Eagle Lake Lodge: A Muskie Angler's Paradise

The first Muskie of the trip was an “at the boat” fish

Fish'n Canada's Pete Bowman fishes for Muskie and Smallmouth Bass in Ontario's Sunset Country.



On this Fish'n Canada episode I had the opportunity to return to one of Ontario's most iconic Muskie waters, Eagle Lake in the north-west portion of the province. This time I'll be fishing the North-East end of the lake based out of Colegrove's Eagle Lake Lodge.

Since Eagle is such a large body of water and it has its traditional Muskie hotspots, it helps if you can arrange to have your own secret weapon. Mine comes in the form of one of the most unique characters I've ever met, Captain Mike Richardson from the U.S. of A. He’s fished this lake for years and years.

This funny talkin' West Virginian is truly one of a kind and it just so happens that Muskies are the Captain's specialty. He considers the province of Ontario the Muskie Big League. That's why he makes the long voyage several times a year, sometimes staying up to 12 weeks! I wish I had all that spare time!!

DockThe LONG dock at Colegrove's Eagle Lake Lodge...room for a lot of boats

Mike’s not new to our program. It's been nearly ten years since his previous Fish'n Canada appearance, and his Muskie fever hasn't subsided. Having fished them for over fifty years, he still lives for the thrill of the Muskie chase.

For somebody like Captain Mike (as with most other ardent Muskie fanatics), there's an adrenaline rush from even seeing one of these elusive fish. And that said, with Eagle Lake's population, it wasn't long before we started counting our sightings.

THE CONDITIONS

The weather was almost picture perfect for this shoot. Decent warm temperatures, some cloud cover with sun and we were sitting very close to the major (Muskie terminology for the periods of moon overhead as in when the moon is halfway between rise and set, and moon underfoot as in the moon is halfway between set and rise), got it? Yup it’s a bit confusing but trust me, these guys know their stuff!

Muskie experts live to fish in these "prime times". The major, the minor, AKA the moonrise, the moon set, mornings, evenings etc. etc.

With that knowledge in mind our confidence was high.

Reeling InCaptain Mike Richardson plunges his Muskie stick into Eagle Lake on one of many "figure 8's" during this trip

It didn’t take long for us to start seeing fish that followed our presentations to the boat (Muskie are notorious for this) or should I say followed Mike’s baits in. He was throwing a legit big as they get double 10 inline… a beast of a lure to cast all day long. I opted for either a downsized double 10 or double 8. Much easier to handle, seems to catch more “smaller” Muskie yet still can catch giants. As I said though, Mike literally had all the follows and they were BIG fish but none committed to a strike.

When I finally had a follow, I spun that little 10 into a figure 8 and BAM, a sweet little 38 to 39-incher pummeled it! In the net she went and back in the water after a brief on camera appearance. One down and who knows what to follow.

We spent the rest of the morning with only a few more follows but no more hook-ups. The prime Muskie times of the morning were gone and not to come back until that evening… a time when most avid Muskie experts take a break.

Captain Mike is no different... and on this trip he opted out of fishing the mid-day periods... says there's nothing doing.

MuskieCaptain Mike called this little Muskie a "snot rocket"... says these are the ones that will cut you up

I trusted Mikes word as to the unproductive midday period for Muskie and so we gave the Muskie lures - and our arms - a break. However, I'm not one to sit at the lodge during the daylight hours, "especially" when there are Smallmouth nearby. It was time to shift gears for a couple hours. I'd pick Mikey back up later to carry on Muskie hunting... but in the meantime, I was going to take advantage of this opportunity to set my sights on some Eagle Lake Smallies.

SMALLMOUTH ON EAGLE

I knew that there was a decent population of Smallies on Eagle Lake but when Tyler Colegrove told me he’d been hammering a bunch of big fish almost every time out… well that got my heart pumping!

With Captain Mike enjoying a mid-day break at the Lodge, I've hit the water on a solo mission to catch my first Eagle Lake smallmouth...

SmallmouthIf you didn't know it before, we're telling you now, Eagle Lake has some great Smallmouth fishing

The beauty about staying at Colegrove’s is the accessibility of multi species fishing hotspots. The Smallmouth area I hit wasn’t far from the lodge. It did take some off-plane boating to get there because of the treacherous rock bottom in the area but if I know there’s good fishing to be had… I’ll take my time getting there.

I started out throwing a big ¾ ounce double willow Spinnerbait for a couple of reasons. One is it’s a great search bait for Smallies and two, you never know when a big Muskie or Pike wants a small meal.

For a slower presentation, Tyler suggested a beaver style crawfish imitation rigged weightless… and that was the ticket!

By casting in an among the standing reeds, submerged weeds and rock shoreline, my afternoon became very enjoyable with some quality Smallmouth. What a great way to spend the mid-day.

THE EVENING FISH

Now that the captain was all rested up... or maybe he was a little "tuned up" after a few cold Canuck beverages... not sure what he was up to... we were back on the water and looking for that fish of 10,000 casts... the legendary Muskie.

CastingThis is the moment when lots of fish are lost

Low and behold, at about 9:45 that evening I smacked my blades into another nice little Eagle Lake Muskie… Mike called it a snot rocket because those are the ones that will stick a hook in your hand, rip your skin with their teeth etc.

CONCLUSION

I definitely do get to meet all sorts of interesting characters on my travels, but none quite like ol' Captain Mike. Excitable and hilarious, there's no better companion for an Eagle Lake Muskie fishing adventure. Although we didn't catch any giant fish, we did get a couple of Muskie and encountered a few of the monsters this lake is known for. And that's the reason anglers keep coming back, time and time again.

ReleasingCheck out Pete's Garmin watch... almost 10pm. Long days are normal for the crew

Until next time... Aye-Aye captain!

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FISHING IN THE DRYDEN ONTARIO AREA

Fishing seasons in Dryden include:

Bass: year-round
Lake Trout: January 1 to September 30
Muskellunge (Muskie): third Saturday in June to December 15
Northern Pike: year-round
Walleye: January 1 to April 14 and the third Saturday in May to December 31

Fishing tournaments:

Join the Tbaytel Walleye Masters walleye catch and release tournament that is located on the Wabigoon chain of lakes June 15th & 16th, 2019.

The Dryden Bass Tournament on Wabigoon Lake. It is a one-day event with boundaries accessible by water from the tournament launch site, which includes the Dinorwic chain.

 

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