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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone been to the Bear's Den Lodge or fished the French River out of Hartley Bay, Canal Island region (North of Georgian Bay)? I'm heading up in July and interested in any info on best areas for walleye and pike. I've been to Georgian Bay near Pickerel and Key River mouths and recalled that the better fishing was in areas at or near weed beds. I plan to cast Williams Wabler spoons, Mepps, Bombers, spinner bait etc. plus troll with a variety of cranks and worm harnesses. I'm particularly interested in chasing Trophy size pike to beat my personal 42" record. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
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I been to Lunge Lodge on the French river, probably 15 years ago. Well named saw many huge musky, failed to hook up tho.
Caught pike, smallies , and walleye. Not great size or numbers years ago the French had a good reputation but I think it's fallen off.
My best producer was a 1/2 oz. willow spinner, white with a 4" white grub tail added. Perch colors caught also but white was best.
 

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Anyone been to the Bear's Den Lodge or fished the French River out of Hartley Bay, Canal Island region (North of Georgian Bay)? I'm heading up in July and interested in any info on best areas for walleye and pike. I've been to Georgian Bay near Pickerel and Key River mouths and recalled that the better fishing was in areas at or near weed beds. I plan to cast Williams Wabler spoons, Mepps, Bombers, spinner bait etc. plus troll with a variety of cranks and worm harnesses. I'm particularly interested in chasing Trophy size pike to beat my personal 42" record. Thanks.
May want to target Muskies....Art Barefoot caught a 59#11 oz in 1989 from Bear's Den. I think he owned it at the time.
 

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Stayed at Cranes Lochhaven on the French and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
 

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I been to Lunge Lodge on the French river, probably 15 years ago. Well named saw many huge musky, failed to hook up tho.
Caught pike, smallies , and walleye. Not great size or numbers years ago the French had a good reputation but I think it's fallen off.
My best producer was a 1/2 oz. willow spinner, white with a 4" white grub tail added. Perch colors caught also but white was best.
Used to jump off of lunge lodge rock many moons ago. Drank the water right from the french....
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I was planning on targeting muskies along with pike. I don't need any walleyes, lake erie is infested with them... Thanks for the input. Wonder how far I can navigate from Hartley bay toward Georgian bay?

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks!

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ST CLAIR SLAYER
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Welcome , tons of pike and good muskie...Georgian bay is where the biguns swim. A Indian guide will put ya on fish
 

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All the way...we did it from the dokis Indian reserve
BY BOAT with a motor? Holly crap - if so - that IS impressive (this is me bowing). That's like a zillion beer trip (everything on the river is measured in how many beers to get there and back)... Assume it was canoe (one way) which is still impressive...

LOVE THIS RIVER SYSTEM - you have been warned... Is the fishing as good as it was in the 70's when I was a kid - nope - then again - aside from Erie - where is?

Spent much of my youth on the system between Nipissing and Georgian bay... French, Pickerel, Wanapitei, Magnetawan, and the Key.... All similar (like flowing shield lakes) - white birch, white pine, rock, some spruce, and water - OH and BRONZEBACKS (that's a musky over 15kg in canuck terms - as their backs will turn bronze and they are KNOWN to wallow very shallow to sun themselves and infuriate anglers)...

Majority of my time was on Pickerel and Lower French - The more secluded the spot - the larger the musky, but the whole darn thing (from nip to GB) is much the same.

For musky - no secret - they love it LIVE - but anything that pisses them off will do. A majority of your strikes up there seem to be based on irritation of the fish - not seducing of the fish. Anyways - back troll the weed lines and points (usual spots). Best place on the river system for them - place called squal lake - but would take you forever to get there - and we reserved it for rainy days after July 4th. If you are musky fishing - remember - the one HUGE one you darn near ran over and are now throwing everything you got at it - is laughing at you. Chasing them rarely works - do your thing - if they choose you - then its on.

PIKE - different story... Need one lure (perhaps multiple copies would be a good backup) - 1oz - standard red stripe or black stripe Daredevil. Pick your spot like you would be trolling a harness for walleye then just troll or cast that spoon. Do not get discouraged by the hammer handles (the shear quantity) - the bigger ones are there - just keep throwing (and taking the croakers off)...

NOW if you venture all the way to Georgian Bay (GB) - the islands (some above water, most below) are heaven for the smaller pike (3-8lb class) - and you can catch them non-stop. Taking a boat with motor all the way down there can be tricky depending on water level and if you know where you are going...

Last note - At dusk - 18cm original GOLD rapala. Jerk through the water - erratic - IN running water - against the current - prefer more than a confluence - needs to be flowing water... Walleye - Pike - and Musky on this one - and its a sure thing if you find flow.
 

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Yup boat. 50 horse....spent about 3 weeks a year there from 12 to 18 , then26 to 30 years old. Friend owned a 50 acre island and cabin there...heaven....
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the helpful info. Can't wait! I've been to key Harbour lodge a few years back and caught some nice walleye and pike where a channel of the pickerel river dumps into GB at the top of dokis island. Weed bed edges near deep or moving water were the answer.

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Yup boat. 50 horse....spent about 3 weeks a year there from 12 to 18 , then26 to 30 years old. Friend owned a 50 acre island and cabin there...heaven....
Do I look good wearing jealously?

Back in the days when Brador and Blue were all that mattered...

Love the Cumberland River, Love Dale Hollow - but I still think French Ontario has something special...

OHIOJMJ - do us all a favor and take lots of pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Will do!

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Discussion Starter #16
My usual pike arsenal is Williams wabler spoons (1/2 and 3/4 oz and a few larger), mepps (full range of sizes with or w/o bucktail, full spread of rapalas from floating, jointed, DHJ,, etc, bombers of various sizes, variety of spinnerbait for the slop/bull rush reeds and worm harnesses (caught a 42"er in Henvey Inlet to the south of Key mouth) although walleye are mostly targeted with the mighty worm.
 

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My usual pike arsenal is Williams wabler spoons (1/2 and 3/4 oz and a few larger), mepps (full range of sizes with or w/o bucktail, full spread of rapalas from floating, jointed, DHJ,, etc, bombers of various sizes, variety of spinnerbait for the slop/bull rush reeds and worm harnesses (caught a 42"er in Henvey Inlet to the south of Key mouth) although walleye are mostly targeted with the mighty worm.
i'd add a Creek Chub or Lucky Strike Pikie, Bucher Depthraider and ShallowRaider, Redeye Wiggler. Windel's Harrasser spinner or Buchertail.
 
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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks, I'll check those out.

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Discussion Starter #20
I just returned from 4 days of fishing on French River (Bears Den Lodge) on 7/2. the weather was ridiculously hot but the water level was average. We targeted and caught many pike in the 20" to 25" range with the largest on 30". Most were caught on Williams wabler spoons cast near edge of weeds or over submerged cabbage weeds and also spinner bait into the reeds and neighboring slop. Walleye were not specifically targeted but the pike tactics yielded several no bigger than 20". Targeting walleye in pickerel river (narrow section at train bridge), we were quite successful with jigs and worms. Trolling deep and near edges was unrewarding. Scenery from Hartley Bay down to rapids near mouth of French along with many miles of bays and channels was gorgeous. Note to self, read exceptions to the fish limits next time before planning to bring home some pike. The pike slot limit (I missed reading the French River exceptions) is 17" to 34" which is pretty much covers the eater size that you usually catch. Who keeps a 16" pike? The slot for walleye to be released is 15.7" to 24". I understand and abide by the rules to improve a fishery, I just wished I had read the exception before the trip so I wasn't shocked when it was pointed out and I had to release a few 24"ers that were invited to dinner. Similar to Georgian Bay, the lower French can be challenging to find fish (weed beds near deeper water and river areas with current/flow), but our fishing was impacted by the extreme heat as well. The musky hunters were struggling too. We explored great distances and nearby known fishing spots. All in all, a great enjoyable trip. Bears Den owners Art and Brenda and their supporting staff go all out to make your stay pleasant with 3 excellent daily meals including a packed lunch, carry your bags, free ice and bait, self serve pop/water/ice in lodge, very clean rooms in comfortable main lodge, decent boats with fishfinders and new mercs and etc. Great people!
 
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