The year was 1983, my second year guiding for Eagle Nest
Lodge on the Winnipeg River. I spent three seasons working at this remote lodge
and during that time I made two portages into Big Echo Lake. Eagle Nest had two
boats cached in Big Echo when I arrived and I can remember carrying in the
third. In my second year I had also taken over as the manager so it was on me
to portage a sixteen foot Lund in there down a rocky, windy trail that was just
plain nasty. With me were two young students who were working at the lodge part
The transom was the heaviest, so they took that end and I the bow. It was
one of the most difficult journeys I had ever participated in. After many rest
breaks, we did manage to arrive on the shores of this beautiful lake. I can
always remember that day and the other two days that I fished in this walleye
factory. It was just incredible action, some of the best walleye fishing I have
ever had. I was determined to get back
in there one day and as luck would have it two years ago at the Winnipeg Boat
Show I convinced Shaun Jackson to fly me in to Big Echo.
Fast forward to last
week, and I am on a float plane destined for one of my favourite lakes in the
world. Jackson owns a series of fly in camps, and he happens to have the only
outpost cabin on this lake. A few years ago he built a beautiful log cabin,
with a full kitchen, along with beds to sleep ten people, with five boats ready
to take you out to all the hotspots. Many of the guests prefer flying in to
this lake, since it’s just a sixteen minute float plane ride from Shaun’s
airbase at Lac du Bonnet.
In no time we are touching down on the lake, getting
ready for three days of adventure and great fishing. Hooked Publisher Kevin
Stobbe had also hired a videographer to record the trip for his website. I will
post a link once completed.
DAY ONE: Over the course of the three days fishing we
caught so many walleye my hands were a scarred mess. Day one though was the
best day, with a cool wind blowing up a substantial walleye chop. This only
made the fish hungrier and we found some large walleye on rock/sand ridge that
extended off an island into the main lake basin. It was here we caught our
largest walleye of the trip, one that measured 69 centimetres. Since this lake
is on the east side of Lake Winnipeg it falls in the slot size restricted
region of which all walleye between 45 and 70 centimetres must be released.
That is also another reason why the population of adult fish remains so
high. We fished out of sixteen foot
aluminum boats with 15 horsepower four stroke Yamaha motors. These boats
covered the lake at a good rate of speed and were very quiet. I also brought
along my Humminbird 899 which had built in GPS. While I couldn’t get it to read
at top speed because of the transducer setup, it worked magic out there finding
One of the top spots we found was a rocky ride off a
shoreline point that dropped into 80 feet of water. The bigger walleyes were
stacked off the end of the point the first day we found it. We caught and
released some of our larger walleye here.
DAY TWO: We kept changing up partners every day, which
was fun. I did have a bit of a technical issue on the second day as my portable
battery went dead an hour into the fishing day. We had brought in a generator
to recharge stuff, but my battery didn’t seem to want to hold much of a charge.
This did limit our success a bit, especially when searching for new areas.
Still, we managed another solid day on the water.
DAY THREE: With the fish finder back up and running we
headed west to try some new areas. We found a great narrowed down area between
two islands that had some scattered cabbage weed on a sand bottom. Here we
found the walleye in about 22 feet of water. By anchoring, we were able to
catch a number of nice fish as they moved through this flush area.
In the afternoon we fished another large flat that
extended out to the main lake basin. It had a large area of water in the 18 to
23 foot range. By slowly drifting and back trolling with jigs and live bait
rigs, we caught some real nice fish including a jumbo bass that measured 19.5
inches…a great way to finish off the trip.
Big Echo also has a good pike population but we didn’t
spend much time looking for them. The walleye were shoreline orientated in
three to nine metres of water. The most productive areas were shoreline points
and saddle areas between islands. We caught the majority on jigs and leeches or
Our three days was over way too soon but it was a trip
I would recommend to anyone. It’s very reasonably priced because of the short
flight and the fishing is top quality. This outpost is one of the busiest that
Shaun owns and booking well in advance is a real good idea. You can check out
his website at www.jacksonslodge.com
Labels: Great outpost action