If there was ever a guarantee in fishing, a sure fire one would be that Canada is home to the best Northern Pike fishing in the world. They can be found in every province and they can grow to monstrous proportions.
For this episode Angelo headed to the province of Saskatchewan and in particular Lake Athabasca, a water body known for its giant Pike. It was the first week of July, a time when most people think Pike are setting up in deep water but remember, this is northern Saskatchewan and “everything” is much later in the world of fishing. Add to that, this winter was long and drawn out with a very late spring. His ultimate destination was Lakers Unlimited situated on Johnston Island.
Once settled in and after a quick talk with lodge owner operator Captain Bruce, Ang set out for Grouse Bay situated in Grouse Island. The fishing reports were very positive… Grouse had a bunch of fish.
As Ang proceeded into the bay he tried the outer lead-in shores just in case the fish were moving out from the spawn… but with no luck here he knew they were still in the bay; that’s a good thing.
Upon entering the bay he caught what most would consider great fish but since Ang was looking for a couple of giants, these were just warm-up fish.
“When I head into a big bay like Grouse knowing there are huge fish around” says Ang “I usually have a variety of baits to work with; a topwater like Mighty Mo or a big Buzzbait, a mid runner like a Swimbait or Spinnerbait and maybe a bottom bait like a big Bucktail Jig or Giant Tube”.
It didn’t take Ang long to figure out that Swimbaits were the lure of choice, it was just a matter of refining which style.
“I started out with a weighted Castiac Swimbait made in California simply because the finish on them is incredible” says Ang “the problem was they were too heavy for the water I was in (around 4-6 feet deep). I was able to keep the bait where I needed to which was about 1 – 2 feet below the surface, but in order to keep it there I had to reel at a frantic pace… good enough for smaller more active fish but a bit too fast for the big ones.
“I found a small compartment of our Swimbait box with about 5 or 6 baits called Big Hammer (also made in California). They’re an un-weighted Swimbait that can be rigged with either a jig head or a weedless wide gapped hook. Since I needed something light I went with a slightly weighted hook of ¼ ounce. This would be just enough to act as a keel and allow a nice high riding bait at a moderate pace.”
With that bait change, and Angelo finding the “perfect weedbed” he proceeded to catch some absolute monsters… fish in the 50” range. Luckily and as if it was perfect timing, while he was using the last shredded bait in his arsenal, the biggest fish smashed it.
“What a trip” says Ang “giant post spawn Pike on crazy looking Californian Swimbaits”
GETTIN’ THERE with RAM TRUCKS
To get to today’s unbelievable Northern Pike fishing I first flew from Toronto to Ft McMurray Alberta. From there I caught a smaller plane that flew into the runway adjacent to Lakers Unlimited Lodge on Lake Athabaska in Saskatchewan.
While flying across Athabasca Sand Dunes National Park we came across this amazing sight. This park makes up the largest active sand dune region north of the 58th degree, and it’s a sight to behold from above. It’s like a huge desert, and uniquely Canadian.
Lakers Unlimited Lodge on Johnston Island was established in 1995 with a couple of wall tents, a single cabin, and an open fire for cooking. It’s evolved into a modern multi-building fishing destination with all the amenities you could ask for.