TEMAGAMI, Ontario — Known far and wide as a significant site for trophy lake trout, Lake Temagami is good, but not the big fish producer it was at one time.
But it is far from fished out, a fact that is proven almost daily by Wayne Yarrow, a year-round island resident and highly skilled fisherman.
Indeed, Yarrow is as good as one can be at pulling his share, and that of 10 others, of lake trout from the depths of this fabled lake.
But get this: Unlike most lake trout anglers, Yarrow is stuck in time, a real live throwback. Most modern day lake trout chasers have given in to the latest gizmos and gadgets, fishing the deep water with gunnels loaded with all kinds of machinery and electronics, stuff that dangles from electric downriggers, blinking screens that tell temperature and data from fathoms below, and a basket load of the latest lures, scents, and anything ells that might tip the scales.
Not Yarrow. He fishes the way he’s fished for the last 50 years and the way a couple of generations before him fished these same waters, maybe catching some of the same fish, a remote, but real, possibility because lake trout can and do live for decades.
And, too, a fish caught by Yarrow is a lucky fish because it is more than likely going to be gently released to grow even larger. Yarrow himself may have hooked the same fish trout more than once. Sure, he keeps a trout now and then, after all, a guy’s got to eat and what better to lunch on than a baked slab of trout. But most go back to bite and fight again.
Yarrow is a wire liner, the simplest and most direct way to connect fisherman to trout. It’s a lot more like fishing than waiting for a fish to take the lure from a downrigger and it involves a lot more participation.
Yarrow uses 15-pound single strand, steel wire, a flashy spoon, and maybe a piece of squiggly white plastic to give the package just a hint of extra movement, something that seems to attract attention 100 feet below the surface.
I recalled reading and hearing about wire lining for lake trout and it sounded like a good mix of fun work. Kind of like paying for your fish with sweat equity. I jumped at the opportunity to try it when Yarrow pulled up to our dock offering an afternoon of fishing. We made a long jaunt through a tangle of channels and flooded waterways into an even more remote Cross Lake where he had found considerable success in recent days.
It was indeed and informational trip as Yarrow recounted his best days and flashed a few pictures of some very impressive trophies, giant lakers he had caught and released.
“I fish the bottom,” announced Yarrow, directing me to let enough line out to allow my spoon to dance its way to the depths.
He spun out 600 feet, then 700 feet, and even more wire, a lot of steel and a lot to rewind when needed. It’s old school, but wire is still king in Yarrow’s text book.
Now 66 years young, Yarrow is still fully charged when it comes to fishing his beloved Lake Temagami, just as he was 50 years ago when as a teenager he discovered the challenge of fishing the bottom for giant lakers.
Pulling wire line, of course.