Getting here was an adventure in and of itself. It took all day for my dad and I to get to Thunder Bay. When you arrive in Thunder Bay you will have a few choices of hotels but I recommend staying in the Hampton Inn. It’s right by the airport so it makes your next day early departure to Miminiska a little easier. I recommend eating at Bight or Caribou if you go out but if you'd rather stay in there are a few places that will deliver right to the hotel. The next morning we were picked up at our hotel at which point we were escorted to a private plane at a different area of the airport. The trip to the lodge takes about 1 hour and 20 min. It can be kind of a bumpy ride depending on the weather so if you are prone to motion sickness I would recommend taking some medication for that. The scenery on the flight in is absolutely breathtaking, especially if you can finagle your way into the copilot seat. You will land on a dirt runway, which depending on the weather may be a little bumpy. After landing you will be greeted by more than a few mosquitoes and the amazing lodge staff.
Miminiska Adventures... Fish On!
Get ready to catch fish after fish after fish! I am not even kidding! The beauty of this place is you can fish all day or just fish for what you want to eat and relax the rest of the day. We would head out in the morning and fish for fun then around lunch time we would take a few walleye for that nights dinner. After catching what we were eating that night we would target fish for pike. I of course would have loved to catch a trophy pike but unfortunately this year it did not happen. But, there is always next year!
When you arrive at the lodge you will get in around noon but you can be out on the water fishing within the hour. Just be sure to get a quick briefing in the main cabin and then you can be on your way. We did just that and hooked up with some great walleye and pike that afternoon. You can fish from the second you step off the plane to the moment you get back on it. My one recommendation would be to get a guide for at least one day and take a ride to a place called “snake falls”. It was absolutely breathtaking and pretty much the farthest point from the lodge. You can take a packed lunch and spend the entire day out on the water. Make sure to do this on your best weather day because it is kind of a far run and if it is raining it could be a little cold.
Life at the Lodge
A very special thanks to Brian, Kate, Tara, Robin, Robert and Dave for such an awesome experience! Every time we returned back to the dock I was greeted by a smiling Brian who was excited to see what fish we caught and what adventure we had encountered that day. The staff really made the trip great and will be a big part of the reason I return back to the lodge. Miminiska is a truly awe inspiring place, one that offers a break from reality, letting you step into the wild of the boreal forest. I loved watching eagles sore above the trees, catching fish after fish and paddle boarding along the shore looking for animals. It is both a mesmerizing location and lodge!
The weather at the lodge can change very quickly so be prepared for cold, rainy, warm, sunny and everything in between. In the above photograph a storm was rolling in but we decided to brave the weather and head out anyway. As a side note some of the best animal spotting can be done in the rain and I caught some of my best fish during this storm.
What's in that Tackle Box??
What tackle should you bring?
The short answer is not that much. I brought so much stuff and only ever used jigs with jelly heads for walleye and weedless spinners with a LEADER for pike. I would recommend bringing a wide variety of jig heads including pink, orange, yellow, and green. I found the best weight was 3/8 oz but I would bring a variety of sizes just in case the conditions change. I recommend doing the same thing with the jelly tails. I found the best combination when I was there was a yellow head with a yellow tail but I also caught fish with a pink head and white tail as well as a orange head and green tail. For pike I had the best luck with a diamond weedless spinner but I did catch a few using the frog weedless spinner.
How do you fish for pike and walleye?
The million dollar question is of course how do you catch these fish. I found walleye like rocky bottom between 5-8 feet deep in areas where the water is moving pretty quickly. For pike we did best fishing in very grassy areas (which is why the weedless spinner was so nice). I found I did best when reeling into the current right at the grass line.
Fishing Tip! Keep your lure in the water until it’s all the way to the boat. I caught some of my biggest fish about a foot from the boat. They would follow the lure and we could watch them hit it in the water they were so close. When I was there each person could keep two walleye under 18 inches. It is sort of a general rule that you don’t take anything under 15 inches. For Pike you could also take two each but they needed to be under 27 inches.
* The bugs are pretty bad at the lodge and in some fishing spots so make sure to bring bug spray, long pants, long sleeve shirt and a buff with a hat to cover your face. I did pretty good but I ended up with a lot of bites on my face and neck. That being said the fishing was worth loosing a little blood to the tiny locals (mostly mosquitos and black flies).
Rain jacket and rain pants
Mid-layer: nano puff jacket or lightweight fleece
Fishing shirts x4
Quick dry pants x2
Rubber boots or other water shoes
Camera and charger
Coffee mug: we took warm drinks with us on the boat