Fishing Big Kaby Lake
Editor's Note: Pine Portage Lodge is under new ownership and continues to serve those who love the outdoors. The story below celebrates the history of Pine Portage Lodge. Since the original article was posted, the lodge has celebrated over 75 years in business, and counting!
Betty Watson McGie runs one of the oldest and most respected fishing lodges in Ontario's Algoma Country. Her father Dick Watson Sr., started the business in 1946 after returning home from WW II. A fighter pilot in the war, Dick Watson had the unique savvy and skill set to open a "fly-in" fishing/hunting camp at a time when Americans and Canadians alike were hungry for recreational adventure.
Some 69 years later the tradition of Pine Portage Lodge continues. "My father's philosophy was that a satisfied customer tells his friends and that simple, but the effective business model has allowed Pine Portage Lodge to grow and prosper over the years," explains Betty. "Today the lodge enjoys a loyal client base. Many of our current guests grew up fishing Big Kaby with their fathers and grandfathers and now they bring their own children to Pine Portage Lodge."
A family-owned camp with modest roots, Pine Portage Lodge includes 13 guest cabins, an immaculate 6,000 sq ft main lodge, accommodations for up to 100 guests, American Plan and Housekeeping Plan packages, a full-time seasonal staff of 15 and a rich tradition of offering travelling sportsmen and women the outdoor adventures they crave.
Back in July, I had the great pleasure of visiting Pine Portage Lodge. Our adventure included my wife Mari, youngest son Jake, new-found friends Gary Melvin and Tim Link.
Gary Melvin won a contest sponsored by Fishing 411 TV, Pine Portage Lodge, Ontario's Algoma Country, ShowSpan Inc, and Jay's Sporting Goods. The grand prize was an all-inclusive fishing adventure at Pine Portage Lodge and a chance to appear on an episode of Fishing 411 TV broadcast on World Fishing Network.
To say that Gary Melvin is a lucky guy would be an understatement. Besides winning the walleye trip package of a lifetime, our trip to Pine Portage Lodge fell squarely on three of the most beautiful days on the water anyone could ask for. Our group averaged 40 fish days, catching walleye in the 18- to 22-inch range and bonus northern pike up to 35 inches.
Even better, every fish during our three-day stay was caught fishing a lead-headed jig tipped with a live minnow. Simple, straightforward forward and effective, Gary and his guest Tim and the entire Fishing 411 crew caught walleye at will on the water and were treated like kings back at the lodge.
Every evening we enjoyed home-cooked meals including prime rib, steak and oven-roasted ribs. Each day on the water our guide prepared a shore lunch featuring freshly caught walleye prepared in three different ways.
Big Kaby Lake is one of Ontario's crown jewels and a walleye factory second to none. Decades before the Ministry of Natural Resources was mandating selective harvest and slot limits across Ontario, the management at Pine Portage Lodge was encouraging their customers to keep a few for the table and release the larger "breeding stock" back to the lake.
Every point and weed bed our group fished during the three-day stay produced walleye. Some of the more productive spots we fished left me shaking my head and wondering how so many fish could be found in one small area!
Pine Portage Lodge is a "must visit" fly-in fishing destination that focuses on walleye, home-cooked meals, the comforts of home and the rich tradition of fishing you can only find in Ontario's Algoma Country. For more information visit www.pineportage.ca for details on how to book your own Kaby Lake adventure.