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Fishing at Windy Point Lodge on Northern Ontario’s Kabinakagami Lake

Tom Lounsbury

Tue, 04 Apr 2017 07:41:06 EDT

 


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          Fishing at Windy Point Lodge on Northern Ontario’s Kabinakagami Lake
By Tom Lounsbury
Kabinakagami (Ojibwa for lake of many bays) Lake is commonly referred to as “Kaby Lake” (I have a heck of a time pronouncing “Kabinakagami”). At 30,802 acres in size in the northern Ontario wilderness, it is the largest inland lake in what is known as “Algoma Country” (for more information go to www.algomacountry.com or call 1-800-263-2546).The only access to it is a 60 mile flight from Wawa by floatplane, which is a truly scenic adventure all of its own.
My first Kaby Lake experience occurred last August, at Windy Point Lodge for a black bear hunt (with a crossbow), as well as for fishing. Kaby Lake is well known for its fine fishing opportunities for walleye, northern pike, perch and whitefish (from late May thru September). My hunting/fishing buddy on this trip was fellow outdoor writer Jay VanHouten, and the beauty about bear hunting over bait is that it usually takes place in the afternoon, which allows plenty of relaxing time for fishing during the morning. Windy Point Lodge also allows only ten bears to being taken by its hunters each year, thus allowing for a quality bear hunt (they had a 100% success rate last year).
Windy Point Lodge is purely a family-run business handled by Dick Watson and his wife Rosalie and their son Robert and his wife Stephanie (www.windypointlodge.com ). They have cozy log cabins of varying sizes which feature electricity (furnished by a large generator) cook stove/oven, refrigerator, microwave, flush toilets, hot showers, clean linens and comfortable beds. There is laundry facilities available, as well as a satellite phone (kiss your cell phone reception goodbye when you venture into this wilderness area) and Wi-Fi in the lodge. You have a choice of housekeeping and bringing your own food (which Jay and I did), or there is the “American Plan” where all meals are furnished at the lodge. Needless to say I was quite happy with “roughing it” in the wilderness in this manner, as I have experienced much cruder digs in the past.
Per the floatplane, fishermen are allowed 100 lbs for gear, whereas hunters are allowed 200 pounds apiece (Jay and I know how to pack because the combined weight of our gear was only a hair over100 pounds, and that included our crossbows and fishing equipment). Dick Watson recommends that a couple small boxes are much better than one big box for stowing away on the floatplane. He also strongly suggests to never skimp on rainwear in this wilderness environment because the economy stuff will let you down.
The day Jay and I were to fly in to Kaby Lake per Watson Skyways of Wawa, a literal monsoon had hit the region (this is why it is always wise to schedule at least an extra day getting in and an extra day getting out per a wilderness bush plane) and we found ourselves waiting with others in the comfortable cabin of the floatplane base. I had no problem with this at all, because when a seasoned bush-pilot doesn’t want to fly due to the weather, neither do I. It also allows you an opportunity to visit and get to know folks who are also waiting. This is where we met Keith Singelyn and his wife Joni of Port Huron. They too were heading for Windy Point Lodge and Keith was also there to hunt black bear with a crossbow (crossbows are efficient hunting arms which are much easier to cross the border with than firearms). Joni was there purely for the wilderness atmosphere and fishing experience.
They had actually been to Windy Point Lodge a couple months prior in May and loved the place and that is when Keith booked his bear hunt. They had experienced phenomenal walleye fishing (Windy Point is a well noted walleye spawning area during late May and early June) and they had no problem at all catching plenty of fish from not only a boat, but also off the dock and even from the shore in front of their cabin. Joni commented that the very comfortable facilities and wonderful personnel of Windy Point Lodge worked for her, and she was back for more and looking forward to the fishing.
Actually Keith and Joni have experienced the more primitive side to a wilderness adventure because they had once booked an “economy” fly-in fishing trip to another lake in northern Ontario. The floatplane dropped them and their gear off on a dock, and the pilot told them if they had any problems to put a red flag out on the dock and he would immediately land to offer assistance. He then took off.
They discovered the cabin featured only plywood walls and a blue plastic tarp roof. The propane tank that fueled the refrigerator and cook stove was also empty. Keith immediately put the red flag out, but it took the pilot (only) five days to respond. In the meantime they had a woodstove and plenty of firewood and Joni immediately improvised by cooking everything on it. They also caught plenty of fish, had a great time and when Keith was worried his wife might be having a hard time, he soon realized she had readily adapted and was actually thriving on the experience. He considers her a great partner to be in the wilderness with. They also realize you get what you pay for, and Windy Point Lodge certainly works for them.
During our wait Dick Watson’s wife Rosalie was continually on hand keeping us updated and making sure everything was weighed and in proper order to be loaded on the floatplane. That afternoon found the skies clearing and all of us headed out, getting airborne in an “Otter” (the workhorse bush plane of the north) and having a birds-eye view of the wilderness passing underneath of us. In no time it seemed, we were landing and cruising up to the dock where Dick Watson was waiting for us with his crew and 4-wheelers with trailers attached to haul all our gear to our cabins. This was certainly a class act from takeoff to landing I fully appreciated.
On the first day Keith Singelyn would bag his (400 lb boar) bear as would I (a 250 lb boar) which would allow him and his wife Joni to enjoy fishing during the remainder of their 8 day stay. Jay would take a couple days to bag his (300 lb boar) and during that time I thoroughly enjoyed assisting Dick Watson in baiting his bear hunting sites (he uses only “sweets” entailing mostly frosting, cookies, pies and pie filling - I found myself licking the spatula on occasion), and getting to know him.
Dick grew up in the guiding business on Kaby Lake and has been guiding since age 11. He is clearly a good man to be in the “Canada Bush” with and I was glad he was at the boat’s tiller as I spent most of the time not having a clue as to where I was on that big body of water fringed by a dense forest where all the coves often looked alike. Dick also has a simple but common sense philosophy about dealing with guests at his lodge, and that is to always treat people in a manner you would like to be treated. I also enjoyed giving Dick a hand at skinning and slicing and dicing a couple of dandy bears and getting them in the freezer (when you depart, the meat is quartered and thoroughly frozen).
Windy Point Lodge uses 16 ft aluminum boats powered by 4-stroke, 20 hp Yamaha outboards. The boats include fish finders and bait-buckets (bait as well as lures and other fishing tackle are available at the lodge). Rubber-webbed landing nets are used that allow snag-free removal of the fish as well in a catch and release situation, less chance to injure the fish. Dick recommends braided, 10 lb fishing line that is “coffee-colored” to blend with Kaby Lake’s dark tinted water. Bringing an extra fishing pole is also a good idea. There is a handy fish cleaning station and fishing guides will clean your fish if you wish.
Dick also recommends wearing light-colored clothing when fishing as it doesn’t attract insects such as mosquitoes and black flies like dark clothing will (a reason you see beekeepers wearing light colored clothing when tending their hives). What is considered as being the “bug season” up there is generally June 7 to July 7.
Once Jay had bagged his bruin, we were ready to sample Kaby Lake’s phenomenal fishing fulltime. This would include a day with fishing guide Kodey Ferrigan who took us to all his favorite haunts entailing great fishing action for both walleyes (which they call “pickerel” in those parts) and northern pike. Included was a fabulous shore lunch with fresh-caught fish being the main entrée. Kodey also took us to a “secret spot” where it was catch and release of both trophy walleyes and northern pike. I cranked fish in until my arms ached, but I’m certainly not complaining any!
As can be the case in a very warm atmosphere, Jay and I began to look upon both guides and fellow guests at Windy Point Lodge as being family. It was a sad day when it came time to leave. Rosalie Watson was waiting at the floatplane base upon our return to be sure everyone was properly unloaded with all their gear and satisfied with their experience.
Needless to say we will be returning and I would truly like to give that late May and early June timeframe a serious whirl. My wife Ginny has already informed me that I don’t dare go back to Windy Point Lodge without her, because she loves to catch fish!



click on the picture to enlarge

   Dick Watson of Windy Point Lodge grew up in the guiding business on Kaby
Lake and has been guiding since age 11. The cabins of Windy Point Lodge are
in the background.








click on the picture to enlarge

   Keith and Joni Singelyn of Port Huron thoroughly enjoyed a day out fishing
with Windy Point Lodge guide Kodey Ferrigan, which included a shore lunch
entailing freshly caught fish.



 

 

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