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Old 08-11-2014, 07:05 PM
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Juls Juls is offline
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Default Meta Lake Lodge Vacation 8-2 to 8-9 WOW!

What an incredible vacation. The fishing was awesome and better than I expected. It went by way to fast though. For those of you who have time on your hands, I kept a journal of the experience there.
Read it or don't...in a nutshell, it was a fantastic trip!

The night we left:

We left Thursday night, July 31st, at 10pm and drove straight through to Nakina, ON, which is about a 16 hour drive. I drove up with Frank, Bill, and Steve in Frank's brand new super cab F150...(Nice truck!) We arrived in Nakina at around 2pm.

We saw a black bear and one young cow moose on the way up, but that was it for furry creatures.

We stayed at the 584 B & B, where our hosts Rayleen and Larry graciously entertained us at their home. We had cocktails on the deck, and then Larry fried up the most amazing walleye dinner, along with Rayleen's pasta, potato, and coleslaw salads. It was delicious!

By 6pm we were all whooped and went to bed early. Of course, I was the first one up, since my normal sleep schedule is to bed at 8pm and up at 3:30 to run charters. After a much needed shower, I went outside to get some "dog love" from their German Shepard "Chloe". (I was missing my dogs already). She's a very friendly girl who really liked getting her ears scratched.

By 5am everyone else was up and moving around. We went upstairs for breakfast where we enjoyed some morning coffee with Bailey's, toast with homemade blueberry preserves, and other breakfast treats...continental style.

At 5:50 we said our Thank yous and goodbyes, and headed to the tiny airport located on the water's edge of a pristine lake. When we arrived, there were other groups loading to fly on one of the two Otter planes taking them to Meta Lake Lodge. Bill took a seat on that plane, while Frank, Steve, and I waited for the next one to come back for us.

It was an exciting wait for me, as I have never done a fly in before and couldn't wait to get in the air to see the Canadian landscape dotted with a gazillion lakes surrounded by pine forests. As we waited the sun was rising above the pines on the other side of the lake. It was beautiful. The air is so clean up there that everything seems magnetized.

After an hour wait, our plane came back to get us. After unloading the folks who were done with their trip, we loaded our gear on the plane. I was given the co-pilot's seat for the best views, and took advantage of it by taking a lot of pictures and videos of the awesome scenery. 25 minutes later we landed on Meta Lake, and got the first view of our camp for the next week. I LIKED it!!

The camp is made up of rustic cabins, a fish house, and a main lodge. The boats we would be fishing out of are beautiful wooden boats powered with little 15hp motors that shimmered like gold along the docks.

After getting a breakfast of scrambled eggs and sausage (served buffet style) in the lodge, we got busy putting our things in our cabin and the boat. Bill and Frank would be fishing together all week, as would Steve and I.

Saturday August 2nd…our first official day of fishing on Meta and Ara Lakes.

We motored from Meta Lake over to Ara Lake via a channel where we were going to troll and cast for Pike. Steve, having been there many times before, took us to all his favorite honey holes from the past trips there. He set me up with a Dare Devil spoon to try first. It didn't take long for Steve to hook up with the first Northern of the trip. The second one was a nice fat 32 inch pike.
I wouldn’t get one until we stopped by one of the islands to cast for them. My first cast with a #5 Gold bladed Mepp’s Bucktail spinner produced a nice 30 incher. My second cast caught one about 28 inches. All in all the first day we caught about 2 dozen pike and 5 walleye trolling spoons and casting Mepp’s and Silver Minnows. At some point on day one, I spied a copper colored spoon hanging on Steve’s end of the boat. He said he’s never used it. I asked, “Can I use it please? Copper colors work great in copper stained waters”. It started catching fish right away, and I was happy.

The day was beautiful weather-wise…70 degrees, partly sunny, and mostly calm. The wind picked up out of the south at around 4pm and made the ride in a little bumpy. After we were back at the cabin it began to rain. We enjoyed cocktails and shared stories before heading up to the main lodge for a scrumptious dinner of garlic-herbed chicken, mashed potatoes, and buttered carrots w/sautéed onions…YUM!

We were all still very tired from the ride up there, and then fishing all day, we retired to our respective beds at 8pm.

Sunday August 3rd…Day 2:

Well, it’s 3:30 in the morning, and there are mice making all kinds of racket in the walls. It’s my usual time to get up, so I get out of bed to put the coffee on….and, do nothing. There is no TV, internet, reading material, or any other technological devices to occupy my brain, so I listen to the quiet for a while and spy a notepad on the shelf. I decided to start keeping a blog about this trip to help occupy the time. I get an hour and a half each morning to myself before the other two even think about getting out of bed. Ahhhhh…..I LOVE it!

At 4am it is calm outside…no wind at all. It sounds like every Loon on the lake has something to say. From one end of the lake to the other, it’s a “song dance”…how fantastic! I feel privileged to have been awake to hear them.

Steve and Frank finally climb out of bed around 5am and have coffee. I shower and we head up to the lodge for breakfast at 7am. This morning we are having French toast with sausage. By 7:30 we are headed out on the water to spend the day fishing for pike again.

We drive the boat over to Ara Lake again, but instead of heading north when we got there, we headed south this time. Steve said there was a mid lake hump that he liked to check out when he was here, so we started there. After locating the hump we dropped a marker on the top of it in 7’ of water. The sides dropped off of it into 20’ of water. The stone hump runs east and west and is about 50’ long. We caught several Northerns there along with a few walleye. We trolled it and cast it and both presentations caught fish.

Next, we went further south into a bay at the end of the lake. The bay has three small islands in the entrance to it. We trolled around the islands first, and picked up both walleye and pike. Moving further south into the bay, we spied some pelicans setting on some rocks and trolled towards them. Frank and Bill were trolling back there too, and we would wave every time they passed us.
After leaving the bay with numerous fish caught we went back to the hump out in the middle of the lake, marked it again, and made a few more passes. This time the wind was blowing though and it seemed they only wanted the baits presented from a N/S-S/N direction. We wouldn’t get anything on an E/W or W/E trolling pass.

Next we went to a trolling spot where Steve caught a big 41” northern last year. It was near a camp that looks to be closed down for the season. (I guess they didn’t get enough business to stay operating…shame too, because it looked like a nice facility and the location was excellent). We made two passes there and didn’t even get a bump, so we moved into the channel connecting the two lakes and started trolling in there in a zig-zag pattern, back and forth, concentrating on spots that had cabbage weeds in the 8-12’ depth range.
We caught many walleye in the channel, and a couple of “hammer handles”, but I think it mostly holds walleye in there.
We finished off the day’s fishing with a troll along the island out around the corner from the camp. We picked up 2 little pike there and headed in for cocktails before dinner.
Dinner was at 6pm again and tonight we had meatloaf, scalloped potatoes, and Ohio sweet corn on the cob that another group had brought up with them, and kindly shared it with the rest of us. It was delicious.

Monday August 4th…Day 3:

After a breakfast of bacon, eggs, hash browns, and toast of homemade bread and blackberry preserves, Steve and I set off to explore and fish Meta Lake today instead of Ara Lake. Frank and Bill were headed back down south to the bay in Ara where we fished yesterday.

We started out in the 1st bay to the north of camp, on the east shore, casting. I was using my usual Mepp’s lure, and Steve was throwing a #6 copper Colorado bladed spinner bait.
I immediately hooked into a little northern, and shortly after a little walleye. I had Steve down 4-1 by the time he caught his first fish. Then, we were at 5-1 before he switched lures. By that time my competitive chiding would need to end, or I wouldn’t get to fish anymore. He threatened to take back all his equipment he was letting me us on this trip, because he wasn’t catching any fish!
Anyhooo….I shut up, (verbally anyway) and we started trolling around the west shore and by a couple of the islands out in the middle of Meta Lake. While I didn’t say it out loud, I know that by the time we finished fishing in Meta that I had him down 10-1. (But, whose keeping count, eh? lol)
I suggested we head back to Ara for the rest of the day instead of exploring more of Meta, because I felt Steve had more confidence in Ara producing than Meta. And, a lot of fishing is having confidence, right?
Well, a long story….shortened….I caught about 3 dozen fish that day… one was a nice 34 incher and the other was a hefty 38 inch brute. Steve ended the day with only a dozen or so fish. Tomorrow would be a new day and he will most likely kick my butt next time.


Tuesday, August 5th…Day 4:

After putting the coffee on, I stepped out on the front porch. It was a nice morning. Clear skies full of stars, no fog, a slight breeze out of the SW. Temperatures were warmer than the day before too.

At 6am we all went up for breakfast. This morning it was pancakes and sausage. We gobbled it down, because Steve and I wanted to be the first ones to the south end of Ara this morning. We made a trolling pass by the islands, where we caught that 38 incher the afternoon before, but apparently the beasts were still sleeping.
I caught a walleye and a northern in the first 5 minutes we were there. I had re-tied my copper/diamond spoon, so I wouldn’t lose it. It’s been very lucky and productive for the past three days.
After several more fish I reeled a northern up to the side of the boat by Steve, so he could reach over and take it off quick, and when he grabbed the 30# test leader, the fish shook and snapped the leader at a weak spot. My lucky lure was gone!! Oh NO!! It was too early in the morning for such a bad blow to my confidence. Lol I had re-tied the braided line, but I didn’t check the leader…ugh. My bad!! It was the only one like it he had too. Ouch!
I knew it could happen eventually, but I didn’t think it would be so early in the week…sigh. It totally blew my confidence of catching that 43” girl I have been wishing for every day. Oh well….

So, after getting my “cool” back, I tied on a different lure….a “gold something warbler thingy”. I cast it out and started trolling and immediately caught a northern. My confidence was back! I was still morning the lost lure, but I knew my week wasn’t doomed.

We ended the 4th day with several dozen fish as a storm was rolling in. At the first sign of lightning I said, “We should go”. Steve agreed. We started heading back in when we passed Bob and Ned Boytim (who are also from the Marblehead area and fishing with our group). They were waving us down. I thought maybe their motor didn’t start or something, but when we got closer Ned said, while pointing down below his boat, “They’re here; Big fish and lots of them!” Well, we couldn’t resist an invite like that, and decided we could throw a few casts before heading in. I kept and eye on the sky and kept mentioning how we should probably be heading back, because it was getting worse.

While the pike fishing was fantastic right before the storm, it also meant we would be riding back 45 minutes by water through a thunderstorm. We left Bill, Frank, Bob, and Ned and headed back. Bill and Frank were a 1/4 to a 1/2 mile behind us.
As we headed towards the 2 islands by the channel that connecting the two lakes we saw more and more lightning coming down. Bolt lightning. It was getting scary. When we cleared the channel on the Meta Lake side, the rain was coming down in buckets, lightning was striking all around us, and the wind was now blowing about 40 out of the SW…putting 2-3 foot waves on Meta and blowing right into the docks at camp too.
But, we’re not there yet. We still have to get across Meta in a sturdy little wooden boat first. I knew when Steve said; “Hold on!” it wasn’t good. I was sitting facing him, so I couldn’t see what was out in front…I didn’t want to see at that point.
I watched his face as he read the waves, while steering a course to safety for us.
It was incredible…it was just like the movies where a stage hand is standing outside the boat and throwing buckets of water at Steve. I couldn’t help but start singing in my head the theme song to Gilligan’s Isalnd…”The weather started getting rough, and the tiny ship was tossed” (I know those of you old enough just sang that line in your head). Ha!

Steve rode the trough across Meta as best he could and as we cleared the last point near camp, we realized the docks were being slammed by waves, which meant docking the boat would be difficult. Fortunately, two of John’s dock boys ran down to help us. We were really glad to see them too! Bill and Frank made it back shortly after us and we were glad to see them. Bob and Ned pulled over to ride it out and came in a little later.

We hit the cabin and shed our water soaked gear, and hung it up to dry. We all needed some whiskey after that experience, and had a couple of cocktails. Then, we lit a fire in the stove to heat up the cabin enough to dry the suits out.
We headed up to the lodge for dinner where we enjoyed a nice warm spinach salad, cheese bread and spaghetti.

We were all asleep by 8pm.

August 6th….Day 5:

We enjoyed a breakfast of a western omelets, potatoes, and toast with preserves before heading back down to the south end of Ara Lake for another try at those big northerns the Boytim’s found the day before.
Steve and I were the first ones there. There was no wind and there wasn’t a ripple on the water, so we could see every weed as we cast our lures. First cast with my trusty Mepps spinner and I had a fish on! Steve was throwing a Silver Minnow with a white twister tail trailer. Many fish entertained us on the line, while other giant beasts simply followed the lure back to the boat and showed us their massive sizes before returning to the safety of the weeds.
I said to Steve, “The sun is high already; those big girls aren’t aggressive enough right now. Let’s skip breakfast tomorrow and come down here early before the sun rises” He agreed, so that’s what we’re doing on Thursday. We left a marker on that weed bed, so we could find it easily in the morning.

We trolled and cast for northern and walleye all day in the south bay of Ara Lake. We would fish on and off where the marker was, trolled by the old “trapper camp” towards the SE island in the bay, and cast on the south side of that island. Many walleye, pike, and perch hang out together there.

We trolled from the island over to “pelican rock”, and then cast through the weed bed out in front of it. We picked up several fish everywhere we tried in that bay. The fishing was great! To make a long story shorter, we easily caught 50+ fish. No monsters yet, but a 33 and a 34 are darn good fighters.

Oh, and I saw my big girl beast that I predicted I would catch by the end of the week in that weed bed where our marker is, so I know she is in there. I know I will catch her eventually. She is easily over 40 inches, and I want to catch her. She is so big that when I saw her follow my lure up to the boat it made my knees shake.

We had our nightly ritual of cocktails at 5, and dinner at 6. We had fresh caught walleye for dinner with a salad, beans, and coleslaw. It was yummy!
We went to bed early, because we were going to be skipping breakfast and getting an early start in the morning.

August 7th…Day 6:

I’m up at 3:15 thanks to the mouse that ran across my bed near my pillow. My alarm was set for 3:30, so I decided to get up and start the coffee. I enjoy these couple of hours listening to my roommates snoring while I write down the previous day’s events as I remember them. I’m sure I leave out so much, because the days are filled with exciting fishing, stories at cocktail hour, and at dinner.

The scenery here is in a word, “Majestic”. It’s so quiet. If it weren’t for the snores, all I could hear is the buzz from the electric light above the table, the hum from the refrigerator, and the intermittent crackle from the hot coffee pot.

There is not a breath of wind outside and in about an hour I will be able to make out the silhouette of the shoreline as it gets light out. I would like to go out on the porch to enjoy a small cigar with my coffee this morning, but the story of a bear that broke into this very cabin the year before has me hesitant to go outside in the dark! I’m sure that there are no bears near by as that bruin was deemed aggressive and put down. Still, I think I’ll just enjoy my coffee in the safety of the cabin.

I’m looking forward to skipping breakfast and getting down to the south end of Ara before sun up to see if my big girl wants to come out to play. I sure would like to get a picture of her.
Note to self…re-tie and put a fresh leader on before fishing this morning. Ha!

After prying my fishing partner out of bed with a crowbar, and plying him with coffee, he finally got in the boat at 5:45 and we were on our way. We got down to the marker buoy at 6:31…right before the sun came up. Both of us landed fish on our first casts that morning and it was gang busters for us all day. We would catch 103 fish with the biggest fish going 33, 34, 35 ½, 37 ½, 38, 38, and 40. Steve caught the 40 incher.
All of these big girls bit before the rest of the gang even showed up down there. By the time they came down after breakfast the big bite was over; just like I thought the day before. It was worth it to skip breakfast and come down early.

It was a beautiful sunrise…simply gorgeous. There was absolutely no wind what-so-ever, so we could see all the weed beds in the bay. That made it easy for us, and the reason we were able to catch so many fish. Heck, we had 59 fish by noon, and we still had 4 more hours to fish. Woot! Woot!
There was almost a full moon the night before, but it was cloudy, so it was dark. There will be an almost full moon tonight, but it’s going to be clear. Will those fish feed at night with the full moon? I’m guessing they will.

Over cocktails, Steve has talked the others into coming down early tomorrow too, hoping to get them on some of the big fish like we had. ( I hope they are biting again)

Tonight we had some really good grilled steaks for dinner, along with some mashed potatoes, and roasted asparagus and broccoli.

August 8th…Day 7:

It’s the last day of fishing. Everyone has skipped breakfast and come down early to fish with us. Steve and I were the first ones there again; we had a light SE wind today, so we set a drift over the weed bed. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch anything in the first dozen casts or so. I had a hit on the second cast, but lost it right away. That told me they weren’t very aggressive and probably filled up on minnows last night. The guys in the rest of the group will not be happy they missed breakfast for this. Lol

The entire day was slower, and we only caught a couple dozen fish. But, there were some big ones again. In fact, I caught a 36 incher and cast my trolling spoon out again. Immediately it was hit and now I had my 40+ (42-43?) to the side of the boat. I finally caught her!!!
I was trying to hand Steve the net while holding the rod in my left hand, and keeping tension on the line. I was watching her, and not looking at what Steve was doing, and I didn’t drop the net when he didn’t grab it from me. I should have, because my left arm ran out of length and she got frisky and moved forward…giving herself some slack. We were using barbless hooks, so she was able to get free. I watched her swim away. I was livid. I had fished for her all week, and there she was. I had her!!! Then, she was gone. It took me a good ½ hour to shake it off and tell myself it was for the best. She is healthy and unhurt and swimming happily tonight, and I can come back and get her next year.
Yeah, I’ll just keep telling myself that…heheh

I whined a little at cocktail hour, and we had a nice chicken dinner at the main lodge.

We would be flying out and heading back home in the morning.

If you made it all the way through my journal, thanks for reading it!

Thank you Meta Lake Lodge for the wonderful experience and memories!

Simply awesome, and I can’t wait to go back!
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Last edited by Juls; 09-20-2014 at 02:19 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-11-2014, 07:28 PM
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Just more pictures...
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:31 PM
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And, a few more...
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Old 08-12-2014, 07:10 AM
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Sounds like a great trip, I think everyone should experience the beauty and incredible fishing in Ontario waters. Thanks for sharing
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Old 08-12-2014, 07:13 AM
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adding more pictures... I have lots of them...lol
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Old 08-12-2014, 07:18 AM
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and, more....okay, I'll stop now...
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Old 08-12-2014, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
We all needed some whiskey after that experience,
Yup - Been there, done that!!
Great report Juls -- Glad you at least caught your northern.
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Old 08-12-2014, 09:11 AM
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Glad to hear you had a good trip Juls, great write up, thanks!
Too bad about losing the big girl, but it does give you a reason to return.

I've fished Ara before, in fact I stayed at the camp you said was closed (it's not actually closed just very lightly used).
There's a prominent mid lake shoal at the north end of Ara that's an absolute killer spot. It's a little harder to find and a lot less fished than the one in the south end you guys fished. If you go back let me know and I'll pinpoint it for you.

Cheers
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Old 08-12-2014, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Borger View Post
There's a prominent mid lake shoal at the north end of Ara that's an absolute killer spot. It's a little harder to find and a lot less fished than the one in the south end you guys fished. If you go back let me know and I'll pinpoint it for you.

Cheers
Thanks Mike! We are planning on going back the second week of August next year. I'm counting down the days already. lol

I can't wait!

Juls
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Old 08-12-2014, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juls View Post
Thanks Mike! We are planning on going back the second week of August next year. I'm counting down the days already. lol

I can't wait!

Juls
Hello Juls. Thank you for sharing your experiences in Northern Ontario. I am looking forward to you resuming your trips and sharing how and what you did on Lake Erie on OGF. Very accurate and complete!

Between Meta Lake and Nungesser lake, it was a toss-up to where to go. This year we chose Nungesser Lake-next year Meta.
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