened. Even in all the discomfort though, the specks just kept coming and I managed to reel in seven or eight of the buggers along just one run of shoreline. Fishing on, outta nowhere the wind comes up quick... real quick. In fact, there was maybe a two foot chop I had been protected by, now it was curling whitecaps. Nearing 4:30pm I'd had a good run anyways. Finished strong with the lakers and specks on a shortened day. The way back to the launch the lifejacket came on. Waves were up and about five feet high, going sideways with them for a long while, the boat rolled beautifully side to side over each wave, just had to be careful. When I turned to go with them we surfed right into the launch, to where they crashed into the shore. Inconsiderates had all tied up leaving barely any dock space to narrowly squeak my 16-footer in. While retrieving the truck, pizzed off I told 'em all too. Any bigger a boat or any consoled boat and they couldn't have done it. No way, don't care how masterful one might think they are. Anyhow, the Sudbury and Bancroft clans came over to see me as I was taking easy time packing up. Leaning over the gunnels they admired the Rebel. It's a great boat for me, lotta fish and compliments grace this Lund. Few stops for gas along the way, Timmies too, folks are always commenting on either the tiller, all the room there is in the boat, or how the black looks good. Ahhhh shiznit... gets me all crushin' on my boat eh! After all the packing I could do was done, it was 7:00pm or so and the wind dropped as fast as it had come up. Everyone around camp went fishing and the place went quiet. Just like the trip had started, the first half of it as well, I was alone in Nipigon. Did purdy good out there on the lake. Covered an immense amount of water, dodged bears, big waves and changed campsites too many times over. Fishing only one rod off the rigger I caught more lakers than any past trips when there were friends along side. Solid numbers, but just couldn't find the 20 plus pounders like other times. Specks were okay as well, thirty for the week and a number of those from new places. 25 and 24.5 inchers were the best two. The big pike this year remained difficult to coax though, saw quite a few but could only muster one over forty at a rather respectable 45-inches. Smaller fish were too abundant to count. Sun out, from the box of the truck with my feet up I finished my book. What an ending. "Three Day Road," Joseph Boyden, check it out. It was sorta like it had been in Moose Factory, many days and most trips up those rivers alone, exploring the natural world and learning better how to fish. Same as ever back then, another good trip this one was. And although it had seemed a long time and I certainly felt a little older each dawn and dusk while on Nipigon, during the hours of the days the energy barely faded at all. Fished hard to rest easy, my way, experiencing something new while taking everything in... Well, almost everything... there was one beer still in the cooler when I arrived home, and girls back from camp, a big reminder I don't have to go it alone. Bunk.
  8. The fire on, a warm scotch, and the kids playing upstairs, it's while alone in the basement on some snowy winter night when trips like this one begin...   Nipigon's rocky shorelines have been calling me back since first traveling there some short years ago. It has become an annual obsession to return, and a future goal to live out my summer days on it's waters; once eligible for any sort of semi-retired life that is. This spring the hope was to forge something new with the lake and my youngest love, Leah. At nearly ten years old now, my daughter and I have never had any sort of trip together just the two of us. This was to change, and with that I would introduce her to the experience of fishing travel and the passion her father has for just that. Onaman's River Resort on Lake Nipigon would be the destination. Very little information seemingly exists for this outfitter, and what bit that could be scrounged was found primarily through U.S. based websites. Humboldt Bay, Ombabika and even East Bay represent an inspiringly vast section of Lake Nipigon that accesses more remote east and northern compass settings. Some older reading material here at home notes, this end of Nipigon is richest for its walleye and pike fishing, but after further investigation it became apparent that Humboldt itself is also home to good populations of the lake's biggest laketrout. Any of those three species of fish regularly get my stomach growling, then add world class speckled trout into the recipe and what's left is the perfect feast. And truly Nipigon is just that to me, a favorite delectable four species, available in jumbo sizes, and ready to order from one of the classiest natural establishments. Preparing through the spring during spare time I would hit the vise to tie up jigs and spinners. Using mapping software, different hard map sources, Google Earth and any online information, the hand scribbled away drawing out possible fishing locations, marking shoals and pinpointing safe harbors and campsites. No hydrographic charts for the lake, no cell service in this area, no radio station weather forecasts, and limited human contact once out there fishing, it's your life and preparation is paramount, and especially important when your little one is along. My Lund would be doable but somewhat small for this kind of trip. Big runs into bigger water are required and comfort for Leah was a priority. When thinking about someone with a larger boat to invite I looked no further than my friend Len. An 18 foot Crestliner, 150 Merc, 9.9 kicker, Terrova, quality electronics, bimini top and plenty of room for the three of us, I was quite happy when he accepted to come. In fact, I knew he wouldn't say no. He's a man who loves his speckled trout and lakers above most else, so this was right up his alley. Len made it quite clear that specks were the big draw for him, and understanding that he is an organized and meticulous man, there was relief for me knowing that the boat would be in prime shape heading into the big chase. In the late winter my buddy Kevin suddenly lost his lifelong best friend Trevor to a heart attack at age 37. Trevor and Kevin visited Nipion a couple years back and for the two of them it was the greatest fishing trip of their lives. Talking with Kevin during his time of loss I realized he must come with us, so a plan was set in motion to ensure just this. Kevin (Floaty) was over-the-moon excited about returning to Nipigon. A hope to release some of Trevor's ashes to forever flow within the lake, there was certainly an importance and a finality to his personal journey as well. So... ... on the morning of June 28th the boys arrived in front of my place at 6:30am.     THE DROOL. Floaty was passed out in the back of the truck and drooling on my pillow before we even reached the end of my driveway. Len and I began chirping up front about all things fishy, while Leah quietly stared in awe at the many different ways Floaty could contort his body during sleep. In Arnprior for coffee we woke Float abruptly and glancing at the Wendy's he bellowed out, "that's a huge slushie" just before konkin' out again within mere seconds. Leah laughed about this for hours. She was in good spirits the entire haul. She's never really been a complainer, and lives a life in the happiest of childhood worlds. A saturday driving we were expecting some slow traffic north and we were stuck with just that. It amazes and always pizzes me off to the inth degree, the people who drive 80-90km/hr then reach the passing lane and floor it to 130 so no one can pass them, then they slow'er back down to 90 to hold everyone up again. It's much, much worse south of North Bay too, where more urban hippocrates populate. Dodge Caravans and any Subaru's seem to be the worst for it. Seriously. Six hours into the tour and above New Liskeard traffic fizzled out quite a bit, then later west of Cochrane the road was void of any life, as per usual. Mattice at twelve hours into the drive would provide an overnight rest stop at my good friends Steve and Amelie's. Getting in at dinnertime Amelie had homemade lasagna, caesar salad, desert and beer waiting. God I love them. Kev and Len couldn't help themselves and from infront of Steve and Amelie's home on the shoreline of the Missinaibe River, the boys wet a line for smallies and fallfish. It's a quiet life in little Mattice I suspect, yet there's always been something appealing about that. Sleep was a rather difficult arrangement for Leah and I. Sharing a bed I learned she's somewhat of Circus act all night long. She flips, cart-wheels, stands on her head, sings, dances, quotes Shakespeare and even cries. When I finally drifted off around 2:00am I was promptly flicked in the face by a tiny finger and told, "stop snoring, I can't sleep." Sunrise came too quick.     MOOSE ON THE LOOSE. On the road around 7:30am with about six hours to destination we hit the local Timmies in Hearst before starting off on that 200 kilometer straight shot through to Longlac. For anyone that has not driven the stretch of road understand this... you could chuck a tennis ball west from the townline at Hearst and as long your aim is true, that ball will roll those 200 klicks to Longlac. Poor Len was beginning to stress that the two hours might just kill him because there'd be absolutely no Timmies on route, he's is utterly addicted. Truth was, no Timmies coffee for a week. Somewhere nearing Geraldton our extra-large double-doubles bursted every seal and we pulled over for a break at some scenic little rest-stop. While waiting, that tennis ball rolled on by. The brilliance of the north route 11 rather than southerly 17 is that it's flat, straight and sees little traffic. To reach Onaman's you'd be silly to go any other way. The west side of Jellicoe there's a road to the right. There's no signage on the 11 for Pasha Lake Camp or Onaman's Resort, just a semi-rough dirt road that veers off into the middle of nowhere for 50 kilometers. We were wondering about it a minute, but Leah says to me, "sometimes dad you gotta get lost to find yourself." Some of the Lindner's TV crew was leaving as we were heading in, we arrived about 1:00pm and spent a couple hours settling into the cabin, having lunch, and preparing the boat. Boys on board, the idea was to take in some late afternoon pike and an evening of walleye. Looking down the Onaman River from the dock Len put the Cresty on plane for the ten klicks to the lake. An eagle followed us out for a ways. Here's a sped up video of the run...     A shallow area with the possibility of some hazards I urged Len to keep a heading into a specific back bay. Stopping short it didn't take my lack of patience long before I had a remote in hand for the Terrova. A small cut of pencils reaching out from a calm back corner I was certain there'd be a pike just in behind it. Cast... and SMACK... and as I began to play the fish I hear over my shoulder from Len and Floaty... "AHEM!" "AhhhHEM... Leah!?!?" "Ohhh yes, thanks boys," I answered before calling Leah to the bow and passing her the rod. A moment of forgetfulness, that would be the only reminder needed for the rest of the week. All my fish afterwards were hers to reel in if she wanted, and proudly she took pretty much every one of them. Water temps behind the point deeper into the bay increased about seven degrees to low 70's. Forage was abundant everywhere and the odd pike kept pulling us in deeper. Had a feeling about this spot on the map. Over the tall grasses and just around a bend we spotted the first of nine moose sighted during the week, and the only bull. It was awesome but it didn't stick around long, and I barely caught this pic. We turned the boat around to make our exit and it was like we hit a different fishery on the way out. Len first of all pops a surprise tank walleye from about two feet of water. It's a long fish we guess around 9-10 pounds and it sure as heck gave him the business. Lenny wasn't done with just some exceptional walleye though, on a following cast he smoked a best pike. Dood was on fire and it we'd only been sparking the fish for an hour. On a double header that had a couple pike running Floaty and I under the boat, Leah wanted a photograph of us. The pike were really cooking. Rubber hook for Kev he had a big fish blow up and be on and off in a sudden heartbreaker. My hook drove solid into something large too, and it held. When Leah grabbed the rod and the pike took a hard run, she slammed and bent two rod guides over the gunnel before finding her balance, leaning back and lifting the tip high. With some help at boatside my girl had reeled in her first trophy pike. Proud Papa to say the least. This will be one of my favorite pics for life. The bite faded out around 6:00pm and after a little more weedbed exploring we giver'd back up the river towards O.R.R. and played around an hour or two with the walleye. With these fish you can't go wrong, even if just casting from shore. If a boatload of guys were to spend a day fishing just walleye they would probably average about two to four dozen a piece. It was a little surprising that the presentations needed to be tweaked with a little more finesse than normal, but it could have been due to the fact that many boats fish near the camp daily. The walleye fishing quickly became Leah's favorite because she could cast her own lighter rod and even catch the odd fish for herself. Whenever my line got tapped she was right there to reel those in as well. By the end of the week she had me grinning a few times when I'd look over and see her mimicking everything I was doing with the rod when jigging. She sure pounded some gold bars all week and was a natural at posing with her catch. Again, when in her glory and so very happy fishing, I couldn't have been more pleased myself. End of day one at O.R.R. we all retired exhausted and happy.     SUN SPECK. Just a wee bit sluggish on the 6:00am rooster call. Floaty was always first up to greet me soon as he heard any sort of stirring. Usually I begin quiet with the kettle boiling, but it doesn't take long before pots and pans start clanking and the breakfast bell rings. This has somehow become the routine of every fishing trip. I'm camp beyotch, first up, last to bed and constantly pushing the others to hurry up... though it's probably because I eat more than anyone else, am most fish obsessed and unbelievably driven to be out exploring. Leah started off her days kinda wonky. First few mornings she'd complain her stomach was upset and not want to eat, yet I could tell it was only stress. She confessed teary eyed at times she missed her sister and mom, and the fact her meal times were off and she lost a good chunk of sleep on route, she was tired. At one point while crying she says to me, "sorry to ruin your vacation dad," and that kinda shot right through ya know? She was down in the dumps and had no need for that sort of wrongful and guilty thinking. It would be a little while yet, but once she caught up on her rest, we talked some things through and she began eating better, these occassional short sad spells ceased as I'll note later on, and it was all smiles for the remainder. There's a tonne of shoreline to cover and the speck fishing is rather far out there on the lake. Once bellies and boat were fully fueled we set out to begin eliminating as much of that speckled trout water as we could. Thing was, by the time we got moving and out there on the lake, I'd normally be finishing up my morning speck fishing and switching gears. We toured for about six hours total, following a few islands but otherwise sticking to a long expanse of shore and even trolling it opposite ways. Specks in this area we learned later on from Wilf (father of O.R.R. owner Rob) is that as the spring waters warm the pike migrate out from the shallows along the shore and actually push the bulk of the specks out of bays, and onto rocky offshore islands. As we trolled along for specks catching pike certainly wasn't a problem. Days out on the water are often long and tiring yet somehow on previous 7-day visits we'd manage to find the energy to put in 10-14 hours a day fishing. This trip things slowed down a little; more like eight hours, and I'll confess it took some getting used to at my end. Although, no matter what's going on in a day, it's always nice to step out and stretch the legs, especially in a place like Nipigon. It is afterall a vacation of sorts. Spinners, spoons, jigs and small cranks we ran it all. Along the way we saw some excellent looking speck water and spotted many roaming whitefish and even pike, but the trout remained elusive to the hook. Well... again, poor Floaty actually had a hit and loss we suspected was a good speck. I was running a spoon and a jig on an inside line when the spoon took a knock. Quick hookset and the rod was passed to Leah. This fish on lighter gear gave her every bit as much play as her big pike the previous day, but she managed to get it boatside after being taught a little about pumping the rod, slowly reeling down on the fish, and letting it run when need be. There was no measurement on her first speck, only this picture. After six hours on the trout the gang opted to head back for a time of walleye slaying, before I threw a big rosemary leg of lamb on the BBQ back at the cabin.     SPINNER There's no rhyme or reason to when and why specks bite and when they don't. Kind of the same as lakers, yet probably worse. On any day in any condition it is my belief though, that your best shots are of course sunrise and set, and the journal would actually record the same. That said, if I was to want an "all day long" speck weather condition I'd probably hope for overcast and a little choppy before choosing bluebird. Funny thing was, when speaking with the owner of O.R.R. Rob briefly about our first day fishing specks, he disagreed. Rob would rather glass calm and sunny as can be, and his favorite hours were in the afternoon. Boggled me a little this did, until he explained his tactics for catching specks. Want to know his secrets you'll have to ask Rob yourself one day. Understanding that when he guides it's more often than not during normal daylight hours on nicer days, it makes sense his style would adapt. There's always something to be learned from others. Quickly evident was that Floaty doesn't eat breakfast, Len doesn't eat breakfast and Leah doesn't eat much breakfast... so like six slices of French toast for me and a pound of bacon was good. We started late to fish but after a 30km. run out onto the lake, we were set-up and fishing specks on glass by 10:00am. First stop was paradise on earth. This area looked worthy of some casts. Basketball sized boulders slowly tapering offshore before hitting a sharper drop to 20-40 foot depths, it was awefully fishy. Working a few hundred yards of this shoreline thoroughly, we spotted whites, a couple specks, caught some pike and even had a cow moose coming crashing through the brush onto a small, cornered beach. Camping there someday crossed the mind. Sun getting high around noon we settled in to deploying Rob's idea on a troll. Floaty needing to work a little on tanning his other half, he was happily in need to kick back and soak up some necessary rays. We cruised for about two hours until 2:00pm, spotting more whitefish, catching more pike and seeing a school of speckles go by. Problem was, we couldn't get one trout to bite. So, because we were told 2:00pm and 6:00pm are the better times for lakers, we shot to the deep and dropped riggers and dipsies for a few hours to tempt them. Leah did some coloring and watched a Barbie movie to pass what she feels is "the boring fish" time. Six total hours of speck-laker shiznitting the bed this day was, we were still trout-less by dinnertime. What's never a waste of time is being out there, seeing what does and doesn't work, covering, discovering and eliminating water, and actually observing fish on spots. To salvage the afternoon we nailed some evening transition pike on route to camp; with Len pegging another tank, then retired to the river for sunset eyes. Rob invited us for a late walleye snack by the campfire to finish our day. Continued...
  9. Hard to believe that 2013 is almost half way through. This forum and its members have always been helpful to me when I've had questions and whatnot. It's always a pleasure to share photos we all love. I don't really post much anymore... so here's what I've been up to since the beginning of 2013 to make up for my absence. First ice. Always head out for panfish as we wait for safe ice on bigger water. This year, my buddies and myself decided to do some exploring with new water and it didn't disappoint. Lake trout. Once Simcoe freezes over, we usually stick with these aggressive fish until season closes. This year was special. Truly the year of the lakers. Got my PB, and the numbers of fish caught was amazing! Everything seemed to work. Definitely my best season on the ice for lakers hands down. Even managed a "rare" whitefish that have seemed to disappear! Last ice. More slab crappies. Spring steelhead. After winter laker season closes, I usually dedicate my time on the river chasing fresh chrome steelhead. Trout opener. I'm not a huge fan of fishing for spawned out dropback steelhead. With the late spring we had, I was hoping for more fresh fish, but all the fish caught were rather dark and on their way back down to the lake. Still got a good number of fish and had a good day on the water. Spring crappie. I've been going after crappie for about 25 years now. Seems like the fishing keeps getting better. Or maybe I'm getting better at it. Back when I was a little kid, my dad used to bring me out around Georgian Bay and Simcoe areas - they were the only areas where crappie were available. Now that they have spread throughout the Kawarthas, we have endless options. I managed my PB this spring. A feisty fish that measured 15.5". On this day, the fish were everywhere...but were very finicky. My buddy and myself carefully creeped up on these fish in a quiet electric powered sportspal canoe and we still had a hard time getting them to commit. Finally, we found out that the solution was to downsize.... significantly. I wish I had my 5wt fly rod...would've got a lot more fish with that for sure. Anyways...fishing over about 10fow and the fish hit at 6" beneath the surface. Thought it was a bass at first. We shouted and hollered as the fish came into the canoe. Good times. This year, a lot of 13"+ fish were boated. We've made it our mission to avoid dinks/crowds and specifically target larger sized slabs. I've also made a new goal recently - I want to get into white crappie. I know they are found in the Niagara area and more southwest. If anyone has got any tips or suggestions, let me know. Spring walleye. I was taught the technique of the bucktail last year. It looked so awkward at first and I had a hard time picturing it in my head how it would work. But the results proved it was the way for weedy walleye! This year was the same. Although I spent time with plastics and cranks as well. Lots of slot sized fish and a few bonus bigger sized ones. Spring pike. Always fun casting for pike with cranks and jerkbaits. Unfortunately, no monsters this spring. I'm not big into muskie fishing and have never went out specifically for them. Usually always get at least 1 or 2 accidentally while targetting other species. Perhaps I should give it a serious go one of these days. Spring carp. As spring comes to an end and summer begins, the crappie/walleye/pike fishing seems to go bland. Just doesn't excite as much as earlier in the season. Best solution is to turn things around and go for big carp! I've only been out once this year, but the excitement with the screaming runs and the tough fights these fish put out will draw me back in for sure. These fish don't get enough credit. I'm always a believer in changing things up and keeping it interesting....which is why being a multispecies angler is the way to go! You can see behind me in the following pics - 2 guys in a nice bass boat...drifting the same run over and over again trying to hook up with some walleye. Each pass they made, we were battling nice carp while they watched. Didn't look like they were having much success. Made me glad I was on the bank with a couple buddies, chatting, eating, sleeping, and most importantly... catching nice big carp! That's it for now. Bass is just around the corner. Topwater is one of my favourite ways to fish for them. I can't wait. I'll have to dust off and prep my frog setup. I didn't get a chance to head out for resident trout either. Hopefully I will get into some of that before the vegetation gets to be too much. More of this to come in the following weeks.
  10. Got out for a short but productive day of Laker fishin with my bud Brian. We started with jigging but no luck, the fish just weren't moving to the jigs like we hoped. So trolling was next, and it was awesome. We went 5 for 7 with a couple dandy fish. All fish were caught in 55-65 fow with a 1.5mph troll. Silver and copper first but we had to switch to just silver after a while. The bite was consistent, marking them moving on the downrigger ball meant a strike was going to happen. Here's three, the fourth fish pic wasn't taken due to a gill hook and blood everywhere, we were in cleanup mode. The fifth, and a really nice Laker was immediately released( no pic) because we had our limit. Me with a decent starter! Brian with a little guy, prime for the smoker!
  11. Late ice calls for new matters. Use your boat as an ice breaker , make a trail , cast in the trail of broken slush/ice chunks ............. repeat! in the a.m.'s we only had a small channel..........at 5 p.m. we hand a small like size erea to fish! now its 23:42 p.m. and tommorow is specks........... AT 5 A.M. :worthy:
  12. With little sleep and after working a long shift my son Mitch hit up his Dad's'Knowledge Base' (and some gear) and spent his day off yesterday to target Lakers on some of the Haliburton lakes I have fished for 30 years. Using the Marcum LX-5 Flasher and drilling a number of holes is was not long before hard/soft bottom transitions and deep breaks were lighting up on the screen along with a few streaks! After catching and releasing some smaller lakers and Herring it happened in 62 FOW!!... the large Red bar slowing moving to the Blue Fox Flashspoon and minnow worked 10' of bottom.. after a couple of gentle giggles and pauses it came... that 'thunk' followed by multiple line screams and a fight lasting over 10mins on 4lb line. Contrary to his tired expression Mitch was elated with his BP Laker sporting a 20.25" girth and 33" length the behemoth weighted in a 17lbs. A number of these lakes are teaming with both herring and Rainbow smelt and catches of Lakers in excess of 30lbs have occurred over the years. With my winter guided fishing adventures are already over 70% booked to the end of March and I'm thinking its going to be a record trophy year enjoying some new toy's and fishing in comfort in my new Rapala Cruzer M2 Ice Shelter! Good Fish'n and be safe out there!.... Greg.
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