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Como Lake Resort

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Como Lake Resort

• Credit: The New Fly Fisher

There's no shortage of outdoor activities to enjoy while on your getaway

Fish for a variety of species including lake trout, white fish, and northern pike.

I’ve spent some time in Northern Ontario, but not as much as I should and nothing really prepares you for the rustic, unspoiled beauty of this region. On arriving at Como Lake Resort, there was nothing that I didn’t enjoy. From the genuine hospitality of the resort’s owners and operators, John and Tracey Castonguay, to the layout of the grounds, I knew this would be everything that I had built it up to be in my minds eye. Como Lake is a big piece of water and stretches about 8 km long and 2 km at its widest. There are about a dozen islands on the lake, complimented by the same number of high points or shoals begging to be explored. For one new to the lake, we simply didn’t have enough time over four days to completely explore or even get close to putting the puzzle together, but on the word of John and after spending a good deal of time going over topographical maps, we made a plan and set out to fish just after settling in to our cabins.

como lake algoma country

We followed our host under threatening skies to the furthest point from the resort in hopes of finding some post-spawn pike or pre-spawn smallmouth bass. We knew, being in a bit of a transition period, that the fishing would not be easy but with every meter that we put behind us, my anticipation grew. We hit the top end of the lake where John recommended, to start and it wasn’t long before we hit our first fish. An aggressive pike ate a streamer within minutes and we were confident that this would be a productive evening. The weather though, as it often does, played havoc and after finding several willing smallies at the mouth of a narrow outlet of one of the small feeder lakes, the skies opened up and dropped a cold and harsh rain on us. We don’t mind fishing under tough weather but this one looked bad enough that we made the call to head back and return in the morning.

algoma brook trout

However, as we motored back to the lodge, the skies to the west started to lighten up, giving us some hope that we may get an evening bite. The wind was up but we found a nice lea on the inside of the larger island peninsula and decided to stick it out and see what happened. We worked along a shoreline, sort of sight fishing as we went until we came upon another feeder creek, not unlike the one that we had just abandoned at the top of the lake. As we approached it, about a dozen good smallmouth bass spooked from the mouth and Mark made the call to ease into the mouth and explore what was beyond it. A decision we didn’t regret.

smallmouth bass

As Mark pushed the big PrinceCraft into the narrow inlet, I cast from the bow and within a few feet, hooked a good smallmouth. As I fought the fish, through the tannic color of the inlet, I noticed several other bass, both spooking away and swimming with my fish.

Holy cow! This is full of smallies! I realized as we inched further into the inlet.

Mark made the observation right off the bat that the water temperature from the inlet was almost 10 degrees warmer than that of the main lake! Eureka! We had found a refuge and proceeded, over the next hour, to hook and fight about 30 good, smallmouth bass. We basically fished the inlet until it slowed down and faced with the idea of getting out and back onto a new lake in the twilight, we decided to make our way back. We motored slowly out of the inlet onto a dead calm Como Lake and with the light almost perfect for sight fishing, we made the decision to slowly drift the shore line and hunt it. I was high on the fore deck, scanning the water in front of me looking for pike. There was no lack of fishy looking objects to grab my attention but there is no mistaking a 40-plus-inch pike in clear water, hovering over a sandy substrate. I won’t tell you exactly what I said when I spotted her, suffice to say it won’t make the TV version of this adventure but I will say that what happened next was one of the most exciting things that I witnessed in over 40 years of fishing.

The fish was only about 30 feet from the boat and I was able to deliver a cast to her. That first cast though, was off target and I didn’t feel very good about it. As I madly retrieved the big streamer to make another cast, the fish reacted. Just enough to let us know that she was willing to play. The next cast was less than perfect as well but this pike was hungry and when she accelerated forward and took my fly… well, I nearly pooped my shorts! I’ve hooked my share of big fish but can’t remember one more entertaining than this one: sighting it, fouling a cast, and then getting it to eat…this was just flat out fun!

two anglers with northern pike

We landed the pike and it measured right around 42 inches, leaving an indelible first impression of Como Lake. Over the next three days, we would continue to explore her and try to unravel the nuance of a new lake and see if just maybe, we could come away with that, I figured you out! feeling.

We did okay for the next three days, hooking and fighting several more pike and many smallmouth bass under tough conditions but Como left me, or I left her, with the notion that I need to return here and go further into trying figure her out.

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