Don Willoughby with a "two-footer" pike

Northern Ontario fly-in adventure: 6 days, 3 kayaks and 400-plus fish


The author lands a solid northern pike

#5  Our kayaks were perfect fishing vessels for this lake

Don and I are both long-time kayak anglers, and Wes also has a fair bit of experience. So it was a joy to fish from our own boats, customized exactly how we like them. In fact, in the hands of a moderately experienced kayaker, I think they fish better than a tinner on a small backcountry lake. Modern fishing kayaks are silent, stable, fast and nimble, and are outfitted with comfortable seats and various angling accessories. Two of our three boats even have sonar/GPS units installed in them, which were a big help.

Don Willoughby nets a walleye from his Hobie Outback pedal kayak, which boasts sonar, rod holders an anchor and other accessories

In addition, we never had to worry about knocking off a prop on an unmarked reef (there are more than a few of those) or any of the complexities that come with using an unfamiliar outboard. And no one had to forgo fishing to run the motor. The kayaks also gave us the freedom to fish in a group or on our own. So it was no problem if someone wanted to troll, and someone else wanted to cast, drift or stop for lunch.


The author’s 12-foot Native Ultimate kayak has sonar/GPS, can easily carry four rods and has plenty of space for gear

It’s also pretty handy that our kayaks’ comfortable cruising speed is about 2 to 2.5 miles per hour, which happens to be a great general trolling speed. So even when moving from one spot to another, we’d have a line in the water, which resulted in a lot of surprise fish, including the 32-inch pike above.