Originally published November 7th, 2019
This season marked a return trip to Hawk Lake Lodge, and this one was a special one. Along with the anticipation of amazing Walleye fishing, the crew was also able to meet up with a long-time fan of the show, Dustin Moncrief. At age 17, Dustin was diagnosed with a rare type of brain cancer. This diagnosis didn’t affect his love for the outdoors and, more specifically, fishing. And since it just so happens that Dustin lives right on Hawk Lake, it would be easy to pay him a visit in person.
But for now, let’s talk fishing.
Since Ang and Pete had fished Hawk Lake a couple of seasons ago, they had an idea as to, first, what they were after and, second, the layout of the lake. The main quarry of this trip was Walleye. As was said during the show, “they were after true giants”!
So many fish of over 26″ have been taken here in the past. Quite honestly, a 6 or 7 pounder doesn’t even warrant a high five… seriously!
With big fish in mind, Angelo and Pete headed out on their adventure.
TECHNIQUE & BAITS
Angelo really loves drop-shotting Walleye (Smallies too), so that was his main technique for the trip. Pete is more of a bottom probing guy with jigs, live-bait-rigs, etc. He’s done it all his life and feels very confident in doing so. It ends up that all these patterns worked on this trip, with the productive live-baits being the big-3: minnows, leeches, and worms. If you want a detailed look at how the guys dissected different live bait fishing techniques on this trip, check out Hawk Lake; The Perfect Storm.
Although live bait ruled on this trip, Pete did catch a nice 5lb+ on a swimbait, and Ang followed him up with one close to 10lb on a completely different bait. Both of their swimbaits incidentally were white or a white combo. If you are looking into buying swimbaits, but are limited in your budget, get one or two coloured white and another one or two in a perch pattern. These shades are good all-round choices.
WHY HAWK LAKE IS SO SPECIAL
As you can probably tell through this article, Hawk Lake truly is a phenomenal Walleye fishery and a world-class travel destination. This didn’t come by chance…it came through a vision and hard work.
Lodge owner, Ted Putnam, has made it clear that Hawk is a catch and release only lake. Guests of the lodge are instructed NOT to keep any fish. If they want shore lunch, the Walleye are imported from Manitoba!
Crazy? yes. Effective? very!
THE OTHER GUY
On this trip, Ang and Pete brought along Steve Niedzwiecki, former owner of Chaudiere Lodge. Steve’s role on this trip was to interview Ted Putman while out on a Smallmouth Bass adventure.
The two did well on Smallies and Steve did get his one on one done.
During the evenings “after hours,” Steve and Pete joined Ted on his boat for some incredible nighttime Walleye action. Check out Steve’s blog here about the trip.
THE DUSTIN STORY
As for Ang and Pete’s visit with Dustin Moncrief, they met Dustin and his mother Lynda at the docks of Hawk Lake Lodge. Dustin showed up with rods and tackle in hand, a perfect scenario.
They departed the dock, waved good-bye to “mom” and headed out for a shot at Smallmouth Bass. Surprisingly, Dustin had only a handful of baits, but they were special ones. Dustin decided in his young fishing career that he wanted fishing baits that were EXACTLY what he required. The only way that could happen, of course, was to invent his own. Hence First Cast Tackle appeared. Dustin’s shot at the fishing lure business.
The crew headed to what they call the “top end” of the lake and hit a small protected back-bay looking for aggressive Smallies. Not only did it not take long to locate fish, but it also didn’t take long for Dustin to start setting hooks into them!
Obviously, his custom-made plastics worked.
With some 2-on-1 live tutorials and tips, Ang and Pete helped refine Dustin’s shallow Smallie tactics (trust us though, he had and has all the right parts of a great angler).
They ended their afternoon with high fives and great memories, and hopefully for Dustin as well.
For more of Dustin’s story, and to support him and his First Cast Tackle Company, listen to his interview here.
Fish’n Canada’s second trip to Hawk Lake again didn’t disappoint. Three Walleye in the 9-10 pound range, a bunch more in the 5-7 pound range, Smallmouth Bass galore, and a chance to meet a very inspirational young man.
Definitely, a trip to remember!