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Angling the Intriguing Waters of Nagagami Lake

James with a Nagagami Lake Walleye • Credit: James Smedley
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Angling the Intriguing Waters of Nagagami Lake

Timberwolf Lodge offers an incredible full service lodge fishing experience

I heed the advice of Timberwolf Lodge owner Gary Wallace and start to probe the deeper waters cradled within the undulating bottom of Nagagami Lake. My wife, Francine, and I are dragging bottom bouncers over a bump that tops out at 28 feet and quickly drops to 60 on either side. At 44 feet, I feel weight and set into a heavy fish.


“It’s a very clear lake and the big walleye use depth for cover,” Wallace told us when we first arrived. “Deep” for me meant 25 to 30 feet, and we’ve had no problem catching walleye up to 17 inches. But it isn’t until our first foray into the Nagagami depths that we start to experience the lake’s full potential. When Francine dips the net under what turns out to be a healthy 27-incher, we are well on our way toward the full Nagagami Lake experience.

Keeping It Personal


A short floatplane ride from the community of Hornepayne in Northern Ontario, Timberwolf Lodge sits along the broad sand beach of a perpetually calm bay.

A vertical log main lodge with a central fireplace is flanked by rows of guest quarters. With a maximum capacity of 16 guests, the Wallaces are able to provide highly personalized service with a staff that consists of Gary, his wife Cindy, and their daughter Melissa. The trio provides all meals, prepares the fleet of 18-foot cedar strip boats, and points guests in the right direction.


Nagagami Lake is deceptive. The low-slung boreal shoreline, alternating between brown sand and multicoloured cobble beaches, gives no indication of the lake’s wildly fluctuating depths. It’s mid-August and we concentrate on the north half of the lake, where mid-lake shoals shoot up from depths of over 90 feet. It’s a structure fisherman’s paradise, and once we adjust our presentation to depths of over 40 feet, we find flats, troughs, and ledges that hold profusions of walleye. The excitement of fishing Nagagami is that each time we set the hook, there is a real possibility of connecting with a monster.

Scratching the Surface


After a morning of probing an immense mid-lake shoal, the wind and waves pick up and we make for the sheltered tip of one of the lake’s few islands. We walk a cobble beach, picking up curious-shaped charcoal-coloured rocks sculpted with near-perfect circular indentations. We eat our lunch under the hot afternoon sun and gaze out at distant whitecaps.


Although we still have one more day, it’s clear that we will leave much of Nagagami unexplored. There are weed lines to the South that I suspect hold shallow walleye and pike. We’ve caught a few scrappy incidental pike, but Wallace says guests who target the species have landed northern pike over 50 inches. I’d hoped to check out the inflowing Foch and Obakamiga Rivers, as well as the Nagagami that eventually channels the lake’s clear water North to James Bay, but this time around we’ll have to be content with the exceptional walleye fishing of the main lake.

Jaw Dropper


On our last afternoon it’s breezy, overcast, and threatening rain. We revisit a productive area along the eastern shore, and almost immediately Francine lands a fat 22-inch walleye. She rigs up with a fresh leech and we make another pass. While I am constantly adjusting my line for a near perpendicular presentation through steeply fluctuating depths, my wife is fiddling with her phone with one hand and holding her rod with the other. And of course, this is when the big fish hits.


Just as a wave of rain sweeps over us, my multitasking wife manages to stash her phone and keep pressure on the fish. A slow and steady retrieve is punctuated by long runs but eventually the fish surfaces, displaying the enormous yellow flanks of a jaw-dropping walleye. We lift the great fish for a measurement and photo, then slide the 31-plus-incher back into the water.


We both angle a few more fish under increasing showers, but with water soaking through our rain gear, we set a course back to the lodge.  


Aromas waft from the kitchen as we cozy up to a crackling pine fire that roasts the dampness from our bodies. Even though we fly out in the morning, there’s a contentment that comes with experiencing the generosity of Nagagami Lake from within the warm embrace of the Wallace’s Timberwolf Lodge.

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