Wabigoon Lake and Dinorwic Lake are considered two of the very best Muskie lakes in Ontario. They have also been named by MNR biologists to be among the most probable places to produce a new World Record Muskie. Our Camp is located at the east end of Wabigoon Lake and only a short distance by boat to Dinorwic so our guests have complete access to both lakes and 62 square miles of prime Muskie habitat.
Both Wabigoon Lake and Dinorwic Lake are shallow compared to many big lakes in Ontario and much more nutrient. Some areas of the lakes display the classic Canadian Shield structure while many of the other parts of these lakes are similar to the structure of lakes and reservoirs down in the southern states. There are many rocky points leading into shallow weedy bays and these are the hotspots where our guests find great success. After a strong wind the bottom gets churned up in the shallow areas making the water a little murky. Because of this; Americans using the lures and tactics they are used to using down south find fantastic success. That is why Wabigoon and Dinorwic are such popular fishing destinations for Americans. Don't worry, tactics that Canadians are used to work just fine. Muskie are common between 38 and 48 inches and guests who target Muskie generally catch lots of them throughout the week. How many Muskie you catch in a day is impossible to answer. Muskie are very sensitive in changes to the weather. Whether it's 80 degrees and sunny or cool, windy and raining, the Muskie will be hitting but only as long as the weather stays consistent over a couple of days. Changes in the weather can actually make them stop feeding for a day or two. In Wabigoon and Dinorwic there are so many Muskie that it's the weather that dictates your luck, not the lure you use or abundance of fish. On a good day guests have caught as many as 13 Muskie, with the larger at 54"! Not to bad for a day of fishing!
Even though sub-trophy size Muskie are a ton of fun to catch and fight harder than any other fish, most guests who are targeting Muskie want the 50+ inch monsters and we have plenty of them. Just about every week someone catches a Muskie in the 50-inch range. Throughout the summer there will be a few guests that will get monsters up to 55 inches long. Muskie in the 50 to 55-inch range are rare and we don't want you to think you are going to catch one but your chances are better on Wabigoon and Dinorwic than most of the other top Muskie lakes. Muskie on our chain of lakes are also well fed. They have an endless banquet of Whitefish, Perch, Walleye and Bass to feed on. As a result Muskie grow fast and grow big. It's also not unusual to catch Muskie that are unusually thick and super muscular. We have had guests catch 40-inch Muskie thinking they had a 50-incher on.
While Muskie fishing don't be surprised if you hook into a big Pike or Walleye on your big Muskie baits. It happens all the time. We ask that all Muskie are caught, photographed and then released so we continue having the best Muskie fishing in Ontario.
In the 80's Merkel's Camp hosted biologists sponsored by the Royal Ontario Museum with the head biologists being Art Crossman. Bernard Lebeau was writing his thesis on Muskie. The Ministry of Natural Resources asked if we would host this 3 year project because of our location and vast knowledge of the lakes involved. The photograph that is seemingly making the rounds, was taken from our camp boat and originated with Merkel's Camp.
The majority of the fish were in the 40"+ range. There were 3-50" fish caught during that week! Fabulous week was enjoyed by all! The great fishing continues at Merkel's Camp/Wabigoon Lake.
It's not uncommon for photocopied pages from magazines to end up on my desk from readers who are trying to draw the paper's attention to something of interest. Of course, the sight of Dryden angler Travis Tourond struggling to support 57 inches of plump, juicy locally-caught muskellunge from page 14 of the February/March issue of MuskyHunter.com, was an irresistible bait drawn past our noses by reader Pete Steiglitz.
Twenty-seven year old Tourond was fishing with buddy David Walker of Thunder Bay on the ‘southern end' of Wabigoon Lake on July 30 when he tangled with the brute.
Walker was busy untangling a bird's nest in his reel and Tourond says the duo were thinking about heading home when the fish of a lifetime struck. "We actually fished for 15 hours that day and we saw about six other fish (following bait) but we couldn't get them to bite," said Tourond. "It was right at the end of the night, around 8:30 p.m., we were dead tired from fishing all day. Then all of a sudden I saw this thing come up and just nail the bait. I just put the bait in the right spot I guess."
ourond said the battle was a quick one, lasting about 45 seconds as the fish swam straight at the boat. After some measurements and a quick photo, the fish was returned to the water.
"I would never keep a fish that big," said Tourond. "Even a big walleye. I keep small ones to eat, but I'd never keep something like that. Hopefully next year I can go back and get him again."
The fish measured 57 inches in length and 26 inches in girth - musky calculators estimate the fish's weight at just over 48 lbs.
Tourond says the catch landed him sponsorships with rod maker St. Croix Rods and Northland Tackle, makers of the Boobie Trap Spinner he used to catch the beast. Working four days on, three days off with Ontario Hydro, Tourond says he spends practically all of his free time in a boat chasing the big fish on Wabigoon and Eagle Lake and says he's lucky enough to have a girlfriend who shares his passion. "If you add up the hours you spend looking for those fish..." he says. "You don't pull up too many like that though. Over the last couple years we're noticing more fish. I don't know if it's because we're getting better at fishing them. It's hard to say, especially with all the electronics and all the data we can get off the Internet."
Every Muskie fishing fanatic has their own way of fishing. If you are new to Muskie fishing or are looking to add a bit more technique to your previous knowledge, then we welcome you to read our tips. Please always remember that Muskie exhibit different behavior on different lakes. Depth, visibility, structure, types of feeder-fish and weeds are usually the main factors.
On Wabigoon Lake and Dinorwic Lake the Muskie are feeding like crazy all the time. There is no difference between summer and fall feeding habits. They attack and eat anything that moves. The difference between summer and fall is the weeds and that is really what dictates the methods and lures you use to fish with.
Summer Musky Fishing Tips:
In the summer the Muskie are in the weeds, whether its stands of Wild Rice, Pickerel Weed, Lilly Pads or patches of Muskie Cabbage. Casting with lures that are highly visible and make lots of noise always work but when working the weeds you want to use single-hook lures so you are not taking weeds off your line every cast. Low weed lures also makes it easier to navigate between patches of weeds for a longer retrieval, which means more fish. Spinnerbaits, large Johnson Silver Minnows and large single-hook Daredevils with the weedless bar are great for heavy weed cover. If the weeds are not up to the surface and you have a foot or two of water to play in then shallow running crank-baits and jerk-baits work great. The Muskie will be sitting on bottom and will shoot straight up at the lure. In the summer not all the Muskie are in the weeds. Other areas to look at are rocky points with small weedy patches around the boulders. They will roam the shoreline looking for schools of Walleye, Smallmouth, Perch and Crappie. If you are fishing for these fish and they all of a sudden stop feeding that usually means a big Muskie or Pike has moved into the area and that's when you start casting some Muskie baits.
Fall Musky Fishing Tips:
When the water starts to cool down the weeds start to die. As the weeds decompose they absorb oxygen and release small amounts of sulfate, which the Muskie do not like. When the water cools Muskie either move out to the edge of the weeds or go out into open water and start to roam for better hunting grounds. You will still catch Muskie casting into the weeds but a better approach is to troll along the outside of the weed-lines and give more attention to shoals, islands, mouth of feeder-streams and narrows between islands. This time of year the Muskie also seem a little claustrophobic and tend to be attracted to areas that face the open lake. Going into a back bay with islands out front, which are blocking access to the main lake, is usually slow for Muskie in the fall.
Late Fall Muskie Tips:
Traditionally many Muskie hunters troll really fast or retrieve their baits really fast. In late fall when the water gets really cold the Muskie are still feeding but become a little lethargic and tend to hit slower baits and smaller baits. In the summer and fall trolling with the bigger Muskie plugs at higher speeds works fine. In late fall when the water is really cold, try trolling or retrieving your bait a little slower and use smaller baits.