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Kesagami Wilderness Lodge

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Kesagami Wilderness Lodge

This was my third trip to Kesagami and I have to admit that this place brings back a lot of old memories. • Credit: Bob Izumi

A fly-in fishing trip to big northern pike and walleye

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I had a chance to visit Kesagami Lodge this spring along with my brother, Wayne, and a number of other friends. It was a trip I was looking forward to because it would be a great chance to visit with some old friends of mine at the lodge. This was my third trip to Kesagami and I have to admit that this place brings back a lot of old memories.

It was at this lodge in the '90s when my son, Darren, and my nephew, Justin, did their first fly-in fishing trip with my brother, Wayne, and I. Darren was 8 or 10-years old at the time and I'll never forget him and Justin catching walleyes and pike right off of the dock at Kesagami Lodge. It's funny how the years go by. Now Darren's 27 years old and he has been producing, shooting and editing the Real Fishing Show for the past half-dozen years. I'm sure that wasn't even on his radar when he was catching those fish at Kesagami in those early years.

My long-time friend, Charlie McDonald, has been the manager of the lodge for many years and Bruce Leeson is the head fishing guide at Kesagami. Bruce and his late father, Denny, have been friends of mine since the early '80s and I can remember competing against them in bass tournaments back in those days. After he retired from his real job, Denny guided at Kesagami until he was, I believe, 82 years old. Now that Bruce has retired, here he is up there guiding too. I had a chance to fish with Bruce during my stay and the fishing and camaraderie did not disappoint me. Bruce and I had a riot catching fish together!

Iziumi Kesagami 1
(Photo credit: Bob Izumi)

One of the things about Kesagami is that it's a very fertile lake and it's just teeming with big walleye and pike. We were there in the spring, when the walleyes were still very shallow. The water has got some colour to it and we were catching fish on some of the shallow flats. Here's the funny part -- we were fishing with literally three or four-feet of line hanging from our rod tips and just dunking our jigs. Where else can you catch fish with just a short bit of line off your rod tip?

It didn't seem to matter what kind of Berkley Gulp or PowerBait we tipped our jigs with, those walleyes were eating everything in sight. I'm talking about aggressive fish. Hundred-fish days, per person, are very common.

The pike that Kesagami is famous for seemed to be mixed in with the walleyes. Even though you can go and target the pike in some of the shallow spawning bays during the early season, it seems like throughout the course of the season -- spring and summer --you get the pike mixed in with the walleye. It's very common to be catching walleye after walleye and all of a sudden you set the hook and it just doesn't quite move the same way. Next thing you know your drag is screaming and you've got a 40 inch pike on.

Bob and Dave with some monster fish from Kesagami Lake. (Photo credit: Bob Izumi)

The funny thing is, Bruce caught the biggest pike of our trip while he was fishing for walleyes. It was a giant 44 1/2 inch pike that he got on a spinning rod rigged with 8 pound test Berkley Trilene XL line and a walleye jig. It was an epic battle!

At one point Bruce asked if I wanted to leave the walleyes and go into the pencil reeds to catch some pike. I said it sounded like fun so we pulled out some heavier gear and moved. I had a medium heavy casting outfit with 50 pound test Trilene Professional Grade Braid line, a wire leader and one of the new 4.5 inch PowerBait Rib Shads rigged on a weighted belly hook. I was swimming it through the reeds and getting lots of explosive strikes on it. It wasn't long before Bruce switched over to a Berkley Hollow Belly swimbait and we ended up catching loads of fish that were three-feet long or bigger.

During our stay at Kesagami Lodge we met a lot of like-minded guests who love to fish, just like we do. The cozy lodge and wonderful meals were a perfect setting to relax in with friends and family after a great day on the water. The icing on the cake was getting to see a couple of our guests go out after dinner and each catch their personal biggest pike, 41 and 43 inches, right off the dock. It really doesn't get any better than that!

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