You are currently viewing Napken Lake trip 5

Napken Lake trip 5

August 22 – September 1, 2018

Another awesome trip to Napken Lake, Ontario has been completed. There was a bit of anxiety this year – only 4 of us were scheduled to go and we had a new guy with us. Anthony is a great guy and fit in perfectly. This was his first ever trip of this type and we were excited to share the experience with him. During our pre-trip cookout and planning meeting, we learned quite by accident that Anthony had an incident on his driving record from the past year which could possibly result in being denied entry into Canada.

After giving him all of the info we had and letting him do his own research he decided to go, fully knowing that  he could be turned back at the border. He had a backup plan in place if that happened, but the rest of us made it clear that we would be proceeding north with or without him. I know that may sound a bit harsh but Anthony was fully aware of this and willing to plead his case at the border if it came to that.

We left early on the morning of Aug 22. The trip to the Sault Ste. Marie was uneventful and we arrived at the border crossing in the late afternoon. Sunglasses off, hats off, seatbelts on, windows down and a smile on our faces, we approached the guard station and handed over our passports. The border guard looked through each one, asked us the purpose of our trip (fishing), if we had any alcohol (no) or tobacco (one carton) to declare and if we all had been to Canada before (yes). Each question was answered truthfully and then he handed back the passports and told us to have a good trip as he waved us on. I don’t think Anthony was actually breathing while we were stopped, but as soon as we were on our way we all started breathing easier. It was a relief to put that behind us and we now focused on the fun that was to come.

After a good night’s sleep at a motel in Sault Ste. Marie, we started early the next morning for Hearst. After several sightseeing detours and a stop for ice cream, we arrived at Hearst Air in the middle of the afternoon. Our flight was scheduled for 7 am the next morning so into town we went where we checked into the motel and went for supper. Back at the motel we ran into a group of guys that were going out in the morning to another one of the locations serviced by Hearst Air and we all had a good time swapping stories of past trips and conversation of things to come.

Day one – Aug 24.

The day was perfect. Clear skies and temps in the low 70’s (farenheit of course). As it turned out, they packed three of us (Anthony, George and myself) into the small Beaver and Larry went in the Caravan with the group we had met the previous night. They would stop at Napken on their way and drop Larry off. All of our gear went in the Beaver with us. It was a bit tight but we didn’t care. Plus, it meant that Larry would arrive about an hour before us and he could have the firewood split and the boats ready when we arrived!

The Beaver was noisy but the flight was non eventful. Once at the lake, we unloaded and stored our gear in the cabin, then readied our fishing gear and hit the lake. It was around 10 am and the fish were waiting! Hearst Air has 4 boats at Napken. Since there were only 4 of us, it meant that any one of us could go out alone if he wanted which made a nice option. It’s fun to fish with someone else, but sometimes I like to get out there on my own and enjoy the stillness of it all. Anyway, that first day George and I loaded up and went out together.

It wasn’t long before a nice 37″ northern pike grabbed my line. We were trolling near where I had caught a 36″ northern the year before. In the 4 previous trips to this lake I had never fished further down along the shoreline from this location but it made me wonder what else might be in that direction. As it turned out, this was a good thought and several nice fish were caught in that area over the course of the next week. I look forward to going back there next year and giving this spot a little more attention.

The weather for the week was cool (cold) and windy. One day it was cold, windy and raining but the fishing was great. A couple of 40 inch northerns were caught, several fish in the mid to high 30″s, many, many smaller pike and a lot of nice walleye. Also of note – there were a couple of monsters lost as usual. Larry had one on the surface that would easily have gone 45″, maybe more and I lost a monster at the edge of the weeds in the far northern part of the lake that was pulling line off the reel at a frantic pace.

BTW – Anthony managed to get a lure hooked into the seat of his pants. Here’s a pic of him trying to get it out. Enjoy.

One other thing of note for this trip. Larry had a bad tummy and we thought about putting his sleeping bag in the outhouse so he wouldn’t have so far to go every night. We kind of felt sorry for him but he suffered through it in good spirits. On the drive home, we decided to detour via an emergency care clinic and it turned out that he had Giardiasis, better known as Beaver Fever. He had been up to Hearst a couple of weeks earlier on a separate fishing trip and apparently had caught it then. Maybe he didn’t boil the lake water long enough or something. Anyway, at the time I am writing this he has recovered and is currently back up there moose hunting. He’s a tough guy.

I wasn’t ready to come home – another week or two would have suited me just fine. So now the wait for next year has started.


Wild Outpost is a website for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels, from seasoned adventurers to those just starting out. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you plan your next outdoor adventure