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Keeping it Simple

By Mark Romanack

Gary Melvin, left and Tim Link recently joined the Fishing 411 crew in
filming an episode on Big Kaby Lake and Pine Portage Lodge. Located in
Ontario’s Algoma Country near Wawa, Ontario, this fishery
 is one of the finest walleye destinations in all of Ontario.
Sometimes the best fishing advice is to keep things simple. Recently on a “fly-in” fishing adventure to Big Kaby Lake and Pine Portage Lodge I was reminded that simple presentations often provide the most bites and the maximum amount of fishing pleasure.

Big Kaby Lake is by Ontario standards a shallow lake. The average depth is just 14 feet and Big Kaby is dotted with countless islands, back bays that support weed beds and a seemingly endless supply of 18-22 inch walleye.

Backtrolling 1/4 ounce Bait Rigs Odd’ ball jigs tipped with live minnows proved to be all the fishing savvy we needed to boat walleye after walleye after walleye. My guests Gary Melvin and Tim Link kept asking me what color jig would produce best. In all honesty that detail didn’t matter much. Regardless of the jig color, our group caught walleye almost at will.

Big Kaby Lake is dotted with countless islands and shallow weedy bays
that hold scary amounts of walleye. The Fishing 411 crew averaged
40 fish days back trolling Odd’ Ball Jigs tipped with live minnows.
Numerous times we had three fish on at once and all you can say about a bite like that is Wow!! Of course we fished spinning tackle and our reels were loaded with Maxima 8 Strand Braid terminated with about 24 inches of 10# test monofilament as a leader. Normally I recommend an ultra clear fluorocarbon leader when fishing super braid, but the stained and shallow waters of Big Kaby Lake didn’t require the use of expensive fluorocarbon leader material. Instead we used Maxima Ultra Green which has a higher abrasion resistance than other monofilaments as leader material.

Using a monofilament leader saved  me a few bucks. The sensitivity of Maxima 8 Strand Braid made it easy for us to detect weeds and also to snap our jigs free of the salad. Most of our bites came as the jig was pulling free of the weeds and free falling back to bottom.

Mari Romanack enjoyed a little “down time” at the lodge between filming
sessions. The American Plan package offered by Pine Portage Lodge
 includes amazing home cooked meals that “lure" you off the
lake every evening.
Numerous times I tried substituting a live minnow for a soft plastic grub and always the bite slowed. Eventually I gave in and came to the conclusion sometimes you can’t beat live bait and keeping things simple.

A jig, a lively minnow and some low stretch braid added up to one of the most memorable fishing trips the Fishing 411 crew has enjoyed in years. Fishing in comfort from 16 foot boats with swivel chairs and flat floors added to the experience.

To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I caught so many walleyes without ever having to leave my boat seat! Pine Portage Lodge is located in Ontario’s Algoma Country, not far from Wawa, Ontario. For details on this awesome camp and walleye fishery, visit, or check out the site for more fishing tips and suggestions.