Quick question: how do you go from having never fished a day in your life to catching 28 inch walleyes, hooking highly sought after (rare!) splake, and snagging toothy pike in mind-boggling numbers? Very simple–just stay a week at Pasha Lake Cabins.
Until Saturday last week, Dave Oplett from Illinois had never fished a day in his life. It’s highly likely he didn’t know what end of the fishing rod to use. That changed last Saturday when his brother Scott (12 year frequent flyer of Pasha Lake Cabins) and he arrived on our door step. I could tell right away Scott was anxious to get his brother on Ontario fish and, more importantly, wanted him to experience why people come back here year after year.
So where do you send a newbie that’s never hooked a fish in his life? Another simple one: Onaman Lake. Within minutes of hitting the water, the brothers started pounding awesome Ontario fish like pop cans. And it didn’t matter what they threw, the walleyes were as aggressive as they’ve been all year. It also didn’t matter what the weather conditions were. Last week’s weather mainly consisted of high skies and no wind. Yet the walleyes were up in the weeds, frequently breaking the mirror like surface in hot pursuit of any tantalizing lure these guys threw. By far, it was the best and most effective way to break in Greenhorn Oplett.
As if that weren’t enough, Scott came to me mid-week asking about splake. It’s a species he’s heard a lot about but never targeted in all his years here. So we checked the weather and picked the best day for the new adventure. It took him a little while to find the lake, and then some trial and error in locating fish. But, once they figured out the fish were close to shore and a simple spinner with half a crawler is all they wanted, it was game on. I don’t think Scott realized how aggressive splake are. He was surprised at the tenacity of even the little ones. Despite hooking more fish than they thought possible, they threw pretty much everything back, not realizing the smaller ones are like eating candy. They did keep a nice 17 incher for table fare.
“A long time.” That’s about the only way to describe the Barry Brubaker and Scott Culver group from Minnesota. These guys have been coming here forever; I think a little bit before dirt was invented. And this year, they brought with them Barry’s brother, Dave, from California. Just like brother Dave Oplett from the stories mentioned above, brother Scott was treated to all the best Pasha Lake has to offer. In a conversation just this morning, Dave was so grateful for the experience of the group. He said fishing with Scott was like having a built-in guide service. Scott has obviously been able to nail down some mad skills during his tenure here–skills he put to good use this past week.
In fact, I have to get a little smile on my face. These guys have a local lake figured out like nobody else. For me, the lake is my personal top 10 list, but for some reason it can be a head scratcher to other guests. That was true again this week after a different group abandoned ship after just a half day trying to figure it out. Less than 24 hours later, Barry, Scott, and the rest of the crew hit pay dirt, fed their crew of 6 a man’s size shore lunch, and had enough left over to contribute handsomely to the weekly fish fry.
Take these guys and put them on Onaman Lake, and have mercy! It’s almost unfair–to the fish that is. Barry likes to call or email me a couple of times prior to their arrival. He wants to make sure their traditional two days of Onaman fishing are reserved well in advance. This year was no exception. Their catches included walleyes of 28’s, 27’s, 26’s and list on. They told me of one 25 inch fish that was as round as it was long. Oh so true of the Onaman walleye!
Four lakers and a trophy 40.5 inch Lake Nipigon Swamp Gator. That was the part of the day’s bag limit after Mike Fry and his two sons spent an afternoon with Gus on the big lake (Lake Nipigon, that is). It seems while everyone else struggled to find the lakers, Gus was able to find the sweet spot yet again. So much so that they had a fish hooked less than a minute after dropping the first cannon ball. Three more into the boat shortly afterward and the Fry crew was very happy. Unfortunately, the required barbless hook regulation challenged the two youngsters; they lost two before Gus could get the net under them. After a few hours of trolling, they headed to shallow water where the trophy pike was landed.
Great weather, even better fishing, happy guests, and continued same for midsummer weeks ahead. As I write this, we are already midweek into another spectacular fishing marathon, and our guests couldn’t be happier. The smiles and the stories at last night’s weekly fish fry said it all!
Headed to the Walleye Dream Trip tomorrow if the weather holds. Happy Canada day for you hardcore “eh” sayers and Happy 4th of July to our U.S. anglers!
Until next time…