Fish'n Canada lands Walleye on Lake Temiskaming

Pete Bowman hits Lake Temiskaming with guide John Blanchard to tackle Northeastern Ontario Walleye

On this Fish'n Canada episode, I reunited with good buddy John Blanchard. Both Ang and I have shot with John, and we certainly know how hardcore he is as an angler.

An aerial view of the Old Mission Resort on the south end of Lake Temiskaming

He's also a fishing guide, which means he knows his way around pretty much any water he fishes... and as well, he knows how to put fish in the boat under not-so-ideal conditions!

John now resides on the shore of Lake Temiskaming in Northeastern Ontario. He says this lake is one of the most unique Walleye lakes he's ever fished.

launch
The usual one-two punch, the Fish’n Canada Ram and Princecraft / Merc

That's what brought me there... I love Walleye and I love fishing in new bodies of water...

THE FISHING

Day one of our trips had us fishing "the Narrows" area of Temiskaming, pretty much within eye-shot of the Old Mission Resort, the place where I was staying. The Narrows is situated at the south end of the lake, where it necks down into more of a river formation… a big river, that is!

The most impressive stat of this lake is the claim of end-to-end Walleye and Smallmouth spanning over an amazing 100 km!

pete-walleye
Pete Bowman holds up what John Blanchard classes as an average Temiskaming Walleye… that’s quality!

The conditions were great for Walleye... a decent wind and tolerable temperatures... however, the forecast wasn't good!

smallmouth-bass
John Blanchard looks over a prime Smallmouth Bass from Temiskaming.

John and I caught some great fish, including a bulldog of a Walleye as well as a beauty Smallie, but we could see that bad weather moving in from the north… not a nice sight on a lake as large as Temiskaming.

smallmouth-bass2
Pete Bowman and John Blanchard study the dash-mounted Garmin units looking for bait, Walleye, trolling speeds etc.

BAD WEATHER

As our day progressed, that nasty storm blew in as predicted.

Sometimes conditions get to be too much, and this day fits that bill. It was time to get off the water, light a fire at the cabin, and hit the lake the following day.

THE LAKE

Lake Temiskaming is unique in that it's Ontario's portion of the headwaters for the Ottawa River.

ripping-along
There’s a lot of water to cover on Temiskaming… with lots of Walleye available.

This massive body of water is approximately 110 km in length and covers an area of almost 295 square km. In one area, the lake has been sounded at 709 feet deep!

water-clarity
Don’t let the colour of the water here discourage you. The Walleye somehow are extremely accurate feeders here.

The name Temiskaming is from the Algonquin Temikami or Temikaming, meaning "deep waters."

There are 30 species of fish in the lake, including what John and I were after, Walleye first and Smallies as a bonus.

2 day drive
Lake Temiskaming is so big that the guys needed to tow the boat to a new launch when fishing the other end of the lake.

THE NORTH END

We started our next day on the north end of the lake near Temiskaming Shores, formerly known as New Liskeard.

What a difference in weather... this day brought high, bluebird skies, and gorgeous temperatures.

The north end is a very popular area for local anglers since there's great Walleye fishing within a couple of kilometres of the town. The fishing techniques vary from boat to boat here; lots love dunking live minnows while others love to troll.

John and I decided to troll for two reasons. First, the lake has extremely low visibility at the north end, so covering water with loud, rattling, vibrating crankbaits would be perfect. Second, it worked yesterday, so why change it?

FISHING TECHNIQUES

We were trolling small to medium-sized crankbaits about 100 feet back with baitcast reels for the most part. I did use a long spinning rod as well, as it set up perfectly for trolling.

water fleas
Here’s a great shot of a cluster of Spiny Water Fleas. This a sign that you must check your baits often as this can throw off the proper wobble of a perfectly tuned crankbait.

Bright colours worked great for us, and the baits with the loudest rattling and tightest vibrations seemed to work best. Scatter Raps, Hot N Tots, Thin Fins, Salmos, Thundersticks etc.

Braid is perfect here because of the dirty water… the fish really can’t see it (or don’t care), you can feel or see every bite, and the hooks pretty much set themselves. The downside of “straight braid to the lure” is the lack of shock absorption once the fish gets close to the boat. I’d highly suggest either a limber trolling rod or a piece of Fluorocarbon, or even better, Monofilament as a leader. Around 10 feet is good.

HOW’D WE FARE?

I know John was a little disappointed at our low number of big fish but hey, that's the way it goes. We caught a couple of great Walleye and a couple of beauty Smallies. We caught loads of eating-sized Walleye, and I learned a lot about fishing these creatures in low-visibility water. Best of all, we had an awesome Captain John Blanchard shore lunch… worth the trip alone!

I most definitely plan on a return trip to this daunting yet rewarding body of water. If in John’s mind, the fishing was slow on this trip, I can’t imagine how it would be when it’s on fire.

fried-walleye
An end of the trip feast for Pete… it capped off a great trip!

ACCOMMODATIONS, GUIDES & OUTFITTERS

OLD MISSION RESORT

With 1.5 km of shoreline, Old Mission Resort is located on 288 acres of pristine landscape overlooking scenic Lake Temiskaming. The property encompasses Mission Point, the site where, in 1866, Temiskaming District’s first church, school and hospital were built. The site fostered relations between the French, English, and Algonquin peoples who came together to trade at Fort Temiskaming, a Hudson’s Bay Trading Post located nearby on the Quebec side of the lake. Historically, Indigenous people frequented the area for over 6,000 years—undoubtedly for the abundant fishing and hunting opportunities that still entice people to the area today.

THE STORY BEHIND OLD MISSION RESORT

old-mission-resort
Every now and then there is the odd historic site around the Old Mission Resort… but there’s a way more rugged Canadian landscape here. Simply gorgeous!

"By the mid-1800s, logging operations were in full swing in the area where log booms would float down Lake Temiskaming and the Ottawa River System. To speed up logging operations, in the spring of 1882 the steamer “Mattawan” departed from the town of Mattawa travelling upstream on the Ottawa River. It was winched over four sets of rapids before finally making it to the bottom end of Lake Temiskaming. The Old Mission was poised to welcome this first steamboat on Lake Temiskaming as the Mattawan arrived on its shores on June 4th,1882 —literally with steam whistles blowing!

Today, Old Mission Resort pays tribute to these important steamboats and much of our theme is developed based on them." 

Read the full history of Old Mission Resort.

Resources

Captain John Blanchard - 705 570 2960 or Sportfishing Temiskaming temagami muskoka on Facebook or Captblanchard@gmail.com

For a complete guide to the Fish’n Canada Show* EPISODES, TV CHANNELS AND SHOW TIMES, go to www.fishncanada.com or www.facebook.com/FishnCanada

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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