Image showing Mitch hold fish, white lake entrance sign, and the fish cleaning station.

Fishing White Lake – a day on Clay Bay

Today’s post comes from Mitch Kostecki, Assistant Superintendent at White Lake Provincial Park.

It was a beautiful day in the middle of July. The sun was shining, the lake was calm, and it was a comfortable 18 C (64 F) out.

Today was the first day that I attempted to fish the north end of White Lake, alongside my father, girlfriend, and loyal dog Marley.

Although a portion of White Lake resides inside the provincial park, a majority (around 80-90%) of the lake lies north of the highway and outside of the provincial park boundary.

Fishing Clay Bay

We had the boat all packed and ready to go. We left from the boat launch at White Lake Provincial Park around 9:00 a.m.

Entrance sign at White Lake. Multiple white poles holding the name sign and to the left a large fish art piece. The park which Mitch is fishing at.

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

The cruise took us about 30 minutes in my dad’s 17 foot (5 m) boat, but it felt much quicker than that. Along the way to the northern end of the lake we saw several Blue Herons, Cormorants, Pelicans, and even some fish rising to grab a few bugs off the surface of the water.

Great Blue Heron in flight
Great Blue Heron in flight

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

The first bite

Joe siting in the boat with a 14” White Lake Walleye
Joe with a 14” White Lake Walleye

My father and I started to take out the rods and tackle getting everything ready for fishing, while my girlfriend was on snack duty.

We put on some 3 oz bottom bouncers with small colourful spinner blades and trailer hooks on and then proceeded to start trolling in about 7-10 feet (2-3 m) of water.

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

They just keep coming

The first few Walleye (pickerel) that we landed were in the 14” – 16” (35-40 cm) range, a perfect size for eating. Most of the fish caught that day were caught on either perch-coloured or copper-coloured spinner blades with a white twister-tail, trailed behind a 3oz. bottom-bouncer.

We were also able to jig up a few Walleye with some chartreuse and perch-coloured Jigflies, but more fish were caught with the spinner & bottom bouncer combo today.

Photo of Pier with a 14" White Lake Walleye as Marley, the dog, looks on.
Pier with a 14” White Lake Walleye… Marley approves of this catch

Although we did catch a handful of smaller Walleye in the 10” – 12” (25-30 cm) range, we released those smaller fish for them to breed over the coming years to preserve and maintain the excellent fishery that is White Lake.

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

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

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

One must always be thankful for such great fishing opportunities and must know that to maintain such a prominent fishery, anglers must do their part to abide by the rules and regulations set out by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to keep these healthy populations of fish alive.

Clean up time

It was now time to head back to the launch and clean our well-deserved prize. A nice feature that White Lake Provincial Park has to offer is a fish-cleaning station where anglers can bring in their fish to fillet in a clean and organized space.

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

The facility offers two large table-style cutting boards, hoses for easy clean up, a hand washing station, and a freezer to discard bagged-fish remains to minimize the smell.

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

After the fish were all cleaned up, the only thing left to do was enjoy our day’s work for supper. We returned to our campsite and got everything prepared for a nice meal.

Tonight’s supper consisted of cajun-coated walleye bites, wild brown rice, and fresh peppers on the side. I would say that this was a perfect end to a perfect day of fishing at White Lake Provincial Park.

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