June 20-26, 2015. My father and I love pursuing big pike. We only count the ones over 41”. We believed we could catch a lot of those on the Great Slave Lake. Our trip to Taltson Bay Big Pike Lodge was rewarding and exciting to say the least. After arriving a little late due to a forgotten passport (go figure), we were treated to a nice lunch before we went out for our first stint on Great Slave Lake with our guide Garet (Don’s son). Even though it was very windy and rough we chose to fish into the wind where it was blowing baitfish against rock banks. Before the end of the first day we caught 5 fish over 41 inches weighing between 26 and 29 pounds.
Our second day was Father's Day. What a great opportunity to spend the day fishing with your dad. It was partly cloudy in the low 70s wind was out of the northwest. For the day, we caught 12 fish over 41 inches. The largest was 43 inches and 29 pounds that evening my dad caught a 41 inch 21 pound pike on 6-pound monofilament with no leader right off the dock. Nothing like sipping scotch and catching pike that size sitting on the dock in chairs. We had Thanksgiving dinner that night along with homemade blueberry pie (thank you Helena).
Our third day started calm with light drizzle. The action was slow in the morning but picked up around 11 AM. The sky cleared and after a fresh walleye lunch we went right back out. We caught a few fish over 41 inches but nothing spectacular. That evening, after dinner, we went out and fished the channel. On successive casts, we caught these fish: 42 inches 26 pounds, 41 inches 23 pounds, 43 ½ inches 29 pounds, and 44 inches 31 pounds and 42 ½ inches 28 pounds. Total for the day: 11 pike over 41 inches.
Day four was sunny and hot. The wind was light and variable out of the south. We caught several walleye in the morning for tomorrow’s lunch. My dad caught a 42 inch 27 pound pike late in the morning and right before lunch I caught a 45 inch 36 pound monster! The back was over 6 inches across with sides over a foot tall. After our lunch ritual of fresh walleye (thank you Aggie), we headed back out and tried some of the outer islands. Went to Thubin Bay and had an incredible late afternoon of fishing. Fishing in 3 foot of water with weeds almost to the surface, you could see the pike stacked on the fringe of the current. We used top water and shallow running tackle. It was so awesome because you could watch the fish shoot up and take the lure often jumping out of the water. We landed one more over 41 inches after dinner. Final count for the day was 14 pike over 41 inches with 2 over 30 pounds.
Day five was partly cloudy with a north wind. The wind actually helped in the morning and we caught quite a few fish. We brought in four over 41 inches: a 42 inch 29 pound, a 41 inch 22 pound, a 43 inch 31 pound, and one 43 inch 33 pounds. The wind picked up and clouds rolled in while we were eating our walleye lunch. Even though it the lake was churned up, we still decided to go back to Thubin Bay. What a great decision!! Here was the afternoon catch: 44 inches 35 pounds, 42 inches 33 pounds, 41 inches 29 pounds, 41 inches 26 pounds, 42 inches 28 pounds, plus countless fish between 36 and 40 inches. Garet had some camp items to attend to so I decided to guide my dad that evening. He ended up hooking a huge 45 inch 33 pound pike!! What a way to end the day. Total: 10 over 41”
Day six was our best day. Caught 23 walleye between 16 and 26 inches in the morning along with five pike over 41 inches: 41 inch 29 pounds, 43 and 30 pounds, 41 inch 23 pounds, 42 inch 27 pounds and 44 inch 31 pounds. After stuffing ourselves with fresh walleye, off to Thubin Bay we went. Once again, incredible fishing in such shallow water. 42 inch 32 pounds, 43 inch 31 pounds, 41 inch 27 pounds, 44 inch 34 pound and 45” 32 pounds. Not to mention over 40 fish in the 34 to 40 inch range. Total for the day was well over 100. Over 41’s--10
On the seventh day, we woke to SMOKE! Overnight, strong south winds brought smoke from forest fires over the lake. Very smoky but the pike were lying in the weed beds in the morning. We caught a 42 inch 34 pound pike then a 26-inch and a 28-inch walleye. After we found the pocket of walleyes, we fished the perimeter looking for the big boy who would be feeding on them. Sure enough, right before lunch I hooked into a 44-½ inch, 37-pound pig. The belly looked like he had a melon in it. Perfect way to end the morning. After lunch, you guessed it, back to Thubin Bay. The water had come up a few degrees and the fish had relocated to deeper weed beds. No problem: 44 inch 31 pounds, 42 inch 30 pounds, 42 1/2 inch 34 pounds and 43 inch 29 pounds. Plus 15 in the 34 to 40 range. After dinner, we went back out for the last time and caught two more fish over 41 inches. The biggest concern was the lingering smoke and the current ground hold for all air traffic out of Yellowknife. Total for the last day: 6 over 41”.
Our one-week total over 41” was 68 fish. Total of all fish caught had to be over 500. As I reflect on the experience, the most enjoyable part was being treated like family. Granted, we were the only two in camp that week, but from the moment we stepped off the plane, our experience had feeling of being welcomed back home. Don, was amazingly accommodating, including helping rig up a way to use my CPAP machine. Garet, Helena and Aggie treated us like uncles or cousins. We even went on a dinner picnic to an island on the river where we had fire-cooked steaks! We ate together, laughed together, drank beer together, and told stories. Never felt like a guest! Garet is a great young man who knows the lake. Plus, he was able to teach us about the cultures and way of life for the indigenous people. So enlightening.
Tackle. My dad loves to experiment and he had dozens of different options in his bag of tricks. Top water, silver minnows, steelhead lures, etc. Most caught fish. I tried a couple of large shallow divers, but all my fish were caught on a Mepps.
Look forward to our next trip. Thank you to the Balsillie family and Aggie for all the great memories.