As the float plane lifted from the Lake at Cochrane Air Base, I could feel the pressures of civilization melting away. For the next five days there would be no computer screens or phone calls. Every part of my brain focused on the beauty of Canada's northern landscape and the prospect of catching pike and walleye in a pristine wilderness lake.
The low-level flight into Kesagami Wilderness Lodge offered a spectacular view of the rugged terrain we'd come so far to see. Houses and highways gave way to logging roads, which transitioned into trees and lakes for as far as the eye could see. A few black bears and a moose provided that little extra seasoning to round out the full northern experience we'd hoped for.
Kesagami Lake has been aptly described as one of the best spots in Ontario for big pike. We managed to catch seven pike over 40 inches, each one larger and thicker than the one before. The biggest was a 46-incher, caught by our guide Tom Gourlay on a spinnerbait.
The lake only averages seven feet deep, offering expansive flats of pencil reeds in bays and thick cabbage beds in the main lake during summer. The water is dark, due to many exposed peat banks. The main forage for pike is whitefish, and walleye, although we caught a number of fish with burbot tails still visible in their throats.
If walleye are your target fish, then there's more good news. Walleye are so numerous that they can be caught almost anywhere, including right off the main dock. I've never fished anywhere else where walleye are so plentiful. Golden fish in the 30-inch range are possible, but most are between one and five pounds. Once into a school, super-sizing your lures is one way to try to tease out the bigger ones. Some of our largest walleye came on big swimbaits.
Comfort in the Wilderness
Accommodations are luxurious, relative to most fly-in fishing camps. The food and service is nothing short of excellent.
As of 2011, there is also an outpost camp which offers access to the trophy pike of Kesagami Lake but at the price of an outpost-camp trip.
If the prospect of catching a monster pike and oodles of walleye gets you excited, this northern adventure is sure to deliver.
For more information visit www.kesagami.com or phone 1-800-253-3474 (winter) or 1-888-234-8882 (summer).