The Lunge Lodge

The Lunge Lodge on the Upper French River


May 31, 2017


I picked Joe up at 4:01am and we were on the road by 4:15.  The trip was uneventful, the only notable event being the border guard with a French accent asking if I have weapons and if I carry them on my person.

We arrived at the Lodge around 3:30, got setup, mingled, ate and then hit the water about 7.

Bob’s Bay was the evening destination and once there, the fishing was fairly consistent.  I caught a smallmouth on a Chatterbait, then a pike on a buzzbait.  A little later I caught a largemouth on a jerk bait, then the topper was a 38-39” inch musky on a buzzbait.

We were having a pike tournament, every man for himself, Scott, Mike, Joe, and me.  My pike just touched the 21” mark, Joe’s was just over it.  Back at the Lodge, Mike reported having a 20” and Scott an 18”.  Joe won $15!

Fish count: 6



June 1, 2017


I slept well the night before, not waking until 6am.  Joe was late to breakfast as well and we didn’t hit the water until 8am.


Heading to Satchel’s Bay, we went right back to the creek area where both of us hooked into some undersized smallmouth.  Joe hooked into something good, which turned out to be an 18” walleye.

Back in the creek, we caught a few, with Joe catching the largest.  After a couple of hours, we headed out, with 10 fish on the clicker.  We took a right close the north channel entrance and were both casting buzzbaits.  I caught two 3 plus pound bass and Joe got one.  At the mouth of the channel, I spotted a bait fish ball.  Casting into the mix, I hooked into and landed a 4.66lb smallmouth.  Joe was having a ball catching them on a jerk bait.  By 1 o’clock, we had 26 fish on the clicker.


Casting to a tree, I caught a 3.42lb largemouth.  Later, I caught a 3 lb. smallie and a pike.  Joe managed a pike and a couple of smallmouth.


After dinner, we went into Reynolds where it was a combination of high winds, rain, and black flies.  I caught a 2.89 lb. smallie on a topwater bait, then we caught a couple pike and I caught a walleye.  By 8pm, the flies were so thick, we headed in, but not before we stopped to admire an amazing rainbow that ended right in front of us. Fish count: 32



June 2, 2017


We started out just before 8:30 and headed to Marsh Bay.  Fishing in the channel, Joe hooked into something good, but after several runs, the Sheepshead finally showed itself!


Joe had a great day and caught over 15 fish, with most being smallmouth of quality size.  I, on the other hand, missed several fish and caught only two smallmouth, neither of which was much over 2 lbs.


Once the bugs got too thick, we headed to Sandy Island, but only one small axe handle showed itself.  It hit my spinnerbait, but shook off before I could land it.  Moving over to an island closer to Wig Wam, I caught a 3 lb. smallmouth and Joe caught one that was close to 4:

That was it for the day and we headed back a little before 4.


After dinner, we had another pike tournament, double or nothing.  I caught an 18 ½ in pike.  Joe had one on a buzzbait, but lost it.  Later he caught a smallie.  That was it.  But, Mike and Scott blanked, so Joe and I split the $40 winnings.


Fish count: 22



June 3, 2017


Joe slept in, so I ate breakfast and went to Riverview to fill up at 9.  It was after 10 before we got at it, traveling to the Keystone area where things started off well with Joe catching a smallie and me having a musky follow.  After an hour or so, we moved to the north shoreline and saw a smallie cruising, but we caught nothing. 


Heading out of there, we went to the mouth of Nippissing and Joe caught another sheepshead.  A few minutes later, I caught a fat smallie on a jerkbait, and while playing it out, watched another following it.  That was it for quite a while, so we tried the area where we caught fish on a buzzbait two days earlier.  I had a pike hit the buzzbait and get off, only to porpoise out of the water.  We got a good laugh about that.


From there, we went back to Marsh and both Joe and I caught some small pike and a few smallies.  I also missed on a largemouth that got off at the boat.  The topwater bite might be back on, so we’ll see tonight. 


It was warm and sunny, which was great because it also minimized the flies.


After dinner, we went down the Little French.  Joe hooked into a smallie, but lost it at the boat.  We put in over 2 hours of effort with nothing to show for it.


Fish count: 12



June 4, 2017


I woke up to rain that lasted almost all day.  Joe slept in, so I spent an hour down Hogan’s Alley and into the pike pond behind the Lodge.  I caught nothing and spotted nothing except for a ‘porpoising’ musky at the jug.


Stopping back to see if Joe wanted to go, but finding he was still asleep, I tooled around the bay in front of the Lodge and still caught nothing. 


Deciding Joe wasn’t going out for the day, I headed to Hardy Bay, where I finally caught a smallmouth. 

Later, I hooked up on a pike that hit a rattletrap, but it shook free.


From there, I headed back to Riverview for more gas and then fished the ‘Old Lady’ bay with no results.


After dinner, I went up to Bob’s, where after a bit, I found the topwater bite was on.  It started with a largemouth on a frog, then a 3.25lb smallmouth on a prop bait.  Switching to a buzzbait, I hooked into a nice smallie that fought well, but got free on the leap. Following that a pike grabbed the bait, but never got hooked.  I caught several more smallies off shoals, lost another pike, and then had a juvenile musky grab it!


I caught another smallie before I called it a night at 8:30.


Fish count: 9



June 5, 2017


Joe and I were on the water this morning just before 8 o’clock.  The first stop was the North Channel of Satchel’s.  Hoping to pick up where I left off last night, I tossed the prop bait on a shoal, gave it a few twitches and bam! A 2+ lb smallie smashed it.  After clearing the hooks and releasing the fish, I threw again onto the shoal and caught a small one.  We worked our way along and I had 5 fish on the clicker before Joe got his first. 

The action seemed to be steady until about 1:30, then it died off.  We clicked the button a dozen times before Joe put two pike in the boat.  At about 3, we called it a day and came back to camp.  I napped, then got up for dinner and went back and napped some more!


I think that’s a first for me to not go out after dinner, but my elbow is sore and the mix of rain, mosquito’s, and black flies was just too much for the day.


Fish count: 14



June 6, 2017


With high winds forecasted out of the northeast, Joe and I decided to head down the Little French.  We started out at the entrance to the Hall River where the water looked great – 8 ft, some weeds and rocks.  After about 2 ½ hours, all we had caught was two small pike, both by Joe.  A little later I caught a smallie and that was it for a while. 


Running to the back of Long Bay, I expected to catch pike, but all we managed was a few small smallmouth and missed a few others.


From there, we ran to Clearwater, where I hooked, then lost a good smallmouth.  Then I caught a 35-36 inch Musky.  All in all, we had a good day in Clearwater, catching mostly smallmouth with only a couple of pike mixed in.


We came back around 4 for the BBQ.


After dinner, Joe stayed in and I went up to Bob’s.  Inside the Bay, I started casting to the shoal with a swimbait and got nothing.  Switching to topwater, I almost immediately got a hit, but lost the smallmouth after a good fight.  I worked the shore line back to the beginning of the opening area and picked up 5 smallmouth, a couple of which were close to 3 lbs.  Inside the cove by the old camp, I watched as a fish came out from the shore to smack the topwater lure.  It turned out to be a two foot musky!  That’s two on the day.  Off to the right cove, I switched to a buzzbait and saw a wake heading straight for it, but turned off.  A second cast and whatever it was hit the bait, but I pulled it away too early.  A third cast and, bam! A 2½ lb largemouth.  I hit for the cycle today!


Coming out of there, I worked to the middle bay and missed a smallie.  It was close to 8 and my elbow was beginning to really hurt, so I decided to try the short shoreline and either catch 2 fish to get to 25, or go in.  After a few casts, I watched a fish wake out on the buzzbait and smash it.  After a short fight, I landed another two-foot musky!  Three on the day!!  I clicked the button and decided one more cast.  Something missed it, then came back and nailed it. One final smallie and I got to 25 fish on the day.


Back at camp, Brian Veze caught his first musky – a 35” off the shore behind the Aspen cabin.  To say he was excited was an understatement! Fish count: 25



June 7, 2017


We’re leading the Veze’s up to Marsh Bay today. 

Arriving just after 8, we started casting to shoals like I was doing the night before.  One weak hit on topwater was all we had going for what seemed like a very long time.


Joe started things with a small pike, and I followed with a small largemouth.  Later, we worked our way into a bay that had some large lily pads forming.  Throwing a swimbait, I hooked into a good fighting fish that turned out to be a 30” northern.  From there, using a frog in the pads, I hooked into back-to-back 3lb largemouth.  Joe was catching them using soft plastic.  The Veze’s worked their way back in and they were getting a lot of action on a frog, but no hookups.

We fished the area until about 2, when the guys wanted to head back in because it was hot and they were out of drinks.

After dinner, Joe stayed in and I took both Chris and Brian in my boat.  Inside Bob’s Bay, we had a lot of action on topwater.  I was throwing a buzzbait and the Veze’s were working Zara Spooks.  Calling the shots of where to throw, the guys were amazed that they were getting hooked up right where I recommended they toss the lure.


All told, we caught 11 fish in a little more than 2 hours.


We came back in around 9 and I stayed up to watch the Cavs lose game 3.


Fish count: 28



June 8, 2017


Joe and I stopped at ‘the Jugs’ where Joe caught a couple of good smallies, and then I caught a couple.  There was no other action and I expected to draw out some pike from the shoals.

From there, we hit Sandy Island, but we got nothing, so we ran to Wig Wam.  Inside the bay, Joe cast to a fallen tree and caught a fat 4.20lb largemouth. 

Then, he caught a second largemouth.  I hooked into a good one, but lost it.  We threw buzzbaits in the shallow water to no effect and then I caught one on a frog.  Joe picked up two more. 


With the wind picking up, we moved to the back of the bay where next to nothing was happening.  I caught a small pike and Joe got bit, but didn’t hook the fish.  Moving from there, we fished a couple of the coves, where I caught a nice smallie after it missed the top water, then hit but got off, then hit the third time.  It looked to be a 3 ½ pounder.


From there, we ran into Marsh, where I hooked, then lost a good sized largemouth, then eventually caught another.  Moving to the pad area where we had good success the day before, all we managed was a couple of blow ups.


We came back around 3:30 and I took a 20 min nap.  This week and a half is starting to get to me!


After dinner, I went solo to Twilight Bay.  I caught 4 smallies and ran back at about 7:30, just as the bugs were getting back into annoying mood!


Fish count: 18



June 9, 2017


Joe slept in, so I tooled around the bay in front of the Lodge for an hour or so.  Coming back around 9, he was ready to go so we started to run to the mouth but first stopped at Duck Haven.  Joe liked the looks of the water, but we didn’t catch anything, so after working it fairly well, we continued to the Lake.  At the mouth, Joe hooked into a couple of smallies, but lost them.  We worked our way to the back where he caught 3 or 4 and I got a pike.  Moving from there, we decided to close out the trip inside Bob’s. 


I took him right to the back area.  He missed two and I missed on one that we had hooked.  I got hung on a tree, and as I moved the boat toward the snag, Joe continued to pitch, and hooked into a beast.  It was a cluster as I was still hung on the tree with my line in the way and the fish kept digging into the wood.  Eventually, we landed what turned out to be a 4 lb. largemouth. 


We caught a few others in the shallow end of Bob’s and ended the day with 15 on the clicker.


Fish count: 15


Total count: 154 fish, all released alive!


It was another great trip to Lunge Lodge.  Mary’s meals were fantastic, especially the smoked pork chops and roast beef night.  The BBQ was indoors, but the burgers and fish were delicious.


Mike and Scott have made a number of minor, but critical repairs, including correcting a number of screen doors on various cabins.


We shared some great camaraderie with Gino’s group and the Veze brothers and I am looking forward to returning at the end of August for trip number two!

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Comment by Tony Petras on June 29, 2017 at 10:34am
Don't forget to check out the tree by the rock!
Comment by ROY S LOOMIS on June 29, 2017 at 10:29am
I'm ready to do some natural casing...and check out some rocks
Comment by Paul Dillon on June 21, 2017 at 10:27pm

Nice report! Good to see Joe can still catch fish!

Comment by Scott Williams on June 18, 2017 at 10:19am
Nice recap... always wish I was there reading your report. Looking forward to the first week of October.
Comment by Gary Bernhardt on June 17, 2017 at 6:52am

It's always good to see your reports. Now I have to wait 6 more days before I get there which is trip # 50 to Lunge. Cross off another item from my bucket list.

Comment by Mike Powers on June 15, 2017 at 9:21pm

As always, love reading the updates - thank you for taking the time Tony! 

Comment by Brian "BOOM FISH ON" Veze on June 14, 2017 at 10:39am

I miss it up there already and you guys also. Thanks again Tony, Joe, Mike, and Mary for everything. I cant wait to get back up as soon as possible.

Contact Information

Phone: (705) 763-2317
           (216) 314-9612

French River Water Levels

Check out this link for detailed information about Lake Nipissing and French River water levels.


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