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Weekly Report {June 20, 2015}

“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 separation of the bicep to my lower arm.

Of course when it happened, I was hoping it wasn’t a significant injury. I tried in vain to ignore it for 3 weeks, but it wasn’t getting better. Then, late last week, Michelle laid down the gauntlet and told me to have it looked at. Good thing she did. Within 30 seconds of our meeting, Dr. Jeff Klasson (Lead Orthopedic Surgeon for the UMD Bulldogs at Essentia Health in Duluth) scheduled reconstructive surgery. In a non-offensive way, he chuckled when I explained to him what had happened. He knew immediately I was in my 40’s and told me how common the injury is in males of my age and during this busy time of year. 

Of course, any good Pasha Lake report will somehow circle back to fishing. I found out Dr. K is an avid Lake Nipigon trout fisherman and has frequented the Pasha Lake area for many years. It served as a great conversation piece before going under the knife on Monday. And now that the surgery is done, we hope to use fishing on Lake Nipigon as reason for “in the field” rehab. It’ll be tough duty, but I’m sure I’ll manage!

The good news? Fishing has gone from consistently inconsistent to mind-bogglingly exceptional.  This week, I don’t care what lake or weather conditions, fishing was everything you’ve come to expect from the Pasha Lake area. It was simply outstanding!

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Probably comes as no surprise, but the board leader this week was Onaman Lake. One look at the reservation schedule and you can tell exactly what people’s intentions were. One look at the pictures from this week, and it’d be tough to report on anything else. 

From crusty old veterans like Greg and Gwen Hoesktra, to new comers like Marco Leone and Jeff Heisz, guests clearly can’t get enough of Onaman. In fact, after his first day there, I asked Jeff and the boys if they wanted to go back. He looked at me in a growly old voice asked, “Do bears relieve themselves in the woods?” Then he grabbed me by the lapels and, with squinted eye balls and a snarly lip, gritted his teeth Clint Eastwood-style and told me I’d better sign him up for any openings for the rest of the week. And it was only Sunday… whew! As I type this, he’s out there for the third time in a row. While I may have embellished a little about how he asked for Onaman, his desire to fish there couldn’t be mistaken!

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Among the many other hot lakes this week was one of our bread and butter walleye, perch and pike producers. In the past, this lake has been the barometer to successful fishing. We know that when this lake is on fire, it’s a sure bet other lakes will be all systems go. And that was the case this week. Even the “grandma” lake which has haunted a few anglers in the past was a big producer. 

But allow me to digress a tad. If you’ve been following my reports for the first 2 weeks of June, you’ve noted my anxiety over the weather. It played a key role in water temperatures and thus finding and staying on fish. Not so this past week. Weather was out-of-this-world beautiful and the fishing followed suit. It was a tad breezy for a couple of days, but traditionally, that makes fishing all the better.

Looking back, guests were reporting the fish EVERYWHERE–near weed beds, off points, attached rock structure and within close proximity to every rock. (Every rock?? Thinking about that in Canadian Shield terms, that’s A LOT OF FISH!)

It was fun to see guests coming back so successful. We tend to get a little anxious here when fishing is a little off canter like it had been the previous two weeks. We want everyone to experience the full potential of all we have, and when that happens, it’s cool to see the smiles and hear the stories.

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Another story that resonates from last week is of Brian Skaggs and his crew of 25 hoodlums. These guys are now veterans of Pasha Lake Cabins, having been here for the fifth year in a row.  In the past few years, Brian has come twice a year, once for fishing and the other for bear hunting (see Brian’s bear harvest from 2014). 

Traditionally Brian has hired me to guide for the entire week of their stay. He says I’m a pretty good fisherman and likes finding and catching fishing as soon as we hit the water. I say he just likes my company. Regardless, its usually 6 full days of solid fishing, and historically we’ve done well together. 

This year, however, due to my arm surgery, I wasn’t able to fish with him. The cool thing? I didn’t need to. Brian has absorbed all that we’ve done in the past and put it to good use. That doesn’t necessarily mean Brian was the one catching fish. In fact, often times he wasn’t. But he was able to point his crew to the lakes and areas they needed to catch fish. That’s usually my role, but Brian took on the new challenge like a champ.

To top off their week, some of Brian’s crew hired Gus to take them out on Lake Nipigon for some monster alligators. True to the lake’s reputation, it delivered in a big time way. Gus, having fished the lake for over 40 years, knew where to go and delivered a knock out, one-two punch on some trophy pike. The lure of choice? The time tested, old reliable 5 of diamonds. I’d venture to guess that lure has caught more pike than all the other popular pike lures combined. The guy the invented it should be given some type of Nobel prize! 

There is so much more I want to write about from last week!  The Paul family, Jeff Barginton and their 40 POUND Lake Nipigon lake trout (that’s not a typo!), Don Wright’s small boat adventures on Nipigon, Jeff Heisz’s successful transition from river-to-lake fisherman and endless big walleyes on Onaman. But with limited time and anxious fisherman wanting their shot at awesome fishing, I’ve got to wrap things up. 

Make no mistake about it, things are good here at Pasha Lake Cabins. Despite the short term challenges of my bum arm, we continue to put a formula together that gets our guests on fish. One look at the pictures from last week and you know we’re not hype, we’re the real deal! 

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It’s still very early in the season, so good things will continue to come. Peeking ahead a few weeks, we have the Walleye Dream Trip which will start in another week or so, and with that some AWESOME July fishing. Stay tuned!

Until next time…

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Troll, then Cast for Ontario Pike

By Mark Romanack

In my mind the northern pike symbolizes wilderness fishing more than any other species. While pike are common, trophy sized pike are anything but common and finding them often requires fishing in uncharted waters. Catching pike can be easy, but finding them isn’t always cut and dried.

For more years than I care to remember, my approach to pike fishing in the summer months on uncharted waters boils down to a strategy I simply define as “troll-then-cast.” Trolling is the only practical way to cover water when searching for pike, but casting is often the most productive way to catch them.

Across Ontario, pike spend the majority of their time from June through September relating to weed beds growing in 6 to 10 feet of water. Pinpointing the location of these weed beds can be a time consuming process. Trolling flatlines straight out the back of the boat helps speed up the process and keeps baits in the strike zone 100% of the time.

While trolling, my attention is split between watching the surface and my sonar/GPS unit for signs of cabbage weed. In the summer, cabbage weed often grows right up to the surface. The tiny seed pods located on the top of the plant often break the surface and can be spotted at a distance if you watch closely.

Deeper weed growth is located by monitoring the sonar unit. The key to catching pike is locating pockets of cabbage weed and identifying the shallow and deep water edges of these weed flats. Adult pike tend to hang along the deep water edge of weed cover, while smaller immature fish set up housekeeping on the shallow weed edges.

When weeds are found growing along the edge of shoals or points, pinpointing the deep water edge is easy. When cabbage weed is found growing on open water flats, it takes a little more prospecting to determine the weed edge that leads to deeper water. On weed flats, often a difference in water depth of just a foot or two makes a huge difference as to where the larger pike will be found.

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Catching big pike like the one pictured here is one of the author’s favorite fishing activities. Trolling to find fish, then switching to casting techniques is how the author routinely finds and catches trophy class pike.

JERKBAITS RULE

Shallow diving stickbaits or what are often called jerkbaits are among the best baits for trolling to prospect for pike. These minnow imitating crankbaits typically dive from about 6 to 10 feet deep, making them ideal for trolling over the top of emerging weed growth.

Good baits in this category include the Rapala Husky Jerk 14, the Bomber Magnum Long A, the Yo-Zuri Magnum Crystal Minnow and the Reef Runner 900 series.

I troll these baits using 30 to 40 pound test super braid with a 24 inch leader of 40 to 50 pound test fluorocarbon leader. If the weeds are well developed I troll using 20# test monofilament to reduce the diving depth of my lures and keep the baits fishing above the weed cover. 

When a pike is hooked trolling I immediately save a waypoint on my GPS unit and note the depth the fish was hooked in. Later those waypoints will become prime targets for a casting approach.

If you don’t have a GPS unit, toss a marker buoy when a fish is hooked as a reference point. In the meantime, continue to troll and try to determine the location of weed edges that are also adjacent to deeper water.

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Pike take a long time to grow to trophy size in Ontario waters. Pictured here, the author’s son Jake practices catch and release on trophy pike.

THE CASTING APPROACH

Once I’ve located some pike by trolling, I’ll return to those waypoints or marker buoys and start casting. What baits get the nod is determined by how dense and deep the weed cover happens to be. If the weed cover grows right up to the surface a weedless spoon like the Johnson Silver Minnow is a my “go to” bait. I favor the larger sizes and also tip this spoon with a white twister tail or chunk of pork rind to add more action, scent and color.

Other good casting baits for fishing in dense weed cover include oversized spinnerbaits. Baits built with musky in mind tend to be the best spinnerbaits for pike fishing. Smaller bass sized spinnerbaits are made with thinner wire and they tend to get literally destroyed by pike.

If the weed growth is sparse casting a jerkbait will usually trigger more strikes than either a spoon or spinnerbait. The steady retrieve that’s required to fish a spoon or spinnerbait tends to produce a lot of “follows” but not as many strikes. Working a jerkbait in a “walk the dog” fashion produced savage strikes and more hooked fish.

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Ontario has some of the best pike waters in North America. Catching these fish by casting is a huge rush, but casting is often too time consuming to be considered a good method for locating pike. Flatline trolling to locate fish and then casting out those spots is a much better fishing strategy.

Another casting bait worth using are bucktail spinners and again the larger sized baits designed for musky fishing tend to produce best on pike. Bucktail spinners come in both single blade and double blade versions. The double blade versions like the Bait Rigs Viper 2 Mag 5 Pikie  create a lot more flash and vibration in the water and tend to perform best.

Another casting bait I always take along is a heavy duty swimming style jighead tipped with a six inch twister tail or shad style swimbait body. Jigs are fished slower, deeper and they are the best choice when pike follow, but don’t strike. The Bait Rigs Esox Cobra is the perfect jig for pike fishing.

SUMMING IT UP

Trolling is the best way to find the places pike hang out, but casting tends to produce more bites. The best approach is to combine both fishing strategies —  trolling to find fish — then switching up and casting out the spots that are holding fish.

Mark Romanack has worked in the outdoor industry his entire career. A graduate of Northern Michigan University with a B. S. Degree in Conservation, Romanack works full time helping others better enjoy the outdoor experience. Since 1981 he has conducted countless educational seminars, written thousands of magazine articles, written 13 books on fishing and produced dozens of YouTube educational clips. In addition, Romanack spends copious amounts of time producing the national television series Fishing 411, seen on both national cable and satellite providers.

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Walleyes, Pike, Brookies Spring to Summer Transition

Yuck! Rain, rain, and more rain. Bitter cold weather and frost started off the week and it certainly had an impact on Ontario fishing. When pike get lock jaw, you know things are going to be challenging. And that definitely coincides with the fisherman’s reports on Sunday and Monday. Tuesday however, brought much warmer weather and with that, the solid Ontario fishing that we’ve grown accustomed to here at Pasha Lake Cabins.

So what is going on? Well, here is my best guess.

Walleyes. Walleyes are transitioning from the spawn, but their annual return to summer feeding grounds has been slowed due to these wild weather swings–snow one day, 70’s the next. In reality, finding walleyes and active fish hasn’t been that challenging. It’s been finding a consistent bite. As an example, on a lake just north of here, on the exact same day, Cabin #5 was catching walleyes in 20 feet of water using jigs, while less than 2 miles away, Cabin #2 was pounding shorelines with crankbaits. Both were producing action and both reported that covering water was key to consistency. They’d catch 3 or 4 fish and then have to move–“stick and move” as it’s known in the angling world.

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Pasha’s Onaman Lake boats

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 cursing trophies despite the sucker spawn which is in full swing. The smaller males are still plentiful and active, but they too will be leaving the sandy shallows in the next week or so. Triggering 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 the preferred warm waters cool down, the brook trout will vacate those areas faster than a pike can slice through monofilament. They still feed, 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 put our guests on fish regardless of 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 in the week has but 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! More to come on that later!)

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Fresh moose or caribou track on the Onaman trail (June 12, 2015)

Overall, lake levels are down, but the rivers seem to be up… figure that one out?? We’ve had some pretty significant rainfall here in the last week, 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) but from their north, it’s not quite as good. I was very 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.

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The preferred mode of transportation for Pasha Lake guests. A man’s truck, for sure

Oh, one more thing. How could I do an 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! For a week that started out slow, we’ve sure ended on a good note. Yesterday alone, Cabin #6 landed a 29 inch walleye and Cabin #8 a 26 inch. Pictures to come. For the first week of June, things are not too shabby around here. History tells us the best is still to come.

Stay tuned and until next time….

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Weekly Report {June 13, 2015}

In the news this week:

  • 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 skys 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 and will continue to get worse before it gets better. Word to the wise: those heading into NW Ontario over the next few weeks need to be prepared to deal with them.

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So how have Pasha Lake’s guests dealt with the wild weather swings? Well, persistence and trial-and-error have been key. No doubt the spawn is over and has been for awhile. No doubt the fish are in transition. What we’re trying to dial in is where the fish (namely walleyes) are holed up. (Note: I was reading the Target Walleye blog yesterday and came across a tidbit on how find them.)  My advice to guests is throw the play book out the window, and really listen to what the fish, in that moment, are telling you. If you catch one or two fish and the bite goes dead, move! Find the same structure that produced and do it again. Continue searching, start shallow and work deep. Pound shorelines with spinners and cranks until you’re satisfied the fish aren’t there. Tie on a jig, hit the bottom, and migrate toward deeper water. Stick with brights, play with the tempo of your presentation, and stay persistent. There is no doubt the fish are there, you just have to find out what’s going to work for that day, at the depth, and for those fish. Sounds pretty generic, but generic is essential to locating fish. Once you find them, then you can start fine-tuning things.

Third-year guests Dave and Julie Moore have learned this lesson all too well.  2015 marks the best fishing they’ve ever experienced while staying with us. Don’t get me wrong, the fishery hasn’t changed (well, maybe it’s gotten better); the fishermen have changed. Dave and Julie invested one week a year for the last 3 years fishing our waters. In that time they’ve watched, learned and implemented extreme trial and error. In fact, the first 2 years staying with us, they relied heavily on advice and recommendations they could gather from other camp goers and me. This year, much to my enjoyment, I watched them implement all they’ve learned. In the mornings, they got their lake assignment, and when they returned in the evenings, I thoroughly took pleasure in hearing their success. In the near future, I plan on interviewing Dave and Julie for the Best Ontario Fishing blog. My goal is to capture in gory detail all they’ve done to become so successful in fishing the Pasha Lake region.

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Bob H does it again. Bob H from Michigan really intrigues me. His crew and he have to be some of the best fisherman I’ve rubbed elbows with during our tenure at Pasha Lake. What I find fascinating about Bob’s crew is how hard they fish, how successful they are, all while fishing from their own boats. Bob tows around a 19ft Lund and his brother a similar rig. In this past week, they fished 7 or 8 different lakes having mind-blowing success on all. When Bob and I connected for the first time last week, he explained his mission of boating a 25” brook trout from Nipigon. I gave him my best two cents, not really comprehending how serious he was. Bob listened intently and was able to achieve his goal in short order. In fact, his brother has a Pasha Lake Trophy Club Hat and the picture to prove how successful he was. Add to that astonishing numbers of perch, walleye and some pike that bordered on trophy class and you could say they had a pretty darn good week. Not to mention, they stumbled upon a 48 inch Nipigon Pike (that’s not a typo) that had been killed by a prop.  They didn’t snap a photo of it, but rest assured, if these guys say it was 48, it was all of 48 inches. Just like my goal with Dave and Julie, I plan on asking Bob (and hope he’ll tell me) the list of lakes he fished this week to be so successful. I’ll post the info on the blog as soon as it becomes available. 

(Side note: Gus has been doing extremely well for brook trout on Lake Nipigon in the last 2 weeks. His guide trips have boated guests double digits speck days on almost every outing. That’s pretty darn good considering the crazy swings in water temps. Keep it up, Gus!)

And not to be out done by the guests, I was able to finally partake in my first guide trip of the year. Where to you might ask? None other than the famous walleye factory, Onaman Lake. 

Rewind back to February. Long time guest Larry and Mike Apple from Ohio called to book their annual June trip. Mike told me he wants to make this trip a special one and asked about the Walleye Dream Trip. Unfortunately I had to break the news that we don’t start that trip until July. I quickly recommended the alternative (and, in my mind, often times better) Onaman Lake. Mike was quick to jump on board and we set a date for the last day of their stay. Fast forward to yesterday and Onaman strikes again. “That’s the best fishing I’ve ever experienced” were words uttered by both Mike and Larry as I finished cleaning the last walleye of their take-home limit. If I had a dollar for every time I heard those words, I’d have an extra couple of grand in my bank account and that’s no joke! 

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Larry Apple (Ohio) braves the 1 mile walk to fishing bliss, courtesy of Onaman Lake

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The Onaman Lake Walking Bridge, maintained by Pasha Lake Cabins

Oh and I almost forget, on Sunday of last week I finally had to take a break. I’ve always wanted to explore a certain lake and decided it was the day. I threw a boat in my truck and aimed north for a lake that lay a short 45min drive. Neckdowns and flow were the main characteristics that attracted me to the body of water, but I was pleasantly surprised by a plethora (really? Did I just use that word?) of favorable walleye structure.  In last week’s report I theorized the inconsistent bite was due to the transition from spawn to feeding, and it was confirmed within 10 minutes of hitting the new body of water. We hit walleyes in flow, off points, down deep, in weeds, in timber and suspended. It was crazy!  Everywhere we threw a jig, we knew it was only a matter of time before we boated a fish. I quickly grew tired of rebaiting minnows so I donned a white Berkley Grub and noticed no difference in action. 

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The new lake

But, also true to my theory, you couldn’t sit in one spot for too long. In order to stay in the action, we moved–a lot! At one point, we stumbled on a mid-lake submerged weed bed and stopped to check it out. As soon as the graph lit up with fish I boated a jumbo perch, followed shortly by a respectable walleye. I was surprised how green the vegetation was, but it was obviously holding fish. A couple more drifts and we were treated to similar results. At one point after tying on a Lindy Fuzy Grub, I was distracted and a pike hit my lure so hard it literally jerked the rod from my hand. Of course he broke the line almost instantly, but it’s one I won’t soon forget! We ended the day completely satisfied, couple of limits, and a new feather in the cap of our lake repertoire. 

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A selfie after a mind-staggering day of catching fat walleyes on Onaman

And finally! 4 guys, one boat and 5 trophy pike. That was the official tally after a day on Lake Nipigon with Gus, Pasha Lake’s Lake Nipigon official guide. Never in the history of our Trophy Club have we given out 4 Club Hats in one day. That changed last Friday when Justin Alders (Faribault, MN) and his crew landed 5 pike over 40 inches in an afternoon of fishing Lake Nipigion! Congratulations, you guys–you earned it.

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That brings us to yet another weekly report.  Going forward, weather looks great and the fishing action even better!  Keep checking back for updates as we keep on tracking the fishing of the best fishing region in all of Ontario!

Until next time…

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Cabins, Work, and An Important Little Thing Called Fishing

All right, I’m back. The first thing I need to do is thank all of you for your patience and persistence in getting a hold of me. My absence from human contact has been for good reason and I sincerely appreciate everyone’s grace in getting your emails answered and phone calls returned.

As most of our long time guests are aware, we’ve been committed to substantial improvements of Pasha Lake Cabins since we took ownership 10 years ago. To date, we’ve built 2 new cabins, completely renovated and modernized a third cabin, and in the past 5 weeks, we’ve done it again. This spring, we embarked on a journey to completely update the older, worn out cabin #6. The below is a quick update on the what has been happening. 

I arrived at Pasha Lake Cabins in the tail end of April. The 801 was its usual gnarly, pothole-ridden self. When I turned down the driveway, I was greeted by snow banks higher than my truck and a path just wide enough to scrap the outside truck bumpers.

Of course, the lakes were still socked in with ice, but Barry (our handyman of 8 years) had already been hard at work clearing the work site for the impending construction. Once I finally laid eyes on site, I was as anxious as I was excited to get going on the new project.

After some tedious admin work on the building permit, we finally were able to break ground.  On the morning of the official kick off, we awoke to clearing skies and surprising warm weather. In fact, it was perfect working weather. After a quick prayer and asking of God’s blessing on the new project, Barry, new hire Jonathan, and I quickly went to work.

Fast forward to May 28. After a month-long marathon (and sprint I might add), we’ve achieved our goal of having the updated cabin #6 ready to serve guests. Although the interior is drop-dead gorgeous and will wow guests for many years to come, we will continue to work on the exterior as time allows throughout the season.

Some highlights of the new cabin #6 include a jaw dropping, up-close and personal view of Pasha Lake, a 6 foot sliding glass door (which will eventually walk out to a deck), all knotty pine interior, spacious living area, wheel chair accessible hallways and bathroom, oversized shower, concrete countertops, in-floor heat, a 3 season porch, and everything prewired for satellite TV and wireless access to the internet. Here are a couple pictures from the process. 

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With all that, it’s easy to see where my time and focus have been concentrated. It’s been a long road to get here, and we are excited to offer this renovated cabin to our guests. In fact, groups that are in camp this week are all raving about how they want to book it for the 2016 season.  

But aside from all this talk about cabins and work, there is this important little thing we call fishing. And I’m sure most of you are a bit anxious about current conditions. So let’s get to the important stuff.

Last week was brutally cold. In fact, early in the week we woke up to several inches of snow as the lakes were reluctantly letting their last chucks of ice return to liquid form. New Prostaffer, Scott Turner, who arrived on Sunday, was tasked with finding a hot bite somewhere in the bitterness that engulfed us at the time. In fact, Scott wrote up a great report on his adventures.

Also in camp last was new comer Justin Sterns from Michigan. In phone conversations, Justin and I talked at length about his deep desires to catch a “big pike.” But what he reminded me of when he got here is that he is a fly fisherman, not a traditional spinning guy. I was a little skeptical, to say the least, but wanted to see him succeed so I sent his dad, uncle, and him to some of my favorite hot spots for big pike and good numbers. Early in the week, the weather didn’t’t completely cooperate, but after some trial and error, they were able to discover a fly pattern that consistently produced.

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And yes, Justin did land his hog, a 37.5” 14 lb specimen of a local population! What I think is cool about his trip is he did everything on his fly rod. In recent memory, I can’t think of another group that has strictly used fly fishing during their stay.

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By Saturday, May 23, the weather brought more favorable conditions, and with it a new batch of fisherman all eager to hit the water running. Unfortunately, despite all the excitement, someone forgot to invite the walleyes to the party. On Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, most fisherman found a sporadic walleye bite indicating a severe case of lock jaw.  There were some long faces on the fisherman returning for the evening. Many had questions about what to do. But while that was true for most, it wasn’t true for all!

You may remember back to the 2014 opener. Then-new guests John Moser and his two sons (John Jr. and James) were first timers to Pasha Lake. That week they put together fishing experiences that floored most guests in camp. Having never been here before, it was impressive to see these guys operate. Not surprisingly, this year they’ve stepped it up to a whole new level.

When John arrived on Friday, he broke out a pen and paper and asked “where do I need to go?” I rattled off a bunch of lakes, and he tried to write them down as fast as I was talking.  Then, starting Saturday, they started working down his list. And to that end, John and his two boys have managed to fill stringer after stringer of walleye, pike and splake. As I write this, they are on another adventure with the goal of matching a 150 walleye day from the group that was the lake yesterday.

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And then there is Tara and her husband Brent. 2015 marks the first time this couple from Toronto has visited Pasha Lake. They too arrived with excitement and anticipation. And to date, they haven’t been disappointed. Their back road adventures have not only landed them more fish then they’d hoped for, but they also got to experience getting lost in the Canadian bush and wildlife sightings that include multiple bears and moose. But for this couple who don’t have a ton of angling experience, they are having the trip of a lifetime. Their bag limits have include walleye, pike and Brent’s first-ever lake trout.

Nissemkikem-Lake--Pikes Oxaline-Lake-43-Trophy-Northern-Pike-2 Oxaline-Lake-43-Trophy-Northern-Pike-3

To top it off, Tara earned her place in history here at Pasha Lake. She boated a 43” in pike that ceremonially inducted her into the Pasha Lake Thropy Club.  Their trip found them having so much fun that they booked for 2016 and ended up staying an extra day!

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As for the other fisherman in camp this week—well, yesterday they finally turned the corner.  The walleyes started cooperating and I’ve been told of a triple-digit walleye catch and a 31 inch walleye from one of our go-to, premier walleye lakes. Yes, it’s safe to say that the 2015 season is officially underway.

So what’s in store for the first week in June?

Well, not surprisingly, we are due for a little bit of weather in the next 48 hours. After finishing this report, I’m going to gather a couple days’ supply of fire wood and start buttoning down the hatches for the impending rain. It’s only supposed to stick around for a day or so and then we’ll be right back up into the “I can’t believe how nice this weather is” category. We do need the rain, though, as most lakes are very low.

Historically, fishing only gets better from here on out. The walleyes are completely done with the spawn and will be transitioning in concentrated numbers to feeding areas. Warming water in combination with hungry fish is a recipe for tons of smiles and photographs to prove it. We have another week or so of the trophy pike bite on the inland lakes, as well as good trout fishing. Nipigon of course is still brutally cold, so the big pike will be hanging out much longer. Not to mention, the speck bite is through the roof right now. That will be true for at least the next 2–3 weeks.

So there you have it, folks. It’s the explanation of my absence, the introduction to the new cabin #6, and a fishing report all wrapped into one. Now that the interior of the cabin is near completion, I plan on being in touch a lot more. Look for daily pictures and updates as I can get them out. We really appreciate you following the blog and staying in the know on the treasure chest of tips and need-to-know info that is sure to make your next Ontario adventure an incredible success.

It’s here, folks! I am excited. Sit back and buckle in—we have 6 more months of this wonderful time of the best Ontario fishing, fun, and enjoying all God has blessed us with!

Until next time…

scott turner prostaffer

One-Man Walleye Opener Part 2

By Scott Turner

Day 2 was a little bit different than Day 1 of my one-man walleye opener–and that’s putting it mildly. The temperature had dropped about 15 degrees C or about 27 degrees F by my calculations. Oh, and add some winds kicking in at least 25mph. My enthusiasm was taking a hit but I was not going to give up! After talking with Chad about my previous day’s success, he thought it would be wise to follow the same pattern of looking for outflows. Chad gave me some options including going back to the same body of water. I opted for trying something new and seeing some more of the country: another great scenery spot with a beautiful set of rapids.

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As soon as the boat was launched, the rain started and I had a 5 mile ride directly into the wind.  No worries though. I simply pulled the brim of my hat down and made a run for the upstream rapids. Now Chad had told me to hit as much of the bay as I could where the rapids were located at. I did attempt it, but the wind made boat control very difficult. A drift sock would have been perfect in this spot, but I did not bring one along. I knew there had to be fish in this bay because it just looked too good.

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With the success of Day 1, I decided to follow the same pattern that proved itself.  Now normally I would look for a wind-swept point or rock face to fish. This was problematic because the current was relatively strong, and the wind only assisted the pushing around of the boat. Looking at the shoreline, I noticed a point followed by a small bay or indentation in the rock face of about 20 feet.

Water depth was again 10 feet and the current was moving quite slowly, maybe a leisurely walking pace at best. I was able to back troll very easily in that spot and keep my jig vertical. I managed to boat 9 walleye and 8 pike on the outing, only tallying up to about 90 minutes of fishing.  I will admit I did pull the plug early as the weather was getting pretty sour and I had dish pan hands from the rain.

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I hope a trip to Pasha Lake Cabins is in your future, and if it is, be on the lookout for wildlife around every corner. On my short trip I was fortunate to see four bears, a moose, a snowy owl, two sand hill cranes, a red fox, a pair of bald eagles, countless ruff and spruce grouse, and more snow shoe hares than I could count.

moose tracks   rabbit   wildlife

Your adventure can be as mild or wild as you wish. You simply have to tell Chad what you would like to do. There is great fishing on lakes hidden right off the highway to taking his Dream Walleye Trip which I did a few years ago with my oldest daughter then 12.

Looking forward to my next Pasha adventure in August 2015 with my family.

About Scott Turner: I have been married for 18 years to my wife, Tracey, and we have two talented and beautiful daughters, Jessica (15) and Jacqueline (12), as well as Sadie, our German Shorthair Pointer. I am currently the president of the Greater Windsor Track & Field Club which includes 200 youth athletes.

A conservative estimate of the days I spend afield would be in the neighborhood of 200, spread between fishing, hunting and trapping. I would have to say my favorite fish to pursue would be the one that is biting the best! I consider myself a generalist, I fish whatever species I can when I can. I am very excited to be a member of Pasha Lake’s Pro-Staff team. My goal is to fish as many lakes in the region as possible and report back to you. I hope some of my experiences at Pasha Lake Cabins help enhance your next trip or maybe encourages you to come up and try Pasha Lake Cabins for the first time. It’s a trip you will not regret. 

Follow me on Twitter: @turnerscott2009