I’ve always dreamed of a place where the fishing is so great, one could eat fish every day for breakfast, lunch and supper. Welcome to Brunswick Lake, a fly-in destination near Hearst. As much as I love fish, by day five I was actually tired of eating it. (When I asked my son-in-law, Troy McAdams, to make something else for lunch, he opened a can of tuna.) Joining Troy and I at Brunswick Lake Lodge were friends Steve Dickenson and John Bennett.
A history of great fishing
Brunswick Lake is on the old Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading route to James Bay. A trading post was established here in the mid-1700s, not only for its strategic location within the trapping grounds, but also because of the plentiful walleye, pike and perch that could be netted daily to feed the trading post workers. The post is long gone, but the fish remain.
The lake is a twisty 24 kilometres in length, speckled with dozens of rocky islands and numerous broad, shallow bays. Targeting walleye was as simple as heading for the first island. On the advice of our onsite hosts, Norm and Linda Zaverucha, we rigged up with 1⁄4 ounce pink jig-heads tipped with four-inch white twister tails. Much of the shoreline included rock rubble and weed bed cover, with sharp drops. Often, shallow structure was surrounded by depths reaching 50 feet.
It didn’t take long to catch enough walleye for supper. As a matter of fact, we had to call off our gentlemen’s bet over which boat would catch more fish when we lost count.
We really enjoyed casting around the islands and outcroppings, and finding tight schools of aggressive feeding fish. There were even times when we caught fish on every cast. Artificial lures produced lots of walleye in the 15 to 18-inch range. A few of our fellow guests, who trolled weed edges with worm harnesses reported catching walleye in the five-pound class.
Slipping into shallower weedy bays, we found that pike were plentiful, but many were hammer handle sized, under two-pounds. Intent on catching a few of Brunswick’s larger pike (reported to exceed 40 inches), we cast large spoons, crankbaits, monster-sized buck tail jigs, and spinner baits along weed edges, but were still limited to small pike and a surprising number of walleye. However, from the tooth marks and scarring on the walleye and smaller pike, it wasn’t hard to figure out that big pike were close.
Determined on our final day to bring in a big one, I pitched a 3⁄4 ounce yellow and white double bladed spinnerbait that literally tore up the weed beds. I ripped it through the weeds and then reeled up the slack, repeating until the lure was back to the boat. Many smaller fish followed, but I was out to entice a slam from a big old beast. About the time my shoulders and forearms were on fire, a crashing thud laid my lure to rest. A jarring hook-set was followed by a ferocious battle with a bruiser. It wasn’t quite the monster I was wishing for, but it was a fat 32 inch northern. I released it to raise trouble with the walleye once again.
The next morning, as the deHavilland Turbo Otter float plane approached the dock, we took a last look around this magnificently groomed lodge, set amongst a stand of aspen. It was like saying goodbye to an old friend; we left with a lifetime of memories.
Brunswick Lake Lodge
Norm and Linda Zaverucha
P.O. Box 895, Cochrane, ON ,
Tel: (705) 272-6940
Fax: (416) 239-2509
11 Mission Rd. Box 1129,
Wawa, ON , P0S 1K0
Toll-Free: 1 (888) 646-0603
Local: (705) 856-2223