2016 Birch Lake Fishing Report!

1146. Yep, that’s how many fish we caught at Birch Lake in northwest Ontario this past week! Retired friends, Tracy Hayward, Mike Woods, Larry Hamlett and I left Cedar Rapids around 2am Friday, July 8th, and drove straight through to Lake Lac Seul to the KayAir base near Ear Falls. Karen and Peter Kay have hosted my three pals for eight years while this was my second year for the trip. We spent the night in one of their base cabins, got up early on the 9th, and loaded the twin engine plane for our 70 air mile flight to Birch where they have two Outpost cabins. After all our food and gear for the week was unloaded, we headed out for the remainder of the day in the 14.5 deep Alumarine boats powered by the sweet running 15 h.p. Yamaha motors. Tracy and Mike bring along older black and white depth finders with customized transducer holders to track our depths. They carry hand held GPS units for trip planning. The cabin has electricity courtesy of large solar panels on the roof while a solar panel at the water pump at the Lake pumps water to the cabin. LP gas tanks heat the hot water heater and power the stove plus refrigerators. The toilet is a short walk up an elevated wooden ramp–how many of you remember using an outdoor biffy?! The weather was great our first four days and the fishing was even better! Wednesday came and we endured the wrath of Mother Nature with over six rain storms, wind, and a drop in temperature. I was with Mike that day and he caught our biggest walleye of the week, a solid 25 1/2 incher! The tough weather didn’t keep us from catching some really nice numbers. After the fronts moved through, we had fair weather clouds and blue sky on Thursday while we had totally blue sky on Friday. How did we catch our fish? The same as last year but with some twists. We fished mostly in 6-14 foot water near the many islands and shorelines on the 30,000 acre Lake. We used bottom bouncers with a three to four foot snell and slow death hooks tipped with Uncle Josh pork crawlers. We put a little float or propeller blade ahead of the slow death hook. I used Spin-n-Glows or the Mack’s Smile blade on my rigs. We also pulled plain Aberdeen hooks with a wide gap, a couple beeds, then a float with the hook end holding the plastics which worked so well for us last year. Our best color for the week was the combo pink/white double twister tail baits but chartreuse and green caught lots of fish, too. For S & G’s, I tried putting on a number five Berkley Flicker Shad behind the bouncer and caught fish! Best color for me was chartreuse/white and the bubble gum color. Tracy and I spent part of a morning pulling number seven Flicker Shad’s outside of weed beds by long lining the baits and found we caught mostly bigger fish with the cranks, many over 20 inches long. Mike won our annual fishing contest on Friday using the University of Iowa colored crankbait Tracy bought for them at a sports show here in Cedar Rapids this spring. I had the Iowa State colored bait Tracy provided which I managed to have bit off 25 minutes into the contest. I didn’t get the memo to use a wire line leader like the buds so Larry and Mike used the same bait all day with Mike winning that contest with a nice 23 1/2 inch walleye! Tracy lost his U of I colored bait about midway through the day. We each ponied up $20 to Mike for his fishing “expertise”! Tracy fixed all our meals while Mile and Larry cleaned the fish we ate and brought home and took care of the daily boat chores. My job last year went so well they asked me to continue by washing the dishes, pots and pans, and cleaning up the cabin before flying out early Saturday morning! We got back to KayAir base, paid our final bill, and were headed home by 7am. Going through the Border and International Falls was easy this trip. So, what are my observations after another week at Birch? Well, I could have taken half the clothes I took and been ok. Dressing in layers and having rain gear is a must. I could have taken a third of the tackle I took and been ok. I could have left two rods home and been okay. Keeping things simple seems to work best on fly-in fishing trips. If you’ve never experienced this kind of trip, please put it on you “bucket list” and get it done. Please consider a call to Karen Kay at 807-222-2434 to book reservations on Birch or their Outpost cabins on Casummit Lake and Saddle Lake. 1146–I still can’t believe how many fish we caught!! We’re headed back the same time next year! Thank you for reading this post and I hope you enjoy the pics and video Mike G’s posting for you! Spike