Flying-In to an Angler's Paradise

Contest winner Bev Blake nets a BIG catch for major fly-in fishing fun.

The alarm goes off and guests wake up early with excitement at Air Ivanhoe Limited. They head down to the dock with a week’s worth of gear. The scales are loaded and the plane is quickly fuelled. For strangers up so early in the morning, they chat eagerly as the first flight group is called to board the plane. It's a smooth takeoff over the pristine waters of Lake Ivanhoe, Northeastern Ontario.

Photo: Martin Lortz.

Bev Blake, a Sudbury local, couldn’t have been happier to be called as the winner of the BIG Fly-In Fishing Experience Contest. She was quick to make friends with the other groups and guests, making herself known as the "winner" for the week. She faced a hard decision on who to bring with her on this adventure. She had been planning a trip for her father and his friends but ultimately chose to travel with her boyfriend, Eric.

Photo: Martin Lortz.

The first gathering of all the guests was at the dinner table, where the tone would be set for meals. We were greeted with mouth-watering steaks. Returning guests, some with over 20 years experience on the lake, exchanged stories and pointers about the Nemegosenda Lake's bounty - including walleye (pickeral), northern pike, lake trout, smallmouth bass, lake whitefish and burbot.

After dinner, Bev and Eric took advice from the veterans and went in search of lake trout. In no time, Bev was hooked up with the biggest fish of her life! The way the fish loaded the rod, hard and aggressive drag peeling runs, and shear power of the fish confirmed the size. It was quite the battle and the fish came out victorious — this will make for a great story about the one that got away.

Monster Lake Trout.

By morning, stories of Bev’s catches had made it around the cabins and soon even the veterans were asking her for pointers. After a full day, reports came back from all the anglers — they all had a tougher bite than usual but still managed to put a couple fish in the boat.

Once concluding our half chicken supper, Bev and I returned to the lake to catch some trout and walleye. The sun slowly hit the horizon and we headed over to a walleye hole recommended by Yannick, the lodge handyman. After a few pointers, Bev was dialed in and reeling in one fish after another — the bite was so good that we left on a double header and had depleted the rest of the day’s bait.

Photo: Martin Lortz.

The fearless couple was back at it the next morning — skipping breakfast, determined to bring home a bountiful catch. The camp fish fry was that evening with afternoon thunder showers in the forecast. Bev and Eric got into some good bites and enjoyed themselves relaxing back at camp while the wind blew up the lake. It was quite the adventure for the many boats that stuck it out for the day and rode the whitecaps back to camp.

The fish fry was a meal not to be missed — a wide variety of salads complimented the fresh walleye harvested by each of the anglers in attendance. That night called for socials on the deck as the lake had rolling 4 to 6 foot waves. The guests shared stories of their adventures, got to know one another and shared many laughs as the night went on.

Photo: Martin Lortz.

For the final day our group tackled the lake and river together, sharing locations found throughout the previous days. In no time at all we had an excellent stringer coming together in anticipation of our shore lunch. It seemed like every bend of the river lined with cedar trees held a bounty of walleye that we slowly picked apart.

Yannick strongly advised stopping in at a spot named “The Parking Lot” — a deep hole that met up with a shallow sand/weed flat. None other than Bev was hooked up with a northern pike. The fish fought a hard fight but the team came together and got it in the net. Bev and Eric couldn’t have been happier with the final day of fishing.

Photo: Martin Lortz.

Photo: Martin Lortz.

The kitchen staff provided all the fixings needed for a shore lunch — cleaning the fresh fish we'd brought back, setting up an open camp fire, beans on the grill, fresh cut potatoes and onions in the oil. This made the whole lodge experience come together, as a shore lunch isn’t as common on a weekend getaway.

The ride out of the river was bitter sweet as we knew it would be our last. We tried to stay until the last moment we could before heading back — the Nemegosenda River had treated all of us well and provided both the action and protection from the elements that had impacted the main lake.

An impressive roast dinner awaited us back to the lodge. The group shared stories over drinks into the early hours of the morning with a common thought of never leaving on our minds. The morning came too soon and so did the plane. After some fond farewells, the floats of the plane lifted off of beautiful Nemegosenda Lake, headed for home.

Photo: Martin Lortz.

Bev and Eric are already pondering future trips and adventures, all at new locations. You could see how much this trip meant to them — nothing beats spending time with those closest to you in the middle of the wilderness, tackling a new adventure at every turn of the river! 

Their highlights include the abundant food and its quality, catching the biggest trout and pike of the week, along with coming together to land these fish and working throughout the trip to achieve success. Bev also stated that spending time around a "professional" angler was a highlight in itself!  This trip couldn't have happened to a better candidate. Bev took it all in and had a smile on her face while embracing every part of the experience.

Photographer: Martin Lortz, Outer Images.

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