There are not a lot of things that a single country can state ownership or dole out “guaranteed” bragging rights to… let’s face it, the world is becoming better at everything it does.
In terms of fishing though… ha, Canada has got a done deal… it’s the majestic and powerful Lake Trout. Nowhere else in the world will you find such a vast array of color, shape, and of course size, as you will with Lake Trout in Canada.
This fishing Mecca has posted, held and broke more world record Lakers than anywhere else on the globe! So it’s pretty obvious this episode is all about Lake Trout… big… nasty… carnivorous… Lakers.
Pete travels to Lake Athabasca which straddles the Saskatchewan Alberta border and sits just south of the Northwest Territories. He’ll be fishing in the Saskatchewan portion. This massive body of water is the eighth largest lake in Canada, with 7,935 square kilometres of fishing surface, 2,140 kilometres of shoreline and up to 124 meters deep. This is a virtual ocean compared to the lakes you usually see Ang & Pete on.
Here’s a stat for you: the biggest Lake Trout ever pulled out of Athabasca weighed an astounding 102 pounds… the largest ever recorded! Unfortunately it wasn’t taken on a rod and reel “but” it does give you an idea as to this trophy fishery.
Cap’n Bruce, host and owner of Lakers Unlimited where we are filming, has assured Pete that although he won’t catch any 100+ pound Trout, he does guarantee him a trophy. And that’s what this lodge is known for.
Ever since the completion of ice out, which was only seven or eight days before Pete’s arrival, Cap’n Bruce and his guests have been going out, weather permitting, to a drop-off a few kilometres south of the lodge, waiting for a particular moment in time, which, by the way has NOT happened as of yet. That moment is a bug hatch, when the water comes alive with insects.
KEEPING AN EYE ON CONDITIONS
By combining a drift using the wind, with a touch of control from a tiller Merc, Pete fluttered a big bright Spoon as well as swam a gigantic Tube jig up and down the dropoff to efficiently cover it for hundreds of yards. With the water being so clear, these Lakers will easily see the bait’s bright colors and or the flash.
“My first Trout was a good one” says Pete “but not what I came here for”
Weather conditions in the extreme north can change almost instantly. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. For Pete it was a great thing… the nasty sky started to break so he moved out to a big flat with pockets of soft bottom, perfect for a bug hatch and a known spot for giant Trout.
“What” do tiny insects have to do with boating a 40 pound monster trout??? It’s called the food chain. The little fish gather to eat the insects… and the big fish… gather to eat the little fish…
Pete’s move proved to be the right one. Bugs were on the lakes surface and flying all around the boat… perfect timing.
Here are some other interesting Lake Trout facts….
One of the interesting things about the size of lake trout in deep, cold lakes is that they grow very slowly up to a point, then they spurt exponentially. Simply put, they don’t get big eating bugs, so when they finally get big enough to eat other fish, they really start growing. So taking big fish out makes no sense if you value a trophy fishery. No matter where you’re fishing, take pictures of your prized catch and put ’em back.
On big, deep water lakes, there are “Phenotypes” of Lake Trout meaning their appearance and shape are different from each other… it’s the same species of fish, just a different look.
Environmental conditions can influence the color or hue of a Laker. For instance tea colored water will produce darker fish and lighter gin-clear water like I’m in today, will produce lighter colored fish.
The shallower the Lake Trout live in, the lighter the skin color and finally, Big lakes = Big fish.
Pete trolled big wobbling plugs with 4 – 8 ounces of weight on this flat. The combination of all that weight plus the front end of the diving bait constantly biting into the rocks, mud and whatever else that lays at the bottom, makes the fish think of a digging Whitefish or Burbot… a delicious meal for a hungry Trout.
Pete had an outstanding outing on Athabasca. He found his insect hatch which was being fed on by baitfish, and they were being fed by big Lake Trout. This is a perfect example of keeping an eye on the conditions and then taking advantage of it.
GETTIN’ THERE with RAM TRUCKS
To get to today’s amazing Lake Trout fishing, Pete first flew from Toronto International Airport to Ft McMurray Alberta. From there he caught a plane that took him to the runway adjacent to Lakers Unlimited Lodge on Lake Athabasca in Saskatchewan.