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Keystone Muskies

Bob Turgeon with a big musky caught under sunny and calm conditions. • Credit: Jim Saric
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Keystone Muskies

Fishing Cedar Lake in Northwest Ontario for Trophy Sized Musky

We had a great time filming The Musky Hunter at Keystone Lodge in Northern Ontario, a drive-to resort where you can launch your boat and go fishing. The cabins and lodge are awesome, and the docking facility is protected and can handle any size boat. Plus, at Keystone Lodge, you are really close to some incredible musky fishing. You can see it all on the episode but we wanted to share some pro tips with you here.

But first, we're going to get really specific with our location so...you may want to get out the map!

Keystone Lodge is located on the east end of Cedar Lake, which is in Northwest Ontario, Canada in Perrault Falls—approximately 170 miles northeast of International Falls, MN. Cedar Lake is horseshoe-shaped that’s 16 miles long, encompassing 6,500 acres. It's stained water with lots of lush weed beds and—you guessed it—some monster muskies.

The east end of Cedar Lake is stained water with lots of weed beds in bays, islands, and mid-lake reefs. The western side of Cedar Lake is clear water with deeper weeds, points, and rock piles. The beauty of fishing Cedar Lake is that you have a variety of watercolors to fish. This gives you the advantage of fishing the clear water on the west end during low light conditions or fishing the stained, east end during bright skies. Plus, given the shape of Cedar Lake, you can always find a place to fish in any wind condition.

When we filmed an episode of The Musky Hunter at Keystone Lodge, it was calm and sunny, and fishing the east end was a perfect option. We fished a lot of weedy bays and, one of the days, it seemed like every bay held a musky. We also fished some islands and deeper rock humps where anglers were catching walleye—and among them, we found muskies! During those high skies, we still managed to catch muskies fishing bucktails in orange, gold, and black patterns, and we had muskies hit perch minnow baits and topwater.

One of the keys to catching muskies on Cedar is executing a solid figure 8 with your lure after every cast. In the stained water it’s not uncommon to not see the muskies following until the last minute, so moving the lure in a large figure 8 pattern gives you more time to react but, more importantly, trigger a strike at boatside. We caught half our muskies on the figure 8 so consider the fact that, if you aren’t making a figure 8 after every cast, you might only catch half the fish you might otherwise have throughout the week!

angler holding a musky

Jim Saric with a Cedar Lake musky caught on cloudy and rainy conditions. The beauty of Cedar Lake is the variety of watercolors you can fish to match the weather conditions. (Photo credit: Jim Saric)

On our last day at Cedar Lake, we had cloudy skies and rain and, as expected, the fish were extremely active. We found fish on similar spots, but the muskies on the west end were active as well. We ended up catching six muskies and getting a second complete show done in one day. It was some great musky fishing.

Cedar Lake may be overlooked by more popular waters such as Eagle Lake in Northwest Ontario, but for those looking for a smaller, more manageable water with shots at trophy muskies, Cedar Lake is a perfect match, and Keystone Lodge is a great location.

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