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Adventure Walleye Fishing Lake Nipigon Style

Master guide and the owner of Pasha Lake Cabins, Chad Thompson is one of the most knowledgeable anglers regarding Lake Nipigon. Pasha Lake Cabins is just a short drive from Lake Nipigon, one of the best walleye fisheries in all of Ontario. • Credit: Mark Romanack
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Adventure Walleye Fishing Lake Nipigon Style

Fishing 411 Television visits Pasha Lake Cabins

Fishing in Ontario is always an adventure, but fishing Lake Nipigon in northwestern Ontario is a special kind of adventure. By design, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources limits public access sites on Lake Nipigon in an effort to keep this sprawling fishery as wild and untouched as possible. To fish many portions of the lake requires anglers to embark on a boat ride that can exceed 50 miles one way!

Back in September, Fishing 411 Television visited Pasha Lake Cabins located near Beardmore, Ontario with a goal of fishing the remote north shore of Lake Nipigon. Jake Romanack of Fishing 411 TV joined forces with lodge owner and master fishing guide Chad Thompson. It was Thompson who first coined the phrase “adventure fishing” as a way of describing the angling opportunities visitors can expect from this region of Ontario.

“The typical 16 foot aluminum boat that most anglers associate with fishing in Ontario simply won’t cut it when fishing on Lake Nipigon,” says Thompson. “Lake Nipigon is so large it’s not uncommon to be facing long runs and the likelihood of rough water. The ideal boat for Lake Nipigon is an 18- to 22-foot multi-species boat equipped with a large outboard motor. Anything less is a serious handicap when fishing one of the largest lakes in Ontario."

Fishing the remote waters of Lake Nipigon is a job best tackled with a 18- to 22-foot multi-species fishing boat. It’s common to be faced with long runs and the possibility of rough water when targeting walleye on Lake Nipigon.

Fortunately, Fishing 411 TV is equipped with the ideal boats and outboards for tackling big water. After launching at High Hill Harbor near Beardmore and embarking on about a 90-minute boat ride, Jake and Chad found themselves faced with the sprawling north shore of Lake Nipigon, this region that is more remote and sees less fishing pressure than most fly-in camps!

“Because Lake Nipigon is exceptionally large and deep, the surface water temperature rarely exceeds 60 degrees even in late summer,” explains Jake Romanack. “Because the water is cool, walleye forage in shallow water along rocky shorelines and main lake points in the spring, summer, and early fall. I knew going in we were going to find fish shallow. I also knew we would be limited to using lures with only one barbless hook.”

The rocky shorelines and points of Lake Nipigon are magnets for walleye that forage in shallow water all year long.

A number of special fishing regulations are in force on Lake Nipigon that are designed to help protect this unique fishery. Single hook presentations such as a jig tipped with a soft plastic grub have emerged as the most popular choice among anglers targeting walleye.

“When faced with shallow water, pitching jigs dressed with soft plastic grubs is not only effective, it’s an exciting way to fish,” says Romanack. “Nothing beats feeling a walleye slurp up a jig, then setting the hook into a stubborn fish!”

In order to fish as quickly as possible, Romanack suggests casting a slightly larger jig size. “I generally pitch a 1/4 or 3/8 ounce jig when searching for walleye in water from a three to 10 feet deep. The added jig weight makes it possible to make longer casts, and also to work the jig back to the boat more quickly while maintaining contact with the bottom.”

Traditionalists might argue that tipping the jig with a live minnow is the best option, but Romanack feels strongly that soft plastic grubs are the better option when pitching jigs for Lake Nipigon walleye. “Live bait works great when drifting and dragging jigs or vertical jigging,” he explains. “When pitching jigs into shallow water, it’s way more efficient to use soft plastics that stay on the hook, create a swimming action, and also a natural scent stream in the water.”

Jake Romanack, co-host of Fishing 411 TV, recently had the pleasure of fishing the north shore of Lake Nipigon for walleye. This region of Ontario is one of the most remote fishing destinations on the planet and harbors world class walleye fishing second to none.

Romanack’s favorite soft plastics for jig pitching are produced by Z-Man Fishing. “The four and five inch PaddlerZ is hands down my top choice for walleye when I’m pitching jigs,” says Romanack. “These plastics are impregnated with natural Pro Cure Super Gel scent and they are made from an ultra soft and stretchy plastic known as ElaZ-Tech. Walleye literally tear up most soft plastics to the point a bait is only good for catching two or three fish before it must be replaced.”

ElaZ-Tech is a different kind of plastic. The super soft and stretchy texture of ElaZ-Tech makes it possible to catch dozens of fish without having to replace the grub!

Anglers who are willing to fish the more remote waters of Lake Nipigon are justly rewarded. “It’s common to experience 50, 75 or even 100 fish days,” says Chad Thompson. “It’s also common to fish all day and never see another fishing boat. The ability to catch walleye almost at will while fishing from the comforts of a fully rigged boat is something special, and it’s also something Lake Nipigon excels at.”

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