We started fishing at about 9 am. 9 am sounds incredibly late for fishing, but up here there is presently 21 hours of daylight. If you fish late into the night you won’t fish early. Late means fishing until midnight (what we did last night) and early starts at 3 am when there’s easily enough light to see. Although everyone would love to fish from 3 am to midnight each day, such hours would kill a few old guys like us.
We were eager to see what Pagato has in store for us so we decided to go to the opposite end of the lake and fish our way back until sunset. On the map we saw a river entering on the far end and knew it should be a prime area for pike at this time of year. The four of us cranked up the two boats and enjoyed a forty-five minute drive. The river dumped into a shallow weedy bay and we started catching little pike like there was nothing to it. Gradually the current of the river pushed us out into the lake where the depth increased. Because we weren’t catching any big pike in the shallows I felt like we were bound to hook up with a big pike out deep. Unfortunately the hammer handles kept showing up.
Bill and Steve are experienced fishing the waters of northern Canada and suggested we drive up the river itself to see if the big pike were hiding up there. We could see on our map that this river actually came from a small lake and thought that if we could get the boats up there perhaps we could fish that lake. We slowly motored up the river carefully avoiding the many submerged rocks and sunken trees. It was ideal fish habitat and occasionally we stopped and nailed a few more small pike. About a ½ mile up we hit a short rapid. My past experiences in the Minnesota Boundary Waters and the Quetico of Ontario are that these places hold numerous walleye. Sure enough we all caught walleyes on our first cast below the rapid on our big pike flies. The walleyes were humanely wacked and became an incredibly delicious shore lunch.
All anglers are explorers, so we actually drug the boats up the rapids and then motored into the small lake we saw on the map. There’s now doubt that this small weedy lake sees few anglers. It too had its fair share of entering creeks and the four of us went off investigating. The first creek Chris and I went too had lily pads throughout the entire bay. We each tied on weedless Dahlberg Divers and cast them deep into the lily pads. It didn’t’ take long before a wake appeared behind my fly destroyed it. It was a nice 27” pike. We proceeded to catch numerous pike from the lilies throughout the day, but we couldn’t break 30 inches. The dream 40 plus inchers were not around.
A huge thunder storm rolled in at about 7 pm. I hate sitting in an aluminum boat during a lightning storm so we tied to a dead birch tree and walked the bog and hunkered down in some willows. The wind ripped and the rain came down hard for a few minutes. Then as fast as the storm came it left and we were casting our Dahlberg’s again. It hadn’t been ten minutes since we were in the willows when I spotted a huge black bear sniffing the very ground we were just on. Likely the smell of fish from our waders lured the giant bear from the thick forest hoping for an easy fish meal. We watched him trace our steps until he finally got wind of us and ran back to the forest. Man I’m glad we were back in the boat!
Knowing we had a long way back to the cabin we each caught one more pike from the lily pads and then began the trek. The sun actually set at about 10:15 but it stayed light enough to see and fish till nearly midnight. Once within a mile of the cabin we did just that. We hammered walleye after walleye off a point with Warpath Jig Fly’s and Clouser’s until we were too tired to cast. Although the big pike eluded us the numbers of small pike and quality walleye kept us happy.