Behind the Scenes: Pine Portage

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We recently returned from one of my all-time favourite Walleye lakes as well as fishing lodges in Pine Portage Lodge on Kaby Lake in the beautiful Algoma Region of Ontario. If it’s numbers of Walleye you want, this is the place. If it’s big Walleye and Pike you want, they’re here as well!

Joining me on this trip were Steve Neidzwecki, Dean Taylor, and Vova Babushkin. Ang and I have been starting to split the odd show since our “road warrior” days are slowly fading from the high-paced, calendar-packed days of the past… I wish we could still do it, but the inevitable is showing its old, ugly face!

That said, this 2nd team we’ve put together works pretty well. 

Steve and I were the on-camera personalities while Vova and Dean did the shooting etc.

THE FISHING

As per usual, when we needed fish for whatever reasons (camera, shore lunch, fun etc.) the good ol’ Jig and Minnow was still the #1 producer. It simply can’t be beaten for numbers of Walleye.

However, we didn’t start with the “be all end all” presentation. Instead, we commenced with a trolling pattern pulling hard baits. In particular, we trolled Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows Deep Diver Walleye in a variety of colours. On a previous trip to Dog Lake, ON., Ang and I found that Purple Wonder Bread was the colour of choice for the local Walleye so we obviously tried it on Kaby and low & behold… it worked there too!

As for bait sizes, we used bigger baits mostly. The 4 ⅜”, 9/16 ounce and the 5 ¼”, ⅞ ounce were the deal. On this trip, the Bone, Purple Wonderbread and Purple Tiger were the best colours (I know, these sound crazy but trust me, they work).

Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Deep Diver Walleye in Purple Tiger colour

Long-line trolling worked best for us which is what we normally try when flying into remote places where packing extra gear can be an issue. No planer boards needed. No drift socks needed. We essentially cast out our baits, let out extra line, engaged the spool, and let the little Merc purr around different areas of the lake.

Some of our best areas were the deeper, surrounding areas around underwater humps and long submerged points. The Walleye were pretty much stacked up around any good structure available.

Here’s Steve’s best Crankbait Trolling Walleye of the trip. A perfect TV fish.

For some casting fun, we grabbed some Yo-Zuri 3DB crankbaits like the 1.5 Squarebill and MR, as well as a 3DB Twitchbait, whenever we ventured into shallow areas (around 6-8 feet). All worked and added to the fun factor of throwing artificial baits.

WE FOUND EM… I THINK

We were so bound and bent to get some big fish on typical structures that we left my #1 “to do” pattern too late. This was trolling open, deep water. 

We found a ridiculous-sized school of big fish on our portable Garmin at the top end of the lake but it looked too good to be true. There were so many fish all in the same depth range and grouped so tightly together that I had a feeling they weren’t Walleye. Even in heavily populated Walleye lakes like Kaby, they just don’t get this thick!

My initial thoughts (and I still feel that way) is that they were Whitefish (although some of the lodge guides feel they are Walleye).

Regardless of what they were, they didn’t want to bite anything we pulled through them.

Stacked like crazy!

A LAST SHOT AT THE DARTBOARD

The very last evening, just an hour or so before we left, we found another deep area with lots of schooling fish but they were situated in the water column quite different from the previous group. Loosely schooled and at different depths… much more reminiscent of Walleye. 

Just before dark, we stuck a decent fish in 40 feet of water, running around 15 feet down. Let’s just say the hooks on our Garmin looked pretty impressive!

Waypoint added, next time for sure.

CONCLUSION

In closing, Ang and I (we’ve both fished here more than once) along with Steve, highly recommend Kaby Lake as a fishing trip destination. With lodges like Pine Portage catering to all your needs, it’s a perfect angling vacation paradise.

Pete Bowman

Pete, one of the most revered and popular anglers in the nation, has a tremendous love for the game… the fishing game. Pete’s vast knowledge of angling and ability to articulate it to audiences worldwide has endeared him to his fans who still see Pete as just “ONE OF THE BOYS”. Pete is also an accomplished and published outdoor writer and photographer as well as a sought-after speaker. In 2012 another of Pete’s ultimate fishing career highlights occurred when he was inducted into the Canadian Angler Hall Of Fame, something he never thought would happen. A Canadian fishing icon.

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