You are here

Derek's Ontario

Derek's first "Canada fishing trip with Dad" was in June 2008 when a vacancy needed to be filled on a fishing trip to Ontario. Now an annual event we drive to Thaddeus Lake Lodge, just north of Dryden, Ontario for a fabulous week of fishing with Derek's Uncle Kyle and Grampa Dick. Subsequent years we have also invited a few very special friends.

Derek's current (Ontario) fish records now stand at
Northern Pike 36"     Walleye 27"     Smallmouth 19"   Muskie 41"  Perch 12"


Year 9 - June 11-17, 2016  - Mike & Jake Bauer, Dan Krause, Dan, Mike & Pat Etzel. Cabin 6 as usual, Marty is pledging to extend the deck and add a patio door - we'll see LOL. First trip without Kyle and Dick who will be fishing at Cedar Lake to the west. Stayed first night at Copper River Inn - kinda spendy for Ft Frances but the rooms were freshly remodeled and the hotel manager played bocce with us so was worth the extra loonies. Return to Puzzle! First year in many that we are able to fish Puzzle Bay (Wednesday and Thursday only). Water levels high enough that we can motor through the culvert both directions. Water temps warmer than previous so fish are scattered but lots of 17-18" eater walleyes plus a full limit of Northern at the high end of the slot for take home. Jake gets a 41" muskie, Derek a 39". Dan Etzel rings the bell with a 30" walleye at the rock wall by red rock. Mike Etzel ctches several silver pike. Pat Etzel wins the Fisherman of the year for keeping a great positive attitude in the face of challenging fishing results (2 day skunk?). Limits on both Walleye and Northern. Long John Silvers fish batter at shorelunch was a crowd pleaser. 


Year 8 - June 6-12, 2015 -  Derek, Dad, Uncle Kyle, Grampa Dick, Mike, Jake and Dan. Usual Cabin #6. Kyle should stick to just cutting sausage, Derek needs to keep his hat on his head. The now routine great fishing and good weather, rained a little one day but no rainouts. 17-18" walleyes were harder to find on Sunday but we quickly located them in a couple new spots and limited out. Walleyes for lunch 4 days. New shorelunch spot on Moose now named Dragonfly Point used twice, another on the island in Ord on the rock. Lots of dragonflies emerging from larval state, really interesting to watch them crawl out and dry off in the sun before flying away. Smallies in the shallows, Derek spend some time teasing them directly on their beds with a jig/minnow which quickly resulted in a light tackle battle. Mike gets a 41" Muskie, Derek follows with the same. Jake lands a fat 37.5 Northern while fishing with Brad. Grampa gets the biggest walleye this year. Bocce ball contest goes to Mike and Brad vs. the youngsters with a tie breaker trouncing 21-6. Derek's chili, pre-cooked and frozen was a hit, one hot batch, one not hot. Kyle catches a monster perch in Ord, almost qualified to be a walleye! The bigger perch for the most part were elusive and scattered this year.  Best Jigs this year were solid blue and parrot. frozen minnows worked every bit as good as live IMHO. Dan Krause voted fisherman of the Year for his newfound skill as boat skipper and finding the new eater spot on Thaddeus near Beaver Bay.


Year 7 - June 7-13, 2014 - Derek, Dad, Uncle Kyle, Grampa Dick, Mike, Jake and Dan (first year). Cabin 6. Mosquitoes! Joined by Lori's oldest son Dan Krause for his first trip to Thaddeus. First 5 days were OK weather, little scattered rain here and there, highs around 68, lows in the mid 40s. Puzzle Bay now closed until June 14 to all fishing, shut us out of 3 of our best shorelunch spots. Lots of mosquitoes - good thing Kyle had mosquito coils in the equipment tub and extra Deep Woods Off was obtained in Dryden. Ord Smallmouth were a no show for the first time in 7 years, disappointing but replaced with better Northern Pike action and lots of jumbo perch. Derek matched his 36" walleye record with a much heavier fish and caught his first muskie, a nice 27". Kyle matched his best walleye with yet another 29.5" this time off flat rock in Thaddeus. Dick has one of his best years ever with a 28" walleye and a 38" muskie that took him over 1/2 hour to boat! Mike's big fish were 28" 'eye, 28"muskie, 27" pike. Dan caught all species except muskie - 27 pike, 27 eye, 12 perch 16 smallie, 17 Silver Pike. Jake had the biggest bass this year at 17.5" and a nice 27.5 walleye. Brad had a 26" walleye but best night hands down was Wed evening with Kyle, dead calm beautiful sunset fishing Pine point and Sand Point. 31 walleye between the 2 of us in about 90 minutes with Kyle switching jigs and bait several times to try to catch up. First time I wasn't "schooled" by Kyle at walleye fishing!. Final day almost a washout, very windy, rainy, and cold but at 8pm the wind dropped a litttle allowing Kyle, Mike and Brad to get out there and preserve our fish every day streak. Over 30 fish in 1.5 hours - Mike had biggest at 26", Kyle clearly had most, Brad caught 24", 25", 25.5" and the final walleye for an amazing finish to our trip.

Year 6 - June 8-14, 2013 - Derek, Dad, Uncle Kyle, Grampa Dick, Mike and Jake Cabin 6. First walleye boated (by Kyle) 29.5" sets the tone. Ice went out May 17, patterns a little different but we got on top fast. Eaters on the emerging weedlines in 7-10', Big walleyes on the Wall! Jake breaks all his personal records. Made plans to construct "Jake's Place" on Puzzle Bay, Best afternoon of catch and release walleye fishing ever by Mike & Brad at the south end of Puzzle. Shorelunch 5 days, beautiful weather, highs in the 70's, other than a brief shower only rained during dinner on tuesday. Bass in the usual place, Northerns on the edge in Puzzle.


       the whole gang                          Kyles 29                            Grampa's wall                      Derek's wall walleye

   Lunch at Jake's Place                  Spaghetti dinner                 Smoke signals                     Moose in cooler

          Dick's sunset 27                  Jake's 33.5 pike                 Mike walleye                           6 keepers for J & D


    Dick's toothpick                    Derek's stick bass                walleye on a 5 of diamonds      eater on a spinnerbait

            jake & derek                     Mike & Jake                          sunset walleye                      Jake's silver pike

               smalleye                    salsa sausage pancake               northern smile                      Jake's catchers gear

Year 5 - June 9-15, 2012 - Derek, Dad, Uncle Kyle, Grampa Dick. 3rd Year for Mike and Jake (No longer special guests, now part of the Family). Cabin 6 (cap. 9) The year of the Two Assed Bass. Rain, Storm + Rain, Cooler w/Light Rain, Rain, Damp windy, rain..... but the fish were still biting! Only new record for Derek was perch at 12", his biggest Northern this week 32" (6.75#), 16.75" Smallmouth, 22" walleye, and a close but no cigar on a small muskie! Derek also caught an 18" walleye on a spinnerbait! Memorable moments include the cow moose swimming across Puzzle Bay, the wet Eagle, Derek and Brad's "boat rodeo", using the rain tarps at shorelunch for the first (4) times, Kyles new portable shorelunch kitchenette with his new french fry maker, the new dock hand - Dillon, and Marty's new black lab named Ruger! Jake had a banner year catching the biggest smallmouth at 18.25", Kyle had the biggest northern at 33" and probably the biggest walleye, Brad had the smallest walleye at 8" and the smallest northern at 10" (Dad said he was full up on photos of big fish so he had photos of these small ones taken instead - see below). Mike and Derek bested Brad and Jake in the 1st annual fish-off at 14-11. Best jig color was either chartreuse with red hook (Brad) or purple (Kyle) - the debate shall rage on... brought home our limit of Bass, Northern and Walleye plus a few perch. Shorelunch of walleye all 4 days (Sun-Wed) as planned despite the rain thanks to the tarps. Derek created a travelling trophy out of old discarded trophy parts and christened it the "Fisherman of the Year". The winner to be awarded by majority vote for some fishing feat or accomplishment shall hold the trophy until the following year and he must in some way modify or improve the trophy before it is passed onto the next winner. The first winner of Fisherman of the Year by unanimous vote was Jake Bauer with his very rare Twin Tailed Pike (Two Assed Bass) caught on a green/white titanium spinnerbait in Puzzle bay - see photos below (click on thumbnail image to enlarge).


      Derek's 32" pike                     Jake's 18.25" smallmouth                Steak dinner                  The whole gang + Ruger


 Grampa with a nice walleye    Kyle and Dick's 46" double    Big walleye for the Jakester   Mike with a rare cedar trout

  Dick and D cleaning 'Eyes         The new shorelunch kit        Lunch under the canopy     Salsa goes wwith everything!


   Derek nets one for Dad         D's spinnerbait eater 'eye      Dad with his 10" Northern....     and his 8" walleye!

      Grampa & Derek                   Who needs radios?            Mike & Jake at the channel              Dad & Derek

          J & D do dishes             Jake in a relaxing moment          Derek takes aim                        Father and Son

The now infamous Two Assed Bass (or Twin Tailed Pike if you prefer) caught by Jake and winner of Fish Story of the Year!

Jake Bauer (13 YO from Delano) was fishing for smallmouth near shore with a spinnerbait. An almost 13" bass grabbed the bait, followed by the smallie being almost immediately inhaled headfirst by a 28" Northern Pike, both becoming entangled in a fallen tree limb. With help from his dad Mike, Jake was able to land the combination now officially dubbed the Two Assed Bass.....

Year 4 - June 11-17, 2011. Derek, Dad, Uncle Kyle, Grampa Dick. Returning special guests Mike and Jake. Cabin 6 (cap. 9) Beautiful week of warm sunny days, only one brief passing evening shower. Highs around 70F, lows around 50F, water temp near 60F. Marty is the new resort manager, Jeremy stays on this year to help him out. Fishing a little slower than past years but lots of nice quality fish. Water levels way down, very difficult coming back through the culvert from Ord. No problem catching eaters on Moose and Ord, Thaddeus walleyes were usually 20" or better (too big). Smallmouth action a little slower but definately fun. Jig colors all over the map but frequently blue or blue/white was most effective with a few nights favoring pink jigs. Memorable fish; biggest walleye - Kyle with a 27.5 on Thaddeus. Biggest Pike - Dick with a 36". Brad catches a 36" Muskie on 6lb test while jigging and a beautiful 31" Silver Pike in Ord. None of us will ever forget the huge (50"+) muskie that tried on 2 different evenings to grab hooked 20" walleyes as they were being pulled up to the boat! Derek's biggest walleye was 24.5", Jake caught a really fat 23" walleye. Brad caught a 16" walleye on a spinnerbait while fishing bass and another smaller 'eye on a 3/4 oz. Daredevil while trolling for Northerns, they must have been really hungry! Both boys finished their BSA Fishing merit badge requirements while on the trip including cleaning and cooking their own fish. Mike made a very spicy batch of fresh salsa (watch out for those those fresh Canadian jalapenos). Jake wins the baseball hot box championship even though he took a ball to the head. Derek and Jake did most of the boat driving this year. Notes to remember for next year: 4 boxes of macaroni & cheese is way too many, 4 gallons of canola oil is more than double what we needed for the four shore lunches. Catsup. Soap.....

The 2011 gang L to R: Mike, Brad, Jake, Kyle, Derek, Dick                           the Cleaning Crew

31" Silver pike - caught on 6lb test, Ord Lake (released)      Father and Son - Sunset Walleye on Thaddeus

                                                                  24 inch walleye photo collection!


Jakes super fat 23" walleye                                                Jake and Derek


Jake's BSA Fishing Merit Badge meal         Derek's BSA Fishing Merit Badge meal        Mike's "Fresh super HOT salsa class!"

Derek's big smallie                             Kyle's final night 26" walleye               Brad's 36" Muskie caught on 6 lb line

Entrance to Puzzle bay - sign from fallen tree                   Jake and Derek with Puzzle Bay in background

Derek drives the Moose Lake channel                               Kyle and Dick on a beautiful Ontario day

Nice walleye Mike!                                                             Jake's big smallmouth

60 ounce margarita in International Falls - shoulda got the T shirt Mike LOL!


Year 3 - June 12-18, 2010. Derek, Dad, Uncle Kyle, Grampa Dick. Special guests Mike and Jake. Cabin 7 (cap. 6) Ice went out very early up there this year resulting in more summerlike fishing patterns, water was warm enough to swim in. Best fishing was on Thaddeus for Walleye and Northern, Ord was still the smallmouth hotspot although the northeast shore of Thaddeus was getting pretty good too. Two of the days we had high temps near 80F. Our only complaints were too sunny, too warm, too calm, and the fish were too big to keep! Lots of 21-23" walleye, 18" and under eaters were harder to find. Fishing pattern now more summerlike with orientation to weedlines, perch colored jigs were favored. Best fishing was after dinner in 12-14'. Best memories: Mike, Dick and Kyle walleye fishing at sunset, hot fast bite, low on bait, jigging with cut up minnows and discarded twister tail parts. Rumor has it they were actually giggling with glee...... Derek tries to teach his Grampa how to cast spinnerbaits for small mouth, Grampa gives up at 17 fish to 1....Brought golf clickers to keep track of daily catch counts. 40-50 per person was a pretty standard number this year. Derek and Jake launched geocaching travel bug "Gone Fishin'" in a cache north of Dryden, as of June 2012 it has travelled over 12,186 miles visiting Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Nevada, California, Texas, Hawaii, and currently woking its way to Florida!

Click to view full size image Click to view full size image

                    Jake's 24" walleye                                                   Uncle Kyle's 28" Walleye

Click to view full size image

                 Derek's 25" walleye                Jake and Mike                               Just like that Grampa!

              Sunset walleye for Kyle                                             Mike and Jake at sunset


            Jake and Mike                           Dad Catches Derek's Muskie                    See - it's easy!

              Grampas big Northern                                                    Jake drying his underwear!

               Jake and Derek                                                                              Dad's 24" walleye


Year 2 - June 6-12, 2009. Derek, Dad, Uncle Kyle, Grampa Dick. Special guests Pete and Eric. Cabin 7 (cap. 6) Fantastic smallie and walleye fishing in all the same spots as last year! Purple jigs were the favorite for the 'eyes. Memorable moments: Pete and Kyle both boated decent size muskies on light tackle, accidentally caught (and quickly released) while jigging for walleye. Eric is now completely hooked on casting for smallmouth. Anchored 6 feet apart in Moose at the "lunchbox" fishin spot for an hour with Pete & Brad catching walleyes off the west side while Derek & Eric caught Northerns off the east gunwale, boats close enough to hold conversation in normal voice! Four shorelunch's - all walleye (of course)

Click to view full size image 

                   Eric's 19" smallmouth                                                  Pete 40" muskie on 6lb test


              Derek 34" Northen Pike                                                Kyle 43" Muskie on 6lb mono / jig


                      Eric 27" Walleye                                   Kyle and Grampa


         Derek's 26" walleye                       Eric and Pete                                    Dad's 27" walleye

            Now that's a Dagwood sandwich!                               Grampa and Derek


       Dad's smallie                                     Kyle feeding gulls                          They even bite when it rains!


                    Eric's Pike                                                                    Shorelunch on Puzzle Bay

First Year - May 31-June 6, 2008. Derek, Dad, Uncle Kyle, Grampa Dick. First trip to Canada for Derek. Cabin 6 (cap. 9). First trip for the rest of us to a new lake - Thaddeus Lake Lodge. Housekeeping cabin set-up, drive to location about an hour north of Dryden, Ontario. Crossed the border late Friday and stayed in Ft. Francis at the Rainbow Motel overnight. Arrived at Thaddeus midday Saturday after stocking up on food in Dryden. Unbelieveably good fishing. Hired guide (Jeremy) for the first full day to show us the ropes and teach us to navigate the culvert and channels to the adjoining lakes. Best walleye fishing was in Ord and Moose on jigs in 10-12'. Smallmouth and northern pike fast and furious on the East end of Ord in the reeds. Bass mostly on white spinner baits, Northern liked mepps inlines and trolling w/spoons. Decent boats w/ yamaha 4-strokes. Cabins well equiped in fair condition. Bait available at resort reasonably priced. No phones or TV but wireless internet available in most cabins. Shore lunch 4 out of 5 days, all 'eyes of course!


                          Our Cabin                                                                   Eaters for lunch


            Derek 25" Walleye                         Dad's nice Smallie                              Derek's Pike

                   Grampa catches an eater                                            Grampa and Derek

            Dad's snagged muskie                       Got my hook back!                               Shorelunch

                      Derek playing seagull                                                 Kyle and Jeremy



Copyright © 2009 - 2017 Brad L. Spencer.  All rights reserved. Photos are used by permission only, any use of images posted here must conform to the current published Use of Content Policy as posted on