Do you want to catch a muskie, but don’t know where to go and how to go about it?
What if I told you that I found a lake that’s relatively small (about 5,000 acres) and loaded with muskies that stretch to 50-plus inches? This summer, I discovered Thaddeus Lake Lodge, near Dryden, Ontario, Canada, and it is fantastic!
Dryden is about 118 miles northeast of International Falls, Minn.
There are few places I know where you have a very good chance of catching a monster muskie, limits of walleyes, drag-burning pike, and tons of fighting smallmouth bass, all within sight of the lodge. No fighting big waves or making big runs to where the action is happening. And it’s convenient when you want to come back to camp to take a break, have lunch, or take a quick nap without burning a ton of gas or time.
Although the walleye fishing at Thaddeus is excellent, I was truly impressed with the ferocity and number of muskies we saw and caught during our stay. We only targeted muskies for three days, yet our party of six anglers saw more than 40 muskies, boating eight, with four other muskies that were hooked, but threw the lures when they leapt out of the water!
My daughter, Kristi, and her new husband, Nate, both caught their first muskies ever! Nate took big-fish honors for the week, with a whopper of 49 inches!
The muskies were actively patrolling outside weed edges in about 13- to 15 feet. The most productive lures were Venom spinners, jerkbaits, and glide baits. We would stay off the edge of the weedlines and cast at and over the weeds. Several of our muskies struck at boatside during figure 8s. It is important to wear polarized sunglasses to spot a following fish and immediately go into a figure 8 to get the fish to bite.
The figure 8 technique is one where, at the end of your cast, you push the rod tip down toward the water and work your lure to the left or right and swing it around in a figure-8 pattern. This change in direction and speed is often the trick to get relatively inactive fish to actually strike. Try to do a figure 8 at the end of every cast, because you never know how far back the muskie is lurking from your lure, and you might not see the fish.
We were visiting in August, but September and October are also excellent months to get in on Thaddeus Lake muskie action.
The walleye fishing is good almost any time of the year, with limits of fish up to 30 inches long. We only spent one day walleye fishing, and although we didn’t get into any monster fish, we caught limits of great-tasting ‘eyes, with the biggest at 26 inches.
Most of our walleyes came from sandy/rocky points that are located in various areas of the lake. I’m sure if we took the time, we could have found walleyes in and around weeds as well.
The technique that produced the most walleyes for us? Live-bait rigs tipped with live minnows and chubs.
Superb Hunting Options
Thaddeus Lake is located in an area loaded with hunting opportunity, too––and not just “bonus” hunting opportunity. The lodge is smack dab in the middle of the finest bear territory in Ontario, for example.
In 2015, there was 100 percent success rate for the multitudes of bear hunters in camp. Kristi and Nate were both successful, each bagging their first bears.
In addition, there is superb grouse hunting available close by as well. And get this: it’s one of those rare locations where you can hunt for ruffed and spruce grouse in the woods, and the prairie-loving sharp-tailed grouse on the same trip.
So take my word for it…this is a gem of a lake if you are looking for a great fishing trip, hunting trip, or combo trip. In fact, it’s as close to a sure thing as you’re likely to find!
Author’s Note: Thaddeus Lake Lodge (or 807-529-3377) has reasonably-priced quaint housekeeping cabins, and is managed by Marty Ouelette, who knows the fishing and is an expert bear guide. It’s owned by Perry and Eric Parks, also owners of Skinzit, the electric fish skinner creating a buzz for its ease of cleaning/skinning eater-sized walleyes and panfish.
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