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Big Pike and a Little Canoe (Quetico Provincial Park): Days 6 and 7

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I have built two cedar strip canoes, two cedar strip kayaks, three acoustic guitars, a sauna, woodshed, a mancave, and a fishing shed.

Nothing better than campfire popcorn.

Nothing better than campfire popcorn.

By now we were getting into the rhythm of traveling and fishing out of my small homemade canoe. It had served us well. Soon we would be testing its seaworthiness and our grit in the waves we would face returning on the last day.

The great outdoors.

The great outdoors.

We left Jesse Lake early in the morning—Dan was anxious to get back to Mosquito point and try to catch the big pike that got away from him on our first day. We employed our usual strategy of trolling until we caught a fish, then stopping to fish the area a little harder. We caught a few smaller northerns and some walleyes near a rock pile on the eastern end of Jesse not too far from the portage to Maria Lake.

When we unloaded the canoe we found that some poor sucker had left his shoes hanging in a small pine tree near the water. Hopefully, he had another pair! This portage seemed quite a bit easier than the first time, but I don’t think the canoe was getting lighter.

We caught a few fish, walleyes, in Maria but didn’t spend much time re-fishing the spot. It made me wonder how much this lake really gets fished; it seems like it could be a good lake but is probably a pass-through for most trippers.

Once we got to Batch Bay again we fished the southern shoreline on our way to what we suspected was a campsite on Mosquito Point. There was one point on the shoreline where the terrain transitioned from a low wet shoreline to a higher rocky cliff.

The lake bottom also transitioned from shallow and boulder-strewn to deep rocky structure. The pike were on fire in this spot. No huge ones, but I caught a 35” on my lightweight 6 lb. rig that fought and fought and fought.

We found the little campsite on a bluff at Mosquito Point. Not too bad of a site, with two pads for tents, but kind of small. The landing is about 50 yards from the actual site. We set up camp and went fishing for the big ones.

I fished with my usual jig and twister tail or plastic shad. Dan cast a variety of tree trunks painted to look like fishing baits. Soon he had a big old sow following his baits to the canoe. Figure 8 patterns at the canoe were fun to watch but he couldn’t get her to strike.

Finally (at my suggestion, I have to add) he dragged out the secret jerk bait. Just minutes later the battle was on….yet again. I paddled to the shoreline while he played with the fish. Twenty-five minutes or so later I was once again taking a photo of him holding a trophy northern. This one was 43” but not quite as heavy as the 44” he caught two days before.

You’d think that would have been enough for the kid, but no, we were fishing again.

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With my light rod and a ¼ oz jig head with a plastic twister tail, I hooked what felt like the bottom. When I tried to lift it, the line gradually peeled off my reel as the drag slowly clicked. I felt a head shake. It took about five minutes but eventually, I was able to bring it to the surface. Its head looked as wide as the canoe paddle.

With a quick head shake and flick of its tail the jig popped out and the monster was gone. This one was the biggest fish we had hooked so far. Dan brought out the jerk bait again and about 30 minutes later he hooked the fish we thought I had just lost. I didn’t even bother to take a video of this one; it was getting kind of repetitive. This fish was fat and had a large head but as I paddled to shore to unhook it, we realized that it was a different smaller fish, it was 39”, but still a very nice fish.

Back at camp, I made lemon-poppy seed muffins, pancakes, and popcorn. We just felt like snacking.

The next morning we fished the pike hole once more but not even a strike. The weather was cloudy with a breeze from the east and picking up. By the time we were crossing NymLake, and after getting turned around a bit on an ill-advised shortcut, it was raining steadily and the waves were trying to crest with white caps.

The crossing was safe, but there were a few white knuckle moments. We stopped in Atikokan for burgers and fuel, then we were off to Minneapolis where Dan started his summer job the following week.

It was a good trip.

What a catch!

What a catch!

Our patience paid off.

Our patience paid off.

A successful trip.

A successful trip.


Some Secret Equipment


clem1da on September 01, 2010:

nice trip report and commentary. it was a good trip!

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