In this Fish’n Canada episode, Ang threw out a question to the audience that went:
“IF you could choose only one of the following, which would it be, catching only 1 to 2 fish per outing BUT, they’re all huge trophy proportioned fish, OR, would you rather catch fish, after fish, after fish… numbers beyond belief… but… no giants”?
“Trust me” he continued “it’s a tough decision to make”.
Having a feeling there’s a pretty even split in answers among our audience we also believe, there’s a number of you that will say, “well that’s just ridiculous boys, I choose both… I want it all!”
Thank god it’s a hypothetical question!
AND… the reason for Ang’s question was, this episode equalled the perfect balance for both scenarios. We were on one trip, seeking the same species, on two different lakes, each with its own distinct personality.
Our intended species is Lake Trout, although, of course, we would have taken any incidental catches thrown our way.
As well, we’ve brought along a prime candidate to have a live experience with the “big fish” versus “a whole lotta’ fish” question …the heir apparent himself, Niki V.
“Just getting out travelling and fishing with these two after a couple of years of covid lockdown is good enough for me,” said Nik “the fishing will be a bonus”.
Now, Nik’s not new to angling by any means, however, he’s also not an “experienced old goat” like Ang and Pete. Which also means he’s not as set in his ways.
We were hoping at the end of this trip, he “might” be able to give us a definitive answer as to what he likes better…one or two giants or catching normal-sized fish all day long.
In the world of trophy fish, Nik is a pretty lucky young man. Back in 2016 when he was 13, he experienced the fishing day of a lifetime… catching gigantic Lake Trout in a tiny, secluded mountain lake.
He’s also been on trips where he and Pete’s kids Hunter and Cole caught everything from panfish to small Bass. Those fishing trips were all about numbers.
In keeping with the theme of this show, Nik would be returning to his trophy hunting grounds, Long Mountain Lake with his high-priced guide, Ang. But first, we decided that the entire team would all fly into an outpost cabin on Netson Lake for a bit of roughing it in the wild.
It was 50 air miles from Northern Rockies Lodge, headquarters for today’s episode. They said it was loaded with lake trout, bull trout and grayling… 50 to 100 fish days are the norm.
Nik had never been to an outpost before. The last time he roughed it on a fishing trip was at a World Carp Cup event in Italy. Of course, when travelling with Grandpa he toured the Italian countryside, sampled all flavours of pasta and all the desserts to boot… ok so maybe it wasn’t all roughing it.
So for this BC, Netson Lake outpost trip, Pete and Nik were going to sample the fishing in a small Princecraft/Mercury rig. A diamond in the… what’s the opposite of rough? Because it was gorgeous here.
“While the fellas were out fishing,” says Ang “I stayed back to help set up camp. As well, camp guide Terry and I were going to attempt to catch some fish at the creek mouth near camp and prepare a shorelunch for the boys. All I can say is, I can’t wait, because if we succeed, what you’re going to see will be a first on the Fish’n Canada show folks, I guarantee it”.
“Since this is a new lake for us,” says Pete “I definitely wanted our portable fishfinder/GPS Garmin combo available. Everything from seeing fish to dropping waypoints to boat speed would tell me lots”.
A fifty-mile airplane ride with this out your window!
“And because there’s Grayling and Bull Trout along with all sizes of Lake Trout in the system,” continues Pete “my plan was to take a bunch of small Yo-Zuri and Hardcore minnowbaits, and cast and/or troll them, on light action rods and reels and hope that Nik would catch loads of fish.”
Yo-Zuri Pins Minnows and Hardcore Minnow Flat 70SP’s were the deal for Pete and Nik. They trolled them on spinning gear with light Yo-Zuri line.
We started out not too far from the outpost cabin. There’s a gorgeous incoming river and a beautiful cliff wall. Looked like as good a place as any to wet a line.
With Pete and Nik having at it on their trolling bite, Ang and Terry caught some gorgeous fish and were in preparation mode for shorelunch.
Terry cleaning Arctic Grayling… with a jack knife as he forgot his fillet knife (yes we razzed him!)
Now, remember when earlier we said this will be a first if it happens… Well, that’s because we were having an ultra-rare feed of Arctic Grayling.
In pretty well every Grayling destination we’ve ever travelled to, they’re a protected species. But here at Netson outpost, Arctic Grayling can be kept and consumed… and from what Terry says, it’s delicious!
“I’ve got a feeling,” said Ang “that Pete and Nik were gonna’ be impressed”!
Pete and Nik quickly got onto a solid numbers pattern for Lake Trout … and… it was an odd one.
It seemed like the deeper they trolled, the more they got their butts handed to them.
However, if they got right up into the shallows… remember they were fishing for Lakers there in the middle of June, THAT’s where all the catchable fish were. They weren’t big, but they were stacked in there… STRANGE!
Nik had a blast, fish after fish after fish. It was then that he realized the difficulty in deciding which he’d prefer, quantity or quality. Right about that time, he was leaning towards quantity.
With half a Fish’n Canada episode in the can, the boys FINALLY made it back to the cabin for shore lunch. Let’s just conclude this session with a crew of extremely happy campers, with their bellies full of pan-fried Arctic Grayling.
LONG MOUNTAIN LAKE PORTION
With everyone’s bellies full of beautiful pan-fried Grayling, and after a nice cozy sleep back at Northern Rockies Lodge, we had one more short day left of our trip. Urs mentioned a return trip to Long Mountain Lake for trophy Lake Trout.
The weather was just not cooperating at all. According to the Garmin, it seems that all of the fish are hunkered down in the deep valleys between all of the underwater humps and, of course, with the winds howling down the lake, trying to stay on top of them is near impossible. Boat control was extremely difficult. This normally equals a tough fishing day.
Check out the pod of big Lakers Ang found with the Garmin on its traditional screen!
“Wow this sure is a lot different than the last time I fished here,” says Nik “it was colder and a lot harder to get my bait down to where Grandpa said the fish were. I don’t know, maybe Pete was right, you can’t beat catching fish after fish even if they aren’t that big”.
No sooner did Nik utter those words than he suddenly set the hook into a massive Laker. Not as big as his first visit here years ago but still, a trophy to most people.
“Have I told you how much fun it is catching giant fish,” were his new words from his mouth, “Wow this was a blast”!
So when we asked Nik what he thought about catching loads of fish but no giants, he said he loved it! We had to believe him since he and Pete had an absolute riot together.
As well, every Netson Lake Outpost guest we talked to at the lodge all said the same thing, “we’re definitely coming back again, we caught so many fish, it was insane”!
And we think you can tell by the look on Nik’s face when he was either hauling in his big Laker or just helping Ang get his biggie into the boat (feature image), the excitement level was off the charts. Quite frankly, we don’t care what anybody says, you just can’t beat catching trophy fish!
There’s probably not an angler out there that can answer with total certainty which experience is the best.
As far as we’re concerned, a nice combination of both quantity and quality is the best possible scenario.
“Throw in Ang and Pete as my guides,” says Nik “and baby it just doesn’t get any better!”
BC Long Mountain Lake
N 59 18.124, W 126 39.243
Today’s hotspot is off the side of an underwater hump on Long Mountain Lake in northern British Columbia.
The waypoint gets you there. This little lake is so isolated that it’s not even charted. Not to worry, the waypoint is all you need here.
Nik and Ang made a gallant effort of staying as close to this hotspot as they could considering the high winds made boat control difficult.
Vertical jigging big heavy baits was pretty much the only option here as they were concentrating on single, deep fish that they could see on the Garmin.
Since they were hitting water approximately 30 to 40 plus feet deep, they found the traditional screen on their portable Garmin was the best option.
Trust us, when a 20 to 25-pound Lake Trout shows up on a traditional screen, you’ll know it!
Drifting and/or back-trolling slowly, and then hovering over the fish they located, gave them their best opportunity of hooking into a giant.
DEPTH: 30 – 40 Feet
PRESENTATION: Drifting or Holding with Motor
BAITS: Big Swimbaits, Jigs
Gettin’ There BC Northern Rockies Lodge – WESTERN LAKE TROUT… FROM TROPHIES TO NUMBERS
To get to this episode’s fantastic Lake Trout fishing, Ang, Pete and Nik flew from Toronto to Vancouver. From there they took a private and direct flight on Urs’s beautiful King Air to Ft Nelson. Northern Rockies Lodge is now offering this direct flight from Vancouver allowing guests more time fishing and less time travelling.
From Ft Nelson, the remainder of the trip was a drive along the scenic Alaskan HWY to milepost 462 at Northern Rockies Lodge on the shores of Muncho Lake.
From there it was two beautiful flights into Long Mountain Lake and into Net-son Lake, located in the Muskwa Range at the very northern tip of the Rocky Mountains. Both offer outstanding fishing opportunities.