“I first met Joe in July of 2009, it was great to finally meet him in person after several months of preperation of our Canadian fishing trip. Having lead people and large organizations for the last 32 years, I was totally impressed with Joe and his organization. Joe made my son's Nick and Nate's first Canadian trip one that all of us value and hold dear. He is trustworthy, personable, coupled with outstanding people skills who delivers results at a good value. I highly recommend Joe, the Allen family can't wait until the summer of 2011 to once again join Joe and staff at Garden Island Lodge.
Rick Allen” August 5, 2010
John, Mike, Andy & Matt's Fishig Trip To Garden Island - 2010 (off-site blog post)
“Joe leads a great staff and offers a wonderful experience at his resort in Northern Canada. Sure the fishing is great, sure the location reminds us of what the Lord and Mother Nature can do - and sure, getting away from work to be with family and friends is wonderful....but Joe and the staff at the Garden Island Lodge bring all this together with outstanding service, great food, exceptional facilities & equipment, attention to detail and a willingness to adjust to meet your every need/want/desire. The addition of a "chef" and "on staff" guide services truly takes this experience - not just up a notch - but will secure the Garden Island Lodge as a leader in northern Canada's fishing destinations & experiences. Great Job Joe....and to all your staff!” August 1, 2010
Peter Waleskowski - 2010
“I have been fishing at Garden Island since the early 90`s when Norm owned/operated the camp. When I made my last visit in 09 I found the operation continues to be as smooth, food as good, hospitality exceptional and Joe a great host and manager. I am looking forward to my next trip, 2011. Thanks for the invite Joe” July 30, 2010
John Hardwick - 2010
Joe runs a great lodge with superb servive, excelent food, great equipment, definately a top notch fishing lodge. Highly reccomended” July 27, 2010
Mark Grab - 2010
“Joe runs a first class operation in Garden Island Lodge. He is innovative and flexible, always looking for ways to improve customer service and satisfaction. Joe and his staff are all first class service providers.” July 25, 2010
Jeff Snodgrass - 2010
Met Joe on our visit to the lodge in August of 2009. Within minutes it was if we had known him for years. Great guy and he really knows how to run a remote fishing lodge. Great service, boats, guides and food. The entire crew is great and very accomodating. Fishing is pretty darn good too. I highly recommend this place. I've been to several other Canadian fishing resorts and this one easily tops them all. I am returning in 2010.” July 21, 2010
Chuck Harrell - 2010
“Joe Henry Great Host Fished at Garden Island Lodge for over 16 years. Great accommondations, nice people, good food, --Big Walleye--, caught a 31 and a quarter inch Walleye in 2006” July 20, 2010
Joseph Duca - 2010
“I met Joe several years ago when he purchased the Lodge where I have vacationed frequently over the years. Anytime that someone takes over an operation, there are questions in you mind as to what will be changed and how will it afftect you personally. Here is what I found out about Garden Island after Joe took the reins..........he is personally involved with the running of his business, his staff is well trained and caters to your every need with a smile on their face, he genuinely cares that his guests have a great time, he keeps his cabins, lodge, and equipment clean and well maintained, he answers questions about reservations in a timely manner, and he realizes that the most important thing about his business for people coming there is the beauty of the region-he allows his guests to enjoy it to the most while handling all of their other needs. I can't say enough nice things about Joe, his staff, and Garden Island Lodge.” July 19, 2010
David Goshen - 2010
“Joe runs a great fishing lodge at Garden Island Lodge on Lady Evelyn Lake. His concern for our comfort and satisfaction was evident as he and his staff went well above the call of duty to accomodate and indulge us. We spent a wonderful week at Joe's place and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for great fishing, fabulous meals and a peaceful, relaxing holiday.” July 16, 2010
Julie Proulx - 2010
“Joe is working to bring his outpost camp into the 21st Century but still leave it as a pristine and beautiful part of nature.” July 16, 2010
Harold Effinger - 2010
“Joe Henry owns and operates an exceptional fishing camp at the Garden Island Lodge. Joe is very detail oriented and ensures that the guests are very well treated. The accommodations, meals and scenery exceeded my expectations. The fishing was pretty good too! I recommend the Garden Island Lodge to anyone who is looking for an incredible week in the wilderness...with all of the comforts of home.” July 16, 2010
Thomas Dempster - 2010
“Joe works hard to provide a great vacation getaway for his clients. All details are well thought out and his staff are eager to please. In almost 30 years of traveling to Canada, Joe's lodge is one of my favorites.” July 16, 2010
Kim Hall - 2010
Garden Island Lodge is an amazing place. We stayed at Garden Island Lodge in the spring of 2009 and had the best trip of our lives. Joe, the lodge owner, was great. He was very helpful arranging everything for us and giving us advice to make the trip the best it could possibly be. He and his staff looked after us the whole time we were there to make sure everything went great. The staff and service were amazing as were the fishing, food, boats and accommodations. The boats were new and fully loaded with everything we needed. The fishing was awesome. There are so many places to fish and so many big fish everywhere. Joe and his team put us on the fish and we were catching them the whole time. The entire experience was amazing. The value for the price was better than any of the other lodges near them. We didn't have to do any work while we were there except to eat, sleep and fish. The staff gased up the boat, cleaned the boat, topped up the minnows, cleaned the fish, carried our bags when we arrived and basically did everything for us that involved any work at all. This was the best trip we've ever taken and we will definitely be going back.” July 16, 2010
Aaron Keating - 2010
In the summer of 2008, my brother and I had the pleasure of spending our annual fishing vacation at Garden Island Lodge. We had a spectacular time and it was one of our most memorable trips thus far. The fishing experience on Lady Evelyn Lake was amazing and it is on my very short list of favorite Ontario fishing destinations. The service provided by Joe and all his staff at Garden Island Lodge was exemplary and would be difficult to improve upon. From the kitchen staff to the dock hands, they were all professional, courteous, prompt and thorough. In addition to being treated as important customers, Joe and his Garden Island family also truly make you feel as one of their own. The lodge, accommodations, food and boats were all top notch. You will be hard pressed to find better equipment at any fishing lodge. Joe knows that customer service is important, but he is also one of the few outfitters that goes that extra step to provide those top notch extras. I do not hesitate recommending Joe and Garden Island Lodge to anyone looking for that Northern Ontario getaway. You will no doubt be hooked and return for many years to come.” July 15, 2010
Adam Dempsey - 2010
“Joe provides a top-notch fishing lodge at Garden Island. It is obvious that his primary focus is his guest's satisfaction. Lady Evelyn is a really beautiful lake, the boats and motors are very nice and the fishing is fantastic. The accommodations, food and service are unbeatable. I've been going to fishing lodges in Canada for 22 years and I wouldn't consider going anywhere else. If you are looking for a fantastic fishing get-away with superb accommodations and service, Joe and his staff will provide it at Garden Island. I can't wait until next year!” July 14, 2010
Mark Bott - 2010
“We have been going to this lodge for 20 years now. We did not know what to expect when Joe bought the camp from the previous owner 3 years ago. I am happy to say that Joe is dedicated to continually improving the camp, and making sure his guests have an enjoyable stay. It is a 1st class operation. This year they added a new chef and the food was great. We are already booked for next year. Also, the fishing this year was the best in our 20 years going to this camp.” July 14, 2010
Dale McGary - 2010
“Joe is a first-class person and he and his staff do a great job at Garden Island Lodge. We have been fishing at Lady Evelyn Lake for 10 years and it's by far the best "big walleye" lake I have fished in Canada. This year, in a week, 4 of us caught 43 walleye between 25-32 inches despite multiple cold fronts and very high winds/waves.” July 14, 2010
Sherman Gandee - 2010
“Last summer our party of six went to Garden Island for the first time and had a very enjoyable time, so much so that we booked for 2010 before we left camp! The accommodations are comfortable, the boats are great, the food tasty and the fishing is well . . . up to you!! We did well, especially with the assistance of one of the capable and knowledgeable guides. I would recommend Garden Island to folks who like to fish and relax in a nice setting.” July 12, 2010
C Douglas Hartmayer - 2010
“Joe runs an excellent outfit if you are interested in an all inclusive fishing trip. This will be my third year going and each year it is better than the last. I highly recommend you checking them out if you are interested in an affordable trip to Northern Canada. I have been walleye fishing most of my life and this is by far the best fishing I have ever experienced. Joe's crew and accomadations are outstanding.” July 12, 2010
Sutherby Robert - 2010
“Joe provided our fishing group an outstanding trip. Everything, from the cabin, to the food, to the fishing was outstanding. We had a great time and will be returning for many more years. Thanks! Terry Bair” July 12, 2010
Terry Bair - 2010
“I have known Joe Henry for more than 30 years. He is a very personable individual who has two passions, his family and fishing. He has also been very good at managing money and has made investments in Real Estate that have paid-off well. Since working in industry with Toyota, was not really to his liking, Joe had the courage to venture into the fishing lodge business, combining his financial acumen, business knowledge and his passion for fishing. Joe’s friendly and honest personality has also made him a success whether he is a coaching/managing youth Ringette team, dealing with his clients or managing his employees. He is a person that earned my respect and this endorsement.” July 11, 2010
Brian Drury - 2010
Joe is a detail-oriented manager who watches the balance sheet like a hawk without losing sight of the strategic objective.J” July 10, 2010
Eric Scheffler - 2010
“Joe handles the pre-trip arrangements and on-site accomodations with great diligence and professionalism. In addition to himself, Joe's knowledgeable and friendly GIL staff go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure fishing success and comfort for all guests.” July 10, 2010
Greg Warp - 2010
“Joe is the hardest working man I have ever met. His friendly attitude towards his clients and employees permeates throughout your visit to the Island. There is virtually nothing he won't try to accomodate for your needs. He thinks "out of the box" as the proprietor who tries to enhance each visit with new and better concepts for an improved fishing experience.” July 10, 2010
Bruce Miller - 2010
“Joe is a person who I consider a friend only after knowing him for one year. Joe is honest, sincere and very respectful to his guests and his staff. There is a huge difference between putting on an act and being the real deal, Joe is the real deal!” July 10, 2010
Robert Horvath - 2010
“Joe runs his lodge in a very efficient, relaxing, fun, and safe manner. If you want unbeleivable fishing, well kept accommodations, and excellent meals then Garden Island Lodge is the only choice.” July 10, 2010
Timothy Handley - 2010
“Joe was helpful, professional, reliable, and easy to get along with. We had a terrific time at Garden Island.” July 9, 2010
Kenneth France - 2010
“We met Joe on our 2008 fishing trip to Garden Island Lodge. It was an situation as we had been accustomed, for many yeras, to the previous host/owner. In no time at all we recgnized that Joe was committed to equalling or surpassing his predecessors passion for this superb fishing camp and maintaining the good rapport with cliennts that had been established before. I highly recommend and salute him form his enthusiasm, integrity and great customer relations. We are hopeful of a return engagement in the near future. Regards, ...Carl A. Pinto, Sr. ...King of Prussia, PA 19406” July 9, 2010
Carl Pinto, Sr - 2010
Thank you so much for taking such good care of us at Garden Island Lodge. The setting is beautiful and serene and the lake and islands provide much to do. But the people really make the place special. You all do a great job making sure everyone's needs are met. - in the dining hall, at the boats, with the fish, in the cabins, yet you keep everything relaxed and light-hearted. It was a pleasure being with each of you. It will be a real adjustment for us to back to reality - we've been so spoiled here. Best wishes to all of you
Cindy & Joe Doyle and Maggie too - 2010
Thanks for the great vacation this year!
Although we were plagued with multiple cold fronts and high winds and waves all week, it was a great year for big walleyes!
We kept a log of what we caught all week and missed putting several on your board.
The 4 of us caught 132 that were 18 inches and over for the week. Despite the bad winds and high waves that prevented us from fishing our best main lake spots 50% of the time, amazingly, we caught 43 walleyes that were 25 inches or more. We had 12 that were 27.5 inches or better including a 30.5 and a 31.25. We also had a lot of 26+27 inchers.
Mike, the chef you had this year was by far the best cook I have seen in the 10 years we have been at Garden Island.
Brian and your dock crew did a great job considering the hassle of the low water conditions.
Thanks again for the great vacation.
Sherman Gandee - 2010
Thank you for everything. Each and every one of you made us feel so welcome. The cabin was always clean and thank you for the extra reg. coffee. Thank you also for the great service in the Main Lodge at mealtimes. And for the guys that helped us with the boats - thank you so much. You are all so awesome and nothing was too much trouble. You all had a great cheery disposition and always had a smile. Thank you so much for everything. We hope to see you all again next year when we are back. All the best to you now and in your futurre endevours.
Debbie and Kerry Kirby - 2010
It was back in early July that my son, Scott, and I came to Garden Island Lodge and we haven't stopped talking about the fantastic time we had! Truthfully, we could not have asked for friendlier service, more delicious cooking, more beautiful scenery, better equipment, or better fishing! We caught lots of fighting Bass, big Walleye, and mean-looking Northern Pike, including a monster 37-inch one! (I keep hoping that this one held up as the biggest Pike of the 2009 season :-) Everyone we tell about our trip or show our pictures, wants to go fishing at Garden Island. I have attached some of our pictures for your enjoyment or website material.
Paul W Wenger
I have been fortunate enough to travel to all corners of the globe “chasing the big one” and following my love of fishing. In that time I have stayed at numerous lodges, fished many rivers and lakes. I have no trouble saying Garden Island Lodge was one of the most well run first class operations I have ever been too with HANDS DOWN THE BEST WALLEYE FISHING IN CANADA. The clean waterfront lodging, executive chef prepared meals, immaculately clean and comfortable Lund bass boats were a great complement to the over 250 walleye caught over 20 inches in 4 days (most pushing 25-30 inches). This place is a fisherman’s dream, being a tough I have no troubles saying Garden Island Lodge is one of the top 3 lodges I have ever been too. To put it in perspective, we returned from our trip August 9th, 2009 and have paid in full already for our trip in 2010 (I am not rolling the dice on not being able to fish this lake next year). Look no further…..BOOK YOUR TRIP NOW and you will be writing on of these letters yourself soon enough.
New York - 2009
You have a great place and a good staff. This is the first time I have been to a camp where the boss isn't constantly giving orders or directions to the staff members constantly. This tells me the staff knows what to do and when to do it. This more like going to a friends camp rather than a outfitter. The guys always talk about next year, in fact Dale and I are going to Cabela's again tomorrow and we discussed next year again.
Bob Horvath - 2009
On behalf of our group, Charlie, Neil, Perry, Earl, Kyle, Bay and myself, we would like to say thanks to you and your staff Ashley, Brian and John for a great holiday.
We were very impressed with Garden Island Lodge and it is unanimous that we all want to come back next year. Early discussions indicate we may have as many as 8 in our group.
Gary Wiegand - 2009
Thanks again to you and your staff as Ed and I had a great week. The food and service was great as usual and the fishing was spectacular. We are already looking forward to next year’s trip.
Mike Arman - 2009
Just wanted to say once again that our first trip to Garden Island a couple weeks ago was terrific. It’s seldom that you pick someone based on a web site and then find out it’s even better than expected.
Chuck and Gerri Harrell - 2009
Just dropping you a note to thank-you for a great week... it was everything that we had hoped for and then some.
We both, Nancy & I, look forward to spending time with you again. I hope that you will welcome us back.
(It did occur to me that in our rush to leave Sunday, I may have forgotten to wish you a very Happy Birthday... sorry about this).
Wishing you and your team the best for the next few weeks that you are still open...
Bob Holowaty - 2009
Good Afternoon Joe!
I just wanted to take this opportunity to let you know just how much Rosalie and I enjoyed our visit to Garden Island a couple of weeks ago. The staff was friendly and went out of their way to meet our needs, the accomodations were clean and well taken care of, the food was plentiful and delicious (the wine at dinner was a nice touch!), the boats were clean, reliable and comfortable and Lady Evelyn was what it always is.......just a beautiful place to be!
Dave Goshen - 2009
First I’d just like to let you know that we all had a great time this year and really enjoyed the week at Garden Island. We all felt that you had made improvements and I think that says a lot! The meals definitely improved with a unanimous decision from the four of us that the best dinner of the week was the grilled pork chops. Hats off to the chef!
Mark Bott - 2009
Overall, a great trip by our group. Everyone was pleased and very satisfied with the fishing and like you said, a lot of big fish and most of us caught the largest of our lifetime (so far!). Eventually, I will send you some pictures as we get them together. You will most likely get repeat business from members of our group. Some are talking about taking families, etc. Myself, I would like to get up there again in the near future. Your crew was outstanding, very friendly, accommodating and knowledgeable.
You have the right formula for success and are demonstrating taking care of the customer. A satisfied customer means repeat business and is your best marketing tool. The plaques are a nice added bonus and appreciated.
Rick Funk - 2009
I thoroughly enjoyed our '06 accommodations and had
never before experienced that level of comfort and convenience on a
Canadian fishing trip. The cabin, boat, dockside service, and of course
the food were excellent. We also very much enjoyed the lodge and evening
dock atmosphere to meet and share conversation with staff and guests. My
nephews Jon and Rick agreed that a return trip is a must!
I wanted to take a few minutes to thank you and all the gang at Garden
Island for another great fishing holiday. As always the service was great,
the food terrific and the fishing all it was advertised to be. Mike and I
thoroughly enjoyed spending the time with all of you again in a place that's
remote enough to be away from the world but still with all the conveniences
your lodge offers. I've attached a few pictures from this past week. Feel
free to use them as you see fit. See you next September
Ed Regenthal and Mike Arman
I just wanted to drop you a note and let you know what a fantastic time I had at Garden Island Lodge. I have been fortunate enough to spend time at a few lodges and without a doubt Garden Island is the finest I have every visited. You and your staff took care of every possible detail so that we could focus on the fish. I came with hopes of big walleye and left with more than I could have imagined photos of my trophy fish, a burning desire to return, and the friendships of you and your staff.
Thank you so much!
Thank you again for the incredible hospitality up at Garden Island. We’re just checking in to say hi and register another big Thank You for helping Max catch his first Walleye. We truly enjoyed your facilities, the incredible summer weather, the company of you & Val, and that of all of your attentive staff.
We also wanted to see how the rest of the week went, particularly after you got a change in the weather and a bit of rain. I’m sure some of the boys were scoring bigger fish after we left… ? Max still has his dream of catching “the big one” on Lady Evelyn Lake, so please keep in touch as to when you think it might be the right time for us to return.
Max also wanted to register a particular thanks for the hunks of coconut cream pie that you carefully prepared for him, and all of the cool lures you provided which we tried to hook the big one with.
Hope to see you again soon !
Ron and Max Dekker
I’ve been back home from our vacation at Garden Island Lodge for several days now and I still can’t get the smile off my face. I think this was our 9th trip out and each year it just gets better and better. This year’s trip was our best ever. As you are aware, our group loves to fish for big walleye. Lady Evelyn Lake is truly a trophy hunter’s paradise. This past summer our group of 8 people caught and released over 10 trophy walleyes (28 inches or longer) during our 7-day vacation on Garden Island. The total catch during the week was too large to keep count, and we all went home with memories of friendly people, outstanding home-cooked meals, and fishing that keeps us all excited about coming back again and again and again.
I have to tell you what a terrific staff you have assembled at Garden Island. The dock staff is exceptional. Brian, Matt and Mitch helped us all get on the water quickly and safely each day with plenty of gas and fresh bait in the boat to ensure a long day’s fishing. They were there to push our boats away from the dock anytime we went out on the lake, and they were there to welcome us back and help us tie up the boats every time we returned from the lake. Those three are really something special.
The food was once again exceptional, something to anticipate and savor each day. The breakfasts and dinners served in the lodge always remind me of how good it can be to sit down with friends and new acquaintances for a short time to share a few stories and enjoy a satisfying, home-cooked meal that brings a smile to the faces of everyone at the table. Please tell Val, Sarah, Mel and Sherry (Sherri?) how much we all enjoyed the food and their company. It was outstanding.
And finally, the fishing …... what can I say about the fishing. In the nine years I’ve been coming to Garden Island Lodge, the fishing on Lady Evelyn Lake has steadily progressed from very good to excellent to absolutely superb. Your operation is geared toward comfort and the best possible fishing experience for your guests. It is all of that and more .... first-class in every respect for the serious fisherman. Thank you again for another memorable vacation to Garden Island Lodge. We all look forward to seeing you again next summer. I can’t wait.
Ann Arbor, MI
Hey! I hit the ground running and have finally caught-up with myself from a week of vacation. I am sorry it has taken so long to drop you a line to express my appreciation for your tremendous service. You have one of the best camps I've ever visited. Your service is second to none. Everyone is so friendly and helpful. I look forward to spending many many years at Garden Island Lodge.
Thanks for making my vacation so enjoyable. Tell Sara how very much I enjoyed her humor, quick wit, and generous supply of quips. The food was great too!! Thanks again to your entire staff. I had a blast and I am sure the nine guys with me had a super time as well. We look forward to the next trip. We'll see you at the Indy boat show for sure-eh.
God Bless ...
Dr. Frank J. Beard aka "Frank the Tank"
Just thought I would write a short note to tell you what great time we all had at your wonderful lodge. I took the moose picture in to get developed and I'm going to have to play with it to get it large enough to see the moose and calf. I was hoping to get the name of the company that makes the replica fish I think I'm going to get the 28" mounted for my wall, I think if I had pinched the tail it would have made 29" or 29"1/2 here we go again with the fish stories.
I have stayed at 7 or 8 different lodges in Canada none of which can hold a candle to yours. I hope I can make it next year and many years to come all the help was fantastic and the fishing was great.
P.S. E-Mail me the address of the place that makes the replicas when you get a minute.
NICK AND I BOTH WANT TO EXPRESS OUR THANKS FOR A GREAT WEEK. WE ARE SORRY WE DID NOT GET TO SAY GOODBYE TO YOU BUT YOU WERE VERY BUSY AT THE TIME AND WE DID NOT WANT TO DISRUPT YOU.EVERY THING WAS GREAT AS USUALL,THE SHEPPARDS PIE WAS FANTASTIC(THANK YOU),
ALL THE KIDS YOU HAD WORKING THERE WERE GREAT.TO TOP IT OFF THE FISHING WAS EVEN GREAT (CATCH AND REALEASE DOES WORK)THIS IS SOMTHING I HAVE ALWAYS TOLD NICK SINCE HE WAS A LITTLE KID AND FIRST STARTED FISHING. IT IS A REAL SHAME THAT EVERYONE DOES NOT THINK THE SAME WAY.
AGAIN THANKS AND WE WILL SEE YOU NEXT YEAR GOD WILLING.
NICK AND RAY AUGUSTA
MT. POCOCNO, PA
“GARDEN ISLAND OR GARDEN OF EDEN”??
“Fabulous”… “Fantastic”… “Unbelievable”… “First Class”… “Five Star”… There just aren’t enough adjectives to describe my latest fishing experience at “Garden Island Lodge” on Lady Evelyn Lake, in Northern Ontario. If you enjoy catching BIG Walleye and Smallmouth Bass… Eating GREAT food… Being pampered by an experienced and knowledgeable Staff… or operating first class boats and equipment…THIS is THE PLACE for you. Maybe it should be called “Garden of Eden Island Lodge”?????
Personally, I’m not use to all of this attention and service. I usually “rough it” at a fly-in camp, or rustic cabin with no electric or flush commode. I must admit that it was GREAT to be able to FISH and do little else. No meals to cook, no dishes to wash, no cold shower or boats to take care of. BOY… THIS is the way to fish! But let’s start at the beginning.
I met owner Norm Paterson and his lovely wife Val at the “Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show” in Harrisburg, PA. My partner, Rod Bates and I had a booth there, promoting “Koinania Guide Service and Adventures”, and I was looking for a remote location in Canada, to catch “Trophy” Smallmouth Bass. I was immediately impressed by Norm’s honesty and straightforwardness, his interest in pleasing his guests, and his description of the cabins, food and equipment. Norm offered an “all inclusive” package that included (just to mention a FEW of the niceties) cabin; three meals a day; Lund 16 ft. Rebel boat with swivel seats, livewell, storage, etc, equipped with a 25 hp, electric start, four-stroke Yamaha engine; all of the live bait and gas you could use; full use of the lodge’s facilities; dock service; fish cleaning; fish preparation; heck, even the fishing license. What more could an angler ask for?? Nothing! So I booked two cabins for the first week of September, and talked 5 of my buddies into going along.
Getting there was half the fun and adventure of this trip. We left Greencastle, PA, around 10:00 pm on Thursday evening, and drove straight up I-81, arriving at the 1,000 Island Bridge around 7:00 am. After a quick visit to the 1,000 Islands Bait Store, and the nearby Truck Stop for breakfast, we crossed into Canada and headed east on 401. We then traveled north on 416 to Ottawa, merging into 417 North and then Route 17 North to Pembroke and North Bay. From North Bay we traveled north on Route 11 to New Liskeard, where we stayed at the Water Front Inn (our mistake) on Friday night. It was a long, but interesting, entertaining and scenic drive of about 843 miles. We saw several Moose along Route 11, great scenery, beautiful lakes and rivers and some beautiful wildlife (I didn’t get her name).
Bright and early Saturday morning, we grabbed breakfast at McDon’s “Rainbow Room” and drove the 15 miles or so to Mowatt’s Landing, where we were to meet out host. Brian and the “Gear Boat” were right-on-time and were followed shortly by Norm with the “People Barge”. We loaded our gear and boarded the “Barge” for the short ride to the Lady Evelyn Lake dam. The “Gear Boat” was loaded on a trailer and hauled around and over the dam. The “People” made a leisurely stroll out of the portage and then boarded Norm’s cabin cruiser for the 18 mile ride to the lodge.
I took a lot of ribbing from Norm and the Staff, about the amount of gear we had. I don’t know why my BUDDIES needed all of that stuff?? And I could tell right away that this was going to be a FUN week. It didn’t take long for Norm’s daughter Sara and I to realize we BOTH had a good sense of humor and a HUGE line of BS. We hit it off right away and spent the rest of the week ribbing each other, telling jokes and being generally entertaining to the rest of the guests. Ask her about my “Mr. T” imitation and “Camo Flip-Flops”?? Norm then gave all of us a personal tour of the lodge and facilities, fish cleaning house, dock house, sauna, cabins, etc. After a great lunch, we returned to our cabins, to find the Staff had delivered all of our gear, prepared three boats for our use, and was on hand to help us out if needed.
My partner and I immediately began uncasing rods and reels and preparing equipment for battle. The Staff then hauled our tackle and gear down to the boats and gave us a refresher course on the operation of the NEW 25hp electric start Yamaha engines; boat and safety equipment; dock facilities and services. We stowed our gear, familiarized ourselves with the boats and “got organized”. By this time, it was supper time, one of my three most favorite times of day, and we were treated to gourmet meal prepared by Val and Sara (who happens to be a school trained and certified chef).
After dinner, Norm invited one person from each of the boat “teams” to board his launch, gave each of us a contour map of the lake, and took us on a guided tour of all of the “Hot Spots”, shoals, humps, islands and scenic beauty of the lake, pointing out interesting features and nature’s handiwork. Ask him about “Bear Scratch Butt Rock”.
Lady Evelyn Lake, connected with Sucker Gut Lake, Willow Island Lake and several other named bodies of water, comprise over 20,000 surface acres of clear, clean, and pristine Smallmouth Bass, Walleye and Northern Pike habitat, the like of which I have never before seen. I have also never seen so many Walleye and Bass on a depth finder, in my entire fishing career. I even accused Norm of having the “fish” programmed into the Eagle LCD units. There are dozens of islands, shoals, humps, flats, gravel bars and other fish attracting and holding structure on this body of water, and you can travel in one of a dozen different directions from the lodge, to find that “Special” spot. Norm, Brian and the Staff will help you locate the fish, if you are having trouble, but I don’t see how you could NOT find fish. The Canadian DNR did a survey of the lake, and estimate there are over 2 MILLION Walleye in this body of water. It is also rated as one of the top four “Under Fished” lakes in Ontario.
Anyone who knows me, reads my articles, or follows my recommendations, knows that I “TELL IT LIKE IT IS”, with as much honesty and candor as possible, and that I can’t be HAD. And I will be honest here too. I believe there is a population of Walleye and Smallmouth Bass in Lady Evelyn Lake, second to NONE. And if EVERYTHING at “Garden Island Lodge” doesn’t PLEASE you, then you can’t BE pleased. But if there is one thing we can’t predict, plan or control, it’s the weather and the fish. And to say we had lousy conditions would be an understatement. SURE… If you wanted to relax and sunbathe, it was perfect. But have you ever heard the old saying “Wind from the South… Fish close their mouth”??
Well BELIEVE it! You know the other old saying… “You can lead a horse to drink, but you can’t make him water”… Or something like that! We had four days of clear, sunny, bluebird skies with a steady 10 to 15 mph wind out of the South and Southwest. A slow moving low pressure system that wanted to take up permanent residence over Ontario and the fish had LOCKJAW! We caught some nice Smallies, a couple of big Pike, and a few Walleye, but believe you me; we had to WORK for them.
AT LAST A BREAK! Thursday morning, the wind was calm and the water flat. The good ole biggins’ and big ole goodins’ were eating-up the topwater lures and Jerkbaits with the vengeance and vigor of a starving hobo. We caught a BUNCH of 18” to 20” Smallies on a variety of lures like The Heddon Super Spook, Jr and Tiny Torpedo; Rebel Pop-R and Smithwick Devil’s Horse. You couldn’t keep a Pearl YUM Houdini Shad in the water! I thought I had died and gone to “Smallie Heaven”. Friday was just a productive, and Friday evening my partner Keith Shank of Harrisburg, PA, and I boated 17 Smallmouth over 18”, with two at 20”. Alas, our final evening in “Smallie Paradise”… At least for THIS year!
I am still telling friends and family about the fantastic week I experienced at “Garden Island Lodge”; about the friendly, efficient, hard-working and fantastic Staff; about the unimaginable service and the top notch facilities, boats, cabins and equipment and the FANTASTIC FISHING OPPURTUNTY there.
I can wholeheartedly, honestly and without reservation, stake my reputation by recommending a trip to “Garden Island Lodge” on beautiful Lady Evelyn Lake, and you can bet the farm that I will be back there next year.
Top Lure Choices:
Smallmouth Bass… Heddon Tiny Torpedo, Zara Spook, Super Spook, Jr.; Smithwick Devil’s Horse,Rogue, Suspending Rogue; Rebel Pop-R, Deep Wee Crawfish, Bomber Fat Free Shad, 6A, 7A; Yum Houdini Shad, Craw Bug, Vibra King Tube, Wooly Hawg Craw, Shakin’ Worm and Yum Dinger. Cabin Creek Critter Getter Tube, Salty Spider and Bassin’ Beaver. BOOYAH Spinnerbaits and Buzzbaits.
Walleye… Lead Jig Heads in 1/8oz and 1/4oz; Worm Harness; Floating Jig Heads on Bottom Bouncing rig; Pop-Eye Jigs; Small Spinners. Jigs and spinners tipped with worm or live minnow. Cordell Grappler Shad, Wally Divers, Wally Minnows.
Pike… Johnson Silver Minnow with white grub trailer; Heddon Zara Spook, Zara Spook, Jr; Smithwick Rouge and Suspending Rogue Minnow; Excalibur Super Spook; Rebel Minnow and Holographic Minnow; YUM Houdini Shad; BOOYAH Buzzbaits and Spinnerbaits.
To say the least, “I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at Garden Island Lodge” and will go back there many times to come. If you have any questions, contact me or Norm Paterson at the lodge, or look us up at the “Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show” in Harrisburg, PA, come the first week of February.