Big Boat Portaging in Northern Ontario
Hey everybody, on this Fish’n Canada episode we have such a unique experience to share with you. This show was as much about the travel and the destination, as it was about the fishing.
We headed to a body of water that fishes like a fly-in lake, but without the airplane! We also had the option of bringing your own boat, so we most definitely brought along FNC 1, our 20’ loaded Princecraft. By the way, we were very skeptical of bringing such a “big” boat into a hard-to-access Northern Ontario lake, however, as you will read, things went perfectly smooth.
A Couple of Stops
Of course, when towing the Princecraft on a road trip like this, there are always frequent stops. One is gassing up the truck and boat: it’s one we’d like to bypass, but, if you wanna play, you gotta pay!
And of course, who can pass by a local, Northern Ontario tackle shop without stopping in and buying all kinds of stuff…which is exactly what we did at Gramps Place near Temagami. Between the staff working and the other anglers that stopped in, it very much added to the drive. It’s all part of the fishing-road-trip experience!
Our destination for this trip was Garden Island Lodge on Lady Evelyn Lake. Once we arrived at the boat ramp at Mowat Landing, we were on a surprisingly short boat ride on the Montreal and Lady Evelyn Rivers. But that was just the start of the voyage.
Up and Over
Now, this is where the adventure began. We were picked up (that’s our boat and motor) fully loaded with gear, at the bottom of a dam, and trailered up and over to Lady Evelyn Lake.
This is such an awesome experience and one we’ve never done with a 20-foot rig.
After dropping us into Lady Evelyn Lake, it’s a beautiful 20-mile boat ride north to the lodge. And, if you’re anything like us, it’s a quick unloading of the baggage and then on to the fishing.
Our Ultimate Destination
From the Garden Island Lodge website:
Lady Evelyn Lake
Here are a few interesting facts about Lady Evelyn Lake:
- Ontario's Northeastern Region
- Timiskaming District of Northeastern Ontario
- Located on the namesake Lady Evelyn River which is a tributary of the Montreal River which is a tributary of the Ottawa River.
- Positioned east of the Lady Evelyn Smoothwater Provincial Park and Obabika River Provincial Park
- 36 miles long
- Surrounded by Crown land with 675 miles of pristine shoreline
- The lake currently has only three fishing camps and two fishing lodges in operation which are each located on their separate islands.
- It is classed as a reservoir
- A dam was constructed at Mattawapika Falls in 1915 and was used to help logging operations with getting logs from Diamond Lake and the Lady Evelyn River to the Montreal River and then on to the mills in Latchford.
- In 1925 a Hydro dam replaced the original logger's dam and caused flooding to water levels more than 10 feet higher than it had already been with the logger's dam.
- Today access to Lady Evelyn Lake is accomplished by crossing the Montreal River and then a short hike around the Mattawapika Dam to the docks located on the lake.
- The deepest spot anglers have found in Lady Evelyn is 98'
Things to do near Lady Evelyn Lake
Garden Island Lodge may have provided us with the remote, serene experience we were looking for, but that doesn’t mean it is inaccessible.
In fact, this incredible fishery is just 50 minutes away from the town of Temagami. Those looking to explore this town will not only find the aforementioned Gramps Place tackle shop, but also a wide variety of food, shopping, and accommodations.
If you head a bit north of the lake, the Town of Temiskaming Shores sits just up the road. This area is a true paradise for those who enjoy spending time recreating in the outdoors.
The conditions for this trip were not warm and balmy, to say the least. For the most part, it was windy, cool to cold and the boys even endured a nasty rainstorm that put the cameras back in the cases and the boys in a hunkered-down position… ahhh the North!
The water temps were all over the map but let’s just say, they were pretty much in line with the air temps.
In an article over at FishnCanada.com, we get into all the details of catching walleye on Lady Evelyn Lake and even walk you through what should be in your tackle box. For all that, and more, check out the article in the link below!
Episode Gettin’ There (Sponsored By Destination Ontario)
To get to this episode’s great fishing, Ang and Pete first drove north on Highway 12. They next travelled north on Highway 11 through North Bay and Temagami. From there They turned west on 558, which is also called Mowat Landing Road.
They next launched their rig at Mowat Landing and headed out on a short ride on the Montreal and Lady Evelyn rivers. They were then trailered up and above the Mattawapika Dam and were launched into Lady Evelyn Lake.
From the top of the dam, it was about a 20-mile boat ride to Garden Island Lodge.
For those without a boat, Garden Island Lodge will meet you at Mowat’s Landing and have a boat waiting for you at camp.
A Garden Island Lodge trip is a great way of spending quality time at a fishing destination that truly is a “far reaches of the north” experience. Being only a 5-hour drive north of the GTA, this place is easily accessed by all.
Episode Hotspot (Sponsored by Garmin)
N 47 18.679 W 080 11.095
This episode's Hotspot is an underwater hump on Lady Evelyn Lake. The waypoint on the screen above puts you right there.
For this trip, we found smaller fish on the top of the hump in shallow water while the bigger fish were in the 25 - 30+ foot range. As with many deep structures similar to this one in Northern Ontario, there were both smallmouth and walleye mixed together here.
We started with live bait but quickly transitioned to small Shad imitating plastics on a drop-shot setup. Either a straight, light fluorocarbon line from reel to the weight or a light braid to a light fluorocarbon leader worked fine here for us. Remember that if you are fishing deep water like we were and there’s a strong wind, upsizing to a heavier weight will help immensely in getting your rig to the bottom, which is a key when fishing areas like this.
Bait colour didn’t seem to matter but shades of green were a good base to work from.
For more Hotspots like this one, check out Fish’n Canada.com
Baits: 3.5- to 4-inch plastics
Depth: 25 to 30+ feet
A memorable trip to lady evelyn lake
This was our first trip to Lady Evelyn Lake and it didn’t disappoint. Throughout the years we had heard great fishing reports from here but have never had the proper timing to make it to this great destination. Now that we have tested the waters, we can highly recommend this great fishery!
For more Northern Ontario fishing destinations visit: https://destinationnorthernontario.ca/