Episode 546 – Brace Lake Makokibatan Outpost

Every once in a while, we stumble upon a real diamond in the rough so to speak. Sometimes it’s outstanding accommodations out in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes it’s the fishing.

On this trip to Brace Lake Outfitters Makokibatan Outpost camp, it was about the outstanding fishing we encountered.

Brace Lake Outfitters

In talking to Kyle Polesky, the lodge owner, Pete was told about an amazing Brook Trout, Walleye, and Pike destination that he wanted to get us to film. Since Brook Trout always sends a spark down both Ang and Pete’s signal receptors, we were all ears.

This pic is taken from the Brace Lake Outfitters website depicting the gorgeous Brookies that live in the outpost camp area.

Now you have to realize that this location is not just a lake (Makokibatan) in the middle of the Ontario forest. This is a lake formed on one of the most famous Brook Trout rivers in the world, the 982-kilometer-long Albany River. This was music to our ears!

Once we dialed in on a date, we were “all in” as they say. Now it’s just a matter of flying in and making contact with arguably Ontario’s most beautiful gamefish.

IT IS WHAT IT IS

As we hit the Nakina Air airbase, we were talking to a few people who had just come from Makokibatan and, unfortunately, they stated that the Brook Trout fishing was extremely tough… and this came from a local guide to boot. Not a good start to the trip.

They did say, however, that the Walleye fishing was absolutely outstanding. That was a pretty darned good alternative as extremely good Walleye fishing in a large river system can be rewarding in itself.

As we arrived at the outpost camp there was certainly a sense of anticipation. On this trip were Pete, Steve Niedzwiecki, and Vova, our camera operator. They had the distinct pleasure of having Kyle Polsky, Brace Lake Outfitters, along (Kyle jumps at the opportunity to get to this outpost… it’s that special).

The outpost camp is perfect for both anglers as well as hunters.

With not much of a delay and with huge anticipation, we ventured out onto the big lake in search of Walleye. By the way, they did have a chat with Kyle about the current lack of Brookie bites and concluded that Walleye were now the main target species.

THE FISHING

Makokibatan Lake is a large body of water being almost 30 kilometers long by 2 ½ kilometers wide. As we previously said, the Albany River flows through Makokibatan entering at the west end and exiting at the east end. Many miles of the Albany is navigable upstream from the lake for the adventurous angler. Downstream there are more rapids and incredible fishing for trophy brook trout with the help of a local native guide to navigate you through the rapids. We stuck with the main lake portion of Big Makokibatan.

Kyle is always on the pulse of all his fishing opportunities and this location is no exception. From hotspots he’s acquired in the past, to current intel from other anglers trying new areas, there’s always the potential for a great day of Walleye fishing.

Starting at the complete “far” end of the lake, we worked our way back towards camp with decent success. Both Walleye and Pike but nothing outstanding. It was just a matter of time.

Sure enough, once we got to the shorelunch area (go figure), that’s when things started to rock & roll!

We started out with Kyle’s suggestion of larger-than-average (for Walleye) swimbaits. 5” was the minimum. After contacting a few good Walleye, that’s when they dove deeper into the plastics box. It seemed like anything white or close to it and around 5 inches long, did the trick. 5-inch flukes were pretty much money!

A simple 5” Fluke plastic bait, rigged on a jighead is all you need to get started on these big Walleye. A fluorocarbon or wire leader is a smart addition.

“I had a plan in mind,” says Pete, “in which Steve and I would stay with Kyle’s big plastics & jig program to make sure we got our episode finished. If and when we did, then I wanted to try my random trolling everywhere pattern with big Yo-Zuri minnowbaits… at least that was the plan!”

What Pete means here is that, as per usual, many shoots are pushed until the last minute to try and get the absolute best footage we can. It might be that ultimate big fish, or that crazy doubleheader, or even a Pike slashing at a Walleye… something above and beyond.

And this shoot pretty much ended up that way… but more on that later.

Fish’n Canada’s Pete Bowman proudly displays one of many big Walleye that he and Steve caught during this adventure

SHORE LUNCH

Tell us it gets better than this… we dare you!

Big fish aren’t the only beasts that roam these north country waters. Of course, there are plenty of “eater” size Walleye here and as well, some perfect Pike if that’s more to your preference.

As Pete and Steve looked for larger fish to help fill in the episode, Kyle was on smaller fish duty looking for those nice under-sized, perfect eaters. 

A shore lunch is pretty much a standard issue when we travel to the north country. It gives us a nice mid-day break, and it’s simply delicious!

Steve even caught a Walleye that was blind in one eye.

BREAKING OUT THE CRANKS

As was written earlier, Pete was hoping that the jig bite would go extremely well which would then, hopefully, give him and Steve the opportunity to troll and or drift some of the large-sized Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Walleye Deep Diver baits. 

The 5 ¼” Crystal Minnow Walleye Deep Diver in Purple Wonderbread and White. These are the only two hard baits that were needed on Makokibatan… as long as there was a leader attached. Those pesky Northern Pike have big, deep mouths and lotsa sharp teeth 

The pattern is to simply look for randomly suspended fish (not structure oriented) in deep water on the traditional screen of their portable Garmin fish finding unit. Once a bunch of “hooks” are located, and he thinks they’re Walleye, he drops back the lures. His perfect depth range is from around 25 feet to 40+ feet with the latter being preferred.

Well, Pete’s hopes came true. 

Vova had an ample amount of footage on the jigs but, unfortunately, a storm was rolling in at the end of the day so he and Kyle quickly ran all the camera gear back to the outpost cabin. Fortunately, Pete and Steve had their phones on board so all wasn’t lost. 

Within 5 minutes of the boys drifting and prepping, Steve had the first Walleye on. The Merc hadn’t even started yet. At about 1.2mph (slow for cranks) Steve’s white, full-size Crystal Minnow Deep Walleye got smashed about 30 feet from the boat. This was a great start to the next couple of hours. 

From then on, our giddy boys caught and released another full TV show’s worth of great Walleye including a couple of real beauties! Hopefully, that footage will make it for the public to view as it was a fantastic closing to such a productive trip.

There’s lots of Northern Pike here as well. Note the belly on this porker. That’s because there was another fish stuffed in its throat and on its way to the stomach. Dog eat dog for sure.

THE ALBANY RIVER

The Albany River located in Northern Ontario, Canada, flows northeast from Lake St. Joseph in Northwestern Ontario and empties into James Bay. It is 982 kilometers (610 mi) long. It’s tied with the Severn River for being the longest river entirely in Ontario. You can navigate the Albany River for the first 400 kilometers. 

ABOUT BRACE LAKE OUTFITTERS

Kyle Polesky shoots all kinds of northern lights photos from up at Brace Lake Lodge. He says it’s a common occurrence.

Brace Lake Outfitters is committed to providing anglers with unforgettable fishing expeditions in the heart of Ontario’s wilderness. They offer the pristine beauty of Northern Ontario where the road ends. It’s where the best fishing in Ontario begins!

Brace Lake is located on the Albany watershed and is just under a 50-mile flight out of Nakina. You can fish their main lake as well as access nearby Meta and Ara Lake which both offer fantastic fishing.

Of course, we won’t forget the Albany River system. This is truly a gem that the lodge has to offer. A once in a lifetime experience.

Brace Lake is a tea-stained colored water, which boasts a large population of Walleye, Perch, and Monster Pike. The Walleye and Perch are so plentiful that it will keep you going all day long. And just when you think that you have seen enough, one of those Monster Northens will latch on and you will be hooked!!!

The Lodge’s Trophy Rule

Big Steve Niedzwiecki with a huge Makokibatan Eye!

Large fish are genetically superior, to keep this world-class fishery sustainable, we ask that all Northerns over 27 inches be released and Walleyes 18 inches and over be released back to the waters to maintain the fishery for generations to come.

There’s Hunting Too

And if angling is not what you are looking for, they also offer world-class hunts for Black Bear and Moose. Their Archery Guided Moose hunts have a higher than normal success rate, if you want to hunt one of the most majestic animals, then this is the place for you!

THE OUTPOST CAMP

The Makokibatan Outpost Cabin has a maximum capacity of 10. There is a Four (4) person minimum required … NO EXCEPTIONS!

Included in the deluxe New Cabin:

  • All Utensils for Cooking and Eating
  • Hot and cold running water
  • Electricity
  • Satellite Phone
  • Satellite Internet
  • Boat and 15 hp motor
  • Padded boat seats
  • Large Freezer
  • Propane Barbeque
  • Propane Fish Fryer
  • Wood Stove for Heat
  • Ample Firewood

A river guide is also available, call the lodge for details.

For details about how to book a trip at this amazing location, check out the following:

Brace Lake Outfitters or on Facebook or on Instagram

For more information on fishing in Ontario, please review these links:

Destination Ontario

Destination Northern Ontario

Algoma

TV EXTRAS

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