Northern Pike are the freshwater sharks of the north with big Northerns being one of the most prestigious fishing trophies on Earth. People from all over the world come to Northwestern Ontario because they can freely explore the lakes and catch all the Northern Pike they want, which is something reserved for the super rich in Europe and Asia because all the lakes and rivers are privately owned and you have to join exclusive fishing clubs.
Wabigoon and Dinorwic are both shallow, weedy and possess the perfect environment for Northern Pike to prosper. Muskie are roaming hunters while Northern Pike are ambush predators. The big Pike like to hang around in the thick Musky Cabbage, off rocky points leading into bays or the narrows between islands and shoals. Wabigoon and Dinorwic have thousands of such spots and serious Pike hunters can work hundreds of hotspots without traveling great distances. This increases the amount of Pike being caught and the chances of catching a trophy. If you like to eat Northern Pike then you don't have to worry about catching smaller Pike. If you use smaller spinnerbaits or Dardevles and hit the weed lines in the back of the 1000s of bays available you will catch hoards of them. Northern Pike are very common in the 2 to 6-pound range. If you are looking to catch Pike for shore-lunch the 3 and 4-pounders are the best eating size as they are big enough to clean. If you need a lesson on removing the bones from Northerns, Terry is an expert as he's been doing this for over 40 years! Fresh Pike is great to eat, no bones about it!
Most people interested in Pike fishing come to our camp to get into the big trophies. Northern Pike in the 15 to 20-pound range are caught and released on a regular basis. If you are our guest for a week of fishing and you specifically target Northern Pike you should catch a couple in the 20 pound range. Once in a while guests catch giant Pike over 25 pounds but fish that big are rare. Guests who are targeting Muskie often catch big Pike and Pike hunters often hook into Muskie. You have 62 square miles of water with 236 miles of shoreline on the two best fishing lakes in Ontario to explore. Your chances of catching the Trophy Northern Pike of your dreams is outstanding. We have had 50" Northern Pike caught numerous times. Wabigoon and the 10 lakes in the chain, give anglers a great chance for a huge trophy. Who knows... your next cast may be the big one!
On still days when the water is clear pike-spoons, surface lures or even fly-fishing for Pike is a great way to catch them. On windy days when the water gets churned up and starts to look murky you should switch to lures that make sound such as rattlebaits or spinnerbaits with vibrex blades. The Pike will be hunting for vibrations and not on sight. In these conditions anything can hit your lure. On an average day you should be able to catch 50 Pike. When we say that we do not mean you are going to catch 50 fish. We mean 50 Pike. While Pike fishing you will also catch Walleyes, Smallmouth Bass, perch, crappie and Muskie. Wabigoon and Dinorwic are like bits-&-bites, it's a mixed bag and you never know what you are going to get. Every cast is a surprize.
Our outpost camp on Little Basket Lake gives you full access to fish the larger Basket Lake. Basket Lake is stuffed with fish that Northern Pike like to eat. Basket Lake has a diverse list of feeder-fish species, which are all on the Northern Pike's menu. Walleye, Perch, Burbot, Rock Bass, Shinners and Suckers are all in the lake and are fed on by both the Northern Pike and the Walleyes. The reason Basket Lake produces such massive size Northern Pike is because of the Whitefish. Whitefish are found in the lake by the millions and they are packed with protein and oils and their availability is the main ingredient for the production of giant Pike.
Northern Pike grow very slow compared to other fish but on lakes with Whitefish they grow much quicker. Basket Lake is also a typical crystal-clean Canadian Shield Lake. The lack of parasites means the Northern Pike can live 20 years longer than in southern lakes thus they can reach massive sizes. A 20 pound Northern Pike is around 20 years old so it is imperative that all trophy Pike are handled with care and released. In Basket Lake there have been Northern Pike caught-&-released that were well over 25 pounds. There is 76 miles of shoreline with many feeder streams coming into the lake and these are hotspots for Northerns.
Basket Lake is best known for its fantastic Walleye fishing. You will not catch high numbers of smaller Pike like you would on Dinorwic or Wabigoon but your chances of catching a Trophy Northern Pike between 20 and 25 pounds is fantastic.
Northern Pike are an easy fish to catch; especially in Wabigoon Lake and Dinrowic Lake were there are millions of them. When they are feeding they will hit anything you throw at them. The secret to catching a large trophy Northern Pike is to recognize areas that will hold a big Pike. Muskie are roaming hunters. Northern Pike are ambush predators. This is the secret to locating the big ones. Big Pike and Big Muskie are in direct competition with each other for food but because of their behavior they tend to stay out of each other's way.
Muskie are Claustrophobic and tend to stay along weed beds that face the open lake. The Pike will go into the weedy back bays and in around islands, shoals and sunken ridges where they can ambush Walleye, Perch, Bass and Crappie. The small Pike will go right into the thick weeds. The medium size pike will be near the edge of the weeds where they can jet out and chomp down on an unsuspecting Walleye. The really big Trophy Northern Pike will hang out at the points leading into weedy bays. They may swim to the edge of weeds and patrol around the middle of the bay but generally the points leading into bays is where the big ones spend most of their time. The points are places where Walleyes like to congregate and also a big Pike can sit just around a point waiting for a school of Smallmouth to swim by.
Big Pike are also known to hang out at the narrows between islands and shoals and along ridges where they can hide in the deeper water and attack Walleyes from below. They also like the mouths of feeder streams and will actually go up into the streams to feed on suckers and chub. On Wabigoon Lake and Dinorwic Lake there are shallow sandy plateaus where you will find long bans of Wild Rice and surrounding the rice is patches of Muskie Cabbage. Both Muskie and big Pike can be found in these areas because they still have swimming room but can ambush prey by hiding behind or in the patches of cabbage.
You have to use steel leaders when fishing for Pike. The lures you use should be dictated by the water clarity. Wabigoon and Dinorwic are shallow lakes and a wind storm can churn up the bottom making some areas of the lake murky for a couple of days. In clear Water everything works. The most popular lures are Daredevles in the red-&-white and yellow five-of-diamonds design. Crank-baits, jigs, jerk-baits and spinnerbaits all work well. When the water is murky you need to make sound. That's when you use spinnerbaits with loud blades or big spinners like a Mepps Muskie Killer or a big Vibrex Spinner with a big bucktail on it. Surface lures such as Spooks and Jitter-Bugs also work great when the water is murky. In Murky water the Pike hunt on sound. So do the Musky so when Pike fishing you will catch Musky as well. Some guests have even pulled in giant Walleyes and Smallmouth casting for Pike with big lures.
On Wabigoon and Dinorwic you should always have a Muskie/Pike rod set up and ready to go. If you are fishing for Walleye, Bass, Crappie or Perch and the fish suddenly stop biting, it means a big Muskie or Pike has moved into the area and it means you need to grab your Pike rod and start working the area.