When some people talk about the ideal fishing paradise, they envision multiple float plane trips with long hours of highway driving just to get to the landing sites of the float planes.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
There is a 2,100-square-foot, hand-hewn log lodge with 16 modern guest cottages in Northwest Ontario near the town of Perrault Falls called Manotak Lodge that has world class fishing for Walleye, Northern Pike, Musky, Smallmouth Bass, Jumbo Perch, slab Crappie, and all the lodge comforts including breathtaking waterfront accommodations, four-piece bathrooms, plenty of hot water, automatic heat, a mini-fridge, and so much more. But I will get back to the family friendly plan packages in a bit, let’s first focus on the world-class fishing for now.
Let’s be real.
Life is full of stressful situations. When you finally research and book your trip, then travel to a location you have spent your hard-earned cash for, you want the best value for your buck.
You want clean accommodations and beds, plenty of hot and cold running water, three- or four-piece baths, and a cottage that is heated and furnished with some of the comforts of home. This is north country, you are on vacation in the wilderness of Ontario forests, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your peace of mind: you want a place where you can rest your head after a day of losing yourself in the majestic tranquility of Perrault Lake. Manotak Lodge offers this and so much more to its guests.
Our trip to Manotak Lodge was in the middle of August, during a severe heat wave with bright sunny skies and slick calm conditions (usually these conditions add up to some of the hardest walleye fishing of the year, but not here.) We had the opportunity to fish for three days for a variety of species, including the super-sized slab crappie I kept hearing about, and the friendly lodge hosts hooked us up with some of the most knowledgeable fishing guides on this lake, so we knew we were going to treated to some awesome fishing adventures during our trip.
After enjoying a hearty breakfast of eggs, sausage, bacon, and pancakes with fresh brewed coffee, our first morning we fished with Sonny, a local native guide who was a pleasure to fish with. We were met with these exact weather conditions—slick, calm, bright sun, and heat—and honestly, I did not know what to expect. I understand lodge operators cannot control the weather or fish activity, and I was fully prepared to fish hard if I had to, but that was not the case at all.
Our second location of the day, a secluded back bay with rocky shoals, points, and small islands, looked like a prime walleye location with deep water nearby. And that’s exactly what we found.
Fishing with small 1/8-ounce jig heads and live minnows directly below our boat produced constant action of walleyes in the 14- to 21-inch class.
This was fun.
We moved around to various locations on the lake with similar success and called it a day in the early afternoon, so we could sneak in a nap before dinner at the lodge. Once again, Manotak didn’t disappoint.
The gracious hosts served some of the best roast beef we have ever eaten with potatoes and veggies, homemade bread, soup, salad, and mouth-watering dessert. Time to head back to my cottage and take a hot shower, re-spool some rods for the next day, and chill out on my front deck facing the waterfront, enjoying a cool beverage while watching the loons call and the sunset. As peaceful as it gets. This lodge is all about decompressing and letting go, and at that very moment, that was as good as it gets.
Second morning we hooked up with Wily, another native guide who knows that lake inside out and has caught his fair share of walleyes, including a bunch in the mid-30-inch class. His job was making sure all I was thinking about was landing my next walleye, and he impressed me with his boat positioning and his knowledge of un-marked shoals and hotspots that produced some excellent fishing with multiple walleyes in the 17- to 24-inch class on just about each location we visited on morning number two.
We came to shoot our show and showcase the excellent fishing opportunities to our viewers, and released all the fish we caught except for a few smaller walleyes for our guides dinner.
Back to the lodge we went; it was almost dinner time and we didn’t want to miss out. Another feast for kings. This time it was steak night on the barbeque with potatoes, salad, and soup, and of course that homemade bread that was served warm and fresh. I can still taste it now. Back to the cottage again and repeat the same routine as the prior. Hot shower, fresh clothes, check my tackle for the next morning, get a cold beverage, and sit on the front deck and watch natures television right before my very eyes. Priceless.
On our last morning before our trip home we hooked with John, a resident guide who also had travel plans later that day, but we had to experience the crappie fishing for ourselves. We head out with John in one of the lodge boats, located a shallow bay connected to the main lake, and started on the very first rocky point we saw in 14 to 18 feet of water. We began slowing jigging the same set ups as we did for walleye, tiny jigs with live minnows. It didn’t take long to feel that familiar crappie thump and set hook into the first of many thick-bodied 12- to 14-inch slab crappies we caught that last morning of our trip. We kept a few of the bigger slabs for pictures, then released them all to keep reproducing more and bigger crappie for next year’s guests.
Treat yourself to one of Ontario’s great wilderness lodges where you can truly get away and decompress all the stresses in your life. Bring your friends, your family, or just yourself. No matter who you bring, you’ll go back with a lifetime of incredible memories.