Fishing 411 wit Mark Romanack Episode 9 Makoop Lake Pike
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Posted On January 07, 2013
Fishing 411 with Mark Romanack
MAKOOP LAKE MONSTERS
MAKOOP LAKE MONSTERS
something to be said for getting off the beaten path. In the fishing game less
traffic almost always yields better fishing. In the case of Makoop Lake Lodge
in Northwestern Ontario just getting to the lodge is an adventure worth noting.
to leaving for Makoop Lake with long time friend Dan Potter of Vicious Fishing
Lines and my youngest son Jake, I read everything I could get my hands on pertaining
to the lake, the species we would most likely experience and of course fishing
tactics that have produced in the past.
The re-occurring theme from other writers and media types who have
visited Makoop Lake Lodge seemed to focus on the fact there is no easy way to
get to this place. One writer even described Makoop as a fly-in to a fly-in
adventure started with a 14 hour truck ride from my Michigan home to Thunder
Bay, Ontario. After checking into our motel we met with Bruce Fallen, Tourism
Director who helped coordinate our trip with the Northwest Ontario Tourism
Association, Wasaya Wilderness Adventures and Makoop Lake Lodge.
the next morning we boarded a jet that flew us north approximately 400 miles to
the town of Bear Skin Lake. The plane leaves a bustling modern city at Thunder
Bay and lands on a dirt air strip maintained by the Bear Skin Lake First
off the plane at Bear Skin Lake is like taking a step back in time. We’re met
at the hanger by Richard Moskotayenene who helps us load our gear into a pick up truck and transports us to
the village to meet the elders who will be hosting our trip and transfer our
gear onto a Dehavilland Beaver float plane for the final leg of the journey.
late in the afternoon when we finally arrive at Makoop Lake Lodge. We quickly
unpack rods, reels and fishing tackle, while the staff prepares lunch and gets
the boats and motors ready for a few hours of afternoon fishing. After a brief
lunch and fishing suggestions from the staff, camera man Paul Chilson and I
jump in one boat while Jake and Dan team up in a second boat.
took less than 10 minutes to catch the first pike, setting the stage for a trip
that quickly cemented itself as one of the best pike fishing adventures I’ve
enjoyed in over 30 years of exploring the north country.
pike get me jacked up like no other species, in part because this massive fish
has a habit of following lures and striking right at the boat. Secondly,
finding truly big pike is much more difficult than most anglers realize. Lots
of lakes and lodges offer up fishing opportunities for catching copious numbers
of pike and some good sized specimens. Relatively few destinations can offer
trophy class pike fishing and even fewer can dish out big pike and lots of them
like we experienced at Makoop Lake.
A WORD ABOUT MAKOOP LAKE LODGE
Lake Lodge is the furthest most fishing camp in Northwestern Ontario. Owned by
the Bear Skin Lake First Nation, the camp is newly remodeled featuring all the
creature comforts of home. The comfortable log cabins are connected to the main
lodge by a series of board walks that also lead to the docks where the fishing
boats and fish cleaning station is housed.
Makoop Lake is so far north, this body of water sees a fraction of the fishing
pressure other camps get. The water temperature stays cool all summer long,
keeping the pike in shallow water where they are much easier to find and catch.
map on the wall of the lodge posts a stark reminder of this fact. In bold
letters printed on the map is the message, MOST OF THIS LAKE IS UNCHARTED AND
knew this message was to warn visiting anglers to boat and navigate carefully,
but to me that warning was an invitation to fish places no one else has fished.
lake itself is relatively shallow, fertile and features lots of weed beds ideal
for pike fishing. It only took a few minutes of fishing to come to the
conclusion the best presentation for pike was going to be spinnerbaits and
musky sized bucktail spinners retrieved over the top of emerging weed beds.
MY FIRST FISH
first fish was a gift we rarely get when fishing and filming television
episodes. While drifting a shoreline and casting, I spotted a big pike half
buried in a clump of cabbage weed. I nudged Paul and told him to go to live
roll. I casted a bucktail spinner about 30 feet past the fish and the instant
the bait passed over the fish the water erupted into a giant boil.
only was this first fish a quality pike, but Paul got on video the fish chasing
down the bucktail and engulfing it full frame! The stage was set and for the
next four days our lures were ravaged by pike that reacted like they hadn’t
eaten in months. Not every fish was a trophy class northern, but we boated so
many big fish it quickly became difficult to keep count.
the end of our first afternoon in camp, both Dan and Jake had landed their
personal biggest pike and I couldn’t stop smiling which is always a good thing
on a fishing trip.
BEST BAITS AND TACTICS
pike lures including spoons and diving crankbaits were not the best option for
Makoop Lake because heavy weed growth encompasses much of the lake. Oversized
spinnerbaits and bucktail spinners retrieved fast enough to keep them near the
surface and out of the weeds proved to be our “go to” presentation.
second best presentation proved to be jerkbaits fished at or just below the
surface. Drifting and casting downwind soon became the most efficient way to
cover water and also make contact with big pike.
SUMMING IT UP
say I would recommend this fishing destination is an understatement. In
addition to world class pike fishing, Makoop Lake is literally loaded with
in the day after we were done filming for pike and had eaten our supper, we
slipped back out to target walleye using jigs and soft plastic grub bodies.
Just a stones throw from camp we were treated to awesome walleye fishing which
proved to be icing on the cake for one of the best fishing trips the 411 crew
has experienced. A tip of my fishing cap to Bruce Fallen who got everyone on
the same page, organizing what turned out to be a seamless trip and certainly a
fishing adventures the Fishing 411 crew won’t soon forget.
TO PLAN A TRIP