I would guess most people (not all, of course) travel to Ontario in search of catching walleyes, whether it be catching 100-plus walleyes a day or in search of a 30-inch-plus trophy walleye of a lifetime. I know it's one fish species that tops my list to target. That said, pretty much all the lakes across Ontario are filled with multi-species opportunities.
Cat Island Lodge, located in Sunset Country, Ontario, is one of those multi-species destinations and a place I had been to a few years ago. On the previous trip, my emphasis was on the amazing lake trout fishing they have to offer. In short, it was the most fantastic lake trout fishing I have ever experienced, with numbers and fish topping over 20 pounds. But I also caught a ton of walleye that were mixed in with the lake trout that were moving shallow staging to spawn in the fall.
Arriving at the dock of Cat Island Lodge and stepping off the plane, you know it will be one of those "this is going to be great" trips. Their fantastic service is a strong commitment to ensuring that their guest's vacation is an experience to remember. Cat Island Lodge is a full-service, luxury fly-in fishing resort located on beautiful Trout Lake with over 99,000 acres of water to fish. They have an all-inclusive American Plan that includes comfortable 18-foot Lund and Crestliner boats with reliable 40 hp 4-stroke motors and Humminbird sonars.
Cat Island Lodge offers a beautiful and cozy main lodge for relaxing and enjoying your delicious meals. The log construction gives it a rustic charm that fits the natural surroundings, and the views overlooking the lake are breathtaking. They serve a hearty breakfast in the dining room, walleye or lake trout shore lunch around noon and a complete evening dinner menu featuring a variety of delicious meals served family-style.
On this trip, I wanted to focus mainly on walleye fishing. The lake is a typical Canadian Shield lake with islands, shoreline breaks, and neck-down areas with moving water. Perfect spots to find schools of hungry walleye.
I spent my mornings targeting walleye in 18 to 25 feet of water where we took advantage of some fast and steady catch-and-release action. However, we kept a limit of eaters under 18-inches for our shore lunch. Trout Lake has trophy-class walleye, but the average-sized fish are equally impressive, with an average size of 18 to 22 inches. During fall, there are also big schools of walleye hanging out in that 30-foot plus range, but it's a good idea to avoid walleye in those depths. Unlike lake trout, pulling walleyes out of deep water increases the mortality rate of the fish to nearly 100%.
Jig and minnows are an effective and excellent way to find active pods of fish. Still, artificial baits can be equally effective and allow you to have your line in the water more often without constantly re-baiting. A jig and soft plastics, such as a minnow profile, paddle tail, or grubs, are deadly combinations. A Rapala Jiggin' Rap, Rippin' Rap, and VMC hair jigs are also highly effective vertical presentations for walleye.
I would never visit Cat Island Lodge without spending some time fishing for lake trout. So each afternoon, I would target those hard fighting, deep cold-water fish. Vertically jigging glow white 3/4- to 1-ounce jigs with pearl-colored minnow profile soft plastics was the ticket. I had most of my strikes when seeing a school of lake trout on my sonar, reeling up quickly pulling the baits away from them. They seemed to be in chase mode instead of just having the bait dangle and teased in front of them. When they hit the bait, they would crush it, and the fight was on.
When picking your next fishing adventure, Cat Island Lodge should be on the top of your list. Revisiting soon is a definite for me. This time, I think I'll target the giant pike residing in Trout Lake.