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Landing Walleye and Northern Pike at Brace Lake Outfitters

Landing Walleye and Northern Pike at Brace Lake Outfitters

Sitting in the middle of the Northern Canadian watershed, Brace Lake is home to epic fishing adventures



Every time I board a float plane, the expectation and excitement begin to ratchet up just a little. When Aubrey Gale and I boarded the Nakina Air Service flight to Brace Lake Outfitters, the feeling was just a tick or two higher up the chart. I’ve been in the area before, but never had the chance to fish with Kyle and Teri Polesky, a hardworking young couple known for doing all they can to create great memories for their guests.

Brace Lake sits in the middle of the northern Canadian watershed, a bastion for outsized northern pike, and it has long been the home of “I caught so many big walleye!” So when we stepped off the plane, it didn’t take us long to jump into a great 18-foot Giesler hand-built wood boat with Kyle and head off down the lake.

With just three days to fish, Kyle assured me we would “stick and move” fast enough to at least sample some of the many opportunities Brace Lake offers. First would be fly fishing for Northern Pike. An 8- to 10-weight rod, sink tips, and flies that look like the barbershop leftovers from the last appearance of an 80s hair band would be the order of the day.

We made long casts and erratic retrievals that lull you into a rhythm, that is until someone drops a brick on your fly and the rod bouncing battle is on. After several good fish and a tension-breaking “one that got away” from me, Kyle shot us down the lake to a totally different type of structure. A 6- to 8-foot-deep weed bed that we would spin cast hard baits and soft plastics over was next.

After a mid-sized pike on a white paddle tail, I started noticing followers on nearly every cast of my out-sized glide bait. Walleye! We were seeing big walleye chasing and striking our pike-sized baits. Yes, it was hard to leave there, but after several more walleye up to 20 inches and another decent pike, we were already going to be late for dinner back at the lodge. Something I have more than a few “priors” for and with a stunning Beef Wellington on Teri’s menu, not one I cared to be on the repeat offender list for missing.

Three nights in a very comfortable, freshly remodeled cabin recharged us for three days of good fishing with great people, and Kyle worked overtime to put us on fish everywhere we went. As promised, we tried as many different techniques and locations as our time allowed. We caught fish jigging over deep rock structure, we worked flies and crank baits on sand bars and drop offs. We even trolled up a good pike during a move, right out front of the lodge.

With so many places and choices, it was hard to say which was the best pattern. Everything we tried and every place produced fish, so there was no pile of boats over “the” spot. In fact, our only regret on this trip was that we were weathered out of a last day plan to fish a new (to Kyle and Teri) outpost camp on the legendary Albany River. Still, with far more opportunities than we could sample in just three days, my advice is plan on a week if you can.

Friends, if you do find yourself up at Brace Lake, keep a “weather eye” on the horizon for the next float plane coming in, with Moose and Black Bear hunting as well as the fishing. I’m pretty certain we’ll be back

- Kyle Randall of The Wilderness Journal

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