Over those years I’ve learned to classify my fishing trips into good, excellent, and outstanding (there are no bad ones), and the last category is rare indeed. But I had a long talk with an area resident angler who’d had a trip that was a real memory maker. If you’re looking for a hotspot of a life time spot to go, you might look into it. They call this hotspot Great Slave Lake
Great Slave Lake lies far north in the Northwest Territories, and its justly famed among the fishing fraternity, especially by pike fishermen. For the record, it’s the second largest lake in the Territories, the deepest lake in North America, and the ninth largest lake in the world. It’s a typical Canadian lake with transparent blue water, and evergreens and white barked birch growing along most of its shores. In short, a lovely place for outdoorsmen. It also has a huge population of monster pike, and that’s what drew this angler north – he loves pike fishing and seeks these big, toothy predators above all others
The adventurer and two friends flew north to the little town of Yellow Knife, and booked in at the Taltson Bay Big Pike Lodge staying in a rustic cabin big enough to hold eight people. Anything can happen, weather-wise, that far north, but they lucked into perfect weather, sunny, and warm with 82-degree days and cool nights.
“We were after the big ones” he said, “ so we did our fishing with 7-foot St. Croix heavy action rods, Abu Garcia Revo winch Reels, 65-pound test braided line and titanium leaders. At that, our gear sometimes wasn’t enough. We broke four rods on big fish trying to go under the boat.”
Their days were predictable. They used a guide the first day, which was smart, to find out what the fish were hitting, and where they were likely to be. Then on most other days, they fished alone, using GPS to keep from getting lost in the vast lake with its maze of islands. “We would start fishing at 8:30 until we stopped at 1 p.m. for lunch, then fish until 6 p.m. for supper, then fish again until midnight and sometimes later.” he said. “The sun would set about 10:30 p.m., but it would never get dark and you could see to fish all night.”
They caught most of their fish on Grinders (HD spinnerbaits), but fish on Great Slave have something anglers call “the midnight bite.” At that time the anglers would begin trolling with Bulldogs, the only time when fish would hit trolled lures. One day just for a change, they took a two hour boat ride upriver on one of the lake tributaries, stopped at a waterfall and rapid with swirling white water and spent some time casting. They caught more pike, but also four walleyes. “We kept those for a shore lunch.” he said. It was a classic shore lunch too, one I’ve enjoyed a number of times myself. Fried walleye fillets over a campfire, a big can of baked beans, bread and butter and coffee. Sounds simple, but that meal is amazingly tasty after long hours of fishing.
What did they catch? They found the fish holding in weed beds close to deep water and also against wind blown rocks. Their final tally was an amazing 753 pike, including 80 “masters” over 41 inches. And since regulations demanded fishing with a single barbless hook, they released nearly all to fight again. “It was the best fishing trip I ever made.” the lucky fisherman said. If you’re interested, try Googling the Taltson Bay Big Pike Lodge or equally Google Great Slave Lake Resorts. You’ll have plenty of choices.
It’s worth pointing out to anglers who aren’t so dedicated to pike that the lake holds huge lake trout, too. Fish to 40 pounds plus. These huge fish can be caught in water just 10-20 feet deep with heavy spoons, and are great fighters. The 40-pounders might be 50 years old!
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Hooks & bullets
• Canoers and kayakers can help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Ohio's State Wild & Scenic Rivers Program by participating in an Ohio DNR Paddle Ohio event along the Maumee State Scenic River at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 18. Previous canoeing experience is highly recommended, and all minors must be accompanied by a parent/legal guardian. Please make arrangements with the program leader for center riders or special needs. Participants will meet at Weirs Rapids Access at 21095 Range Line Rd in Bowling Green and pre-register for the event by visiting reservations.woodcountyparksdistrict.org.programs.
• It's always good to carry some sort of defense when hiking in wild country that holds bears, cougars, etc. and even in city parks or streets when jogging. A company e-mailed recently to say it has a pepper spray that's very effective in stopping an attack at least 90 % of the time, instead of the more usual 50 to 70 percent for such sprays. They call it Defense Alert Device 2 by Tigerlight (Google), and say it can also send an alert to emergency contacts and anyone within a one-mile radius of your location who has the DAD app. Might be worth a look.
• Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS) wants to hear from boaters about their experience with ethanol fuels in an online survey at https:/bit.ly/2JM4AS5. The sort 13-question survey is an effort to gain an understanding about how ethanol fuels are affecting recreational boating this summer.
Dick Martin is a free-lance writer from Shelby. Reach him at [email protected] You can also visit his blog at outdoorswithmartin.com.