This Fish’n Canada episode brings Pete Bowman back to the province of Alberta. Surprising to us as I’m sure it is to a lot of our audience, Alberta is home to some of the biggest pike we’ve ever caught here at Fish’n Canada. Like last year, for example, with the Cooper Tire boys, when we caught several 45 – 50+ inch pike… proportions usually associated with the Northwest Territories or Alaska. Those memories are still fresh in Pete’s mind and he was certainly excited at the prospect bagging some more.
He’s fishing with Ray Kohlruss, Alberta guide extraordinaire who mostly concentrates on the Athabasca River, Northern Alberta, the Edmonton area as well as the lakes around Lac La Biche. This episode takes place on Pinehurst Lake in the Lakeland Provincial Park about 20 minutes from the town of Lac La Biche.
With hopes so high and from unbelievable past fishing experiences, it’s almost a disappointment if you don’t get a fish on the first few casts but that’s exactly what happened on the first leg of this trip. From the get-go, starting with weedbeds and weedy shorelines casting a variety of pike baits, Pete and Ray were getting hits, but all the pike are small. This can be a typical experience on pretty much any lake as usually the bigger fish are tucked into the absolute best locations… which is usually less than 5% of a lake.
Since the shoreline fishing wasn’t working out, Pete’s next thought is to look for off shore structure. As with all of our shoots where the boys can’t tow the Princecraft FNC1, they bring the portable Garmin along. Even if the boats they are using have electronics, it’s always a bonus if they can use the stuff they are more acquainted with. By moving away from the shoreline and using these electronics, they can and do, locate more classic structure like mid lake humps and deep extending points.
“In an attempt to isolate big pike” says Pete “and compensate for the deeper water that Ray and I are now fishing, we switched to large salt water jigs”.
This change in tactics and presentation seemed to make no difference at all; in fact, it had the opposite effect. Pike being pike, that is, crazy – they’ll try to eat whatever they think they can get between their teeth – especially the small ones, which seem to be the only ones around. But the Walleye are crushing these large baits… and these Walleye were big! This is some of the best casting for walleye Pete’s ever had and something he would never have tried had this situation not shown up.
But they were still looking for big pike.
“In the past”, Pete says, “Ang and I have sometimes gone with smaller walleye baits in a downsize-finesse attempt to bag giant pike… I mean the big stuff isn’t working so… why not? It’s almost like a double negative… Ray and I upsized the normal which didn’t work so now we’ll downsize the typical… don’t worry I’m confused too”!
With that move Pete bagged of course, the biggest Walleye of the trip… a real beauty. A bonus fish on a Pike trip for sure.
“At this point I thought we did it, I thought we figured out the big Pike pattern, I mean that fish fought like a tank… but the reality was we were not at all surprised. You’d think by then, I would have got the message. This was not going to be a show about big pike in Alberta. This was about an amazing walleye fishery in Pinehurst Lake Alberta”.
With just a few hours left to go, all the big Walleye the guys could handle they still needed to catch that big Pike.
“The only thing we haden’t done is troll” says Pete “so Ray & I decided to make a run over some of the deeper structures that we’ve been jigging for the last few hours and had a pretty good idea of the contours and features. If the Walleye are hugging the bottom, they maybe the Pike are suspended. And this time, we’re going to pull baits that the friggin’ Canadian Record Walleye wouldn’t tangle with… actually I take that back out there”.
BINGO… finally… we caught only big pike of the trip – a pretty respectable fish as well.
I suppose one could say, “better luck next year”, in terms of Pike. But, seriously??? This is one of the most successful walleye fishing trips ever! Best of all, Pete learned an important lesson: using big baits to catch big fish isn’t just for Bass in Florida, Lake Trout in Great Bear or late fall Georgian Bay Muskies. It worked so well on those Western Walleye that Pete will definitely be bringing that tactic back home… ALWAYS LEARNING!!!
GETTIN’ THERE with RAM TRUCKS
To get to today’s awesome Walleye and Pike fishing I first flew from Toronto to Edmonton Alberta.
From there I picked up a Ram & drove north-east on road 28. I next turned north on road 36 to the town of Lac La Biche and then on to my fantastic accommodations at the BCM Inn.
My end fishing destination was about a 20-minute drive to Pinehurst Lake in the Lakeland Provincial Recreation Area.