Episode 527: Covering Water for Northern Pike

On this Fish’n Canada episode, Pete decided to try his luck on Northern Pike in the fish-filled Kabinakagami Lake in the Algoma region of Ontario. Kaby, as it is pretty much always referred to, is a phenomenal lake for both Walleye and Pike.

Our team has filmed here before on a couple of occasions out of two different lodges, Pine Portage Lodge and Agich’s Kaby Kabins.

Last time here, Ang went after Kaby’s Pike while Pete tried his hand at the Walleye. As for Ang’s Pike fishing, it certainly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. He literally sat on a school of “millions” of baitfish, and the gamefish were right there with them.

On Pete’s latest trip, however, things were very different.

He picked a single, small area of the lake and made up his mind to fish that area like it was a “lake into itself”. He only had a small aluminum boat and a small outboard, so travelling all over the lake was not an option.

“As long as you are confident that fish are around,” says Pete “then thoroughly working a small portion of a lake for an entire outing makes total sense”.

Pete and Ang’s normal approach to Pike fishing is to cast first, and then move on from there if casting isn’t producing. More often than not, they end up trolling. It’s such an effective way of covering water.

Fishing For The Day

Pete Bowman trolling for Pike

Here is Pete “scoping” the area with his portable live, front-facing sonar.

This was the exact procedure that Pete executed for his day. He started out casting swimbaits and glide baits and connected with a few fish. He even had a nice rod-stopper but the fish got off (of course). For the most part, though, the Pike were smallish to medium sized which are often deemed a nuisance. 

Pete’s next move was to start trolling passes to cover water. With a decent-sized crankbait in tow, he proceeded to run over different depths, all the time recording a one-foot contour map with his Garmin portable chartplotter. 

“Ang and I can’t say enough about the Quickdraw feature on all of our Garmins,” says Pete “once we make a pass (like on this day), and then start filling in the blank spots around it (Garmin’s Danny Thompson calls it mowing the grass), we can then meticulously work breaklines, drop-offs, underwater points, etc, etc.”

“Of course,” Pete continues “I had the luxury of having LiveScope forward-viewing technology in that particular kit. Even if the fish stay small on days like this, I don’t really care because I can at least still be entertained by fiddling around with this great unit. I always learn a ton of stuff while watching LiveScope”.

An Awesome Idea

On our adventures, we often find little gems or items that we had no idea existed. This year we found a Mercury outboard that does double duty if you will. Yes, we know that 6hp four-strokes exist however the one pictured below is slightly different. 

As you can see, there is a gas cap/reservoir on the top of this motor. Merc does this on some of their smaller motors. On the “6”, however, there is also a gas feed valve in which you can actually plug in a hose from an external gas tank.

A 6hp Mercury Motor

Gas in the top or gas from a tank… extremely convenient

Crazy Pike

A Northern Pike in the water right before release

Northern Pike sure are a funny creature. There are days when they will literally slash into anything that moves, even each other (we have seen Pike holding other Pike in their mouths). Then there are the days when the only Pike you’ll catch are of the hammer-handle variety, very frustrating. Of course, finally, there are days when all the Pike come out to play. This is a great scenario, however, be prepared to catch about 10-1 in small fish vs. big ones. It’s all part of the game and oftentimes part of fishing in general.

Presentations To Toothy Fish

Northern Ontario has been good to us in the past. Using Kaby Lake as an example, on our very first shoot there we stayed at Pine Portage Lodge but we didn’t target Pike, we concentrated fully on Walleye during that trip and man did we connect. 

A jerkbait attached to a small walleye

Our first trip to Kaby was all about Walleye

Of course, while throwing our usual Walleye lures, we caught a whack of Pike.

On our second trip, Ang laid a beating on a shallow batch of Northern’s with his favourite Mouse topwater bait. He calls it Mighty Mo. These Pike came into a shallow channel area and surrounded themselves with minnows upon minnows. To this day, it was the most “bait-rich” area the guys have ever seen. The topwater fishing (along with a host of other baits) was phenomenal.

Angelo Viola releasing a Northern Pike boatside

Ang releases one of many aggressive Northern Pike that crushed his topwater presentation on a past trip to Kabinakagami Lake.

On his last trip, Pete had to go deeper than the surface. He mostly cast and trolled swimbaits and crankbaits and added in glide baits for a bit of a different flavor.

Bait choices for Pike is a broad subject in that, as with a lot of different fish species, there are so many options for lures and baits. Fortunately, you don’t need a lot. Some of the basic staples are pictured below.

A group of casting and trolling baits for Northern Pike

The world is full of Pike lures that can be cast and trolled. The YoZuri minnow baits and rattle bait along with the Vibrax spinner and Daredevil spoon are a given, however, don’t neglect to try a glidebait. For something completely different, we often troll a swimbait (normally casted) like the Big Hammer above 

CONCLUSION

On this program, Pete showed us the true meaning of “persistence pays off”. He started out by casting and got a few Pike, but instinctively he knew (or at least felt) that things weren’t right. He made the decision to cover more water by trolling and although he still caught more small fish, he eventually put in the time and busted a fish of a lifetime

“That is a good Pike in any northern Ontario lake,” says Pete during the Fish’n Canada episode while holding his big fish of the trip “if you can get into one or two of these in a trip… on a Walleye trip, or a Smallmouth trip, whatever you’re doing aside from Pike, what a bonus fish that would be.

“And then you can come to these lodges,” continued Pete “and fish for fish like Pike, this is a fish of a lifetime for a lot of people including myself. I haven’t caught one of those in years. It’s made my day, and my year!”

We’re pretty sure our Pete is once again, a happy boy!

Location

Agich's Kaby Kabins shown at sunset

Agich’s Kaby Kabins… a Pike and Walleye mecca

Kabinakagami Lake is located in the Algoma District of northeastern Ontario, Canada. The lake is on the Kabinakagami River and is part of the James Bay drainage basin. It has an area of 108 km², is 26km long, 12km wide and its source is the Kabinakagami River.

This waterbody truly fishes like no other. Although Pete took on Pike here (Ang as well back in 2014 on this episode) our team has fished Walleye even more than Pike on Kaby. This is one of those lakes that you just cannot get enough of and yearn for a return visit!

There is so much Pike and Walleye water on Kaby that it is no wonder there are a number of Ontario fishing lodges situated throughout this magnificent body of water.


Things To Do Near White River Ontario

If you want to learn more about White River and all the stops we made while filming this episode, check out our article over at the Northern Portal.


Gettin’ There

To get to Agich’s Kaby Kabins, we drive north on Highway 400 to Hwy 69. We then head northwest on Hwy 17 to the town of White River, turn right on 631 and then left on Tukanee road which takes you to the White River Air Base. From there it’s a short flight to Agich’s Kaby Kabins on Kabinakagami Lake

Hotspot

N    48 51.742

W 084 28.873

This episode’s Hotspot is a small area on Kabinakagami Lake. The waypoint above will get you right there. 

Although this great body of water is known for its amazing Walleye fishing, the Pike fishing here is outstanding as well.

We suggest you try our “cast first and troll later” pattern for Pike fishing. Both techniques cover lots of water, but in very different ways.

Baits: Crankbaits, Glide Baits, Swim Baits

Presentation: Casting and Trolling

Depth: 8 – 15+ Feet

TV EXTRAS

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