An Epic Fly-in Experience
by Mark Melnyk, producer and host of The New Fly Fisher Show
Nothing quite compares to the magic and beauty of Northern Ontario. Sweeping forests, pristine lakes, and plenty of wild fish just waiting to be hooked. Of all the spectacular warm water species, northern pike are the true belles of the ball. Here in Northern Ontario, thanks to ample food sources and little pressure, they can reach lengths upwards of 50 inches. If you’re after trophy-sized specimens on a fly and an epic fly-in experience, look no further than Kesagami Wilderness Lodge.
Based in Kesagami Provincial Park, this unique fly-in location north of Cochrane is situated on miles of pristine lake and boasts beautiful accommodations, American Plan meals, and stunning views of the lake. Located on the edge of the boreal forest far from civilization, opportunities abound for seeing wildlife including foxes, moose, wolves, eagles, and beavers. For those interested in nature photography or birdwatching, numerous trails run through the grounds of the lodge that allow for easy walking and exploring. If the beauty of the wilderness isn’t enough, there is also phenomenal fishing. The lake is renowned for the large numbers of walleye, with the real bonus of monster pike, that have anglers eager to return year after year.
The fishing here is incredible thanks to a progressive conservation policy that protects the fishery year after year. While the lodge offers exceptional shore-lunches featuring walleye, only the smaller fish are kept for this purpose. However, Kesagami also has a strict catch-and-release only plan for northern pike which protects the fishery, ensuring that anglers enjoy the opportunity off catching trophy-sized fish practically every day.
Kesagami Wilderness Lodge is a fly angler’s dream for two main reasons. The shorelines of the lake offer great visible structure such as pencil reeds and defined weed beds that are the perfect arena for hooking monster pike. Another key contributing feature is that the lake is relatively shallow: at its deepest point it is only 17 feet, and its average depth is just seven feet. This feature enables fly anglers to stalk large fish in shallow water, using a floating fly line most of the time. The lodge also provides wide, flat-bottomed freighter canoes that are perfect platforms to facilitate fly anglers when casting, as well as allowing room for their gear.
With gear in mind, I would suggest coming prepared with a 9-weight rod and both intermediate and floating lines. Often you can entice these giant pike with top water flies, but like any savvy angler, make sure you have streamers and a sinking line with you as well, in case the fish are locating near the bottom. Don’t forget to come prepared with bite wire, as this will prevent the pike from cutting off your fly. One thing I’ve learned is that you don’t need huge flies to catch huge pike. Come prepared with a variety of sizes and colours, and ask your guide which would be best for the whatever weather and water conditions you might encounter. My personal favourite pike flies are the Northern Magic and the Poor Man’s Whistler.
It’s hard to say what’s more fun: hooking into a trophy-sized pike, or landing a beautiful walleye on virtually every cast! At Kesagami Wilderness Lodge you’ve got the possibility of both. With no other lodge on the lake, it’s hard to imagine a more ideal location for any angler looking for an outstanding wilderness fishing experience.
Call Charlie … 1-800-253-3474
email: [email protected]
This article was previous posted on Ontario North Travel, January 2020