Think about planning a fly-in fishing journey for walleyes and northern pike then discovering that not one, however two of this province's premiere fishing lodges are positioned on that very lake. Moreover, indulge within the fantasy that each of these full-services lodges have made a dedication to offering your fishing get together with a memorable, enjoyable, trouble-free angling trip on a little-known, top-rated wilderness lake. Yeah, proper. Cannot be, you say. Confirm this knowledge at Nagagami Lake.
Huge Nagagami Lake first drew my consideration a number of years in the past as we drve north of White River on freeway # 631 towards Nagagamisis Provincial Park. Contemplating its sheer dimension, relative isolation and abundance to Hornepayne's many air companies I believe it might need some potential for fishing. However, it was not till March '90 on the Toronto Sportsmen's Present that two very respected fishing lodges - Nagagami Lodge and Timberwolf Lodge - had been related to the lake. Thereupon, like an association of dominoes, every thing systematically fell into place and earlier than the present ended, an August reserving was mine. And, as a way to get a broad view of Liddle's 2-lodge Nagagami Lake operation, the journey would see us cut up our time and fishing between the 2 camps. Dave Sauve, Ontario Fisherman discipline editor and an everyday fishing sidekick, eagerly agreed to accompany me on this quite distinctive angling journey.
Nagagami Lake, positioned roughly 15 air miles north of Hornepayne, is a medium-sized, kidney-shaped lake measuring eight miles in size and a couple of to four miles in width. The lake reveals three distinct areas - the jap basin, a shallow (20 to 40 ft.), Easy-bottomed space; the western basin, a deer (10 to 90 ft.), irregularly contoured space with islands, rocky shoreline, shoals; an extended, slender, deep (10 to 70 ft.) northerly arm. In contrast to many giant, various lakes, Nagagami Lake has glorious angling in all three areas: significantly for walleyes and northern pike (though there's a wholesome whitefish inhabitants and a few perch within the lake).
The lake is most uncommon in that, within the giant jap basin, a really slender however productive weedline may be discovered far offshore the place the lake backside falls from eight to 12 toes. As a result of it's properly out within the lake and never steady, discovering it turns into on of the keys to the lake's nice pike fishing. Extra on that later! The water is stained from the ever current tannins leaching into the lake from surrounding timber and soils. The lake warms up early for this a part of the North and due to its dimension, can get very tough when the wind blows. There are few boating hazards in the principle lake, besides alongside the rugged north-arm shoreline and amongst the island clusters. Remoted hazards are marked by the lodge workers and have been rigorously pinpointed on a really detailed, hydro-contour map of Nagagami Lake produced by the lodges for his or her friends. Key fishing areas are highlighted.
Additionally accessible (by way of brief, simple portages) are two small lakes: Hiawatha and Pody. Each provide glorious walleye and pike fishing. At Pody Lake, a catch & launch lake, monster northerners and bigger than common walleyes are caught repeatedly.
With numerous water, various structural components and several other incoming & outgoing main rivers, Nagagami is a walleye manufacturing facility. And, as a result of a number of lodges and camps function on the massive lake, a river mouth sanctuary coverage is in impact on the Foch and Obakamiga ("Buck") Rivers till mid-June. Walleyes are discovered all through the lake: in present rivers at river websites, alongside weedlines and within the bigger weedbeds, off islands and factors over gravel bottoms, and on mid-lake constructions together with a number of basic shoals, humps, sunken islands, drop-offs and bars.
As advised earlier, the spring walleye fishery focuses on post-spawn (male) fish, close to river outflows. It's not uncommon to see a pack of boats in a small space with all anglers catching limits of walleyes and releasing many fish. Springtime is minnow time and Nagagami is a "minnow lake" all season lengthy. To guard the lake, minnows are rigorously collected and sorted earlier than being flown into the camps for fishing. Rigged on small snelled hooks, live-bait rigs or tiny jigs, minnows are fished on the mouths of rivers the place deer areas have been created by the present or alongside present breaks / eddies. Different productive springtime / early summer time walleye areas embody the island group out from Pody Creek, an space designated "The Flats" and the higher portion of the out-flowing Nagagami River (as far downstream as Moose Lake).
Summer time walleyes are extensively scattered and predictable, low-light feeders. Three approaches are generally utilized by Nagagami & Timberwolf Lodge friends: stillfishing minnows, backtrolling with live-bait rigs, and jigging. Customary, ahead trolling with wobbling plugs or physique baits is sort of unprecedented right here.
For each skilled anglers and vacationing households with youngsters at Nagagami Lodge, stillfishing minnows was a preferred and efficient approach. Whether or not anglers positioned themselves out from a weedline or weedbed, alongside a dropoff that fell to 20 or 30 foot depths or atop the sunken islands and shoals, limits of great-eating walleyes within the 1 to three pound vary had been the rule-day after day . Greatest occasions included the early morning hours, however the twilight occasions had been tops. Daytime fishing was given over to pike. Dave and I took loads of kidding about our fishing off the dock at evening with floats / bobbers. That's OK. Every evening with out fail (about 10:30) we'd slip right down to the camp dock and catch Three or four good walleye for breakfast. By 1:00 or so we'd put our fish and had been having fun with no-less-than-spectacular shows of shimmering Northern Lights. These evenings could have been probably the most pleasant I spent all summer time; they definitely had been unforgettable! Get a second opinion - ask Dave!
Each Mike Bauer and Ron Dunn, managers of the 2 lodges, efficient fished walleyes the identical method: back-trolling throughout mid-lake shoals with live-bait rigs dressed with minnows. For this strategy a depthfinder / flasher / graph is a should for finding the construction after which systematically working the bait rig up and down it till fish are contacted. Favourite spots included a big, marked shoal northeast of the Twin Islands, the "Banana Shoal" past that, and remoted humps in the principle lake basin together with one off Chuck's Level and one other within the mid of the lake's jap basin. The latter spot is hard to find. Mike put us onto it in a driving rain one morning. S ure that he was "testing our resolve and mettle", we dutifully backtrolled this spot in the course of nowhere. Bingo-several bigger walleyes! Touche, Mike, however couldn't it have waited?
Though live-bait fishing is the norm at Nagagami, jigging accounts for glorious catches of "yellows". Location is the important thing to profitable jigging: over shoals / humps / sunken islands or alongside weedlines and dropoffs. Any important change in depth, backside content material or cowl will entice and maintain walleyes, particularly throughout feeding durations. For Nagagami Lake walleyes, pink, white and yellow jigs within the 1/eight to 1/four ounce sizes are really helpful with pink getting the nod most occasions. Tipped with a small piece of worm or a vigorous minnow, jigs must be forged and labored down ledges and humps, jigged in brief hops off deeper bottoms or forged and retrieved steadily over shallow (6 to 10 toes) bars. On our sidetrip to Hiawatha Lake, drifting a jig & worm combo proved the undoing of scores of walleyes. Our greatest catches (huge fish) got here off the pinnacle of the Banana Shoal the place we rigorously positioned and marked a "chew" out of an in any other case common edge. Everytime we drifted to that spot we picked up fish, together with the three largest fish of our keep and the biggest caught at camp that week. A tiny "one thing particular" spot.
Don't overlook weedbeds and weedlines pretty much as good spots for walleyes. One get together at camp ceremoniously positioned, marked and fished a weedline at The Meadows and persistently caught limits of better-than-average walleyes. Fish had been proper in there, on the base of the weeds in the one cowl in that a part of the lake. To get these fish, baits needed to get proper in, amidst the stems and stalks; generally solely to be grabbed first by Nagagami's opportunistic pike. Hey, that's OK, too!
Whereas at Nagagami, don't move up the unbelievable shore lunch fish fries placed on at midweek by Nagagami Lodge and each day (climate allowing) by Timberwolf Lodge workers on the Twin Islands. The nice outdoor, good associates and a scorching shore lunch - "It doesn't get any higher than this"!
Throughout our keep at Nagagami, one factor grew to become abundantly clear: pike fishing was given excessive precedence by visiting anglers, particularly "repeaters" who weren't solely aware of the lake's pike hotspots, but in addition very a lot conscious of the potential for a mammoth northern pike -fish within the 20 to 30 pound vary. Actually, whereas having dinner at Timberwolf Lodge one night, one of many "regulars" made a degree of coming over to us and displaying us photos of previous catches of big Nagagami pike. This was prompted, little doubt, by her pleasure over having simply caught an impressive 44-inch, 20-plus pound pike at The Meadows, an intensive weedy space off the Nagagami River outlet. Not an unusual fish out of Nagagami Lake; unusual nearly in all places else.
As a result of pike, like walleyes, are predatory fish, their seasonal actions and feeding habits usually parallel these of walleye. Fairly often, the place walleyes are completed, huge pike are caught, even on the identical baits. Resultantly, Nagagami northerners are fished with dwell baits early and late within the season and with synthetic baits or lures by means of the warm-water months.
Come spring, pike are the lake's first spawners and most aggressive fish. Instantly after the spawn, pike will start taking live-bait choices at typical springtime websites: weedy again bays and creek / river outflows. High spots at Nagagami Lake embody the Pody Creek space and a channel close by appropriately dubbed "Pike Alley". Giant dwell baitfish, particularly suckers, repeatedly produce the biggest pike within the early season, though occasional monsters might be eaten by walleye fishermen, too.
As soon as the water wars, pike will scatter huge by means of the lake-to weedbeds / weedlines, shoals, present flows and deep-water basins - the place their forage, oxygen and temperature necessities are met. It's at the moment that fish begin chasing down bigger, faster-moving baits - eg spinners, spoons, bass spinnerbaits, bucktails and jerkbaits. At Nagagami, this era places fish within the weeds and anglers searching for the lake's unusual offshore weedlines. As soon as discovered, these weedlines persistently produce numerous wholesome northerns: fish averaging 5 to eight kilos. Each our hosts knew these weedlines properly and unerringly saved us close to them and "on pike". Ron is a diehard pike fanatic and spoke continuously of the lake's bigger northerners: historic catches, fish hooked and misplaced, the season's greatest, the lake's potential for a 50-inch, 30-pound gator!
The 44-inch fish talked about earlier was cooked on a bass spinnerbait, but we took our greatest pike on spoons and spinners. Nonetheless, Ron insured that, should you had been to fish strictly for a trophy, a jerkbait labored over and close to the weeds can be the most efficient lure. To make sure, he had a set of those picket freaks - baits within the 7 to 9-inch vary labored greatest. Oh certain, he had a few "baseball bats" in there, too. Confirmed decisions at Nagagami Lake embody Suicks, Teddy Baits, Reef Hawgs and Hello-Fin Foolers. Casting and dealing these baits is tough work, so should you troll strive a Believer, Swimm Whizz, Magnum Rapala or enormous, jointed Kwikfish. Make it possible for your tools can deal with this type of sort out and pressure earlier than experiencing a day of frustration or worse, shedding the fish of a lifetime.
As said a second in the past, Dave and I efficiently pitched # four or 5 Mepps Agilia Lengthy / Big Killer spinners and enormous spoons (Daredevle, 5 Diamonds) to the lake's weed-oriented pike. By merely shifting across the perimeter of the jap basin, fishing the intermittent weedline, we loved fast-paced motion by means of the afternoon. When fishing pike like this, please equip your self with correct instruments for extractingly made baites from cavernous, toothy mouths - a "gag" to carry the fish's mouth open, long-reach hookouts, pliers or cutters. The cautious and fast elimination of hooks and instant boats resuscitation will insure a profitable launch of fish not meant for the dinner desk. Smart catch and launch is an artwork kind as a lot as it's a science.
Two different areas deserve particular recognition in the case of Nagagami pike fishing: The Meadows and Pike Alley. With present flows and abundance of weed cowl, these areas persistently produce numerous pike in addition to trophy-status fish. Bass spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, spinners, spoons and bucktails will get loads of consideration from huge, aggressive northerns. Cling on!
Though many northern lakes have very wholesome whitefish populations, they're just about underfished. At Nagagami Lake throughout late August by means of mid-September, whitefish motion is excellent and the lodges provide a steady smokehouse service to their clientele. Smoked whitefish makes for nice consuming, retains properly and will increase every angler's authorized "hold". With beneficiant limits and controlled dip netting practices to complement angling, "whitefish-ing" must be added to the itinerary for late-season friends at Nagagami and Timberwolf Lodges.
Positioned on the northern arm of Nagagami Lake, this 2-star housekeeping resort options very good services: spacious, trendy log cottages, generated hydro, sturdy 19-foot Powassan cedar-strip boats, dependable OMC motors, a central recreation lodge / assembly space with VCR / films / TV and a pool desk, information service, bait, fish-cleaning station, smokehouse, and so on. Cabins function 2 or Three bedrooms, bedding & liner service, trendy full-size home equipment, wood-burning heaters, Three-piece bath (shower, flush rest room, sink), operating cold and hot water, electrical lighting, full kitchens.
Air Service to Nagagami Lake is supplied by Horne-Air (Hornepayne, Ont.) Through Beaver plane.