2015 Season Recap Best Ontario Fishing

Here’s to 2016!

What a year it has been for Pasha Lake Cabins and Best Ontario Fishing! Thanks for all the support in 2015 and for amping up all we are looking forward to in the new year. We couldn’t have done it without your support and enthusiasm, without you reading and sharing our posts, without your love of fishing, Ontario, and the outdoors. You guys rock.

2015 Season Recap - June - Best Ontario Fishing

Fishing at Pasha Lake Cabins

Fishing at Pasha Lake Cabins

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Moose Best Ontario Fishing

2016 is here! Looking forward to all the new adventures and wonderful memories of the little paradise called Pasha Lake Cabins! Stay tuned!

2015 Season Recap - July | Best Ontario Fishing

2015 Season Recap – July

Hands down, July is my favorite time of year. There is so much going on in July. Water temps are peaking at all time highs, bugs are minimal, weather is predictable, the days are long and, July’s most important trait–the walleye fishing–is RED HOT!

2015 was no different. We had a tremendous stabilization in the weather that afforded us days upon days of nothing but blue bird skies, above-average temps. and fishing that, as usual, was second to none. Especially the walleye fishing.

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Take the Famous Walleye Dream Trip for example. Annually, July marks the inaugural voyage of the season. Once midsummer settles in, Lake Nipigion walleyes head to their feeding sanctuaries, schooling up in mind-boggling herds that endlessly gorge themselves day and night. And with water levels a touch below average, the gates at the Ogoki Reservoir were continually diverting water to the basin of lake. In other words, we had uninterrupted access to walleye fishing bliss. Add to that Gus, the 2015 Pasha Lake expert guide, and you have a recipe for memories to be captured for eternity. And in true Gus fashion, he threw in some unexpected trophy pike fishing that delivered in a BIG TIME way.  Countless guests were treated to pike that far exceeded the 40” mark. One guest in particular, Tom Peterson, boated a 45” behemoth of a pike, coming within centimeters of my personal best. I guess 30 years of fishing Nipigon affords Gus a bit of an advantage few of us will experience in this life time.

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Also, remember back to May when I had a little snafu with my arm, forcing an unexpected surgery. That meant light duty for most of the summer. Light duty in July equals time out on the water for this guy! I picked one lake to focus on in my down time, and it paid off handsomely. Just ask my 4 year old daughter Carmyn. On one of our outings together, she hooked, fought, and landed a 29” walleye.  (Just this past weekend she reminded me once again of her achievement.) Quite the experience for a little girl! But what I loved about this lake exploration wasn’t the trophy potential, although it was obviously there. I much more enjoyed the remoteness, and abundant (average) walleye population that produced time and time again. It was a bugger to get to but well worth the efforts. Over the years, I’ve found exploration to be just as rewarding, if not more so, than actually boating the fish.

But I wasn’t the only one having July fishing success. In fact, what I am about to write is somewhat painful, but you’ll understand why I included it in a second. Onaman Lake, as sad as it seems, can experience a slowing midsummer bite. (Qualification: when compared to fishing in the lower 48, I’d take a slow bite on Onaman any day of the week). But this year, I can count on one hand the days guests came back and said they struggled on this walleye fishing factory. One hand, folks! That’s less than 5 fingers!  If there are 180 days of open water fishing on Onaman, that’s less than 3%. I’d hedge that bet anytime! 

2015 Season Recap - July | Best Ontario Fishing

A couple of groups come to mind when talking midsummer Onaman fishing. I’m reminded of the “Larrys”. They visited us during the 4th week in July, a time that traditionally can cause some anxiety with the active bite. But day after day, the boated record numbers of big walleyes like it was post spawn feeding time. In fact, they were so excited about the bite, they fished Onaman almost every day of their visit. We even had groups test the night bite. The Ojanen camping crew from Clouquet, MN, opted to stay out until 3am. Crazy as it sounds, they landed big numbers up until dark, and then things suddenly shut off. Making sure their theory wasn’t a fluke, they tried again later in the week with the same results. I guess the Onaman walleyes have to stop feeding at some point!

Want in a little known NW Ontario secret? The lake trout fishing in mid-July is often the best of the season. Water temps have maxed out which forces lakes to stratify. I’m no hydrologist, but fortunately I don’t have to be to know that when lakes layer, lakers will be concentrated around that 50 degree water mark. On some lakes, that could be 30ft down, on others 60ft. Regardless, if you can get your lure in that prime feeding zone, they’ll hit it like a lion taking down a gazelle. Long time guests Jonny Fickert and his dad know this all too well. That’s why they opt for a mid July trip year in and year out.

2015 Season Recap - July | Best Ontario Fishing

As sad as it is for this guy, July too must come to an end. When that happens, there is one thing I look forward to about as much as July fishing. My Christmas come early if you will? August, here we come!

Remember to always give more than you take, and until next time… 

2015 Season Recap - June - Best Ontario Fishing

2015 Season Recap – June

Recalling early June, I remember cool May rains bleeding well into the first weeks of the month. In a typical year, we welcome longer days and warmer weather, but this year was super slow to change. It was a stark contradiction to how May started. In one sense, it was great because it kept the bug hatch in check. Unfortunately, though, it also made for some, let’s say, chilly fishing conditions for those with opposite hopes. 

2015 Season Recap - June - Best Ontario Fishing

One lake in particular posed a big challenge. Historically it’s been a good early walleye bite. Its massive size and deep structures have always been a personal favorite of mine. And you never know what you’re setting the hook on–be it a walleye, laker, perch or patrolling northern pike. Big lakes also produce big fish, so there’s always that lingering possibility.

But this year, early June guests struggled on this usually go-to heavy hitter. Recalling my theory from late May, I think the fast warming then cooling water temps kept the fish from their usual post spawn feeding routine. In fact, and not unusual, guests were catching walleyes still milting from the spawn. However the same size males caught in different locations had been dry for awhile, evidenced by their healed underside. Now that was unusual.

Our regulars, however, knew it was just a matter of time. In the past, I’ve described it as the “light switch” scenario. When it seems like the bite will never pick up and weather is doomed to eternal sourness, BOOM! It happens. The skies clear and what might’ve been a dismal bite 24 hours ago instantly turns into fishing ecstasy. Walleyes go from motionless, lock-jaw vegans to furious, blood thirsty, carnivore-eating beasts. No matter what you throw or where you fish (within reason of course), the post-spawn feeding frenzy comes alive. It’s cool, and if timed right, will be some of the best walleye fishing of the season.

2015 Season Recap - June - Best Ontario Fishing

Year after year, that fact is echoed in the famous Onaman Lake. On some level, you’d think I’d build up a tolerance to this prolific body of water, but it has yet to happen. For me, Christmas come early is June 1st, when this astounding walleye factory opens to angling. And true to form, this year was one for the record books. Time and time again, angler after unsuspecting angler came back with what I now call “the look” – they’ve been Onaman’ed! It’s a term I’ve coined to explain the look on someone’s face after spending the day there. It’s a cross between permagrin and sheer terror sprinkled with genuine amazement. Think of someone finding out they won the 10 million dollar Powerball while sitting in Sunday mass. It’s reserved, but an unmistakable look of pure elation. 

Speaking of Onaman, I am thoroughly convinced this body of water is the PREMIERE walleye destination of Ontario, if not Canada. It’s simply a factory for producing big, ferocious, fighting walleyes. Man I love that lake!

Another neat phenomenon that occurred this year involved aggressively feeding brook trout that was, in a sense, timeless. On a typical year I encourage trout anglers to plan their trips from May to the first week in June. It’s a time when the trout are shallow and with increasing water temps, they feed heavily.  A nice bonus to the early bite is where you find one, more are sure to follow. While true to form for 2015, the opportunity to fish these magnificent specimens ended up lasting all summer. That’s pretty surprising and very uncommon. I know of one guest that fishes Nipigon every weekend. He too was surprised by the all-season bite and took full advantage of it. He boated some impressive midsummer specks, a feat not historically achievable. 

2015 Season Recap - June - Best Ontario Fishing

Did somebody say trophy Canadian pike? Michelle orders 2 dozen Pasha Lake Trophy Club Hats every year. For those of you not familiar with the club, we give a free hat to anglers who catch, photograph and release trophy fish. By late June, I had Michelle place an emergency hat order with our supplier. People had boated so many big pike, we were down to our last 2 hats. 

Evidently the lingering cool water, while frustrating for some walleye anglers, kept the big pike catchable as ever. Customarily, June water makes conditions uncomfortable for shallow pike. This year, they were able to hang out a bit longer, affording our guests paparazzi opportunities typically reserved for “A list” movie stars.

2015 Season Recap - June - Best Ontario Fishing

But every good June must come to end. For me, that means my favorite time of year was just around the corner….

(Introducing my new and improved sign off) – Always be sure to give more than you take. Until next time…

One Man's Trophy Best Ontario Fishing

One Man’s Trophy

By Scott Turner

Over the last few months, there has been a lot of controversy regarding “trophy hunting.” Please don’t get me wrong, this is not meant to be a political, moral or ethical lecture. My thoughts are more of observation and self-reflection.

I do admit every time I reel up a fish I get excited like a little kid. When I pull up on game I feel the adrenaline rushing.

But what defines a trophy? Is it a fish hitting the mark on a tape measure? Points on a rack? Weight showing on a scale? Maybe it is–or maybe that is just the way things in life are measured.

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Jackie’s walleye

My last trip to Pasha Lake Cabins got me thinking a little bit. Bear season at Pasha was in full swing as we arrived during the second week of hunting. I had asked Chad how the previous week’s hunters had faired.  18 for 19 was his response–that is simply incredible! By the end of our stay, 3 of the current hunters had passed on bears but were satisfied with their hunt. They had more than one opportunity to harvest a bear, but decided to wait for “their bear.”

I also saw a couple of bears brought into camp that were not what some would consider “trophy bears.”

This is where, as outdoorsmen/women, I think we might be missing the big picture. The hunters that came in with these under 300 lb bears (just throwing that number out there) where ecstatic about their harvest.  Other hunters and anglers shared in their happiness and accomplishment. This is the way it should be, as those hunters harvested “their bear.”

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Bonding time in the boat.

Be excited with every fish you catch. Feel good about any animal you harvest this fall. It’s not about the size of the quarry, but the respect you have towards the animal. It’s about the memories you make. It’s about the relationships you strengthen with the ones you care for. It’s about sharing the experience.

In my mind they are all trophies.

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Chloe’s 4-inch walleye

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

Buck Sparring at the Maple House Best Ontario Fishing

Buck Sparring at the Maple House

It was Monday, early November 2015. The prolonged warm weather allowed me more time than usually to get everything battened down for the upcoming winter. If fact, I just helped the septic guy pump our tanks when I settled in for what was to be just another day in the office. It was shortly after 10am when all heck broke loose.

Not more than 10 minutes into my work, I was startled by what literally sounded like a bulldozer moving earth in the heavy woods near our house. I’m not exaggerating! It was as loud and intimating as anything I’ve ever heard in the outdoors. It had my FULL attention.

I grabbed the camera, and as a backup the 7mm mag, and cautiously walked to the wood line to see what the heck was going on. I remember briefly thinking a wolf or bear must’ve taken down a beef cow.

As I walked 10 feet or so into the woods, out of the river bottom came a forkhorn buck. He looked like death warmed over. He was to the point of hyperventilating and could barely hold up his head. And while he was curious about me, he certainly kept a watchful eye on whatever was lingering deeper into the woods. Shortly after, he sauntered off in that direction. 

Realizing I was safe, I returned to the house where I swapped the rifle for the crossbow. In the excitement, I set down the camera and didn’t realize I’d forgotten it until I was about 100 yards into the thick woods. I wasn’t going back to get it.

What happened next was right out of the cool category. I unintentionally walked into a sparring match between a fork horn buck and a massive 10-pointer. Although the smaller racked deer had an impressive body, he paled in comparison to his jousting partner. Still, both animals had necks so swollen they looked like they could be lineman for the Green Bay Packers. Whether or not they knew I was there remains a mystery, although they soon separated as I got to within ear shot of their contest. The forker went to my left, and the 10-point crossed the river bottom and silhouetted himself on the far side.   

In the past, I had seen young bucks in playful exchanges, but nothing that looked or sounded as serious as this. My heart was racing, but I knew I had experience, the wind, and a whole lot of time on my side. I hunkered in tight next to a fallen tree and watched and listened. 

The woods were eerily quiet. No birds singing, no red squirrels chirping, and no bugs annoying me. As I gained control of my breathing, I remember closing my eyes and purposefully soaking in everything that just happened. But as I did that, I heard the unmistakable grunt of a buck needing some attention. I approximated his location and stood up to get closer, and at the same time, the 10-point bolted from a hide. Apparently he’d heard the forker too and was on his way to get another piece of the action.

Thinking the gig might be up, I opted to grab another stump and cob a squat. It seemed like eternity until I heard some leaves rustle. Soon I heard the distinctive crunch crunch of hooves crushing leaves that lay on the forest floor. It was easy to tell a deer was closing in on my location. Not long after, the forkhorn passed within 15 feet of me, his full attention on the far side of the river bank. As fast as he’d come by me, he crossed the river and he too was on the far side.

As I strained to keep eyes on the forkhorn, off to my left I caught a glimpse of a deer jumping over a dead fall. It was the 10-pointer, and he was hot on the trail of the forker who obviously wasn’t welcome in the area. All I could do was sit there and watch as the massive buck used the dense cover to weave in and out of possible shooting lanes. It was like he knew where and where not to step. He was cunning, yet very bold. And just like that, the two bucks disappeared. 

As I returned to the house, I was filled with excitement and rejuvenation to the point I was unable to work. I could not believe what just happened–my mind in a perpetual loop, strategizing on how I want to kill that big buck. Historically, I’m not an archery hunter, but this incident has left me questioning that train of thought. 

Now I have a choice. Dust off my bow and get back in the game, knowing full well that buck will likely be back. Or do I risk losing the opportunity to harvest my biggest buck ever, pinning my hopes to the upcoming Wisconsin gun opener, still a solid 2 weeks away?

Writing is on the wall folks. I’ve frantically searched the internet looking for information on buck sparring–specifically, if they’ll fight in the same locations time and time again. I also have found myself with renewed interest in hunting deer in Wisconsin, an opportunity I’ve overlooked for far too long.

Until next time!

Moose Best Ontario Fishing

Moose!

Check out the majesty of this big guy.

This is the kind of amazing outdoor wildlife action you’ll see in Ontario, folks.

Some great Pasha Lake moose right there (photos captured by Wade Boardman).

Come see it for yourself! All of Ontario awaits you–but Pasha Lake Cabins is your go-to destination.

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Until next time…

 

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Total Family Experience

By Scott Turner

It is beyond true that Pasha Lake Cabins has some of the best fishing and hunting adventures imaginable. I think anyone who has made the trip there would have to agree. With that in mind, though, if your family is anything like mine, not everyone in your clan may want to fish or hunt everyday.

Our family trip in late August found us traveling west to Thunder Bay midweek of our stay. So with a little internet research and a conversation with Michelle, we planned our day trip activities. (As a side note, these quick little adventures we went on would make great spots to stop at on your way to or from Pasha Lake Cabins as well).

Our first stop was Eagle Canyon Adventures which is about 90 minutes from Pasha. Eagle Canyon offers three great attractions: two suspension bridges over 300 feet in length, Canada’s longest zip line, and absolute fantastic views. You can stay as long as you want and cross the bridges as often as you would like. There are plenty of picnic tables, clean restrooms, and not many people.

And if anyone has a fear of heights similar to my wife Tracey, this may be your opportunity to conquer it!

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Our next stop was Panoramic Amethyst Mine which Michelle highly recommended. Once we arrived, I could see why. With a modest entrance fee of $8, you have access to view the mine and take a brief but very informative tour. The gift shop features jewelry, as well as polished and carved stones at reasonable prices. The mine also sells garden to nearly boulder sizes of rock containing the purple gem.

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Now here comes the fun part–the mine dumps tons of overburden over a large area and you and the kids can “mine” your own Amethyst for $3 a pound.

As per our tour guide a pound of Amethyst is equal to a very large handful. The gems can be found on top as well as below the surface, and they are plentiful and very easy to find (just like the walleye at Pasha!)

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Our final stop was the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope Memorial (also doubles as a rest stop) just west of Thunder Bay and less than a minute off the highway. I would highly recommend everyone to stop for a moment at this very tasteful tribute to one Canada’s greatest citizens. Terry Fox lost a leg to cancer at the age of 18 but never gave up his hope of helping others.

At the age of 21 Terry began his Marathon of Hope. Terry ran a marathon almost every day from April 20, 1980, to September 1, 1980. This feat lasted for 143 days and 5373 km. These marathons took him from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to almost Thunder Bay. Terry had planned on running across Canada but his cancer came back and could continue no further. Terry passed away on June 28, 1981, at only 22 years old. Terry’s legacy continues today, and to date, the foundation that honors him has raised over $650 million towards cancer research. The view alone makes this a good pit stop, but Fox’s legacy and his memorial will leave you awestruck.

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Whether you make a day of these side trips or use them as breaks on your ride, I would highly recommend any of them to enhance your overall experience to Ontario’s North West and Pasha Lake Cabins.

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

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Not a Bust

By Scott Turner

A few weeks back, I asked my 15 year old daughter, Jessica, “How many fish do you want to catch when we go to Pasha?”

Her response: “100.”

“So, 15 a day Jessica?“

She quickly replied back, “That’s not very many for up there!”

We both had a laugh and carried on our business.

Well, after watching the rain for the better part of the first day at Pasha Lake, Jessica, her friend Chloe, and I thought we should give it a try around 3 o’clock. Jacqueline, my youngest at almost 13, decided to stay dry along with my wife, Tracey, back at the cabin. A fairly persistent drizzle was still happening, so we opted to head to a little “boat in” gem right out Pasha’s back door step. I had been to this spot a couple of years ago so I was pretty excited to get back there again.

With a short portage into this little back lake and armed with our Panther Martin spinners, we were ready for the hot action I had encountered there before. Now what do I mean by hot action? I would estimate I averaged about a bite every third cast. Our quarry was to be the brook trout–not monsters like you find on Lake Nipigon, but quantity was almost assured.

Famous last words? “Assured.”

I guess it should have been more like never count your chickens… you get the idea. After 2 hours of fishing we had amassed 6 trout in the boat. Now don’t get me wrong–we missed quite a few fish that we had some chances with. However, many of us would count this outing a bust.

The girls where getting cold and wanted to head back to the warmth of the cabin. I didn’t want to push the envelope with them by staying out in the elements, so we headed back.

After dinner, the weather broke. I spoke to Chad and we thought I should take another shot at it. I had seen a couple of nice fish rising on our first venture so I had to give it a second chance.

I was just about to push off when a young man named CJ (Chad & Michelle’s oldest) ran up and asked if I was going to fish because “he does some guiding on Pasha Lake.”  I told him I was going to a different lake, but I asked for a couple of points on Pasha which he was more than happy to offer. When I informed CJ where I was heading off to, he told me he had never fished it before and asked if he could come with me. I said of course but he would have to ask his parents first–I was happy to have the company.

I have to say I have not seen a kid move that fast in quite a while!  Within minutes CJ was running towards me at full tilt, fishing pole in hand, and his life jacket ready.

The result, one brook trout caught by my new buddy CJ! I think the changing pressure was just too much for the brookies at this point.

When we were heading back CJ said something that really stuck with me “thanks for taking me, I had a really good time.”

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Now this may be easy to say or sound like a cover up because we didn’t catch a lot, but these three kids actually had a good time not catching that many fish. My daughter and Chloe were laughing with or at each other most of the time they were in the boat. As a bonus Chloe, caught her first ever brook trout and could not believe how beautiful they actually are.

CJ had the opportunity to tell an adult about the sports he plays, the fish he has caught, and his plans to bring his brother back to this spot. The boys cleaned up on the trout later during the week. CJ and I heard wolves calling and a moose crashing through the bush so loud it sounded like a bulldozer.

I have definitely caught more fish on other Pasha Lake Cabins adventures, but I didn’t really mind because we all had a really good time! The time is worth it, everyone. The adventure is more than worth it. Get out and take a kid fishing.

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

 

Bear harvest at Pasha Lake Cabins

Unbelievable Bear Harvest and Amazing End-of-Summer Fishing

Bittersweet. That’s about the only way to describe this time of year. As I type this, Michelle is packing up the van and loading the kiddos. Hard to believe, but it’s that time of year. The end of summer is here, school starts Tuesday, and the Thompson family is once again spread out over two countries–the US and Canada.

With this blog post, there are SO many things I want to update everyone on, from jaw-dropping fishing adventures to close-in counters of the black bear kind and everything in between. In fact, the last 3 weeks have got to be some of the most memorable our guests have ever experienced. That’s quite a bold statement considering Pasha Lake’s history of remarkable fishing and hunting.

A quick glace in the Pasha Lake reservation book and I am reminded of those unforgettable stories.  Allow me to touch on a few.

Gary Ellefson (Ashland,WI) – First time guests, now life time guests.  Walleye fishing that knocked everyone’s socks off and made them anxious for next year.

Wayne Miller – “We’ve never caught so many walleyes” – statements uttered almost daily as they returned from their adventures.  Wayne and his crew have been coming to Pasha 10 plus years. 

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Justin Mcmillion – Two years in a row he’s downed a black bear the first night in the stand.  This year he bagged a beautiful 250 lb boar.

Austin and Rob Sinning – Coming here since Austin was 7 years old, this father/son teamed up to bag his second black bear in as many years. Austin’s 2015 boar tipped the scales at 230.

Austin Sinning

Brian and Torri Skaggs – Brian comes here multiple times a year.  This hunting season he brought his daughter Torri (a fanatical hunter in her own right) on her first black bear hunt. They downed one of the biggest bears of the year, a brute of a boar at 330 lbs.

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Pat and Conner Lalonde – Don’t let Conner’s age of 11 years fool you; his passion for fishing trumps most of us adults. He and Grandpa Pat were a dynamic dual to watch as they slayed fish daily. Conner’s favorite lake? Onaman, of course!

Chad Levos and Brian Hanke – Bear hunting at Pasha for the 7th straight year, these long time buddies nailed two gorgeous black bears on the same night, within minutes of each other.  Brian’s harvest stands as the biggest to date (350lbs) and Chad’s not too far behind (305lbs).

chad brian levos hanke

Chris and Zac Prickett – Yet another father and son team. Both killed their bears on the same night within hours of each other. After filling their bear tags, they spent the day on the Walleye Dream Trip and added 3 northerns to their trophy collection. To top it off, Chris and Linda celebrated their wedding anniversary and her birthday during their week. How cool is that??

Troy Winchell & Tommy Kruger – Hunting with us every other year. They did it again in 2015 and spent their rest of time using their 4 wheelers to access some remote, world class fishing.

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Joseph McGuffey – “All my dad wants to do is catch a big northern” — and that’s exactly what happened. All 43 inches of a big northern. Congrats, guys!

Jim Jechorek – Between him and buddy Dave, their fish counter rolled past 850 walleyes for the week. Folks, that’s not a typo. 850! Wow!

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Kurt Bill — who, in 2014, spent a whopping 45 hours in a stand without seeing a bear, nailed his first-ever this year within the first hour of his hunt – 270lbs boar. Good things do come to those who wait.

Norman Huges – First time bear hunter who had a bear come within 3 feet of his ground blind. He literally had to push the fabric down on the window to get a shot. The bear piled up so close he could reach out and touch it from his seat.

Norman-Huges

And finally, Brian Kofal – his annual comments are copied here directly from his email:

Summary of the week

Saturday evening

– 30-40 walleye, biggest was 24.5” 

We could have caught more, but left two boats working on fish for dinner while we went looking for larger fish

Sunday

Onaman 150+ walleyes between the boats

Our boat had over 80 when I stopped wasting time on the clicker and we still fished for 2.5 more hours

Largest fish in our boat was a 25.5” an extremely thick walleye which was followed up with a 25” deep golden walleye. That was my cousin Jeff’s personal best.

Most of the fish were in 4-7 feet of water on the wind-blown side of the lake

The other two boats caught a pile of fish as well

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Monday

We split up between two different lakes

The group that I was with caught around 50 walleyes between the two boats.  We had the wind switch out of the North and the fishing was tough. We could catch 3-4 fish in a spot and had to move to the next spot. Largest of the day was a 24.5” walleye.

The other group had a good adventure and experienced similar fishing once the wind switched.

Tuesday

We split between two different lakes

The group I was with went to Onaman…  All I can say is wow. It was crazy…

My dad and his friend were with and we dropped them on the point we had luck on Sunday that was a little out of the wind. We proceeded out into the bigger part of the lake and started fishing on a point in the wind.  The waves were large enough to splash over the boat and the only way I could control the boat was to back troll, which just allowed the boat to fill faster (we could fish for about 30 minutes before we had everything in the boat floating and had to take a spin to drain the boat).  We kept fishing because it was crazy…  On that one point we caught over 70 fish with a couple dozen in the 24-25” range… The biggest was a thick 26” fish.  We fished 3 other spots on the lake and ended the day with over 100 in our boat.  Now back to my dad and his friend…  They ended the day with around 60 walleye in the boat, so also a pretty solid day. They ended up with 9 walleye over 26” for the day and 3 right at the 27” mark. That is some big fish.

The other group took a more relaxed day and went up to some falls for an amazing shore lunch spot with two waterfalls as the backdrop…  They caught a pile of walleyes, with the highlight of the day being a 28” incredibly thick walleye coming in the backwater below the falls in 5 feet of water.

Wednesday

We split between two different groups again

My dad and his friend went on the River Trip with Gus and had a great time. Too many walleyes to count at the River and finished the day going after some pike. My dad’s friend Ron ended up catching a 40+” pike to join the trophy club.

We took three boats up north for the day and had a great trip!  I don’t even know how many walleyes we caught that day, but it was a pile…  The size averaged around 19.5-20.5 inches with a bunch in the 22-23” range.

Thursday

Back to Onaman for some more fishing

The lake was calm for the first time, so we had access to any spot on the lake and started fishing on some of the water that was inaccessible the previous trips. Between the three boats, we had to pull in over 200 walleye with the largest a 27.5” pig caught by an eleven year old…  You couldn’t wipe the smile from his face!!  My cousin caught the biggest walleye of his life as well a 26” really thick walleye (he actually caught his personal best 4 different times over the course of the week). The day was ridiculous and was a little difficult to operate the boat when we had 3 fish on at the same time numerous times throughout the day.

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Friday

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We ended up on ———- for the day and caught a pile of fish. We left numerous points looking for bigger fish despite the constant fish on the end of the line…  Best fish of the day was a very thick 24.5” walleye. The best catch might have been the 24” blue walleye that Jeff caught in the morning (very pretty fish). On that day, we caught walleye in 3’ of water all the way out to 28” of water…  All that we had to do was find the structure and there were fish.

I am absolutely floored by the events of the past few weeks.  It has been unreal, and a blessing like no other. Congratulations to all those people and the ones not mentioned, we are truly honored to be part of your awesome experiences. 

But, don’t go away just yet folks.  We are staring down the gun barrel of a spectacular fall season.  Archery moose opens in two weeks.  The wolf hunters arrive around the same time and did I mention fall fishing?  Some of the best angling opportunities of the year are still to come.  Stay tuned and of course

Until next time…. 

Chad

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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…