Eagle Lake Lodge: A Muskie Angler's Paradise

Fish'n Canada's Pete Bowman fishes for Muskie and Smallmouth Bass in Ontario's Sunset Country.

On this Fish'n Canada episode, I had the opportunity to return to one of Ontario's most iconic Muskie waters, Eagle Lake in the north-west portion of the province. This time I'll be fishing the North-East end of the lake based out of Colegrove's Eagle Lake Lodge.

Since Eagle is such a large body of water and it has its traditional Muskie hotspots, it helps if you can arrange to have your own secret weapon. Mine comes in the form of one of the most unique characters I've ever met, Captain Mike Richardson from the U.S. of A. He’s fished this lake for years and years.

This funny talkin' West Virginian is truly one of a kind and it just so happens that Muskies are the Captain's specialty. He considers the province of Ontario the Muskie Big League. That's why he makes the long voyage several times a year, sometimes staying up to 12 weeks! I wish I had all that spare time!!

Dock
The LONG dock at Colegrove's Eagle Lake Lodge...room for a lot of boats

Mike’s not new to our program. It's been nearly ten years since his previous Fish'n Canada appearance, and his Muskie fever hasn't subsided. Having fished them for over fifty years, he still lives for the thrill of the Muskie chase.

For somebody like Captain Mike (as with most other ardent Muskie fanatics), there's an adrenaline rush from even seeing one of these elusive fish. And that said, with Eagle Lake's population, it wasn't long before we started counting our sightings.

THE CONDITIONS

The weather was almost picture-perfect for this shoot. Decent warm temperatures, some cloud cover with sun and we were sitting very close to the major (Muskie terminology for the periods of moon overhead as in when the moon is halfway between rise and set, and moon underfoot as in the moon is halfway between set and rise), got it? Yup, it’s a bit confusing but trust me, these guys know their stuff!

Muskie experts live to fish in these "prime times". The major, the minor, AKA the moonrise, the moon set, mornings, evenings etc. etc.

With that knowledge in mind, our confidence was high.

Reeling In
Captain Mike Richardson plunges his Muskie stick into Eagle Lake on one of many "figure 8's" during this trip

It didn’t take long for us to start seeing fish that followed our presentations to the boat (Muskies are notorious for this) or should I say followed Mike’s baits. He was throwing a legit big as they get double 10 inline… a beast of a lure to cast all day long. I opted for either a downsized double 10 or double 8. Much easier to handle, and seems to catch more “smaller” Muskies yet still can catch giants. As I said though, Mike literally had all the followers and they were BIG fish but none committed to a strike.

When I finally had a follow, I spun that little 10 into a figure 8 and BAM, a sweet little 38 to 39-inches pummeled it! In the net, she went and back into the water after a brief on-camera appearance. One down and who knows what to follow?

We spent the rest of the morning with only a few more followers but no more hook-ups. The prime Muskie times of the morning were gone and not to come back until that evening… a time when most avid Muskie experts take a break.

Captain Mike is no different... and on this trip, he opted out of fishing the mid-day periods... says there's nothing to do.

Muskie
Captain Mike called this little Muskie a "snot rocket"... says these are the ones that will cut you up

I trusted Mikes's word as to the unproductive midday period for Muskie and so we gave the Muskie lures - and our arms - a break. However, I'm not one to sit at the lodge during the daylight hours, "especially" when there are Smallmouth nearby. It was time to shift gears for a couple of hours. I'd pick Mikey back up later to carry on Muskie hunting... but in the meantime, I was going to take advantage of this opportunity to set my sights on some Eagle Lake Smallies.

SMALLMOUTH ON EAGLE

I knew that there was a decent population of Smallies on Eagle Lake but when Tyler Colegrove told me he’d been hammering a bunch of big fish almost every time out… well that got my heart pumping!

With Captain Mike enjoying a mid-day break at the Lodge, I've hit the water on a solo mission to catch my first Eagle Lake smallmouth...

Smallmouth
If you didn't know it before, we're telling you now, Eagle Lake has some great Smallmouth fishing

The beauty about staying at Colegrove’s is the accessibility of multi-species fishing hotspots. The Smallmouth area I hit wasn’t far from the lodge. It did take some off-plane boating to get there because of the treacherous rock bottom in the area but if I know there’s good fishing to be had… I’ll take my time getting there.

I started out throwing a big ¾ ounce double willow Spinnerbait for a couple of reasons. One is it’s a great search bait for Smallies and two, you never know when a big Muskie or Pike wants a small meal.

For a slower presentation, Tyler suggested a beaver-style crawfish imitation rigged weightless… and that was the ticket!

By casting in among the standing reeds, submerged weeds and rock shoreline, my afternoon became very enjoyable with some quality Smallmouth. What a great way to spend the mid-day.

THE EVENING FISH

Now that the captain was all rested up... or maybe he was a little "tuned up" after a few cold Canuck beverages... not sure what he was up to... we were back on the water and looking for that fish of 10,000 casts... the legendary Muskie.

Casting
This is the moment when lots of fish are lost

Low and behold, at about 9:45 that evening I smacked my blades into another nice little Eagle Lake Muskie… Mike called it a snot rocket because those are the ones that will stick a hook in your hand, rip your skin with their teeth etc.

CONCLUSION

I definitely do get to meet all sorts of interesting characters on my travels, but none quite like ol' Captain Mike. Excitable and hilarious, there's no better companion for an Eagle Lake Muskie fishing adventure. Although we didn't catch any giant fish, we did get a couple of muskies and encountered a few of the monsters this lake is known for. And that's the reason anglers keep coming back, time and time again.

Releasing
Check out Pete's Garmin watch... almost 10 pm. Long days are normal for the crew

Until next time... Aye-Aye captain!

FOR A COMPLETE GUIDE TO *FISH’N CANADA SHOW* EPISODES, TV CHANNELS AND SHOW TIMES, GO TO WWW.FISHNCANADA.COM OR WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/FISHNCANADA

FISHING IN THE DRYDEN ONTARIO AREA

Fishing seasons in Dryden include:

Bass: year-round
Lake Trout: January 1 to September 30
Muskellunge (Muskie): third Saturday in June to December 15
Northern Pike: year-round
Walleye: January 1 to April 14 and the third Saturday in May to December 31

Fishing tournaments:

Join the Tbaytel Walleye Masters walleye catch and release tournament that is located on the Wabigoon chain of lakes on June 15th & 16th, 2019.

The Dryden Bass Tournament on Wabigoon Lake. It is a one-day event with boundaries accessible by water from the tournament launch site, which includes the Dinorwic chain.

About Pete Bowman

Pete attributes the beginning of his fishing success back to fishing as a kid. His dad would plan a fishing trip and Pete would always be included. Between those trips and his summer vacations (which always included fishing) with his family to northern Ontario, Pete’s fishing path was created. As a teenager he was consumed with the BassMasters® tournament events and pros. Pete bought his first bass boat in his early twenties and jumped right into tournament fishing. In the mid-80s he hooked up with The Fish’n Canada Television Show on a part time pro staff basis and is now proud to be a full-time part of the #1 viewed outdoor television program in the country.

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