One Lucky Son in Law
Miminiska Lake – Miminiska Lodge, Early August 2016
2016 was already going to be a great year for fishing. We had time at the cottage and I was heading to White River, Ontario for a fly in trip at the end of August. But this was my lucky Son in Law year (SIL).
I can’t remember if I got the call on my birthday or Father’s Day – who cares, I got the call! It was my wife asking me if “You want to go on the fishing trip with my Dad and Simon in August?” Knowing me I am pretty sure my first question was “For free” since I am cheap like that. The answer was yes, and I was in!
For business, my father in law and brother in law would be hosting some customers for 4 nights at Miminiska Lodge and I was able to tag a long. Miminiska Lodge
This would be different than my past trips (Lady E Trip Report 2008,Brennan Harbour Trip Report,Pickle Lake Fly In) as Mim would be my first Fy In Lodge experience and is further North than I had even been (still is to this day)
Miminiska Lake is actually a widening of the Albany River, a famed body of water for fisherman and adventurers alike. Far from civilization what’s special about the experience is very few anglers fish it every year and during our visit there were only 16 people in camp. Miminiska Lake Map
Travel to the lodge is very convenient compared to other trips I had been on.. We flew direct from Toronto to Thunder Bay, the lodge picked us up at the airport and took us the Prince Arthur Hotel. In the morning we were picked up by the lodge and shuttled to the North Star Air base at the Thunder Bay Airport to catch out flight to Miminiska.
At this point I associated a fly in fishing trip with float planes. When we headed out to catch our ride I was surprised and amazed when we boarded the Pilatus PC 12. This thing looked more like something Kanye and Kim would ride in than your typical norther bush plane. Mim has its own grass airstrip at the lodge so wheels were fine, no floats needed.
In the hour long flight, we seemed to get further away from civilization and closer to the heart of Ontario. The Boreal forest landscape was beautiful and raw. Finally, the plane banked and we made our landing. The lodge staff was there to greet us, drive our stuff to our cabins and lead us over to the lodge.
There are 3 large guest cabins at Mim, spread out so that you don’t feel crowded. Our group was split between 2 cabins. Our cabin had two full baths, a big living room area, a rooftop deck and a beer fridge (could have been for other things but we only used it for beer lol). There is a large main lodge with a lounge area, a dining room and a small tackle store.
Dinners were a fixed menu and at the end of the meal you filled out a card for a made to order breakfast the next day. For lunch you could either request a bagged lunch, meet up with other lodge guests at a set point for a shore lunch (prepared by the staff) or bring the gear needed to have you a shore lunch on your own. A few other great perks were fresh coffee brought to your cabin every AM around 6:30 and a “happy hour” before dinner every evening. The staff were attentive, and the food was excellent.
There was a large dock area and for every two anglers there were newer 16-foot Lunds rigged with 30 HP electric start motors. The boats also had 5-inch Humminbird Fish Finders with GPS and rock guards on the props. With the low water levels and size of the lake both were required.
Walleye and Pike are the target species in Miminiska Lake. The lodge also offers excursion trips for brook trout. I also believe with higher water levels and some chutzpah guests could try to find brookies on their own.
Overall Mim was a fish factory. On our first day, while waiting for everyone else to get ready my brother in law and I decided to troll within 400 yards of the dock. Within minutes we had a double header and very quickly had caught 6 nice fat walleyes and 2 smaller pike. I am a keen fisherman and over the course of our trip I ducked out early in the morning or after dinner and trolled this location to much success. In one session I caught 12 walleyes in 45 minutes trolling with a blue/silver Hot n Tot.
We fished all the major sections of the lake and were never disappointed. For the most part finding fish was as simple as pulling up besides any of the marker buoys identifying shoals or sunken islands and fishing. Trolling cranks, pulling bottom bouncers, casting jerk baits and jigging were all effective. We caught lots of pike while fishing for walleye and had success with spoons. New to me was using topwater frogs for Northerns’. We didn’t catch any monsters, but it was a blast seeing the pike blow up on the bait.
Within our group the largest walleye was 25 inches and the largest pike was 37 inches. On the day my father in law fishing together he lost the biggest pike I have ever seen right at the boat. We were trolling along a large shelf and as we motored off the structure into 40 feet of water his rod doubled over, and it was fish on. I so wanted to get that one into the boat but just as I was starting to get ready to net the behemoth it rolled and spit the lure.
As always, a few stories stick out for me on this trip:
The birth of the Hot n Tot. Over the years I noticed that almost every lodge in Northern Ontario sites the Hot N Tot as a recommended lure. Up until this trip I had never caught a single fish on one. After spending the day with my father in law that changed, All he used the entire day was a Fire Tiger hot n tot. He fishing it pretty close to the boat and man did he outfish me! Eventually I followed suit and my luck changed, mine was a Gold/Black version. Later in the trip I also had a ton of success with a blue silver one and a perch version. Now the Hot n Tot is a go to and I have made my buddy Colin a convert too!
One day we decided to make the long run down to Snake Falls. The water levels were really low at that time of the year and you really needed to pay attention. Ken and I were in a slow boat (or I was a slow driver) and as I tried to keep up with the others I beached us on a sandbar. I swear it went from 40 feet deep to 1 in 30 seconds! Thankfully I was keeping a close eye on the fish finder and I was able to scream a warning at Ken so he didn’t go flying out of the boat.
We visited an old mining camp in Wottam Bay which on its own was cool. But as we were fishing in the area my FIL spotted a lone wolf trotting up the shoreline. We kept trying to get closer for a picture but every time we turned towards him, he would trot away a few feet. Eventually he trotted off and we headed in for shore lunch – 200 yards from where the big white monster was! We were the first ones there and as we pulled up onto the beach my FIL began to point out bear, caribou and wolf tracks. He then pointed into the forest and asked if I wanted to go check out the mine. I could not have said no any faster as visions of massive bears and ferocious wolves filled my head.
Overall the trip was incredible. The fishing, the lodge, the journey all exceeded my expectations. Wilderness North ran a smooth operation and Miminiska Lake is a jewel in the North. If you are inclined check them out as they have lodges, housekeeping camps and outposts throughout Sunset Country. Wilderness North and you can follow them on Instagram @wildernessnorth