Things that Go Bang in the Night!
Lady Evelyn Lake – Island 10 Lodge, Sept 2008
This was not my first fishing trip but it was the first fishing trip for what would become a good chunk of our group.
The year before my Father, Brother and I had fished Lady Evelyn Lake with Ellen Island Camp. We had a solid trip but the fishing was only okay. We had bad weather, the “fishing expert” at the camp was gone for the season and we were pretty inexperienced fishing for walleye anywhere other than our home lake in the Kawarthas. But the experience was enough to whet our appetite
We recruited some friends and our group was set – Me, my brother Dave, Mark, Scott and Pete. We booked with Island 10 Lodge, a full-service lodge that we had heard good things about. Dave and I were there for 5 nights/days and the rest of the gang would leave 1 night earlier.
Lady Evelyn Lake is a damned-up section of the Montreal River. It is really two distinct lakes – a shallow, wood infested side and a deep, shield lake in the other end. To get to Island 10 you meet a barge at Mowat’s Landing, travel up the river, over the dam and then make a 20-minute boat run to the island. Island 10 sits in the East Basin (shallower side) but is very close to the channel to get to the west side.
One of the things we liked about Lady Evelyn is that it is a huge lake, approx. 25,000 surface acres. While it made fishing a bit daunting there were tons of places to explore and feel like you had the lake to yourself. The run down to Franks Fall’s was a highlight as was taking a long run back to the area by the dam.
Island 10 is just that, an island in the middle of the lake w 10 guest cabins, a large main lodge and docking area. Power is supplied by generator and if memory serves correctly it shuts down at 10 PM. This led to an unfortunate incident.
When the generate shut off that first night we were all a few beers in and it got really dark. I am talking PITCH black for city guys it was a bit of a shock. I will never forget waking up to pee in the middle of the night. Unable to see 6 inches in front of me I almost knocked myself out on one of the log beams. 20 minutes later bang -Dave cracks his head on the doorway. 10 minutes after that BOOM Pete trips out the bunk and almost breaks a rib. It was comical and painful! For the rest of the trip we all slept with flashlights in the bed.
The cabins are very nice – I believe we were in cabin 6 which has an awesome view of the lake and an incredible deck that jutted out over the water. Our cabin also had two showers which was great for getting ready quickly in the AM.
The food was good, big portions and fresh. Basically, it was a full breakfast in the lodge when the bell rang, you took either a shore lunch kit or sandwiches for lunch and then a dinner service in the lodge at a set time. At the time our complaints were: The bagged lunch was quite small and the re bottled water gave us all a wonky stomach for the first few days. Thankfully Mark and Pete had brought a case of gatorade and a bunch of power bars so we always made sure to pack a few with us each morning.
Island 10 had nice boats. Lund 14 footers with a full floor, pedestal seats, fish finders and 25 HP electric start motors.
The staff was attentive – especially the dock crew. Honestly after a night or two we really didn’t even try docking the boat. Aim at the dock, kill the engine start organizing yourself and trust that the dock crew would guide us in. Even better they cleaned the boats, filleted any fish you and re filled your worms!
One note there were no fires allowed on the island (totally makes sense) but we found that we missed being able to sit around a camp fire at night. I honestly think it would be a deterrent for us to return, we love our campfires.
The 3 main species of fish in Lady Evelyn are Walleye, Small Mouth Bass and Northern Pike. There is also a whitefish population and we did see a few caught while jigging for walleye.
The first day and a half we struggled to get on any significant bite – we caught fish just nothing consistently. At our second breakfast I think the owner Ken knew we were struggling a bit. He pulled over a chair and pointed to a few different spots he though we should try and which baits we should be using. That day was a bit better but mainly for bass and pike.
After dinner that evening to try to locate some walleye we split up. Solo I went one way,
Dave and Scott a different way and Mark and Pete also headed to a different location. I didn’t fare any better (2 small bass and 1 6-inch walleye). Neither did Mike or Pete but as Dave and Scott rolled in they pulled the “sad face but oh look we have a stringer full happy face trick”. They had found a nice evening spot, a large flat that ended at a steep shoreline loaded with boulders. They had gone Kawarthas style – worm harnesses slowly back trolled with 3 or 4 split shot. Sweet
As the next few days went on, we explored more during the day fishing for bass and pike. We did well, the biggest bass was close to 4 lbs and one pike was a thick 35 inch specimen, the biggest any of our group had ever seen. At night we ended up at the spot Dave and Scott had located. It produced every single night.
This report is not a great indication of the walleye fishing. We were raw rookies when it comes to walleye fishing up North. We didn’t really know where to start looking for walleye, we didn’t understand most of the recommended techniques (I can distinctly remember putting a bottom bouncer on, casting it behind the boat and proceeding to troll at 3 MPH) and we had zero confidence catching walleye during the day. Lady Evelyn is a place I think we all really want to go back to for a short trip. We certainly saw lots of big walleye being caught (2 fish over 28 inches were caught when we were there), I even lucked into a PB walleye (25 inches) on our last day.
If you want to experience a remote area that you can drive to within 6 hours of Toronto give Lady Evelyn a look. There are 4 lodges above the dam – Full Service Garden Island Lodge Island 10 Lodge Red Pine Lodge and House keeping Ellen Island Camp Who knows, like us it may be your gateway to a lifetime of fishing trips.
PS I am NOT sponsored or affiliated with any of the brands or lodges in this report but I am SO open to it!