Taking Wing For Lake Trout

Eating breakfast on my last day at Misaw Lake Lodge, pilot Pat Thompson asked me if I wanted to wing it to three of their fly-out lakes, get some fishing in, turn the boats over, and escort the outboards back. "It's our last day for the summer," Pat said. "We need to close up those sites, so we're flying out there anyway. Want to come along? We'll get some last-minute fishing in along the way."

I'm in. It was a beautiful day to fly and a good day for lake trout or grayling over pike. The sun was beating down on the water — the second of two straight bluebird days following a front — and the pike were still practically comatose on the main lake.

And I could sit up front and leave the windows open. Love that. Allows for clearer pictures and reminds me of skydiving. (Yes, I was stupid once...for a while.)  Misaw has plenty of fly-out experiences that involve short hops and are, therefore, less expensive.

This is pretty much what northern Canada looks like fromLabrador to British Columbia — more water than land.

The first lake we dropped in on is called Many Islands. The lake trout weren't huge, but averaged good size and we caught plenty of them, trolling with Eppinger Evil Eye spoons on three-way rigs with 6-ounce weights. Don Lariviere, here, holds up a long skinny one. We zipped into a couple bays, caught a few decent pike, and it was time to jump in the Beaver again.

Every stay at Misaw Lake (I've been up here at least 4 times) has been productive, entertaining, and well worth the time and energy spent, leaving me with some vivid memories stretching back over a couple decades now.

In past trips I've seen several moose, a pack of white wolves, and every coloration that black bears can adopt. One year the guides fed them and I was lucky enough watch, standing less than 10 feet from three patient (but constantly stalking) Arctic wolves. (Magnificent-looking  animals.)

Something happened on this trip I won't soon forget, either. My old friend and past guide, Archie Lariviere, snared a cinnamon bear that had been haunting the shore-lunch spot. "They can figure it out, eventually," he smiled. "He'll get out of it." And he did. The next day, the bear was gone and I inspected the simple snare. Amazing.

I know we didn't mention Misaw in this year's list of top pike fisheries in the Pike-Muskie Guide, but it's been on that list in the past. After this year's trip, I'll have to reconsider. The lake is only 27 miles long — about the size of Mille Lacs in Minnesota. Mille Lacs isn't a small lake, but for a fly-to destination in the far north, it's not extremely big, either. But, with all the added fly-out lakes (and more on the way), this relatively small camp carries only 16 customers per week. They can successfully spread pressure out and keep the trophy fishing healthy and vital on Misaw and its connections both upstream and down on the Schwandt River system by offering quality trophy pike fishing in 8 or more other lakes waiting at the end of a short fly out.

And Mille Lacs doesn't have lake trout. Catching 100 lakers in a day on Misaw is child's play, and the lodge offers at least two fly outs to even better lake-trout venues. While we were dodging thunderstorms on the Schwandt River, two guests were busy wrestling a couple lakers out of the water that measured 41 inches on one of the fly-out lakes.

If you're a pike fisherman, Misaw is one of the better places where you can spend a week of your life.

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