The fresh breeze, growing waves and steepness of the fast-breaking edge makes it tough to stay on the fish. But careful manipulation of the trolling motor keep us midway up the edge, plunging from 12 down to 30 feet, where the walleye are thick and aggressive. This is the sort of fishing my wife likes and I’m delighted to see a bend in Francine’s rod and the smile on her face. Once again White Lake delivers.
We’re at the north end, where the 20-plus-kilometre-long lake blossoms into a series of expansive bays. Like an hourglass she tapers down then widens again to the south, with the Trans-Canada Highway crossing at her narrows. Not only is White Lake easily accessible from the Trans-Canada but a full service provincial campground furnishes convenient accommodation for anglers amongst the sand beaches, fragrant pines and wild roses at the south end of the lake.
Although it’s early afternoon and difficult to pull ourselves away from walleye up to 24 inches, we head south to the campground to rendezvous with my long-time angling companion, Gord Ellis and his gentle wife Cheryl.
White Lake has always been a popular destination with my family and the Ellis clan. My two girls were newborns the first time they visited the park and Gord’s boys were not much older. “You know, this is the first time at White Lake without our kids,” says Gord shaking his head. Francine and I are in the same situation. “Yeah, it’s a big change,” I say.
Another thing that has changed is the fishing. Although it’s always been good, it’s now much better than it was when we first visited the park in the early 90s. A restrictive slot size regulation in the mid-90s coupled with the growing inclination towards catch and release seems to have improved the fishing in White and many other Northeastern Ontario lakes.
After pooling our resources for a dinner of fresh walleye, chicken and salad back the campsite, we jump in our boats and head south to where the lake tapers down to a meandering stretch of bays and narrows. We only get as far as the railway bridge, where Francine and I connect quickly, trolling crawlers and spinner rigs while Gord and Cheryl drop jigs amidst a pod of walleye. We’re only a five-minute ride from the campground and the sheltered and productive waters of the southern section remind me of why White Lake Provincial Park is such a great family fishing destination. With action so close to accommodation it’s not a bad couples retreat either.
Working our way back up north Francine and I come across a protruding shallows loaded with walleye. Cheryl and Gord join us for a last flurry before heading back to the campsite where guitar playing, a crackling fire and conversation merge with the starry night.