Vic Karlson's report from July.

An update from our trip w/e 7/23/11. Another year with anxiety after our gear (rods this time) did not arrive on a direct flight from Chicago. We celebrated near midnight under the sunny sky in Yellowknife as the cabbie delivered our misplaced musky sticks. We arrived in camp to find just Don and his wife there, the staff would be boating in from Fort Resolution later in the day. After a quick breakfast we headed out and found the pike to be just as hungry as they were last year. Gene Somenek, Mark Shiels, and myself landed 140 pike over 40" during the week. Our biggest fish was 47" and we all caught at least one 46. Sharing the lodge with us were two excellent fisherman from Minnesota, Craig and his 12 year old son Jake. They bettered our totals by landing 105 trophies with Jake taking a 47 inch beauty to edge out his Dad for big fish honors. They also caught many nice walleyes up to 26" trolling the river and off the island rocks. Best baits were Johnson Silver Minnows, Grinders, Bulldawgs, and assorted spinnerbaits. Fish were spread out around the islands and throughout the Taltson river itself. The fish were brutal on tackle and people, I broke one extra heavy rod landing a trophy and blew up a new Shimano reel. Also felt the pleasure of a treble pushed into my shin past the hook bend with the brute still attached to it. Maybe next year I'll try full body armor to protect myself better. Had fun trading stories with the young guides and spent a great night in Calgary on the way home. We will return again next year in persuit of the elusive 50" that Gene swears he had on until he didn't. Vic Karlson


REPORT FOR WEEK 8/27 - 9/3/11 By Dale Shinavar

REPORT FOR WEEK 8/27 - 9/3/11 By Dale Shinavar

This year our group of 6 was low on experience but high on enthusiasm. It included one 2nd timer and two newbies to pike fishing. Before going to Taltson these three had caught one 34" pike between them! Many Taltson veterans have had to graduate from entry level pike pursuit to the next level - Northern Wisconsin/Minnesota, then Ontario, then Manitoba or Saskatchewan before ever arriving at Great Slave. Of course now these guys are now totally ruined and will likely turn down offers to head north on a one day drive to southern Ontario for some 30 inchers and a chance at a 38 incher. It is pretty funny to see one of these new guys catch a 38 incher within the first 15 minutes on Day One fishing and rush to take a photo. By the end of the trip that same guy is trying to avoid a mid-thirties fish attacking his Grinder at boat side!

This was by far the wettest and coolest week we have had. We got blown off the lake for two days (went upriver) and put away the sunglasses for almost the entire week. Of course the pike loved this and were cooperative all week. We caught 74 trophies spread though the expected locations - the weed beds, lake side of the islands, rock points, and the river channel. Our biggest fish were caught early in the trip (49", 47", 46”) night trolling a Bull Dawg "Pounder" in the river channel. There may have more caught this way but we only had a couple of these monstrosities and they were destroyed by day two.

A major trip highlight was a most unusual wildlife sighting. While fishing just north of Beck's our guide saw a couple of "moose" on the distant lake shore bluff. As we motored a little closer it became clear that these were not moose. Legs were too short and not tall enough, but too big to be bears. There in front of us (and not fleeing) was a group of 8 musk ox. Musk ox have never been sighted this far south of their normal Arctic tundra range, but here they were. We got some photos and they are posted here.

Another oddity was a trophy “ no spots” pike. There is a photo posted on this one. It did not have the silver/blue color of the blue pike, but more of a bronze/gray color of a musky.

Compliments to our cooks (Tracy & Katya) for excellent food. And thanks to our 3 guides. A basic requirement of Taltson guiding (because there are so many big fish caught), is that fisherman are not landing the fish. Especially inexperienced pike anglers. By the end the week there were only minor finger injuries... no super glue or duct tape needed this time around. No serious hook extractions either. All in all another great Taltson experience.


Third week of July report

We had a really special trip to Talston Bay the 3rd week of July.

It was hot, but tolerable. Mornings were cool but by Noon the Sun came out and it really warmed up.

This was our first trip to Talston Bay and we shared the camp with Vic Karlson, Gene Somenek, and Mark Shiels. All great guys and I hope I have a chance to fish with them again someday.

Fortunately for us they were returning veterans so they gave us a few pointers and sent us off in the right direction.

The wind blew almost every day from the East. A couple of days it really whipped up but it didn’t really affect our fishing much.

We seemed to have rain squalls blow by us every day. It never really rained that hard on us. We only suited up on a couple of occasions.

The majority of the fish we caught came from the channels massive weed beds between the camp and tower island. It’s not hard to miss.

I would guess the water temperature to be around 70 degrees. Plenty warm to take a dip.

The water was not deep around the weeds maybe 5 to 6 feet at the most and the weeds were really in great shape. Lots of oxygen coming off those weeds and lots of bait fish hanging around them.

The perfect storm for big Pike! If you got to shallow you caught little fish.

One evening the guides decided they had had enough of the hot weather so they tried their hand at water skiing. It was good humor watching them try to get big Dean up on 2 skis.

After about 10 attempts and nothing to show for all of the work they finally gave up. We finally went back out fishing.

The land of the midnight sun was truly that. We fished every evening until at least 11 PM. One evening we fished until 12:30, and ran out of gas trolling back to the lodge.

Fortunately we were able to shake enough fuel out of the tank and into the line to get the motor to fire up and run the remaining block back to camp.

At midnight you could have still read a newspaper outside it was that light. I am not sure when it got light in the mornings as I was so tired from fishing for 14 – 15 hours I usually slept until 7.

Fishing was good in the evenings, the heat went down but the mosquitoes really came out. Without bug spray you couldn’t fish after 10 PM.

The flies were really bad during the day when the sun was out, which was almost every day. After lunch they really got pesky, I’m talking about the ankle biters.

You needed long pants and socks as bug spray didn’t seem to help that much with the flies. The Bulldogs (horse flies) were something to behold.

At times we literally had hundred in the boat at a time. For some reason the guy at the back of the boat running the motor, which was usually me, had the joy of dealing with most of the flies.

I guess they liked the heat coming off the motor. The Bulldogs didn’t bite unless you got wet. Once wet however get ready! Usually around 9 PM they all disappeared.

Let’s talk about the fishing! It was truly one of the best places I have ever been for big pike. I have no idea just how many fish we caught in a day. A hundred plus I would guess.

I can tell you however we caught several linkers.

My son who was 12, caught 6 – 44”, 4 – 45” and 2 – 47” monsters! The biggest I managed was 44” which I caught 4.

Needless to say there was some serious ribbing going on at the end of this trip. I think he reminds me almost weekly how he managed to school me on big fish.

The fish were concentrated in the Cabbage Beds. Weedless lures worked the best like the Silver Minnow. However you could throw other non-weedless baits in some of the open areas.

Big spinner baits worked well as did some of the big plugs. We did well on Hell Hounds & Phantoms and some of the spoons. However at the end of the day we always seemed to go back to the spinner baits.

All of the guests at camp fished the same weed bed. I already mentioned that the fish were concentrated so they really got pressured by about the 4th day.

Most of the fish we were catching by that time had been previously hooked by one of us. It’s unfortunate that all of the fish were stacked up in such a small area.

We ran up the river for a change of pace and managed a couple of trophy fish. I think 43” was our best in the river. We also fished hard around the

rock islands and managed to pull a few nice fish. I think we had 2 – 44” fish and several over 41”. We also gave Thubin Bay a spin but found nothing but small ones.

It was inevitable that at the end of the day we all ended up back at the same spot. After supper when the guides got done fishing with their clients they went fishing for fun and guess where they ended up?

The big weed bed. Two more boats with 4 more fishermen. At times it was a traffic jam and finding an open spot got to be somewhat challenging.

We trolled big Jake Baits up the channel and caught some really dandy walleyes. They just slammed the big plugs. The Walleyes we caught were 20’ – 26”. Nice fish!

Next time I’m bringing some jigs and twisters for a change of pace! My guess is that a person could really pound the Walleyes if you targeted them which we didn’t

The camp was nice, even though we didn’t spend much time in it. Our cabin had a major mosquito problem. The first night I must have killed 50+. We ended up sleeping with head nets on.

The next day we spent an hour plugging up all of the cracks and openings with clear packaging tape. I’m bringing duct tape next year. That helped and we ended up with only a couple dozen in the cabin.

So on with the head nets. The problem was that it was hot so putting something over your head at night made it really uncomfortable. The next night we just lit a raid coil and sucked up the smoke.

At least we had no more bugs!

All in all it was a great trip and we are really looking forward to giving it another try next year. Right now I have a whole year to live down the whooping I got on the water by my 12 year old son!

Until next year good fishing to you all.

Craig & Jake Lenz


August 20-26. The Great Slave Mafia Report

The Weather was too damn nice! We went on a fishing trip and a business meeting broke out!

Taltson 2011….August 20-26

Is it at all possible that could be a problem? Well for the group fishing it certainly was!! Don’t get me wrong, the fishing was still the best 99.9999% of fisherman will ever hope to experience…but for us…a little cool weather would have brought some more fatties into play.

The group of John Mich and Rick Sweeney

Jamie Riani and Bill Kallenburg

and Steve Schmitt and Jim Zarfass

again put a hurt on old Mrs. Esox Lucius during their weeks stay. The group, with the help of golf counters, tallied over 1600 fish for week, with an amazing 124 , 41inches or greater. Jim Zarfasses 47” was the largest in camp.

The fisherman were greeted with temps in the low 70’s and southeast winds for the first three days…sure great weather if you’re in Wisconsin but this is NWT….some 2500 miles north of the cheese state. We wanted 50’s…clouds…maybe a sprinkle or two, hell a flake or two besides Zarfass would have been great, however good weather was to be the norm for the entire weeks stay, we adapted.

Normally a bit of wind from the north and whatever combined would cause the rock islands to explode with fish, but that wasn’t to be. Thankfully the weeds were as good as they’ve been in many years and the fish cooperated in them. Certainly the night trolling bite was a staple as well, with fish being caught well after 11pm on many nights. This night trolling bite for a species of fish that aren’t supposed to be great after dark continues to amaze us…but we’ll take it!

Baits where as they always are for this time of year….Spinnerbaits, Bulldawgs, any and all Storm plastic baits. Colors…natural, wild and everything in between.

Mishaps? Sure!! With three in the group north of 60 yoa…nobrainer! Some hooks in hands..some slashed hands due to fish handling, maybe a broken rod or 4…but we are happy to report no helicopter needed to be dispatched to camp…no stitches were used (maybe warranted) but not used…no chucks of meat needed to be extracted from anyone’s windpipe…and there was enough Ambien, Tylenol PM’s and earplugs to handle snoring, talking and night terrors (yes I said night terrors…don’t ask)

We were treated to the incredible cooking of Tracy once again and her kitchen helper Katya…this was far more than 6 dudes from the states could ever hope to have spoiling them. Our Friday was business formal day and the girls went out of their way to make our lunch experience that day…something to remember.

As I always say…”this is the best pike fishing local in Canada”…and it proved it once again for all of us. 360 days seem like a year away.


( a very rare blue pike )