Giant northern pike and tons of walleye await you in Canada! Due to the recent death of my favorite fly rod, I’ve been forced to discuss other things with you this week, and I’d like to tell you all about a little slice of heaven called Wabakimi Provincial Park.
How to get there. If you clicked on that you quickly learned that there is no easy way to get there. The park is accessible via canoe, on foot, or by floatplane. There is a lone railroad track that slices through the park and a few nearby logging roads, so you might be able to find another way in, but when I go I go via floatplane.
The park is 3,440 square miles and almost 800 square miles of that is rivers and lakes. So needless to say I haven’t seen the entire park, there are far too many rivers and lakes to visit them all. However, I have fished three of the largest lakes within it’s boarders; Lake Wabakimi (the park’s namesake), Granite Lake, and Lake Seseganaga. Seseganaga isn’t entirely within the park, but for the purpose of this post let’s pretend it is.
The fishing on all of these lakes is incredible. Due to the remote nature of the lakes they receive very little fishing pressure, maybe just a few hundred people a year. Subsequently the fish see very few lures and are easily fooled. I’ve always gone in June, just as the water temperature is starting to rise and the fish are getting more active. In my opinion, this is the perfect time to go because the fishing is great and the black flies and mosquitoes are not yet overwhelming.
The park’s water primarily holds walleye and northern pike. However, a few lakes hold sturgeon (Wabakimi) and lake trout (Seseganaga) as well. The walleye fishing is incredible; if you can find where they’re sitting you will pull them in one after the other. The pike are not only aggressive but also massive. I’ve seen more than my share of 40”+ pike on my fishing trips to Wabakimi.
The fishing isn’t technical either. The walleye can be easily caught jigging. Some people will argue about what bait to use; minnows, worms, leaches, etc. However, I’ve never used anything but minnows and I’ve never had any difficulty catching walleye up there. You can also catch them trolling or casting but jigging is the most productive method.
The pike can be taken while trolling or by spin casting. When I go in June most of the pike are in relatively shallow water and near the shore. If you’re casting into water more than 15’ deep, you’re likely not going to catch any pike. Also, I haven’t changed my pike lure for over ten years. I’ve used nothing but a five of diamonds spoon for every pike I’ve caught up there since 2005. It always works, but be sure to have more than one because you don’t want to lose it and then be struggling to find a replacement.
Not only is the fishing great, there is a lot of wildlife to see as well. The park is full of moose, caribou, bear, bald eagles, loons, and beavers to name a few. Finally, to top it all off the sunsets are breathtaking.
This is the one fishing trip I go on and leave my fly rod at home. Don’t get me wrong, anyone could use a fly rod up there and I’m sure they would do very well. I’m just one of those purist that hasn’t ventured beyond fly-fishing for trout. If you want to fly fish up there be sure to bring a bigger rod, because the pike up there will easily snap anything less than a 6wt in half.
In conclusion, I strongly urge all of you to take a trip up to Canada and do some fishing at least once. There are thousands of places to go, and numerous fish species to go after. Wabakimi Provincial Park is just the tip of the iceberg as far as Canadian fishing trips go. If you do decide to head to Wabakimi and a month long canoe trip isn’t in the cards, I strongly suggest Rusty Myer’s Flying Service. They offer access to ten lakes in the area, all with equally exceptional fishing.
So head north and try your luck in Wabakimi Provincial Park. But don’t forget your camera because you’ll definitely want to have photographic proof of these monsters!
Until next time, happy fishing!
– A. Egli