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Lodge 88: Keeping it in the Family

The fish of the trip, Nik jigged this one up with an ice fishing jig. • Credit: Fish'n Canada
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Lodge 88: Keeping it in the Family

Fish'n Canada host Ang Viola takes his grandson to fly-in fishing lodge on Esnagi Lake, Lodge 88.

Fishing can be different things to different people—for me, it's food for the soul, especially when I share it with a good friend or loved one. Nothing nurtures a relationship like a trip to the perfect fishing hole.

An aerial of one of Algoma’s most outstanding Walleye factories, Esnagi Lake.

Lodge Eighty Eight is just such a spot. Situated at the bottom end of the 27-mile Esnagi Lake and accessible only by floatplane or rail, this extraordinary place in the heart of the Canadian Shield is home to some of the best walleye, northern pike, and speckled trout fishing I’ve ever experienced.

This is the place where the Fish’n Canada team first discovered Algoma Walleye fishing

In the past, those experiences have been shared with my good buddy and co-host Peter Bowman, but this time I’m cranking up the volume! I’m fishing with grandson Niki... he’s a year older, according to him a lot wiser, and eager to experience his first Northern Ontario fly-in walleye adventure. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for a teenager and something I’ve been waiting to set up for a long time.

It’s always a race on this lake to start fishing!


Angelo Viola trolls the breaks of Esnagi lake with rod in hand, tiller in control, and a close eye on his Garmin fish finder. 

Timing is everything in life, but none more so than when planning a fly-in trip to a remote location like Lodge 88, Mother Nature can sometimes seem to be heartless.

What started out as ideal comfortable conditions quickly declined to frigid “I didn’t bring enough clothing” weather.

I was worried about Nik, I told him to bring lots of warm clothes, but you know… he is a teenager… they know better than us, right?

Long story short, Nik and I survived the nasty cold front, and all went well.


One of the funniest moments of this trip was when I told Nik we were going to use live leeches… and he had to put his own on!

Of course, the look on his face was priceless!

This trip was also Nik’s first encounter with live leeches… YUCK!!!

After a quick yet squeamish leech-handling lesson, Nik got past his psychological barrier and was jamming his hand into the leech pail like a champ!

We meticulously worked the breaks and humps of Esnagi Lake with jigs tipped with leeches and caught tons of fish. “Man, there's a bunch of fish here, eh Grandpa?” said Nik. That was an understatement!

This was Nik’s very first fly-in fishing adventure

After countless hook-ups, I decided to teach Nik an odd fishing tactic for late spring and early summer… jigging ice fishing lures, in open water. This crazy-sounding technique can put some slab walleye in the boat if you stick with it and get the right feel for it.

I set up Nik with an ice jig and within minutes, he was executing the technique like a champ. As a matter of fact, he caught some of the biggest fish of the whole trip, all while being a newbie to this type of fishing.

I can’t stress enough just how good Lodge 88 and the fishing on Esnagi Lake is.

Visit the site, visit the lodge, you won’t be sorry!


I’ve said this countless times before: fishing is a powerful platform to build and enjoy friendships. I believe a relationship that has a foundation rooted in the outdoors and fishing is a relationship for life. I encourage people reading this to take any opportunity to go fishing with a friend or a loved one like I did on this trip with my grandson Nik, it will fulfill you beyond words.

Accommodations, Guides & Outfitters:


The docking facilities at Lodge 88 are absolutely perfect.

Situated in the Algoma region of Ontario, Lodge 88 truly is a diamond in the rough. Nestled on the southern shore of Esnagi Lake, Lodge 88 is the perfect get-away for the hardcore angler who wants to feel a sense of luxury at the end of a long fishing day.

The accommodations at Lodge 88 are some of the best in all of Ontario!

The fishing at Lodge 88 is second to none. Twenty-seven-mile-long Esnagi Lake is famous for excellent walleye, northern pike, perch, and whitefish. The fish are not only plentiful but BIG, with many trophies caught every year. In fact, on our first trip to the lodge, Pete and I boated a bunch of 4- to 7-pound Walleye capped off with a 10-lb-plus monster!

This is a typical Walleye out of Esnagi Lake. Thousands of these are caught and released (with the odd one for shore lunch) every season.

If that's not enough, you can portage to nearby Rock Lake for world-class spring brook trout fishing!


The Famous Goose of Wawa

Mention the word Wawa and most people automatically think about that famous Goose at the Trans-Canada Highway and 101! So many pictures have been taken here. The Goose marks the opening of the last link of the Lake Superior section of the Trans-Canada Highway more than 50 years ago!

White River: Home of Winnie The Pooh

Bet you didn’t know that White River in the Algoma region of Ontario was home to Winnie The Pooh, did you? Read the article.


During the peak of fall colors, a unique tour takes place through the heart of Algoma. The Agawa Train Tour takes you through breathtaking landscapes of lush Ontario forests with new and stunning sights around every corner.

Resource Links

Go Fish in Ontario

For a complete guide to Fish’n Canada show episodes, TV channels, and show times, go to www.fishncanada.com or www.facebook.com/FishnCanada

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