Eagle Lake is home to an abundance of northern pike that offer great sport all season long. The management district in Ontario also allows the fishing season for pike (as well as smallmouth bass and perch) to be open all year. You can literally fish on Eagle Lake from ice off until ice over. Ice fishing is also popular! Late June to mid-July is prime time for targeting Pike, but you can expect great Pike fishing all season long.
What’s the best way to catch them? Spoons, jerk baits, buck-tail spinners and swim baits work best? Nope. Anything in your tackle box will likely catch Pike! They are one of the fishermen’s favorite species because of their ease of catch and variety of sizes. It is not uncommon to catch pike over 40” and over 20 pounds in this lake! 15-18 pound fish are even more common.
One of the most exciting parts of Northern Pike fishing at Eagle Lake is being able to look over the side of the boat and see the fish you are trying to catch. Early season, if the wind is just right, early in the day, you can sight fish Pike in the many shallow bays and creek mouths. Sight casting can be some of the most exciting ways to catch Northern.
You can catch Northern Pike in the shallow bays and weed structures all summer long, but as summer progresses, the larger fish will begin to hold deeper. These pike generally move out to the main lake by summer and can be caught off the drop offs, rock points and deep cabbage beds off islands.
It is an important note that because of Eagle Lake’s size and latitude, the water stays relatively cool all season and northern pike are an excellent shore lunch at all times of the year!
Eagle Lake offers an incredible array of walleye fishing opportunities throughout the different zones. The “no night fishing” and “fish sanctuary” programs combined with the current fishing regulations have increased the quality of walleye fishing on Eagle Lake. Populations are strong, consistent and rising. These regulations have been in force for over 25 years and Eagle benefits from not only a higher concentration of fish, but regular chances at trophy’s over 23” long and up to 30” long!
Vertical jigging, primarily with salted minnow, is our camp favorite. Jigs usually vary from 1/8 oz to 3/8 oz. Some use heavier - particularly in deep channels with current - but keep in mind that the bottom of our lake is full of rocks and snags and you may spend a lot of time re-tying jigs when you use heavier weights. Although all colors are used, our most popular colors for jigs are white and chartreuse.
Many of the "walleye holes" we fish, have been great walleye holes for the last 40 years, and long before that. The walleye may not always be there, or they may not always be biting, but just because you don't get action when checking them out once or twice, don't cross them off your list. Keep checking them out - it's worth your while.
In the spring we often see a lot of shallow water action - sometimes as shallow as 2 feet and less. You will find the walleye intermixed with pike, perch and smallies. In mid-summer we often see walleyes in depths of 25'. We try not to fish walleye in water deeper than 30’ in the late summer and fall, as with a body of water this size, it is not usually necessary to fish deeper.
You will catch many in the 15 to 17-inch range, which are the perfect eating size. The slot limit is 18” – 22 ½”, so no walleye can be kept in this size range - they are our best spawners. Mornings and early evenings see the large females come shallow to feed in summer months and that is generally when you will catch that trophy over 23”!
Top spots include shallow bays with cover (wood, weeds, docks). More fish move in by late May and June to spawn. In summer, the fish are along deep weed lines or suspended farther out. They’ll hit during the day, especially during overcast weather, but morning and evening are prime.
Light spinning or fly-fishing tackle and 6-pound or less line is suitable for perch. Effective baits include small live minnows, spinners, pan fish jigs, mini crank baits, nymphs, and streamer flies.
Fishing those weed lines and flats bordering deeper water pays off through summer. Light slip-sinker rigs, ultra-small spoons and spinners with a split shot, or a hook with a worm or small minnow are all you need to catch them. Pan fish jigs, cast or hung under a slip-float, are also effective.
Perch in Eagle can be the size of small Walleyes and since you are allowed to bring home 50 with a sport license and 25 with a conservation license, it's a great way to feed your friends and family at the fish fry early in the year.
You can find Perch and Walleye in the same spots. If that is the case; move right into the weeds and you will get even more Perch. Perch is a great catch when that that mid-afternoon slow-down hits. Always have a second Pike rod ready to go with a weedless spoon or spinnerbait because catching Perch one after another will attract the attention of a big Northern Pike or our Trophy Musky!
Musky (Spotted, Clear and Barred)
Even though most Muskie caught are in the 30 to 45 inch range there are thousands of Muskie caught in Eagle Lake every year in the 50 to 62-inch range. Although there is a large healthy population of Musky in Eagle Lake, this predator is known as the fish of ten thousand casts…meaning it will take you ten thousand casts to catch one! Professional musky hunters reduce those stats down to being able to catch 3, 4 even 5 Muskies a day, but don’t expect to do that on your first trip out.
Muskies in the spring will cruise the shallows at ice out and stay relatively shallow for the first few months of spring and summer. The muskies stay shallow during this period as they are spawning in those shallow bays and streams. Regrettable, Musky catching season does not open until the third Saturday in June of each year. You can start your search shallow in this early season but Muskie tend to head out to deeper water by July.
July, August and September are times where you should be focusing your search against rocky reefs and islands adjacent to large bodies of water. If there are close tall cabbage weed beds close, you are sure to be in Musky territory.
Late fall fishing for Musky is usually about trolling large crank baits through channels that may have some current running through them. Musky can be caught deep or shallow but the difference in this late fall fishing is that Muskie are generally on a feeding frenzy heading in to winter when they do not eat a tremendous amount.
Musky tackle is very expensive and serious fisherman upgrade their pike tackle to heavy duty salt water style bait casting combos that can accommodate 12-15” heavy baits that are generally casted or trolled.
The irony to this is that many Muskie are caught on a jig and minnow while fishing for walleye! Much of the musky tackle is $30 a pop and extremely heavy - so not really great tackle for a medium duty rod and reel setup.
If you are starting out for musky, here are the top three lures you should have in your stable:
Mepps Musky Killer #5 – this spinnerbait is deadly to almost all species and musky love them.
Top-water spinner bait – anything that makes noise fishes musky. More noise the better!
Big crank baits – later in the summer, any deep divers will beat out shallow running cranks.
Hybrid (Tiger) Musky
Not only does Eagle Lake have three pattern types for Musky, but we have the Tiger as well! Think of catching a Tiger Musky as 4 times as rare as a regular Musky! Although there are minor variations in the tail and fins, it is hard to determine if your catch might be a Tiger although we find the difference in the coloration with a Tiger’s colors leaning more towards a pike vs. the iridescent green of a Musky.
The most popular method in spring for fishing Smallies is the top water baits that make a splash on the surface. In the early season, the Smallies are in shallow - almost on shore. They are found on rocky shorelines, preparing and protecting their spawning beds. Cast right up beside the shore; let the plug sit on the surface for a few seconds than "jerk" it slowly back. If the bass are there, and they don't responds as soon as it hits the water, they likely will during the retrieve.
In the summer try…well, throwing your lure right up against the shore! Eagle is a large lake and the water temperature stays cooler than many smaller and the more southern lakes. This makes their seasonal patterns modified over other summer lake fishing. But to find smallmouth bass in the summer, start with those same locations. Either rocky rumbled fist sized rocks or even sandy bottomed weed beds. These can house some of the larger bass as they are likely fishing crayfish themselves.
In late summer and fall, Eagle Lake smallies will take advantage of the underwater vegetation more and more. Put away your top waters and exchange them with a spinner. Our favorite? Musky Killer #5…why not, there might be a Musky or two fishing in the same spot as you are! As the season winds down, move out from those summer hot spots into deeper water and look for shoals and points adjacent to where your best spring and summer fishing was.
In late summer and fall, switch your tactics to worm and minnow presentations that you can jig 2-3’ off the bottom. In Eagle, deep summer/fall water is 15’-20’ as there is no real reason to pull fish out of the deeper water. One of the best methods is drop shotting some salted or Berkley Gulp minnows.
Eagle Lake is not generally associated with Lake Trout. However, Monster Fish Lodge is situated between two of the great Lake Trout fishing areas on Eagle Lake. While much of Eagle Lake could be considered a shallow lake, the lake is big enough to have several deep “holes” in the northern portion of the lake. West Arm features two well noted trout fishing holes and Portage Bay hosts an additional lake Trout hotspot.
Early spring (ice out) to late May gives Eagle Lake fisherman the opportunity to catch Lake Trout in the shallows along many reefs, points, islands in these areas. The fish are quite scattered but trolling predominantly silver spoons and spinners from medium to large size will attract a Lake Trout strike.
Pound for pound, Lake Trout are the hardest fighting fish and if you hook one over 10 pounds, you will think you have hooked an underwater freight train. These fish are capable of 100 yard runs that have your reel screaming and truly is some of the most exciting fishing on Eagle!
As the season progresses, Lake trout tend to head for deeper water. Their summer depths are generally about 50’-60’ where the tactics for catching change to locating and jigging for them, or trolling with down rigger gear or pink ladies. In fact, pink ladies or similar diving boards can be good transition tactics in early summer when you find these fish feeding off the islands at 25-35’.
Lake trout season closes on September 30th at Eagle Lake.
Whitefish are one of the most abundant groups of fish in Canada. They are also important in the food chain, as they are dinner for many predatory fish. They are also related to Lake Trout in that they are also a sub-family of the salmon.
Whitefish are silver-colored with large scales, fleshy dorsal and adipose fins, and have no teeth. For those wanting a change, a fly or jig will do the trick with these fish. This fish also has exceptionally fine flavor, and sought by the sports fisherman. They are also sometimes caught when jigging for walleye with small baits earlier in the fishing season, when they are more aggressive feeders.
How do you target the whitefish? They are a deep-water fish and go deep during the summer. They will be in the same general areas of the Lake Trout in the summer months. They spawn in late fall in the same gravel beds as the Lake Trout in about 5-10 feet of water.
In the summer, troll very slowly in about 35-55 feet of water. Small baits and lures must be used to catch this fish. Whitefish will sometimes hit a bigger lure in the spring, but generally the hooks on these lures are too big for the whitefish’s tiny mouth. If you can locate a school of fish over deep water on your sounder, try a smaller lure first, as the school could be cisco, Lake Trout or a Whitefish school.
Black Crappie are not a sport fish in Eagle Lake to date. Back in the early 90s Crappie started showing up in Ontario lakes and they have been spreading out and multiplying ever since. They are not considered an invasive species because studies suggest that Crappie do not impose any threat to native species.
Because Crappie are shallow water spawners their eggs get stuck to waterbird feathers and as a result they have been spreading into every water system. Now Crappie can be found in vast numbers and big sizes.
While Eagle Lake does not have Black Crappie, Wabigoon Lake off the shores of Dryden, Ontario is just 230 minutes away for any of those bringing their own boat and wanting to try Ontario Crappie fishing. There is a great public launch and dock in Wabigoon and local anglers are happy to share their knowledge.
Black crappie school and suspend by summer and winter over 20 to 40 feet (6 to 12 m) of water. Open-water anglers get their first crack at them as ice clears from backwaters in April or early May and the fish move inshore to feed. The fish are very shallow and along weed beds early in the season.