Best Fishing Lakes in Canada
Passion for Pasha by Chris Granrud
How is that for a backdrop
for your fishing adventure!! When a guy spends nearly each and every day either on the water, or in the woods it clearly takes a very special place to motivate him enough to pack his bags during the month of September. I’d been talking with Chad online from Pasha Lake for over a year through the medium of In Depth Outdoors. It was not only the fishing opportunities, but a Canadian bear hunt that had both my dad and I losing countless hours of sleep in our anticipation of our upcoming trip. Like so many others on this site I truly didn’t know exactly what to expect when pointing our 4wd north of Thunder Bay to the isolated land Chad calls home in the Pasha Lake region!! Boys let me tell you this is ‘Manland’ in every sense of the word. Deer can’t event take a foothold in this rugged cut of Pines, Rock, and cold water.
It became quite evident as we twisted and turned due north that we were heading into an entirely different world of sights and sounds. Moose warning signs dotted the sides of the lone black topped road. The harsh terrain took on an entirely different look and feel as though it were serving as a unsung middle ground connecting the southern Ontario wilderness, and the harsh realities of the Arctic Circle!! The scenery witnessed along side the lonely highway was flat out breathtaking, and worth the price of admission alone. Both of us found ourselves snapping numerous roadside pictures of the majestic landscape made up of steep rock cuts standing like Mountains with numerous free falling waterfalls in countless areas. With our eyes often found wandering “Off the Road” surely our travel was slowed, yet for some reason time didn’t seem to matter. It was though we had willingly left behind the endless hustle and bustle of todays society at our border crossing. While we pulled our big 18 ft enclosed trailer full of toys we sat back and enjoyed each and every curve revealing yet another wonder of the wicked power of yesterdays Glaciers.
Even Chads Black lab like
the looks of that walleye!! Our trip focused attentions on the exploration of a small sampling of the numerous fishing destinations available in the Pasha lake region. We also were ‘Amped up’ to battle wits with an Ontario Black Bear. Upon arrival to camp ‘Pasha Lake’ Chad was the first to greet us as surely we must have looked as though we had enclosed a small army locked in our lengthy Alumna Trailer. I clearly recall Chads slight smirk on his face when posing the question what ‘What you boys hauling!’. Not knowing exactly what we might need we pretty much had our entire arsenal along at our disposal!! For those planning next years adventure with Chad I will say a guy can get by with a handful of rods/tackle, or Guns/ammo along food, and the shirt on his back. The lakes you choose to explore will determine whether you should consider towing your own boat or use one of the 60 from Pasha lake. I personally would not tow my ‘Skeet Retreat’, and would opt to get a guide trip with Chad on Lake Nipigon for example while utilizing his smaller 16ft aluminum boats on the rest of the fisheries.
The first morning our plan was to fish for a bit, and then set up on one of the numerous bear baits in the late afternoon hunting until mother nature pulled the curtains on our daylight. Chad escorted us in a rather quick fashion to a nearby lake in which we walked a long trail cut through the bramble similar to what you might experience in the Boundary Water Canoe Area. When reaching our lake I was surprised to see a few boats at the end of the trail that Chad had already in there awaiting our arrival. I will say walking a trail no matter what the distance with a fishing pole and tackle vs. a boat and motor was quite enjoyable. This clearly was a fantastic ‘Northwoods Avenue’ for reaching fish not accustomed to much angling pressure. We endured a rather harsh wind that morning, but Chad showed zero back down scoffing in the face of ‘Ma Nature’. We slid that 16ft aluminum boat into the cold waters, and got right after those fish. Chad knows the area fisheries, and anyone that plans a Pasha lake adventure absolutely MUST utilize his expertise at least the first day of the trip to get on the right patterns for your trip. Knowing the advantages of utilizing local knowledge running my own guide service I wouldn’t dream of exploring the ridiculous mass of fisheries in that area without the expert knowledge of a fishing guide like Chad. Upon backing up onto a shallow sunken reef Chad quickly popped a few bruiser walleyes while in the midst of fit Mother Nature was throwing. I hooked up and just as quickly lost an absolute TANK fish before ‘Ma Nature’ escorted us off the lake!! That fish still haunts me to this day. Felt like a snapping turtle on drugs!!
One of 12 straight fish we
took the time to photo!! After our first day fishing with Chad my dad and I wanted to experience a new fishery each morning, and I can honestly say the fishing was as advertised ‘STUPID GOOD’. I didn’t waste time with live bait as the fish flat out destroyed the BfishNtackle line of plastics. On numerous casts I attempted to get my Chartruesse Pepper ringworm back into the safety of our aluminum boat with very little success. Both the walleyes and Pike were flat out CRUSHING that plastic line up!! Here is what I mean by STUPID GOOD. After a Long cast.. I’d initiate a series of sharp Snaps’.Snap, snap, hold”’BANG”..’Missed hook set”’.Snap”’Bang”..Hook up!! The fish would literally hit the plastic offering 2-3 times on a given cast as though they had a hankering for that ringworm for the past 100 years. Almost every cast was greeted with a wrist straining blow, and we either caught a quality walleye or pike on 12 straight casts at one point. This fellas is what I classify as ‘Stupid’ walleye fishing. The walleyes ranged from 17-23 inches on that particular day, and better than that we were the only fisherman on the entire lake. Chad simply put has fly in fishing at a drive in pricing structure that anglers must experience.
If we were simply there to pound the fish we definitely would have been fools for leaving that bite, but since we truly wanted to explore other fisheries we asked Chad if he had any areas we might be able to fish from shore” Since a boy pitching jigs on the shorelines of the mighty Mississippi river I’ve always reserved a special place in my heart for popping walleyes while skipping rock to rock down a shoreline. He hesitated upon my request for a grand total of about 3 entire seconds before blurting out directions down the old logger roads to another fishery in which my dad and I quickly scribbled down directions to. Chad simply speaking is a ‘Get it Done YESTERDAY’ kind of guy. Nothing is impossible, and knows of no other way of thinking than make it happen for his guests!! Once again I found simply no need to lace anything else up, but a BfishN Ringworm. Honestly why spend the time trying other things” I have no doubt these fish could have been effectively caught on numerous presentations. We simply wanted to rip drag on big fish with light tackle!! WOW was this good fishing, and I’m getting myself worked up just talking about it again!!! My first cast from shore hooked up a ‘Girthy’ whitefish’ WHOA!! That isn’t something a guy does everyday!! With the home video rolling I caught walleyes on nearly every darn cast following that cool whitefish!! Ho Hum”’Another nice walleye team!! UNBELIEVABLE FISHING GENTLEMAN!! 17-22 fish were caught like plucking stunted 10 inch trout out of
the pond at the state fair with a deep fried snickers in your other hand!! Still the backdrop of this awesome fishing was in the untamed wilderness of northern Ontario!!
Being a well known fishing addict it clearly was tough to leave any of those fisheries mid-day while the fish just never stopped snapping baits, but dad reminded me we were also there to test our wits against the heavy black bears of that region. As a life long deer hunter along the Canadian border I really didn’t know what to expect hunting bear over a bait station. Would I really enjoy this” Let me tell you it took mere seconds after Chad dumped fresh bait and nodded to me with a thumbs up when leaving my station to realize the stand alone feeling erased any doubts that this would feed my adrenaline of a big game hunter at heart. If you haven’t sat in close proximity of Big Bear Stomping grounds in the primitive confines of a ground blind or ladder stand which has been positioned in VERY CLOSE proximity to a bait you need to!! One cannot put into words the ‘Hunters Rush’ you feel when looking eye to eye with dents and scratches in the barrel holding bear bait. Your mind is running around a hundred miles an hour while your body insists on staying motionless. The lonesome feeling I felt in the midst of the towering pines makes a man realize his seemingly insignificance within the broad scope of mother natures wonders. The Harsh woods coupled with the slight uneasiness running through your veins was why as outdoorsman we desire going to the extremes to experience hunts like this!!! That feeling of knowing your sharing the same surroundings with a Tank Black Bear is a sharp memory in my mind as I henpeck my experience this morning, and highly doubt will be forgot very soon. As an experienced big game hunter understands there is absolutely no substitute for quality time spent in a quality area. To harvest trophy animals or fish one must position himself in areas that are known to hold them. Beyond that wild Game activity levels both peak and dwindle for a multitude of reasons I can’t say I can clearly understand beyond the scope of weather patterns, and pressure changes. Many times after stacking the deck in your favor you simply need to put the time in necessary for an opportunity. Chad placed my dad and I directly in the heat of the action, but unfortunately the bear were in a bit of a funk during our few days in the stand. The week prior to our arrival the camp had hunters going an impressive 9 out of 10. Chad has close to 100 stations to place hunters targeting big Ontario Black Bears, and has a ridiculous amount of land access to bait. Those bear like all wild game will fell into a strange pattern that disallowed a shot for either my dad or I on our trip. I will say that the day we left Chad sent a picture of a TANK bear taken from the station where Chad had me sitting the prior night!! There was no mistaking the background where my eyes were fixed upon the previous evening. Not having the opportunity to harvest a black bear on our trip by no means altered our heart stopping experience. In every way imaginable that hunt made me yearn for a quality shot at a big Ontario black bear even more!! I assure you there is no quit in this mans body for my big bear quest!! Moreover there is simply nothing that can crush a big game hunters desire for the ultimate showdown. I’ll be back soon, and I look forward to our next Big Bear Expedition through Pasha Lake!!
Our contribution to that
nights Resort wide Fish
Fry!! For any anglers booking next years adventures here is what I can recommend first hand from what we witnessed on our trip. Plan on getting off the beaten path on your adventure. It is a bit like experiencing the wonders of Quetico wilderness with boat access. There are many seemingly ‘Moose Trails’ for roads you can expect to walk or drive to before wetting a line in these pristine fisheries. Simply put the easier access to a lake the more pressure it will experience. I see little reason to highlight the specific lakes we fished as I honestly believe we experienced such a small portion of the whole package it is absolutely ridiculous. No need to pack too much stuff. This experience really is a prime example of the ‘Pocket full of Jigs’ Equals a boat full of walleyes theory. Jig fisherman will think they’ve stumbled into a fishing heaven.
For fellow hunters like us that might want to experience a combination trip there were grouse on the roads nearly everywhere. It would have been relatively easy to tag many roughed grouse and spruce hens walking roadsides heading back into the fishing destinations for the day. I would say a ‘Wings and Walleye’ adventure would be a definite consideration for an upcoming combintiation trip. The Bear hunting is something that you simply have to experience. These guys take it too extremes with a staff working extremely hard for their hunters hunters keeping stations fresh with bait, and keeping track of areas getting hit the hardest. I would say setting up trail cams would be something I personally will be doing next year. Whether you prefer to sling arrows or spin lead get in touch with Chad at Pasha Lake immediately to get your spots reserved for next season. There is little question why his resort is thriving!! Both my dad and I will be back up next year, and will be looking to stick a big moose along with a possible bear/wolf/fishing package!! You clearly can customize your trip to cater experience to your hearts desires!! Each man for himself gentleman!! The newly constructed lodge centrally located within the resort Chad has is a wonderful meeting place for your entire group to cook up a fresh catch of walleyes and talk strategy for tomorrows adventures.
I’d like to send a shout out to Chad and his staff for taking such great care of us, and showing us such a wonderful time. As you know Chad WE’LL BE BACK!! Likely with more guys. I would like to add if anyone from IDO would like to coincide their personal groups hunting or fishing trip with our trip next year you probably can talk with Chad matching up our dates if you do it quickly. I think it would be dang fun to have an informal IDO group up at Pasha during the the same time period. Some can hunt bear, wolves, fish or chase feathered friends. We’d have one heck of a wild game feed with a side of walleyes!! I look forward to pointing the truck north again next September!! I have about a thousand Pics I will start shrinking to add to this report!