Hey everybody, long time no write. I apologize to all the BOF followers out there for my noticeable sabbatical from writing. The season at Pasha Lake was like nothing we’ve ever experienced, requiring all hands on deck to keep up the pace. Between a new cabin renovation, finishing a walk-in cooler, guiding, and bear and moose hunters, it afforded me little time to write. That will change going forward.
That brings me to this blog post. What follows is a season recap where I hope to capture the different happenings, thought processes, and preparation that will help you prepare for 2016. But at the same time, I want to indulge a little on all the wonder of 2015. It was quite the season, and I’m proud to say we helped many guests experience the best northwest Ontario has to offer!
Uncharacteristically warm weather blanketed NW Ontario and the Pasha Lake Region from the end of April through May. For me, it was a doubled-edged sword. On one hand, it allowed us to break ground early on the newly renovated Cabin #6. But on the other hand, I was forced to cancel my annual turkey hunt. I needed every second I could muster devoted to the construction project. Good for the turkeys, bad for me.
For you as the angler, though, it was the opportunity we haven’t seen since 2012, where Rob Sinning and I fished the last 3 days of 2012 walleye season (in April mind you) from boats. (We captured that experience in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4b4qNb5pXXY). This year, around May 7th, the ice began receding to the point we could float a boat. Anglers who braved the frigid water temps–especially on Pasha Lake–were treated to aggressively feeding lake trout. And, although the walleye season was would be closed for another 2 weeks, the pike were coming off their spawn and easily targeted as well.
It was so warm in early May that I remember one night sitting on the deck of what was to become the new Cabin #6 dining room, and being bitten by mosquitoes the size of sparrows. It was very pleasant, except for the bugs of course. It was also a welcome change from the previous 2 years and helped set the tone for the fantastic season ahead.
As the month wore on, walleye season soon opened, but with that the skies turned an ominous gray. Typical to May, the changing temps brought the first rains of the year along with unstable pressure. That forced us to reach for warm clothes and rain gear more often then we would’ve liked. As the lingering rains hung around, what started out as a promising walleye outlook soon turned to frustration and questions. Unless you had experience in your corner, finding marble eye action was tough, even for us veterans of the area.
Looking back, it was the fluctuating water temps that kept us guessing. Early May freed us from the ice with rapidly warming water. But mid-May brought a screeching halt to that, thereby bringing mass discombobulation to a pattern-able walleye bite. I remember being frustrated a lot.
The brook trout fishing, on the other hand, wasn’t nearly as impacted by weather as the walleye bite. Famous Lake Nipigon lived up to its legendary status, producing more and bigger trout than we’d seen in sometime. What’s even better is the red hot bite lasted all summer. That’s something we haven’t seen before. Definitely a welcome surprise.
Just ask Dave and Jeff (Michigan). Dave managed to achieve a lifelong goal when he boated his biggest brook trout ever. Jeff chose to focus on lake trout and discovered something new on a select few shallow reefs. Lakers were in less than 5 feet of water and hammering lures like midsummer large mouth. That’s the first time I remember anyone finding that type of Nipigon laker bite (other than fall) in water less than 10ft.
But as the saying goes in NW Ontario – if you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute or two and it’ll change. Change it did, and as we closed out May, we knew stable weather lay ahead and inevitably the walleyes would go from lazy to hostile on the flip of a switch. It was just a matter of time.
More to come, so until next time…