How do you get 4 adult men to screech, squawk and giggle like schoolgirls on the last day of the semester? Drop them in at Algoma Country's Brunswick Lake Lodge for a week of FISHING!
Having ventured to many remote Ontario outpost camps in my life, Brunswick Lake Lodge, situated in the historical heart of Algoma Country, was a thrilling change of pace! This was my first experience at a remote lodge complete with all the amenities including on-site caretakers, hosts, generated hydro, clean drinking well water, hot and cold running water in the showers, wood-fired sauna, and bleach brightened fish cleaning station with stainless tables, sinks and running water.
Each lakefront cabin is called out to the lake by a long, stable dock with as many Lund SV 16-foot boats as we needed. New 9.9 hp Yamaha motors were easy starting and smooth idling and capable of dead slow trolling. Boats were all adorned with swivel seats for added comfort! I took a walk to see the entire fleet of boats and not one had a leaking rivet. I inquired about this and caretaker Randy told me that the boats are re-riveted on the first signs of any leakage.
Ultra-clean and tidy European-style log cabins consisted of 2 bedrooms, a kitchen with a full-sized propane fridge and stove, hydro lights, backup propane lighting, a large counter surface with cold running water, pots, pans and CAST IRON fry pans! The large dining rooms were surrounded by picture windows in every direction. Each cabin has its own separate outhouse facility just a short walk away. The 4 of us spent much of our late evenings on the large screened-in porch where we could watch the sunset and the full moon rise. The cabin could be heated on cooler nights with a large wood stove. Wood was piled in the inside spare room.
Every evening the caretakers would deliver us fresh drinking water from the well and fuel up the boat motors. Upon one of these visits, they noticed our screen porch door was not quite fitting properly. The next day, our hosts were in to jack up the corner of the cabin and re-fit the door.
In the centre of the large well-groomed acreage sat a HUGE common lodge with full kitchen facilities, dining room, sitting room, screened porch overlooking the lake, dartboard, quality pool table, Foosball, wet bar, couches, chairs, recliners and TELEVISION with Satellite! Similarly, a satellite WiFi system is available for anyone with a laptop or smartphone that needs to check their email, message friends on Facebook, or post a few teasing Tweets.
Across the walkway from the lodge is the office where we had access to a satellite phone for a modest fee. Inside the office, a small store of supplies was available to purchase such as fishing tackle, rods and reels, insect repellents, cases of pop, dry food goods and cooking oil.
I skeptically asked if there were any of those large outside deep fryers on-site available for deep fryer fish. WELL OF COURSE THERE WAS! Several propane deep fryers and propane tanks were available for use. Perfection!
Slipping into a boat, with a waterproof map in hand we started exploring the many back bays and islands. Brunswick Lake is 15 miles in twisty length and contains 37 mid-lake islands randomly strewn about. Water depths range from the shallow weeded back bays to over 50 feet deep. My "never leave home without it" portable depth sounder/ fishfinder alerted me to the immediate fact that FISH ARE EVERYWHERE!
Brunswick Lake is noted for its plentiful walleye, chunky yellow perch and numerous northern pike and seeing is believing! Brunswick Lake was simple enough to fish in, merely find a bit of underwater structure such as rock piles, rubble or weeds, bordering deeper waters and the fish will be there...eventually. Other guests, some of whom have been visiting for over 20 years tell tales of slow fishing rates suddenly becoming explosive and catching 40 or 50 in an hour! That is so true with Brunswick's underwater structures. Pick any see-able island and troll its perimeter with the favoured Red & White Wobbling Spoon, 5 of Diamonds, or a 3/8-ounce round ball pink jig with a 3-inch white curly-tailed worm and you will find if the fish are active or not! No fish? Simply move or troll to the next visible structure (island or rocky point) and give it a slow pass with your lure.
These visible structure areas erupt early in the day and later into the afternoon when the sun settles and does not beat so forcefully on the water. Walleye are a bit light sensitive, so if you want to catch them mid-day, you will find them holding in deeper water just off these islands and points. Throughout the course of your fishing day, you will find walleye and pike in a mixture together. That is because the great northerns are feeding on the walleye! About 10% of the walleye we caught were torn or ripped with escape scars from larger predators.
For the more adventuresome angler, we enjoyed drifting slowly along the visible structure and casting our jigs up into the shallows and retrieving them down along the stepping depths. This tactic can result in HUGE amounts of fish-catching action...not for the faint of heart! Casting is a great way to localize fish schools and once you find them, continually casting to them often resulted in many "fish per cast" scenarios!
Catching a big northern pike was eluding me. The system is literally loaded with shallow watered "Hammer Handles" as I call them. Many of those 1- to 3-pound pike were also scarred by larger predators. It's a well-known fact that northern pike is so voracious a feeder that they will cannibalize! Where was the bigger pike? My Humminbird 110 portable fish finder said they were suspending in deeper water most of the time. BIG fish eat less and spend more time in a neutral state. I tried fast casting and power trolling across these suspended fish in an attempt to create a reaction strike from them. I threw the tackle box at them which included large St Clair Hound Bucktails, Tiny Torrent Flash Skirts and even some homemade Bucktail Spinners. Relentlessly, they pushed aside.
In a final attempt to secure a subtle monster, I pulled out a trusty three-quarter ounce, bright yellow and white, double-bladed SpinnerBait and found a good weed bed bordering deeper (15-foot) water. I cast that lure as far as I could and would rip it fast through the weeds. Spinner-baits have the luxury of not hanging onto the weeds or sunken logs. This ripping/ stop and go retrieve did the trick! It wasn't the monsters I had seen in Brunswick photos but it was a chunky 32-inch fish approaching 10 pounds! I was satisfied.
Diverse outdoor experiences, where dreams come true are what keep me coming back to Algoma Country.
One last note: During the summer at Brunswick Lake, the sun rises a half-hour earlier and sets half an hour later than in Southern Ontario. . .THAT'S AN ENTIRE EXTRA HOUR OF FISHING PER DAY!