Honeymoon Paradise

Many couples typically go on their honeymoons at warm, sandy destinations such as Hawaii or the Bahamas, but my daughter and her new husband decided that they wanted to on a bear hunt together! After shaking my head, a couple of times, I decided to help them with their dream getaway. I contacted my buddy, Perry Parks, who owns a lodge in Canada called Thaddeus Lake Lodge and is one of the co-inventors of the Skinzit fish skinner. His lodge is conveniently located right in the heart of the finest bear territory just north of Dryden, Ontario.

 

Now I’m not much of a hunter, but Thaddeus Lake is also an incredible walleye and muskie fishery. That’s when I decided I’d tag along and keep an eye on them so that they wouldn’t get in too much trouble and make sure they’d be safe. After seeing what Thaddeus has to offer, I am really glad that I made the trip!

 

After a ten-hour drive from Sioux Falls, I arrived at Thaddeus Lake Lodge. I stayed with Perry at his cabin on the lake while Kristi and Nate had their own honeymoon cabin. These cabins aren’t luxurious, but they are quaint, warm, and cozy. As a bonus, the rates on the cabins are very reasonably priced!

 

The nicest thing about Thaddeus Lake is that it is only a little over 5,000 acres in size, so it is easy to navigate and you are always within eye sight of the lodge. In addition, there are no fighting big waves or having to drive your boat for miles to find the fish! It’s also very convenient when you want to go back to your cabin to take a potty break or have lunch.

 

Although the walleye fishing was fast and furious, I was truly impressed by the numbers of muskies we saw and caught during my four days at camp. We fished for walleyes one day and muskies for the next three days. Of the six anglers who targeted muskies during those three days, we saw over 40 fish and boated eight muskies! We also had four other muskies bite, but threw our lures when they jumped out of the water. Both Nate and Kristi caught their first muskies of their lives, 49 and 36 inches long respectively! I even got into the action by catching a respectable 47.5-incher!

 

We found that the muskies were concentrated on the edges of the weedlines in approximately 13 to 15 feet of water. The most productive lures were bucktail spinners, jerkbaits, and glide baits. We would position our boats outside of the weedlines and cast in and over the tops of the weeds.

 

Many of the fish would strike at boat side while conducting a maneuver called a “figure 8.” Always wear polarized sunglasses when muskie fishing so that you can see a “following” fish. When you see a fish, immediately swing your rod to the left or right, push your rod into the water, and swing the lure into a wide figure 8 pattern. The change in speed and direction will often trigger a strike from a lethargic fish. I recommend making an attempt to figure 8 at the end of every cast as you never know when a muskie is close by or out of eyesight.

 

We were there at the end of August, but September and October are both great months for muskie fishing and the walleyes are plentiful almost any time of the year with limits of fish up to 30 inches long.

 

Most of the walleyes that we caught were located on the tips of long, sandy/rocky points, which are in various spots along the shores of Thaddeus. The transition edges where the sand and rocks met were the key to finding fish. There was also a slight rise in depth where the fish would concentrate.

 

We had our best luck pulling live bait rigs tipped with minnows, but a jig/minnow combination worked just as well.

 

Did I say something about the bear hunting? Well, Nate and Kristi were both successful in getting their first bears! Kristi shot hers with a muzzleloader and Nate got his with a bow. There were a lot of other happy bear hunters as Thaddeus has had a 95 percent success rate over the past 8 years. There is also superb grouse hunting available for the bird guys and gals.

 

So… I did the “dad” thing, stayed out the newlyweds’ way for the most part, and made sure they got home safe and sound. They were also very happy as they achieved something together that very few couples can boast about by “bagging” their first bears!

 

My final thought is, “a couple that fishes and hunts together… stays together!” MWO

 

 

Ted Takasaki is a National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame professional angler who has been featured in many national outdoor magazines and television shows. Takasaki has appeared in front of thousands of angling enthusiasts and is considered one of America’s top walleye and multi-species anglers. Follow him on his Facebook page.

 

 

Kristi Takasaki-Halbach with her very first muskie caught on a bucktail spinner.

 

Kristi and Nate with their very first black bears shot with a muzzleloader and bow.