Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Ontario Walleye Opener, Lac Seul 2017

Beautiful Lake Whitefish on Lac Seul
I was graciously invited to join my friends to experience Ontario's 2017 walleye opener at Lac Seul Outpost on Chamberlain Narrows, Lac Seul Lake, out of Sioux Lookout again.  Admittedly there wasn't much time between getting home from Leech Lake (Minnesota Fishing Opener), meeting with our Taiwanese business partners on the 2 days between trips, getting the boat cleaned and ready to go but miraculously I managed!  Getting up at 5:00 on Friday morning my neighbor Pete Sipe helped hook up the boat and north we headed, to meet  Wayne, Gary, and Tom at the restaurant in Orr, MN for breakfast before pushing across the border.  There was quite a line of boats crossing at International Falls to Fort Francis but our wait was surprisingly short.  Both Pete and I have got this border crossing down pretty well, take off your hat and sunglasses, always address the border agent with quick and firm answers, look him in the eye, and always tell the truth, not trying to hide anything.  We carefully pack our things and the only issue we had was that our liquor volumes were over what is allowed for 2 guys.  It seems as though we tell them exactly what we have and they hand the passports back and tell us to enjoy and be careful.  Only once did we have to pay extra duty but the last 6 times we were able to enter with a tad more than allowed.  I think the honesty and not trying to weasel our way out of duties, which BTW I am perfectly happy to pay, works in our favor.  The next big question is whether we can get our boats through the "rags" a short cut that cuts a few miles on the trip in.  We had been in contact with our fearless leader, Bruce however he had mentioned nothing about getting through the rags. This time of year the water is pretty low and it may only be a foot or so of water through the cut.  We launched the boat then headed around the island deciding not to test the shallow water as it was pretty low.  There were a couple of Ranger boats that had just put in and I learned they were boating into Lac Seul Outpost as well.  After accepting my offer to follow us, 4 boats headed out.  It wasn't that bad as my map was very good at keeping us on course and 75 minutes later we pulled into camp without any issues. As always it was great to see Ken and Brenda, the owners as well he had some new staff people that were very good. After settling into the cabin, the weather was forecasted to be great on Saturday then rain both Sunday and Monday.  Opener was as projected, the walleyes would be fairly shallow, 8 - 12 feet and plastics worked great.  I was determined to catch a walleye on one of my ice fishing blade baits as vertical jigging was the norm.  Something really hit it and pulling it up it was a very nice large Lake Whitefish, I would estimate around 5 - 6 pounds.  The lure came loose in the net so really, I am not sure it actually hit the lure or I simply snagged it.  Officially it hit the lure so it's at Osseo Meats, in Osseo, MN as those guys really do a nice job smoking it.

River entering Scaler Lake
On Sunday we were able to fish a new area (to me) and an area that my friend, Paul Wenaas is very familiar with, Scaler Lake where the river runs into it.  Paul gave me some of his trails into the lake a couple of years back and both myself and Bruce commented how well Paul had it marked on the GPS as with the low water levels it was important to make sure you stayed in the old (Now flooded) river channel.  Anywhere there is water flowing in the lake tends to be a fish magnet and this spot was no exception as we hammered the walleyes and had a few large northern pike.   Bruce commented that this area usually has a lot of boats in the area however we were the only 2 there.  If you click on the picture you will see 2 eagles perched on the dead tree tops as there were plenty of eagles around this area.  I suspect that the fishing is pretty good for them as well.  After a couple hours of reeling in walleyes, and the rain getting heavier, we decided to head on back a little closer to camp.  Scaler Lake was the farthest we traveled to fish as it is very good fishing just across the channel from Camp.  We did run up to Birch Narrows which is north of the camp and there were 4 houseboats parked along the route including one parked right off a point that can be quite good this time of year.  While we were fishing another boat came in and got a little too close to the houseboat and some words where exchanged.  We just looked on shaking our heads as it was hard to tell who was in the wrong.  Oh well, it's a big lake but some people get pretty defensive.  I rained both Sunday and Monday so we ended back at camp maybe earlier than usual, which was fine with me!

Monday evening's dinner was Steak night again as we diligently make sure that we have enough fish to take home, 4 walleyes each.  After dinner we did a final count and I was 3 fish short of my limit.  I grabbed my spinning rod and walked down to the dock where it is pretty easy to catch a walleye and within 10 minutes I had my 3 walleyes, nice ones in the 16.5 inch range.  Of course Tuesday morning was pretty nice considering the rain which fell on Sunday and Monday, typical for the day you leave. Either way it was a great time and I look forward to my next return to Lac Seul.  My boat went in the shop on Thursday as I have some ongoing issues that need to be addressed.  I am anxious to get it on Mille Lacs as the reports coming in is that the walleyes are practically jumping in the boat.  As well, I definitely need to start looking at my river boat as I anticipate a great season of fishing on the River.


Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

Hey, I've been to that super, secret spot called Scaler. I think Ken and Brenda only tell their special guests about this spot. Ha!

Dave Anderson said...

Interesting as my friend Bruce was going to take us in there however my Friend's trail was spot on and I think he was surprised when we headed out at full throttle! Pretty funny. You need to get back there!

Paul Wenaas said...

Glad I was able to provide the route. Took quite a few trips going slow and also following other people to learn it. We didn't have GPS when we started. Hope you left some fish for us.