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The Lindners Visit Superior Country

The Lindners Visit Superior Country

Legendary anglers hit Dog Lake

An in-depth interview with Al and Dan Lindner about their experience at Dog Lake Resort fishing and shooting Angling Edge TV



“One of my favorite places to fish in the entire world is Superior Country, Ontario,” says Angling Edge TV host and fishing industry pioneer Al Lindner. “Some of the very best fishing in the world for walleyes and smallmouth exists in Ontario as well as muskies, northern pike, lake trout, brook trout, whitefish, crappies, perch, and more. And with its untold number of lakes, the fish are super abundant.”  

   

Fellow Angling Edge TV host Dan Lindner adds: “Not only is the walleye, smallmouth bass, and musky fishing off-the-charts, crappies are exploding more and more, too—and they’re big. Add the amazing trout fishing and salmon down around Nipigon—not to overlook the world-class burbot opportunities, either—and Superior Country is definitely a mecca for everything that swims.”

Suffice to say that Al and company take every chance they get to visit Superior Country throughout the year. They’ve been going to Superior Country every year for decades and describe it as “one of their favorite places to escape.”

How did you decide on visiting Dog Lake in Superior Country?

Al: This past spring when we had a meeting at our office with the entire Angling Edge TV team, we looked at a lot of fishing opportunities in places we’ve never been. So our guys are sitting around the table and started listing lodges and places we had the opportunity to visit. Then they mentioned Dog Lake and I remembered hearing about Dog Lake, which isn’t far north of Thunder Bay. I said I’ve never been there and asked, what does it have to offer? They said it’s primarily a walleye and smallmouth bass fishery, so I replied: you don’t have to go any further, I’m in. Danny then popped in and said he was in, too.

So it was an easy sell from the get-go for Danny and I… We called up there and talked to owner and operator Paul Del Pino, and got a little idea of the lake and the lodge and everything. Then we worked on some dates that would work for everyone. So we ended up venturing up to Dog Lake Resort in Superior Country in late June. As I mentioned, going to new places is really exciting for me and we love doing this.

How was the trip to Dog Lake?

Al: We got in late at night after driving through a rainstorm all the way from Duluth to Thunder Bay, got settled in, put the boat on charge, and the thunderstorms raged all night; we weren’t sure what to expect the next morning. We met with Paul and got a little feel for what was going on fishing-wise, and planned to meet for breakfast the next morning to discuss our battleplan.

Tell us about your first day on the water at Dog Lake.

Al: After a short night’s rest, I was all pumped and couldn’t wait to get on the water. The storms passed and everything was looking good. So we go to breakfast and the first thing we always do is get a history of the lake and I was amazed that Dog Lake, a really big body of water, has lots of really deep water—up to 400 feet—and in a lot of the lake there are oodles of 150- to 200-foot water.

Naturally, my first question was if there were any lake trout in Dog Lake, and Paul said there’s never been lake trout in Dog Lake, which shocked me. He said the fishery used to be primarily known for trophy northern pike, but that’s dissipated somewhat and it’s turned into a first-class walleye, smallmouth bass, and big whitefish fishery. My ears perked up. I love catching whitefish, especially in the spring of the year when they’re still up shallow. And walleyes and smallmouth bass—well, that’s just a recipe for tons of fun!

What species did you plan to showcase for this show?

Al: Talking with Paul, he said everyone knows how good the walleye fishing is on Dog Lake, so he really wanted us to showcase the epic smallmouth bass fishing the lake has to offer. Of course, when anyone starts talking smallmouth, our ears really perk up.

How was your first day on Dog Lake?

Al: As mentioned, the weather broke and there are two rivers that dump into the massive Dog Lake system—one on each side of the lake, and one fairly close to the lodge where we explored the first day. We started jumping in and out of spots, and all of sudden we got into a goldmine of smallmouth. Everything started coming together on day one, and with the smallies it was boom, boom, boom! We were getting into schools of pre-spawn fish; the walleyes were coming off of the spawn, too—they were in post-spawn—so they were starting to move out and the smallies were starting to move in.

And when that happens on a lot of Canadian lakes, you can have some really interesting bites going. It’s really kind of fun, especially if you’re in big river areas and both the walleyes and smallmouth are on the feed. You can catch both off the same spots and it can be really amazing.

So your first day on Dog Lake was a success?

Al: The show on Day 1 came together as fast as you could turn the camera on and make a cast—again, it was literally boom, boom, boom—and the cameraman was saying, “Don’t make a cast, I can’t keep up!” It was really one of those dream shows that was really, really easy shooting.

Tell us a little bit about your experiences at Dog Lake Resort. What was that like?

Al: We came in for supper after the first day on the water and we met a bunch of people. There were some guests from Illinois, some people from Indiana, and folks from all over. So we had dinner that night and got to meet some of the people at the lodge. And Paul, he’s a really a first-class camp operator; he’s got all the gift of gab and he loves to talk about the history of the camp and lake. He really makes people feel at home. Part of the fun for me is meeting these lodge operators and hearing their stories and the history of the camps. They’re real free spirits. They are truly fantastic characters—and it’s always interesting learning why they have the love they do for their lodge and the lakes.

Dan: No kidding, Paul is really an awesome host. He mentioned that he was about to have something like 300 guests for Canada’s equivalent of the July 4th holiday – something called Canada Day on July 1. And Paul knows all their names! Again, he’s a great host. As far as the lodge, it’s a huge operation and only 45 minutes out of Thunder Bay. He’s got a really unique spot, a bay and beautiful sand beach, which is rare for Canada.

Not only is the resort a great place to fish and hunt, it’s great for people sunbathing, kids swimming, and all sorts of water recreation. Plus, you’re not isolated out in the sticks, so family can easily run into town for a movie, dining, shopping, and more. That’s pretty cool. The cabins are super comfy and set up with all the amenities required, and the lodge features really good homecooked food.

 

Al: We met one of the guests who’s been coming to Dog Lake for years named Jim, and I could tell right away that he was a really good fisherman. Paul said Jim knows the lake really, really well and advised we get some input from him, which we did. So we had dinner together that night, and Jim started talking about the other river that comes in way up the lake. He asked if I had a couple hours to run up there, and he’d show me the areas where he’d caught his biggest smallies and walleyes.

I said sure, I’ll jump in, and we had great weather, flat calm, so the run up there was grea. We spent about two hours fishing and smoked some really big fish. In one spot we had a number for 4-pound smallmouths and better. We also found some really good walleyes up there. I told Jim I wished I had Dan with and a camera on! The fishing was just electric!  So I figured we’d run up there the next day for the massive schools of fish we found.

What was it like the next day?

Al: Unfortunately, the weather blew in and we had horrendous wind, so we couldn’t get back up there. So we fished the lower end of the lake but explored the post-spawn walleye bite—the fish were scattered, we had suspended fish, we had moving fish, we had some fish out on the main lake humps, but it was a little too early for them to get out there yet.

We kept exploring for walleyes with different presentations, but kept coming back to that running water. Since none of the lake is mapped, it came down to coming up to a spot and looking around—stuff that just looked fishy like back bays, transition areas, broken rock areas… We’d see broken rock and start throwing jerkbaits around and we were connecting with smallies, walleyes, and the bonus 5- or 6-pound whitefish. That was sweet!

The bite that next day, even though we weren’t able to fish the far end of the lake, was simply awesome. So we shot a bunch of other stuff while we were there, too—and to be honest, it turned into one of those shows that you caught so many fish that it became an editor’s nightmare. Our cameraman was like, “What am I going to do with all this stuff?” It all came together fast and just beautifully. The fishing on Dog Lake is simply incredible.

What else was notable about your experience at Dog Lake?

Al: The lake was amazing to me. Some of the things that shocked me was not only the depth, but the unique history: how the fishery changed from once an unbelievable northern pike fishery to a premium walleye and smallmouth bass destination. The walleyes were actually stocked, and as the walleye population built up the northern pike fishery declined somewhat. But now it’s numbers and size of walleyes, smallmouth bass, and whitefish—and again, in big, big numbers. Dog Lake is like a reservoir and the seasonal movements of fish on a big body of water, once you begin to understand it, you’ll get into really big schools of fish fast spring, summer, and fall.

I’d really like to go back and explore the many deep water humps we found that didn’t have many fish on them yet this time of year. Other anglers at camp were talking about how these humps get massive schools of walleyes on them in mid-July or so, and they stay there for the rest of the year—and the smallmouth bass start wandering out into the mid-basins.

Dan: This trip to Dog Lake was like a bucket-list adventure for us. And in this part of the world, Superior Country—this is one of those lakes that we’d ideally go back to in late summer when all these fish are piled up on deep water humps. We heard the stories and saw the photos of that kind of bite, and that looked like a whole lot of fun. But, let’s face it, a June bite anywhere in Superior Country, Ontario, when you’ve got the walleyes moving out and the smallmouths moving in—you’ve got a fantastic trip.”

Al: Dan’s right, this was like a bucket-list adventure for us, and I’d go out of my way to recommend Superior Country to anglers, especially Dog Lake, which proved to be just an outstanding fishery on so many levels. Filming TV isn’t always easy, but this trip to Dog Lake made what we do easy.

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