Thu. Feb 29th, 2024
White Lake Fishing: A Day in Clay Bay

Today’s post comes from Mitch Kostecki, Deputy Superintendent of White Lake Provincial Park.

It was a beautiful day in mid-July. The sun was shining, the lake was calm and it was a pleasant 18 C (64 F).

Today was the first day I tried fishing on the north end of White Lake, along with my dad, girlfriend, and my loyal dog Marley.

Although a portion of White Lake is located within the provincial park, the majority (about 80-90%) of the lake is located north of the highway and outside the provincial park boundaries.

Clay Bay Fishing

We had the boat all packed and ready to set sail. We left the boat launch at White Lake Provincial Park around 9:00 am.

Entrance sign to White Lake.  Several white posts support the name sign and, to the left, a large piece of art in the shape of a fish.  The park where Mitch is fishing.

It was a beautiful day for a boat ride, and being able to fish in an area that I have long heard many stories about made the day that much better.

The cruise took us about 30 minutes on my dad’s 17-foot (5 m) boat, but it felt much faster than that. On the way to the north end of the lake we saw several blue herons, cormorants, pelicans and even some fish rising to grab some insects from the surface of the water.

Great blue heron in flightGreat blue heron in flight

We arrived at Clay Bay, which is towards the northeast end of White Lake, around 9:30am. Clay Bay, as its name implies, is a very large, muddy-colored bay ranging from 2 to 3 feet (1 m) to 40 to 50 feet (12 to 15 m).

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the first bite

Joe sitting in the boat with a 14' White Lake WalleyeJoe with a 14″ White Lake Walleye

My father and I began to take out the rods and tackle, preparing everything to fish, while my girlfriend was on duty to have a snack.

We put on some 3 ounce bottom hoppers with small colorful spinning paddles and tow hooks and then proceeded to start trolling in about 7 to 10 feet (2 to 3 m) of water.

It wasn’t long until we started marking schools of fish on our side-imaging fish finder and before you knew it, the bite was on.

They just keep coming

The first Walleye (pike) we landed were between 14” and 16” (35-40 cm), a perfect size for eating. Most of the fish caught that day were caught on perch-colored or copper-colored spinners with a white tornado-shaped tail trailed behind a 3oz. distance jumper

We were also able to catch some Walleye on some chartreuse and perch Jigflies, but more fish were caught today on the bottom spinner and bouncer combo.

Photo of the dock with a 14" White Lake Walleye while Marley the dog watches. Dock with a 14” White Lake Walleye…Marley approves of this catch

Although we caught a handful of smaller walleyes in the 10” to 12” (25-30 cm) range, we release those smaller fish to spawn for years to come to preserve and maintain the excellent fishery that is White Lake.

We were able to catch a few walleyes over 18” (45 cm) and the largest walleye of the day was a 20” (51 cm) fish. In total we spent about three hours fishing, telling stories and enjoying good company when the weather was good.

Mitch with an 18” White Lake Walleye in his hands.Mitch with an 18″ White Lake Walleye

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We all took turns catching some beautiful White Lake Walleye and getting some quality photos. The first trip to the north end of White Lake was a success as we were each able to reach our limits of Walleye in just three hours.

One should always be grateful for such great fishing opportunities and should know that to maintain such an important fishery, fishermen must do their part to comply with the rules and regulations set by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to maintain these healthy populations of fish. alive.

cleaning time

It was time to return to the launch and clean up our well-deserved prize. One cool feature that White Lake Provincial Park has to offer is a fish cleaning station where anglers can bring their fish to be filleted in a clean and organized space.

Mitch & Pier with the group's catch of the day at the White Lake Provincial Park fish cleaning building.Mitch & Pier with the group’s catch of the day at the White Lake Provincial Park fish cleaning building

The facility offers two large table-style cutting boards, hoses for easy cleanup, a hand-washing station, and a freezer for disposing of bagged fish scraps to minimize odor.

Another view of the fish cleaning building.  You can see the two tables and the freezer to store the fish remains to reduce the smell.

After cleaning all the fish, the only thing left to do was enjoy our day’s work for dinner. We returned to our camp and prepared everything for a good meal.

Dinner tonight consisted of Cajun-covered walleye bites, wild brown rice, and fresh peppers on the side. I would say this was the perfect ending to a perfect day of fishing at White Lake Provincial Park.

White Lake Provincial Park It is located 60 km east of Marathon Township and 35 km west of White River Township and approximately a four-hour drive from Sault Ste. Marie or Thunder Bay.